Improvement for Uranium Storage Increases Safety, Efficiency

A team at the Energy Department’s Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, recently packaged and transferred the first rackable can storage box from Building 9204-2E to the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility.


This is part of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s ongoing efforts to enable operators to more efficiently package enriched uranium materials removed from dismantled weapons and transfer them directly to the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility for long-term storage.


Previously, storage cans of material were placed inside a drum and shipped to the facility. There, each can was removed from the drum and placed into a six-position rackable can storage box 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 a rackable can storage box. Once the box is loaded with six cans, it is sealed and shipped to the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility 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.


The Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility is a major accomplishment for Y12, 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.