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Storing Waste in Ceramic

Description: Not all the nuclear waste destined for Yucca Mountain is in the form of spent fuel. Some of it will be radioactive waste generated from the production of nuclear weapons. This so-called defense waste exists mainly as corrosive liquids and sludge in underground tanks. An essential task of the U.S. high-level radioactive waste program is to process these defense wastes into a solid material--called a waste form. An ideal waste form would be extremely durable and unreactive with other repository materials. It would be simple to fabricate remotely so that it could be safely transported to a repository for permanent storage. What's more, the material should be able to tolerate exposure to intense radiation without degradation. And to minimize waste volume, the material must be able to contain high concentrations of radionuclides. The material most likely to be used for immobilization of radioactive waste is glass. Glasses are produced by rapid cooling of high-temperature liquids such that the liquid-like non-periodic structure is preserved at lower temperatures. This rapid cooling does not allow enough time for thermodynamically stable crystalline phases (mineral species) to form. In spite of their thermodynamic instability, glasses can persist for millions of years. An alternate to glass is a ceramic waste form--an assemblage of mineral-like crystalline solids that incorporate radionuclides into their structures. The crystalline phases are thermodynamically stable at the temperature of their synthesis; ceramics therefore tend to be more durable than glasses. Ceramic waste forms are fabricated at temperatures below their melting points and so avoid the danger of handling molten radioactive liquid--a danger that exists with incorporation of waste in glasses. The waste form provides a repository's first line of defense against release of radionuclides. It, along with the canister, is the barrier in the repository over which we have the most control. When ...
Date: July 20, 2004
Creator: Bourcier, W. L. & Sickafus, K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department


Description: The ore pitchblende was discovered in the 1750's near Joachimstal in what is now the Czech Republic. Used as a colorant in glazes, uranium was identified in 1789 as the active ingredient by chemist Martin Klaproth. In 1896, French physicist Henri Becquerel studied uranium minerals as part of his investigations into the phenomenon of fluorescence. He discovered a strange energy emanating from the material which he dubbed 'rayons uranique.' Unable to explain the origins of this energy, he set the problem aside. About two years later, a young Polish graduate student was looking for a project for her dissertation. Marie Sklodowska Curie, working with her husband Pierre, picked up on Becquerel's work and, in the course of seeking out more information on uranium, discovered two new elements (polonium and radium) which exhibited the same phenomenon, but were even more powerful. The Curies recognized the energy, which they now called 'radioactivity,' as something very new, requiring a new interpretation, new science. This discovery led to what some view as the 'golden age of nuclear science' (1895-1945) when countries throughout Europe devoted large resources to understand the properties and potential of this material. By World War II, the potential to harness this energy for a destructive device had been recognized and by 1939, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman showed that fission not only released a lot of energy but that it also released additional neutrons which could cause fission in other uranium nuclei leading to a self-sustaining chain reaction and an enormous release of energy. This suggestion was soon confirmed experimentally by other scientists and the race to develop an atomic bomb was on. The rest of the development history which lead to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 is well chronicled. After World War II, development of more powerful ...
Date: May 5, 2010
Creator: Marra, J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department


Description: Because of its unique properties as a lightweight metal with high tensile strength, beryllium is widely used in applications including cell phones, golf clubs, aerospace, and nuclear weapons. Beryllium is also encountered in industries such as aluminium manufacturing, and in environmental remediation projects. Workplace exposure to beryllium particulates is a growing concern, as exposure to minute quantities of anthropogenic forms of beryllium may lead to sensitization and to chronic beryllium disease, which can be fatal and for which no cure is currently known. Furthermore, there is no known exposure-response relationship with which to establish a 'safe' maximum level of beryllium exposure. As a result, the current trend is toward ever lower occupational exposure limits, which in turn make exposure assessment, both in terms of sampling and analysis, more challenging. The problems are exacerbated by difficulties in sample preparation for refractory forms of beryllium, such as beryllium oxide, and by indications that some beryllium forms may be more toxic than others. This chapter provides an overview of sources and uses of beryllium, health risks, and occupational exposure limits. It also provides a general overview of sampling, analysis, and data evaluation issues that will be explored in greater depth in the remaining chapters. The goal of this book is to provide a comprehensive resource to aid personnel in a wide variety of disciplines in selecting sampling and analysis methods that will facilitate informed decision-making in workplace and environmental settings.
Date: April 1, 2009
Creator: Brisson, M
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department


