A method and apparatus for removing metal contaminants from the spent salt of a molten salt oxidation (MSO) reactor is described. Spent salt is removed from the reactor and analyzed to determine the contaminants present and the carbonate concentration. The salt is dissolved in water, and one or more reagents may be added to precipitate the metal oxide and/or the metal as either metal oxide, metal hydroxide, or as a salt. The precipitated materials are filtered, dried and packaged for disposal as waste or can be immobilized as ceramic pellets. More than about 90% of the metals and mineral residues (ashes) present are removed by filtration. After filtration, salt solutions having a carbonate concentration >20% can be spray-dried and returned to the reactor for re-use. Salt solutions containing a carbonate concentration <20% require further clean-up using an ion exchange column, which yields salt solutions that contain less than 1.0 ppm of contaminants.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.