TA-21 More Details

March 1998 8 7 TA and Facilities Descriptions Facility Hazard Categories
Table 4-11 identifies the facilities at TA-21 that fall into a facility hazard category because of the
type of operations performed in the facility. Nuclear Facility Hazard Categories Hazard Category 2 Nuclear Facilities
Two Hazard Category 2 nuclear facilities are located at TA-21: the TSTA (Building 155) and the
TSFF (Building 209, Figure 4-13, Sheet 2). Tritium Systems Test Assembly
Planning for TSTA began in 1977 after LANL was chosen to develop, demonstrate, and integrate
technologies related to the deuterium-tritium fuel cycle for large-scale fusion reactor systems.
Construction was completed, and pretritium testing was initiated in 1982. The first tests with tritium
in the system were conducted in 1984.
TSTA consists of a large gas loop that simulates the proposed fuel cycle for a fusion facility. The
loop does not include any specific fuel injection system but is sufficiently versatile to allow sys-
March 1998 8 8 TA and Facilities Descriptions
tems to be added as the gas-handling system design requirements for fusion reactors are better
defined. The gas loop is designed to handle up to ~360 moles/day of deuterium-tritium. This flow
provides experience with operating a cycle on a scale that is near the full-scale cycles currently being
addressed for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor System. To accomplish
this scale, TSTA requires an onsite tritium inventory of 180–200 g of tritium.
The main experimental tritium area (Room 5501) has a total of 1,129 ft2 (344 m2) of floor area. Two
small laboratories used for nonloop experiments are connected to the ventilation system for
Room 5501, which also services the main experimental tritium area. In the same building, but in
the area surrounding the main experimental area, are an additional 1,828 ft2 (557 m2) of floor area,
which is used for the control room, support center, office area, equipment rooms, an uninterrupted
power supply, and a diesel generator. Another part of the building, used for offices and
shops, contains 1,165 ft2 (355 m2).
In addition to the main building, 459 ft2 (140 m2) of storage space is available in a metal warehouse
(Building 213) located directly north of the main experimental area. The east end of this building
has been sectioned off and is used as a storage area for tritium-contaminated equipment. A
portable building (Building 369) located on the west side of the main laboratory provides an additional
230 ft2 (70 m2) of office space.
The outside dimensions of the part of the building that houses the main experimental area are 77
ft (23.5 m) by 36 ft (11 m). The walls are constructed of 7.9-in. (20-cm) concrete masonry block.
Concrete masonry units are reinforced with No. 4 deformed reinforcing bars, placed vertically at 32
in. (81 cm) on center, and truss-type reinforcing placed horizontally at alternate courses. The
floors are 3.9-in.- (10-cm-) thick concrete on grade. The roof is 3.2-in. (8-cm) Tectum Tile T-300
and Tectum Plank P-300 over structural steel members. The main experimental area is 95 ft (29
m) long by 39.4 ft (12 m) wide and has a steel platform (mezzanine) 9.8 ft (3 m) above the floor that
provides a total of 656 ft2 (200 m2) of floor space. Below the eastern portion of the mezzanine is a
4.9-ft- (1.5-m-) deep pit lined with concrete, whose width is 14.4 ft (4.4 m) and whose length is all
but 5.9 ft (1.8 m) of the length of the mezzanine. The minimum height of the main floor of the test
cell to the ceiling is 26 ft (8 m) at the sides of the room, and the height increases to 28 ft (8.5 m) at
the center of the room. When required, an additional 4.9 (1.5 m) of ceiling height can be provided
by the pit. An additional service pit 3.9 ft (1.2 m) in diameter by 20 ft (6.1 m) deep provides space
for lowering the distillation column vacuum jacket of the isotope separations system. The ceiling
height of the rooms surrounding the test cell is 13 ft (4 m).
Environmental and safety systems at the TSTA ensure personnel safety and minimal tritium release.
The TSTA Project has been instrumental in developing and integrating these systems
following a philosophy of redundant containment, detection, and recovery. The environmental
and safety systems used at TSTA provide secondary containment for processing equipment,
glovebox and gaseous effluent detritiation, room air detritiation, tritium monitoring, portable ventilation
ducting, supplied-breathing-air system, and solid and liquid waste minimization and disposal.
All significant quantities of tritium are triply contained; the building acts as the third and final
barrier. The triple containment makes the probability of accidental releases into the environment
extremely low. One stack, located in the northwest corner of Building 155, services the TSTA
tritium-handling areas. Tritium Science and Fabrication Facility
The Tritium Science and Fabrication Facility (TSFF) (Building 209) is a tritium research and development
facility. The building is located east of the TSTA at the DP East research area. Built in
1964 as a chemistry process building, it was modified in 1974 to accommodate tritium salt synthesis
and to provide physical preparation of the underground nuclear testing program. The salt syn-
March 1998 8 9 TA and Facilities Descriptions
thesis work was discontinued in 1993 in response to the cessation of nuclear testing, and the
facility’s name was changed from the Tritium Salt Facility to the TSFF.
The current mission of the TSFF is to support DOE and LANL by providing experimental services
such as neutron tube target loading, mass spectrometry, getter research, metal melt/tritium recovery,
inertial confinement fusion target studies, calorimetry, salt line D&D, generic experiments on
effluent treatment systems, and tritium storage. In the late 1990s, the neutron-tube-target-loading
function will be relocated in part of WETF. To accomplish these program missions and operational
capabilities, the TSFF requires an inventory of 366 g of tritium, primarily in gaseous form.
Additional tritium inventory (mainly tritium gas and tritium adsorbed on solid metal storage beds) is
maintained in the storage area at the TSFF. This tritium inventory is maintained in storage/
shipping containers awaiting processing and/or transport to other locations.
The TSFF is a 3,000-ft2 (300-m2) block-walled portion of Building 209, which is a one-story building
with a basement. TSFF is located at the north end of the building and is divided into several
laboratory rooms. The floor consists of 6-in.- (15.2-cm-) thick, reinforced-concrete slab supported
by reinforced-concrete beams, columns, and basement walls that extend to tuff below. The TSFF
is located approximately 150 ft (46 m) east of the TSTA. The two facilities are connected by a spinal
corridor, which also connects with adjacent office and nontritium laboratory areas.
Tritium experiments at the TSFF are performed in gloveboxes or in fume hoods, depending on
the amount of tritium being handled and process needs. The TSFF is serviced by an exhaust
ventilation system that discharges to a 75-ft- (22.9-m-) high exhaust air stack. This stack, as well as
the general room air, is continuously monitored for tritium content. The glovebox atmospheres
are also monitored for tritium, and the exhaust streams are processed by an effluent treatment
system. Hazard Category 3 Nuclear Facility
Building 146 (Figure 4-13, Sheet 1) is categorized as a Hazard Category 3 nuclear facility. This
building is an old exhaust filter building that has been decontaminated and is awaiting DOE approval
of its reclassification from a nuclear facility to a nonhazardous facility. Non-Nuclear Facility Hazard Categories Buildings Categorized M/CHEM

