b'C H A P T E R 11T H E C H E M P L A N Tand made future retrieval hazardous and with stainless steel. Then crews entered first cycle extraction, which accumulat-cosl y. The Chem Plant spared itself the cells from the access corridor to ed most of the fission products, had tfrom these particular problems, perhaps repair valves and other fixtures v i a cooling systems to carry away decaybecause its research mission generated direct physical contact. For the benefit heat to minimize corrosion. Other liq-di f ferent decisions. The stainless steel of future commercial plants, the A E C uid wastes included condensate (con-tanks allowed the storage of waste in hoped to demonstrate that this method taining low levels of radioactivity), andacidic form and resisted corrosion. could potentially reduce operating costs those went into a disposal well. 20Scientists assumed that disposal to the and not overexpose employees. 19 environment was out of the question, The Chem Plant was launched. Overthat tanks were not the final resting place Subsequent runs filled the first storage time, the plant recovered U-235 fromfor the waste, that isotopes in the waste tank with liquid waste. Ten more were many new types of fuel. Each hadmight have further use and should be built; one of them always stood empty unique cladding and fuel chemistry,retrievable, and that nothing should pre- in case of a leak. Operators could trans- challenging the chemists and engineersclude the option of transforming the liq- fer the liquid either from a leaking tank to develop new formulas in small-scaleuid into a safer, more stable, solid form. 18 or the concrete vault into which the liq- pilot plant workshops, most of whichuid had accumulated. When full, each also required modifications in the phys-When the run was over, the operating tank contained only a few gallons of ical plant. Process development becamecrew decontaminated cells, vessels, and pure radioactive fission products. The a regular Chem Plant activity. 21pipes and prepared for the second run, rest of the solution was dissolvedslated for MTR fuel. The plant was part- cladding-metal ions, process addi-ly an experiment in direct maintenance; tives, and water. The tanksit minimized the use of expensive, that received wasteremotely operated maintenance equip- from thement as at Hanford and, later, SavannahrRive. After each run, jets sprayedwater and cleaning solutionsinto the cells, whichwere linedAn early drawing of the Chem Plants main processbuilding. The function of various cells changed overtime, as process requirements changed. Forexample, T Cell was later used for hexone storage.1 0 3'