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Storage - hdbk1132990064
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Chemical Processing


DOE-HDBK-1132-99
Storage racks and shelves should be constructed of noncombustible
material and designed to hold the storage containers securely in place
and keep them properly separated.
Storage vault doors, racks, and containers should be designed to
accommodate the application of tamper-indicating devices.
Design of the storage vault should facilitate the ease of performing
periodic inventory.
Pyrophoric material should not be stored in a storage vault. Plutonium
metal scraps (e.g., machine turnings, shavings, and fine chips) may be
chemically reactive and should be processed to plutonium oxide before
they are stored in the storage vault. [Because plutonium hydrides,
carbides, oxycarbides, and nitrides are reactive and potentially
pyrophoric, especially in finely divided form (powder), they should be
handled in dry, inert (i.e., oxygen-free) atmosphere and should be
converted to oxides for prolonged storage.]
Plutonium oxide is formed either by the reaction of the plutonium metal
with oxygen in the air or by calcining plutonium compounds, such as the
peroxide, oxalate, and nitrate. Plutonium oxide is generally a chemically
inert powder and insensitive to self-radiation damage. However,
plutonium oxide can absorb moisture from the air (depending on
calcining condition), and incompletely calcined oxide could subsequently
release gases, resulting in over-pressurization (bulging) a storage can. If
the plutonium compounds are not completely oxidized, the subsequent
oxidation process could cause a decrease in the sealed container
pressure, thereby imploding a storage can. To prevent or minimize these
storage problems, plutonium oxides should be stabilized as prescribed
by standards for packaging plutonium for storage.
The use of plastic bags in bag-in/bag-out operations could cause
problems if the heat generated from radioactive decay melts the plastic
bags after prolonged storage. The decomposition of the plastic bags
I-49


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