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
Oct. 12: During routine maintenance and testing of a
real-time radiography machine at the Advanced Mixed
Waste Treatment Facility, a stream of radiation was
detected coming out of the roof of the machine. The
machine was shut down until the cause of the stream can
be determined and corrected.
Waste Shipments: Nineteen shipments of
contact-handled transuranic waste were made from Idaho
to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico for the
week ending October 9, 2010. Seventeen of the shipments
contained exhumed waste from the Accelerated Retrieval
Project. Eighteen contact-handled transuranic waste
shipments and no remote-handled transuranic waste
shipments were scheduled for the week ending October 16,
Idaho Cleanup Project
Oct. 5: During the process of hanging a 7,800-pound
shield door at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit
construction site, the gantry crane and shield door
tipped over. No one was injured, but all work in the
area was stopped and a fact-finding meeting held to
determine the cause of the incident.
Buried Waste Exhumation: Progress continues on the
construction of two Accelerated Retrieval Project (ARP)
facilities located on the Subsurface Disposal Area. At
ARP-VI (Pit 4 West), the inner liner and false ceiling
installations continue and the main steel structure
installations and canopy installations are complete. At
ARP-VII (Pit 10 West), North Wind Services, LLC was
selected as the small business to procure and build the
ARP -VII Retrieval Enclosure and Air Lock building. At
ARP V (Pit 9), systems turnover to operations from
construction are continuing in preparation for the
contractor Management Self Assessment in November.
Targeted waste exhumations are scheduled to start
Idaho National Laboratory
Sept. 30: While riding in an elevator in the Engineering
and Research Office Building, a worker received a minor
shock from the elevator control panels. He notified
building management and an electrician found 110 volts
passing between the control panels. The elevator was
taken out of service, the cause of the current was
discovered and corrected. (NE-ID—BEA-STC-2010-0005).
Sept. 30: While preparing to fix an air leak on a seal
on the canal bulkhead for the spent nuclear fuel storage
canal at the Advanced Test Reactor, it was determined
that there may not be the appropriate seal in place
between the bellows and the fuel storage section of the
canal, as required by the current safety documentation.
An investigation was initiated into the situation, and
interim controls are in place to assure safety of the
Oct. 4: During training at the Radioactive Scrap and
Waste Facility, a crane was moved with its boom
extended, creating an unsafe condition. After noticing
this unsafe condition, the operator redeployed the
outriggers and the boom was retracted and lowered to the
approved movement height. Work in the area was halted
with the equipment in a safe position.
Oct. 7: It was discovered that a lab fume hood belt had
been improperly replaced in IF-657 without proper work
control documents and lockout/tagout. The fume hoods
were checked for proper flow and a critique was held.
Oct. 11: A worker suffered a mild shock while installing
new electrical equipment in the basement of the
Materials and Fuels Complex 752 building. Work was
stopped and an investigation into the cause of the shock
was conducted. (NE-ID—BEA-MFC-2010-0007).
Oct. 14: The failure of an
electronic breaker controller caused a coolant pump
breaker to trip open, resulting in a lower reactor
coolant flow and causing the Advanced Test Reactor to
automatically shut down. Established reactor shutdown
procedures were properly performed and the reactor was
verified to be in a safe condition. The cause of the
pump breaker trip is under investigation.
Oct. 14: An electrician at the Materials and Fuels
Complex commenced work on equipment without first
installing his personal lock and tag on the lockbox, a
violation of company procedure. No one was injured or
came in contact with energized circuits or equipment.
The work was stopped and notifications made to
appropriate management. (NE-ID—BEA-MFC-2010-0008).
3-D Research: The Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES)
is home to a new 3-D computer-assisted virtual
environment — or CAVETM — that allows
researchers to literally walk into their data and
examine it. Such a tool brings data to life, akin to
being able to feed blueprints into a computer and then
walk around the virtual house. CAES is the only facility
in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming with a CAVE of this kind.
Since its installation, the CAVE has been used by
scientists and engineers working on a variety of
projects, including storing carbon dioxide underground,
and by teams to train Advanced Test Reactor staff,
orient subcontractors, and consider new designs.
The Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls is the only facility in Montana, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming with a CAVE of this kind, which one team is using to map geographic information.