Apply a Conservative Approach when Packaging Glovebox TRU Waste

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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  CH2MHill Plateau Remediation Company (Richland, WA - Hanford Site), Richland, WA - Hanford Site (CHPRC)

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Nuclear/Nuclear Safety, Waste Management, Material Handling/Storage, Glovebox & Containment Systems

A Transuranic waste drum was packaged with a single package that counted to 175 grams criticality total fissile number as determined by portable assay equipment. However, after the drum was sealed, the final drum count, as measured using a Segmented Gamma Scan Assay System, was determined to have a criticality value of 213 grams, exceeding the 200 gram criticality limit for a standard 55-gallon drum. The drum was immediately isolated from other drums and waste packages. The recovery plan included splitting the contents and repackaging the waste container.

Lessons Learned: Ensure that technical experts are included in the preparation for these types of activities and establish a conservative approach as a built-in safety measure when cleaning out Transuranic waste from gloveboxes with a history of plutonium and americium processes. Floor sweepings that may contain higher amounts of those elements should be distributed throughout other glovebox trash and debris when packaged, or be separated into multiple packages and waste drums.

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