The Solid Waste Management Facility at the Savannah River Site.
The Solid Waste Management Facility at the Savannah River Site.

AIKEN, S.C. – The Savannah River Site (SRS) Solid Waste Management Facility (SWMF) recently improved the quality of the procedures used to carry out its missions with its Procedure Enhancement Program, leading to increased efficiency for the facility.

“In 2015, SWMF recognized several inadequacies in the performance of procedure reviews,” said Verne Mooneyhan, SWMF facility manager for Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS), the managing and operating contractor at SRS. “We designed the Procedure Enhancement Program to address these inadequacies and ensure we had a clear set of steps to follow from this point forward.”

SWMF employees reviewed 140 procedures to ensure they reflected current missions and were written to minimize potential errors. The review resulted in the removal of 32% of the procedures that no longer supported SWMF missions. Employees also combined similar procedures, and eliminated unnecessary steps without impacting safety precautions.

“We utilized small group sessions to help identify additional procedural shortcomings for inconsistencies, wording and sequence flow,” said Renee Hoeffner, SRNS SWMF deputy operations manager.

Hoeffner said team members used the same process to review each procedure. To ensure consistency, they developed a checklist used to draft procedure revisions. The revisions were reviewed by subject matter experts before they were routed to a procedure writer. Management conducted a final review prior to implementation.

SWMF implemented training for personnel taking part in the review. It covered expectations for procedure development, review and validation; procedural requirements; and the impact of human factors in procedure development, review and validation.

“SRNS is constantly looking for ways to improve our processes and reduce risks,” said Janice Lawson, SRNS senior vice president of environmental management operations. “I applaud SWMF’s self-identification of an issue and their resolution and persistence in not only getting it fixed, but in improving the process as well.”

The Solid Waste Management Program at SRS is responsible for the disposition of the site’s solid waste, which includes sanitary, construction and demolition, hazardous, low-level radioactive, and transuranic wastes.