Review of Nuclear Safety Programs at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Independent Oversight, within the Office of Health, Safety and Security (HSS), conducted a follow-up review of nuclear safety at the DOE Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) during January and February 2009. The follow-up review focused on PNNL efforts to address nuclear safety deficiencies identified in a November-December 2003 HSS Independent Oversight inspection of environment, safety, and health programs at PNNL.
RPL has taken important steps to address the three nuclear safety findings identified during the 2003 Independent Oversight inspection. The most significant corrective action taken by PNNL was to redo the accident analysis, which showed that accident exposures for both workers and the public were less than the DOE guidelines, even without crediting the safety functions of REVS; thus, there is no requirement that REVS and its backup instrument air system be designated as safety-significant systems. Independent Oversight found no discrepancies or weaknesses in the revised accident analysis. Some other corrective actions were completed adequately, such as modifying sample points for testing HEPA filters and revising the TSRs with respect to REVS.
Sections 2 and 3 of this report discuss the key positive attributes and items for management attention, respectively, identified during this follow-up review. Section 4 provides Independent Oversight’s conclusions regarding the overall effectiveness of PNSO’s and PNNL’s management of the corrective actions for the identified deficiencies with RPL nuclear safety systems. Section 5 presents opportunities for improvement for consideration by PNSO and PNNL.
Appendix A provides supplemental information, including team composition. Appendix B presents the finding identified during this Independent Oversight review. The finding is also referenced in the applicable portions of Sections 3 and 4 of this report. The finding listed in Appendix B was derived from multiple individual deficiencies that are described in the report. In accordance with DOE Order 470.2B, Independent Oversight and Performance Assurance Program, SC must develop a corrective action plan to address the finding identified in Appendix B, including the associated individual deficiencies, and provide appropriate causal analyses, corrective actions, and recurrence controls for this finding. Appendix C presents the Independent Oversight assessment of the elements that were reviewed, including an assessment of: (1) corrective actions for the 2003 findings, (2) the unreviewed safety question (USQ) process, and (3) PNNL corrective action reviews and PNSO oversight.