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Title: Robotics Use in Source Recovery at the Savannah River Site

Abstract

The Department of Energy's Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken South Carolina has a state of the art Instrument Calibrations facility that supports calibration and repair of an inventory of approximately 8000 portable radiological monitoring instruments. The Instrument Calibrations facility began operations in 1996. The Low Scatter Irradiator (LSI) system is a key part of the facility. The LSI room is a shielded 40-foot by 40-foot by 40-foot room designed to minimize radiation scatter during calibrations and evaluations. Aluminum floor grating with one-inch spacing is part of the design to minimize scatter. A shielded source storage carousel is used to select calibration sources via a computer-controlled system. The carousel has eight source slots with seven sources used providing a selection of 60Cobalt, 137Cesium, and 252Californium sources of different intensities. One slot is used for a dummy source for system function testing. Sources are contained in an aluminum container known as the source rabbit. Air pressure is used to blow the selected source through a transfer tube to the top of the tube where it is held in place by a suction cup and a maintained air vacuum. During calibrations, instruments are placed on four LSI tracks that move instruments tomore » the proper distance from the source for the desired calibrated exposure rate. Sources are returned to the carousel using gravity with multiple interlocks and safeguards built into the system to ensure that the source has dropped before entry into the LSI after a source exposure. Two room radiation monitors provide a remote reading to the operator from the computer console as another indicator of the source status. Due to the design of the LSI, it was assumed that a source could not become lodged in the transfer tube. That proved to be a false assumption when in May 2000, a source did not return to its home position. At this time, the LSI was being tested due to some apparent difficulties in sources being held by the suction cup at the top of the transfer tube. Two LSI room radiation monitors located at different positions indicated radiation rates of around 7600 mR/hr and 1100 mR/hr respectively instead of the expected 0 mR/hr when a source has returned to its home position. This paper focuses on the recovery operations for the exposed source with a summary of each step.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Savannah River Site (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
US Department of Energy (US)
OSTI Identifier:
773195
Report Number(s):
ESH-HPT-2000-00150
TRN: US0100052
DOE Contract Number:
AC09-96SR18500
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Health Physics Society Midyear Topical, Anaheim, CA (US), 02/04/2001--02/07/2001; Other Information: PBD: 10 Jan 2001
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
46 INSTRUMENTATION RELATED TO NUCLEAR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY; RADIATION MONITORS; RADIATION PROTECTION; SAVANNAH RIVER; SOUTH CAROLINA; ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE; ROBOTS

Citation Formats

Lewis, C.W. Robotics Use in Source Recovery at the Savannah River Site. United States: N. p., 2001. Web.
Lewis, C.W. Robotics Use in Source Recovery at the Savannah River Site. United States.
Lewis, C.W. Wed . "Robotics Use in Source Recovery at the Savannah River Site". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/773195.
@article{osti_773195,
title = {Robotics Use in Source Recovery at the Savannah River Site},
author = {Lewis, C.W.},
abstractNote = {The Department of Energy's Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken South Carolina has a state of the art Instrument Calibrations facility that supports calibration and repair of an inventory of approximately 8000 portable radiological monitoring instruments. The Instrument Calibrations facility began operations in 1996. The Low Scatter Irradiator (LSI) system is a key part of the facility. The LSI room is a shielded 40-foot by 40-foot by 40-foot room designed to minimize radiation scatter during calibrations and evaluations. Aluminum floor grating with one-inch spacing is part of the design to minimize scatter. A shielded source storage carousel is used to select calibration sources via a computer-controlled system. The carousel has eight source slots with seven sources used providing a selection of 60Cobalt, 137Cesium, and 252Californium sources of different intensities. One slot is used for a dummy source for system function testing. Sources are contained in an aluminum container known as the source rabbit. Air pressure is used to blow the selected source through a transfer tube to the top of the tube where it is held in place by a suction cup and a maintained air vacuum. During calibrations, instruments are placed on four LSI tracks that move instruments to the proper distance from the source for the desired calibrated exposure rate. Sources are returned to the carousel using gravity with multiple interlocks and safeguards built into the system to ensure that the source has dropped before entry into the LSI after a source exposure. Two room radiation monitors provide a remote reading to the operator from the computer console as another indicator of the source status. Due to the design of the LSI, it was assumed that a source could not become lodged in the transfer tube. That proved to be a false assumption when in May 2000, a source did not return to its home position. At this time, the LSI was being tested due to some apparent difficulties in sources being held by the suction cup at the top of the transfer tube. Two LSI room radiation monitors located at different positions indicated radiation rates of around 7600 mR/hr and 1100 mR/hr respectively instead of the expected 0 mR/hr when a source has returned to its home position. This paper focuses on the recovery operations for the exposed source with a summary of each step.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Jan 10 00:00:00 EST 2001},
month = {Wed Jan 10 00:00:00 EST 2001}
}

