DOE-Idaho Operations Summary
Issued Feb. 23, 2006
DOE-Idaho Bi-Weekly Operations Summary
For the Period of Febuary 7-Febuary 20, 2006

Environmental Management

Summary of Occurrence Reports

(Note: Date below indicates when notification was made of the incident)

Febuary 9: It was determined that workers erred in performing a semi-annual setpoint check of an alarm on heavy equipment used in the retrieval of waste at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex. The workers were not factoring in the tolerance of the test equipment used to measure whether the alarm was set correctly. The alarm was still functional, but may have activated slightly outside the desired range. Workers were protected by other measures (called “defense in depth”) in place. The equipment was taken out of service and an investigation initiated.

Febuary 13: In late January, an air diffuser came loose from the ceiling and fell to the floor at a cafeteria at the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center. Later it was determined the issue was not immediately reported to the Plant Shift Supervisor as required. The diffuser and proper ducting were reinstalled, and management notified that the issue was not properly reported.

Febuary 14: During an audit, a question was raised about whether a safety analysis at the Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center provided adequate safety control during certain circumstances. Specifically, there was a question as to whether there are adequate controls on taking spent nuclear fuel out of storage while there is fuel in a repackaging stand or transfer cask. All fuel handling operations at the facilities were suspended, pending resolution of the issue.

Febuary 15: On Febuary 13, a worker at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex damaged a 110-volt power line while clearing ice and snow with hand tools. The power to the line was shut off at the time. Immediately after damaging the line, work was stopped, and the incident reported to management. (EM-ID-CWI-RWMC-2006-0004)

Operational Status

Waste Shipments: In the year since it purchased the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project facilities, the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor have safely shipped record amounts of transuranic waste out of Idaho at a faster rate than it has ever shipped transuranic waste before. More than 9,000 cubic meters of transuranic waste have left Idaho over the past several years, with nearly 5,400 cubic meters shipped between May 1, 2005 and Febuary 21, 2006.

Nuclear Energy

Summary of Occurrence Reports
Febuary 10: On Febuary 9, a laboratory employee tripped on an uneven sidewalk near a facility in Idaho Falls and suffered a suspected broken right arm. The employee was taken to the INL dispensary for evaluation. Marker cones were placed on high spots on the sidewalk where the employee may have tripped. (NE-ID-BEA-STC-2006-0001)

Febuary 10: On Febuary 8, three workers were attempting to move an electro-magnet frame assembly at the INL Research Center when the magnet portion of the assembly fell approximately 3 feet inside the frame. No one was injured, and the workers used a forklift to secure the frame and magnet and load it in a truck. (NE-ID-BEA-STC-2006- 0002)

Operational Status

Hydrogen Production Record: On Febuary 16, 2006, INL researchers reached a milestone by producing hydrogen from water using high-temperature electrolysis. They operated the system for 1,000 consecutive hours producing at least 100 liters of hydrogen per hour. The technology is viewed as a crucial first step toward large-scale production of hydrogen from water, rather than fossil fuels.

Energy Conservation: Three model program proposals submitted by INL to DOE’s Energy Management Program have been funded for FY-2006. These programs provide a mechanism for introduction of best practices in energy management at DOE facilities. This work will continue DOE’s and INL’s commitment to reduce energy consumption at INL. Proposals funded include: Specific Manufacturing Complex Steam Trap and Insulation Survey, Certification of INL Buildings using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings, and Evaluate Compressed Air Systems at INL.