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Shutdown and Closure of the Experimental Breeder Reactor–II

[+] Author Affiliations
John A. Michelbacher, Carl E. Baily, Daniel K. Baird, S. Paul Henslee, Collin J. Knight, Kenneth E. Rosenberg

Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, ID

Paper No. ICONE10-22462, pp. 857-865; 9 pages
  • 10th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • 10th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering, Volume 1
  • Arlington, Virginia, USA, April 14–18, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3595-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3589-8
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


The Department of Energy mandated the termination of the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) Program, effective October 1, 1994. To comply with this decision, Argonne National Laboratory-West (ANL-W) prepared a plan providing detailed requirements to maintain the Experimental Breeder Reactor-II (EBR-II) in a radiologically and industrially safe condition, including removal of all irradiated fuel assemblies from the reactor plant, and removal and stabilization of the primary and secondary sodium, a liquid metal used to transfer heat within the reactor plant. The EBR-II is a pool-type reactor. The primary system contained approximately 325 m3 (86,000 gallons) of sodium and the secondary system contained 50 m3 (13,000 gallons). In order to properly dispose of the sodium in compliance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), a facility was built to react the sodium to a solid sodium hydroxide monolith for burial as a low level waste in a land disposal facility. Deactivation of a liquid metal fast breeder reactor (LMFBR) presents unique concerns. Residual amounts of sodium remaining in circuits and components must be passivated, inerted, or removed to preclude future concerns with sodium-air reactions that could generate potentially explosive mixtures of hydrogen and leave corrosive compounds. The passivation process being implemented utilizes a moist carbon dioxide gas that generates a passive layer of sodium carbonate/sodium bicarbonate over any quantities of residual sodium. Tests being conducted will determine the maximum depths of sodium that can be reacted using this method, defining the amount that must be dealt with later to achieve RCRA clean closure. Deactivation of the EBR-II complex is on schedule for a March, 2002, completion. Each system associated with EBR-II has an associated layup plan defining the system end state, as well as instructions for achieving the layup condition. A goal of system-by-system layup is to minimize surveillance and maintenance requirements during the interim period between deactivation and decommissioning. The plans also establish document archival of not only all the closure documents, but also the key plant documents (P&IDs, design bases, characterization data, etc.) in a convenient location to assure the appropriate knowledge base is available for decommissioning, which could occur decades in the future.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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