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Monday, July 14, 2014
Temperature estimates of breached LANL waste drums at WIPP
Based on the photographic evidence3 of the color of the steel on the breached LANL drum, a small area of the drum reached a minimum temperature of 340°C4. The maximum surface temperature of the drum is bounded by the critical temperature of low-carbon steel5,6 (700-870°C)7 due to the apparent lack of structural deformation on the site of the discoloration. The immediately adjacent drums do not show signs of radiant heat damage that would exceed 230°C, the auto ignition temperature of paper8. The damage to container gaskets, polypropylene backfill bags, shrink wrap, and slip sheets indicate a room wide temperature sufficient to cause the polymers in these items to flow or melt without burning which will happen at approximately 170°C9. Based solely on the photographic information it appears that some surfaces on the LANL drum may have reached temperatures of up to 700-870°C10 and the waste in a large portion of the room reached temperatures up to 170°C11 to 230°C12. The evaluation that follows is based on this temperature range.
By scooby at July 14, 2014
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