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Radiochemical Processing Laboratory


If you would like more information on a specific project, please contact Gert Patello.

Hot cell with manipulator arms
Hot cell with manipulator arms

We've evaluated and tested the pretreatment (waste mixing, sludge washing, ultra-filtration, Cs/Tc ion exchange, and Sr/TRU precipitation) and vitrification (LAW and HLW) flowsheet for the River Protection Program Waste Treatment Plant. We've also performed the Regulatory Data Quality Objective.

We've developed and tested thermal stabilization processes for various types of plutonium-bearing materials for the Plutonium Finishing Plant.

We've performed radiomaterials characterization for the Hanford Spent Nuclear Fuel Program and commercial fuels research spanning all aspects of the fuel cycle.

We've developed a patented radiochemical process for producing ultrapure yttrium-90 for use as a beta-emitting radioisotope popular for use in cancer radioimmunotherapy.

We've undertaken spent nuclear fuel characterization and performance testing in support of the proposed geologic repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada since 1987. The proposed repository is intended to be the final resting place for this nation's commercial spent nuclear fuel, high-level waste glass from Cold War weapons programs, and other high level wastes. Data generated in the RPL is being used to develop the performance assessment models that will define how these waste forms will perform over the expected life of the repository.

Photo: Staff at work on microscopy
Staff at work on microscopy (Enlarge image)

We're performing a number of projects in support of the Environmental Management Science Program (EMSP). These projects are aimed at determining the physical properties of Hanford transuranic (TRU) waste sludges, extraction of sodium from alkaline radioactive waste, and the development of advanced sensors.

We've characterized the chemical/radiochemical and physical properties of K-Basin irradiated fuel sludge with particular emphasis on its uranium metal concentrations and properties. In collaboration with Hanford operations contractors, develop and test means to safely process the sludge for ultimate disposal and thus allow the decontamination and demolition of the K fuels storage basins.

We've chemically characterized weapons-grade plutonium oxide scrap for its suitability as feed materials to mixed uranium/plutonium oxide (MOX) light water reactor fuel. The weapons-grade plutonium committed to MOX fuel will go towards satisfying US treaty obligations.


Energy and Environment Directorate


RPL at a Glance

Solving Global Problems with Premier Staff and Facilities
Solving Global Problems with Premier Staff and Facilities

RPL Historic Landmark

A National Asset with Multiple Missions
A National Asset with Multiple Missions

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