The application of nanoparticles of predominantly zerovalent iron (nanoiron), either unsupported or supported, to the separation and reduction of pertechnetate anions (TcO 4 -) from complex waste mixtures was investigated as an alternative approach to current waste-processing schemes. Although applicable to pertechnetate-containing waste streams in general, the research discussed here was directed at two specific potential applications at the U.S. Department of Energy's Hanford Site: (1) the direct removal of pertechnetate from highly alkaline solutions, typical of those found in Hanford tank waste, and (2) the removal of dilute pertechnetate from near-neutral solutions, typical of the eluate streams from commercial organic ion-exchange resins that may be used to remediate Hanford tank wastes. It was envisioned that both applications would involve the subsequent encapsulation of the loaded sorbent material into a separate waste form. A high surface area (>200 m 2/g) base-stable, nanocrystalline zirconia was used as a support for nanoiron for tests with highly alkaline solutions, while a silica gel support was used for tests with near-neutral solutions. It was shown that after 24 h of contact time, the high surface area zirconia supported nanoiron sorbent removed about 50% (K d = 370 L/kg) of the pertechnetate from a pH 14 tank waste simulant containing 0.51 mM TcO 4 - and large concentrations of Na +, OH -, NO 3 -, and CO 3 2- for a phase ratio of 360 L simulant per kg of sorbent. It was also shown that after 18 h of contact time, the silica-supported nanoiron removed >95% pertechnetate from a neutral pH eluate simulant containing 0.076 mM TcO 4 - for a phase ratio of 290 L/kg. It was determined that in all cases, nanoiron reduced the Tc(VII) to Tc(IV), or possibly to Tc(V), through a redox reaction. Finally, it was demonstrated that a mixture of 20 mass % of the solid reaction products obtained from contacting zirconia-supported nanoiron with an alkaline waste solution containing Re(VII), a surrogate for Tc(VII), with 80 mass % alkali borosilicate based frit heat-treated at 700°C for 4 h sintered into an easily handled glass composite waste form.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Materials Chemistry