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Safely Removing Stubborn Sludge from Waste Tanks

October 2014

The nation’s legacy of nuclear waste poses unique challenges for environmental cleanup. Among the challenges are how to continue to store tank waste safely in double-shell tanks. In collaboration with Washington River Protection Solutions, PNNL is using simulants to evaluate existing theories on the retention of hydrogen gas in deep sludge layers.

Through a testing program ranging from laboratory-scale to large-scale pilot testing in a 45-foot tall column, research indicates that gas retention and release does not pose a flammable gas safety issue.

This safety basis for continued sludge retrieval and transfer will save taxpayers approximately $500 million in Hanford cleanup expenses.


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