The LLNL Heavy Element Facility -- Facility Management, Authorization Basis, and Readiness Assessment Lessons Learned in the Heavy Element Facility (B251) Transition from Category II Nuclear Facility to Radiological Facility

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This paper presents Facility Management, Readiness Assessment, and Authorization Basis experience gained and lessons learned during the Heavy Element Facility Risk Reduction Program (RRP). The RRP was tasked with removing contaminated glove boxes, radioactive inventory, and contaminated ventilation systems from the Heavy Element Facility (B251) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The RRP was successful in its goal in April 2005 with the successful downgrade of B251 from a Category II Nuclear Facility to a Radiological Facility. The expertise gained and the lessons learned during the planning and conduct of the RRP included development of unique approaches in work planning/work ... continued below

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Mitchell, M; Anderson, B; Brown, E & Gray, L April 10, 2006.

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This paper presents Facility Management, Readiness Assessment, and Authorization Basis experience gained and lessons learned during the Heavy Element Facility Risk Reduction Program (RRP). The RRP was tasked with removing contaminated glove boxes, radioactive inventory, and contaminated ventilation systems from the Heavy Element Facility (B251) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). The RRP was successful in its goal in April 2005 with the successful downgrade of B251 from a Category II Nuclear Facility to a Radiological Facility. The expertise gained and the lessons learned during the planning and conduct of the RRP included development of unique approaches in work planning/work control (''Expect the unexpected and confirm the expected'') and facility management. These approaches minimized worker dose and resulted in significant safety improvements and operational efficiencies. These lessons learned can help similar operational and management activities at other sites, including facilities restarting operations or new facility startup. B251 was constructed at LLNL to provide research areas for conducting experiments in radiochemistry using transuranic elements. Activities at B251 once included the preparation of tracer sets associated with the underground testing of nuclear devices and basic research devoted to a better understanding of the chemical and nuclear behavior of the transuranic elements. Due to the age of the facility, even with preventative maintenance, facility safety and experimental systems were deteriorating. A variety of seismic standards were used in the facility design and construction, which encompassed eight building increments constructed over a period of 26 years. The cost to bring the facility into compliance with the current seismic and other requirements was prohibitive, and simply maintaining B251 as a Category II nuclear facility posed serious cost considerations under a changing regulatory environment. Considering the high cost of maintenance and seismic upgrades, the RRP was created to mitigate the risk of dispersal of radioactive material during an earthquake by removing the radioactive materials inventory and glove box contamination. LLNL adopted the goal of reducing the hazard categorization of the Facility from a Category II Nuclear Facility to a Radiological Facility. To support the RRP, B251 transitioned from a standby to a fully operational Category II Nuclear Facility, compliant with current regulations. A work control process was developed, procedures were developed, Authorization Basis Documents were created, work plans were written, off-normal drills practiced, a large number of USQ reviews were conducted, and a ''Type II'' Readiness Assessment (RA) was conducted to restart operations. Subsequent RA's focused on specific operations. Finally, a four-step process was followed to reach Radiological Status: (1) Inventory Reduction and D&D activities reduced the inventory and radiological contamination of the facility below the Category III threshold (DOE-STD-1027), (2) Radiological Safety Basis Document (SBD aka HAR) was approved by NNSA, (3) the inventory control system for a Radiological Facility was implemented, and (4) verification by NNSA of radiological status was completed.

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  • Presented at: EFCOG Safety Analysis Working Group (SAWG), Atlanta, GA, United States, Apr 30 - May 05, 2006

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  • Report No.: UCRL-CONF-220555
  • Grant Number: W-7405-ENG-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 889434
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc884635

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  • April 10, 2006

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Nov. 29, 2016, 6:43 p.m.

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Mitchell, M; Anderson, B; Brown, E & Gray, L. The LLNL Heavy Element Facility -- Facility Management, Authorization Basis, and Readiness Assessment Lessons Learned in the Heavy Element Facility (B251) Transition from Category II Nuclear Facility to Radiological Facility, article, April 10, 2006; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc884635/: accessed December 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.