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Models for the Safe Storage of Dry and Wet Fissile Oxides

C. L. Schuske, S. J. Altschuler

Nuclear Technology / Volume 19 / Number 2 / Pages 84-95

August 1973


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A model has been developed for calculating critically safe storage arrays of cylindrical vessels containing water/fissile oxide mixtures of PuO2 (96% 239Pu and 4% 240Pu) or UO2 (93.4% 235U and 6.6% 238U). It was assumed that these arrays were in air surrounded by a 12-in.-thick concrete vault. This model uses the concepts of surface density and unit surface-to-volume ratio to define safe array parameters. The model handles fissile densities ranging from that of the theoretical crystal down to ∼1kg/liter and containers whose shapes range from 300-cm-high thin cylinders to flat slab-shaped containers. Correction factors for dry oxide storage at various densities have also been developed for the cases where water can be prevented from entering the oxide containers. A considerably greater weight of oxide can be stored when water can be precluded. The effect of several inches of water on the concrete floor lowers keff ∼3%. (The units are assumed to be at least 12 in. above the floor.)

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