DRAINING HAZARDOUS FLUIDS DURING BUILDING 221-1F DEACTIVATION AT THE SAVANNAH RIVER SITE Page: 3 of 5
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III.A. General Method for Draining Piping
SRS conducts all draining of hazardous fluids in
accordance with written procedures (or "work packages").
As a first step in the preparation of work packages,
Engineering develops a "drain index" as required by
written draining guidelines. As part of the "drain index",
the guidelines require Engineering to identify and/or
define the following for each pipe to be drained:
Pipe's location (pictures are required)
Pipe's contents (e.g. 65% nitric acid)
Pipe's size (e.g. 3" nominal) and materials of
construction (304 stainless steel)
Method to Drain (e.g. use "hot tap")1
Method to Vent (e.g. open valve @ high point)
Capping/sealing end of cut pipe
SRS Planning develops the work packages based on
the engineering indexes. Past work packages contained
instructions for draining each line, but left some details to
the discretion of the experienced First Line Manager and
deactivation worker. The work packages contained the
following instructions/information, which were in
addition to that contained in the engineering index:
" As reference, the manufacturer's instructions for
the hot taps
" Use of pH paper to check pipe contents
" General chart for material compatibility
The following draining details were generally left to the
discretion of the experienced First Line Manager and
* Selection and use of containments (including
components and materials of construction)2
Because system valves are typically not available at
the desired draining location, SRS makes extensive use of
hot taps to drain piping containing hazardous fluids.
1 The guidelines establish a hierarchy of drain methods,
where positive control is preferred. As a result, use of
system valves or hot taps is generally specified. If the
piping system is verified to hold minimal fluid, then
drilling/cutting of piping or breaking of flanges is allowed
with special approval.
2 Containments include "leak collection rigs" under the
drain point, "spill pallets" under the collection container,
and glovebags around piping to be segmented and
These hot taps are commercially available and have been
used extensively and successfully at SRS as well at as
other DOE sites. Users have reported successful use of
the taps in a full range of application including
concentrated nitric acid. The manufacturer offers the hot
tap as a commercial product where the end user is
responsible for ensuring material compatibility. Per the
manufacturer, successful usage is expected provided you
follow their operating procedures.
III.B. August 2009 Nitric Acid Release
Last August, SRS lost primary confinement
associated with a nitric acid supply line that SRS was
attempting to drain and then air gap. A hot tap was
installed on the line several days prior to the release. A
work bumped the drill bit, the drill bit was dislodged from
the hot tap, and nitric acid spilled from the line. The
spilled nitric acid contacted/ splashed several workers in
the vicinity. All workers were wearing appropriate
personal protective equipment (PPE); however, there are
gaps at the edges of the face-shields and protective suits
have seams. (For the most serious exposure, the acid
penetrated the suit via the sleeve/glove interface.) End
result, SRS transported three workers to a local hospital,
where two were released and returned to work the same
day. The third worker received skin grafts (temporary
and permanent), and did not return to work for several
days. Additionally, SRS transported four workers to SRS
Medical as a precaution: all were released the same day.
In total, the nitric acid exposures resulted in one
recordable injury and four first aid cases.
Figure 2 shows the hot tap that failed. A yellow
glovebag is draped over the nitric acid supply line. Just to
the north and south of the glovebag are two tap: one
acting as a vent and the other acting as a tap. The far tap,
used as a drain, failed last August.
FIGURE 2 - Installed A-Line Hot Taps
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Musall, J. DRAINING HAZARDOUS FLUIDS DURING BUILDING 221-1F DEACTIVATION AT THE SAVANNAH RIVER SITE, article, May 11, 2010; South Carolina. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc930111/m1/3/: accessed March 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.