DOE-Idaho Operations Summary

DOE-ID Bi-Weekly Summary
For the Period July 20 to August 2, 2010

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

July 21: Staff at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Plant failed to perform a required surveillance before generating X-rays using a Real Time Radiography unit. After discovering the surveillance had not been performed, the unit was shut down and placed in a suspension mode, and a fact-finding meeting was scheduled. (EM-ID—BBWI-AMWTF-2010-0015).

July 26: A radiological technician was working on a piece of equipment at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Facility that had been locked and tagged out without the property lockout/tag-out training. The shift supervisor stopped the work and had the technician exit the area. Work was allowed to resume after crew personnel were briefed on the requirement that all personnel working under the protection of a lockout/tagout must be qualified and have a personal lock and tag installed. (EM-ID—BBWI-AMWTF-2010-0016).

Aug. 2: It was determined that changes in the physical processes at the Drum Treatment Facility at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project were not incorporated into the computer software program at the facility. Treatment of drums in the facility was placed on hold and a management review was conducted to determine what actions needed to be taken before treatment needed could resume. (EM-ID—BBWI-AMWTF-2010-0017).

Operational Summary

Waste Shipments: Eleven of 13 planned shipments of contact-handled transuranic waste and three of three remote-handled waste shipments were made from Idaho to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico for the week ending July 24. 

Idaho Cleanup Project

July 26: An operator tracing equipment at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit construction site climbed above six feet off the floor without the required fall protection. Another employee noticed the problem and stopped work until the operator moved to a safe location. Management was notified and a fact-finding was held. (EM-ID—CWI-IWTU-2010-0007).

July 26: A test engineer working at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit construction site was working in an area that was locked and tagged out without coordinating with the electricians who had locked and tagged out the system. The engineer stepped back when the lockout/tagout sign was noticed and contacted the electricians to assure it was safe to work in the area. (EM-ID—CWI-IWTU-2010-0006).

July 29: An operator at the Liquid Effluent Treatment and Disposal facility discovered that about 50 gallons of waste water leaked following the rupture of a disc in a condenser in the facility. No radiological contamination was detected, but the release of the waste water to the environment was reported to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality. The source of the leak was isolated and the leak was ultimately stopped. (EM-ID—CWI-LANDLORD-2010-0001).   

Operational Summary

Stabilizing Buried Waste: Both rigs at the in-situ grouting project in the Subsurface Disposal Area were operating last week. For the week ending July 25, the project is 47 percent complete, with 1,034 holes grouted. The goal of the project is to immobilize buried radioactive constituents to protect the aquifer.

Idaho National Laboratory

July 20: An operator injured his elbow while moving a grating at the Advanced Test Reactor canal. The injury occurred in June, but was not fully diagnosed for a few weeks. The operator eventually had outpatient surgery. An accident investigation was initiated and a critique scheduled. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2010-0011).

July 21: At the Specific Manufacturing Capability facility, technicians were performing routine maintenance when the torch head they were adjusting unexpectedly raised approximately eight inches to the home position due to an inadvertent bump of a safety light mounting bracket. Although there were no injuries or facility damage, the torch head movement was unexpected and not identified in the maintenance procedure. The equipment was placed out of service pending an inspection and evaluation. (NE-ID—BEA-SMC-2010-0008)

July 22: Management at the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) noted data anomalies from the Wide Range Neutron Level ion chamber. Specifically, the measured current from the ion chamber was expected to level out at high voltage, but did not. A critique was held and ATR engineering was asked to perform a technical evaluation of the chamber. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2010-0012).

July 27: The Advanced Test Reactor was shut down following discovery of low oil pressure in one of the two primary coolant pumps. The pump was secured at temperatures well below acceptable levels and there was no equipment damage. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2010-0013).

July 27: A DOE-Idaho facility representative identified some administrative issues with an INL lockout/tagout associated with the installation of a new power line by a local utility at the North Boulevard Annex. While no workers were ever in danger, it was determined to report the event based on the need to improve employee understanding and the need to document the interface with a local utility through a procedure. (NE-ID—BEA-STC-2010-0002).

July 29: An electrician performing maintenance on diesel firewater pumps at the Advanced Test Reactor determined that one of the batteries for one of the pumps was out of specification. The pump was declared out of service and the battery was replaced. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2010-0014).

July 29: A 55-gallon drum containing denatured alcohol located at the Materials and Fuel Complex was discovered to be bulging. Firefighters vented the drum without incident. (NE-ID—BEA-MFC-2010-0004).

Operational Summary

Four Decades of Energy Research: Idaho National Laboratory scientist Robert Phipps has worked at the Idaho laboratory for 40 years, his work contributing to global knowledge about how nuclear fuels and materials behave. From developing new examination techniques for irradiated fuel rods to helping reduce the toxicity of used fuel, Phipps has contributed to the progress of nuclear energy in this country, and the world. 

INL scientist Robert Phipps

DOE-ID Operations Summary Releases

Last updated August 04, 2010

Contact Shannon Brennan