Uranium Carbide Fuel Pilot


The Uranium Carbide (UC) fuel manufacturing pilot plant was a small scale production facility built to study the operations associated with manufacturing reactor fuel assemblies out of uranium carbide.

Building 4005 housed a small scale pilot plant where uranium oxide was reacted with graphite to convert it to uranium carbide. The uranium carbide was then cast into pellets, machined to the proper dimensions, and assembled into cladding tubes to make fuel assemblies. Initial operations used depleted uranium to check out the equipment. Then enriched uranium was used to make fuel assemblies for use at another AEC facility. Operations were completed in 1967 after approximately nine months.

Building Cleanup

All equipment and fuel associated with the UC Pilot Plant was removed after operations ceased in 1967. Decontamination efforts in the late 1970s involved removal of the underground radioactive liquid holdup tanks outside the building. The drain lines from the buildings were capped and left in place. The drain lines were removed during another decontamination effort in 1987.

A characterization survey was performed by Rocketdyne in 1987. This survey confirmed that residual contamination remained in ventilation systems and drain lines. These were removed in 1993 and a final survey performed by Rocketdyne. Final D&D was also documented in 1993. Both the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) and the California Department of Health Services (DHS) performed verification surveys in 1994 and the DHS subsequently released the facility for unrestricted use in March 1995. Building 4005 was demolished in 1996.

Historical Site Assessment - 4005