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Highlights from 2008

[See previous year's highlights by clicking links at bottom of page.]


Georgia on My Mind

December 10, 2008 – OSRP participated in a workshop on “Radiological Source Security:  Sustaining Accountancy and Physical Protection Upgrades in Georgia” in Tbilisi, Georgia.  OSRP Presented a paper on OSRP’s international recovery efforts and moderated a session on “Radiological Materials and Security and Control in Georgia”  and two presentations on radiological sealed source management topics, presented a paper for GTRI on source security efforts in Georgia, and moderated a roundtable discussion on “Ways to Improve Sustainability of Radiological Sealed Sources Security Programs in Georgia.”

And Going Farther Afield...

December 10, 2008 – Last month OSRP participated in a GTRI Search and Secure Project mission in Nigeria, providing equipment and training to in-country personnel to detect radiological sealed sources and properly package and handle the sources from discovery location to secure storage.  OSRP also participated in similar Search and Secure mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo earlier this month.

Ecuadorian Rad Sites Get Expert Assistance

September 17, 2008 – OSRP and DOE/NA-21, met with the Director of the Ecuadorian Atomic Energy Commission (CEEA) and the Minister of Renewable Energy and Electricity in Quito to discuss the sustainability plan for the completed security enhancements at the radiological sites in Ecuador.  The team assessed security upgrades at two sites and collected data on disused sources for a future recovery mission.

The Kind of Numbers We Love

September 3, 2008 - Off-Site Source Recovery Project (OSRP) has recovered 2,228 sealed radioactive sources domestically to date in FY 08, or 99% of the 2,250 required to meet the FY 08 goal.  They have brought 792 sealed sources to LANL in FY 08, of which 696 or 88% are currently “ready for disposition.”  In addition, OSRP continues to work with NA-21 to develop an acceptable policy with respect to recovery of smaller beta/gamma-emitting sealed sources for which 36 states currently have no disposal options.

Finding it Where it Is

April 30, 2008 - An OSRP team visited southern California to package more than 400 disused sealed sources for recovery.  This and other recoveries will put OSRP very close to its goal for the year (2250 domestic sealed sources recovered).

The Source of All Knowledge, Knowledge of All Sources

April 30, 2008 - OSRP staff traveled to Vienna, Austria, to participate in a third consultancy to develop a revision and update to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) TECDOC-620, “Nature and Magnitude of the Problem of Spent Radiation Sources,” originally published in 1991.  The revision provides new insights into the problems associated with the post-9/11 management of sealed radioactive sources and supports IAEA’s program to improve sealed source management throughout the world, especially in developing countries.

Way, Way Off Site Source Recovery

April 23, 2008 - OSRP was tasked with two additional international recovery missions in Austria and Israel on short notice.  These activities were added to current recovery plans in Switzerland, Peru, and Nigeria.  OSRP has also been asked to support DOE/NA-21 Search and Secure missions.  These missions will include provision of radiological monitoring equipment, training, and placement of contracts for source inventories; OSRP staff will primarily be involved in training.

Off Site and Running

April 2, 2008 - The Off-Site Source Recovery Project (OSRP) got good news this week, they can proceed with planning for recovery and ultimate disposal of over 100 neutron sources registered as excess and unwanted but stranded due to restrictions on movement to LANL for ultimate disposal. OSRP received official concurrence from the Environmental Protection Division that sealed radioactive sources containing small quantities of lithium do not meet the criteria for treatment as hazardous/mixed waste.

Hot Stuff Heads Out

March 26, 2008 - OSRP shipped out two Sr-90 radiological thermal generators (RTGs), each RTG containing approximately 7,000 Ci current activity.  These were the last two RTGs stored at LANL by OSRP.

You Say “Gam-A-tor” I Say “Gam-MAH-tor”

March 26, 2008 - OSRP is moving forward on a project to deal with two recovered Gammator devices that contain leaking (or contaminated) high-activity Cs-137 sources.  The team will be working with a vendor to design and test an overpack to meet special form requirements and then move the devices in Type B containers to disposal as low-level waste.

Wasting Away in Arizona

March 19, 2008 - Global Threat Reduction (GTR) and OSRP had a highly successful week at the Waste Management Conference in Phoenix, AZ.  In addition to a technical presentation, the team spent the week coordinating current issues and needs with government officials, both existing and prospective vendors, and members of the international community active in sealed radioactive source management.  Of particular interest at this conference was the extensive international participation, allowing the GTR/OSRP to discuss multiple issues with members of the international community from Austria, South Africa, England, Germany, Tanzania, and Brazil who continue to work with OSRP in varied international source management efforts.

