Fuel Reprocessing

Types of facilities

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Flooding event at the EUREX facility

EUREX is a pilot fuel reprocessing facility, which ceased operation in 1984. During the recent flooding event in Northern Italy, on 16 October 2000. water entered the ventilation system and cable room, located 3m below ground level, causing the out-of-service of the system for some days. The water in the room was slightly contaminated by the radioisotopes contained in the ventilation system filters. The room, was emptied by transferring the water to the ponds. Anyway, the contamination levels are well below the allowed limits for discharge.

Category: Fuel Reprocessing Italy »

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Incorrectly packaged radioactive sources

When preparing documentation on 19 October 1999 for the consignment of sources from Sellafield site to Drigg Low Level Waste Disposal Site, it was discovered that a Type A transport container was proposed when a type B container was required to comply with the Transport Regulations for the quantity of material to be transported. The consignment was therefore suspended. A review of previous transfers revealed that the incorrect package has been used for similar transfers between the Sellafield and Drigg sites for a number of years.

Category: Fuel Reprocessing Sellafield United Kingdom »

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Spillage of radioactive materials

A routine survey in the Magnox Fuel Handling Plant found a spillage of particulate contamination on the floor below Decanner 2 master-slave manipulator (MSM) port 14, the mobile maintenance platform used for MSM changes and on the ledges of viewing windows.
Intitial estimates put the quantity of activity spilled as greater than the Notification Level for spillages in the Ionising Radiation Regulations. There has been no personnel contamination, no reports of contaminated clothing and there are no environmental implications.

Category: Fuel Reprocessing Sellafield United Kingdom »

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Loss of ventilation in Dounreay fuel cycle area

A digging machine damaged in 11 kV electrical supply cable which supplies a complex of reprocessing and waste management plants at the UKAEA Dounreay site at Thurso, Scotland, because alternative electrical supply arrangements did not become available as intended. The ventilation fans lost power. Plants were evacuated. Power was restored to the fans 15 hours later. On re-entry the plants were found to be clean. The environment around and inside the complex was monitored and no release of radioactivity was detected.

Category: Fuel Reprocessing Dounreay United Kingdom »

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Fire and Explosion at the Bituminization Demonstration Facility of the Reprocessing Plant

At 10:06, March 11, 1997, a fire occurred in the cell of the Bituminization Demonstration Facility, and ventilation system stopped. Ten hours after the fire, an explosion occurred in the facility, and containment of the cell and building was degraded. Following the fire and the explosion, workers were evacuated from the facility and adjacent facilities. It is assumed that the largest radiation dose level to the workers was 0.4 to 1.6 mSv and the maximum quantity of the Cs-137 released from the facility was 1 to 4 GBq.

Category: Fuel Reprocessing Japan »

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Spillage of active liquor

Unusual levels of radioactivity were detected at a storm water collection tank serving a number of Active Plants. The radioactivity was traced to a spillage of active liquor arising from active liquor transfers. Heavy rain had washed the active liquor spillage into the storm water drain and contaminated roadway, gutters and building environments. About 5 GBq beta and 100 MBq alpha was found on the ground, etc.
Personnel contamination and radiation exposure was not significant.
Discharges to the environment were well within the authorised limits.

Category: Fuel Reprocessing Sellafield United Kingdom »

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Release of airborne activity into the workplace resulted in a building evacuation

A release of airborne activity during work on the charge machine resulted in airborne activity monitor alarms which automatically triggered a building evacuation. There was no activity discharge to the external environment. Personnel involved have been decontaminated. An estimate of the quantity of activity released into the air in the immediate vicinity of the event is a few tens of gigabequerels of I-131 equivalent.

Category: Fuel Reprocessing Sellafield United Kingdom »

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CONFIRMED DOSE ABOVE STATUTORY DOSE LIMIT PROBABLY DUE TO A WOUND

Last year an event was reported in the Sellafield Newsletter, Thursday 14 September 1995 (no. 424), involving the exposure of a fuel plant's worker. Monitoring and extensive investigations have been carried out since and these have confirmed that he exceeded the dose limit for 1995.
Investigations have shown that no other worker in the same area at that time was affected. As part of our continuous safety improvement policy any implications will be fully taken into account. This event breached the regulatory dose limit and is therefore reportable to ministers.

Category: Fuel Reprocessing Sellafield United Kingdom »

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SKIN EXPOSURE IN EXCESS OF DOSE LIMIT

Following an entry to Pour Cell 2 Hoist Park, the PVC coverall of a filter was found to be contaminated with a localised spot of radioactivity on the right knee. Combining dosimetric measurements of dose rates with estimates of wearing times, result in an intital estimate up to about 2 Sv skin radiation exposure (of dose limit of 0.5 SV/y).

Category: Fuel Reprocessing Sellafield United Kingdom »

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DAMAGE TO A SPENT FUEL ASSEMBLY DURING PREPARATORY OPERATIONS FOR REPROCESSING

In the "hot room" of the spent fuel reprocessing plant a spent fuel assembly was being prepared for grinding and loading into the dissolver. During the chopping of the lower end plug an electric arc was formed at the place of installation of the "static" clamp of the fuel assembly jacket tube. Personnel stopped the chopping process and switched off the chopping machine.

Category: Fuel Reprocessing Mayak Russian Federation »