Pozzolanic filtration/solidification of radionuclides in nuclear reactor cooling water

James D. Englehardt, Chengjun Peng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Laboratory studies to investigate the feasibility of one- and two-step processes for precipitating/coprecipitating radionuclides from nuclear reactor cooling water, filtering with pozzolanic filter aid, and solidifying, are reported in this paper. In the one-step process, ferrocyanide salt and excess lime are added ahead of the filter, and the resulting filter cake solidifies by a pozzolanic reaction. The two-step process involves addition of solidifying agents subsequent to filtration. It was found that high surface area diatomaceous synthetic calcium silicate powders, sold commercially as functional fillers and carriers, adsorb nickel isotopes from solution at neutral and slightly basic pH. Addition of the silicates to cooling water allowed removal of the tested metal isotopes (nickel, iron, manganese, cobalt, and cesium) simultaneously at neutral to slightly basic pH. Lime to diatomite ratio was the most influential characteristic of composition on final strength tested, with higher lime ratios giving higher strength. Diatomaceous earth filter aids manufactured without sodium fluxes exhibited higher pozzolanic activity. Pozzolanic filter cake solidified with sodium silicate and a ratio of 0.45 parts lime to 1 part diatomite had compressive strength ranging from 470 to 595 psi at a 90% confidence level. Leachability indices of all tested metals in the solidified waste were acceptable. In light of the typical requirement of removing iron and desirability of control over process pH, a two-step process involving addition of Portland cement to the filter cake may be most generally applicable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-592
Number of pages8
JournalWaste Management
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal


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