Brazil Climbs on the Source Recovery Bus

March 5, 2008 - The Off-Site Recovery Project (OSRP) welcomed a representative from Centro de Desenvolvimiento Technologia (CDTN), Brazil, to tour LANL facilities involved in its operations and discuss further joint cooperation.  In December, OSRP received U.S.-origin sealed sources packaged in Brazil as part of a joint IAEA/State Department/NNSA/CDTN project, including some Pu-239 sealed sources.

Packing Up the Nasties

March 5, 2008 - OSRP completed a disposal of Ra-226 sealed sources at the US Ecology site in Richland, WA.  Ra-226 sources have high dose rates and leak easily, so the team was required to develop special packaging configurations for both recovery and disposal.  Requests for assistance with this type of material, both domestically and internationally, are increasing.

OSRP Over the Top

February 13, 2008 - OSRP teams successfully packaged U.S.-origin sealed sources in Chile, Sweden, and Denmark in January.  The team in Chile packaged about 430 sealed sources, including about 50 gauge sources not on the original site inventory that were disassembled on-site. 

Feisty Sources Head to Commercial Site

February 6, 2008 - In December, OSRP packaged unwanted Radium-226 sources for disposal at a commercial disposal site.  The sources were packaged in concrete and will be shipped for disposition later this month.  Ra-226 and Ra/Beryllium sources are especially problematic in the licensed sector due to their high activity and tendency to leak (due to internal pressurization caused by gas buildup). Meanwhile, OSRP continues to work on domestic issues associated with characterization and disposal of other (non-transuranic) sources, which often have high dose rates. In December, the OSRP team worked with low-level waste certification officials to: assess an inventory of higher-activity Cs-137 and Cobalt-60 sealed sources, develop adequate characterization data, and begin profiling the waste for disposal.  OSRP has also been tasked with assisting some companies with disposal of unwanted Cs and Co sources due to the imminent closing of the major commercial low-level waste disposal site in the U.S.

Advice to the IAEA

February 6, 2008 - OSRP participated in an IAEA consultancy on the topic: "Meeting on the Nature and Magnitude of the Problem of Sealed Radioactive Sources."  OSRP also supported the consultancy by supplying data on U.S. production of materials for use in sealed sources, which he has been researching over the last year.  A follow-up meeting is expected this summer.

Post-Holiday Packaging a Lab-wide Effort

February 6, 2008 – In January, OSRP teams disassembled source-containing devices and packaged hundreds of U.S.-origin sealed sources in Chile, Denmark, and Sweden.  Repatriation of these sources back to the U.S. is requiring multilateral efforts from around the laboratory, including Customs, Material Accountability, Procurement, and Waste Management.

How Much Does "Boom" Cost?

February 6, 2008 - OSRP and LANL D-Division employees were in Washington, D.C. to brief the following agencies on a study conducted to develop a repeatable methodology for estimating economic impacts of RDD events.  Agencies briefed, in addition to NA-40, include the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Vice President, Department of Energy, and the Radiation Sources Sub-Group.

"Help" in So Many Languages

February 6, 2008 - OSRP recently received funding from the NA-21 Office of Global Threat Reduction to cooperate with colleagues at India's Indira Gandhi Center for Atomic Research to assess the inventory of problematic U.S.-origin sources in India.  OSRP is working with U.S. manufacturers to develop pathways for return of U.S.-made, source-containing devices that will then be disposed of by OSRP domestically.  OSRP has also been asked to respond to requests from Germany and Switzerland associated with repatriation of U.S.-origin sealed sources from those locations.

OSRP Goes Global

January 23, 2008 - Members of the Laboratory's Off-Site Source Recovery Project completed the first-ever repatriation of Pu-239 and Pu-238 sealed sources of U.S.-origin from Italy and Brazil.  Bringing the sources back was difficult due to federal regulations that prohibit air transport of the materials into the U.S.  OSRP teams this week are packaging hundreds of other U.S.-origin sealed sources and disassembling source-containing devices in Chile, Denmark, and Sweden; as well as answering requests from Germany and Switzerland for future repatriation of U.S.-origin sealed sources.

Feldman, Zarling Help IAEA with Source Study

January 23, 2008 - OSRP provided consultant services to the International Atomic Energy Agency recently on "The Nature and Magnitude of the Problem of Sealed Radioactive Sources." OSRP also supplied data on U.S. production of materials for use in sealed sources, which they have been researching over the last year.


Press Releases & News Clippings for 2008

LANL Releases

Local, Regional & National News Clippings

Government Reports & News


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