Decontamination of nuclear facilities is necessary to reduce the radiation field during normal operations and decommissioning of complex equipment. In this invention, we discuss gel and foam based diphosphonic acid (HEDPA) chemical solutions that are unique in that these solutions can be applied at room temperature; provide protection to the base metal for continued applications of the equipment; and reduce the final waste form production to one step. The HEDPA gels and foams are formulated with benign chemicals, including various solvents, such as ionic liquids and reducing and complexing agents such as hydroxamic acids, and formaldehyde sulfoxylate. Gel and foam based HEDPA processes allow for decontamination of difficult to reach surfaces that are unmanageable with traditional aqueous process methods. Also, the gel and foam components are optimized to maximize the dissolution rate and assist in the chemical transformation of the gel and foam to a stable waste form.
United State Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-31-109-ENG-38 Between the U. S. Department of Energy and the University of Chicago representing Argonne National Laboratory.