Significant incidents in nuclear fuel cycle

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1 IAEA-TECDOC-867 Significant incidents in nuclear fuel cycle INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY

2 The IAEA does not normally maintain stocks of reports in this series. However, microfiche copies

3 The originating Section of this publication in the IAEA was: Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Materials Section International Atomic Energy

4 FOREWORD

5 EDITORIAL NOTE

6 CONTENTS 1. INTRODUCTION OVERVIEW DETAILED DESCRIPTION...

7 1. INTRODUCTION Since the inception of the nuclear industry, the importance of nuclear safety has been clearly recognized

8 Table

9 TABLE II. INCIDENTS AND FACILITIES Criticality Potential criticality Explosion Potential explosion Fire Fire danger Release

10 TABLE

11 2. OVERVIEW Reprocessing plants Date Facilities Incident 1) Savannah River Plant South Carolina,

12 Reprocessing plants Date Facilities Incident 7) Thorex Pilot Plant Oak Ridge, Tennessee,

13 Reprocessing plants Date Facilities Incident 14) Windscale, United Kingdom Release

14 Reprocessing plants Date Facilities Incident 23) Tokai reprocessing plant, Japan Leakage of waste liquid. A very small of radioactivity was detected in the water in the underground seepage receiving tank. Causes: Al 24) Sellafield, United Kingdom Radioactive liquor filled 25) La Hague, France 26) La Hague, France 27) Tokai reprocessing plant, Japan 28) Sellafield, United Kingdom 29) Sellafield, United Kingdom 30) Sellafield, United Kingdom 31) Hanford, USA

15 Reprocessing plants 32) Date Facilities Sellafield, United Kingdom Incident 33) 1990 Hanford, USA 34) 35) Sellafield, United Kingdom Tomsk-7, Russia 36) 37) Tokai Reprocessing plant, Japan RT-1 Reprocessing plant, Russia

16 Conversion plants Date Facilities Incident 42) Pierrelatte, France Accidental release 43) Sequoyah Fuels Corporation, Gore, Oklahoma, USA 44) Pierrelatte, France 45) Sequoyah Fuels, USA 46) Sequoyah Fuels, USA

17 Fuel fabrication plants 7) Date Facilities Nukem, Hanau, Germany 48) Asea Atom, Vasteras, Sweden 49) 50) Siemens uranium fuel element fabrication, Hanau, Germany Siemens 51) ) ) )

18 Others (waste storage facility, spent fuel storage, isotope production plant) Date Facilities Incident 55) Hanford Nuclear Reservation Washington,

19 3. DETAILED DESCRIPTION REPROCESSING PLANTS 1. Chemical explosion

20 - Concentrating equipment should be designed with an accumulator least necessary to survive a sharp pressure rise. Recommendations bearing on the radiation hazards were as follows: 1. Health Physics should be called immediately if radioactive contamination is spread outside a regulated area.

21 2. Soil contamination Type of facility Reprocessing (for military use) Name

22

23 3. Metallic plutonium fire Type

24

25

26 5.6. Sources (1)

27

28 6.6. Sources (1) "A review of criticality accidents", Stratton, W.E., revised by Smith, D.R., DOE/NCT-04, (2) "Nuclear Criticality Safety", Knief, R.A., (3) "Idaho Chemical Processing Plant Criticality Incident", Nuclear Safety, Vol.1, No.3, 1960.

29

30 This series

31

32 9. Criticality Type of facility Reprocessing Name

33

34

35 11.6. Sources (1) "A review of criticality accidents", Stratton, W.E., revised by Smith, D.R., DOE/NCT-04, 1989.

36

37 13. Underground release of waste liquid Type

38 13.5. Action taken

39 14. Release of airborne radioactivity Type of facility Reprocessing Name

40

41 New process instrumentation has been installed to determine whether or not the new limitations on denitration conditions are being met. The new instrumentation also provides for a more rapid response

42 16. Explosion Type

43 17. Onshore detection of tritium Type

44

45

46

47 21. Leakage Type

48 22. Criticality Type of facility Name of facility Location Reprocessing Idaho Chemical Processing Plant Idaho Falls, Idaho,

49 23. Leakage of waste liquid Type of facility Reprocessing Name

50

51 25. Loss of power supply Type

52

53 27. Inadvertent transfer of plutonium Type

54 28. Release of radioactive liquor Type of facility Reprocessing Name

55 29. Release of 440 kg uranium into the Irish Sea Type of facility Name of facility Location Incident date Reprocessing Sellafield Sellafield, United Kingdom 1986 January

56 30. Plutonium

57

58

59 33. Possible explosion Type

60

61

62 35.4. Lessons learned Limiting the concentration of nitric acid that is used for solution adjustment. Implementation

63 36. Radiation exposure of workers Type of facility Name of facility Location Reprocessing PNC Tokai Reprocessing Plant Tokai, Japan Incident date 1993 December Description

64

65 ENRICHMENT PLANTS 38. Accumulation of solid uranium Type

66 39. Release of uranium hexafluoride Type

67 40. Release of uranium hexafluoride Type of facility Name of facility Location Enrichment Portsmouth Gaseous diffusion plant Ohio, USA Incident date 1978 March Description of the incident While a 14-ton cylinder containing liquid UF

68 41. Release of solid uranium compound Type

69 CONVERSION PLANTS 42. Accidental release of UF 6 Type

70 43. Accidental release of UF 6 Type of facility Conversion Name

71 1. In summary, the factors can be aggregated into the following causes of the accident:

72 44. Accidental release of UF 6 Type

73 45. Seepage of uranium-contaminated water Type of facility Name of facility Location Conversion Sequoyah Fuels Corporation (SFC) Gore, Oklahoma,

74

75 FUEL FABRICATION

76 48. Release

77 49. Explosion Type

78 50. Inhalation of plutonium Type

79 51. Potential criticality Type of facility Name of facility Location Fuel fabrication GE fuel & component manufacturing facility Wilmington, North Carolina, USA Incident date 1991 May Description of the incident Higher than expected amounts

80

81 53. Potential criticality Type

82

83

84

85 56.3. Causes Deficiency of temperature control in the waste storage tank and possibility for interruption of

86 57. Fire danger Type

87 58. Thermal-chemical explosion Type of facility Isotope production plant Name

88 GLOSSARY Magnox MOX powder Purex process raffinate solvent extraction

89 CONTRIBUTORS TO DRAFTING AND REVIEW Kanamori, M. Safety Division, Power Reactor & Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation, 9-13, Akasaka 1-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107, Japan Kudryavtsev,

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