Weiss Associates

Key Project Elements:

  • Management of legacy waste
  • Evaluation of gamma ray source
  • Department of Transportation requirements for radioactive waste

Cobalt-60 Irradiator Source Disposal

Davis, California

In 1961, a food irradiator manufactured by Brookhaven National Laboratory was installed at the UC Davis main campus to study the possibilities for extending the storage life of various foods by irradiation. The irradiator originally contained a 32,000 curie gamma ray source composed of cobalt-60 (Co-60), which had decayed to about 300 curies at the time of disposal. Weiss Associates performed physical disassembly of portions of the irradiator, removal and packaging of the Co-60 source and off-site shipment and disposal.

The Co-60 irradiator sources capsules were removed from the irradiator and delivered to the Department of Energy Hanford Site for disposal in accordance with the procedures in the DOE-approved work plan. The work involved use of an underwater camera, and remote handling tools to limit radiation exposure. The source was packed in a custom fabricated and tested special form capsule and placed in a lead-filled, steel-lined cask; and overpacked in a 20WC-6 container for shipment.

All labeling and shipping documents were prepared according to the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) shipping regulations. The overpack container was loaded onto an "exclusive use" transport vehicle placarded as required by DOT. A team of two drivers conducted the transport, providing non-stop service from UC Davis to the Hanford disposal site in Richland, Washington. The cask with the special form capsule was unloaded and placed in a storage cell at the Hanford High Integrity Container site.

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