Using Supercritical Water Oxidation to Treat Hydrolysate from VX Neutralization

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National Academies Press, May 8, 1998 - Nature - 82 pages
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The U.S. Army has asked the National Research Council (NRC) to evaluate whether supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) is an effective and appropriate means of eliminating hazardous or toxic organic constituents in VX hydrolysate for ultimate disposition. The NRC was not asked to conduct an in-depth analysis of the entire integrated VX bulk agent destruction and disposal process for the Newport Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. As the facility design is being finalized (March 1999-April 2000), the NRC will probably be asked to assess all aspects of the facility design, including monitoring, containment, process control, and redundancy, as well as the quantitative risk assessment (QRA). This report outlines the elements of the proposed neutralization/SCWO technology, evaluates the results of ongoing SCWO tests, and makes recommendations concerning aspects of the technology that require further development. The scope of this evaluation did not include evaluations of other potential technologies or management options for the treatment of VX hydrolysate.


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Executive Summary
1 Introduction and Background
2 Process Description and Scientific Principles
3 Technology Status
4 ScaleUp Stability and Reliability
5 FullScale Process Design
6 Findings and Recommendations

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Page v - Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development, and Acquisition.
Page v - ... secretary of the Army for research, development and acquisition informally explored the issue of examining alternative chemical disposal technologies with the Stockpile Committee. Following numerous discussions between the Army and the NRC, a decision was made to conduct a new NRC study to reexamine the status of a limited number of maturing alternative chemical disposal technologies (including the two neutralization-based processes on which the Army was currently conducting research) for possible...
Page v - THE CALL FOR DISPOSAL The United States has maintained a stockpile of highly toxic chemical agents and munitions for more than half a century.
Page 4 - Finding 1. Limited pilot-scale testing has demonstrated the ability of SCWO to achieve high destruction efficiencies for the organic constituents of VX hydrolysate. Effluent from SCWO treatment of VX hydrolysate has been shown to have negligible acute toxicity in intravenous testing in mice, gavage testing in rats, and dermal testing in rabbits. The separation of...
Page 55 - NaCI-HX) 380 to 415C: a refined determination of the critical point and two-phase boundary of seawater: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta., v.
Page 5 - Finding 5. Alkaline VX hydrolysate and its destruction products under SCWO reaction conditions create an extremely corrosive and erosive environment that requires the careful selection of materials of construction. Although preliminary data indicate that certain noble metals, such as platinum and gold, may have acceptable properties, the data currently available are insufficient for the selection of materials of construction. The Army has initiated further testing of materials of construction.
Page 6 - Additional pilot-scale .E >, testing indicated in Recommendation 1 should include fabrication with the materials of construction selected from testing smaller samples and evaluation of corrosion and erosion rates for critical components. Recommendation 3. Flexibility and redundancy of critical components should be incorporated into the design of the full-scale system to allow for uncertainties about the basis for scale-up and operation. Trade-offs should be evaluated to establish an appropriate...
Page 55 - Assessment and Development of an Industrial Wet Oxidation System for Burning Waste and Low Grade Fuels, *= ^ Final Report Phase IIB . DE-FC07-88ID1271 1 . San Diego, Calif.
Page 4 - VX $ ™ o hydrolysate in being highly corrosive and salt-laden. Operation with VX hydrolysate or appropriate surrogates at design conditions, equipment configuration, or approximate scale for full-scale operations has not been demonstrated. A vertical cylindrical reactor is the only reactor configuration that has been successfully demonstrated to date at pilot scale for the treatment of VX hydrolysate and similar waste streams. Additional development and pilot-scale testing of SCWO technology i...