An annual review of conditions at Y-12’s 9212 uranium complex did not find any safety problems that would warrant limiting operations at the World War II-era facility, according to a newly released memo by staff of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. It reportedly noted some accomplishments over the past year, such as establishing an administrative limit for “material at risk” in 9212.
However, the review by the Continued Safe Operability Oversight Team (CSOOT) did note continuing concerns about the “growing maintenance backlog” of equipment at the key uranium-processing facility at the Oak Ridge plant, the Aug. 7 memo by the DNFSB staff states.
“The (CSOOT) report notes improvements to maintenance planning and execution processes but the maintenance backlog for enriched uranium operations has grown by 15 percent,” the memo to safety board headquarters states. “The CSOOT is concerned that operating with known material issues could degrade safety and recommends an increase in designated facility maintenance, engineering and production support personnel to slow the growth of this backlog.”
The memo further states that the site manager for Y-12 contractor Consolidated Nuclear Security addressed this recommendation by promising to establish “a dedicated maintenance team” to cover certain areas of 9212 — the main facility for processing weapons-grade uranium.
“Wet chemistry and metal production areas are to serve as the pilot for this team,” the safety board memo said. The special maintenance team is to be created by Oct. 1.
A feature on Atomic City Underground allows readers to sign up for email updates and receive a notice each time new information is posted on the news blog. Just put your email address in the box on the lower right of the blog’s front page and follow instructions. Thanks to all loyal readers.