DOE-Idaho Operations Summary

DOE-ID Bi-Weekly Summary
For the Period Sept. 29 to Oct. 12, 2009

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

No incidents to report.

Operational Summary

Waste Shipments: Twenty-three of twenty-three planned shipments of transuranic waste were made from Idaho to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico for disposal during the week ending Oct. 10, 2009. Sixteen of the shipments contained exhumed buried waste from the Advanced Retrieval Project.  

Idaho Cleanup Project

Sept. 30: The Utah Radiation Control Board issued a Notice of Violation to CH2M-WG Idaho for placing the wrong identification number on a low-level waste shipment from DOE’s Idaho Site to the Energy Solutions disposal site in Utah. Corrected documentation was provided to Energy Solutions and a fact-finding meeting was held to determine the cause of the incident. (EM-ID—CWI-ICPWM-2009-0004).

Oct. 6: While preparing to remove asbestos insulation from a pipe at the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center, a worker tried to remove a light fixture that was still powered. The worker noted a small flash while cutting the electrical wiring. Work was immediately stopped, management was notified and a fact finding meeting initiated. (EM-ID—CWI-BIC-2009-0006).

Oct. 7: During routine monitoring of the Irradiated Fuel Storage Facility, it was noted that rain water was leaking into the Fuel Storage Area. Moisture in the fuel storage facility is a safety concern. All work was halted in the area, plugged drains were cleared which caused water on the roof to flow off, facility surveillances were increased and further investigation was planned. (EM-ID—CWI-FUELRCSTER-2009-0004).

Oct. 8: A scissor lift used for welding ducting contacted a 240-volt electrical cable at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit construction site. There were no injuries, but the electrical cable was damaged and the incident was not reported as required. A fact finding meeting was held and subcontractor management conducted a safety stand down for all personnel to review safety procedures and policies. (EM-ID—CWI-IWTU-2009-0006).

Oct. 8: As a technician was leaving the Accelerated Retrieval Project (where waste containing radioactive and hazardous chemicals is retrieved), someone noticed a split in the worker’s respirator air hose. There is no evidence that the worker was exposed to radioactive or hazardous materials, and smears on the equipment and nasal swabs of the worker were negative. All personnel in the facility who use similar equipment were ordered to exit the work areas, and all air hoses on similar equipment were inspected. (EM-ID—CWI-RWMC-2009-0007).

Operational Summary

Decontamination and Decommissioning: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded crews have completed decontamination and decommissioning of ten structures resulting in a footprint reduction of around 70,000 square feet at DOE’s Idaho Site.  

Idaho National Laboratory

Sept. 30: An automatic shutdown of the Advanced Test Reactor occurred when a circuit breaker on a diesel bus tripped open on a ground fault indication. An investigation was initiated into the cause of the ground fault trip. The reactor remained in a safe condition and was restarted following review of the shutdown. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2009-0022).

Oct. 2: Subcontractor employees working at the Materials and Fuels Complex inappropriately isolated and removed a section of piping for repairs without authorization and without applying the appropriate lock out/tag out. The subcontractor personnel realized their error, secured the area and notified facility management of the event. (NE-ID—BEA-MFC-2009-0005).

Oct. 6: An employee at the Specific Manufacturing Capability facility performed work on an energized system without the proper lock out/tag out, zero energy verification or required electrical personal protective equipment. Operation crews were briefed on the event prior to assuming shift duties, and safety requirements and expectations were reinforced. A critique of the incident was held. (NE-ID—BEA-SMC-2009-0011).

Oct. 6: On Sept. 23, during site-wide boiler start-up, a valve that was danger-tagged and locked out at the Fuel Conditioning Facility was found to be left open. A day later, a valve that had been locked out and tagged shut at the same facility was found to be open. Both incidents resulted in water leakage in the basement of the facility. The boiler startup was suspended and the open valve closed, locked out and tagged out. Boiler start-up was completed, the water in the basement of the facility was cleaned up, and an investigation into the improper lock out/tag outs was initiated. (NE-ID—BEA-FCF-2009-0003).

Oct. 12: An automatic shutdown of the Advanced Test Reactor occurred as the result of an error by an experiment operator who failed to follow proper procedures. The reactor remained in a safe condition; a critique was conducted and corrective actions taken. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2009-0023).

 Operational Summary

Hydrogen Milestone Achieved: Researchers at the Idaho National Laboratory reached another milestone on the road to reducing carbon emissions and providing energy security when their high-temperature electrolysis fuel cell set a new mark for endurance. The Integrated Laboratory Scale experiment has now operated continuously for 2,583 hours at higher efficiencies than previously attained. By decreasing the amount of electricity required by the electrolysis process that separates hydrogen from oxygen in water, there’s the potential for large energy savings.



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Last updated January 08, 2010

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