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Gamma-Ray Irradiation and Contact with High-Alkalinity Sludge: Stability Studies of Mercury Fulminate

F. F. Fondeur, W. R. Wilmarth, T. B. Peters, S. D. Fink

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.

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