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Bondico Nuclear (Los Angeles, California) has initiated a program to develop a high-integrity container (HIC) for handling, transportation, and disposal of low-level radioactive wastes. The HIC, made of a composite material, consists of an inner layer of polyethylene bonded to an outer casing of fiberglass-reinforced plastic.
Preliminary handmade prototype units containing about 0.22 m3 called HIC-7, have been fabricated and exposed to some of the most demanding U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and state tests. The HICs withstood over twice the external pressure from maximum burial conditions and twice the Type A package internal pressure requirements. In addition, free drops on compacted soil and an unyielding surface showed no deleterious effects.
The composite material has been tested for mechanical properties, such as tensile, com-pressive, and bond shear strengths, creep, thermal expansion, and hardness. In addition, specimens have been exposed to environments including thermal cycling, gamma and ultra violet radiation, biodegradation from fungi and bacteria, and internal and external chemical corrosion followed by mechanical testing. Prototype production units have been tested to the full range of NRC and state requirements. A topical report showing how this HIC meets all NRC and state requirements has been submitted to the NRC.
high-integrity container (HIC), low-level radioactive waste (LLW), composite material, polyethylene (PE), fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP), U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Type A package requirements, mechanical properties, environmental exposures, topical report
President, Lowenberg Associates, Inc., Rockville, MD