National Nuclear Security Administration

Improvement for uranium storage increases safety, efficiency

April 25, 2017

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Team members at Y-12 National Security Complex successfully packaged and moved the first rackable can storage box, greatly improving efficiency and safety.

A team at the Y-12 National Security Complex recently packaged and transferred the first rackable can storage box (RCSB) from Building 9204-2E to the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility (HEUMF). This is part of NNSA’s on-going efforts to enable operators to more efficiently package enriched uranium materials removed from dismantled weapons and transfer them directly to HEUMF for long-term storage.

Previously, storage cans of material were placed inside a drum and shipped to HEUMF. There, each can was removed from the drum and placed into a six-position RCSB for long-term storage. The empty drums were then sent back to 9204-2E for use in the next transfer.

In this improved process, each can is directly loaded into one of the six storage positions of an RCSB. Once the RCSB is loaded with six cans, it is sealed and shipped to HEUMF where it is placed directly into a rack for long-term storage.

These improvements enhance efficiency by requiring less handling of containers, resulting in faster movement of materials into long-term storage and improved personnel safety.

HEUMF is a major accomplishment for Y‑12, which has earned national and international recognition as the nation’s Uranium Center of Excellence. When the adjacent Uranium Processing Facility is complete and operational, the two facilities will house most of the operations required to support our nation’s uranium storage and weapons components manufacturing missions.