b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLEWe were down in the cells one day use all their neutrons for the productionit was completed, would recover thewhen Miles Leverett brought in David of plutonium. It was brought out that unfissioned U-235 in the HanfordLilienthal, the chairman of the AEC. Hewe were not asking for neutrons but slugs. 3looked around and said, You are mov giving them. They took a new look at it-ing along pretty well. We said, Yes, and pretty soon we had approval to go At AEC Headquarters, meanwhile, thebut we want to get five kilograms of U-into the Hanford reactor. staff concerned with weapons research2235 irradiated, but we cant get it was thinking about the Chem Plant inthrough the bureaucracy. He went backUpon seeding the reactor with enriched connection with an altogether differentto Washington and three days later we U-235 fuel elements, called slugs, issue. It was trying to decide which ofhad approval. Hanford happily discovered that the the AEC facilities should produceslugs helped increase the production of radioactive lanthanum-140, called RaLaSomebody got the idea that if we couldtritium. Tritium was a radioactive iso- for short, a material needed at Losget this material irradiated in a tope of hydrogen used in bombs to Alamos for weapons experiments. OakHanford production reactor where the boost the explosive power of the pluto- Ridge had been producing RaLa, but itsflux was ten to fifty times higher than nium chain reaction. The AEC was equipment was hard to decontaminate,Oak Ridges, we would get a bigger building a reactor plant at Savannah couldnt keep a predictable schedule,burn-up and a better demonstration. I River, South Carolina, to produce tri- and was exposing workers to too muchmade a trip to Hanford to look into tium, but until it was completed, the radiation. The bomb scientists at Losthis, but Hanford was not interested in AEC was counting on Hanford. Thus it Alamos needed a more reliable source.doing outside irradiation. They had to was decided that the Chem Plant, when The AEC had initially decided to builda new RaLa facility at Hanford, butwith the MTR and the Chem Plantmaterializing in Idaho, they had anotheroption to consider. 4RaLa is a fission product. After urani-um atoms split and form (among oth-ers) isotopes of barium, the barium-140isotope continues to decay into otherisotopes, one of which is lanthanum-140. The problem with RaLa was thatits mother isotope had a short half-life,and the half-life of RaLa also wasshortabout forty hours.Spent MTR fuel fresh out of the reactorwould contain RaLa. Up to this time,AEC Headquarters had not consideredharvesting RaLa from the MTR. Theplan was just the opposite. Spentnuclear fuel from the MTR would sitShipping cask used to transport green MTR fuelelements. Note cooling coils.INEEL 55-35499 6'