First Use of the 380-B Type B(U) Packaging for Disused Sealed Radioactive Source Recovery

Mark Wald-Hopkins - Los Alamos National Laboratory
Frank Cocina - Los Alamos National Laboratory
Becky Coel-Roback - Los Alamos National Laboratory
C.W. Weyerman - Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA
T.J. Bauer - Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, USA
T.L. Taplin - National Nuclear Security Administration
P. Noss - Orano Federal Services, LLC
Without proper end of life management, disused sealed radioactive sources (DSRSs) become increasingly vulnerable to loss, theft, and sabotage that can result in accidents and incidents, including loss of life. Type B quantities of radioactive material can be particularly hard to manage due to complexity and costs associated with their compliant shipment from user’s facilities to sites for final disposition or secure long-term storage. Historically, a major part of this issue stems from the lack of certified Type B packaging for safe, secure, and legally compliant shipments.To help address this issue, in 2009 the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Office of Radiological Security (ORS) directed Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to design, test, certify, and fabricate Type B packaging for domestic and international use. Through these efforts, the NNSA Model 380-B Type B (USA/9370/B(U)-96) packaging was developed. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) certified the 380-B in 2017, and since then, one unit has been fabricated. Over a decade after conceptualization, the 380-B was put into service on May 1st, 2021. The first source recovery, which occurred at a hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, was that of a blood irradiator containing ~62 TBq of Cs-137 sealed sources. LANL subcontracted a licensed and experienced vendor to prepare the device for shipment, after which LANL personnel loaded the irradiator shield into the 380-B cavity and closed it in accordance with approved procedures. Loading and closure of the 380-B in Albuquerque went smoothly and as anticipated. After approximately seven hours on site, the field crew completed loading of the 380-B and it departed in route to an interim storage facility. LA-UR-22-20438