Dismantlement of the U.S. W48 Nuclear Warheads

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Abstract

The United States Department of Energy Pantex Plant serves as the nation's only assembly and disassembly facility for the nuclear weapons stockpile. There were more than 300 W48 Artillery Fired Atomic Projectile nuclear warheads dismantled between May 1995 and April 1996 at the U.S. DOE Pantex Plant. There was no removable alpha contamination detected during this dismantlement period. The dismantlement of the W48 nuclear warheads necessitated only thc mitigation of external radiation exposure. The radiological protection measures implemented for the W48 program included lead aprons, lead lined gloves, and shielded fixtures. These radiological protection measures were attributed for maintaining all exposures to personnel As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) and less than the Pantex Plant Administrative Control Levels of 1,000 mrem (10msv) total equivalent dose effective whole body and 10,000 (100mSv) extremities. The U.S. DOE Pantex Plant continues to serve and secure the national security of the United States by performing safe dismantlements of the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile in a manner that protects the health and safety of employees, the public, and the environment.

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