January 2, 1951 letter from Raymond L. Murray to Clifford K. Beck
January 2, 1951
North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering
University of North Carolina
January 2, 1951
FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Dr. Clifford K. Beck, Head
Department of Physics
N. C. State College
Dear Dr. Beck,
During recent trip to Oak Ridge, I spent a couple of hours talking
I. Hoods: gas disposal
with various people and inspecting the X-10 Laboratories. Mr. Emlet and
Mr. Cardwell introduced me to the assistant to the Head Engineer and to some
of the supervisors of particular research and development groups.
Most of the radioactive work is done in hoods rather than dry boxes,
although the latter are gaining favor. There are two ventilating sys-
tems: (a) that for low activity hoods, in which possibly radioactive
gases are blown up a stack local to the building.
(b) That for reaction vessels (the "off-gas" system) in higher
activity isotope preparation and research. This goes to a precipitron
(Trion) and in turn to a stack. The gas from the surrounding hood is
again blown to a stack.
Two drainage systems distinguish the strongly active and weakly active
waste solutions. The former goes to the pile canal system, which uses
sand filters in conjunction with evaporators. Back washing at periodic
intervals cleanses the sand. Tank forms are used to store active con-
centrate, with concrete tanks buried in restricted zones. The latter
is fed in after the filtration. In some hoods, there are two levels of
the floor, the "semi-hot," built up above the level of the "hot."
For low level hoods, only glass is used; for higher level, lead bricks
are piled in front of the working equipment with corners knocked out
to admit controls, auxiliary lines, etc.; for very high levels the lead
(6") is permanent, with narrow vertical slots every so often, filled with
bricks, but leaving access. Remote manipulators are not used extensively
except in the packaging of isotopes, where mirrors and gear-control
mechanisms operate behind a high, thick lead wall.
The most effective hood is the all stainless-steel type made by Kewaunee
(see Nucleonics, June 1950) in conjunction with ORNL tests. It has a
50-100 ft/sec face velocity, with openings near the front, blower in
back at top.
FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Movies were taken of smoke trends with different designs, until this was
II. Comments on U.C.R.L. Health Chemistry
evolved. It is quite expensive - around $2,000, including blower. An experi-
mental model hood consisted of an angle iron frame, covered with plastic-filled
chicken screen and sprayed with white paint (this was called "cocoon"). As such,
it was much lest costly than the stainless steel type. Other reputable commercial
vendors are Sheldon and Brown-Morse.
After learning of our needs and budget, the ORNL people strongly recommended that
we visit or have visit Nels Garden of the University of California Radiation
laboratory. In his Health Chemical Laboratory, he makes use of simple improvised
equipment, and adopts a philosophy of never letting radioactive material contaminate
As examples of his techniques, the following were mentioned:
III. Miscellaneous Items and Ideas
- 1. Wooden frames, plywood covered for dry boxes. Used instead of hoods.
- 2. Bulk filter material bought and installed locally. Blower fans simple
type, need not be decontaminated
- 3. Tygon tubing, heat treated, accordian pleated for use as seal on remote
- 4. Second-hand boiler for evaporation and concentration of active wastes.
- 5. Emergency holding tank with various outlets. (Has never been used in
2 yrs., which indicates the care used in handling material.)
- 1. Air Meza Corporation makes precipitators in sections; can buy one, two, or
as many as needed.
- 2. Substitute for hard-to-get stainless steel Amerkote (vinyl resin)
Headquarters in California. Parent Co. is American Concrete Pipe Co.; branch
- 3. Closed vacuum system for draining solutions from one system to another.
- 4. ORNL looking into low carbon steel as a substitute for stainless.
- 5. Chemical Warfare Service gas filters are effective, may be readily obtained.
Arthur D. Little filters remove 99+% particulate matter.
- 6. In design of hoods, space should be left for adding more filters as desired.
- 7. Dry boxes made by S. Blickman, Weehawken, N. J. are inexpensive.
- 8. Prints are available at ORNL Engineering Section on various equipment.
Raymond L. Murray