|Summary of RMAL Operations|
Description of RMAL
The Radioactive Materials Analytical Laboratory (RMAL), Building 2026, was constructed in 1964 (additions added in 1966 and 1985) and provides 22,600 sq. ft. of laboratory and office space dedicated to the application of general analytical chemistry to radioactive materials. The facility is equipped with special containment and ventilation systems to handle high levels of radioactivity in hot cells (high gamma dose) and in glovebox systems (high levels of alpha). The facility is also designed to handle moderate and low levels of radioactivity in laboratories segregated from high contamination areas to mitigate cross contamination. The facility was recently upgraded to include a new radioactive liquid waste system that meets current regulatory requirements; the facility is fully equipped to handle the packaging and disposal of radioactive solid waste.
Hot Cells Operations
The hot cell bank includes six working cells (6' x 7' x 11') with 51" thick windows filled with concentrated zinc bromide which provides shielding for up to 1400 Ci of 60Co equivalent activity. One unloading cell located in the center of the cell bank is equipped with a 2-ton hoist and a 5-ton pneumatic lift for handling shielded carriers used to transport radioactive samples. In addition, a large storage cell (8' x 12' x 8') is located next to the loading cell and is designed to handle up to 25,000 Ci of 60Co equivalent activity of sample storage.
Two glovebox laboratories are
curently available for work involving high levels of alpha activity. One
glovebox laboratory is setup for the preparation samples for inorganic
and radiochemical measurements. The second laboratory is currently used
for the preparation of samples requiring organic measurements.
The RMAL analytical capabilities support a broad range of physical, inorganic, organic, and radiochemical methodologies required for testing and characterizing a wide range of samples from mixed-radioactive sludge from underground storage tanks to spent fuel from a nuclear reactor. The RMAL also provides analytical support to many projects and programs involved with environmental level of radionuclides and trace inorganic and organic contaminates. The facility is equipped with a variety of modern analytical instrumentation for the determination of metals, anions, organic compounds, radionuclides, and physical properties.
Major analytical instrumentation includes ICP-AES, GFAA, ICP-MS, ion chromatography, carbon analyzers and microwave dissolution systems for inorganic measurements, and GC-MS, GC-FID and GC-ECD for organic measurements. The RMAL includes a state-of-the-art counting room with advanced instrumentation for the measurement of gamma, alpha, beta, and neutron emitters. Recent additions to RMAL capabilities include advanced instrumentation for the measurement of rheological properties on highly radioactive sludge and sediment samples, particle size analysis, and for the determination of the bulk density on solid and semi-solid materials.
The RMAL has access to several in-house support laboratories for neutron activation analysis (NAA), surface characterization techniques such as SEM and XRF/XRD and SIMS, and an advanced mass spectrometry laboratory for both inorganic (elemental and molecular) and organic (simple molecular and biopolymer) measurements.