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Systems and methods for harvesting and storing materials produced in a nuclear reactor

United States Patent

April 5, 2016
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
U.S. Department of Energy - Visit the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Technology Transfer & Intellectual Property Website
Systems produce desired isotopes through irradiation in nuclear reactor instrumentation tubes and deposit the same in a robust facility for immediate shipping, handling, and/or consumption. Irradiation targets are inserted and removed through inaccessible areas without plant shutdown and placed in the harvesting facility, such as a plurality of sealable and shipping-safe casks and/or canisters. Systems may connect various structures in a sealed manner to avoid release of dangerous or unwanted matter throughout the nuclear plant, and/or systems may also automatically decontaminate materials to be released. Useable casks or canisters can include plural barriers for containment that are temporarily and selectively removable with specially-configured paths inserted therein. Penetrations in the facilities may limit waste or pneumatic gas escape and allow the same to be removed from the systems without over-pressurization or leakage. Methods include processing irradiation targets through such systems and securely delivering them in such harvesting facilities.
Heinold; Mark R. (San Jose, CA), Dayal; Yogeshwar (San Jose, CA), Brittingham; Martin W. (Wilmington, NC)
GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas, LLC (Wilmington, NC)
13/ 709,725
December 10, 2012
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT This invention was made with Government support under contract number DE-FC52-09NA29626, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.