Tristan Kernick

Grover Research Group


RESEARCH

ACCURATE SIZING OF NUCLEAR WASTE PARTICLES

The United States faces a substantial ecological challenge in the form of millions of gallons of legacy nuclear waste resting in aging containers all across the country. Clean-up and storage of this waste is to be accomplished by vitrification, where the radioactive material is immobilized in a glass matrix; however, this process requires substantial pre-processing of the waste before it can be vitrified and stored. Many of these processing techniques are sensitive to the size of solid particulates contained within the individual waste batches.

The goal of my research is to adapt Focused Beam Reflectance Measurement (FBRM), a device used primarily for qualitative crystallization monitoring, into an instrument for the real-time sizing of nuclear waste particles. FBRM is challenging to use for this purpose because its analysis of particle sizes depends on both the particle shape and three-dimensional orientation, both of which will not be known in a waste processing application. The current research objective is understanding how both of these factors affect the instrument output so that a correction model can be developed.




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