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 Table of Contents 
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 180-182  

Shipment of active glove box as solid waste from RMD to transit storage facility

1 Radiation Safety Systems Division, BARC, Trombay, Mumbai, India
2 Radio Metallurgy Division, BARC, Trombay, Mumbai, India

Date of Web Publication1-Dec-2011

Correspondence Address:
S Murali
Radiation Safety Systems Division, BARC, Trombay, Mumbai
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Glove boxes that were used in different operations of FBTR fuel fabrication and other metallographic works were planned for disposal as solid active waste. Out of 11 glove boxes, 3 were sent for disposal and remaining for storage at transit storage facility. Special campaign was taken up for decontamination and disposal to bring down the contamination level to prescribed limit of 4000 Bq/g. Soap solution and EDTA were used as cleaning agents for decontamination of loose contamination and then oil paint for fixing the contamination. Glass panels were replaced in the glove boxes sent for storage. The Health Physics experience gained during the shipment of active glove boxes used in handling Pu could be useful in future.

Keywords: Disposal, glove box, transit storage

How to cite this article:
Rath D P, Yadav S A, Govalkar A M, Mukherjee G, Murali S, Pillai M. Shipment of active glove box as solid waste from RMD to transit storage facility. Radiat Prot Environ 2010;33:180-2

How to cite this URL:
Rath D P, Yadav S A, Govalkar A M, Mukherjee G, Murali S, Pillai M. Shipment of active glove box as solid waste from RMD to transit storage facility. Radiat Prot Environ [serial online] 2010 [cited 2023 Jun 2];33:180-2. Available from: https://www.rpe.org.in/text.asp?2010/33/4/180/90457

  1. Introduction Top

Mixed uranium plutonium carbide (MC) fuel fabrication is the main operation of Radiometallurgy Division. Large quantity of Pu and U is handled for fuel fabrication in glove boxes. Glove boxes of RMD have high integrity and separate ventilation system. The main frame of glove boxes is made from stainless steel with a viewing window by laminated safety glass to make the box fire resistant. It is also equipped with fire detectors and fire fighting chemicals. FBTR production line and other glove boxes of RMD have been in use for long period. Due to aging problem, some of the glove boxes have leak tightness less than required and some have old equipments that are not in use. Some of the glove boxes are not in use since long time and is kept as waste. It has increased the potential hazard of activity buildup. There were 11 such glove boxes of volume varying from 1-2 m 3 . Out of 11 boxes, 3 were sent for disposal and 8 for transit storage facility for long term storage. Activity levels in the glove boxes were estimated to be of the order of 10 6 Bq prior to decontamination. The shipment of glove boxes was essential due to the aging activity problem. The details are discussed in this paper.

  2. Experimental Top

2.1 Methodology for transit storage/disposal of glove box

Out of 11 glove boxes, 8 were sent to transit storage facility. Here glove boxes were repeatedly decontaminated using soap solution and EDTA after changing the gloves. Soap solution and EDTA was used as decontaminating agent to remove the maximum possible loose activity by keeping in mind ALARA principle in waste generation as well as consumption of man-rem. For assessment of activity, swipes were taken at different locations inside the glove box and then applied suitable transfer factor (which was found out by taking ratio of actual and transferable contamination from glove box surface) for activity calculation [Table 1]. After assessment, box was painted from inside to fix the contamination and then sent to transit storage facility. For disposal purpose, box was painted if the total loose contamination inside the box is less than 4000 Bq/g (Janardanan et al, 1973; Manual, 2006, Technical Specifications, 2007).
Table 1: Activity content data during shipment campaign of glove boxes

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2.2 Special procedure for experimental box

At initial stage, glove box was taken to separate decontamination room and connected to exhaust line. Tent was erected on and around glove box and separate exhaust system was provided inside the tent for minimizing the air activity. Persons using protective equipment viz., frog suit, fresh airline respirators were sent inside the tent for change of gloves, decontamination of glove boxes and replacement of glass panel with stainless steel. During the operations air activity and contamination level outside the tent were assessed. It was found that there was no release of air activity and spread of contamination outside the tent. Soap solution and EDTA was used as decontaminating agents. For assessment of activity inside the glove box, swipes were taken at different locations inside, suitable transfer factor was applied for activity calculations.

2.3 Transportation of glove boxes

Each glove box was transferred to transit storage facility in a special stainless steel enclosure. These enclosures are designed with inlet and outlet for connection to exhaust system as well as provision for taking out air from the enclosure for testing of integrity of glove box inside it. Before transportation of the enclosure, air activity was checked and surface contamination was tested for inner and outer surfaces [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Encased glove box

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  3. Results and Discussion Top

In this campaign, volume of 22.03 m 3 with total activity of 1051.8 MBq was sent to transit storage facility for storage or to RSMS for disposal [Table 1]. Total man-rem consumed during the entire operation had been estimated to be less than 2 mSv. Stringent radiation safety and exposure control during the entire operation made it possible to have low man-rem consumption, no reported personal contamination nor any untoward incident. Special decontamination group was formed for safe and sound operation. It took more than a year for completion, in the campaign for decontamination and disposal of active glove boxes.

  4. Conclusion Top

The containment systems are ageing that result in difficulties in maintaining the necessary leak tightness. Since last few years the glove boxes led to accumulation of huge volume of waste and potential hazard of large quantity of alpha activity. With this campaign for decontamination and disposal of active glove boxes, there is significant decrease in contamination and volume / activity without much waste generation. This campaign for decontamination and disposal of active glove boxes could be helpful in the process of decontamination, shipment of alpha active glove boxes in future and also in possible modification / improvement of the operations.

  5. Acknowledgements Top

The authors would like to thankfully acknowledge the help and co-operation rendered by the working members of Decontamination group of Radiometallurgy division during this work and support from Head, Radiometallurgy Division.

  6. References Top

  1. Janardanan, S., Krishnamurthy, T.N., Dhabadkar, S.B. and S.D. Soman (1973), Safety aspects of Plutonium Handling, BARC Report -I/259, 1973.
  2. Radiation Safety Manual for Radiometallurgy Wing, BARC/2006/R/003, 2006
  3. Technical Specifications of Radiometallurgy Division, 2007.


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1]


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  In this article
1. Introduction
2. Experimental
3. Results and D...
4. Conclusion
5. Acknowledgements
6. References
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