U.S. Department of Energy


Date of this Version



Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, January 1998.


Borehole gamma-logging profiles beneath the SX-Tank Farm suggest that contamination from Cs-137 extends to at least a depth of 40 m (130 ft), and may extend even deeper. What is presently not known is the pathway that Cs-137 has taken to reach these depths. In this report we provide an analysis of the chemistry of tank supernates with emphasis on the REDOX waste stream disposed in SX tanks, Cs chemistry in aqueous solutions and adsorption properties onto minerals, available data on Cs adsorption onto Hanford sediments, and information on Cs migration from other Hanford tank leaks that have been studied. The data in this report was used to help guide the vadose zone transport analysis of the SX Tank Farm presented in a companion report, Ward et al. (1997). The goal of the vadose zone transport modeling is to attempt to explain the depth and extent of the Cs-137 plume under the SX Tank farm, specifically in the vicinity of the greatest leak, near the SX-109 Tank as inferred from the gamma logs (DOE 1996).

In solution Cs is present as the monovalent cation and shows very little tendency to form aqueous complexes with inorganic or organic ligands. Cs is expected to adsorb primarily onto selective minerals that have unique adsorption sites. The small Cs+ion is accommodated on these frayed edge and interlayer sites. Adsorption within the interlayers often leads to collapse of the layers such that the Cs+ion is effectively trapped and not readily exchangeable by all other common cations. The degree of adsorption is thus only moderately dependent on the types and high concentrations of other cations in leaking tank liquors.