PUREX/UO3 Facilities deactivation lessons learned history

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Disconnecting the criticality alarm permanently in June 1996 signified that the hazards in the PUREX (plutonium-uranium extraction) plant had been so removed and reduced that criticality was no longer a credible event. Turning off the PUREX criticality alarm also marked a salient point in a historic deactivation project, 1 year before its anticipated conclusion. The PUREX/UO3 Deactivation Project began in October 1993 as a 5-year, $222.5- million project. As a result of innovations implemented during 1994 and 1995, the project schedule was shortened by over a year, with concomitant savings. In 1994, the innovations included arranging to send contaminated nitric ... continued below

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236 p.

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Gerber, M.S. September 19, 1996.

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  • Westinghouse Hanford Company
    Publisher Info: Westinghouse Hanford Co., Richland, WA (United States)
    Place of Publication: Richland, Washington

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Description

Disconnecting the criticality alarm permanently in June 1996 signified that the hazards in the PUREX (plutonium-uranium extraction) plant had been so removed and reduced that criticality was no longer a credible event. Turning off the PUREX criticality alarm also marked a salient point in a historic deactivation project, 1 year before its anticipated conclusion. The PUREX/UO3 Deactivation Project began in October 1993 as a 5-year, $222.5- million project. As a result of innovations implemented during 1994 and 1995, the project schedule was shortened by over a year, with concomitant savings. In 1994, the innovations included arranging to send contaminated nitric acid from the PUREX Plant to British Nuclear Fuels, Limited (BNFL) for reuse and sending metal solutions containing plutonium and uranium from PUREX to the Hanford Site tank farms. These two steps saved the project $36.9- million. In 1995, reductions in overhead rate, work scope, and budget, along with curtailed capital equipment expenditures, reduced the cost another $25.6 million. These savings were achieved by using activity-based cost estimating and applying technical schedule enhancements. In 1996, a series of changes brought about under the general concept of ``reengineering`` reduced the cost approximately another $15 million, and moved the completion date to May 1997. With the total savings projected at about $75 million, or 33.7 percent of the originally projected cost, understanding how the changes came about, what decisions were made, and why they were made becomes important. At the same time sweeping changes in the cultural of the Hanford Site were taking place. These changes included shifting employee relations and work structures, introducing new philosophies and methods in maintaining safety and complying with regulations, using electronic technology to manage information, and, adopting new methods and bases for evaluating progress. Because these changes helped generate cost savings and were accompanied by and were an integral part of sweeping ``culture changes,`` the story of the lessons learned during the PUREX Deactivation Project are worth recounting. Foremost among the lessons is recognizing the benefits of ``right to left`` project planning. A deactivation project must start by identifying its end points, then make every task, budget, and organizational decision based on reaching those end points. Along with this key lesson is the knowledge that project planning and scheduling should be tied directly to costing, and the project status should be checked often (more often than needed to meet mandated reporting requirements) to reflect real-time work. People working on a successful project should never be guessing about its schedule or living with a paper schedule that does not represent the actual state of work. Other salient lessons were learned in the PUREX/UO3 Deactivation Project that support these guiding principles. They include recognizing the value of independent review, teamwork, and reengineering concepts; the need and value of cooperation between the DOE, its contractors, regulators, and stakeholders; and the essential nature of early and ongoing communication. Managing a successful project also requires being willing to take a fresh look at safety requirements and to apply them in a streamlined and sensible manner to deactivating facilities; draw on the enormous value of resident knowledge acquired by people over years and sometimes decades of working in old plants; and recognize the value of bringing in outside expertise for certain specialized tasks.This approach makes possible discovering the savings that can come when many creative options are pursued persistently and the wisdom of leaving some decisions to the future. The essential job of a deactivation project is to place a facility in a safe, stable, low-maintenance mode, for an interim period. Specific end points are identified to recognize and document this state. Keeping the limited objectives of the project in mind can guide decisions that reduce risks with minimal manipulation of physical materials, minimal waste generation, streamline regulations and safety requirements where possible, and separate the facility from ongoing entanglements with operating systems. Thus, the ``parked car`` state is achieved quickly and directly. The PUREX Deactivation Lessons Learned History was first issued in January 1995. Since then, several key changes have occurred in the project, making it advisable to revise and update the document. This document is organized with the significant lessons learned captured at the end of each section, and then recounted in Section 11.0, ``Lessons Consolidated.`` It is hoped and believed that the lessons learned on the PUREX Deactivation Project will have value to other facilities both inside and outside the DOE complex.

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236 p.

Notes

OSTI as DE98058661

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  • Other Information: PBD: 19 Sep 1996

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  • Other: DE98058661
  • Report No.: WHC-SP--1147-Rev.1
  • Grant Number: AC06-96RL13200
  • DOI: 10.2172/331596 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 331596
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc678841

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  • September 19, 1996

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  • July 25, 2015, 2:20 a.m.

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  • June 14, 2016, 8:41 p.m.

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Gerber, M.S. PUREX/UO3 Facilities deactivation lessons learned history, report, September 19, 1996; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc678841/: accessed July 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.