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
Nothing to report.
Waste Shipments: As of Oct. 15, 2011, a total of
36,625 cubic meters of contact-handled transuranic
waste, 106.72 cubic meters of remote-handled transuranic
waste, and 4,990 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
Nothing to report.
Tank Farm Remediation: DOE submitted to its
regulators this week a design for the installation of
the low permeability pavement and ditch network inside
the tank farm at the Idaho Nuclear Technology and
Engineering Center. The design was submitted ahead of
the Nov. 4 milestone, and regulators have a 45-day
Idaho National Laboratory
Oct. 5: While preparing to remove scaffolding from
around a check valve at the Advanced Test Reactor,
workers realized that a reach rod for the M-6 inlet
valve was in the area they were planning to work, and
that it had not been locked out. Work was stopped until
the proper isolation of hazardous energy was
established, and the lockout/tagout was changed to
include the motor for the M-6 valve.
Oct. 6: A BEA employee suffered a shoulder injury
during a leadership course which included a
confidence-building exercise using a rope course. The
activity required the employee to climb, with a safety
harness on, up a pole approximately 30 feet to a small
platform, jump off, and catch himself on a small ring.
At the time of the injury, the employee was transported
to a hospital where he was diagnosed with a dislocated
shoulder. During a follow-up examination, the employee
was informed he suffered extensive muscle and/or tendon
damage and would require surgery.
Oct. 6: During assembly of a newly-purchased snow
plow, personnel discovered that the fasteners shipped
with the snow plow were suspect/counterfeit. New
approved bolts were installed and the
suspect/counterfeit bolts were placed into a bonded
storage area for disposal. (NE-ID—BEA-SMC-2011-0015).
Oct. 10: Inspections conducted by the Idaho
Department of Environmental Quality resulted in
preliminary findings of 17 violations of underground
petroleum storage tank requirements. Alleged violations
included: failure to provide cathodic protection,
failure to ensure proper operation of cathodic
protection, failure to install adequate overfill
prevention equipment, failure to use an overfill
protection system, and the failure to take necessary
precautions to prevent overspill/spillage. A review was
performed to assess all of the INL underground petroleum
storage tanks for preliminary issues identified during
the inspection. Corrective actions included installation
of a high-level alarm on a tank at the Central
Facilities Area and ordering additional high-level
alarms for other petroleum tanks identified with
inadequate overfill protection. An official report from
DEQ is pending. (EM-ID—BEA-CFA-2011-0005).
Oct. 12: An operator at the Materials and Fuels
Complex received an elevated dose of radiation to his
right hand while processing metal fuel samples. The
elevated dose is believed to have occurred in the Hot
Repair Area, when radiological samples were
characterized and packaged for transport. Dosimeters for
all personnel who took part in this activity were
analyzed and no additional abnormal results were
identified. The extremity dose tracking requirements
were modified to require that all personnel who use
extremity dosimetry estimate and track their personal
dose when signing on to a radiological work permit.
Oct. 12: An operator noted that the engine block
heater reading for a firewater pump at the Advanced Test
Reactor Complex was at 210 degrees F, which is outside
the specified range of 120-160 degrees. The circuit
breaker to the heater was opened, the pump was declared
out of service, and compensatory actions were taken.
Irradiated Fuel Research: Idaho National Laboratory
researchers recently demonstrated a new sample
preparation technique that makes it easier for
researchers to examine irradiated fuel at the nanoscale.
This accomplishment revealed material behavior that
suggests increased stability of a new type of reactor
fuel. Further study and improvement in nuclear fuel
performance are now much more attainable.