Potential Pyrophoric Reactions in Spent Nuclear Fuels Evaluated
Available May 1 is a new guide promoting spent nuclear fuel safety,
ASTM C 1454, Guide for Pyrophoricity/Combustibility Testing in
Support of Pyrophoricity Analyses of Metallic Uranium Spent Nuclear
Fuel. It was developed by a task group of ASTM Subcommittee C26.13
on Repository Waste, part of Committee C26 on Nuclear Fuel Cycle.
This standard guide was developed to provide guidance for evaluating
the potential for pyrophoric reactions in uranium metal-based
nuclear fuels in dry storage, transportation, and/or final disposition
environments, says task force chairman Thomas Thornton, Ph.D.,
advisory engineer, Framatome Cogema Fuel Co., Yucca Mountain Project,
Las Vegas, Nev. The standard describes test, data analysis, and
materials behavior modeling activities designed to support predictions
or explanations of pyrophoric behavior of uranium metal-based
spent nuclear fuel when exposed to oxidizing environments. It
describes pyrophoric behavior as a function of both materials
configuration and environmental exposure conditions.
Of interest to the spent nuclear fuel disposition industry, Guide
C 1454 supports the development of safe metallic uranium-based
spent nuclear fuel disposal methods and their associated safety
analyses, Thornton says. It will assist those involved in the
dry storage, transportation, and final disposal of uranium metal-based
spent nuclear fuel. In the United States, that includes the U.S.
Department of Energy (DOE) and its subcontractors, and the U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
The standard defines and addresses pyrophoricity as a system
function of the material configuration and environment rather
than an intrinsic property of the uranium metal fuel material.
It thus supports storage and disposal system design activities
for the prevention of pyrophoric reactions, Thornton explains.
The task group which generated the standard was composed of personnel
from the DOE Yucca Mountain Repository project, the NRC, U.S.
National Laboratories (Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho National
Environmental Engineering Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National
Laboratory, and the Savannah River Technical Center), the DOE
National Spent Nuclear Fuel Program, and the DOE Richland Operations
Office, he adds.
ASTM standards are available by calling Customer Service (610/832-9585)
or through the Web site.
For further technical information, please contact Dr. Thomas Thornton, Framatome Cogema Fuel Co. Yucca Mountain Project, 1261 Town
Center Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89134 (702/295-4483). Committee C26
meets June 26-28 in Las Vegas, Nev. For meeting or membership
information, contact manager Felicia Quinzi, ASTM (610/832-9738). //