DOE-Idaho Operations Summary

DOE-ID Bi-Weekly Summary
For the Period May 17 to June 6, 2011

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

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. (EM-ID—BBWI-AMWTF-2011-0007). 

Operational Summary

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).  

Operational Summary

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. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2011-0009).

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. (NE-ID—BEA-SMC-2011-0008).

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. (NE-ID—BEA-STC-2011-0004).

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. (NE-ID—BEA-INLLABS-2011-0003).

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. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2011-0010).

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 notified. (NE-ID—BEA-INLLABS-2011-0004).

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).

Operational Summary

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.

DOE-ID Operations Summary Releases

Last updated June 14, 2011

Contact Shannon Brennan