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
May 31: During an entry into the South Box Line at
the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project, a technician
apparently punctured his protective clothing,
contaminating his work boot. There was no evidence of
contamination of the worker’s skin or internal clothing.
Waste Shipments: As of June 4, 2011, a total of
35,759 cubic meters of contact-handled transuranic
waste, 103.88 cubic meters of remote-handled transuranic
waste, and 4,141 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
May 19: Liquid nitrogen from tank venting flowed
under the work boots of an operator at the Integrated
Waste Treatment Unit site, freezing the operator’s boots
to the concrete pad. There was no injury, but venting of
the liquid nitrogen tank was suspended and a fact
finding meeting was held, where it was concluded that
there had been a small release of liquid nitrogen
through a vent line. (EM-ID—CWI-IWTU-2011-0005).
May 25: At the Materials and Fuels Complex
decontamination and decommissioning project a worker’s
clothing was contaminated while the worker was removing
a containment tent and a 55-gallon drum from the site.
The contaminated clothing was removed and the worker’s
skin was surveyed and found to be clean. (EM-ID—CWI-BIC-2011-0002).
May 26: The operations shift supervisor at the
Integrated Waste Treatment Unit discovered that valves
were misaligned during steam flushing of a section of
the steam system. The flushing superintendent ordered a
“step back” and notified management. The pipe and
components that received the steam were not damaged, and
no personnel were at risk of injury during the event. (EM-ID—CWI-IWTU-2011-0006).
June 6: While working on demolishing Building 602 at
the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center, a
hydraulic hose on an excavator failed, releasing
approximately 63 gallons of hydraulic oil to the ground.
The excavator was shut down, the spill area contained
and cleaned up, and state regulators notified. (EM-ID—CWI-BIC-2011-0003).
Construction Complete: Construction work on the
Integrated Waste Treatment Unit has essentially been
completed, and start-up testing has begun on the plant,
which will treat the remaining 900,000 gallons of
sodium-bearing liquid waste stored in underground tanks
at the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center.
The unit is expected to go on line later this year, and
will complete treatment of the liquid waste by December
of next year.
Idaho National Laboratory
May 17: An issue was identified at the Advanced Test
Reactor Complex dealing with the nuclear measurements of
experiments in the Advanced Test Reactor Critical
facility. It was determined through extensive
measurements that the procedure used to measure
experiments needs to be strengthened.
May 24: During inspection of an incoming empty
shipping container at the Specific Manufacturing
Capability Project a suspect/counterfeit bolt was
discovered on a tie-down strap. The bolt was removed for
disposal and the strap destroyed.
May 25: During a routine review of purchasing
records, it was discovered that fasteners that were
purchased for use at the Idaho Research Center were
improperly purchased without proper inspection. The
suspect fasteners were staged in a controlled area and
management determined that none had been used.
May 26: It was discovered that floor drilling at the
IF-605 facility was performed without a required
subsurface investigation or approved work control. Work
related to the floor improvement was stopped until
required approvals were given.
June 6: A misaligned pressure control valve caused
water to inadvertently drain from the reactor vessel
during a scheduled maintenance shutdown at the Advanced
Test Reactor. Radiological monitoring showed there were
no excessive radiation levels as a result of the
lowering water level, and a minimum of 10 feet of water
was maintained above the core when the shift supervisor
directed repositioning the misaligned valve to restore
the level. A design feature of the reactor ensures the
reactor core remains covered with at least 4 feet of
water to provide adequate cooling with no operator
action. A critique of the occurrence was held.
June 6: Approximately 10 gallons of hydraulic oil
leaked from a heat exchanger in IRC-603 into the city of
Idaho Falls sewer system. The leaking heat exchanger was
removed from the system and will be replaced prior to
any system operation. The city of Idaho Falls was
June 7: An issue was identified at the Advanced Test
Reactor dealing with the requirements for calibration of
nuclear instruments. It was noted that although the
nuclear instruments were being calibrated as required, a
written requirement needed to be strengthened in the
technical safety documents. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2011-0011).
Instrument Control Research: The Idaho National
Laboratory’s Instrumentation, Control and Intelligent
Systems (ICIS) research is centered on developing
components, programs, systems and individual
applications that require monitoring, control and human
interaction. The research covers five technological
areas, including sensors. The objective of sensor
research is to develop specialized sensors and sensing
systems that are designed to monitor critical
infrastructure and withstand demanding environments.