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Encapsulation & Packaging

Field-Sealable Special Form Containers

Early in OSRP operational history, it was recognized that a method to qualify suspect or leaking sources as special form was needed. During a recovery in 1994, OSRP discovered a container, known as the SFC-7, which had been developed and patented by Radiation Service Organization, Inc. (RSO) in 1989. RSO had developed the SFC-7 to facilitate shipments of radium sources as special form in Type A packaging for disposal. Shipment as Type A allowed 200 times more Ra-226 activity to be packaged and transported in a single container. OSRP staff first used the SFC-7 in the field to encapsulate a Pu-238/Beryllium source, thus making it "special form".

As recovery work accelerated in the later 1990s, an increased need arose to field-qualify sources as special form. However, the size limitations of the SFC-7 restricted its usefulness. After discussions with the RSO, Inc., it was agreed that LANL would take on the task of expanding the original RSO design into a suite of SFCs that would be fabricated in various sizes to accommodate the size range and isotopic variation of sealed sources likely to be encountered by OSRP; and which could be easily used at off-site recovery locations.

Using the original concept from RSO, OSRP designed and fabricated several prototypes and tested them at LANL against the special form requirements in 49 CFR 173.469.

The materials intended for encapsulation by the LANL SFC are limited to metal clad sealed sources or leaking sealed sources containing dry solids. In general, use of the SFC by LANL will be for radioactive sources containing: Pu-238, Pu-239, Am-241, Np-237, Cm-244, and Ra-226. However, the potential radioactive contents of this capsule are limited only by the potential for pressurization of the capsule and/or the heat generated in the capsule by radioactive decay.

LANL/OSRP Special Form Containers

Model I

A Model I Special Form Capsule and its components

Model II

A Model II Special Form Capsule with components

Model III

A Model III Special Form Capsule and its components

(Four different sizes developed)

IAEA Certificate of Competent Authority No. USA/0696/S

IAEA Certificate of Competent Authority No. USA/0695/S


Placing a source into an SFC

Placing a recovered radioactive source into a field-sealable special form container. Once closed and sealed, the radioactive material becomes a special form source which eases transportation, storage and disposal.


For details on LANL SFCs, please read our reports; and for additional information contact OSRP staff at OSRP Group or call 505-667-5559 or 505-606-0362.


Multifunction Containers

OSRP has developed three variations of a multifunction container called a POC (Pipe Overpack Component) to satisfy requirements for U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) 7A Type A containers. These containers also qualify for use in the TRUPACT II overpack used to transport material to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, N.M. and serve as interim storage containers until disposition occurs.

Click for a larger view
Click for a larger view
Click for a larger view
S100 POC
12-Inch POC
S300 POC

IAEA Certificate of Competent Authority No. USA/9329/AF-96


Each POC incorporates neutron and/or gamma shielding to maintain radiation dose rates as low as possible. In addition, the containers:

  • Provide standardized packaging for transportation, storage, and disposition in one unit (hence the term: "Multi-Function").

  • Allow consolidation of a large number of sealed sources in a single drum to minimize volumes.

  • Are sized to address the physical needs of a wide variety of sealed sources.

  • Reduce operational dose to workers at every stage of recovery operation.


packaging sources in a multifunction container

A recovered radioactive source, enclosed in a plastic holder known as a "birdfeeder", is lowered into a multifunction container for packaging, transporting, and eventual disposition.

For more information regarding LANL POCs, contact OSRP staff at OSRP Group or call 1-877-676-1749.



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