In recent years many new types of glove-box gloves have been developed.
Glove usage should be tailored to the particular needs of the job. For
processes that require maximum dexterity, the 0.014-in. (0.038-cm)
Neoprene gloves are still superior. Coated Hypalon gloves are superior to
Neoprene for glove-box process operations that involve nitric acid or ozone
levels that may cause deterioration. Ethylenepropylenediamine monomer
(EPDM) gloves are used in some facilities and have good flexibility and are
resistant to degradation caused by radiation and ozone. Greenhalgh et al.
(1979) reported that Hypalon and EPDM gloves have greater than 30 times
the longevity of Neoprene in low-level ozone concentration atmospheres.
Viton gloves have proven to have a longer life than Neoprene gloves under
many operating conditions, but suffer somewhat from stiffness. Where high
gamma radiation levels are encountered, lead-loaded gloves may be
necessary. However, their stiffness and workers' loss of manual dexterity
should be considered in determining their influence on work efficiency and
the total dose received.
Persons who perform operations that involve microspheres of 238Pu, coated or
uncoated, should be aware that the heat generation of a single 100-µm- to
200-µm-diameter sphere can melt through glove material. In addition,
containment of a quantity of microspheres, especially coated microspheres, is
difficult because of electrostatic repulsion. Microspheres have been observed
climbing the walls of a glass beaker and spreading throughout a glove box.
Glove storage problems occur occasionally. Experiments and static tests have
not provided an adequate explanation of the sporadic problems that have
been encountered. Test results in which gloves were stored under different
lighting conditions (ultraviolet and fluorescent) and under stressed conditions
(creased or bent) have not been consistent. Tests of gloves seem to indicate
that glove degradation is caused by the combined effect of ionizing radiation,
ozone, and lighting. The glove inventory should be rotated to prevent the
inventory from becoming outdated while on the shelf.
All gloves in normal use at plutonium processing installations should be
inspected prior to each use. All operating personnel should perform
contamination self-surveys after every glove usage. The glove inspections
should be made each time by the same team of trained individuals, and the
condition of each glove should be recorded so that glove failures can be
anticipated and preventative measures can be taken. The development of a
statistical basis for establishing the frequency of glove changes should be
considered because such a basis may be cost-effective. For example, the
change-out frequency could be planned so that gloves are changed at some
fraction of the mean time between failures or more preferably some fraction
of the minimum time between failures. This type of change-out program
could also minimize personnel doses and potential contamination spread
incidents associated with too-frequent glove replacement. This procedure
may require that each glove use be categorized. A routine replacement
program will not replace an inspection program, but it is a supplement to the
inspections. The inspector's surgeon gloves should, of course, be surveyed
after the inspection of each glove-box glove. Gloves that are in questionable