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Title: Criteria for safe storage of plutonium metals and oxides

Abstract

This standard establishes safety criteria for safe storage of plutonium metals and plutonium oxides at DOE facilities; materials packaged to meet these criteria should not need subsequent repackaging to ensure safe storage for at least 50 years or until final disposition. The standard applied to Pu metals, selected alloys (eg., Ga and Al alloys), and stabilized oxides containing at least 50 wt % Pu; it does not apply to Pu-bearing liquids, process residues, waste, sealed weapon components, or material containing more than 3 wt % {sup 238}Pu. Requirements for a Pu storage facility and safeguards and security considerations are not stressed as they are addressed in detail by other DOE orders.

Publication Date:
Research Org.:
USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
10196732
Report Number(s):
DOE-STD-3013-94
ON: DE95004199; NC: NONE
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: Dec 1994
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; PLUTONIUM; STORAGE; SAFETY; PLUTONIUM OXIDES; US DOE; PACKAGING; STANDARDS; 050900; 054000; TRANSPORT, HANDLING, AND STORAGE; HEALTH AND SAFETY

Citation Formats

Not Available. Criteria for safe storage of plutonium metals and oxides. United States: N. p., 1994. Web. doi:10.2172/10196732.
Not Available. Criteria for safe storage of plutonium metals and oxides. United States. doi:10.2172/10196732.
Not Available. Thu . "Criteria for safe storage of plutonium metals and oxides". United States. doi:10.2172/10196732. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/10196732.
@article{osti_10196732,
title = {Criteria for safe storage of plutonium metals and oxides},
author = {Not Available},
abstractNote = {This standard establishes safety criteria for safe storage of plutonium metals and plutonium oxides at DOE facilities; materials packaged to meet these criteria should not need subsequent repackaging to ensure safe storage for at least 50 years or until final disposition. The standard applied to Pu metals, selected alloys (eg., Ga and Al alloys), and stabilized oxides containing at least 50 wt % Pu; it does not apply to Pu-bearing liquids, process residues, waste, sealed weapon components, or material containing more than 3 wt % {sup 238}Pu. Requirements for a Pu storage facility and safeguards and security considerations are not stressed as they are addressed in detail by other DOE orders.},
doi = {10.2172/10196732},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Dec 01 00:00:00 EST 1994},
month = {Thu Dec 01 00:00:00 EST 1994}
}

Technical Report:

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  • This Standard provides criteria for packaging of plutonium metals and stabilized oxides for storage periods of at least 50 years. To meet the criteria, plutonium-bearing materials must be in stable forms and be packaged in containers designed to maintain their integrity both under normal storage conditions and during anticipated handling accidents.
  • Hydrogen getters were tested for use in storage of plutonium-bearing materials in accordance with DOE's Criteria for Interim Safe Storage of Plutonium Bearing Materials. The hydrogen getter HITOP was aged for 3 months at 70 C and tested under both recombination and hydrogenation conditions at 20 and 70 C; partially saturated and irradiated aged getter samples were also tested. The recombination reaction was found to be very fast and well above the required rate of 45 std. cc H2h. The gettering reaction, which is planned as the backup reaction in this deployment, is slower and may not meet the requirementsmore » alone. Pressure drop measurements and {sup 1}H NMR analyses support these conclusions. Although the experimental conditions do not exactly replicate the deployment conditions, the results of our conservative experiments are clear: the aged getter shows sufficient reactivity to maintain hydrogen concentrations below the flammability limit, between the minimum and maximum deployment temperatures, for three months. The flammability risk is further reduced by the removal of oxygen through the recombination reaction. Neither radiation exposure nor thermal aging sufficiently degrades the getter to be a concern. Future testing to evaluate performance for longer aging periods is in progress.« less
  • A technical review of the DOE criteria for storage of plutonium metals and oxides determined the maximum pressure that could be obtained from 50-year storage of 5.0-kg of PuO{sub 2} powder under the assumed worst-case conditions derived from the DOE standard [1,2]. Those conditions included a final temperature of 400 F and the reaction to yield H{sub 2} gas in accordance with the equation PuO{sub 2}(c) + x H{sub 2}O {r_arrow} PuO{sub 2+x}(c) + x H{sub 2}(g) where the x moles of sorbed water represents 0.5 wt.% of the PuO{sub 2}. The worst-case conditions also included the generation of Hemore » gas from the 50-year {alpha}-decay of the plutonium, that was considered to be power grade plutonium with the maximum limit of 3% for the short-lived isotope, Pu-238. The free volume for containment of the gases generated in the primary containment vessel, assuming failure of its inner boundary container, was assumed to be 2.5-L value given in the original standard.« less
  • The end of the cold war has resulted in the shutdown of nuclear weapons production and the start of dismantlement of significant numbers of nuclear weapons. This, in turn, is creating an inventory of plutonium requiring interim and long-term storage. A key question is, ``What is required for safe, multidecade, plutonium storage?`` The requirements for storage, in turn, define what is needed to stabilize the plutonium from its current condition into a form acceptable for interim and long-term storage. Storage requirements determine if research is required to (1) define required technical conditions for interim and long-term storage and (2) developmore » or improve current stabilization technologies. Storage requirements depend upon technical, policy, and economic factors. The technical issues are complicated by several factors. Plutonium in aerosol form is highly hazardous. Plutonium in water is hazardous. The plutonium inventory is in multiple chemical forms--some of which are chemically reactive. Also, some of the existing storage forms are clearly unsuitable for storage periods over a few years. Gas generation by plutonium compounds complicates storage: (1) all plutonium slowly decays creating gaseous helium and (2) the radiation from plutonium decay can initiate many chemical reactions-some of which generate significant quantities of gases. Gas generation can pressurize sealed storage packages. Last nuclear criticality must be avoided.« less
  • Considerable quantities of lithium-based materials are being generated as a result of the nuclear weapons disassembly process. The lithium from these materials, in the form of lithium hydride (LiH) and lithium deuteride (LiD), is enriched in the lithium-6 ({sup 6}Li) isotope and is considered to be an accountable nuclear material. These materials are neither radioactive nor fissile, but they are integral components of nuclear weapons. The LiD functions as a fuel for thermonuclear fusion and the LiH functions as a neutron moderator. Current plans are to store such materials in a suitable chemical form until they are needed for buildingmore » future weapons or for other undefined uses. Because no domestic capability exists for producing enriched {sup 6}Li and because {sup 6}Li is an integral component of nuclear weapons, it must be stored safely, securely, and in an environmentally compliant form.« less