The potential for criticality following disposal of uranium at low-level waste facilities: Uranium blended with soil Page: 5 of 139
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether or not fissile uranium in low-level-waste (LLW) facilities can
be concentrated by hydrogeochemical processes to permit nuclear criticality. A team of experts in hydrology,
geology, geochemistry, soil chemistry, and criticality safety was formed to develop achievable scenarios for
hydrogeochemical increases in concentration of special nuclear material (SNM), and to use these scenarios to aid
in evaluating the potential for nuclear criticality. The team's approach was to perform simultaneous hydrogeo-
chemical and nuclear criticality studies to (1) identify some achievable scenarios for uranium migration and
concentration increase at LLW disposal facilities, (2) model groundwater transport and subsequent concentration
increase via sorption or precipitation of uranium, and (3) evaluate the potential for nuclear criticality resulting
from potential increases in uranium concentration over disposal limits. The analysis of SNM was restricted to
211U in the present scope of work. The outcome of the work indicates that criticality is possible given established
regulatory limits on SNM disposal. However, a review based on actual disposal records of an existing site
operation indicates that the potential for criticality is not a concern under current burial practices.
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Toran, L.E.; Hopper, C.M. & Naney, M.T. The potential for criticality following disposal of uranium at low-level waste facilities: Uranium blended with soil, report, June 1, 1997; United States. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc695408/m1/5/: accessed March 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.