Nevada Test Site Perspective on Characterization and Loading of Legacy Transuranic Drums Utilizing the Central Characterization Project Page: 4 of 11
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Originally, all TRU facilities were categorized as radiological facilities. Starting in 2003, all
TRU operations (including characterization and loading) within the RWMC were conducted
under a Area 5 Documented Safety Analysis (DSA) and the associated Technical Safety
Requirements (TSR) for TRU activities compliant with 10 Code of Federal Regulations 830
Subparts A and B (10CFR830). All TRU facilities are currently operated as HazCat 2 non-
reactor nuclear facilities, with the exception of the VERB. Due to the construction, age, and
history of the VERB, it was difficult and time/cost prohibitive to develop a determination that the
VERB had the requisite structural rigor as a HazCat 2 facility to mitigate the seismic risk in the
geographic area. Therefore, the VERB is operated as a Hazard Category 3, non-reactor nuclear
facility, with limited allowable radioactive inventory.
The CCP Non-Destructive Examination (NDE) unit and the Non-Destructive Assay (NDA) unit
are trailer-mounted mobile units operated as segments of the WEF, under the DSA, with specific
controls and individual radioactive inventory limits. The units were used to characterize
55-gallon drums. The NDE unit was used to visually represent the drum contents (by shape) to
provide data to assure conformation with the Waste Stream Profile and identify prohibited items
for removal in the glovebox. The NDA unit was used to develop a radioactive isotopic inventory
of the drum. The NDE and NDA units are also referred to respectively as the Real-Time
Radiography (RTR) and Segmented Gamma Scanner (SGS) units.
The CCP Headspace Gas Sampling (HSGS) unit was installed in the SIS and used to pull
headspace gas samples for volatile organic compounds (hydrogen and methane analysis) through
the drum lid. The drill assembly in an explosive-proof chamber of the unit was also used to
perforate unvented drum lids and install a filtered vent. Commonly, drums were vented, placed
back in storage to meet Drum Aging Criteria (DAC), and reprocessed in the unit to obtain a gas
sample. The remaining area in the SIS was used to store drums in a temperature controlled
environment for the requisite thermal conditioning prior to sampling.
In addition to the drill assembly in the HSGS unit, a pneumatic driver attached to the drum lid,
and activated by a corded pendant switch, was used to safely install a combination sample port
and filter vent. Use of this system was a time-saving practice when the HSGS was unavailable
or a headspace gas sample was not needed. While the optional remote control switch could not
be used due to competing radio frequencies from nearby U.S. Air Force activities, the corded
switch allowed the unit to be safely operated from a distance, to mitigate the effects to workers
from a potential deflagration or explosive event.
Within the VERB, BN operates a glovebox capable of handling input and output of 55 and 85 gal
drums. This glovebox has a split design allowing drum repackaging to occur on one side, while
segregated items are safely stored on the other side. It features 14 sets of glove ports, high-
efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration and negative pressure, a CO2 fire suppression system
to extinguish Class A fires, a drum lifting mechanism and port for introducing 55-gallon and
85-gallon drums to the glovebox, and a material exit port to a 55-gallon drum. A full audio and
video system was installed to record glovebox operations. The glovebox is contained within a
Secondary Containment Structure (SCS) room that provides additional and separate HEPA
filtration and negative pressure. The SCS is used as secondary containment for glovebox
operations and for TRU open container evolutions that do not require the glovebox.
Page 4 of 11
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Lahoud, R. G.; Norton, J. F.; Siddoway, I. L. & Griswold, L. W. Nevada Test Site Perspective on Characterization and Loading of Legacy Transuranic Drums Utilizing the Central Characterization Project, article, January 1, 2006; United States. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc894000/m1/4/: accessed April 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.