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Page Title: The Mis Program
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Regarding the uranium content,
and the implied equivalence of
Plutonium metal is generally considered "easy" to store,
uranium for plutonium, a recent
provided pyrophoric constituents are eliminated and the
report [Haschke et al. 1997]
storage atmosphere is relatively inert. Plutonium oxide with
greater than 80-85 wt% plutonium presents a potentially
assessed the inclusion of mixed
more complex problem, but its behavior is generally believed
to be reasonably well understood. Only about 20% (in terms
plutonium-uranium oxides
of the contained plutonium) of the materials destined for
containing less than 50 wt%
disposition are in this category. The oxide materials of
greatest concern are those that have more than
plutonium in materials covered
approximately 3-8 wt% impurities. These impurities generally
include appreciable chloride (NaCl, KCl, CaCl2, and MgCl2)
by DOE-STD-3013-96. Issues
content, ranging from less than half of the impurities present
addressed included thermal
to nearly all the impurities. Other common impurities include
oxides and other compounds of calcium, magnesium, iron,
stabilization, specific surface
and nickel. Occasionally, materials containing sulfur and
carbon are found. The stabilization process removes about
areas, moisture readsorption
half of the chlorides, converting some to oxides, and, in
behavior, loss-on-ignition (LOI)
general, converts the other metal compounds to oxides.
Virtually all of the carbon and sulfur are removed.
analysis, and criticality safety of
The vast majority of the plutonium is weapons grade,
the oxide. While some
containing less than approximately 6%  Pu. However, some
materials have significantly higher concentrations of  Pu and
differences in chemical behavior
of the higher plutonium isotopes and americium. Also, most of
are expected (especially under
the oxide materials are predominantly plutonium, but some,
including the fuels materials, are mostly uranium.
oxidizing conditions at elevated
The MIS Program is concluding characterization of
temperature), the report
approximately 33 items, including 10 that have more than
85 wt% Pu and three that are at or near (two at 30 wt% and
suggests that "substitution of
one at 31 wt%) the minimum actinide content for this
uranium oxide for plutonium
Standard. Several items include significant quantities of
uranium, including two in which the uranium content is
oxide does not detrimentally
approximately 80% of the total actinide content. One item
contains less than 4 wt% actinides, all plutonium and
alter the thermal stabilization
americium. These 33 items are typical of the materials at
behavior or long-term storage
RFETS and Hanford that will be stabilized, packaged, and
stored, and are intended to represent the bulk of the
behavior of those oxides." The
inventory at those sites. In the future, it is likely that
authors specifically concluded
additional items, from RFETS and SRS, will be added. A more
complete description of these materials and the
that the risk of dispersing
characterization results can be found in the report by Mason
and others [Mason et al. 1999].
plutonium-containing particles
should not be altered
appreciably in mixed oxides. Depleted, normal, and enriched uranium have much lower specific
activity than plutonium. Therefore, direct radiolytic and thermal reactions in storage containers
of high-uranium materials are expected to be strongly diminished or negligible compared to
containers containing appreciable plutonium. The suitability of mixed oxides for long-term

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