Nuclear Technology / Volume 151 / Number 3 / September 2005 / Pages 297-302
Technical Paper / Radioisotopes
The stability of mercury fulminate under gamma-ray irradiation and in a high-alkalinity sludge environment was determined. Both differential scanning calorimetry and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy were used to characterize mercury fulminate. Mercury fulminate completely decomposed in a gamma-ray source (0.86 Mrad/h) after a dose of 208 Mrad. This exposure equates to ~2.4 to 4 yr in Savannah River Site tanks. Mercury fulminate decomposed in contact with high-alkalinity wet sludge. This study suggests that any mercury fulminate or closely related energetic species decomposed long ago if it ever formed in the tank farm.