The paper focuses on the evaluation of membrane filtration for the treatment of liquid radioactive streams generated in area decontamination operations. In this work, semi-permeable membranes were demonstrated to be effective reducing the volume of wastewater containing cesium and cobalt by two orders of a magnitude. The efficiency of membrane separation was enhanced by employing additives that enlarged the size of target radionuclide species and improved their rejection by the membranes. This was achieved by chelation with synthetic water-soluble polymers and by adsorption on micro particles of adsorbent coupled with micelle formation. The effect of wastewater composition and that of the radionuclide-binding additives on the volume reduction was investigated. Membrane treatment is expected to help simplify further processing and decrease disposal costs.
Keywords: chelation, micellar ultrafiltration, radiological decontamination, wastewater