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Title: Consideration of nuclear criticality when disposing of transuranic waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

Abstract

Based on general arguments presented in this report, nuclear criticality was eliminated from performance assessment calculations for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), a repository for waste contaminated with transuranic (TRU) radioisotopes, located in southeastern New Mexico. At the WIPP, the probability of criticality within the repository is low because mechanisms to concentrate the fissile radioisotopes dispersed throughout the waste are absent. In addition, following an inadvertent human intrusion into the repository (an event that must be considered because of safety regulations), the probability of nuclear criticality away from the repository is low because (1) the amount of fissile mass transported over 10,000 yr is predicted to be small, (2) often there are insufficient spaces in the advective pore space (e.g., macroscopic fractures) to provide sufficient thickness for precipitation of fissile material, and (3) there is no credible mechanism to counteract the natural tendency of the material to disperse during transport and instead concentrate fissile material in a small enough volume for it to form a critical concentration. Furthermore, before a criticality would have the potential to affect human health after closure of the repository--assuming that a criticality could occur--it would have to either (1) degrade the ability of themore » disposal system to contain nuclear waste or (2) produce significantly more radioisotopes than originally present. Neither of these situations can occur at the WIPP; thus, the consequences of a criticality are also low.« less

Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Sandia National Labs., Albuquerque, NM (US); Sandia National Labs., Livermore, CA (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
US Department of Energy (US)
OSTI Identifier:
755094
Report Number(s):
SAND99-2898
TRN: US0003368
DOE Contract Number:  
AC04-94AL85000
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 1 Apr 2000
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
42 ENGINEERING; 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; WIPP; ALPHA-BEARING WASTES; RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL; CRITICALITY; RISK ASSESSMENT

Citation Formats

RECHARD,ROBERT P., SANCHEZ,LAWRENCE C., STOCKMAN,CHRISTINE T., and TRELLUE,HOLLY R. Consideration of nuclear criticality when disposing of transuranic waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. United States: N. p., 2000. Web. doi:10.2172/755094.
RECHARD,ROBERT P., SANCHEZ,LAWRENCE C., STOCKMAN,CHRISTINE T., & TRELLUE,HOLLY R. Consideration of nuclear criticality when disposing of transuranic waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. United States. doi:10.2172/755094.
RECHARD,ROBERT P., SANCHEZ,LAWRENCE C., STOCKMAN,CHRISTINE T., and TRELLUE,HOLLY R. Sat . "Consideration of nuclear criticality when disposing of transuranic waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant". United States. doi:10.2172/755094. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/755094.
@article{osti_755094,
title = {Consideration of nuclear criticality when disposing of transuranic waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant},
author = {RECHARD,ROBERT P. and SANCHEZ,LAWRENCE C. and STOCKMAN,CHRISTINE T. and TRELLUE,HOLLY R.},
abstractNote = {Based on general arguments presented in this report, nuclear criticality was eliminated from performance assessment calculations for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), a repository for waste contaminated with transuranic (TRU) radioisotopes, located in southeastern New Mexico. At the WIPP, the probability of criticality within the repository is low because mechanisms to concentrate the fissile radioisotopes dispersed throughout the waste are absent. In addition, following an inadvertent human intrusion into the repository (an event that must be considered because of safety regulations), the probability of nuclear criticality away from the repository is low because (1) the amount of fissile mass transported over 10,000 yr is predicted to be small, (2) often there are insufficient spaces in the advective pore space (e.g., macroscopic fractures) to provide sufficient thickness for precipitation of fissile material, and (3) there is no credible mechanism to counteract the natural tendency of the material to disperse during transport and instead concentrate fissile material in a small enough volume for it to form a critical concentration. Furthermore, before a criticality would have the potential to affect human health after closure of the repository--assuming that a criticality could occur--it would have to either (1) degrade the ability of the disposal system to contain nuclear waste or (2) produce significantly more radioisotopes than originally present. Neither of these situations can occur at the WIPP; thus, the consequences of a criticality are also low.},
doi = {10.2172/755094},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2000},
month = {4}
}