Uranium Hexafluoride Hazards
(last updated 20 Jan 2011)
> See also:
- Uranium Hexafluoride and its Properties (U.S. DOE ANL)
- Uranium Hexafluoride (North American Emergency Response Guidebook)
- Uranium Hexafluoride (International Chemical Safety Cards - WHO/IPCS/ILO)
- Uranium hexafluoride: A manual of good handling practices. , USEC-651 (Revision 7). U.S. Enrichment Corp., Bethesda, MA, Jan. 1995, 115 p.
- Manual on Safe Production, Transport, Handling and Storage of Uranium
Hexafluoride, IAEA-TECDOC-771, IAEA Vienna, 1995.
- Metabolic Fate and Evaluation of Injury in Rats and Dogs Following Exposure to the Hydrolysis Products of Uranium Hexafluoride , NUREG/CR-2268, U.S. NRC, 1982
- Chemical toxicity of uranium hexafluoride compared to acute effects of radiation, by S.A. McGuire, NUREG-1391, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 1991, 15 pages
> Download full text (980k PDF)
- Interim Guidance on the Safe Transport of Uranium Hexafluoride, IAEA-TECDOC-608, IAEA, Vienna, June 1991, 58 pages
> Download full text (2.7M PDF)
- Interim Guidance for the Safe Transport of Reprocessed Uranium, IAEA-TECDOC-750, IAEA, Vienna, June 1994, 68 pages
> Download full text (3.2M PDF)
- Response Technical Manual, NRC Report Number: NUREG/BR-0150, Vol. 1, Rev. 4, March 1996, by T. McKenna, J. Trefethen, K. Gant (ORNL), J. Jolicoeur, G. Kuzo, G. Athey,
Incident Response Division, Office for Analysis and Evaluation of Operational Data, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
> View Section E: Uranium Hexafluoride Release Assessment
- DOE Handbook: Radiological Safety Training for Uranium Facilities, DOE-HDBK-1113-98, U.S. DOE, February 1998, 166 p.
> Download full text (519k PDF format)
- Uranium hexafluoride, Guide 166, Emergency Response Guidebook 2000, U.S. Department of Transport
> Download full text (16k PDF)
- Acute Exposure Guideline Levels for Selected Airborne Chemicals: Volume 4 ,
Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology (BEST), The National Academies Press, 2004, 310 p.
Appendix 5: Uranium Hexafluoride: Acute Exposure Guideline Levels
- A Survey into the Radiological Impact of the Normal Transport of Radioactive Material by Sea , by J S Hughes and M P Harvey, HPA-RPD-050, UK Health Protection Agency , Radiation Protection Division, February 2009
- Uranium hexafluoride public risk , by Fisher, D.R.; Hui, T.E.; Yurconic, M.; Johnson, J.R., Letter Report, PNL-10065, 1994, 19 p.
- Modeling and analyses of postulated UF6 release accidents in gaseous diffusion plant , by Kim, S.H.; Taleyarkhan, R.P.; Keith, K.D., et al., 1995, 14 p.
- RASCAL 3.0.5: Description of Models and Methods , U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NUREG-1887, August 2007
[The code currently used by NRC's emergency operations center for making dose projections for atmospheric releases during radiological emergencies is RASCAL version 3.0.5 (Radiological Assessment System for Consequence AnaLysis).]
- Application of the HGSYSTEM/UF6 model to simulate atmospheric dispersion of UF6 releases from uranium enrichment plants , by Goode, W.D. Jr.; Bloom, S.G.; Keith, K.D. Jr., 1995, 16 p.
- Source term evaluation for postulated UF6 release accidents in gaseous diffusion plants -- Summer ventilation mode (non-seismic cases) , by Kim, S.H.; Chen, N.C.J.; Taleyarkhan, R.P., et al., ORNL/TM--13251, 1996, 108 p.
- Source term evaluation during seismic events in the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant , by Kim, S.H.; Chen, N.C.J.; Schmidt, R.W. et al., ORNL/TM--13260, 1996, 26 p.
- HGSYSTEM/UF6 model enhancements for plume rise and dispersion around buildings, lift-off of buoyant plumes, and robustness of numerical solver , by Hanna, S.R.; Chang, J.C., 1997, 70 p.
- Source term evaluation for UF6 release event in feed facility at gaseous diffusion plants , by Kim, S.H.; Taleyarkhan, R.P., ORNL/TM--13383, 1997, 22 p.
- Health risk from earthquake caused releases of UF6 at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant , by Brown, N.W; Lu, S.; Chen, J.C. et al., 1998, 9 p.
- Nuclear Fuel Cycle Facility Accident Analysis Handbook (NUREG/CR-6410) , U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 1998
> See also: Cylinder Storage of Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride
Some Problems And Hazards Associated With The Transportation Of Uranium Hexafluoride
by Miles Goldstick
196 p., Uppsala 1991, ISBN 91-576-4440-3
This study examines a small part of the debate about the pros and cons of nuclear power and nuclear weapons: some problems and hazards associated with the transportation of uranium hexafluoride (UF6). Uranium hexafluoride, commonly referred to as "hex", is a chemical form of uranium used in the production of virtually all nuclear weapons and uranium metal ammunition, and in production of fuel for the vast majority of commercial nuclear power plants.
An attempt is made to answer the question, "Is the transport of UF6 dangerous?" This is done in a manner that translates and demystifies technical data on UF6 into information more easily understood by people without specialist training. At the same time, social, political, and environmental implications are pointed out.
Four major aspects of UF6 and its transport are analyzed:
- UF6 in the nuclear industry,
- physical and chemical properties of UF6
- UF6 cylinders, and
- UF6 accidents.
A major conclusion is that the transportation of UF6 is dangerous, both because of what it is - a hazardous chemical and radioactive substance; and what it is a part of - the production process of nuclear reactor fuel, nuclear bombs, and uranium ammunition. It is documented that a release of UF6 in a populated area could have catastrophic consequences. Cylinders used to transport UF6 will result in quantities of uranium and hydrofluoric acid (HF) in the immediate vicinity far exceeding levels dangerous to health (both chemically and radiologically).
Despite the danger, the dominant belief within governments and the nuclear industry is that UF6 transport is safe. This belief, regrettably, is mainly based on two assumptions shown to be false. These assumptions are that UF6 does not present a significant radioactive hazard, and cylinders used to transport UF6 are built strong enough to survive accident conditions. It is noted, however, that deciding whether or not the transportation of UF6 is dangerous involves qualitative moral and ethical decisions as well as analysis of quantitative, technical data.
The book is available from:
Miles Goldstick, Box 1633, Yttersby, S-74291 Östhammar, Sweden