238PuO2 Surface Contamination of Radioisotopic Heat Sources
Radioisotopic thermoelectric generators (RTG’s) employ the self-heating characteristic of decaying radioactive material (in this case, plutonium-238) to generate electricity. The highly radioactive fuel presents the disadvantage of requiring isolation to prevent environmental contamination. Isolation is achieved by sealed metallic containers which are inert to their environment; however, the exterior surfaces of the containers have been exposed to plutonium and must be cleaned to meet strict health physics requirements. Background information concerning the development of cleaning techniques will be presented. Some of the factors which must be considered are isolation of the parts from personal contact, self-heating of the items to be cleaned, and in most instances removal from an air environment while at elevated temperatures.
KeywordsHeat Source Exterior Surface Oxalic Acid Solution Acid Bath Grit Blast
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