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)
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)
Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project
July 21: Staff at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment
Plant failed to perform a required surveillance before
generating X-rays using a Real Time Radiography unit.
After discovering the surveillance had not been
performed, the unit was shut down and placed in a
suspension mode, and a fact-finding meeting was
July 26: A radiological technician was working on a
piece of equipment at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment
Facility that had been locked and tagged out without the
property lockout/tag-out training. The shift supervisor
stopped the work and had the technician exit the area.
Work was allowed to resume after crew personnel were
briefed on the requirement that all personnel working
under the protection of a lockout/tagout must be
qualified and have a personal lock and tag installed. (EM-ID—BBWI-AMWTF-2010-0016).
Aug. 2: It was determined that changes in the
physical processes at the Drum Treatment Facility at the
Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project were not
incorporated into the computer software program at the
facility. Treatment of drums in the facility was placed
on hold and a management review was conducted to
determine what actions needed to be taken before
treatment needed could resume. (EM-ID—BBWI-AMWTF-2010-0017).
Waste Shipments: Eleven of 13 planned shipments of
contact-handled transuranic waste and three of three
remote-handled waste shipments were made from Idaho to
the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico for the
week ending July 24.
Idaho Cleanup Project
July 26: An operator tracing equipment at the
Integrated Waste Treatment Unit construction site
climbed above six feet off the floor without the
required fall protection. Another employee noticed the
problem and stopped work until the operator moved to a
safe location. Management was notified and a
fact-finding was held. (EM-ID—CWI-IWTU-2010-0007).
July 26: A test engineer working at the Integrated
Waste Treatment Unit construction site was working in an
area that was locked and tagged out without coordinating
with the electricians who had locked and tagged out the
system. The engineer stepped back when the lockout/tagout
sign was noticed and contacted the electricians to
assure it was safe to work in the area. (EM-ID—CWI-IWTU-2010-0006).
July 29: An operator at the Liquid Effluent Treatment
and Disposal facility discovered that about 50 gallons
of waste water leaked following the rupture of a disc in
a condenser in the facility. No radiological
contamination was detected, but the release of the waste
water to the environment was reported to the Idaho
Department of Environmental Quality. The source of the
leak was isolated and the leak was ultimately stopped. (EM-ID—CWI-LANDLORD-2010-0001).
Stabilizing Buried Waste: Both rigs at the in-situ
grouting project in the Subsurface Disposal Area were
operating last week. For the week ending July 25, the
project is 47 percent complete, with 1,034 holes
grouted. The goal of the project is to immobilize buried
radioactive constituents to protect the aquifer.
Idaho National Laboratory
July 20: An operator injured his elbow while moving a
grating at the Advanced Test Reactor canal. The injury
occurred in June, but was not fully diagnosed for a few
weeks. The operator eventually had outpatient surgery.
An accident investigation was initiated and a critique
July 21: At the Specific Manufacturing Capability
facility, technicians were performing routine
maintenance when the torch head they were adjusting
unexpectedly raised approximately eight inches to the
home position due to an inadvertent bump of a safety
light mounting bracket. Although there were no injuries
or facility damage, the torch head movement was
unexpected and not identified in the maintenance
procedure. The equipment was placed out of service
pending an inspection and evaluation.
July 22: Management at the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR)
noted data anomalies from the Wide Range Neutron Level
ion chamber. Specifically, the measured current from the
ion chamber was expected to level out at high voltage,
but did not. A critique was held and ATR engineering was
asked to perform a technical evaluation of the chamber.
July 27: The Advanced Test Reactor was shut down
following discovery of low oil pressure in one of the
two primary coolant pumps. The pump was secured at
temperatures well below acceptable levels and there was
no equipment damage. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2010-0013).
July 27: A DOE-Idaho facility representative
identified some administrative issues with an INL
lockout/tagout associated with the installation of a new
power line by a local utility at the North Boulevard
Annex. While no workers were ever in danger, it was
determined to report the event based on the need to
improve employee understanding and the need to document
the interface with a local utility through a procedure.
July 29: An electrician performing maintenance on
diesel firewater pumps at the Advanced Test Reactor
determined that one of the batteries for one of the
pumps was out of specification. The pump was declared
out of service and the battery was replaced.
July 29: A 55-gallon drum containing denatured
alcohol located at the Materials and Fuel Complex was
discovered to be bulging. Firefighters vented the drum
without incident. (NE-ID—BEA-MFC-2010-0004).
Four Decades of Energy Research: Idaho National
Laboratory scientist Robert Phipps has worked at the
Idaho laboratory for 40 years, his work contributing to
global knowledge about how nuclear fuels and materials
behave. From developing new examination techniques for
irradiated fuel rods to helping reduce the toxicity of
used fuel, Phipps has contributed to the progress of
nuclear energy in this country, and the world.
INL scientist Robert Phipps