b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLESometimes the task seemed deceptively minum and had to be cut to eighteen- But the requisite persistence and inge-simple, such as a request later in the inch lengths to fit into the dissolver nuity were available, and the Chem1950s to process spent fuel from vessel. The engineers practiced the cut- Plant crew eventually conducted anoth-Savannah River reactors. The fourteen- ting procedures with non-irradiated ele- er successful run. Such accomplish-foot-long elements were clad in alu- ments and built a special cutting ments helped move the Chem Plantmachine to do the job. As they began beyond its original mission to recoverpreparing for the hot run, said Don just two or three types of fuel. ItReid, became a permanent fixtureand arevenue generatorat the NRTS. The.we soon found out that we had plant processed at least a hundred vari-exceeded the technical knowledge of eties of spent nuclear fuel. It came fromthe materials. We found that the university and test reactors all over theSavannah tubes, while being irradiated,world, from commercial power plants,had changed metallurgical characteris from most of the reactors at the NRTS,-tics. Instead of cutting like regular alu -and from Navy ships.minumon which the cutters had beentestedthey crumbled like graham The RaLa program lasted from 1956 tocrackers, so a whole new technique and1963, the province of the complicated Lprocedure had to be developed. Cell, which had a remote viewing win-Maintenance was extremely difficult dow and several miles of piping. In thebecause of the crumbling, and a very early days, each time green MTR fuelextensive complete modification [of theclattered into the vessel to be dissolvedprocess was] required. in acid, a puff of radioactive iodine22blew out the Chem Plant stack. TheINEEL 10317 way to control a release was to time itin concert with benign weather condi-tions. Managers evacuated outdoor con-struction workers who might be aroundthe area. The IDO Health and SafetyBranch required that iodine releasesoccur only when the weatherwinddirection and speedfit a certain pro-file to promote dilution and movementtowards unpopulated areas. Later, acti-vated charcoal scrubbers absorbediodine, and a special tank was installedto retain the gas for later release. 23Above. Cooling pipes inside 300,000-gallon wastetank. Left. Pillar and panel vault under constructionin 1955 for one of the Chem Plants eleven 300,000-gallon waste tanks. Concrete components wereprecast.INEEL 55-6101 0 4'