1946-09-23 REPORT NO. 8 – EXPERIMENTAL WORK AT SAN FRANCISCO NAVAL SHIPYARD

Citation: OPERATION CROSSROADS, RADIOLOGICAL DECONTAMINATION OF TARGET AND NON- TARGET VESSELS Part 2 pp. 48-55

REPORT NO. 8 – EXPERIMENTAL WORK AT SAN FRANCISCO NAVAL SHIPYARD
Work on Monday, 23 September 1946:

USS BENEVOLENCE: Setting up of an acid mixing tank on the main deck ana the hookup Of the evaporators so that all six effects will be completely filled with circulating acid was accomplished during the day. The tank was set up on the main deck to simplify operations and keep the evaporator room from getting cluttered up with acid barrels, etc. Where the Yard felt it necessary, sections of piping removed from the evaporators were kept and new pipes substituted. “Hot*’ valves were dipped in a two normal solution of Hydrochloric Acid on the main deck. The valves showed some radioactivity after ten to twenty minutes of such treatment but were declared safe for work by X31 provided there was sufficient ventilation for anyone working on them.

The Salt Water systems of the BENEVOLENCE and HENRICO which had been flushed with fresh water Saturday and Sunday were given their final monitoring during the day. No change was observed from the previous readings, even though some lines had 12 hours of flushing. This flushing experiment was disappointing since previous observations had indicated that the scrubbing action from rapid flow water tended to dislodge foreign matter in which radioactive particles were concentrated.’

USS LAFFEY and USS BOTTINEAU: Today the monitors selected the necessary lengths of piping for the tests described in the Seventh Report (a), (b) and (c). The piping lengths for (a) and (b) were assembled on the main deck of the USS LAFFEY and readied for the tests. The samples required for (c) (to go to Dr. Scott for lab assay) were cut and given to the monitors for delivery.

USS BARTON: The line leading from the sea chest to the fire and bilge pump was disconnected and a line added to the first cutout valve on the lire and bilge pump. This line, when run up to a tank on the main deck, will be used to completely fill the salt water system of the USS BARTON with a pH 6 solution.

US S HENRIQUE: The laboratory assay of the precipitation of foreign matter In the acid from the USS HENRICO is under way, and will be finished tomorrow.

The extensive job of preparing the evaporators of the HENRICO for an acid flushing tomorrow was pushed all day, and will be pushed with three shifts until the job is finished. This vessel, along with the BENEVOLENCE, must be out of the YARD by 0800 Thursday morning.

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25 SEPTEMBER 1946 – INVESTIGATION OF RADIOACTIVITY OF VESSELS FROM BIKINI, at the San
Francisco Naval Shipyard.

Tuesday, 24 September:

Today progress was made in the decontamination of the evaporators of both the USS HENRICO and USS BENEVOLENCE. The evaporator cleaning of the BENEVOLENCE has been delayed by work on brine lines, overhaul of nine valves, and repair of a condensate cooler. Aboard the USS HENRICO acid circulation of the #2 evaporator was begun at 1500 and the #1 evaporator at 1550. A preliminary circulation of 80 gallons of acid was done at night before and scoured at 0300 when a leak in the evaporator feed line developed. Circulation continued through the night; the evaporators will be filled with soda ash and flushed today. On the BENEVOLENCE, the #1 evaporator was filled with soda ash and flushed by 163G. Readings by the monitors show that the evaporator is ready. The #2 evaporator, which had a preliminary circulation the night, before, had circulation restored at about 1500, but due to pump failure after an hour of circulation and another line break at .1730, circulation through this evaporator was not up to schedule. Circulation continued all night. The #3 evaporator was drained of flushing water at approximately 1600 and circulation of acid begun.

On the USS LAFFEY, the steam-shock treatment of copper nickel and steel firemains was accomplished in the morning. The method was very effective in removing marine growth, cleaning the steel pipe completely and the copper nickel pipe almost completely, one small portion of growth still adhered. Monitor’s readings (to be reported separately) indicated this system to be effective on this small length (10 ft.) section. A solution of pH 6 solution was mixed aboard the USS LAFFEY and a number of valves from the USS BOTTINEAU put in and checked at intervals through the night. The tests with boiler compound and fresh water (circulating and standing) on copper nickel and steel pipe were run. The compound was circulated for 30 minutes and no appreciable change in readings was found, which indicates the ineffectiveness of the solution. The sections which were left to stand will be opened after 24 hours for a check.

