Glossary

ALARA.  Acronym for As Low As Reasonably Achievable.  It is an operating principle and regulatory requirement for all radiation safety programs.

Anhydrous.  A substance that contains no water.

Aqueous. Dissolved in water.

Autoclave.  A vessel or container in which special conditions, usually either pressure or temperature, can be established. The first autoclaves were used for sterilization.  The DUF6 Project uses large autoclaves to heat and sublime material from solid to gas.

BWCS.  BWXT Conversion Services, LLC, the contractor operating the DUF6 Project for the Department of Energy.

CON. The Conversion phase of the DUF6 process.

Cylinder.  The stainless steel container used to store DUF6. Most are 10 or 14 feet in length and four feet high.

Depleted uranium.  Called DU, it is the uranium that remains after the enrichment of natural uranium.  It has approximately twice the density of lead.  DU contains a remainder of about three-tenths of one percent of U-235, the isotope that enrichment increases.  Most depleted uranium is stored as uranium hexafluoride, known as DUF6.

DIW.  Deionized water, which is purified water that has had its mineral ions removed.

DOE.  U.S. Department of Energy.

DSA.  Documented Safety Analysis.

DUF6. Uranium hexafluoride. DUF6 is low in radioactivity but is chemically corrosive.

EIS. Environmental Impact Statement.

GDP. Gaseous Diffusion Plant.  The gaseous diffusion plants in Paducah, KY, Portsmouth, OH, and Oak Ridge, TN enriched uranium for national security and commercial use starting in the mid-50’s.  Only the plant in Paducah is still operating.  The DUF6 stored in cylinders at Paducah and Portsmouth (Piketon) is a byproduct of uranium enrichment.

HEELS. The residual material left in cylinders when they have been emptied of DUF6 gas. The heels are neutralized by KOH.

HF.  Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is a solution of hydrogen fluoride in water. It is an important source of fluorine and is the precursor to numerous pharmaceuticals and diverse materials such as Teflon.  HF is one of two products produced by the CON process.

HFR.  Hydrofluoric acid recovery system.

KOH. Potassium hydroxide, an alkaline neutralizing agent.

Lexington.  The corporate and administrative office of BWCS.

Nuclear safety culture.  A phrase with a specific meaning inside the nuclear industry, relating to specific and clear procedures and programs and worker culture, and their implementation, to be sure that people and the environment are safe.

Off-gas.  The evaporation of other compounds from the conversion process.

OPH. Oxide Powder Handling, the phase of the conversion process wherein the oxide moves to and from the hopper into the recycled cylinders.

Oxide.  U3O8, the uranium compound that results from the conversion process, which is returned to cylinders after processing.

Paducah. The western Kentucky site of the DUF6 conversion plant.  Paducah is also the site of the Department of Energy gaseous diffusion plant.

PEIS.  Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, which assesses the environmental, social and economic impacts of a program or development.

Piketon.  The location of the southern Ohio DUF6 conversion plant site.

Portsmouth.  The larger site in southern Ohio where the former USEC gaseous diffusion plant (now closed) is located.

PPPO. The Department of Energy’s Portsmouth Paducah Project Office, which oversees environmental management at the Portsmouth and Paducah reservation sites.

Quality Assurance.  The systematic, rigorous monitoring  and evaluation of materials, parts and other aspects of a process, project or facility, to be sure that specified standards are being met.

RCRA. Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the primary federal law regulating the disposal of solid or hazardous waste.

Scrubber.  A system that removes particulates or gases from an industrial exhaust stream.

Surveillance.  The monitoring of a behavior, system or activity where information is not constant and is subject to change.

U3O8.  Uranium oxide.

UO2. Uranium dioxide.

VAP. The vaporization (subliming to gas) stage of the conversion process.