Waste Water Treatment in Nuclear Power Plants

Separation of radioactive material from water

Germering, (PresseBox) - Waste water systems of nuclear power plants collect, process and store radioactive waste water from sumps in potentially contaminated areas (containment, reactor building, turbine building), tubes which collect radioactive leakage and normal discharge from the reactor cooling systems.
Engineering and operational differences between nuclear power plants (boiling water reactors versus pressured water reactors) cause large differences in the composition of liquid radioactive waste which demand an appropriate treatment under severe restrictions before discharge to the environment.
Generally speaking, radioactive waste water streams contain soluble and insoluble radioactive particles from nuclides like cobalt and antimony. These can be separated from water by evaporation, filtration or flocculation. For the latter, polymers are applied such as flocculants and coagulants.
Measurements of fine dispersed and colloidally dissolved matter with the Particle Charge Detector PCD-04 allow characterizing radioactive waste water streams and the polymers to be used. These results are basis for an optimized chemical treatment and help revealing critical sources in the process.

The surface charge of fine dispersed and colloidal isotope suspensions can be quantified via a polyelectrolyte titration. Within the PCD-04 Particle Charge Detector a streaming potential is generated serving as an indicator. During the measuring, titration agent is automatically added until the neutralization point is reached. The volume of needed titration agent directly relates to the charge level of the radioactive waste water sample. In the same way, the applied flocculants or coagulants are titrated and characterized.

The PCD-04 with automatic titration system PCD-T3 serves to:
• Monitor changes in radioactive waste water and detect disturbances
• Choose the optimal flocculant for the respective waste water batch
• Effectively reduce levels of soluable radioactive particles

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