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LANL Improving Nuclear Safety and Operations

LANL Improving Nuclear Safety and Operations

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Published by John R. Fleck
Sept. 16, 2011 letter from Kevin Smith, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration's Los Alamos Site Office to Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charles McMillan regarding nuclear safety of operations
Sept. 16, 2011 letter from Kevin Smith, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration's Los Alamos Site Office to Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charles McMillan regarding nuclear safety of operations

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Published by: John R. Fleck on Nov 21, 2011
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LANL
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UNITED
STATES
GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
National
Nuclear
Security
Administration
Los
Alamos
Site
Office
memorandum
Los
Alamos, New Mexico
81544
DATE:
SEP
1 6
201'
REPLY
TO
ATTN
OF:
Kevin
W.
Smith
SUBJECT
:
Los
Alamos National Laboratory -Improving Nuclear
Safety
and Operations
TO: 
Charles
F.
McMillan,
Director,
Los
Alamos National Security, LLC, MS-A
I 00
Reference:
1. 
Contract
Number
DE-AC52-06NA25396, Los
Alamos
National Security, LLC andthe
Department
of
Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration2. 
Contract
Number
DE-AC52-06NA25396,
Los
Alamos
National Security,
LLC
andtue
Department
of
Energy, National Nuclear
Security
Administration
(NNSA),
Section
I,
"ContractClauses",
Clause
H-
I,
"Redefining the Federal/ContractorRelationship to Improve Management and Performance"
3. Contract
Nwnber
DE-AC52-06NA2S396,
Los Alamos
National Security,
LLC
and
the Department
of
Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration
(NNSA),Section
I,
"Contract Clauses",
Clause
H-2,
"Performance Direction"
Los
Alamos Site
Office
(LASO) acknowledges the rigorous and self-critical nature
of
two recent
Los Alamos
National Security, LLC,
(LANS)
assessments: one involves the
Waste
Disposition Project (WDP) nuclear operations; the
other
involves the
Plutonium
Facility (PF-4) criticality safety program.
These
assessments, along with input frommultiple other sources, helped to codify
LASO's
view
on
the need to address a
number
of
reoccurring issues now and improve the laboratory's nuclear
safety
and operations.
They
are:• 
The
PF-4 criticality safety, conduct
of
operations, and configuration
management
safety
programs
are either incompletely implemented
or
ineffectively implemented
so
lhat
they can be
sustained.Also, a few operations in PF-4 have less criticality safety
margin
lhan other operations and are highly reliant
on
mature, effective conduct
of
operations
to
ensure worker
safety.• 
WDP
has deficiencies in credited safety management
programs
and safety systems.
LANS
has attempted to address these deficiencies several times in the
past,
but thefixes have not been
pennanent
.
These
two sets
of
facility-specific issues indicate problems that
continue
to
occur
and thatwarrant
near-tenn
actions and a sustained improvement plan.
Examples
of
suchproblems
that
LASO
has observed include:
lOa
dequate processes for
self
-identifyingandsustainably addressing issues;inadequateworkpackageplanning; not identifying all
job
hazards;
inadequate
closure
of
issues; lack
of
system,engineering processes, and
safety
basis knowledge; inability to execute procedures aswri
tt
en;
workers
accepting
NNSNDOE
Lat
AIaInoI
SR.
0/Iloo
1741"'
tM
J_
Road
IAI
AI--,IN
u!>«-22tt
IINSIJOOE
""
"",,
••
/IaJ'!
tCro~~$W
WulUngton,
DC
2IIUS-
I
1it
 
-2
SEP
1 6
2DIf
inadequate
procedures
or
not
following procedures;and
managementJsupervisory
actionsthat
rationalize the status quo
rather than identifying root
causes
and fixing
the
problems
.Collectively, these
problems
indicate that the level-or-maturity
of
both
the
Laboratory'
s
contractor
assurance
system
(CAS)
and
its
nuclear safety
culture does not
yet
consistently
meet
expectations.
The
special and unique aspects
of
the
Laboratory's
mission
and
its
nuclear
operations
require
a
q\.,cstioning attitude to be cultivated,
nuclear safety
to
becontinuously examined,
self
discovery
to
be
valued, and organizational learning
to
be
embraced
.
These
key
elements
of
a strong nuclear safety culture
are
not
consjstently
present
Competency in
integrated safely management also
needs
to
be
improved
.Therefore,
J
direct
you
to
take
the fonowing inunediate
and longer
term actions:
Immediate
actions:
• 
Evaluate
the
adequacy
and implementation
of
criticality
safety
c
ontrols
for
the PF-4operations
that
have
less-than-typical safety margin, identified
by
federal
staff
review;report
to
LASO
within 7 days
of
receipt
of
this letter
of
the
additional actionsthat
bave been
taken to
either
secure or fully
ensure
the
safety
of
these
operations
.• 
Evaluate
the WDP safe
tysystem operability issues identified in recent federal reports;take
app
ropriate actions,including critiquing and reporting. Assess
whether
PF-4
and
WDP
safety management
programs are
adequate
to
meetthe
intent
of
the
safety
bases for continued operations
without compensatory
measures.
• 
Provide LASO
a
status report on the above within three
weeks
of
receipt
of
this
memorandum
Longer term,
sustainable,
actions:
• Evaluate,
in
detail, the
PF·4
and
WDP
issues identified in
thls
leller
and
from
other
internal
and
external sources,including assessments,
occurrence
reports, technical
safetyrequirement
violations,
FCA
reports,
CAS
metrics, and lessons learned.• 
Detennine
deficiencies,
causal
factors, extent-of-condition across the site,
anddevelop
a
comprehensive
corrective action
plan
and
provide
it
to
LASO.• 
Provide LASO
specifLc
commitments
for improving
nuclear safety
and
operations
inFiscal
Year
20
12
• Establi
sh
a
suiteof
perfonnance
(C
AS
)
me
trics and leading indicators that can
bejoi
ntly used
by
LASO
and
LANS
to track
Ul
eimprovements
in
the quality
of
nuclear
opera
tio
IlS
• Provi
de LA
SO
a
co
m
pre
he
nsive report
on
plannedactions
and
thesuite
of
perfo
nn
ancetrac
king
met
Tle
s
by
November
)0,
2011.
If
the Contractor believes the
Performance
Directionvio)ates
Co
ntract No.
DE
-AC5
2
06NAJS3%
Cau
seH-2
enlltled
"P
erfo
on
ance Direction," the C
ontrac
tor
shall
suspend
implementa
ti
on
of t
he
Perf
orman
ce
Di
rection andpromptly
nOli
fy
the
LosA
l
am
os
SiteO
ffi
ce
(L
AS
O)
Contracting
Offic
er
of
il
s reasons forb
elieving
thai
the
Pe
rformance

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