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Title: ACCELERATING HANFORD TRANSURANC (TRU) WASTE CERTIFICATION & SHIPMENT FROM 2 PER YEAR TO 12 PER MONTH

The Department of Energy's site at Hanford has significantly accelerated the characterization of transuranic (TRU) waste and its subsequent shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)--from a total of two shipments in fiscal year 2002 to twelve shipments per month. The challenges encountered and experience gained in achieving this acceleration provide valuable lessons that can be used by others in the waste industry. Lessons learned as well as estimates of cost savings and schedule benefits are described. At the start of the acceleration effort, three separate facilities managed by multiple organizations characterized and handled the drums. To consolidate the majority of these activities under one organization and in one facility required RCRA permit and safety basis modifications. and a myriad of construction activities--but all with very visible benefit. Transferring drums between the separate facilities involved multiple organizations, and required meeting a complex set of transportation and safety basis requirements. Consolidating characterization activities into a single facility greatly simplified this process, realizing very significant operational efficiencies. Drums stockpiled in buildings for future processing previously were stored with recognition of physical, chemical, and radiological hazards, but without consideration for future processing. Drums are now stored using a modular approach so thatmore » feed for characterization processing takes drums from the accessible module face rather than randomly throughout the storage building. This approach makes drum handling more efficient, minimizes the potential for worker injuries, and supports the principles of ''as low as reasonably achievable'' (ALARA) exposure from the waste. Sampling the headspace gas of the TRU waste packages was a major bottleneck in the characterization process, and hence an obstacle to acceleration. Sampling rates were improved by a combination of insulating and heating a waste storage building to provide sufficient space for the required temperature residence time; installing filter and sample ports in the drums using a pneumatic dart method; improving gas analysis time using cryofocusing technology and using both onsite and offsite labs for redundancy of analysis capability. The need for real-time radiography was reduced by implementing avisual examination technique as the waste was being packaged. Key to implementing the visual examination technique was the use of a ''portable procedure'' that can be used anywhere on the Hanford Site. This approach has been used successfully for packaging newly generated waste from various decontamination and decommissioning projects. Using a glovebox for repackaging drums has also been a rate-limiting step in accelerating the characterization of TRU waste at Hanford. The impacts of this requirement, however, have been minimized in two ways: first, by venting certain heat-sealed bags, and second, by implementing hydrogen and methane testing of headspace gas for high gram drums with multiple layers of confinement. The details of these specific efforts are included in a separate paper. Payload assembly and loading efficiencies of the TRUPACT-II, and certification and shipment efficiencies were instrumental to Hanford's successfully accelerating shipments. Loading time of TRUPACT II's for a shipment (three TRUPACTS per shipment) went from four days to two days. Future acceleration plans include certification of a box radioassay unit to assay TRU standard waste boxes (SWB) for shipment to WIPP and adding additional payload building/loadout stations to increase the shipping capabilities.« less
Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
836356
Report Number(s):
HNF-23785-FP, Rev.0
TRN: US0500585
DOE Contract Number:
AC06-96RL13200
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Conference title not supplied, Conference location not supplied, Conference dates not supplied; Other Information: PBD: 20 Jan 2005
Research Org:
FH (US)
Sponsoring Org:
ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (US)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 03 NATURAL GAS; 08 HYDROGEN; ALPHA-BEARING WASTES; DECOMMISSIONING; DECONTAMINATION; GAS ANALYSIS; HYDROGEN; INJURIES; METHANE; PNEUMATICS; RADIOASSAY; SAFETY; STORAGE; WASTE STORAGE; WASTES; WIPP