13 September 2006
22.214.171.124.1.1 Plutonium Building
Plutonium processing is performed in the Plutonium Building (Building 4,
Figure 4-32, Sheet 1), which is a two-story laboratory of approximately 151,000
ft2 (46,025 m2). The exterior walls and roof are of reinforced concrete.
A concrete fire wall divides the building into two halves, each of which
contains its own ventilation systems and electrical substations. One half
of the process floor is divided by a central corridor into Areas 100 and
200. This half contains the plutonium research and development laboratories,
the 238Pu operations, and the personnel decontamination area. The other half
is divided into Areas 300 and 400 by another corridor. This half houses plutonium
recovery, metal preparation and fabrication, and nondestructive analysis
Each of the processing areas is further divided into a number of rooms that
contain the gloveboxes for plutonium work. The ventilation systems that service
the gloveboxes and all other utilities are located in the basement of the
facility. The basement also houses critical support equipment, including
all other ventilation equipment, the packing/unpacking room, waste-handling
areas, the isopress laboratory, and the plutonium storage vault.
Three levels of containment are provided for plutonium processing. The primary
confinement system includes gloveboxes, hoods, vessels, tanks, piping, and
the glovebox ventilation exhaust system. The secondary confinement system
includes the walls, floors, ceiling, and doors of the laboratories containing
the gloveboxes, as well as the laboratory recirculation and bleed-off exhaust
system. The exterior walls, floor, roof, and doors of the structure, along
with the basement exhaust system, provide the tertiary confinement system.
The ventilation system in the facility has four zones, all of which are
maintained at a lower pressure than that of the outside air. Air enters the
two halves of the facility through an intake stack that has four ducts. Two
ducts supply air to each half of the building. The ventilation system is
designed so that each zone operates as a separate building with its own filtered
exhaust stack. Exhaust from each confinement area is sent through at least
two stages of HEPA filtration to prevent radioactive particles from being
discharged to the environment.
The conveyor system in the facility transports contaminated material and
equipment to almost any point on the first floor. Elevated stainless steel
tunnels equipped with a trolley hoist system connect the gloveboxes. The
vertical portions of the tunnels connect the overhead system to the gloveboxes
at drop boxes located on the first floor. These drop boxes are the transfer
points in which items are hoisted up to the trolley in the overhead tunnel
system for eventual offsite waste disposal.
The criticality detection system monitors operations on the main processing
floor of the Plutonium Facility and in the basement vault to detect gamma
energy released from fission of SNM. The system is designed to detect conditions
that could lead to a criticality accident in this facility and to sound an
audible alarm. The alarm initiates immediate evacuation to minimize personnel
exposure. This system consists of 20 Geiger-Mueller detector heads and associated
circuitry located throughout the first-floor process areas and basement vault.
A continuous air-monitoring system is used to sample and analyze air from
multiple points throughout the laboratory areas, basement, ductwork, and
exhaust stacks. A continuous stream of sample air is drawn to a solid-state
alpha detector, whose data are used for man/machine interface (lights, meter,
squealer) and for monitoring by the operations center.
Other supporting systems include fire detection and suppression systems,
a chilled-water system, an instrument air system, electrical power, water
distribution systems, and a vacuum system. Voice communication is provided
by a paging system and a telephone system. The emergency system provides
paging throughout the TA-55 area and sounds the criticality and fire alarms.
126.96.36.199.1.2 Nuclear Materials Storage Facility
The Nuclear Materials Storage Facility (Building 41, Figure 4-32, Sheet 1)
will eventually contain a significant amount of stored nuclear material.
This facility is primarily intended for intermediate and long-term storage
of SNM. Although completed in 1987, the Nuclear Materials Storage Facility
has never operated because of design and construction deficiencies. A major
renovation project is being planned to correct those deficiencies so that
the facility can operate. The renovation project is expected to be completed