In collaboration with scientists at the Savannah River National Laboratory, SRNS is working to prevent the remaining iodine-129 from moving in large quantities to nearby wetlands.
Current treatment relies on chemicals, such as silver chloride, and soil to work together to bind iodine to underground sediment, before it reaches wetlands.
“Once this plume completely penetrates the marsh, processing, let alone immobilizing the iodine, becomes much more difficult,” Thibault said. “There is no sediment. We went from mud-like sediment to working with organics and swamp water.
SRNL geochemist Hansell Gonzalez-Raymat said workers completed shallow drilling for soil samples in the affected wetlands.
Virtual field visits to the SRC become reality
“The data collected from the samples will help us determine how iodine will interact with organic matter and surface water found in SRS wetlands,” he said. “This is part of a larger project in Area F of the site which is partially funded by the EM Technology Development Office.”
Thibault said SRNS was working to make the project “passive,” requiring minimal maintenance and using little or no electrical power.
“We are looking at the possible use of silver chloride, as well as other cleaning technologies, to maintain the level of success we have had in the past. We are convinced that we will protect our wetlands, ”he said.