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PROPERTIES AND BEHAVIOR OF 238PU RELEVANT TO DECONTAMINATION OF BUILDING 235-F

Description: This report was prepared to document the physical, chemical and radiological properties of plutonium oxide materials that were processed in the Plutonium Fuel Form Facility (PuFF) in building 235-F at the Savannah River Plant (now known as the Savannah River Site) in the late 1970s and early 1980s. An understanding of these properties is needed to support current project planning for the safe and effective decontamination and deactivation (D&D) of PuFF. The PuFF mission was production of heat sources to power Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) used in space craft. The specification for the PuO{sub 2} used to fabricate the heat sources required that the isotopic content of the plutonium be 83 {+-} 1% Pu-238 due to its high decay heat of 0.57 W/g. The high specific activity of Pu-238 (17.1 Ci/g) due to alpha decay makes this material very difficult to manage. The production process produced micron-sized particles which proved difficult to contain during operations, creating personnel contamination concerns and resulting in the expenditure of significant resources to decontaminate spaces after loss of material containment. This report examines high {sup 238}Pu-content material properties relevant to the D&D of PuFF. These relevant properties are those that contribute to the mobility of the material. Physical properties which produce or maintain small particle size work to increase particle mobility. Early workers with {sup 238}PuO{sub 2} felt that, unlike most small particles, Pu-238 oxide particles would not naturally agglomerate to form larger, less mobile particles. It was thought that the heat generated by the particles would prevent water molecules from binding to the particle surface. Particles covered with bound water tend to agglomerate more easily. However, it is now understood that the self-heating effect is not sufficient to prevent adsorption of water on particle surfaces and thus would not prevent agglomeration of particles. Operational ...
Date: November 24, 2009
Creator: Duncan, A. & Kane, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

SNAP 8 summary report

Description: The SNAP 8 Program was directed toward the development of lightweight nuclear reactors which would operate in space for greater than 10,000 hr at a power level of 600 kW(t). Toward this objective, two reactors were designed, built, and successfully operated. The experimental reactor (S8ER) was an engineering test of a prototype core, but did not have flight-developed hardware. The developmental reactor (S8DR) was a nuclear system test to verify the operability of the integrated flight configuration. The development, design characteristics, operating experience, experimental results, and supporting tests for the S8ER and S8DR are discussed. 20 references. (auth)
Date: September 24, 1973
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department