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WIPP - Glossary of Transport Terms

    Alpha Particle
    Relatively large, positively charged particles which are easily stopped by a piece of paper or your skin, but which are extremely dangerous if swallowed or inhaled.

    Contact - Handled Transuranic Waste (CH-TRU)
    Has a radiation dose rate on the container surface of 200 millirem per hour or less and can be handled without special equipment.

    Criticality Event
    A self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction which releases instantaneous radiation. Occurs when a large enough amount of fissile materials are brought together.

    To put in position as in emplacing the RH-TRU Canisters horizontally in the waste room walls.

    Fissile Material
    Made up of heavy atoms that are able to be split by low-energy neutrons (for example, uranium 235 and plutonium 239); This splitting or breaking apart releases large amount of energy and one or more neutrons; the released neutrons can go on to split other atoms.

    Gamma Radiation
    Electromagnetic radiation similar to light or x-rays, but much more energetic. Requires lead or concrete shielding.

    A particle with no electrical charge. Can pass through concrete and lead.

    Measure of the accumulation of radioactivity received over a period of time: related to the amount of damage caused to living tissue.

    Remote - Handled Transuranic Waste (RH-TRU)
    Has a radiation dose rate on the container surface higher than 200 millirem per hour and must be heavily shielded with lead for handling. The radiation dose of most RH-TRU is below 100 rem per hour but the external gamma dose rate of some RH-TRU waste is as high as 30,000 rem per hour. No RH-TRU at WIPP can have a surface dose rate above 1000 rem per hour and only 5% can be above 100 rem per hour.

    Transuranic Waste
    Waste contaminated by elements heavier than uranium (primarily plutonium) with half-lives greater than 20 years and concentrations more than 100 nano-curies per gram of waste; all transuranics are man-made alpha-emitters.