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Proceedings Paper

Statistical analyses of nuclear waste level measurements to estimate retained gas volumes
Author(s): Paul D. Whitney; Guang Chen
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Paper Abstract

The Hanford site is home to 177 large, underground nuclear waste storage tanks. Numerous safety and environmental concerns around these tanks and their contents. One such concern is the propensity for the waste in these tanks to generate and retain flammable gases. The surface level of the waste in these tanks is routinely monitored to assess whether the tanks are leaking. For some of the tanks, the waste surface level measurements synchronously fluctuated with atmospheric pressure changes. The current best explanation for these synchronous fluctuations is that the waste contains gas-phase material that changes volume in response to the atmospheric pressure changes. This paper describes: (1) The exploratory data analysis that led to the discovery of the phenomena; (2) A physical mode based on the ideal gas law that explains the phenomena. Additionally, the model allows one to obtain estimates of the retained gas volume in the tank waste; (3) A statistical procedure for detecting retained gas based on the physical model and tank surface level measurements; and (4) A Kalman filter model for analyzing the dynamics of retained gas. It's also shown how the filter can be used to detect abrupt changes in the system.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 January 1999
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3536, Nuclear Waste Instrumentation Engineering, (29 January 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.339075
Show Author Affiliations
Paul D. Whitney, Pacific Northwest National Lab. (United States)
Guang Chen, Pacific Northwest National Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3536:
Nuclear Waste Instrumentation Engineering
David E. Robertson, Editor(s)

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