Programmatic operations at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Plutonium Facility (TA-55) involve working with various amounts of plutonium and other highly toxic, alpha-emitting materials. The spread of radiological contamination on surfaces, airborne contamination, and excursions of contaminants into the operator’s breathing zone are controlled through the radiological protection program. A key element of this program is the proper selection of protective clothing. Re-useable, launderable protective clothing has been the standard for several decades. Over the years, radioactive waste disposal costs have increased and disposal options have become more limited. This has prompted the development of single-use, dissolvable protective clothing. Single-use, dissolvable protective clothing is under evaluation as a replacement for launderable woven textile garments at TA-55. We examined re-useable, launderable and single-use, dissolvable protective clothing, addressed management issues (residual contamination, cost, environmental footprint, quality assurance), and waste minimization benefits. Replacement of launderable garments with single-use, dissolvable protective clothing improves the safety configuration of TA-55 by reducing LLW waste generation.

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