US 3659108 A
Described herein are collapsible, floatable, submergible and towable containers having walls with penetration resistant layers for the ocean transportation and submerged storage or disposal of corrosive chemicals and radioactive materials.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Quase 1451 Apr. 25, 1972  COLLAPSIBLE FLOATABLE  References Cited SUBMERGIBLE AND TOWABLE UNlTED STATES PATENTS CONTAINERS WITH RESISTANT 2,795,257 6/1957 Cunningham ..244/l35 B X LAYERS 3,135,751 /1965 Sutton ..250/s PS X 7 Inventor: Harold Carson Quase, Potomac, Md 3,510,142 Erke l /.5
 Assignee: Underwater Storage, Inc., Washington, OREIG ENTS 0R APPLICATIONS 625,555 8/1961 Canada ..25o/1os rs  Filed: Feb. 7, 1969 Primary Examiner-Archie R. Borchelt  APPI'NO': 797600 Attorney-Littlepage,Quaintance,Wray& Aisenberg  US. Cl. ..250/l08 FS, 220/8, 250/106 R ABSTRACT  lnt.Cl. ..G21i1/12,G21f3/0O Described herein are cona psible, tloatable, submerg1ble and  Field of Search "250/106" 108 m8 towable containers having walls with penetration resistant layers for the ocean transportation and submerged storage or disposal of corrosive chemicals and radioactive materials.
15 Claims, 11 Drawing Figures PATENTED APR 2 5 I972 SHEET 1 BF 2 I III I INVENTOR HAROLD G. QUASE iff/[0,003 Qzain/ance, w/(y 1460/2507 ATTUR N I'IYS COLLAPSIBLE FLOATABLE SUBMERGIBLE AND TOWABLE CONTAINERS WITI-IRESISTANT LAYERS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Underwater storage systems have been described in I-Iarold G. Quase US. Pat. No. 3,114,384 issued Dec. 17, 1963, No. 3,1 55,280 issued Nov. 3, 1964, and No. 3,187,793 issued June 8, 1965. No satisfactory containers have been available for the submerged storage of corrosive chemicals or radioactive materials.
Radioactive materials have been disposed of at sea and have been stored primarily in thick concrete shielded containers. Since the concrete containers are rigid, a serious problem of rupture is present when radioactive materials are stored within the containers underwater or are disposed of in the containers in great depths of water. The types and effects of radioactivity from radioactive materials is well known. The chief types of radiation are alpha, beta and gamma rays. Both alpha andzbeta rays are stopped by relatively thin layers of most materials. Gamma rays, which are similar to X-rays, have greater penetrating ability. Consequently, special material or great thicknesses of ordinary materials must be employed to prevent the dangerous radiation of gamma rays.
While it is relatively easy to prevent radiations of alpha and beta rays, the use of rigid materials for subsurface storage or disposal creates an extra problem of rupture. While the alpha and beta rays do not travel far, the dispersal of the radioactive material as well as the irradiation of immediately adjacent and unconfined material causes a serious environmental hazard if a container ruptures under water.
The subsurface storage and disposal of radioactive materials in large bodies of water requires that much preparation be made. Since the materials to be stored or disposed of must be carefully packed, cumbersome packaging equipment is necessary. One common mode of storage lies in suspending the radioactive materials within 50 gallon drums and filling the drums with concrete. The careful handling and centering of the materials must be accomplished through the use of complex machinery or in time consuming steps.
