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Adapting Intumescent Coatings as Incombustible Fixatives to Address Safety Basis Requirements


The objective of this FIU-SRNL collaborative research effort is to address a high priority operational and safety requirement highlighted by the Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board (DNFSB) and SRS site personnel to support D&D risk reduction activities for the SRS 235-F PuFF facility. A review of Basis for Interim Operations (BIOs) across the DOE EM Complex outline contingency scenarios involving a potential release of residual radioactive contamination resulting from thermal (fire) and seismic stressors.


  • Addresses a high priority requirement identified by DNFSB and SRS personnel
  • Potential for broader applications to satisfy BIO and safety basis requirements across the entire DOE EM Complex
  • Provides a cost-effective COTS fire retardant platform for immobilization of radioactive contamination requiring minimal research investment relative to potential deployment


Bench-scale testing by FIU and SRNL confirmed the IC technology’s superior fire retardant qualities, as well as its ability to perform in adverse environmental conditions. Overall adaptability as an incombustible fixative capable of enhancing a facility’s posture against certain fire contingencies was proven.

Fire resistant qualities of intumescent coatings (middle)
Fire resistant qualities of intumescent coatings (middle) compared to existing industry fixatives (left and right)

A full-scale cold demo at FIU’s Hot Cell Test Bed facility successfully demonstrated the coating technology could be applied under real world operational constraints and conditions.

The evaluation process resulted in the development and promulgation of two international ASTM standards on fixative technologies, and identified a path forward to support the potential updating of relevant DOE guidance documents and handbooks.

FY18 Hot Demo and Way Ahead

  • A radiologically hot demonstration is currently being planned for FY18 that will entail the application of a select IC technology in cells 6/7 in the SRS 235-F PuFF facility and on other identified contaminated areas elsewhere at SRS.
  • In conjunction with this hot demo, the release of plutonium (Pu) material is also being characterized during thermal stress to quantify potential release fractions from the coated contaminated substrate, which is directly applicable to safety basis concerns from the DOE-HDBK-3010.
  • This material is currently being considered as an end state solution for residual Pu hold up to aid in mitigating anticipated residual contamination for the SRS 235-F hot cell plutonium hold-up remediation project, currently ongoing.
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