Review of chemical storage and handling protocols in the Environmental Radioactivity laboratories of



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3.4 Other recommendations


It is recommended that MSDS data sheets are obtained for all radioactive sources for which there is no current MSDS data sheet.

It is recommended that the solutions containing tritium stored in the Source Store fridge be transferred to glass containers with Teflon lined lids to ensure an adequate seal. This will prevent evaporation of tritiated water to ambient air through plastic container walls.

References


ARS 2008. Chloroform Phosgene SOP. 2008. Agricultural Research Service Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. University Park, Pennsylvania. Accessed on 29 September 2008, .

Bailey J, Blair D, Boada-Clista L, Marsick D, Quigley D, Simmons F & Whyte H 2004a. Management of time sensitive chemicals (I): Misconceptions leading to incidents. Chemical Health & Safety 11 (5), 14–17.

Bailey J, Blair D, Boada-Clista L, Marsick D, Quigley D, Simmons F & Whyte H 2004b. Management of time sensitive chemicals (II): Their identification, chemistry and management. Chemical Health & Safety 11 (5), 14–17.

Chemwatch 2008a. Material Safety Data Sheet: Chloroform. Chemwatch No. 1888. October 2008.

Chemwatch 2008b, Material Safety Data Sheet: Ultima Gold AB. Chemwatch No. 4955-35. October 2008.

Honeywell International 2008. Solvent stabilisation. 2008. Honeywell International, Morristown.. Accessed on 29 September 2008, http://www51.honeywell.com/sm/rlss/bandj/products-applications/solvents/solvents_stabilization.html?c=21.

Martin P & Hancock GJ 2004. Routine analysis of naturally occurring radionuclides in environmental samples by alpha-particle spectrometry. Supervising Scientist Report 180, Supervising Scientist, Darwin NT.

Power and Water Corporation 2004. Power And Water Corporation, Darwin Northern Territory. Accessed on 10 August 2009 at

Robinson R, Gutowski D & Yeniscavich W 2003. Control of red oil explosions in defense nuclear facilities. Technical Report DNFSB/TECH-33, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, Washington D.C. Washington.

Turk E 1998. Phosgene from chloroform. Chemical & engineering news 76 (9), 6.


Appendices

Appendix 1 Specific information for selected chemicals


Additional information about some specific chemicals is detailed here, and some recommendations for modification of current procedures relating to the storage and handling of these chemicals are given. Data has been taken from MSDS sheets, the Cameo and NOAA chemical reactivity database and Chemwatch. All information was up to date as of February 2009.

Acetic acid (glacial)


MSDS information indicates a possible incompatibility with xylene, in particular p-xylene, and acetone.

Acetone


Indications are acetone and chloroform may react violently in the presence of alkalis or in contact with an alkaline surface.

Ammonia


Mixtures of ammonia and air lying within the explosive limits can occur above aqueous solutions of varying strengths. Several incidents involving sudden ‘boiling’ (occasionally violent) of a concentrated solution (d, 0.880, 35 wt %.) have occurred when screw-capped winchesters are opened. These are attributable to supersaturation of the solution with gas caused by increases in temperature subsequent to preparation and bottling. The effect is particularly marked with winchesters filled in winter and opened in summer.

Ammonium persulfate


Avoid any contamination of this material as it is very reactive and any contamination is potentially hazardous. Stable when dry. In the presence of moisture, it decomposes slowly evolving oxygen and some ozone – keep in a dessicator.

DDTC


Refigerated storage is recommended, though not currently in practice. It was noted on the previous MSDS that refrigeration is recommended, however, an unsigned handwritten note indicates that this was considered unnecessary as the compound is stable under conditions of normal temperature and pressure.

Decon 90


Phosphates are susceptible to formation of highly toxic and flammable phosphine gas in the presence of strong reducing agents such as hydrides. Partial oxidation of phosphates by oxidising agents may result in the release of toxic phosphorus oxides.

It is recommended that refrigerated storage be undertaken in future due to potentially significant temperature variations during blackouts which are quite common during the wet season.

Hydrochloric acid


Forms toxic gases with dithiocarbamates and nitriles. The MSDS glove index for Hydrochloric acid indicates nitrile gloves are suitable, however.

