May 7, 1956 letter from J. H. Lampe to Dr. Raymond L. Murray, with enclosure
I have just read
written to the Chancellor. I would appreciate your giving me
a report in the very near future of all the special nuclear
material on this Campus for which you, as acting director of
the nuclear reactor, must account for. I would also like to
have a statement from you which would cover all the uranium
fuels that have come to
used in the reactor.
I would appreciate very much your doing this so that my detailed
knowledge of this situation will be accurate. I am sure the
Chancellor would also like to have this information.
letter contains some comments and suggestions which I think you
should reply to and work out procedures regarding the fuels so
that we can be assured that all necessary regulations, licenses,
etc., are in our hands and we are in the boundaries of regula-
tons. I will indeed appreciate your help in this matter.
Dean of Engineering
Dr. F. P. Pike
This is in response to your transmittal to the Committee of a
copy of your letter of April 24 to
tained to the reporting on special nuclear material.
Unfortunately, the Committee has none of the information
necessary for reporting on special nuclear material. Especially
it does not have the information, and has not been able to obtain
it, concerning the loss of enriched uranium consequent to the
various Reactor leaks. You are referred to past correspondence
from the Committee in this regard.
It appears certain that some enriched uranium (special nuclear
material) has been lost on this campus, with most of it going
range from 10 milligrams to 50 grams. The recent NCSC-132 re-
accounted for by an estimated material balance. However, I
emphasize that the basis for the 8 gram estimate has never been
revealed and is questionable. Further, the way events have
occurred, it is no longer practical and perhaps not possible to
find out how much was lost, mainly because an indeterminate amount
has been buried in
this loss. The Committee has no information on what has been
reported to the
I feel that neither the Committee, nor anyone else, will want
to assume the responsibility for an indeterminate amount of en—
riched uranium with such a clouded history.
Under the circumstances, I suggest that the most appropriate
actions are as follows:
1. That the Chancellor have Dr. C. K. Beck complete the reports
to the AEC for the period of time up to the formal transfer of
responsibility on the AEC records. These reports should be
transmitted by the Chancellor in the near future.
Incidentally, there are several categories of special
nuclear material on this campus ,
most important. For instance, there is an 80 gm enriched
uranium foil used for neutron experiments and some enriched
uranium in fission counters.
2. That the Chancellor obtain from Dr. C. K. Beck the past re—
cords, including reports to the AEC, on special nuclear material,
and the license to possess a utilization facility (nuclear reactor).
The license can and quite possibly does, contain special AEC re-
quirements on the reporting, handling and transfer of the special
nuclear material used for fuel, beyond or in substitution for the
normal regulations spelled out in the Code of Federal Regulations.
3. That the total amount of unaccaounted-for uranium be determined
by the AEC, before formal transfer of responsibility is made on
this campus. The problem of the unaccounted-for uranium will have
to be faced sometime, and it is far better that it be done now.
Recall that the unaccounted-for uranium consists of either uranium
lost on this Campus or uranium that was buried (or lost) in Oak
Ridge. Quite possibly this distribution will never be determined.
The total amount of unaccounted-for fuel uranium can be determined
rather readily by shipping back to Oak Ridge for measurement all
(or part) of the various waste amounts here. Presumably the
amount already shipped to Oak Ridge has been measured or could
readily be measured.
We do have two sealed and unopened bottles of uranium fuel solution
which are reported to contain 150.47 grams U-235. Instead of
shipping the sealed batches back for verification, we might well
accept their stated compositions. In that case, the amount to
be shipped is quite small. The original total amount (999 grams)
minus the amount already in Oak Ridge that can be accounted for
(not buried), minus the amount in our wastes to be shipped, minus
the 150.47 grams in sealed containers will accurately define the
total amount unaccounted-for.
May 4, 1956
4. That the formal transfer on the AEC records of responsibility
on this campus for special nuclear material (or at least, for the
fuel uranium) await the clarification of the total amount involved.
5. That the Acting Director of the Reactor apply to the Coramittee
on Safety and Health for permission to acquire and use special
nuclear material, one application for each distinct lot. This
would treat special nuclear material as any other radioisotope
from a Safety and Health point of view, as required by our Campus
Regulations, and as it should be.
The Committee could then grant permission, with the specifications
that it be kept properly informed. What this means could be agreed
upon by conference with the Chancellor.