Description: The Hanford Site began as part of the United States Manhattan Project to research, test and build atomic weapons during World War II. The original 670-square mile Hanford Site, then known as the Hanford Engineer Works, was the last of three top-secret sites constructed in order to produce enriched uranium and plutonium for the world's first nuclear weapons. B Reactor, located about 45 miles northwest of Richland, Washington, is the world's first full-scale nuclear reactor. Not only was B Reactor a first-of-a-kind engineering structure, it was built and fully functional in just 11 months. Eventually, the shoreline of the Columbia River in southeastern Washington State held nine nuclear reactors at the height of Hanford's nuclear defense production during the Cold War era. The B Reactor was shut down in 1968. During the 1980's, the U.S. Department of Energy began removing B Reactor's support facilities. The reactor building, the river pumphouse and the reactor stack are the only facilities that remain. Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Richland Operations Office offers escorted public access to B Reactor along a designated tour route. The National Park Service (NPS) is studying preservation and interpretation options for sites associated with the Manhattan Project. A draft is expected in summer 2009. A final report will recommend whether the B Reactor, along with other Manhattan Project facilities, should be preserved, and if so, what roles the DOE, the NPS and community partners will play in preservation and public education. In August 2008, the DOE announced plans to open B Reactor for additional public tours. Potential hazards still exist within the building. However, the approved tour route is safe for visitors and workers. DOE may open additional areas once it can assure public safety by mitigating hazards.
Date: April 28, 2009
Creator: MS, GERBER
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Quantitative Assessment of Robot-generated Maps

Description: Mobile robotic mapping is now considered to be a sufficiently mature field with demonstrated successes in various domains. While much progress has been made in the development of computationally efficient and consistent mapping schemes, it is still murky, at best, on how these maps can be evaluated. We are motivated by the absence of an accepted standard for quantitatively measuring the performance of robotic mapping systems against user-defined requirements. It is our belief that the development of standardized methods for quantitatively evaluating existing robotic technologies will improve the utility of mobile robots in already established application areas, such as vacuum cleaning, robot surveillance, and bomb disposal. This approach will also enable the proliferation and acceptance of such technologies in emerging markets. This chapter summarizes our preliminary efforts by bringing together the research community towards addressing this important problem which has ramifications not only from researchers perspective but also from consumers, robot manufacturers, and developers viewpoints.
Date: January 1, 2009
Creator: Scrapper, Chris; Madhavan, Raj & Lakaemper, Rolf
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Peaceful uses of nuclear energy

Description: It is now a quarter of a century since nuclear energy was introduced to the public. Its introduction was made in the most dramatic, but unfortunately in the most destructive way - through the use of a nuclear weapon. Since that introduction enormous strides have been made in developing the peaceful applications of this great and versatile force. Because these strides have always been overshadowed by the focusing of public attention on the military side of the atom, the public has never fully understood or appreciated the gains and status of the peaceful atom. This booklet is an attempt to correct, in some measure, this imbalance in public information and attitude. It is a compilation of remarks, and excerpts of remarks, that I have made in recent years in an effort to bring to the public the story of the remarkable benefits the peaceful atom has to offer man. This is a story that grows with the development and progress of the peaceful atom. It must be told so that we can learn to use the power of nuclear energy wisely and through this use help to build a world in which the military applications of the atom will never again be a threat to mankind.
Date: January 1, 1970
Creator: Seaborg, Glenn T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department