Issued Aug. 29, 2011


DOE-ID Bi-Weekly Summary

For the Period Aug. 9 – Aug. 23, 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 site. 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 on a periodic basis.  To be added to this distribution list, please call Brad Bugger at (208) 526-0833.


Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project

Aug. 16: A required survey detected radioactive contamination on three support pallets during waste loading processes at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Facility. No contamination has been found on any of the waste containers in the area. A contamination area and buffer area was established and other surveys taken of the area. (EM-ID—BBWI-AMWTF-2011-0010).

Aug. 18: During routine surveillance on the Real Time Radiography machine at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Unit, an unacceptably high radiation rate was identified during testing. The machine was placed in suspension until additional shielding can be installed. (EM-ID—BBWI-AMWTF-2011-0011).

Operations Summary

Waste Shipments: As of Aug. 20, 2011, a total of 36,254 cubic meters of contact-handled transuranic waste, 106.72 cubic meters of remote-handled transuranic waste, and 4,669 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

Aug. 9: It was determined that spent nuclear fuel configuration stored at INTEC 603did not comply with a revised safety document, although it was in full safety compliance when it was received in 2004. A criticality safety engineer determined that no criticality safety limits had been challenged by the configuration, however, and no relocation of the fuel is necessary. (EM-ID—CWI-FUELRCSTER-2011-0001).

Aug. 11: A forklift vendor representative performed work on the forklift batteries and charging station located at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit without authorization. The vendor was asked to visually inspect the batteries and determine if work was to be performed. Instead, the vendor rep found the batteries to be nearly empty and filled them up with tap water. The battery charger was taken out of service and notifications were made to management. (EM-ID—CWI-IWTU-2011-0011).

Aug. 13: A worker punctured the middle knuckle on his left hand while using an electric shear to size a 50-gallon stainless steel drum at the Materials and Fuels Complex. The worker was taken to a local hospital for medical evaluation, and all work on stainless steel drums was suspended pending further evaluation. (EM-ID—CWI-BIC-2011-0006).

Aug. 18: Workers failed to follow proper procedures in carrying out two work orders at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit. In one instance, a hosting and rigging inspector inspected a cable without the work order being signed off, and without the necessary briefing and lock out-tag-outs in place. In the other instance, a work crew carried out a work order without the required pre-job briefing and lock-out/tag-out evaluation. Both work orders were placed on hold and the associated systems put in a safe configuration. (EM-ID—CWI-IWTU-2011-0012).

Aug. 22: A quality control inspector found indications that a circuit breaker designed for use on a high pressure breathing air system at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex may be counterfeit or suspect. The part was removed from the field for further inspection. (EM-ID—CWI-RWMC-2011-0001).

Operations Summary

Mass Detonation Bunker Remediation Competed: The Idaho Cleanup Project recently completed remediation of the Mass Detonation Area bunker.  A total of 16 cans of 1940s smokeless powder were found and will be disposed by detonation after it snows enough to reduce the range fire danger.  Visual survey of the 796 acre area will continue for about four weeks.


Idaho National Laboratory

Aug. 11: New information was developed in an analysis of the uncertainty of the Water Power Calculator (WPC) system at the Advanced Test Reactor when thermal quadrant powers are greater than 47 megawatts. This is caused by potential mixing of flow between quadrants that may introduce more uncertainty into the WPC quadrant power calculation. Quadrant thermal power is an important parameter because it is used as a check to verify that the Lobe Power Calculation and Indication System are indicating within an acceptable range of the true lobe power. Lobe Power is the parameter by which the reactor operators adjust the power of the reactor to ensure that the effective plate power limits are not exceeded. At the time of the discovery the reactor was shut down. (NE-ID-BEA-ATR-2011-0012)

Aug. 18: The Advanced Test Reactor documented safety analysis classifies diesel generator 674-M-6 as Seismic Category I, safety-related equipment. The accident analysis credits 674-M-6 as supplying power to safety related loads to ensure a complete loss of coolant flow is a beyond design basis event. Surveillance activities are required to ensure that safety related equipment is operable to ensure safe operation. Operability and surveillance requirements, however, are not documented in the safety basis documents. Operability of 674-M-6 was being properly confirmed. (NE-ID-BEA-ATR-2011-0013).

Aug. 23: A wildland fire occurred along Highway 33 that burned on both Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land on Aug. 22. INL, BLM and Butte County firefighters responded and the fire was declared out in approximately 3.5 hours. (NE-ID—CFA-2011-0003).

Aug. 23: The Neutron Radiography Reactor had an unplanned shutdown due to an improver valve lineup. A critique was held and further reactor operations were put on hold pending closure of corrective actions and approval by the Operational Safety Board. (NE-ID—BEA-NRAD-2011-0002).

Operations Summary

New Reactor Shuttle System Used for First Time: A new shuttle system is changing the way experiment specimens are handled at the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR). The newly-installed hydraulic shuttle irradiation system (HSIS) was successfully used for the first time for an ATR National Scientific User Facility irradiation experiment for University of Illinois researchers. The hydraulic shuttle system (or “rabbit”) adds another capability to ATR and allows for flexible irradiation test periods.