Effects of In‐Tank Precipitation of Sodium Aluminosilicate on Uranium Chemistry
Experiments have been conducted to examine the fate of uranium during the formation of sodium aluminosilicate (NAS) when wastes containing high aluminate concentrations are mixed with wastes of high silicate concentration. Testing was conducted at varying degrees of uranium saturation. Testing examined typical tank conditions, e.g., stagnant, slightly elevated temperature (50°C). The results showed that under sub‐saturated conditions uranium is not removed from solution to any large extent in both simulant testing and actual tank waste testing. This aspect was not thoroughly understood prior to this work and was necessary to avoid criticality issues when actual tank wastes were aggregated. There are data supporting a small removal due to sorption of uranium on sites in the NAS. Above the solubility limit the data are clear that a reduction in uranium concentration occurs concomitant with the formation of aluminosilicate. This uranium precipitation is fairly rapid and ceases when uranium reaches its solubility limit. At the solubility limit, it appears that uranium is not affected, but further testing might be warranted.