TA-48 More Details

March 1998 1 5 7 TA and Facilities Descriptions Facility Hazard Categories
Table 4-23 identifies the facilities within TA-48 that fall into a facility hazard category because of
the type of operations performed in the facility. Nuclear Facility Hazard Categories
Although Building 1, Radiochemistry Laboratory (Figure 4-25, Sheet 1), is currently categorized
as a L/RAD, it is a candidate for nuclear facility status. Therefore, it will be discussed here as a
Hazard Category 3 nuclear facility.
The majority of TA-48’s radiochemistry R&D, medical radioisotope production, development of
waste management technologies, and counting room operations take place in Building 1. The
building is divided into an office wing, light-chemistry laboratories for performing low-level radiochemistry,
a hot-cell complex to produce medical radioisotopes, an alpha wing used for processing
alpha-emitting radioactive and toxic materials, and a counting room complex. There is also a
secure-data wing with a classified computer and vault containing historical weapons data.
Activities at Building 1 include small-scale radiochemistry in the laboratories area, chemical research
of high-alpha-activity materials in the alpha facility, final analysis of samples in the counting
room, and small-scale production of medical radioisotopes in the hot-cells area.
This building is a single-story structure with a basement. The exterior walls are constructed of various
materials, including masonry, stucco, block, and metal siding. The roof is a flat, built-up design.
Most radiochemical operations are conducted on the main floor. The basement is used for
limited radiochemical activities, chemical storage, and facility utilities and support systems.
Compressor systems supply air for laboratory processes and instrumentation. The main components
of the ventilation system date from the original building. Additional dedicated systems are
provided for the hot cells and dissolution areas. Exhaust fans are located in the basement and exhaust
through roof stacks. The alpha facility and hot-cells areas are ventilated by a HEPA filter system.
A redundant exhaust system is provided for the hot-cells areas.
The dissolution area houses a high-activity-chemistry area. The activities conducted here involve
the largest amounts of beta-gamma radioactivity outside of the hot-cells area. Most of the debris
analyzed at TA-48 is transported in Department of Transportation (DOT) Type B containers. Since
March 1998 1 5 8 TA and Facilities Descriptions
the moratorium on nuclear testing, activities in this area primarily consist of high-activity-chemistry
The laboratory area in Building 1 contains space for small-scale radiochemistry that supports the
medical radioisotopes program. A vacuum system is provided for counting equipment, fixed-head
air monitors, and drying processes. Other laboratory space is used for research in inorganic chemistry,
actinide chemistry, organometallic chemistry, environmental chemistry, and geochemistry.
The Alpha Facility in the northeast portion of Building 1 consists of several rooms designated as
controlled areas. The facility houses those activities involving the largest amounts of alpha radioactivity
and other offices and ancillary areas.
The counting rooms are in the east end of the building. This area contains a mix of low-level radiation
detectors and counting systems for quantitatively evaluating radioactive samples from the various
weapons, medical, and environmental programs. The counting systems measure radioactive
emissions of alpha, beta, gamma, and x-rays and also function as fission detectors.
The hot-cells area is used for small-scale production of selected radioisotopes for various medical
and research purposes. Target materials that have been irradiated to produce desired radionuclides
are required to be processed in a series of interconnected and highly shielded hot cells.
Hot-cell activities can involve both radioactive and toxic materials. Toxic materials are present in
such small quantities that they present little or no concern for explosive accidents. Quantities of
radioactive materials are substantially larger; however, the hot cells feature substantial shielding
and various safety systems and alarms, which together mitigate the potential for accidents. Non-Nuclear Facility Hazard Categories
No buildings at TA-48 have been categorized as non-nuclear facilities. Nonhazardous Facilities Isotope Separator Facility

Operations at the Isotope Separator Facility (Building 8, Figure 4-25, Sheet 1) include isotope
separation from element samples, which involves separating and collecting radioactive isotopes
for analytical quantification and developing equipment used for isotope separation. Separated
and collected isotope samples are used in ongoing Laboratory research programs. Diagnostic Instrumentation and Development Facility
The Diagnostic Instrumentation and Development Facility (Building 28, Figure 4-25, Sheet 1)
contains two laboratories. One lab houses five laser systems and two mass spectrometers used
for environmental research experiments. The other lab is used for processing water samples from
locations where radioactive contamination is present. Advanced Radiochemical Diagnostics Facility
The Advanced Radiochemical Diagnostics Facility (Building 45, Figure 4-25, Sheet 1) contains
11 chemistry and 7 instrument laboratories. These laboratories are Class 100 clean-room areas
designed to minimize the effect of environmental factors on the accuracy of isotope ratio measurements.
The wide range of operations at this facility includes isotope ratio measurements from
experiments in solar physics, geosciences, biology, and atmospheric science.
March 1998 1 5 9 TA and Facilities Descriptions Analytical Facility
The Analytical Facility (Building 107, Figure 4-25, Sheet 1) contains four light-chemistry laboratories
and a laser laboratory. Operations in this facility support environmental research programs, catalysis
research, and inorganic chemistry.


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