Two buildings at TA-21 are categorized as M/CHEM (Figure 4-13, Sheet 1). Buildings 3 and 4
were laboratory buildings that housed the Enriched-Uranium-Processing Facility. Operations at
this facility ceased in July 1984, and the buildings were maintained under shutdown surveillance
until decommissioning began. Decommissioning began in 1994 with Buildings 3 and 4 South. All
contaminated and uncontaminated equipment—hoods, gloveboxes, tanks, and piping—was removed,
and the buildings’ walls and ceilings were cleaned. The buildings were then razed, and
the utility tunnels under the buildings, exhaust ventilation ductwork, and stacks were removed.
Decommissioning was completed in 1995. Decommissioning at TA-21 West is continuing as
funding is available. It is expected that remediation work will continue on Buildings 3 and 4 North. Buildings Categorized Low Hazard
Six buildings (Figure 4-13, Sheet 1) at DP West have been categorized as low hazard (L/RAD and
L/CHEM) and are gradually being decommissioned. They include laboratory buildings (Buildings 5
and 150), which contain radiation and chemical hazards; the paint shop (Building 30), which contains
chlorine gas (chemical) hazards; a filter building (Building 324), which contains residual radio-
March 1998 9 0 TA and Facilities Descriptions
nuclides; the Calcium Building (Building 212), which contains chemical contaminants; and the
waste disposal plant (Building 257). Nonhazardous Facilities
Seventy-four administrative, technical, physical support, and other buildings and structures categorized
as nonhazardous are located at TA-21.


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