b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLEOperators referred to each run as a Of all the innovations that streamed out settle into a radioactive sludge in thecampaign. The first one lasted until of the NRTS, waste calcining turned out bottom of the tanka sticky goo. ItOctober 1964. Two 300,000-gallon to be one of the most under- e x ploi t e could not be re-dissolved in nitric aciddtanks and part of a third were emptied outside of Idaho and the most profound- without destroying the carbon-steel con-before the campaign was forced to stop. ly valuable within Idaho. Neither Bill tainer as well. Nor could it be calcined.In an excess of success, the campaign Ginkel nor anyone else could know it at Several of the tanks leaked. Many Chemhad filled up all the available calcine the time, but the dry calcine tucked Plant scientists thought they had demon-bins. Half a million gallons of liquid away in the bins would prove to be the strated a better mousetrapa way tohad been transformed into 7,500 bulk safest, most environmentally reliable of store very hazardous radioactive wasteCcubic feet of solida reduction in vol- all the methods then in use at any AEfor centuries without threatening theume better than 9 to 1. The WCF had facility for holding highly radioactive environmentbut the technology didntexceeded its design rate of 60 gallons waste. The calcine could be retrieved transfer to other AEC facilities. 4 8an hour. None of the feed lines plugged from the bins if its constituents wereup. Remote lubricating systems worked ever desired for re-use. Or it could be The calciner, the breeder/fuel recycleso well that no spares had to be put into transformed to a more inert ceramic or experiments, the artful ATR, the reactorservice. The alumina traveled without glass form for its ultimate disposal. A t safety studiesall of the NRTS pro-incident from the calciner to the storage Hanford and Savannah River, where grams were at the leading edge of abins, despite several bends in the pipe. much larger volumes of waste accumu- hopeful new age of security and energyThe gases leaving the stack included lated, the practice was to put the waste, abundance. The NRTS was a uniquesome strontium-90 and ruthenium-106, neutralized with sodium hydroxide in place where opportunity was grantedbut the levels were below guideline carbon steel tanks. This caused solids to equally to all of the workersmeteo-limits. New bin sets went rologists, health physicists,under construction, designed welders, chemists, electri-to last at least five hundred cians, instrument-makers,years and made so the cal- mechanics, laborers, physi-cine could be retrieved at cists, engineers, managers,any time in the future. 46 carpentersto exercise dailytheir gifts of curiosity, imagi-Analysts who had predicted nation, and ingenuity. Thesuch matters as particle size founders had created in theand other properties of the desert a safe environment inalumina were gratified to find which to experiment, tothat performance matched prove the principle andprediction. The author of one then to move engineeringreport on the campaign cred- progress even farther. Theited these excellent results to laboratory was sanctioned bythe ten cold runs of the previ- the nation and treasured byous two years. All the its neighbors. But the charac-rehearsing had made for a ter of the national nuclearskillful and resourceful enterpriseand the Idahocr e 4 7 neighborhoodwas about tow.change. So would the NRTS.INEEL 66-6863Graphic representation of underground facility forstorage of calcined wastes in granular form. 172'