Atomic Snapshots: TRUPACT-II

On display at a roadside park in Arco, ID, at the Idaho Science Center, is a TRUPACT-II (Transuranic Package Transporter Model 2) container.

Each stainless steel TRUPACT-II is approximately eight feet in diameter, 10 feet high, and constructed with leaktight inner and outer containment vessels. The TRUPACT-II can hold up to 14 fifty-five gallon waste drums, two standard waste boxes (63 cubic feet capacity each), or one 10-drum overpack (a container designed to provide additional protection for older, deteriorating drums).

On August 23, 2002, a shipment of contact-handled transuranic waste consisting of two TRUPACT-II containers, each containing 14 waste drums, was assembled at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex (RWMC) on the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEEL), and transported to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico for long-term storage.

On August 25, 2002, just prior to arriving at WIPP, the shipment was involved in a vehicle accident. During the shipment receipt process at WIPP, sampling of the radiological assessment filter (RAF) on shipping container TRUPACT-II 157 (one of the two containers) indicated airborne alpha-contamination of the inner containment vessel (ICV). Consequently, on August 29, 2002, TRUPACT-II 157 was returned to the INEEL to perform recovery and examination of the payload. No external radiation was detected, as the container worked as designed.

The park also displays the sail of the USS Hawkbill (SSN-666) or Devil Boat (otherwise called the “Submarine in the Desert”).

These outdoor displays are part of a tribute to Arco, Idaho’s long association with Idaho National Laboratory, the Navy, and the nuclear fleet in particular.

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