DOE-Idaho Operations Summary

DOE-ID Bi-Weekly Summary
For the Period Aug. 18 to Aug. 31, 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

Aug. 18: A technician entered the Box Opening Gantry Robot room at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Facility without a pre-job briefing and a proper lockout/tagout in place. A fact-finding meeting was held to determine the cause of the failure to follow procedure. (EM-ID—BBWI-AMWTF-2009-0012). 

Operational Summary

Waste shipments: Seventeen shipments of contact-handled transuranic waste were made from Idaho to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico the week ending Aug. 29. 

Idaho Cleanup Project

Aug. 24: Three workers who were performing routine maintenance at the CPP-601 Building at the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center detected radiological contamination on their shoes. Their shoes were removed and all three workers completed a whole body survey, which showed no contamination. The source of the contamination was identified and contained, and a fact-finding meeting was held. (EM-ID—CWI-BIC-2009-0003).

Aug. 26: A maintenance worker received a minor electrical shock from a section of stainless steel piping as it was being lowered into an environmental monitoring well at the DOE Idaho Site. The worker was taken to the Central Facilities Area Medical Facility for evaluation, and was released to work with no restrictions. Work was suspended and an investigation into the cause of the shock was initiated. (EM-ID—CWI-BIC-2009-0004).

Aug. 27: A worker at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit construction site tripped and fell, injuring his wrist. The worker was initially evaluated at the Central Facilities Area Medical Center, and then referred to a hospital for x-rays, which showed a broken wrist. Work in the area was suspended and an investigation of the incident initiated. (EM-ID—CWI-IWTU-2009-0005).   

Operational Summary

Decontamination and Decommissioning: To date, crews funded by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have completed decontamination and decommissioning of 10 structures at DOE’s Idaho Site, resulting in a footprint reduction of just over 20,000 square feet. The ARRA has resulted in almost 1,000 direct and secondary jobs in Eastern Idaho.   

Idaho National Laboratory

Aug. 24: A review was initiated to look at the Advanced Test Reactor primary coolant system chemistry. In the course of the review, it was noted that the technical safety requirements limits for pH of the ATR primary coolant system water allow a low range (pH 4.7) that could possibly cause damage to the thin boehmite oxidation layer that is on the fuel. Interim controls after the discovery have been put into place that do not allow the pH of the primary coolant system to get below 5.0. A review of chemistry logs has been performed to ensure that none of the fuel in the canal has been exposed to a pH less than 5.0. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2009-0020).

Aug. 24: During a routine walk-down, three suspect/counterfeit fasteners were identified in the North Holmes Lab spares. The items – three cap screws – were isolated and controlled. (NE-ID—BEA-STC-2009-0002).

Aug. 24: During a routine review, suspect fasteners were identified on equipment located at the Specific Manufacturing Capability Project. The items were removed from use and management notifications made. (NE-ID—BEA-SMC-2009-0009).

Aug. 26: It was discovered that a light fixture had been replaced at the Materials and Fuels Complex without the proper lockout/tagout for the work. The light fixture was de-energized and there was no exposure to hazardous energy. A formal stop work order on the subcontractor involved was issued after a critique was held on the event. ( NE-ID—BEA-MFC-2009-0002).

Aug. 26: While performing radiological surveys of equipment being prepared for disposal at the Zero Power Physics Reactor, an unmarked cylinder rolled off a work platform and began releasing gas. On-scene personnel evacuated the work area and initiated emergency response. Re-entry was performed and the leaking detector contained. Similar detectors found in the vicinity were also stabilized. (NE-ID—BEA-TSD-2009-0002).

Operational Summary

INL engineers have built a lightweight, portable device capable of detecting tunnels or weapons caches through 75 feet of soil.

Tunnel Detector Demonstrated: The INL recently demonstrated the prototype for a portable, cheap and effective device to detect tunnels used for drug smuggling or human trafficking. The detector transmits acoustic waves into the earth, while an onboard motion detector measures how the waves shake the dirt and rock through which they pass. The detector transports these values to a laptop computer, where special software analyzes the data. When the earth assayed is solid, the resulting graph shows a rapidly rising line; if there’s a void underneath, the graph shows a humped peak.



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Last updated January 08, 2010

Contact Shannon Brennan