Some methods of storing radioactive materials require the use of large thick walled boxes with small central cavities to receive the materials. In other devices, air is continually evacuated from a chamber which surrounds the chamber in which radioactive materials are being stored. In each of these cases, the containers take up a great deal of space whether full or empty, and voids which are inherent with the containers cause problems when the containers are to be stored under many atmospheres of pressure.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides collapsible, floatable, submergible and towable containers with resistant layers for the storage of radioactive materials and corrosive chemicals, such as sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid and hydrofluoric acid. The radioactive materials or chemicals are fluid or fluidized, and the collapsed containers are filled with the materials either in their raw form or mixed with other noncorrosive or non radioactive particles, radiation absorbing particles or liquids. The materials are then flowed into the collapsed containers, and the volume of the containers increases as the materials fill the containers. Consequently, the internal volume of the containers is never larger than the volume of the materials contained therein. Therefore, there are no voids in the containers which would create danger of rupture under increased external pressure. Filled containers may be stored in a minimum amount of space. Moreover, empty containers which are ready for the receiving of radioactive materials may be stored p-na lead or lead particles are used as the resistant material. Lead may be cladded to interior or exterior walls of a multiple telescoping wall container, such as shown in Harold G. Quase US. Pat. No. 3,114,468, issued Dec. 17, 1963. Preferably lead particles are formed in a flexible sheet, which in turn forms the enclosure wall of a container. The flexible sheet may serve as the unitary wall, or layers which provide additional desirable qualities of imperrneability or rupture strength may be bonded to the surface of the particle filled sheet.
One objective of this invention is the provision of collapsible, floatable and submergible storage containers having coextensive with and contiguous to surfaces thereof layers of resistant materials which are suitable to resist attack from corrosive environments or stored materials and which prevent or reduce penetration through the walls of radiations from radioactive materials.
This invention has as another objective a provision of flexible containers for the submerged storage of radioactive materials and corrosive chemicals, which containers have walls with layers of flexible sheets impregnated with penetration resistant particles.
Another objective of this invention is the provision of submergible containers having lead-particle-containing elastomeric walls.
A further objective of this invention is the provision of collapsible rigid containers having lead linings.
These and further objectives of this invention will be apparent from this disclosure which includes the specification, claims and drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a section view of a collapsible lead lined rigid wall section tank in expanded position.
FIGS. 2 A and B are details of wall laminations of the sections.
FIG. 3 is a sectional view showing the tank of FIG. 1 in collapsed position.
FIGS. 4 and 5 are details of the tank construction.
FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a flexible wall tank having an anchoring means at the basethereof.
FIG. 7 is a partially cut away sectional view of the flexible wall container of FIG. 6, showing the laminated wall constructron.
FIG. 8 is a detail of the anchoring means and sealing means for the tank shown in FIG. 6.
FIG. 9 is the perspective view of another embodiment of a flexible wall container.
FIG. 10 is a sectional detail of the container of FIG. 9 taken along line 10l0 and showing the lamination of the flexible container wall.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Referring to FIG. I, a collapsible container is shown in fully extended form. Container 1 is made up of a series of telescopically arranged elements 2, 3, 4 and 5. Lower section 2 has a base wall 7 attached thereto and upper section 5 has a top wall 9. Near base wall 7 in section 2 is a fluid inlet 12 which may be used to pump fluid into the collapsed container or to withdraw fluidized material therefrom. Inlet 14 in the upper wall serves the same function. Access opening 16 in the upper wall permits access to the interior of the container, and cover 18 seals the access opening. In a preferred embodiment of the invention for underwater storage of corrosive materials, the interior walls 20 are constructed of lead about one-eighth inch thick. The exterior walls are constructed of steel which is about oneeighth inch thick. As shown at points 26, the lead coating surrounds all of the joints to form a continuous lead barrier. The interior of cover 18 is also coated with lead in continuation of the barrier.
In a detail shown in FIG. 2 A, which is preferred for the underwater storage of radioactive materials, the interior wall 28 is made of fli-inch thick steel, and the exterior wall 29 is constructed of lead. In the modified embodiment shown in FIG. 2 B, an interior lead layer 30 is placed on steel wall 32 and both walls have bonded thereto continuous plastic coatings.
In the collapsed view shown in FIG. 3, it is noted that beads 34 are provided near the bottom inner edges of sections 2, 3 and 4 to restrict the degree to which container 1 may collapse.
FIG. 4 shows in detail a detent apparatus 36 which holds the container expanded, once the elements have been moved to their fully expanded position.
FIG. 5 shows a detail of a magnetic ring 38 which may be added to insure the sealed relationship between expanded container elements. Alternatively, the O-rings 39 shown in FIG. 4 may be used to effect the seal.
