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Cylinder Surveillance and Maintenance

DOE has a Cylinder Management program in place to inspect and maintain depleted UF6 cylinders, and to improve their storage conditions.


Since 1990, DOE has conducted a program of cylinder inspections, recoatings, and relocations to assure that depleted UF6 is safely stored pending its ultimate disposition. The program has so far been largely focused on the ongoing surveillance and maintenance of the cylinders containing depleted UF6.

In 1995, the Department began an aggressive program to better manage the aging depleted UF6 cylinders. In part, this program responded to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) Recommendation 95-1, Safety of Cylinders Containing Depleted Uranium, which DOE fully accepted. Included were more rigorous and frequent inspections, painting and refurbishing of cylinders, and construction of concrete-pad cylinder yards. The results of the analysis in the PEIS indicated that continued cylinder storage is safe if the current surveillance and maintenance activities are continued. The Cylinder Management program's implementation has been successful, and as a result, on December 16, 1999, the DNFSB closed out Recommendation 95-1.

Surveillance and Maintenance Program Duration

It will take decades to convert the depleted UF6 in the inventory to a more stable chemical form. As a result, the Department intends to continue surveillance and maintenance of the depleted UF6 cylinders currently in storage.

Surveillance and Maintenance Program Activities

The day to day management of the depleted UF6 cylinders includes actions designed to cost effectively improve their storage conditions, such as:

  • Performing regular inspections and general maintenance of cylinders and storage yards;
  • Restacking and respacing the cylinders to improve drainage and to allow for more thorough inspections;
  • Repainting ends of skirted cylinders and repainting cylinder bodies as needed to arrest corrosion; and
  • Constructing new concrete cylinder storage yards and reconditioning existing yards from gravel to concrete to improve storage conditions.
Depleted UF6 Cylinder Inspection
Cylinder Wall Thickness Measuring
Cylinder Vacuum
A cylinder yard worker vacuums debris from the skirt of a depleted uranium hexafluoride storage cylinder.

Skirted ends of DUF6
The skirted ends of depleted uranium hexafluoride
cylinders after being painted to arrest corrosion.

For More Information

More information about cylinders and cylinder storage is available under "Depleted UF6 Storage."