DOE-Idaho Operations Summary

DOE-ID Bi-Weekly Summary
For the Period December 20 to January 10, 2011

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

Nothing to report.     

Operational Summary

Waste Shipments: As of Jan. 1, 2011, a total of 34,587 cubic meters of contact-handled transuranic waste, 96.37 cubic meters of remote-handled transuranic waste, and 3,744 cubic meters of previously-buried transuranic waste have been shipped from Idaho to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico for disposal.   

Idaho Cleanup Project

Nothing to report. 

Operational Summary

Waste Exhumation: Cleanup crews with CH2M-WG Idaho, the main cleanup contractor at the Department of Energy’s Idaho Site, began digging into Pit 9 recently as part of a campaign that is expected to exhume 500 cubic meters of radioactive and hazardous waste during the next 18 months. For a brief history of “Pit 9,” go to 

Idaho National Laboratory

Dec. 20: While moving a high bay crane over to pick up a hatch at the Fuel Conditioning Facility, a grease gun that had been left on top of the crane gear box fell from the crane and landed a short distance from an operations technician. Work was stopped, management was notified of the event and it was verified that there were no other items left on the crane that could be a hazard. (NE-ID—BEA-FCF-2010-0002).

Dec. 21: While monitoring operations at the Advanced Test Reactor, an operator noted that water flow through an instrumentation transmitter was less than required. The indicator system was declared inoperable and compensatory measures were taken. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2010-0026).
Dec. 23: While performing maintenance on a vacuum system in a radiation area at the Analytical Laboratory, a radiation monitor alarmed. The work crew immediately exited the area and performed surveys, which detected contamination on the protective clothing of one of the mechanics. The clothing was removed and bagged for disposal and all personnel then performed whole body surveys again before exiting the facility. No contamination was found on the workers. (NE-ID—BEA-AL-2010-0002).

Jan. 3: The Idaho Falls Fire Marshall issued a notice of violation to the lab for failing to obtain a permit for the remodeling of the cafeteria at the Engineering Research Office Building. INL Construction Management and the subcontractor responsible for the work then applied for the appropriate building permit. (NE-ID—BEA-STC-2011-0001).

Jan. 4: It was determined that a required radiation monitor at the Neutron Radiography Reactor is not operating properly after two separate instances of the monitor showing anomalous readings. The reactor was shut down when it was determined the monitor was not working properly, management was notified and a critique held. (NE-ID—BEA-NRAD-2011-0001).

Jan. 5: A drive chain was removed from a security fence at the Specific Manufacturing Capability facility without installing a lockout/tagout and without approved work controlled documentation. A critique was held, a lockout/tagout was installed on the electrical disconnect for the gate, and a maintenance request was submitted to repair the gate. (NE-ID—BEA-SMC-2011-0001).

Jan. 10: A worker who had been performing repairs on remote manipulators at the Hot Fuel Examination Facility came close to exceeding his annual limit for radiation exposure to his extremities. Radiological work involving BEA and its subcontractors requiring radiation work permits at the Materials and Fuels Complex and the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center was suspended pending further evaluation and corrective actions. (NE-ID—BEA-HFEF-2011-0001).   

Operational Summary

Building a “Prison” for Radioactive Waste: Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory, Center for Advanced Energy Studies and other national laboratories and universities are working together to test an inexpensive method to sequester radioactive strontium-90 where it lies. The researchers can coax underground microbes to form calcite, a white mineral form of calcium carbonate and the main ingredient in cement. The calcite should be able to trap strontium-90 until long after it has decayed into harmless zirconium. 

DOE-ID Operations Summary Releases

Last updated January 18, 2011

Contact Shannon Brennan