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Title: Simultaneous Thermal Analysis of WIPP and LANL Waste Drum Samples: A Preliminary Report

On Friday, February 14, 2014, an incident in P7R7 of the WIPP underground repository released radioactive material into the environment. The direct cause of the event was a breached transuranic (TRU) waste container, subsequently identified as Drum 68660. Photographic and other evidence indicates that the breach of 68660 was caused by an exothermic event. Subsequent investigations (Britt, 2015; Clark and Funk, 2015; Wilson et al., 2015; Clark, 2015) indicate that the combination of nitrate salts, pH neutralizing chemicals, and organic-based adsorbent represented a potentially energetic mixture. The materials inside the breached steel drum consisted of remediated, 30- to 40-year old, Pu processing wastes from LANL. The contents were processed and repackaged in 2014. Processing activities at LANL included: 1) neutralization of acidic liquid contents, 2) sorption of the neutralized liquid, and 3) mixing of acidic nitrate salts with an absorber to meet waste acceptance criteria. The contents of 68660 and its sibling, 68685, were derived from the same parent drum, S855793. Drum S855793 originally contained ten plastic bags of acidic nitrate salts, and four bags of mixed nitrate and oxalate salts generated in 1985 by Pu recovery operations. These salts were predominantly oxalic acid, hydrated nitrate salts of Mg, Ca,more » and Fe, anhydrous Na(NO3), and minor amounts of anhydrous and hydrous nitrate salts of Pb, Al, K, Cr, and Ni. Other major components include sorbed water, nitric acid, dissolved nitrates, an absorbent (Swheat Scoop┬«) and a neutralizer (KolorSafe┬«). The contents of 68660 are described in greater detail in Appendix E of Wilson et al. (2015)« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1223774
Report Number(s):
LA-UR--15-28116
TRN: US1500441
DOE Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; ALPHA-BEARING WASTES; NITRATES; LANL; WIPP; OXALIC ACID; NITRIC ACID; NITROGEN OXIDES; THERMAL ANALYSIS; MIXTURES; OXALATES; UNDERGROUND; ACCIDENTS; ADSORBENTS; CONTAINERS; LEAKS thermogravimetric analysis, TGA, differential scanning calorimetry, DSC, mass spectrometry, offgas, exothermic, combustion, nitrate salts