Leaching Assessment for Alternative Waste Forms

Investigators: David Kosson (Lead), Andy Garrabrants, Florence Sanchez, Hans van der Sloot, and Kevin Brown (Vanderbilt)

Project Summary and Goals:
The specific goals of this ongoing project are to:

  • Demonstrate applicability of emerging EPA leaching test methods and assessment methodologies to a range of DOE waste forms and applications;
  • Develop and demonstrate leaching test methods appropriate for providing performance assessment information on low activity immobilized waste for the ORP Waste Treatment facility;
  • Facilitate collaboration between DOE-EM and EPA on research and development activities related to leaching assessment that will benefit both organizations.

Relevance and Impact to DOE:

Leaching assessment is a key criterion for determining waste form performance and soils remediation objectives. Currently, DOE is being required to use TCLP as the specified leaching compliance test for RCRA and CERCLA applications, even though DOE waste management and remediation practices do not conform to the technical basis for TCLP, i.e., co-disposal with municipal solid waste. EPA, working with Vanderbilt University, The Netherlands Energy Research Centre, and others, has been developing alternative leaching assessment methodologies for broad application where TCLP is not statutorily required and an improved technical basis is needed for waste management and remediation decisions. These methodologies will be applicable for a range of waste forms planned for disposal at DOE-EM sites (e.g., cement-stabilized wastes, in-situ grouted contaminated soils, fluidized steam reformer waste products, aluminum separation waste forms, and low temperature ceramics) and would provide a more robust basis for DOE waste form decisions. In addition, DOE-ORP has indicated that the leaching assessment methodologies developed for borosilicate glass may not be robust enough for evaluation of newly proposed glass formulations for immobilized (vitrified) low activity wastes. CRESP assistance has been requested in the development leaching characterization methods for these materials.

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