The Savannah River Site recently completed an annual process in K Area that validates the Site’s ongoing commitment to maintaining the safety and security of the nuclear materials that are stored there, according to Site officials. The mission of K Area is the receipt and safe storage of nuclear materials. Safe storage is validated through the yearly destructive examination of the containers that hold plutonium-bearing materials, called 3013 containers. For over seven years, K Area has performed this mission to support the Department of Energy 3013 Surveillance Program. The 3013 Program sets the criteria for stabilization of plutonium-bearing materials at DOE facilities to safe and stable forms that can be packaged and placed in storage with minimal surveillance for up to 50 years. Plutonium material arrives in K Area packaged in 3013 containers. To ensure the 3013 standard is being met, surveillance is performed annually on a number of these containers. The containers are chosen by a working group made up of staff from DOE sites across the DOE complex, called the Materials Identification and Surveillance working group. The containers are placed inside the K Area Interim Surveillance glovebox, which allows employees to open the containers to gather samples of the oxide, the container itself, and gasses inside the container. These samples are then sent to the Savannah River National Laboratory for testing and evaluation. The samples from the nine containers examined this year will be analyzed at SRNL for any indication of degradation. The results will allow the MIS working group to ensure the integrity of 3013 containers is being maintained at the Site.
SRS completes annual process
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