The characteristics of the cover can be adjusted to vary water transmission and the
color can be changed to inhibit growth under the covering. The major problem for
outside use of all of these fixatives is the invasion and actions of biota. Mice, rabbits,
other wildlife as well as plant growth tend to burrow under any covering and spread
the contamination. While these measures do not permanently solve the problem, they
may provide a method of preventing the spread of contamination until a permanent,
acceptable solution is determined.
The three housekeeping practices listed below should be followed in a
plutonium facility as part of the Conduct of Operations [see DOE Order
5480.19, Ch. 2 (DOE, 2001c)]:
-- The inventory of contaminated and potentially contaminated scrap and
equipment should be kept to a minimum because all such materials are
subject to special monitoring and accountability.
-- Radioactive contamination should be controlled and the spread of
contaminants and the potential for accidents involving contaminants shall
be minimized. (In at least one instance, poor housekeeping contributed to
a serious criticality accident.) Management at all levels should
continuously emphasize the importance of good housekeeping, and
operating procedures should be written to ensure good housekeeping
-- Measures shall be taken to maintain radiation exposure in controlled
areas as low as is reasonably achievable through facility design features
and administrative control (10 CFR 835.1001).
Where possible, materials that are not absolutely necessary to an operation
should be kept out of the contaminated or potentially contaminated area. It is
very important to minimize the creation of TRU waste. All packaging and
unnecessary protective coverings should be removed before materials are
introduced into the process area. Likewise, items that are not necessary to the
process should be promptly removed, particularly from glove boxes, and not
left to accumulate and become safety hazards, potential fire hazards, sources
of radioactive (dust) accumulation, or sources of exposure.
Good housekeeping practices inside glove boxes should emphasize fire and
explosion control. Only metal or nonflammable plastic containers should be
used for the accumulation of scrap and wastes of any kind in the glove boxes
and throughout plutonium facilities. Accumulation of combustible materials
in glove boxes should be minimized. When explosive, flammable, or volatile
liquids are allowed, they should be rigidly controlled and used only in inert
gas atmospheres unless a safety analysis review shows it is safe to do
otherwise. All residues should be removed immediately at the conclusion of
each job or cleaning operation.