skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Am-241 Nuclear Safety and Environmental Interactions

Abstract

NASA’s supply of radioisotopes for Radioisotope Heat Units (RHU) and Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) power sources is facing a crisis due to shortages of Pu-238 for future missions. Am-241 is a possible replacement for Pu-238 since its stockpile from the nuclear weapons program has remained relatively intact. The purpose of this project was to assess the safety of Am-241 and the risks associated with it as compared with PU-238. The project has resulted in a journal article, F. De-La-Torre-Aguilar, N. White, M. Prelas, R. V. Tompson, and S. K. Loyalka "Space nuclear power system accidents: Doses from Pu-238 and Am- 241 inhalation," Progress in Nuclear Energy vol.100C (2017), pp.171-182, which showed that the radiation dosage resulting from Am-241 inhalation are about 1/2.5 of the dosage resulting from Pu-238 inhalation per KW of Pu-238 power. Considerable progress was also made on the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo Method (DSMC) for simulation of aerosol evolution during accidents resulting in three publications: 1.I. Saldivar, F. De-La-Torre-Aguilar, M. Boraas, and S. K. Loyalka “Benchmark problems in aerosol evolution: Comparison of some exact and DSMC results” in Annals of Nuclear Energy vol.117 (2018), pp.213-222. 2. I. Saldivar and S. K. Loyalka, “Evolution of Aerosols Coupled tomore » Environments: Verification of Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC)”, Nuclear Technology 204 (2018), pp.172-183. 3. M. Boraas and S. K. Loyalka, “Mesh Free Simulation of Spatially Inhomogeneous aerosols in Arbitrary Geometries” Nuclear Science and Engineering (2018). Further, we have computations on Am-241/Pu-238 vapor and aerosol interactions, and found that the vapor condensation rate is relatively insensitive to the mass effects, confirming some previous results. We have also completed computations of charge effects on evolution of different species aerosols and a manuscript is in preparation. Additionally, we have compared atmospheric dispersion and deposition of Pu-238 and Am-241 using the HYSPLIT code. We have also used a real lung model and the CFD program FLUENT to compute PuO2 and AmO2 deposition to explore improvements upon the ICPR-66 model. We have found that the deposition efficiencies of PuO2 and AmO2 are similar. These results (four manuscripts) will be submitted for publication in the post project period. We have made progress using framework of Mars 2020 mission nuclear risk assessment model to integrate all results, but our progress has been limited as the improved consequence modeling itself has been quite involved and challenging. We will integrate and complete the more extensive risk modeling computations and publish the results in the post-project period. In addition to the above, the project has resulted in research training of four PhD students« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Missouri, Columbia, MO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1492002
Report Number(s):
15-8599
15-8599
DOE Contract Number:  
NE0008448
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Loyalka, Subarshan. Am-241 Nuclear Safety and Environmental Interactions. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.2172/1492002.
Loyalka, Subarshan. Am-241 Nuclear Safety and Environmental Interactions. United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1492002
Loyalka, Subarshan. Mon . "Am-241 Nuclear Safety and Environmental Interactions". United States. https://doi.org/10.2172/1492002. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1492002.
@article{osti_1492002,
title = {Am-241 Nuclear Safety and Environmental Interactions},
author = {Loyalka, Subarshan},
abstractNote = {NASA’s supply of radioisotopes for Radioisotope Heat Units (RHU) and Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) power sources is facing a crisis due to shortages of Pu-238 for future missions. Am-241 is a possible replacement for Pu-238 since its stockpile from the nuclear weapons program has remained relatively intact. The purpose of this project was to assess the safety of Am-241 and the risks associated with it as compared with PU-238. The project has resulted in a journal article, F. De-La-Torre-Aguilar, N. White, M. Prelas, R. V. Tompson, and S. K. Loyalka "Space nuclear power system accidents: Doses from Pu-238 and Am- 241 inhalation," Progress in Nuclear Energy vol.100C (2017), pp.171-182, which showed that the radiation dosage resulting from Am-241 inhalation are about 1/2.5 of the dosage resulting from Pu-238 inhalation per KW of Pu-238 power. Considerable progress was also made on the Direct Simulation Monte Carlo Method (DSMC) for simulation of aerosol evolution during accidents resulting in three publications: 1.I. Saldivar, F. De-La-Torre-Aguilar, M. Boraas, and S. K. Loyalka “Benchmark problems in aerosol evolution: Comparison of some exact and DSMC results” in Annals of Nuclear Energy vol.117 (2018), pp.213-222. 2. I. Saldivar and S. K. Loyalka, “Evolution of Aerosols Coupled to Environments: Verification of Direct Simulation Monte Carlo (DSMC)”, Nuclear Technology 204 (2018), pp.172-183. 3. M. Boraas and S. K. Loyalka, “Mesh Free Simulation of Spatially Inhomogeneous aerosols in Arbitrary Geometries” Nuclear Science and Engineering (2018). Further, we have computations on Am-241/Pu-238 vapor and aerosol interactions, and found that the vapor condensation rate is relatively insensitive to the mass effects, confirming some previous results. We have also completed computations of charge effects on evolution of different species aerosols and a manuscript is in preparation. Additionally, we have compared atmospheric dispersion and deposition of Pu-238 and Am-241 using the HYSPLIT code. We have also used a real lung model and the CFD program FLUENT to compute PuO2 and AmO2 deposition to explore improvements upon the ICPR-66 model. We have found that the deposition efficiencies of PuO2 and AmO2 are similar. These results (four manuscripts) will be submitted for publication in the post project period. We have made progress using framework of Mars 2020 mission nuclear risk assessment model to integrate all results, but our progress has been limited as the improved consequence modeling itself has been quite involved and challenging. We will integrate and complete the more extensive risk modeling computations and publish the results in the post-project period. In addition to the above, the project has resulted in research training of four PhD students},
doi = {10.2172/1492002},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1492002}, journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {12}
}