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Title: Dose rate estimates from irradiated light-water-reactor fuel assemblies in air

Abstract

It is generally considered that irradiated spent fuel is so radioactive (self-protecting) that it can only be moved and processed with specialized equipment and facilities. However, a small, possibly subnational, group acting in secret with no concern for the environment (other than the reduction of signatures) and willing to incur substantial but not lethal radiation doses, could obtain plutonium by stealing and processing irradiated spent fuel that has cooled for several years. In this paper, we estimate the dose rate at various distances and directions from typical pressurized-water reactor (PWR) and boiling-water reactor (BWR) spent-fuel assemblies as a function of cooling time. Our results show that the dose rate is reduced rapidly for the first ten years after exposure in the reactor, and that it is reduced by a factor of {approx}10 (from the one year dose rate) after 15 years. Even for fuel that has cooled for 15 years, a lethal dose (LD50) of 450 rem would be received at 1 m from the center of the fuel assembly after several minutes. However, moving from 1 to 5 m reduces the dose rate by over a factor of 10, and moving from 1 to 10 m reduces the dosemore » rate by about a factor of 50. The dose rates 1 m from the top or bottom of the assembly are considerably less (about 10 and 22%, respectively) than 1 m from the center of the assembly, which is the direction of the maximum dose rate.« less

Authors:
; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
10137382
Report Number(s):
UCRL-ID-115199
ON: DE94009034; TRN: 94:006632
DOE Contract Number:  
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 31 Jan 1994
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 22 GENERAL STUDIES OF NUCLEAR REACTORS; FUEL ASSEMBLIES; DOSE RATES; FUEL COOLING TIME; PWR TYPE REACTORS; BWR TYPE REACTORS; 210100; 210200; 220300; POWER REACTORS, NONBREEDING, LIGHT-WATER MODERATED, BOILING WATER COOLED; POWER REACTORS, NONBREEDING, LIGHT-WATER MODERATED, NONBOILING WATER COOLED; FUEL ELEMENTS

Citation Formats

Lloyd, W.R., Sheaffer, M.K., and Sutcliffe, W.G. Dose rate estimates from irradiated light-water-reactor fuel assemblies in air. United States: N. p., 1994. Web. doi:10.2172/10137382.
Lloyd, W.R., Sheaffer, M.K., & Sutcliffe, W.G. Dose rate estimates from irradiated light-water-reactor fuel assemblies in air. United States. doi:10.2172/10137382.
Lloyd, W.R., Sheaffer, M.K., and Sutcliffe, W.G. Mon . "Dose rate estimates from irradiated light-water-reactor fuel assemblies in air". United States. doi:10.2172/10137382. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/10137382.
@article{osti_10137382,
title = {Dose rate estimates from irradiated light-water-reactor fuel assemblies in air},
author = {Lloyd, W.R. and Sheaffer, M.K. and Sutcliffe, W.G.},
abstractNote = {It is generally considered that irradiated spent fuel is so radioactive (self-protecting) that it can only be moved and processed with specialized equipment and facilities. However, a small, possibly subnational, group acting in secret with no concern for the environment (other than the reduction of signatures) and willing to incur substantial but not lethal radiation doses, could obtain plutonium by stealing and processing irradiated spent fuel that has cooled for several years. In this paper, we estimate the dose rate at various distances and directions from typical pressurized-water reactor (PWR) and boiling-water reactor (BWR) spent-fuel assemblies as a function of cooling time. Our results show that the dose rate is reduced rapidly for the first ten years after exposure in the reactor, and that it is reduced by a factor of {approx}10 (from the one year dose rate) after 15 years. Even for fuel that has cooled for 15 years, a lethal dose (LD50) of 450 rem would be received at 1 m from the center of the fuel assembly after several minutes. However, moving from 1 to 5 m reduces the dose rate by over a factor of 10, and moving from 1 to 10 m reduces the dose rate by about a factor of 50. The dose rates 1 m from the top or bottom of the assembly are considerably less (about 10 and 22%, respectively) than 1 m from the center of the assembly, which is the direction of the maximum dose rate.},
doi = {10.2172/10137382},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1994},
month = {1}
}