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Title: Reactions of plutonium and uranium with water: Kinetics and potential hazards

Abstract

The chemistry and kinetics of reactions between water and the metals and hydrides of plutonium and uranium are described in an effort to consolidate information for assessing potential hazards associated with handling and storage. New experimental results and data from literature sources are presented. Kinetic dependencies on pH, salt concentration, temperature and other parameters are reviewed. Corrosion reactions of the metals in near-neutral solutions produce a fine hydridic powder plus hydrogen. The corrosion rate for plutonium in sea water is a thousand-fold faster than for the metal in distilled water and more than a thousand-fold faster than for uranium in sea water. Reaction rates for immersed hydrides of plutonium and uranium are comparable and slower than the corrosion rates for the respective metals. However, uranium trihydride is reported to react violently if a quantity greater than twenty-five grams is rapidly immersed in water. The possibility of a similar autothermic reaction for large quantities of plutonium hydride cannot be excluded. In addition to producing hydrogen, corrosion reactions convert the massive metals into material forms that are readily suspended in water and that are aerosolizable and potentially pyrophoric when dry. Potential hazards associated with criticality, environmental dispersal, spontaneous ignition and explosive gasmore » mixtures are outlined.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab., NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
192553
Report Number(s):
LA-13069-MS
ON: DE96004203; TRN: 96:006155
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-36
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: Dec 1995
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
40 CHEMISTRY; PLUTONIUM; REACTION KINETICS; CORROSION; URANIUM; PLUTONIUM HYDRIDES; HAZARDOUS MATERIALS; URANIUM HYDRIDES; RADIOACTIVE WASTE STORAGE; WASTE TRANSPORTATION; MATERIALS HANDLING

Citation Formats

Haschke, J.M. Reactions of plutonium and uranium with water: Kinetics and potential hazards. United States: N. p., 1995. Web. doi:10.2172/192553.
Haschke, J.M. Reactions of plutonium and uranium with water: Kinetics and potential hazards. United States. doi:10.2172/192553.
Haschke, J.M. 1995. "Reactions of plutonium and uranium with water: Kinetics and potential hazards". United States. doi:10.2172/192553. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/192553.
@article{osti_192553,
title = {Reactions of plutonium and uranium with water: Kinetics and potential hazards},
author = {Haschke, J.M.},
abstractNote = {The chemistry and kinetics of reactions between water and the metals and hydrides of plutonium and uranium are described in an effort to consolidate information for assessing potential hazards associated with handling and storage. New experimental results and data from literature sources are presented. Kinetic dependencies on pH, salt concentration, temperature and other parameters are reviewed. Corrosion reactions of the metals in near-neutral solutions produce a fine hydridic powder plus hydrogen. The corrosion rate for plutonium in sea water is a thousand-fold faster than for the metal in distilled water and more than a thousand-fold faster than for uranium in sea water. Reaction rates for immersed hydrides of plutonium and uranium are comparable and slower than the corrosion rates for the respective metals. However, uranium trihydride is reported to react violently if a quantity greater than twenty-five grams is rapidly immersed in water. The possibility of a similar autothermic reaction for large quantities of plutonium hydride cannot be excluded. In addition to producing hydrogen, corrosion reactions convert the massive metals into material forms that are readily suspended in water and that are aerosolizable and potentially pyrophoric when dry. Potential hazards associated with criticality, environmental dispersal, spontaneous ignition and explosive gas mixtures are outlined.},
doi = {10.2172/192553},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 1995,
month =
}

Technical Report:

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