DOE-Idaho Operations Summary

DOE-ID Bi-Weekly Summary
For the Period June 19 to July 12, 2012

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

June 21: During a test run of a backup generator at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project, a battery burst, spilling battery acid on the floor. The INL Fire Department responded, applied an acid neutralizing compound, the spill was cleaned up and the batteries replaced. The battery charger was placed out of service pending evaluation. (EM-ID—ITG-AMWTF-2012-0016).

Operational Summary

Waste Shipments: Eight of eight planned shipments of contact-handled transuranic waste from Idaho to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico were made for the week ending June 30, 2012. Three of the shipments contained exhumed waste from the Accelerated Retrieval Project (ARP).    

Idaho Cleanup Project

June 19: Operators at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit were performing start-up testing when an unexpected pressure transient caused a loss of vacuum in the Carbon Reduction Reformer vessel, activating the Rapid Shutdown System. All applicable emergency action procedures were followed, and a plant shutdown was initiated. A team has been formed to evaluate the cause of the incident and recommend corrective actions. (EM-ID—CWI-IWTU-2012-0008).  

Operational Summary

Waste Exhumation: The remediation of buried waste at the Idaho Subsurface Disposal Facility is about 54 percent complete, with targeted waste retrieved from six of nine planned Accelerated Retrieval Project enclosure structures.   

Idaho National Laboratory

June 28: A lockout/tagout was installed on the argon cell refrigeration system at the Fuel Conditioning Facility argon cell to support installation of new Freon valves. The system to be worked on was drained and depressurized and zero energy was verified by pressure indication on the Freon recovery system. However, since there were no locks for the valves, a lockbox was not utilized and there was no means for establishing exclusive controls for the technicians performing the work by placing their locks and personal tags. Maintenance activity was stopped until a resolution to the situation could be determined. (NE-ID—BEA-FCF-2012-0004).

July 2: While preparing irradiated cobalt capsules for shipment at the Advanced Test Reactor, the dosimeters of two workers adjacent to the shipping cask alarmed, indicating elevated radiation levels in the area. The job was halted, all individuals exited the area and it was posted to prevent access. All personnel in the area were surveyed, nasal swabs were performed and electronic dosimeters reviewed, and no contamination was discovered. A critique of the incident was held. (NE-ID—BEA-ATR-2012-0022).

July 11: During mowing operations, a three-acre wildfire occurred along the fence line near the Experimental Breeder Reactor-1 museum. The INL Fire Department responded and extinguished the fire. The facility was evacuated with no injuries. (NE-ID—BEA-CFA-2012-0001).

Operational Summary

Stored Spent Fuel Research: Much of the 6,200 metric tons of used nuclear fuel generated by U.S. power plants over the last 40 years is stored safely in giant stainless steel casks. Darryl Butt, a Boise State University professor, is part of a team researching whether it can be stored that way for at least 60 more.

"It's a multidisciplinary project involving a number of universities," said Butt, who leads the Center for Advanced Energy Studies' advanced materials research initiative and is a CAES associate director. "It's really looking at how we can store this fuel safely for many decades."    

DOE-ID Operations Summary Releases

Last updated July 17, 2012

Contact Shannon Brennan