A resin slurry venting analysis was conducted to address safety issues associated with over-pressurization of ion exchange columns used in the plutonium uranium redox extraction (PUREX) process at the U. S. Department of Energy's Savannah River Site (SRS). If flow to these columns is inadvertently interrupted, an exothermic runaway reaction could occur between the ion exchange resin and the nitric acid used in the feed stream. This reaction generates significant quantities of noncondensable gases. To prevent the column from rupturing due to pressurization by these gases, rupture disks are installed on the column vent lines. The venting analysis models accelerating rate calorimeter (ARC) tests and data from tests that were performed in a vented test vessel with a rupture disk. The tests showed that the pressure inside the test vessel continued to increase after the rupture disk opened, though at a slower rate than prior to the rupture. The increase in the vessel pressure is modeled as a transient phenomenon associated with expansion of the resin slurry/gas mixture upon rupture of the disk. It is postulated that the maximum pressure at the end of this expansion is limited by energy minimization to approximately 1.5 times the rupture disk burst pressure. The magnitude of this pressure increase is consistent with the measured pressure transients. The results of this analysis demonstrate the need to allow for a margin between the design pressure and the rupture disk burst pressure in similar applications.

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