Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site




Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

U.S. Pursues Coating to Hold Plutonium

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

More items for Coating Materials

Comment | More

The U.S. Department of Energy is developing a radiation-shielding thin-film polymer that would help contain radioactive waste during a multiyear nuclear-plant decontamination project.

The coating could extend the life of the so-called RadBags that will be used to contain plutonium waste from the Savannah River Site (SRS) during shipping for disposal, according to DOE.

Photos: DOE

Built in the early 1950s at President Harry S Truman's invitation to DuPont, the Savannah River Plant produced materials for nuclear weapons. DuPont pulled out of the operation in 1987. In 1989, the facility was added to the Superfund National Priority List; "Site" replaced "Plant" in the name.

The technology is being developed by DOE's Savannah River National Laboratory, with funding by the Office of Site Restoration within the agency's Office of Environmental Management. A University of Kentucky team led by Dr. John Anthony is also collaborating in the effort.

Savannah River

The Savannah River Site is a 310-square-mile DOE facility in South Carolina, near Aiken, SC, and Augusta, GA. The complex was built during the early 1950s to produce tritium, plutonium and other basic materials used in the fabrication of nuclear weapons.

The complex includes five reactors and number of support facilities, including two chemical separation plants, a heavy water extraction plant, a nuclear fuel and target fabrication facility, a tritium extraction facility, and waste management facilities.

SRS History SRS History

The Plutonium Fuel Fabrication Facility (left) went online at the Savannah River Plant in 1977. In the 1990s (right), production of nuclear weapons at SRS stopped with the end of the Cold War.

SRS plans to decontaminate the F Area Building 235-F Plutonium Fuel Form Facility, which was used primarily for plutonium and neptunium component production processing until 1983. The task will include removing Plutonium-238 from the site in plastic containment bags within metal containers.

A decay product of spent reactor nuclear fuel, Plutonium-238 is a radioactive isotope with a half-life of about 88 years.

Coated RadBags

Coating the waste containment bags would "alleviate the risk of waste-container degradation, thereby improving worker safety," DOE said in a research announcement.

The thin-film coating efficiently absorbs alpha radiation generated by Plutonium-238, "preventing high-energy alpha particles from exiting the interior of the containers," DOE said.

The coating also could function as a radiation sensor by changing color when exposed to a sufficient amount of the alpha-particle emitters, the agency reported.

SRS Schematic

DOE says the coating could extend the life of plutonium disposal RadBags.

“A radiation-shielding, organic-thin-film-coated RadBag provides the direct benefit of more stability in the storage, transport, and disposal of alpha-producing waste material," said Dr. Aaron L. Washington II, the laboratory’s senior scientist and lead investigator for the EM research.

"This technology addresses the focus on alternative materials in radiation shielding and detection capabilities."

If successful, the coating "would resolve a complex technical challenge in the deactivation and decommissioning of inactive plutonium processing facilities requiring waste containers resistant to radiation degradation," according to DOE.


Tagged categories: DuPont; Hazardous waste; Nuclear Power Plants; Research; U.S. Department of Energy

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

New resins from BASF will have metals loving water!
Excellent corrosion resistance, low VOC, high gloss, thin films 800-231-7868

Jotun Paints Inc.
Jotun Jotachar 1709
Mesh-free passive fire protection epoxy designed to protect against hydrocarbon pool fire scenarios for up to four hours as defined in the ANSI/UL1709 standard.

Industrial Vacuum Equipment Corp.
Hurricane Vacuums
& Dust Collectors
Vacuum and dust collector hose, filters and related accessories.

Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal
Novatek Corporation, Dustless Coatings Removal Strip, clean and profile all dust free! Comply with new lead standards. Contact today: (866) 563-7800

ARC / A.W. Chesterton Company
Chemical Resistant Lining
ARC S7 is a sprayable, novolac vinyl ester based, ceramic particle reinforced, protective coating for high temperature, chemical exposures where erosive particulates and thermal cycling conditions may be present. ARC S7 can be easily applied by brush, roller or airless spray system.

Carboline Company
Carboline launches new website!
The completely revamped website, offers quick and easy access to essential product information and is now mobile-friendly.

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America
Performance Amine 1,3-BAC
A highly reactive cycloaliphatic diamine offering superior performance. Reasonable cost and curing efficacy makes it suitable for all types of epoxy resin applications.

Blastox/The TDJ Group, Inc.
Blastox® - One Step Lead Abatement
Sandblast additive delivered to jobsite pre-blended to eliminate hazardous abrasive wastes. Why mix, meter or apply at the job-site? Blast with ease and
Let your painters paint!

US Minerals
Blast with the best
The most effective blasting media on the market, Black Diamond hits harder and cleans faster.

Bullard Made in the USA


Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL

The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us