In FIG. 6 a container having a flexible upper portion 40 and a lower sealing and anchoring portion 42 is shown. As shown in detail in the partial cross section of FIG. 7, the container is constructed by laminating two or more layers of material. The bag is sealed as shown in the detail of FIG. 8 by drawing the two angle pieces 42 toward each other after having first trapped the edges of the sheet material therebetween.
Angle pieces 42 are provided with holes for anchor means, such as shown and described in Quase U.S. Pat. No. 3,155,280.
Large access openings 48 are provided in longitudinal ends of flexible container 40 for inspecting, cleaning, filling or emptying the container. Conventional naval port or hatch covers, seals and locks are employed. Conventional quick-coupling hose connections are provided at one end of container 40. Hose 41 is connected near the top of container 40 to provide vent means which may be attached permanently to container 40 or which may be detached from the container after it has been filled. Hose 43 is attached near the bottom of the container for filling or emptying it. Couplings are preferably of a conventional tap type whereby inserting a hose opens the access and turning the hose a fraction of a revolution causes a fluid tight, locked connection.
In a filling operation, hoses 41 and 43 are attached to the container. Fluid is passed through tube 43 to the container, and air or residual gas is exhausted through hose 41. After filling, hose 43 may be detached and vent hose 4] may be detached or left attached according to the nature of the stored product or the need for sampling any gas associated therewith. When it is desired to empty container 40, hoses 41 and 43 are attached and gas is pumped through hose 41 driving the heavier stored fluid through hose 43.
Flexible wall container 50 shown in FIG. 9 has access openings 52 in each end. Vent hose 51 is connected to the top of container 50 and filling and emptying hose 53 is connected to the bottom of the container. Alternatively, hose 53 may be connected to the top of container 50 and extend to the bottom of the container. Access opening 52 and hoses 51 and 53 are constructed similarly to their respective counterparts 48, 41 and 43 of container 40 shown in FIGS. 6 and 7.
Tank 58, which is shown in FIG. 10, is exemplary of floodable and evacuable tanks which may be attached to opposite edges of container 50 to control its submerging and floating. The tank is flooded through hose 59, and is blown down through hose 57 to raise container 50.
In FIG. 7 it is shown that container 40 is formed of an inner layer of lead impregnated material 45 and an outer neoprene or rubber sheet 47. In FIG. 10 tank 50 is constructed ofa lead particle filled layer 54, which is surrounded by outer and inner rubber layers 56. Alternatively, either of the flexible containers may be made of multiple elastomeric layers or of a single lead or other metal particle-filled sheet without other layers.
A useful flexible radiation penetration resistant sheet for use in the container shown in FIGS. 6 and 9 is described in Weinberger U.S. Pat. No. 3,239,669, issued Mar. 8, 1966. Lead powder, a substantial portion of which passes through a 200 mesh screen, of about 99.9 percent purity, is produced by atomization. Ninety-eight percent by weight lead powder is combined with 1 percent silicon rubber and /&-1 percent fiber flock of materials, such as wool, cotton, rayon, or other synthetic extruded fibers, such as polyethylene, nylon or the like. Preferably, for purposes of shielding radioactive waste, the sheet is from about one-eighth to one-half inch thick, depending on the amount and type of radiation which is sought to be prevented. This material adheres very strongly to metal and may be used in place of the lead coating described in the previous embodiments. For flexible wall containers, such as shown in FIGS. 6 and 9, it is preferable to bond strength-giving and impermeability-providing layers to inner or outer walls or both of the lead powder filled sheet.
Another useful embodiment for a barrier sheet is described in Sutton U.S. Pat. No. 3,185,751, issued May 25, 1965. One hundred parts by weight of natural rubber latex or polychloroprene latex having about 50 percent solids content are combined with 500 parts by weight aqueous lead dispersion with about 88 percent solids by weight, 1 percent antioxidant and 1 percent stabilizing agent. Self supported sheets may be formed by dipping a thin rubber sheet in the compounded latex-containing lead, or the compounded latex may be spread on sheets for drying. A coating of organic polymeric material, such as natural rubber, polychloroprene, polyacrylonitrile or butyl rubber, may be added by further dipping or by spreading on the first coating. A suitable lead filled sheet is described in Hollands U.S. Pat. No. 3,052,799, issued Sept. 4, 1962. Lead particles are dispersed in pliable vinyl resinous compounds or copolymers of the vinyl compounds. Vinyl overlays on either side of the material may be secured by electronic sealing of all of the edges, or by bonding the layers together.
