CRITICALITY CONTROL DURING THE DISMANTLING OF A URANIUM CONVERSION PLANT

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Within the Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique, in the Cadarache Research Center in southern France, the production at the Enriched Uranium Treatment Workshops started in 1965 and ended in 1995. The dismantling is in progress and will last until 2006. The decommissioning is planned in 2007. Since the authorized enrichment in 235U was 10% in some parts of the plant, and unlimited in others, the equipment and procedures were designed for criticality control during the operating period. Despite the best previous removing of the uranium in the inner parts of the equipment, evaluation of the mass of remaining fissile material by ... continued below

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8 pages

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LADURELLE, Laurent & LISBONNE, Pierre February 27, 2003.

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Within the Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique, in the Cadarache Research Center in southern France, the production at the Enriched Uranium Treatment Workshops started in 1965 and ended in 1995. The dismantling is in progress and will last until 2006. The decommissioning is planned in 2007. Since the authorized enrichment in 235U was 10% in some parts of the plant, and unlimited in others, the equipment and procedures were designed for criticality control during the operating period. Despite the best previous removing of the uranium in the inner parts of the equipment, evaluation of the mass of remaining fissile material by in site gamma spectrometry measurement shows that the safety of the ''clean up'' operations requires specific criticality control procedures, this mass being higher than the safe mass. The chosen method is therefore based on the mapping of fissile material in the contaminated parts of the equipment and on the respect of particular rules set for meeting the criticality control standards through mass control. The process equipment is partitioned in separated campaign, and for each campaign the equipment dismantling is conducted with a precise traceability of the pieces, from the equipment to the drum of waste, and the best final evaluation of the mass of fissile material in the drum. The first results show that the mass of uranium found in the dismantled equipment is less than the previous evaluation, and they enable us to confirm that the criticality was safely controlled during the operations. The mass of fissile material remaining in the equipment can be then carefully calculated, when it is lower than the minimal critical mass, and on the basis of a safety analysis, we will be free of any constraints regarding criticality control, this allowing to make procedures easier, and to speed up the operations.

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8 pages

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  • Waste Management 2003 Symposium, Tucson, AZ (US), 02/23/2003--02/27/2003

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  • Report No.: NONE
  • Grant Number: NONE
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 825983
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc779204

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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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  • February 27, 2003

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • April 26, 2016, 6:16 p.m.

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LADURELLE, Laurent & LISBONNE, Pierre. CRITICALITY CONTROL DURING THE DISMANTLING OF A URANIUM CONVERSION PLANT, article, February 27, 2003; Tucson, Arizona. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc779204/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.