Cost-benefit analysis of unfired PuO/sub 2/ pellets as an alternative plutonium shipping form
A limited cost-benefit evaluation was performed concerning use of unfired plutonium dioxide pellets as a shipping form. Two specific processing operations are required for this use, one to form the pellet (pelletizing) and a second to reconstitute an acceptable powder upon receipt (reconstitution). The direct costs for the pelletizing operation are approximately $208,000 for equipment and its installation and $122 per kg of plutonium processed (based upon a 20-kg plutonium/day facility). The
... y facility). The direct costs for reconstitution are approximately $90,000 for equipment and its installation and $81 per kg of plutonium processed. The indirect cost considered was personnel exposure from these operations. Whole body exposures ranged from 0.04 man-rem per 100 kg of low-exposure plutonium reconstituted to 0.9 man-rem per 100 kg of averageexposure plutonium pelletized. Hand exposures were much higher--17 man-rem per 100 kg of low-exposure plutonium reconstituted to 67 man-rem per 100 kg of average plutonium pelletized. The principal benefit is a potential twentyfold reduction of airborne release in the event of an accident. An experimental plan is outlined to fill the data gaps uncovered during this study in the areas of pelletizing and reconstitution process parameters and pellet response behavior to accident-generated stresses. A study to enhance the containment potential of the inner packaging used during shipment is also outlined.