Another suitable lead filled sheet is described in Zirkle et al. U.S. Pat. No. 2,796,411, issued June 18, 1957, and in Silversher U.S. Pat. No. 2,928,948, issued Mar. 15, I960. Boron compounds or boron, cadmium or lithium may be impregnated in elastomeric or plastic material to prevent the penetration of slow and fast neutron radiations. Borax, boric acid, boric anhydride, boron carbide or similar boron compounds may be dispersed in resins or powdered metals may be dispersed in plastic resin.
Useful resins for the incorporation of metal powders and compounds are polyolefins, typified by polyethylene and polypropylene, and plasticized vinyls, typified by polyvinyl chloride and polyvinyl chloride-acetate. Natural or synthetic rubber is particularly useful.
In a preferred embodiment, a relatively thick sheet of metal powder impregnated material is coated on both sides by a relatively thin coating of elastomeric material.
Various modifications and embodiments of the method and apparatus of the present invention are apparent from the disclosure. While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
That which is claimed is:
1. A collapsible floatable and submergible storage container for storing corrosive or radioactive material and having a con tinuous and collapsible enclosure wall, opening means defined in the continuous enclosure wall, and the enclosure wall having corrosionor radioactivity-resistant material coextensive therewith, the resistant material comprising at least one member selected from the group consisting of lead, boron, cadmium, lithium and a compound of one of the foregoing.
2. The collapsible floatable submergible container of claim 1 wherein the resistant material comprises lead.
3. The collapsible floatable and submergible container of claim 1 wherein the resistant material comprises a boron compound.
4. Radioactivity shielding apparatus comprising a collapsible radioactive material container having a continuous enclosure wall, inlet and outlet opening means defined in the continuous enclosure wall in completion of the enclosure wall, and radiation penetration limiting material coextensive with the enclosure wall and the inlet and outlet means, thereby limiting passage of penetrating radiation from radioactive material through the enclosure wall.
5. The radioactivity shielding apparatus of claim 4 wherein the continuous enclosure wall comprises a series of telescopically assembled cylindrical wall elements, an inner wall element having affixed at one end thereof a first terminal wall, and an outer wall element having affixed at one end thereof remote from the first terminal wall a second terminal wall, the cylindrical wall elements and the terminal walls having lead linings coextensive therewith, the lead lining of the cylindrical wall elements being positioned in overlapping relationship.
6. The radioactivity shielding apparatus of claim 5 wherein inner end edges of the cylindrical wall elements are lined with lead.
7. The radioactivity shielding apparatus of claim 6 wherein the series of telescopically assembled wall elements comprises inwardly and upwardly sloped wall elements and wherein the first terminal wall comprises a top, and wherein the second terminal wall comprises a base.
8. The radioactivity shielding apparatus of claim 4 wherein the continuous enclosure wall comprises a first flexible material, and wherein the radiation penetration limiting material rm u comprises a second flexible material contiguous to and coextensive with the first material.
9. The radioactivity shielding apparatus of claim 8 wherein the first material comprises an outer rubber-like layer and an inner plastic layer and wherein the second material is laminated between the outer and inner layers.
10. The radioactivity shielding apparatus of claim 9 further comprising a woven material laminated between the inner layer and the radiation penetration limiting material.
11. The radioactivity shielding apparatus of claim 8 wherein the radiation limiting material comprises a lead particle filled flexible material.
12. The radioactivity shielding apparatus of claim 8 wherein the radiation penetration limiting material comprises a boron compound filled polymeric material.
13. A container according to claim 1, the enclosure wall of which is flexible.
14. A container according to claim 13, the resistant mate rial of which is in the form of a flexible sheet.
15. Apparatus according to claim 8 wherein the continuous enclosure wall and the radiation penetration limiting material are both entirely flexible.