An electrochemical cell with a Co(III) mediator and nitric acid electrolyte provides efficient destruction of organic and mixed wastes. The organic waste is concentrated in the anolyte reservoir, where the mediator oxidizes the organics and insoluble transuranic compounds and is regenerated at the anode until the organics are converted to CO.sub.2. The nitric acid is an excellent oxidant that facilitates the destruction of the organic components. The anode is not readily attacked by the nitric acid solution, thus the cell can be used for extended continual operation without electrode replacement.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.