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  • For over fifty years, the H Canyon facility at the Savannah River Site (SRS) has performed remotely operated radiochemical separations of irradiated targets to produce materials for national defense. Although the materials production mission has ended, the facility continues to play an important role in the stabilization and safe disposition of proliferable nuclear materials. As part of the US HEU Disposition Program, SRS has been down blending off-specification (off-spec) HEU to produce LEU since 2003. Off-spec HEU contains fission products not amenable to meeting the American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM) commercial fuel standards prior to purification. This downmore » blended HEU material produced 301 MT of ~5% enriched LEU which has been fabricated into light water reactor fuel being utilized in Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reactors in Tennessee and Alabama producing economic power. There is still in excess of ~10 MT of off-spec HEU throughout the DOE complex or future foreign and domestic research reactor returns that could be recovered and down blended for beneficial use as either ~5% enriched LEU, or for use in subsequent LEU reactors requiring ~19.75% enriched LEU fuel.« less
  • Utilizing funding provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Liquid Waste Program at Savannah River site successfully executed forty-one design, procurement, construction, and operating activities in the period from September 2009 through December 2011. Project Management of the program included noteworthy practices involving safety, integrated project teams, communication, and cost, schedule and risk management. Significant upgrades to plant capacity, progress toward waste tank closure and procurement of needed infrastructure were accomplished. Over 1.5 million hours were worked without a single lost work day case. Lessons Learned were continually identified and applied to enhance the program. Investment ofmore » Recovery Act monies into the Liquid Waste Program has ensured continued success in the disposition of radioactive wastes and the closure of high level waste tanks at SRS. The funding of a portion of the Liquid Waste Program at SRS by ARRA was a major success. Significant upgrades to plant capacity, progress toward waste tank closure and procurement of needed infrastructure was accomplished. Integrated Project Teams ensured quality products and services were provided to the Operations customers. Over 1.5 million hours were worked without a single lost work day case. Lessons Learned were continually reviewed and reapplied to enhance the program. Investment of Recovery Act monies into the Liquid Waste Program has ensured continued success in the disposition of radioactive wastes and the closure of high level waste tanks at SRS. (authors)« less
  • The Savannah River Site (SRS) is an 802 square-kilometer United States Department of Energy (US DOE) nuclear facility located along the Savannah River near Aiken, South Carolina, managed and operated by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions. Construction of SRS began in the early 1950's to enhance the nation's nuclear weapons capability. Nuclear weapons material production began in the early 1950's, eventually utilizing five production reactors constructed to support the national defense mission. Past operations have resulted in releases of hazardous constituents and substances to soil and groundwater, resulting in 515 waste sites with contamination exceeding regulatory thresholds. More than 1,000 facilitiesmore » were constructed onsite with approximately 300 of them considered radiological, nuclear or industrial in nature. In 2003, SRS entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with its regulators to accelerate the cleanup using an Area Completion strategy. The strategy was designed to focus cleanup efforts on the 14 large industrial areas of the site to realize efficiencies of scale in the characterization, assessment, and remediation activities. This strategy focuses on addressing the contaminated surface units and the vadose zone and addressing groundwater plumes subsequently. This approach streamlines characterization and remediation efforts as well as the required regulatory documentation, while enhancing the ability to make large-scale cleanup decisions. In February 2009, Congress approved the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) to create jobs and promote economic recovery. At SRS, ARRA funding was established in part to accelerate the completion of environmental remediation and facility deactivation and decommissioning (D and D). By late 2012, SRS achieved 85 percent footprint reduction utilizing ARRA funding by accelerating and coupling waste unit remediation with D and D of remnant facilities. Facility D and D activities were sequenced and permitted with waste unit remediation activities to streamline regulatory approval and execution. Achieving footprint reduction fulfills the Government's responsibility to address legacy contamination; allows earlier completion of legally enforceable compliance agreement milestones; and enables future potential reuse of DOE resources, including land and infrastructure for other missions. Over the last 3.5 years significant achievements were met that contributed to footprint reduction, including the closure of 41 waste units (including 20 miles of radiologically contaminated stream) and decommissioning of 30 facilities (including the precedent setting in situ closure of two former production reactors, the first in the DOE Complex). Other notable achievements included the removal of over 39,750 cubic meters of debris and 68,810 cubic meters of contaminated soils, including 9175 cubic meters of lead-contaminated soil from a former site small arms testing range and treatment of 1,262 cubic meters of tritium-laden soils and concrete using a thermal treatment system. (authors)« less
  • The purpose of this work was to verify the Source Term Setup Module of the Reactor Accident Program (RAP) which is used to perform environmental consequence assessments during emergency response situations at the Savannah River Site (SRS). The Source Term Setup Module is that portion of the program that estimates the source term based on either an input number of melted assemblies or a derived number of melted assemblies based on the Total Stack Activity Monitor (TSAM) response. In order to verify the code, the following items were completed: a review of isotope and fuel specific data by examining themore » original literature, a complete derivation of all equations employed in the module, and a comparison study of hand calculations with computer results.« less