Sorption of cesium and strontium on kaolinite powders was investigated as a means to minimize the emissions of these metals during certain high-temperature processes currently being developed to isolate and dispose of radiological and mixed wastes. In this work, nonradioactive aqueous cesium acetate or strontium acetate was atomized down the center of a natural gas flame supported on a variable-swirl burner in a refractory-lined laboratory-scale combustion facility. Kaolinite powder was injected at a postflame location in the combustor. Cesium readily vaporized in the high-temperature regions of the combustor, but was reactively scavenged onto dispersed kaolinite. Global sorption mechanisms of cesium vapor on kaolinite were quantified, and are related to those available in the literature for sodium and lead. Both metal adsorption and substrate deactivation steps are important, so there is an optimum temperature, between 1400 and 1500 K, at which maximum sorption occurs. The presence of chlorine inhibits cesium sorption. In contrast to cesium, and in the absence of chlorine, strontium was only partially vaporized and was, therefore, only partially scavengeable. The strontium data did not allow quantification of global kinetic mechanisms of interaction, although equilibrium arguments provided insight into the effects of chlorine on strontium sorption. These results have implications for the use of sorbents to control cesium and strontium emissions during high-temperature waste processing including incineration and vitrification.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry