nukedboomer
CONTINUED. .. . DOE FACILITIES. ..
Wed Dec 27, 2006 03:25

 
(cont'd.)

contaminated numerous areas of the building. There is a significant amount of holdup in the production equipment including gloveboxes, ventilation ducting, and filters, as well as in inaccessible areas. Plutonium holdup in B771 ductwork alone is estimated to be more than 10 kg. with unknown quantities in equipment, tanks, and piping." (from cover letter and recommendation enclosed with report).
"Thousands of containers of waste chemicals are presently being stored in B771 (more than 5000) and B779 (about 4200). Many of these chemicals are flammable, explosive, corrosive, and/or toxic. They exist in open or degraded containers that are inconsistent with safe storage of hazardous materials as specified in RCRA 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 265 and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 231 standards. Numerous excess waste chemicals have been identified, but little effort appears to have been expended on their disposition; only 300 of 1000 chemicals in B779 alone have been disposed. Several large tanks of excess nitric acid and chemical makeup are stored on the second floor of B771. Most chemicals are managed as radioactive liquids and disposed as mixed waste, unless laboratory analysis and characterization prove otherwise. Disposition of the excess chemicals would reduce the clutter and remove the hazards they pose to workers."
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. (July 15, 1996). Safety and Authorization Basis Review at Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site, May 23, 1996. Recommendation to G.W. Cunningham, Technical Director.
"A significant number of transuranic (TRU) waste drums are stored in plutonium buildings and waste storage facilities at RFETS. An attendant safety issue for such storage is the potential for generation of flammable gases as a result of radiolytic decomposition of the waste forms. The site had scheduled all these drums to be vented by the end of fiscal year 1995 as part of the site risk reduction program. Although more than 500 drums remain unvented, venting of the drums was discontinued last year. The Board believes that venting of TRU waste drums, especially those containing ion exchange resins or cemented sludge, warrants a priority higher than the one currently assigned by the Department of Energy."
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. (December 8, 1995). Nuclear and Criticality Safety at Rocky Flats, Trip Report (November 28 - December 1, 1994). Recommendation to G.W. Cunningham, Technical Director.
"All the operations in Building 771 and operations involving more than 200 grams of plutonium in other buildings at RFETS have been suspended following the criticality infraction in Building 771 in September 1994."
"The detailed hazard analysis of Building 371 has identified 12.9 metric tons of plutonium as the material at risk. Five metric tons of plutonium is in the form of dispersible powder with the rest as massive metals with significantly lower respirable release fractions."
"Following the criticality infraction in Building 771 in September 1994, a root cause analysis, prepared by EG&G, identified several issues which contributed to the incident. Conduct of operation, training, supervision, and controls and barriers were identified as contributing factors which led to the incident. Consequently, all operations in Building 771 and activities involving more than 200 grams of Pu in other buildings have been curtailed pending corrective actions."
"...hydrogen generation resulting from radiolysis of acidic solutions in the tanks was a safety issue. According to LATO calculations, sufficient hydrogen could be generated in high plutonium concentration tanks to reach the lower explosive limit (LEL) in about 12 hours if the hydrogen was not vented. Due to significant consequences of a hydrogen explosion, LATO recommended that it was 'extremely important that ventilation be maintained on all solutions in tanks.'"
"Preliminary staff calculation shows that if the tanks were properly vented, there should have been 1 to 3 percent annual reductions in the tank level due to evaporation. The tanks levels, however, have been steady according to the measurements over the last 5 years."
"Westinghouse Savannah River Company (WSRC) has identified similar conditions in solution tanks at FB Line. WSRC, however, has implemented procedures to purge the tanks on a frequent basis (at least once a day) in order to prevent hydrogen generation from reaching the LEL."
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. (December 8, 1995). Rocky Flats Solution Tanks Safety Review - Trip Report (May 23-25, 1995). Recommendation to G.W. Cunningham, Technical Director.
"Tank Sampling: As of May 23, 1995, EG&G had sampled nine tanks in Building 771 out of ten identified as potentially containing high hydrogen concentrations. Three of the tanks sampled, D550, D931, and D933, contained approximately 50, 50, and 40 volume percent hydrogen, respectively. These concentrations are well within the explosive range and 40-50 times higher than the hydrogen level allowed by Code 69 of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 69)."
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. (August 14, 1995). Rocky Flats - Status of Plutonium Residue Processing, May 22, 1995. Recommendation to G.W. Cunningham, Technical Director.
