School of Natural Sciences
Municipal solid wastes (MSW) with elevated concentrations of radioactive cesium (rad-Cs hereafter) have been generated in some areas of Japan in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (F1 hereafter) accident. Both recycling and final disposal of the contaminated MSW have become a difficult problem in the affected areas, resulting in accumulation of treated residues in the treatment facilities. The rad-Cs in MSW, especially fly ash, often showed a high leaching rate. Extraction of contaminated MSW with water or hot oxalic acid followed by selective removal of rad-Cs from the extract using ferrocyanide (Fer hereafter) coprecipitation technique could be an ultimate solution for waste volume reduction. The MSW extracts contain various metal components as well as chelating reagents like oxalic acid, and are often very saline. The composition of the extract varies widely depending on waste sources, applied treatment techniques, and rad-Cs extraction method etc. The applicability of the Fer coprecipitation technique had to be tested and validated before it could be applied for actual treatment. In this work, we applied the Fer technique and observed removal of cesium (Cs) from water and oxalic acid extracts (all spiked with rad-Cs tracer or stable Cs) of various MSW samples collected from uncontaminated areas. Finally, the Fer technique was applied on site for removal of rad-Cs in the extracts of contaminated MSW. By modifying coprecipitation conditions according to solution matrix, Cs removal rates of higher than 95 % could be obtained.