DOE-Idaho Operations Summary

DOE-ID Bi-Weekly Summary
For the Period Sept. 1 to Sept. 14, 2009

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a regular summary of operations at DOE’s Idaho Site. It has been compiled in response to a request from stakeholders for more information on health, safety and environmental incidents at DOE facilities in Idaho. It also includes a brief summary of accomplishments at the laboratory. The report is broken down by contractor: Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project (AMWTP), Idaho Cleanup Project (ICP) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL). This summary will be sent to everyone on INL’s regular news release distribution list every other week. To be added to this distribution list, please call Brad Bugger at (208) 526-0833.

Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project

Sept. 3: During interior painting at WMF-1604 at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project, it was determined that a technician removed electrical receptacle covers and switch plates without proper safeguards. The plates were reinstalled and a fact-finding meeting held. (EM-ID-BBWI-AMWTF-2009-0013). 

Operational Summary

Waste shipments: Sixteen shipments of contact-handled transuranic waste were made from Idaho to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico the week ending Sept. 12, 2009. Through Sept. 6, 2009, a cumulative total of 718 cubic meters of mixed low-level waste has been shipped to licensed disposal sites in Tennessee and Utah. In addition, the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project, using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, shipped over 503 cubic meters of low-level waste offsite for disposal, completing the campaign approximately seven weeks ahead of schedule.  

Idaho Cleanup Project

Sept. 14: While doing decontamination and dismantlement work at the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center, it was determined that boxes of waste material generated during this process contained significant amounts of “accountable material” (potentially fissionable nuclear material). However, it was later determined that the amount of material present in the waste boxes was covered by the existing safety analysis for the facility, and there were no criticality (nuclear reaction) concerns associated with this activity. (EM-ID—CWI-BIC-2009-0005).   

Operational Summary

Buried Waste Remediation: The U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Idaho have jointly released a planning document that specifies how DOE and its contractor will continue to clean up buried waste at DOE’s Idaho Site. The plan discusses ongoing retrieval of targeted waste in three existing pits, and how a fourth area will be added to the remediation work. People interested in the work plan can access it at or by visiting the DOE Reading Room of the INL Technical Library in Idaho Falls, or at Albertsons Library on the Boise State University campus.   

Idaho National Laboratory

Sept. 1: An employee at the Specific Manufacturing Capability project temporarily modified a piece of equipment that was still electrically charged without following the appropriate work control processes. All activity on the equipment was stopped and the equipment was placed in a safe condition. A critique was held. (NE-ID—BEA-SMC-2009-0010).

Sept. 3: During nuclear fuel processing activities at the Materials and Fuels Complex, it was determined that a required safety surveillance was performed on the wrong fuel assembly. Technicians recognized the error and performed the surveillance after the fuel processing had already begun. The results of the second survey showed the material being processed was within the safety limits for the operation. (NE-ID—BEA-FCF-2009-0002).

Sept. 3: During a quality inspection at the Materials and Fuels Complex, a number of suspected counterfeit/suspect fasteners were discovered in a piece of equipment and in storage. The fasteners in the equipment were removed and replaced with the correct fasteners. All other suspect fasteners were segregated for disposal. (NE-ID—BEA-MFC-2009-0003).

Operational Summary

Non-Proliferation Work: The Idaho National Laboratory has provided leadership and technical assistance to convert all United States university research reactors for which there is a qualified low-enriched uranium fuel, from using highly-enriched uranium fuel, which could theoretically be diverted for weapons use, to low-enriched fuel. The most recent successful conversion occurred at the University of Wisconsin, which was the culmination of a nearly two-year process.



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Last updated January 08, 2010

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