Fire suppression systems for transuranic (TRU) waste facilities are designed to minimize radioactive material release to the public and to facility employees in the event of a fire. Currently, facilities with Department of Transportation (DOT) 7A drums filled with TRU waste follow guidelines that assume a fraction of the drums experience lid ejection in case of a fire. This lid loss is assumed to result in significant TRU waste material from the drum experiencing an unconfined burn during the fire, and fire suppression systems are thus designed to respond and mitigate potential radioactive material release. However, recent preliminary tests where the standard lid filters of 7A drums were replaced with a UT-9424S filter suggest that the drums could retain their lid if equipped with this filter. The retention of the drum lid could thus result in a very different airborne release fraction (ARF) of a 7A drum’s contents when exposed to a pool fire than what is assumed in current safety basis documents. This potentially different ARF is currently unknown because, while studies have been performed in the past to quantify ARF for 7A drums in a fire, no comprehensive measurements have been performed for drums equipped with a UT-9424S filter. If the ARF is lower than what is currently assumed, it could change the way TRU waste facilities operate. Sandia National Laboratories has thus developed a set of tests and techniques to help determine an ARF value for 7A drums filled with TRU waste and equipped with a UT-9424S filter when exposed to the hypothetical accident conditions (HAC) of a 30-minute hydrocarbon pool fire. In this multi-phase test series, SNL has accomplished the following: (1) performed a thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) on various combustible materials typically found in 7A drums in order to identify a conservative load for 7A drums in a pool fire; (2) performed a 30-minute pool fire test to (a) determine if lid ejection is possible under extreme conditions despite the UT-9424S filter, and (b) to measure key parameters in order to replicate the fire environment using a radiant heat setup; and (3) designed a radiant heat setup to demonstrate capability of reproducing the fire environment with a system that would facilitate measurements of ARF. This manuscript thus discusses the techniques, approach, and unique capabilities SNL has developed to help determine an ARF value for DOT 7A drums exposed to a 30-minute fully engulfing pool fire while equipped with a UT-9424S filter on the drum lid.

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