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Use of Source Term and Air Dispersion Modeling in Planning Demolition of Highly Alpha-Contaminated Buildings

[+] Author Affiliations
James G. Droppo, Bruce A. Napier, Jeremy P. Rishel

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA

Richard W. Bloom

CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Company, Richland, WA

Paper No. ICEM2011-59254, pp. 59-65; 7 pages
  • ASME 2011 14th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management
  • ASME 2011 14th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, Parts A and B
  • Reims, France, September 25–29, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5498-3
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


The current cleanup of structures related to cold-war production of nuclear materials includes the need to demolish a number of highly alpha-contaminated structures. The process of planning for the demolition of such structures includes unique challenges related to ensuring the protection of both workers and the public. Pre-demolition modeling analyses were conducted to evaluate potential exposures resulting from the proposed demolition of a number of these structures. Estimated emission rates of transuranic materials during demolition are used as input to an air-dispersion model. The climatological frequencies of occurrence of peak air and surface exposures at locations of interest are estimated based on years of hourly meteorological records. The modeling results indicate that downwind deposition is the main operational limitation for demolition of a highly alpha-contaminated building. The pre-demolition modeling directed the need for better contamination characterization and/or different demolition methods—and in the end, provided a basis for proceeding with the planned demolition activities. Post-demolition modeling was also conducted for several contaminated structures, based on the actual demolition schedule and conditions. Comparisons of modeled and monitoring results are shown. Recent monitoring data from the demolition of a UO3 plant shows increments in concentrations that were previously identified in the pre-demolition modeling predictions; these comparisons confirm the validity and value of the pre-demolition source-term and air dispersion computations for planning demolition activities for other buildings with high levels of radioactive contamination.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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