Restoration activity of the contamination accident at plutonium fuel research facility
Restoration Activity Team for the PFRF Contamination Incident
The contamination accident occurred in a laboratory room (Room No.108) of Plutonium Fuel Research Facility (PFRF) in Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA), Oarai Research and Development Institute on June 6, 2017. The polyvinyl chloride (PVC) bags burst just after the lid of one storage container was opened during the inspection of storage containers for U and Pu in the ventilation hood. At that time, part of nuclear materials in the storage container were scattered all over the room. Five workers in the room were subjected to plutonium contamination, which resulted in internal exposure. In order to restore the Room No.108 of PFRF, the Restoration Activity Team organized in JAEA carried out the decontamination work after the investigation of the contamination level in the room. The team decontaminated the surface of walls, ceiling, gloveboxes and other experimental instruments. Depending on the contamination distribution and installation state of the instruments, suitable decontamination methods were selected. In addition to the manual wiping using wet clothes, the exfoliation method using a strippable paint was applied for constricted areas. As a result, the loose alpha-contamination level fell below the detection limit throughout the room. On the other hand, the fixed contamination was covered with plastic sheets after the decontamination by a strippable paint. We hope that the restoration activity described in this report will provide useful information for the management of decommissioning facilities, especially for facilities treating alpha-radioactive materials such as plutonium.