TA-50 More Details

March 1998 1 6 7 TA and Facilities Descriptions Facility Hazard Categories
Table 4-25 identifies the facilities at TA-50 that fall into a facility hazard category because of the
type of operations performed in the facility. Nuclear Facility Hazard Categories
Two buildings at TA-50 are categorized as Hazard Category 2 nuclear facilities. Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility
The RLWTF (Building 1, Figure 4-27, Sheet 1) provides waste treatment services for organizations
throughout the Laboratory, including concentrating radioactive components and removing
them from liquid waste. Pipelines throughout the Laboratory connect facilities to the RLWTF.
The RLWTF also includes wastewater analytical laboratories, environmental chemistry laboratories,
and associated decontamination operations and holding tanks. The 40,000-ft2 (12,192 m2)
RLWTF is composed of the following areas: radioactive liquid waste treatment areas, wastewater
analytical laboratories, environmental chemistry laboratories, decontamination operations, and
several holding tanks.
The original structure of the RLWTF is reinforced concrete and pumice block walls with steel joists
for roof support. Various additions to the original facility are of prefabricated metal construction
with steel framing and insulated metal roofing and siding. The basic shell of the structure surrounds
the facility and protects the environment from dispersal of any radioactive or hazardous
materials. The storage and treatment areas in this facility have several features to prevent leaks,
spills, and overflows of radioactive and hazardous materials from reaching the environment:
curbs, underground location, and overflow pipes to nearby tanks and/or floor drains leading to
holding tanks.
March 1998 1 6 8 TA and Facilities Descriptions
Two waste treatment operations are housed in the RLWTF: a main treatment operation and a pretreatment
operation for acid and caustic radioactive liquid wastes piped from TA-55 (the Plutonium
Facility). The main liquid waste treatment operation includes two clariflocculators operated in series
and five concrete holding tanks with a pumping station, which form the underground concrete
structure designated as Building 2. An additional steel holding tank (Building 90) provides extra
capacity for incoming, untreated radioactive liquid waste. Influents are transported to the RLWTF
in a passive, gravity-fed pipeline system made up of a network of four major pipelines that run to
various parts of the Laboratory. All waste transfer piping is double-encased (except for a crosscountry
line from TA-21 and TA-2) to mitigate the possibility of release of radioactive materials.
Sludge from the RLWTF is dewatered, drummed, and transported to TA-54 for disposal. The
south wing of the basement houses equipment for decontaminating personnel respirators, vehicles,
large equipment such as drill rigs, and other equipment such as gloveboxes. Decontamination
solutions drain to influent tanks for LLW operations.
The acid and caustic wastes generated at TA-55 generally have much higher americium and plutonium
content than other wastes processed at RLWTF. The pretreatment operation for these
wastes is similar to the main treatment operation, except that a single, smaller clariflocculator unit is
used. Special lines transport the acid and caustic wastes generated at TA-55 to the RLWTF. An
underground, reinforced-concrete vault (Building 66) contains two tanks that hold untreated acid
and caustic wastes from TA-55.
Laboratories in a portion of RLWTF characterize samples of influent and effluent obtained from liquid
waste treatment operations, and small amounts of samples and chemicals are stored in this
portion of the facility. Other analytical laboratories equipped with spectrometers and counting instruments
analyze environmental media, particularly soil samples. Samples and chemicals are
stored in small quantities in this area.
A variety of decontamination operations are performed in a high bay in the RLWTF. Equipment of
all sizes is cleaned by means of acids, steam, water, or nonhazardous commercial cleaners. Liquid
discharged from decontamination operations is piped to Building 2. Waste Characterization, Reduction, and Repackaging Facility
The WCRRF (Building 69, Figure 4-27, Sheet 1) is a one-story building with a floor area of 2,712
ft2 (827 m2). The exterior load-bearing walls are constructed of structural steel framing with an insulated
plastic veneer finish, and the floor is a reinforced-concrete slab on compacted fill. The roof
and mezzanine are constructed of reinforced concrete over steel joists and metal decking.
The WCRRF consists of two independent segments. The exterior segment, adjacent to Building
69, consists of a container storage area and a storage tank for liquid waste. The interior of Building
69 houses waste characterization, reduction, and repackaging operations. The physical barriers
provided by the building, the waste containers, and the facility's administrative controls ensure
that materials in the two segments cannot interact.