Hydrogen peroxide


Contact with combustibles such as wood, paper, oil or finely divided metal may produce spontaneous combustion or violent decomposition. May emit irritating, poisonous or corrosive fumes. Avoid any contamination of this material as it is very reactive and any contamination is potentially hazardous

Ferric chloride


Avoid or control reaction with peroxides. All transition metal peroxides should be considered as potentially explosive. For example transition metal complexes of alkyl hydroperoxides may decompose explosively. Hydrolyses to HCl, and decomposes to HCl – should dilute only in a fume cupboard

Gallay Clean N Powder


Phosphates are susceptible to formation of highly toxic and flammable phosphine gas in the presence of strong reducing agents such as hydrides. Partial oxidation of phosphates by oxidizing agents may result in the release of toxic phosphorus oxides.

Mercurisorb (silver nitrate)


Silver or silver salts readily form explosive silver fulminate in the presence of both nitric acid and ethanol. The resulting fulminate is much more sensitive and a more powerful detonator than mercuric fulminate. Silver and its compounds and salts may also form explosive compounds in the presence of acetylene and nitromethane. Avoid any contamination of this material as it is very reactive and any contamination is potentially hazardous. Avoid or control reaction with peroxides. All transition metal peroxides should be considered as potentially explosive.

Millipore chlorine tablets


Material contains oxidising agent/organic peroxide. Oxygen provided makes fire fierce and self sustaining. Smothering action may not be effective for established fire. Intense heat may cause spontaneous decomposition (detonation). Due to possibility of reignition, extinguished residues must be thoroughly cooled before approaching. Avoid any contamination of this material as it is very reactive and any contamination is potentially hazardous. Cecomposes to chlorine gas. This material is used regularly in the maintenance of the pure water system. This material is not currently stored in a fume cupboard or safety cabinet as this is not a specific requirement and there are no other chemicals of this type requiring storage.

It is recommended that an additional outer container is provided to minimise any chances of spillage or contamination of the Millipore Chlorine tablets.

Nitromethane


Forms shock-sensitive mixture with amines, compounds formed with alkalis are explosive when dry. Do not trap between closed valves or use positive-displacement pumps to discharge nitromethane. Mixtures containing nitromethane and both amines and heavy metal oxides may explode spontaneously. This is used solely for the preparation of quench standards for the Liquid Scintillation Counter (LSC).

It is recommended that standards prepared with Nitromethane are not held for long-term storage, also due to the low usage it is recommended that this chemical is integrated into a time-management framework.

Perchloric acid


Heating may cause expansion or decomposition leading to violent rupture of containers. Heat affected containers remain hazardous. Avoid any contamination of this material as it is very reactive and any contamination is potentially hazardous. Forms incompatible sometimes explosive mixtures with powdered carbon, aqua regia and nitric acid. With concentrated sulfuric acid a violent explosion can occur unless effective cooling is used. NOTE: May develop pressure in containers; open carefully. Vent periodically. Many of the reported explosions involving perchlorate may result its ability to form unstable perchlorate esters or salts of the anhydrous acid – DO NOT allow to dry out. This chemical is used very little in the Radiochemistry laboratory and holding times should be carefully monitored and reduced if possible. It is currently stored in a fume cupboard with both concentrated Nitric and Sulfuric acids. Compatibility testing indicates storage of these chemicals together is suitable.

Phosphoric acid


Forms explosive mixtures with nitromethane.

It is recommended to prevent Phosphoric acid and nitromethane from being stored in the same area (ie a fume cupboard or cabinet) a label is placed on new containers of both chemicals to indicate that they should never be stored in the same area or handled at the same time.

Potassium permanganate


Avoid any contamination of this material as it is very reactive and any contamination is potentially hazardous. This chemical is used in small quantities for gross alpha/beta analysis by LSC. Permanganates may reacts violently when exposed to sulfuric acid or hydrogen peroxide. May form explosive compounds with ammonium compounds, cellulosics (such as cotton, paper or the filter papers commonly used by EnRad).

It is recommended that, due to low usage, this Potassium permanganate is integrated into a time-management framework.
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