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
Jan. 11: A technician at the Advanced Mixed Waste
Treatment Facility mistakenly entered the wrong number
into a system used to verify that waste drums are ready
for supercompaction. The mistake was caught by an
electronic alarm system and the drum was not compacted.
All fissile tracking and assay systems were placed in
suspension and all movement of waste containers into the
Mass Control Areas was stopped prior to corrective
Jan. 23: The plant shift manager at the Advanced
Mixed Waste Treatment Facility determined that required
safety actions had not been completed for the Retrieval
Box Assay System after a problem was discovered with the
assay system. The system was placed in suspension mode
until corrective actions were taken.
Waste Shipments: All 12 planned shipments of
contact-handled transuranic waste were made for the week
ending January 7, 2012. Nine of the shipments contained
exhumed waste from the Accelerated Retrieval Project.
Twelve shipments of contact-handled transuranic waste
were scheduled for the week ending January 14, 2012.
Idaho Cleanup Project
Nothing to report.
Marking 20th Anniversary of Idaho Cleanup Agreement:
In two decades of Superfund cleanup work, the U.S.
Department of Energy's Idaho site has removed hundreds
of thousands of cubic yards of radioactive and
hazardously contaminated soils, excavated radioactive
waste buried since the 1950s, removed three nuclear
reactors and hundreds of buildings, completely closed
three major nuclear facilities and removed thousands of
unexploded ordnance shells and fragments. The 20th
anniversary of the cleanup agreement was last month.
Idaho National Laboratory
Jan. 3: The latch for a confinement door at the
Advanced Test Reactor came loose, leaving the door in a
position where it would not stay latched in the closed
condition. The door latch was repaired, the door
declared operable and limitations on operations were
Jan. 3: The canal bubbler at the Advanced Test
Reactor was out of service, resulting in limited
operating conditions for the canal. Staff verified that
the canal level was normal and that no cask handling was
taking place in the canal. The needle valve was opened
and the canal level alarm restored, allowing resumption
of normal operations. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2012-0002).
Jan. 4: High winds damaged a power meter at the
Materials and Fuels Complex, such that the lower portion
of the meter allowed uncontrolled access to hazardous
energy. The area was roped off, notifications made and
the power meter was repaired immediately.
Jan. 12: During a routine safety walk-down in
building 798 at the Materials and Fuels Complex, it was
discovered that an instrument air line had been
installed in the building’s heating and ventilation
system without proper authorization. A critique was held
and work associated with the project was shut down
pending activity reviews and corrective actions.
Jan. 17: INL staff unexpectedly discovered radiation
labels on equipment they were preparing to return to a
customer. A radiological contamination and radiation
survey was conducted, the cage used to store the
instruments was posted as a controlled area, and
management notifications were made.
Jan. 18: A technical violation of the safety
standards for a glovebox at the Special Nuclear
Materials Storage Facility at the Materials and Fuels
Complex was noted during a routine safety review. The
violation was the result of an administrative oversight
when the safety documents were approved, and had no
safety consequences. A technical safety violation was
declared and the safety document was updated to correct
the administrative error. (NE-ID—BEA-FMF-2012-0001).
Idaho National Laboratory Launches New App: In
concert with the 2012 kick-off of
Nuclear Science Week, Idaho National Laboratory has
launched a one-of-a-kind mobile app. It allows
smartphone and tablet users to quickly and easily get a
sense of INL’s nuclear energy research capabilities and
facilities, without investing the multiple days it would
take for a comparable in-person tour. University and
industry representatives, government leaders and members
of the public now have a new, visually compelling means
of finding out what kind of nuclear energy research goes
on at the lab, which serves as the national nuclear