Extractability and chemical forms of radioactive cesium in designated wastes investigated in an on-site test
School of Natural Sciences
In the aftermath of the 2011 accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (F1 hereafter), municipal solid waste (MSW) contaminated with radioactive cesium (rad-Cs hereafter) has been generated in 12 prefectures in Japan. The Japanese Minister of Environment classified MSW that contained rad-Cs in the concentration more than 8,000 Bq/kg as “designated (solid) waste (DSW hereafter), and prescribed the collection, storage and transportation procedures. When MSW containing rad-Cs was incinerated, rad-Cs was concentrated in fly ash, and the ash often fell into the category of DSW. We have investigated a technique that can reduce the volume of the rad-Cs-contaminated fly-ash by extracting rad-Cs with aqueous solvents such as water and oxalic acid and concentrating rad-Cs in a small amount of hexacyanoferrate (or ferrocyanide, designated as Fer hereafter) precipitate. Since DSW could not be transported to the outside laboratory, we have conducted on-site tests at places where DSW were generated to investigate the applicability of the extraction – precipitation technique. The present report is a summary of our most recent on-site test conducted in 2014. Also presented is the re-evaluation of the results of our past on-site test from the viewpoint of leaching of rad-Cs and heavy metals in the fly ash. An apparent decrease in leaching of rad-Cs from fly ash was observed by incinerating sewage sludge with soil. Fly ash from a melting furnace contained more water-soluble rad-Cs than that from a fluidized-bed incinerator. Some incinerator fly ash appeared to produce rad-Cs in colloidal form when extracted with oxalic acid, resulting in the lower removal of rad-Cs from the extract by Fer method. © The Editor(s) if applicable and the Author(s) 2016.