DOT Type 7A drums are staged in the container storage area until they are moved into the building
to be characterized. All of the drums in the storage area contain only solid waste and are covered
to prevent rain water intrusion. A portable liquid waste storage tank holds water from decontamination
activities performed in this area until the water can be transported to the RLWTF for
The interior of the facility consists of a vehicle air-lock area, an unpacking/welding area, a partial
mezzanine area, and a high-bay area that houses a large glovebox enclosure. A large open area
around the enclosure provides the space for support functions, as well as an additional level of
containment and radiation protection. The glovebox enclosure occupies 452 ft2 (138 m2) of floor
March 1998 1 6 9 TA and Facilities Descriptions
area and is constructed of stainless steel with an external skeleton of mild-steel rectangular tubing.
The enclosure in which gloveboxes and other waste items are cut apart with a plasma torch is
divided into air-lock, disassembly, cutting, and packaging/bag-out modules, which are bolted together
and seal-welded.
The glovebox enclosure, air locks, and waste containers are the primary containment systems in
the WCRRF. The glovebox enclosure provides the primary confinement system. The glovebox is
maintained at a negative pressure with respect to the building, and the building is maintained at
negative pressure with respect to the outside environment.
Waste packages arrive at the receiving area, which is equipped with a vehicle air lock isolated from
both the outside environment and the interior unpacking area. A set of vehicle air-lock doors and
glovebox enclosure air-lock doors are electronically interlocked so that the two sets of doors cannot
be opened simultaneously, which ensures that the facility containment system is not breached.
The waste containers also provide an effective containment system. Bulky waste materials
arrive packaged inside a fire-retardant, fiberglass-reinforced plywood crate, which is custom-built
to fit around the waste items. Waste containers with processed TRU waste are placed in metal
containers for solid wastes (solid waste boxes). These solid waste boxes are sealed with a metal
lid secured by 42 flathead bolts and are then transported to TA-54 for retrievable storage and subsequent
shipment to a long-term-storage facility.
The WCRRF cuts apart TRU-contaminated, large-volume metallic items (e.g., gloveboxes) and repackages
the pieces in containers for storage and eventual shipment to a long-term-storage facility.
Another operation is the visual inspection of the contents of TRU waste drums that have already
been characterized. A variety of solid wastes (e.g., laboratory trash and solidified liquid) are
accepted for characterization, as well as hazardous and mixed wastes, which are not generated at
WCRRF but are received from other Laboratory facilities.
Activities at the WCRRF generate various types of gaseous, liquid, and solid wastes. Routine
operations at WCRRF produce significant quantities of TRU waste and LLW, including TRU waste
generated by reduction and repackaging activities. LLW is packaged and transported to TA-54 for
proper disposal, and TRU waste is packaged and transported to TA-54, Area G, for interim storage
until it can be shipped to a long-term-storage facility.
Hazardous gases may be produced by activities such as plasma-torch cutting and welding; however,
radioactive gases are not produced by WCRRF activities. Routine operations at the WCRRF
produce minor amounts of radioactive liquid waste, which are transported to the RLWTF for treatment,
but no hazardous or mixed-waste liquids are generated at the WCRRF. Non-Nuclear Facility Hazard Categories
One building at TA-50 (RAMROD, Building 37, Figure 4-27, Sheet 1) is categorized as L/RAD.
Formerly known as the Controlled Air Incinerator (CAI), the RAMROD facility was initially developed
to demonstrate combustion-based volume reduction and chemical stabilization of TRU-contaminated
solid wastes and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Subsequent process modifications
have extended the CAI process to successfully treat other waste streams, including solid and liquid
low-level combus-tible wastes, mixed waste, PCBs, and hazardous chemical wastes.
The RAMROD facility is currently categorized as L/RAD; however, it is a candidate Hazard Category
2 nuclear facility. Equipment for characterizing TRU waste and for treating low-level mixed
waste will be installed, beginning in FY97. This facility is also a general host for any other process
that requires the containment and controls of a candidate nuclear facility. Nonhazardous Facilities
The other facilities at TA-50, consisting of office trailers, storage sheds, a pump station, and a
guard station, are categorized as being nonhazardous.


©2004 lasg.org