The Salt Disposition Integration (SDI) portfolio of projects provides the infrastructure within existing Liquid Waste facilities to support the startup and long term operation of the Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF). Within SDI, the Blend and Feed Project will equip existing waste tanks in the Tank Farms to serve as Blend Tanks where 300,000-800,000 gallons of salt solution will be blended in 1.3 million gallon tanks and qualified for use as feedstock for SWPF. Blending requires the miscible salt solutions from potentially multiple source tanks per batch to be well mixed without disturbing settled sludge solids that may be present in a Blend Tank. Disturbing solids may be problematic both from a feed quality perspective as well as from a process safety perspective where hydrogen release from the sludge is a potential flammability concern. To develop the necessary technical basis for the design and operation of blending equipment, Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) completed scaled blending and transfer pump tests and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling. A 94 inch diameter pilot-scale blending tank, including tank internals such as the blending pump, transfer pump, removable cooling coils, and center column, were used in this research. The test tank represents a 1/10.85 scaled version of an 85 foot diameter, Type IIIA, nuclear waste tank that may be typical of Blend Tanks used in SDI. Specifically, Tank 50 was selected as the tank to be modeled per the SRR, Project Engineering Manager. SRNL blending tests investigated various fixed position, non-rotating, dual nozzle pump designs, including a blending pump model provided by the blend pump vendor, Curtiss Wright (CW). Primary research goals were to assess blending times and to evaluate incipient sludge disturbance for waste tanks. Incipient sludge disturbance was defined by SRR and SRNL as minor blending of settled sludge from the tank bottom into suspension due to blending pump operation, where the sludge level was shown to remain constant. To experimentally model the sludge layer, a very thin, pourable, sludge simulant was conservatively used for all testing. To experimentally model the liquid, supernate layer above the sludge in waste tanks, two salt solution simulants were used, which provided a bounding range of supernate properties. One solution was water (H{sub 2}O + NaOH), and the other was an inhibited, more viscous salt solution. The research performed and data obtained significantly advances the understanding of fluid mechanics, mixing theory and CFD modeling for nuclear waste tanks by benchmarking CFD results to actual experimental data. This research significantly bridges the gap between previous CFD models and actual field experiences in real waste tanks. A finding of the 2009, DOE, Slurry Retrieval, Pipeline Transport and Plugging, and Mixing Workshop was that CFD models were inadequate to assess blending processes in nuclear waste tanks. One recommendation from that Workshop was that a validation, or bench marking program be performed for CFD modeling versus experiment. This research provided experimental data to validate and correct CFD models as they apply to mixing and blending in nuclear waste tanks. Extensive SDI research was a significant step toward bench marking and applying CFD modeling. This research showed that CFD models not only agreed with experiment, but demonstrated that the large variance in actual experimental data accounts for misunderstood discrepancies between CFD models and experiments. Having documented this finding, SRNL was able to provide correction factors to be used with CFD models to statistically bound full scale CFD results. Through the use of pilot scale tests performed for both types of pumps and available engineering literature, SRNL demonstrated how to effectively apply CFD results to salt batch mixing in full scale waste tanks. In other words, CFD models were in error prior to development of experimental correction factors determined during this research, which provided a technique to use CFD models for salt batch mixing and transfer pump operations. This major scientific advance in mixing technology resulted in multi-million dollar cost savings to SRR. New techniques were developed for both experiment and analysis to complete this research. Supporting this success, research findings are summarized in the Conclusions section of this report, and technical recommendations for design and operation are included in this section of the report.

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Published on 01/01/2011

Volume 2011, 2011
DOI: 10.2172/1017237
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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