Stabilization of Contaminated Soils by in situ Vitrification,
BATTELLE PACIFIC NORTHWEST LAB RICHLAND WA
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In Situ Vitrification is an emerging technology developed by Pacific Northwest Laboratory for potential in-place immobilization of radioactive wastes. The contaminated soil is stabilized and converted to an inert glass form. This conversion is accomplished by inserting electrodes in the soil and establishing an electric current between the electrodes. The electrical energy causes a joule heating effect that melts the soil during processing. Any contaminants released from the melt are collected and routed to an off-gas treatment system. A stable and durable glass block is produced which chemically and physically encapsulates any residual waste components. In situ vitrification has been developed for the potential application to radioactive wastes, specifically, contaminated soil sites however, it could possibly be applied to hazardous chemical and buried munitions waste sites. Costs for hazardous waste applications are estimated to be less than 175 cu m 5.00cu.ft. of material vitrified. For many applications, in situ vitrification can provide a cost-effective alternative to other disposal options.