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 TNow it was two days before Christmas oxide that could not be allowed to goin 1963. The years of preliminaries up the stack. The off-gas was routedfinally were coming to an end. into vessels containing silica gel, whichSomeone turned certain valves, and the absorbed the ruthenium-106. 44hot waste from one of the Chem Planttanks flowed into the building as a liq- The calcine went to one of the bins in auid and left as a solid. The magic was bin set, a group of four to seven tall,in the calcinera cylindrical vessel vertical steel bins nested together insidefour feet in diameter. It began by plac- a thick reinforced concrete vault, ining a bed of grainy material resembling turn surrounded by earth and gravelsand (dolomite) at the bottom of the shielding. The bins stood mostly abovevessel. A NaK heat source placed with- grade level, so the whole affair resem-in the bed of sand heated it to 400C bled a barren hill. Cooling air circulatedThen hot air flowed into the bed past the bins, carrying off the heat ofthrough fourteen holes at the bottom of radioactive decay. Atop each hill werethe vessel, placing the grains in small shelters, called doghouses, for fil-motion, or fluidizing them, like pop- ters and the fans used to pull the aircorn being air-popped in a theater from within the bin set and send it up alobby. Liquid waste, containing mostly small stack. 45 aluminum nitrate, entered the vessel asa fine mist. In the hot environment, INEEL 71-0848nature took its course. The watervaporized. Nitrate salts decomposed tonitrogen oxides and metal oxides. T h esolids adhered to the starter grainstumbling around in the vessel. As theprocess continued, the solids knockedagainst each other, causing small parti-cles to flake off and form new startergrains for the liquid feed, which kepton coming.As the solidcalled aluminaaccumu-lated, it left the calciner vessel throughan overflow pipe. Pneumatic processestook over and moved it through a pipe(the Navy gun barrel) and on to storagebins east of the building. The watervapor and other off-gases left the vesselby another route, were treated, washed,and filtered and then exited the stack.One of the fission products in the INEEL 72-4571waste, ruthenium-106, formed a volatile Above. One of seven bins is lowered into a bin set under construction. Bins will receive calcine and werebuilt to last 500 years. Below. Waste Calcining Facility in 1972 showing location of the first three bin sets.171'