"Rocky Flats has a total of 106 metric tons of plutonium bearing residues which [fall] into five major categories: 1) salts, 2) combustibles, 3) ash, 4) wet/miscella [, 5)] inorganics. These residues contain about 3 weight percent of plutonium and app. one-half of the total residues are classified as high risk. ... The status of each of these residue categories (call by EG&G) are presented below."
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. (July 21, 1995). Building 371 and 776 Ventilation at Rocky Flats. Recommendation to G.W. Cunningham, Technical Director.
"Building 371. Activities in building 371 were terminated on March 16, 1995, based on numerous deficiencies with the ventilation systems. As of May 24, 1995, activities have not resumed. The contractor has stated that 'this termination is necessary because the impact of these deficiencies on the facility's authorization basis in unknown.' The major physical cause of the termination of operations can be traced to the malfunctioning of the instrument air system."
"Another important manifestation of the unacceptable level of material condition of Building 371 is the frequency of alarms received in the Building. Prior to April 1990 this was running at approximately 500 per day and it is currently in excess of 2400. An acceptable level has not been established. At the 500 level, an adequate response to each alarm is beyond the resources and staffing for the facility."
"In its present configuration, the vast majority (several hundred) of the instrumentation and controls in the Building 776 control room are out of service."
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. (July 5, 1995). Trip Report to Rocky Flats, January 3-6, 1995 - Review of Criticality Safety and Building 707 Thermal Stabilization Preparations. Recommendation to G.W. Cunningham, Technical Director.
"Procedures for draining tanks which have solutions with unconfirmed plutonium concentrations allow the solution to be drained into three 4-liter bottles for sampling. A 12-liter volume in a single spherical unit with moderate reflection could possibly pose a criticality concern when the plutonium concentration is 100 g/liter. Highly concentrated solutions do exist in Building 771 and could accidentally be drained through valve misalignment. Limiting the sample volume to 10 liters or requiring physical separation of the bottles could eliminate any criticality concern even with solutions at 500 g/liter Pu concentration and fully reflected."
"The observations made by the staff during this trip and the one on November 28 through December 2, 1994 identify some concerns with the safety culture of the RFFO and EG&G Safety Engineering groups. It appears that the safety engineers are more willing to support the activities than questioning the safety issues related to the activities."
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. (July 5, 1995). Radiolytic Hydrogen Generation in Rocky Flats Plutonium-Nitric Acid Solution Tanks, November 28-December 1, 1994. Recommendation to G.W. Cunningham, Technical Director.
"Analysis shows that even though vent lines to the actinide solution tanks are open, hydrogen and oxygen will accumulate in tank headspaces. Without headspace sampling, all tanks may be assumed to contain explosive mixtures of hydrogen and oxygen. ... Even if the tank wall remains intact, fittings and sight glasses may likely fail, breaching containment. The analysis indicates that within relatively short times hydrogen gas can build up to explosive concentrations. Due to the relatively long stagnant storage of these solutions, a hydrogen detonation in a tank is believed to be a credible hazard."
"This analysis assesses hydrogen generation in a total of 14 actinide solution tanks in buildings 371 and 771."
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. (May 15, 1995). Radioactive Waste Management Review at the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site, January 9-12, 1995. Recommendation to G.W. Cunningham, Technical Director.
"Summary: The RFETS is having a difficult time shipping radioactive waste off site because many of its waste containers cannot meet certification requirements for shipment to the Nevada Test Site (NTS). Because its waste generation rate exceeds its disposal rate, on-site storage capacity remains a serious issue. The increase in waste volumes resulting from decommissioning and environmental restoration activities, combined with a weak waste minimization program, will only worsen the situation in the next few years."
"Background: Low-level waste (LLW) and low-level mixed waste (LLMW) at the RFETS are stored in buildings and under tents on the 750 and 904 pads. Currently, 80% of the on-site LLW storage capacity of 8000 yd3 is in use, while 98% of the 14,800 yd3 of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permitted LLMW storage capacity is in use."
"During FY94, RFETS only made ten LLW shipments to NTS (a shipment can contain up to 57 yd3 of waste). This is contrasted to Fernald's 600 shipments. In FY95, RFETS anticipate shipping 395 yd3 to NTS and 168 yd3 to Hanford. However, this is only about half of their current generation rate of 1065 yd3 per year."
"Transuranic Waste Management: ... As with LLW, there is a lack of storage space in both operating and long-term storage facilities. In particular, there is a lack of vacant floor space as well as a potential conflict of activities in Building 776. This is the building in which venting and gas sampling of TRU and TRU-M waste drums takes place; 1150 drums are left to be vented."
"It should be noted that current cost of disposal at the Nevada Test Site of low-level waste generated by the RFETS is $10 per ft3 (as compared with an estimated commercial low-level waste disposal cost of $300 per ft3. This is not much of an incentive to minimize the waste generation rate."
