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Electrokinetic remediation of plutonium-contaminated nuclear site wastes: Results from a pilot-scale on-site trial

Electrokinetic remediation of plutonium-contaminated nuclear site wastes: Results from a pilot-scale on-site trial
Electrokinetic remediation of plutonium-contaminated nuclear site wastes: Results from a pilot-scale on-site trial
This paper examines the field-scale application of a novel low-energy electrokinetic technique for the remediation of plutonium-contaminated nuclear site soils, using soil wastes from the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston site, Berkshire, UK as a test medium. Soils and sediments with varying composition, contaminated with Pu through historical site operations, were electrokinetically treated at laboratory-scale with and without various soil pre-conditioning agents. Results from these bench-scale trials were used to inform a larger on-site remediation trial, using an adapted containment pack with battery power supply. 2.4 m3 (ca. 4 tonnes) of Pu-contaminated soil was treated for 60 days at a power consumption of 33 kW h/m3, and then destructively sampled. Radiochemical data indicate mobilisation of Pu in the treated soil, and migration (probably as a negatively charged Pu–citrate complex) towards the anodic compartment of the treatment cell. Soil in the cathodic zone of the treatment unit was remediated to a level below free-release disposal thresholds (1.7 Bq/g, or <0.4 Bq/g above background activities). The data show the potential of this method as a low-cost, on-site tool for remediation of radioactively contaminated soils and wastes which can be operated remotely on working sites, with minimal disruption to site infrastructure or operations.
Land remediation, Electrokinetic, Plutonium, Contaminated land, On-site trial
0304-3894
1405-1414
Agnew, Kieran
f1c8a081-9398-4264-a4fa-880dfd8a72ea
Cundy, Andrew B.
994fdc96-2dce-40f4-b74b-dc638286eb08
Hopkinson, Laurence
af67f81a-f8b9-4d90-aca9-069466822905
Croudace, Ian W.
24deb068-d096-485e-8a23-a32b7a68afaf
Warwick, Phillip E.
f2675d83-eee2-40c5-b53d-fbe437f401ef
Purdie, Philip
7c40f857-7ae5-42c2-9718-72a93e3b0dc6
Agnew, Kieran
f1c8a081-9398-4264-a4fa-880dfd8a72ea
Cundy, Andrew B.
994fdc96-2dce-40f4-b74b-dc638286eb08
Hopkinson, Laurence
af67f81a-f8b9-4d90-aca9-069466822905
Croudace, Ian W.
24deb068-d096-485e-8a23-a32b7a68afaf
Warwick, Phillip E.
f2675d83-eee2-40c5-b53d-fbe437f401ef
Purdie, Philip
7c40f857-7ae5-42c2-9718-72a93e3b0dc6

Agnew, Kieran, Cundy, Andrew B., Hopkinson, Laurence, Croudace, Ian W., Warwick, Phillip E. and Purdie, Philip (2011) Electrokinetic remediation of plutonium-contaminated nuclear site wastes: Results from a pilot-scale on-site trial. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 186 (2-3), 1405-1414. (doi:10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.12.016).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper examines the field-scale application of a novel low-energy electrokinetic technique for the remediation of plutonium-contaminated nuclear site soils, using soil wastes from the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston site, Berkshire, UK as a test medium. Soils and sediments with varying composition, contaminated with Pu through historical site operations, were electrokinetically treated at laboratory-scale with and without various soil pre-conditioning agents. Results from these bench-scale trials were used to inform a larger on-site remediation trial, using an adapted containment pack with battery power supply. 2.4 m3 (ca. 4 tonnes) of Pu-contaminated soil was treated for 60 days at a power consumption of 33 kW h/m3, and then destructively sampled. Radiochemical data indicate mobilisation of Pu in the treated soil, and migration (probably as a negatively charged Pu–citrate complex) towards the anodic compartment of the treatment cell. Soil in the cathodic zone of the treatment unit was remediated to a level below free-release disposal thresholds (1.7 Bq/g, or <0.4 Bq/g above background activities). The data show the potential of this method as a low-cost, on-site tool for remediation of radioactively contaminated soils and wastes which can be operated remotely on working sites, with minimal disruption to site infrastructure or operations.

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More information

Published date: 28 February 2011
Keywords: Land remediation, Electrokinetic, Plutonium, Contaminated land, On-site trial

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 179729
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/179729
ISSN: 0304-3894
PURE UUID: 0085e0ce-e5d1-4446-9841-a43c3d415629
ORCID for Andrew B. Cundy: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4368-2569

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 04 Apr 2011 09:39
Last modified: 29 Aug 2019 00:32

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