A process for treating uranium chips and turnings

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Depleted uranium (DU) chips and turnings are generated during machining of uranium metal. Because high surface area uranium is pyrophoric, the turnings are subject to spontaneous ignition in air. The oxidation of uranium to U0{sub 2} and U{sub 3}0{sub 8} is highly exothermic and therefore the reaction may be self-sustaining. A uranium fire or even rapid oxidation and thermal convection currents will cause emission of radioactive uranium oxides. In the presence of water as liquid or vapor, uranium may also oxidize into U0{sub 2} and U{sub 3}0{sub 8}-with generation of hydrogen, a flammable and explosive gas. The heat generated the ... continued below

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10 p.

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Dziewinska, K.; Lussiez, G. & Munger, D. February 1, 1995.

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Description

Depleted uranium (DU) chips and turnings are generated during machining of uranium metal. Because high surface area uranium is pyrophoric, the turnings are subject to spontaneous ignition in air. The oxidation of uranium to U0{sub 2} and U{sub 3}0{sub 8} is highly exothermic and therefore the reaction may be self-sustaining. A uranium fire or even rapid oxidation and thermal convection currents will cause emission of radioactive uranium oxides. In the presence of water as liquid or vapor, uranium may also oxidize into U0{sub 2} and U{sub 3}0{sub 8}-with generation of hydrogen, a flammable and explosive gas. The heat generated the water reaction may ignite the uranium or hydrogen producing a fire, explosion, or convection current resulting in some uranium oxide becoming airborne. Because the high surface area uranium has the hazardous characteristic of reactivity, it is stored immersed in diesel oil preventing contact with water or air. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has developed and constructed a process to remove the reactivity characteristic by oxidizing uranium metal to an inert product. This inert form can then be landfilled as a low-level waste. The treatment process consists of draining the packing oils, treating with sodium hypochlorite to wet-oxidize the DU to uranyl hydroxide (UO{sub 2}(OH){sub 2}), using sodium thiosulfate to reduce the (UO{sub 2}(OH)2) to U0{sub 2}, neutralizing with sodium hydroxide, and stabilizing the settled slurry in a cement matrix. The neutralized waste water is consumed at a radioactive waste water treatment facility. Studies done at LANL describe a manageable oxidation rate well within safe bounds.

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10 p.

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INIS; OSTI as DE95006270

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  • 5. international conference on radioactive waste management and environmental remediation, Berlin (Germany), 3-9 Sep 1995

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  • Other: DE95006270
  • Report No.: LA-UR--95-252
  • Report No.: CONF-950917--5
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-36
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 78567
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc723862

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  • February 1, 1995

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  • Sept. 29, 2015, 5:31 a.m.

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  • Feb. 29, 2016, 7:07 p.m.

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Dziewinska, K.; Lussiez, G. & Munger, D. A process for treating uranium chips and turnings, article, February 1, 1995; New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc723862/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.