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. (September 26, 1994). Rocky Flats Plutonium Storage. Recommendation 94-3 to the Secretary of Energy pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 2286a(5) Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended.
"The Board has been informed in briefings by the Department of Energy (DOE) that Building 371 is considered to be structurally the best on-site facility for the storage of plutonium, and that steps are therefore scheduled that in time will move the major part of the Site's plutonium inventory into storage in this building. As a result, Building 371 will assume a unique role as the storehouse which contains the largest single accumulation of plutonium in the DOE complex. It follows that potential health and safety issues associated with this proposed use of the building also assume very high importance."
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. (June 4, 1990). Criticality Safety at the Rocky Flats Plant. Recommendation 90-6 to the Secretary of Energy pursuant to Section 312(5) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended.
"...that fissile materials have accumulated in certain portions of these systems. In addition, other more recent physical studies have confirmed fissile and other undefined debris exist in the ducts."
"As of this time, full characterization of the situation by DOE and its contractors has not been completed; hence, all specific remediation measures have not yet been determined."
Dow et. al. (1971 to date). Dow Chemical, Rockwell International, and EG&G Rocky Flats, Inc., annual environmental monitoring reports for the Rocky Flats Plant (various titles), produced annually since 1971 by EG&G Rocky Flats, Inc. and its predecessors.
Hardy, E. and Krey, (1995). P. Comments on "Spatial analysis of plutonium-239+240 and americium-241 in soils around Rocky Flats, Colorado," by M.I. Litaor. J. Environ. Qual. 24:506-516. J. Environ. Qual. 24(6), 1229.
"He then extends this conclusion to say that if his assessment of the Pu and Am dispersal patterns is true, there was less public exposure to these actinides than previously suggested by Johnson in 1981. Since Litaor did not sample east of Indiana Avenue, this has no validity whatsoever." (pg. 1229).
Hardy, E.P., Volchok, H.L., Livingston, H.D. and Burke, J.C. (1980). Time pattern of off-site plutonium deposition from Rocky Flats Plant by lake sediment analyses. Environment International, 4, 21-30.
"The 18 nCi 239,240Pu per m2 (665 Bq/m2) from the Plant that had accumulated in the sediment is reasonable when compared to soil analyses." (p. 21)
Additional deposition of 8000 pCi/m2 (296 Bq/m2) attributed to weapons fallout.
Is this is a gross overestimation of actual weapons fallout plutonium ground deposition, the worldwide cumulative average of which is 50-60 Bq/m2, or does this reflect the impact of upwind weapons testing in Nevada?
Ibrahim, S.A., Webb, S.B. and Whicker, F.W. (1997). Contributions of Rocky Flats releases to the total plutonium in regional soils. Health Physics. 72(1). pg. 42-48.
"Total 239,240Pu and the 240Pu:239Pu atom ratio were measured in soil samples from around the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site (RFETS) during 1992-1994." (abstract).
"Concentrations of 239,240Pu within this sample set ranged from 1.1 Bq kg-1 offsite to 57 Bq kg-1 onsite..." (abstract).
Illsley, C.T. (January 28, 1983). Environmental inventory-updated information on burial sites at Rocky Flats. Internal Doc. EA-321-83-240. Rockwell Int., Golden, CO.
Johnson, C.J. (1988). Rocky Flats: Death Inc. New York Times, Dec. 18, 1988.
Local health inspector found 44 times more plutonium in soil near plant than had been reported earlier by the government.
Jones, R.H., and Zhang, Y. (1996). Spatial and Temporal Analysis of the Rocky Flats Soil Plutonium Data. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Radiation Control Division, Denver, CO.
An overview of this report is available at Internet URL: http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/cdphe_dir/rc/rchom.html
This report is an attempt to reformat previously reported data collected not only by the Radiation Control Division, but also contained in other reports, to update contour mapping of the Rocky Flat's plutonium plume. The introduction to this report references not only the Krey and Hardy contour map of 1970 but "other surveys of contamination around Rocky Flats have also used contour maps, one of the most recent of which was published in 1993 by M. I. Litaor."
"From 1970 to 1991, the Radiation Control Division performed several surveys of plutonium contamination in surface soil. The purpose of the surveys was to find the extent and degree of plutonium contamination in the vicinity of the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site [RFETS], formerly the Rocky Flats Plant." (Introduction and overview, pg. 1).
This report is the reformatting of this data into contour maps due to numerous requests from public interest groups etc.
"Radiation Control Division staff have observed over the years that the highest measured concentrat

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