DOE`s Plutonium Disposition Infrastructure at

DOE’s Plutonium Disposition Infrastructure
with a Focus on the Savannah River Site
Tom Clements
Adviser to the South Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club
Columbia, South Carolina
Plutonium Disposition Alternatives Workshop
Washington, DC January 30-31, 2014
Key plutonium disposition facilities
Savannah River Site – Aiken, South Carolina
• K-Area Materials Storage facility (KAMS)
• K-Area Interim Surveillance facility (KIS)
• H-Canyon reprocessing plant
• HB-Line
• Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF)
• MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF)
• Waste Solidification Building (WSB)
New Mexico
• Advanced Recovery and Integrated Extraction System (ARIES) - Los
Alamos National Lab, New Mexico
• Pipe Overpack Containers (POCs) to Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
(WIPP) - Carlsbad, New Mexico
DOE complex
Savannah River Site
Aiken, South Carolina
SRS: 310-square miles/800-square km
10,000 employees; site manager always claims
“SRS is not a closure site”
C-Reactor – on path for in-situ
K-Area Materials Storage facility (KAMS)
designated as DOE’s storage facility for non-pit
plutonium, contains about 13 MT
Storage containers in KAMS
9975 shipping and storage
3013 can,
placed inside a 9975
K-Reactor becomes KAMS;
IAEA safeguards on about 2 MT – containers tagged
and under video observation
Pantex (Amarillo, Texas) – weapon assembly &
dismantlement site, pit storage (limit 20,000)
Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF)
600,000 square feet, 1500 employees
December 13, 2013
MFFF includes a PUREX line to purify plutonium
to MOX feedstock standards
Waste Solidification Building –
to process uranium and actinide waste from MFFF;
quietly put on 5-year “lay-up” by NNSA in December 2013
Alternative options for MOX plant?
 Fissile material storage;
 Pit dissambly;
 Install furnaces for plutonium oxide production;
 Install gloveboxes for WIPP option;
 Fabrication of plutonium pucks – ceramic or glass – for
disposal in HLW canisters;
 Fabrication of “off-spec” MOX pellets for disposal with
spent fuel;
 Packaging of other waste materials at SRS;
 Small modular reactor fuel fabrication;
 Mothball for possible future use;
 Waste Solidification Building for TRU or other waste
H-Canyon Reprocessing Facility
- designated to process several MT of non-pit plutonium-239 for MOX
feedstock – safety review delayed; first 40 kg plutonium now in solution in
process tank; not under IAEA safeguards; 50 years old; 800 employees
Los Alamos National Lab
TA-55 – location of plutonium facilities, including the
planned Chemistry and Metallurgy Research
Replacement facility (CMRR)
“Plutonium pits are transformed into plutonium oxide powder by roasting them in a
way similar to roasting green chili, shown here. (Photo: LANL) “ – “Meeting
Nonproliferation Agreements Requires Destroying Thousands of Surplus Plutonium
Pits,” National Security Science magazine, November 2012
Advanced Recovery and Integrated Extraction System (ARIES) - has produced
several hundred kgs of plutonium oxide to meet MOX feedstock
requirements, target in 2014 is 300 kg & 2 MT by 2018; produced in
Plutonium Facility-4 (PF-4) at LANL and shipped to SRS in 3013 cans
Processing of pits in ARIES; pit and nonpit plutonium in H-Canyon
 Pit processing needed in all cases.
 Continue to process all surplus plutonium to
oxide? To MOX feedstock standards or for waste
 Use both ARIES and aging H-Canyon, in part to
continue work for LANL and SRS?
 Use MOX plant for pit disassembly, conversion;
 Look again at dedicated pit disassembly facility?
 Store all plutonium until disposal decisions
made and facilities available, halt use of facilities
for oxide production? (H-Canyon may still
reprocess spent HEU-bearing fuels.)
Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) –
has filled 3,758 containers – about half of total
DWPF receives sludge from “tank farm” and cesium
stripped from salt waste; “waste incidental to reprocessing”
goes into vaults with grouted saltstone
Plutonium loading in DWPF canisters
SRS presentation of Sept. 9, 2008:
.087 kg Pu-239/m³ allowed, to dispose of 5 MT Pu a loading of
3.6 kg/m³ needed, but ~20 kg/m³ is “critically safe”
DWPF and plutonium immobilization
 Why was immobilization halted?
 How seriously has it been analyzed in the assessment?
 What is plutonium loading capacity of a canister?
 Basis for 897 gm limit now that Yucca Mountain halted?
 Savannah River National Lab: 18 kg/DWPF canister analysis?
 Where is criticality analysis of 20 kg/m³?
 At various loading amounts, how much plutonium can go into
remaining canisters?
 Immobilization of ceramic or glass pucks?
 Is a radiation barrier needed? What about the “spent fuel
 Given Yucca Mtn. situation, new opportunities for repository
WAC for DWPF canisters?
Problems with processing large amounts of plutonium through HCanyon and to DWPF system?
222 “pipe overpack containers” shipped from SRS to Waste
Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) - ~33 kg plutonium; perhaps 600
POCs packaged and ready to ship
HB-Line – furnace and glove box to process
material form H-Canyon in oxide – into
POCs to WIPP or 3013s for MOX feedstock
HB-Line glovebox – where plutonium mixed with
“stardust” for WIPP disposal
~$100,00/kg to package SRS plutonium
into POCS for WIPP
Defense Authorization Act of 2002 –
amended twice
(c) Contingent requirement for removal of plutonium and
materials from Savannah River Site
If the MOX production objective is not achieved as of
January 1, 2014, the Secretary shall, consistent with the
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 [42 U.S.C. 4321
et seq.] and other applicable laws, remove from the State of
South Carolina, for storage or disposal elsewhere(1) not later than January 1, 2016, not less than 1 metric ton
of defense plutonium or defense plutonium materials;
Packaging Plutonium at SRS for WIPP
 To meet Jan. 1, 2016 requirement to remove 1
MT from SC, WIPP is the only option;
 Install more gloveboxes and furnace in HB-Line;
 Install more gloveboxes and furnace in K-Area
Interim Surveillance facility (KIS);
 Install glovebox in H-Canyon “truck well;”
 Install gloveboxes and furnances in MOX plant;
 Cost for all steps of oxidation, packaging?;
 Gloveboxes at other facilities at SRS? L-Reactor,
 Packaging of “hybrid container” for WIPP?
 Plutonium disposition necessary;
 Secure storage of plutonium at SRS, Pantex;
 Pit disassembly needed;
 Convert plutonium to oxide;
 Ship POCs at SRS to WIPP;
 Install gloveboxes for packaging of initial 1 MT
for WIPP;
 Analyze “stardust;”
 R&D for rapid deployment of immobilization in
 Mothball MOX plant, explore alternate use;
 Stakeholder input into assessment, way forward.

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