Morning Briefing - December 03, 2018
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December 03, 2018

Fluor Idaho Readies Plan to Prevent Another Drum Mishap

By ExchangeMonitor

While details have not been released, Fluor Idaho has presented Energy Department officials with its corrective action plan for preventing another radioactive-waste drum breach at an Idaho National Laboratory facility.

Energy Department officials in Idaho are expected to finish their adequacy review of the plan by Dec. 21. At dates yet to be determined, Fluor Idaho will provide comments on the DOE review and resume sludge repackaging at INL’s Waste Management Facility-1617. according to a monthly report issued Thursday by the site cleanup contractor to the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

Repackaging has been on hold since the tops of four drums popped off in April, spilling much of the sludge onto the floor and walls of the facility.

The corrective action report will be provided to the state agency once DOE finishes its review and clears it for release. “Corrective actions have been developed that address the cause of the event and to prevent recurrence of this type of even in the future,” Fluor Idaho said in its update.

The contractor has been filing monthly reports since May on the April 11 incident when four 55-gallon drums of radioactive sludges overheated and ejected their lids. The drums were in place for removal of aerosol cans and other forbidden objects from sludge waste that had been buried at INL after being shipped years ago from the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons site in Colorado. The drums had not yet been certified for shipment to DOE’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

In a cause analysis issued in late October, Fluor concluded the breaches occurred after depleted uranium in the drums contacted air for the first time in about 40 years. The analysis also said the company should have taken greater care in processing and repackaging the waste and done more to identify potential combustion sources within the drums.