b'C H A P T E R 9H O T S T U F Fers opened the first trench, six feet wide something on the floor and then walkedbins marked with the standard yellowand nine hundred feet long. The place around with it on his shoe. and magenta warning symbol and postedwas in business. Waste disposal became for radioactive waste. 8another of the central services provided We also checked dust mops.to contractors doing experiments in the Maintenance people were pretty thor - Larger objects included particulate fil-d e s er t .6 ough. Most of the time, wed find noth -ters. Having trapped radioactive dusting, but occasionally we did. Those from gases sent up laboratory vents andSolid items came from daily routines as kinds of practices were effective [in process stacks, these were regularlywell as one-of-a-kind experiments. Thecontrolling radioactivity]. HPs didnt yranged from tiny scraps of paper to have a head-hunter mentality. We triedheavy pieces of equipment. Around the to do critiques that helped reactorreactor sites, the simplest wastes resulted operators solve problems.7from the very work of trying to preventthe spread of radioactivity in work areas. To find some radioactive speck was toHPs made daily rounds of reactor areas contaminate the smear paper, howeverand laboratories to check for leaks, hot s li gthl y. The same was true of mopheadsspots, and radioactive dust. Using thin that had done their intended job after asheets of filter paper, they took hundreds spill. Hot-cell work produced waste:of swipes every day. They also went beginners as well as experienced opera-beyond the reactor areas. One of the tors sometimes spilled a radioactive INEEL 73-1552HPs, Henry Peterson, recalled: sample or broke glassware. Some items, Above. Aerial view of the Burial Ground in 1973.even unbroken, were not reused once Triangular shaped area is the Subsurface DisposalOnce a week at the Test Reactor Area they had been contaminated. The Navy Area, where transuranic (TRU) wastes were buried [TRA, site of the MTR], we also sur - used disposable baby diapers as soak-up before 1970. Foreground shows the above-groundveyed the areas that were supposed to berags, although at other hot cells, techni- Transuranic Storage Area, where TRU wastes wereclean. We swiped the cafeteria and all cians preferred womens sanitary nap- stored after 1970. Below. Reminders such as thisthe offices. We swiped desks, drawer kins and ordered them by the gross. were placed in Site publications to make employeeshandles, any place where people were These, along with smear papers, gloves aware of the responsibilities associated withand the things they touched. Youd put and glass shards, were tossed into waste radioactive materials.the swipe in a little envelope, label it,and put it in your shirt pocket until youwent to the lab and put it in the counter. Health Physicists are It was no big dealthese were micro - your radiation curies were talking about. Then youd detectives.do the floor with a wide-area detectorand look for hot spots. If you found one,you used masking tape to pick it up. Ifthat didnt do it, youd rope off the ea arfor cleaning later. We had to prove everyweek that a place was clean.I remember one time we had to rope offthe entire MTR lab wing because ananalyst was sloppy. He crapped up[contaminated] a hallway by spilling7 7'