Analysis and Disposition of Nuclear Material Orphans in the Department of Energy Environmental Management Program


T. E. Kiess, J. O. Low, G. D. Roberson, D. Gupta, M. Arenaz, W. Chambers, J. Allender, D. L. Parks, W. L. Hurt, A. Bringhurst, E. M. Bums, G. F. Polansky


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has inventories of nuclear materials that are excess to national security needs and that are projected to come to the DOE Environmental Management (EM) program for storage, treatment, and dispositioning (i.e., reuse or disposal). These materials include isotopes of uranium and plutonium in various material forms (e.g., oxides and metals), thorium, and a variety of neutron, beta, and gamma sources. Current management of these materials involves storage and treatment steps and pursuit of beneficial reuses within DOE, other government agencies, or the private sector. For the ultimate disposition of these materials, once future uses are no longer a possibility, these materials would be declared waste and incorporated into radioactive waste streams (as either low-level, transuranic (TRU), or high-level waste) bound for disposal facilities. This talk describes analyses to date to identify orphan inventories with no current legal or demonstrated disposal pathway within DOE. These "disposal orphans" include lightly irradiated and unirradiated nuclear fuel, non-defense TRU, mixed high-level waste, high-activity non-TRU mixed waste, select neutron sources, some classified materials, U-233, and certain assay compositions of plutonium.


This abstract was presented at the 34th Annual Midyear Meeting, "Radiation Safety and ALARA Considerations for the 21st Century", Orphan Source Session, 2/4/2001 - 2/7/2001, held in Anaheim, CA.

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