On the USS BARTON a mixing tank was set up on the Midship Deckhouse and the line which was connected to the fire and bilge pump yesterday was led up to tide tank. Due to a shortage of chemists, preparation of the pH solution which is to stand in the lines was not accomplished. Due to the low readings in the salt water system of this vessel, the procedure will, if successful, demonstrate only the effectiveness of pH in removing small amounts of radioactivity in a complete salt water system. In order to get significant data it was necessary to drop 12

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[Page 50]

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[Page 51]

26 September 1946.
Wednesday, 25 September 1946:

Today saw the completion of the work on the evaporators of the USS BENEVOLENCE AND USS HENRICO. Evaporator #2 on the USS BENEVOLENCE which had acid circulation started at 1500 on 24 September was stopped at 0200 today, given a soda ash circulation and flushed. Evaporator #3 of the JSS BENEVOLENCE, on which acid circulation was begun at 0100 this morning, was stopped at 1115, given soda ash circulation and flushed. On the HENRICO, acid circulation through the 2nd and 3rd effects was stopped at 0330 today and continued in the 1st effect until 0800 this morning. The #2 Evaporator (all three effects) had acid circulation until 0930 this morning. Evaporators #1 and #2 on the HENRICO were given soda ash treatment and flushed.

On the USS BARTON, pH solution was added to the firemains ginning at 2300.

Aboard the USS LAFFEY, 10 valves from the LAFFEY and BOTTINEAU were removed from their pH bath at 1600 and monitored. These valves showed maximum reduction in radioactivity in the first hour. A summary of monitor readings will be reported separately. The circulating tests with boiler compound and fresh and salt water through copper nickel and steel piping were completed and monitored. An additional test involving the circulation of boiler compound and fresh water for four hours has been decided upon and will be run tomorrow.

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[Page 52]

SAN FRANCISCO NAVAL SHIPYARD
San Francisco 24, Calif.
26 September 1946

Rear Admiral T. A. Solberg, US* T
Code 180, Bureau of Ships
Navy Department,
Washington. D. C.

Dear Admiral Solberg:

Speedletter serial 1381 of 24 September was received, and all concerned here were highly pleased with its contents.

My trip to Seattle was most beneficial, as I was able to clear up many points. Upon my arrival aboard the USS BAYFIELD, I encountered trouble trying to inspect the evaporators. The evaporator room was locked under orders were issued to the effect that no one was permitted to enter. It seems that Lieutenant Shallow (monitor) issued instructions that the evaporator room was contaminated. The reason for his action was made upon arrival aboard the BAYFIELD, two tube nests were removed from the shelves and the crew had mechanically cleaned them.

It appears that the BAYFIELD was only in Bikini five days subsequent to the Baker test and was not monitored prior to her departure. The Commanding Officer was not aware of the radiological situation. After explaining the situation we were able to reassemble the evaporators and the work of circulating muriatic acid was undertaken.

All necessary personnel precautions were taken while reassembling the evaporators. I also suggested to the Captain that the men who did the mechanical scaling of the BAYFIELD evaporators be given blood counts find urinalyses tests for a period of a month and report the situation to Captain Walsh.

While in the 13th Naval District conferences were held with Commodore Thompson, Admired Christy and Admiral Ford who appeared to be well satisfied with my bringing them up to date on the entire situation.

I returned to San Francisco Naval Shipyard late Tuesday afternoon. Commander Shirley left the morning aboard the USS CKICKASKIA to demonstrate and explain the procedure for circulating acid through their evaporator system. He expects to return late this evening, and will leave for Pearl Sunday night.

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The USS HENRICO and USS BENEVOLENCE have been cleared and they are leaving San Francisco Naval Shipyard early this morning.

I am forwarding the progress of the experimental work at San Francisco Naval Shipyard, I might add that the interest and enthusiasm shown by the San Francisco Naval Shipyard has been most gratifying.

I will probably leave San Francisco Naval Shipyard Monday, stopping at Terminal Island Naval Shipyard enroute to Washington and unless ‘otherwise directed will return to Washington by the end of the month.

Respectfully yours,
W. S. MAXWELL

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27 September 1946
Thursday, 26 September 1946:

Decontamination experiments in the Yard were reduced to two with the completion of the HENRICO and the BENEVOLENCE the day before. The two remaining experiments are the circulation of boiler compound and fresh water for four hours through copper nickel and steel pipe, and the standing test of pH solution in the salt water system of the BARTON. The boiler compound solution was circulated today for four hours (from 9:30 to 1:30) through the two types of pipe which were connected together for the experiment. Monitors readings will be reported separately. Filling of the BARTON’s salt water system with pH, begun the previous evening, was completed at 0400 this morning. Lines were checked to be sure there were no leaks. After 72 hours the system will be drained and monitored.

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[Page 55]

Code No. (200)

SAN FRANCISCO NAVAL SHIPYARD San Francisco, 24, Calif.
28 September 1946

MEMORANDUM TO: Rear Admiral T. A. Solberg, USN (Code 180, BuShips)
Subject Tests Conducted in response to directives on DesDiv 71 – USS HENRICO and USS BENEVOLENCE.

  1. The enclosures present in chronological order directives and tests conducted at San Francisco Naval Shipyard on units named in the subject.
  2. These data are forwarded as originally compiled and represent our preliminary draft. Due to the urgency of getting the data to you we have not held up for smoothing out. The final draft will be in a smooth form.

C. J. CATER
Captain, USN
Planning Officer

Ends:

(A) General Reports and information of Progress of Experimental Work.
(B) Laboratory Reports of Experimental Work.

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