b'C H A P T E R 17S C I E N C E I N T H E D E S E R TThe project expanded to include a labo- mercial light-water reactor would be chemists had been discussing what toratory in which to isolate variables that allowed to discharge. The new stan- do with the useless acidic by-productscouldnt be controlled in the field and darda maximum of five millirem of uranium recovery. Pouring it in end-to help refine predictive models. The annual total body exposurewas one less rows of tanks was obviously not afindings brought practical realism to thousandth of the standard in effect good idea. Acid corroded tanksmostemergency planning and reactor siting before the CERT experiments. 36 likely within fifty yearsand the longat the NRTS. But the impact of the half-lives that made the waste such awork went much farther. CERT find- Over at the Chem Plant, the demand for hazard needed to be isolated from theings helped persuade the AEC to reduce recovered enriched U-235 had been environment for centuries, perhaps mil-the amount of radioiodine that a com- slow for the last few years. After 1959, lennia. Chemists therefore talked ofHanford no longer sent highly enriched ultimate disposal and regarded tankslugs to Idaho. From January 1960 storage as an interim step along thethrough December 1963, the plant was way. 38on-line for a total of only twelvemonths. Runs were a month here, two Chemists at various AEC labs came upmonths there. Likewise, the amounts of with ideas on how to remove wateruranium were small, coming mostly from the waste and reduce it to a solid.from the MTR and ETR. The SL-1 fuel The AEC decided to try only one of thepassed through the plant in 1962. After ideas, a fluidized-bed calcinationeach run, the liquid waste went, as process, and build it at the Chem Plant.usual, to the big storage tanks. 37 The development program began in1955, as scientists at Argonne NationalThen in 1963 things changed dramati- Laboratory tested the method in small-cally. The Waste Calcining Facility scale models. The process not only(WCF) went on line and revolutionized solidified the waste, but the productthe management of radioactive liquid was granular, free-flowing, and easilywaste. Ever since the late 1940s, AEC handled by pneumatic transport tech-INEEL 60-2485 niques. Phillips engineers starteddesigning the plant in 1956. 39To design the plant, the engineers hadto know which radioactive elementsvolatilized and which remained solid.Argonne identified what became of thedifferent chemicals in the waste whenheated to various temperatures. By1957 Phillips had enough data to designa demonstration plant. The next yearthe Fluor Corporation started buildingAbove. Construction workers lower the calciner vesselinto the calciner cell through a hatch. Left. Two ofthree surplus Navy gun barrels are shown in placeduring construction of the Waste Calcining Facility.INEEL 59-925169'