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Computer Simulations to Address Pu-Fe Eutectic Issue in 3013 Storage Vessel

[+] Author Affiliations
Narendra K. Gupta, Allen C. Smith

Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, SC

Paper No. PVP2007-26455, pp. 503-508; 6 pages
doi:10.1115/PVP2007-26455
From:
  • ASME 2007 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference
  • Volume 7: Operations, Applications and Components
  • San Antonio, Texas, USA, July 22–26, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4285-1 | eISBN: 0-7918-3804-8
  • Copyright © 2007 by Washington Savannah River Company LLC

abstract

On November 22, 2005, the Manager of the Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP) in Richland, WA issued an Occurrence Report involving a potential Pu-Fe eutectic failure mechanism for the stainless steel (SS) 3013 cans containing plutonium (Pu) metal. Four additional reports addressed nuclear safety concerns about the integrity of stainless steel containers holding plutonium during fire scenarios. The reports expressed a belief that the probability and consequences of container failure due to the formation of a plutonium-iron eutectic alloy had been overlooked. Simplified thermal models similar to the HAC thermal models used in the 9975 SARP were created and analyzed to address the Pu-Fe eutectic concerns. The model uses Rocky Flats configuration with 2 stacked Pu buttons inside a 3013 assembly. The assembly has an outer can, an inner can, and a convenience can, all stainless steel. The boundary conditions are similar to the regulatory 30 minutes HAC fire analyses. Computer simulations of the HAC fire transients lasting 4 hours of burn time show that the interface between the primary containment vessel and the Pu metal in the 9975 package will not reach Pu-Fe eutectic temperature of 400°C.

Copyright © 2007 by Washington Savannah River Company LLC

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