Detection of Tritium in Storage Vaults Containing RH TRU Waste at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory

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Waste drums containing remote-handled (RH) transuranic (TRU) waste from the Argonne National Laboratory-East (ANL-E) are stored in sealed, underground vaults at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex (RWMC) at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). The waste consists of laboratory debris from the destructive examination of fuel elements irradiated mostly in the Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR-II). In 2004, air samples were obtained from some of these vaults and analyzed for radioactivity. Some of the samples show that the vaults contained several DAC's (derived air concentrations) of tritium, which are considered as non-negligible by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. ... continued below

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Kuan, Pui February 1, 2005.

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Waste drums containing remote-handled (RH) transuranic (TRU) waste from the Argonne National Laboratory-East (ANL-E) are stored in sealed, underground vaults at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex (RWMC) at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). The waste consists of laboratory debris from the destructive examination of fuel elements irradiated mostly in the Experimental Breeder Reactor II (EBR-II). In 2004, air samples were obtained from some of these vaults and analyzed for radioactivity. Some of the samples show that the vaults contained several DAC's (derived air concentrations) of tritium, which are considered as non-negligible by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. Based on Acceptable Knowledge (AK) records of the waste stored in the vaults, ORIGEN2 calculations were performed to estimate the isotopic contents in the waste drums stored in the vaults. The calculations are based on the irradiation of fuel elements that produced the waste. The absolute amounts of isotopic contents in the waste drums are normalized to Cs-137 contents derived from measured surface dose rates, mostly from the Cs-137 radiation, as documented in AK records. The amounts of tritium thus calculated (assuming no loss from those produced during fission except for decay) are compared to the measured values in the air samples from the vaults. The ratio of measured tritium in the form of tritiated water vapor to un-reduced tritium from fission is found to be from below detection levels to approximately 0.2%, but mostly in the range around 1 10-4 to 1 10-3. It appears that even the debris from cutting and grinding the fuel elements contained substantial amounts of tritium, which were subsequently released from the fuel particles during years of storage in the vaults.

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  • Waste Management Symposium 05,Arizona,04/27/2005,03/03/2005

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  • Report No.: ICP/CON-04-00692
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-99ID-13727
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 911039
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc887016

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  • February 1, 2005

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 7, 2016, 7:36 p.m.

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Kuan, Pui. Detection of Tritium in Storage Vaults Containing RH TRU Waste at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, article, February 1, 2005; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc887016/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.