Massive subcritical compact arrays of plutonium metal

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Two experimental critical-approach programs are reported. Both were performed at the Rocky Flats Plant near Denver, Colorado; and both date back to the late 1960s. Both involve very large arrays of massive plutonium ingots. These ingots had been cast in the foundry at the Rocky Flats Plant as part of their routine production operations; they were not specially prepared for either study. Consequently, considerable variation in ingot mass is encountered. This mass varied between approximately 7 kg and a little more than 10 kg. One program, performed in the spring of 1969, involved stacked arrays of ingots contained within cylindrical, ... continued below

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65 p.

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Rothe, R. E. April 1998.

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Description

Two experimental critical-approach programs are reported. Both were performed at the Rocky Flats Plant near Denver, Colorado; and both date back to the late 1960s. Both involve very large arrays of massive plutonium ingots. These ingots had been cast in the foundry at the Rocky Flats Plant as part of their routine production operations; they were not specially prepared for either study. Consequently, considerable variation in ingot mass is encountered. This mass varied between approximately 7 kg and a little more than 10 kg. One program, performed in the spring of 1969, involved stacked arrays of ingots contained within cylindrical, disk-shaped, thin, steel cans. This program studied four arrays defined by the pattern of steel cans in a single layer. The four were: 1 x N, 3 x N, 2 x 2 x N, and 3 x 3 x N. The second was a tightly-packed, triangular-pitched patterns; the last two were square-pitched patterns. The other program, performed about a year earlier, involved similar ingots also contained in similar steel cans, but these canned plutonium ingots were placed in commercial steel drums. This study pertained to one-, two-, and three-layered horizontal arrays of drums. All cases proved to be well subcritical. Most would have remained subcritical had the parameters of the array under study been continued infinitely beyond the reciprocal multiplication safety limit. In one case for the drum arrays, an uncertain extrapolation of the data of the earlier program suggests that criticality might have eventually been attained had several thousand additional kilograms of plutonium been available for use.

Physical Description

65 p.

Notes

INIS; OSTI as DE98058458

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  • Other Information: PBD: 1 Apr 1998

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  • Other: DE98058458
  • Report No.: INEEL/EXT--98-00293
  • Grant Number: AC07-94ID13223
  • DOI: 10.2172/677063 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 677063
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc702337

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • April 1998

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  • Sept. 12, 2015, 6:31 a.m.

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  • April 25, 2016, 5:46 p.m.

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Rothe, R. E. Massive subcritical compact arrays of plutonium metal, report, April 1998; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc702337/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.