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Title: ACCELERATION OF LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY TRANSURANIC WASTE DISPOSITION

Abstract

One of Los Alamos National Laboratory's (LANL's) most significant risks is the site's inventory of transuranic waste retrievably stored above and below-ground in Technical Area (TA) 54 Area G, particularly the dispersible high-activity waste stored above-ground in deteriorating facilities. The high activity waste represents approximately 50% (by activity) of the total 292,000 PE-Ci inventory remaining to be disposed. The transuramic waste inventory includes contact-handled and remote-handled waste packaged in drums, boxes, and oversized containers which are retrievably stored both above and below-ground. Although currently managed as transuranic waste, some of the inventory is low-level waste that can be disposed onsite or at approved offsite facilities. Dispositioning the transuranic waste inventory requires retrieval of the containers from above and below-ground storage, examination and repackaging or remediation as necessary, characterization, certification and loading for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad New Mexico, all in accordance with well-defined requirements and controls. Although operations are established to process and characterize the lower-activity contact-handled transuranic waste containers, LAN L does not currently have the capability to repack high activity contact-handled transuranic waste containers (> 56 PE-Ci) or to process oversized containers with activity levels over 0.52 PE-Ci. Operational issues and compliance requirementsmore » have resulted in less than optimal processing capabilities for lower activity contact-handled transuranic waste containers, limiting preparation and reducing dependability of shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Since becoming the Los Alamos National Laboratory contract in June 2006, Los Alamos National Security (LANS) L.L.C. has developed a comprehensive, integrated plan to effectively and efficiently disposition the transuranic waste inventory, working in concert with the Department of Energy Los Alamos Site Office, Carlsbad Field Office and the Department of Energy Headquaeters. Rather than simply processing containers as retrieved, the plan places priority on efficient curie disposition, a direct correlation to reducing risk. Key elements of the approch include balancing inventory and operational risks, tailoring methods to meet requirements, optimizing existing facilities, equipment and staff, and incorporating best practices from other Department of Energy sites. With sufficient funding this will enable LANL to ship the above-ground high activity contact-handled transuranic waste offsite by the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 and to disposition the remaining above- and below-ground contact-handled and remote-handled transuranic waste inventory by December 2010. Nearly 70% of the contact-handled transuranic waste containers, including the high activity waste, require processing and repackaging before characterization and certification for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. LANL is employing a balanced risk approach that accomplishes significant long-term risk reduction by accepting short-term increased facility operations risk under well-developed and justified interim controls. Reviews of facility conditions and additional analyses show that the Waste Characterization, Reduction and Repackaging Facility and the Radioassay and Nondestructive Testing Facility are the most appropriate facilities to safetly remediate, repackage, and ship lower activity and the remaining high activity drums. Updated safety documentation supporting limited Hazard Category 2 operations in these facilities has been developed. Once approved, limited-term operations to process the high activity drums can begin in early 2007, building upon the experience base established performing Hazard Category 3 operations processing lower activity waste in these facilities. LANL is also implementing a series of actions to improve and sustain operations for processing contact-handled transuranic waste inventory. Building 412 Decontamination and Volume Facility and Dome 231 Permacon will be reconfigured to remediate and repackage oversized containers. Actions are underway to stage the inventory in a manner that facilitiates handling and processing, and builds a backlog at key process steps to improve efficienty and minimize the impact of operational slowdown elsewhere in the process. Several initiatives will improve safety and strengthen disciplined operations and compliance with established requirements. Retrieval is a critical element in dispositioning the below-ground contact-handled and remote-handled transuranic waste inventory and will be subcontracted to a firm(s) with the experience and specialized capability to retrieve the contact-handled and remote-handled inventories. Performance specifications consider likely container integrity issues and anticipated challenges recoveirng the waste from storage in pits, trenches, and lined shafts.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Laboratory
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
1000490
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-07-0027
TRN: US1100135
DOE Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: WASTE MANAGEMENT 2007 SYMPOSIUM ; 200702 ; TUCSON
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
57; ACCELERATION; ACTIVITY LEVELS; COMMUNITIES; COMPLIANCE; CONTAINERS; DECONTAMINATION; DOCUMENTATION; INVENTORIES; NATIONAL SECURITY; NONDESTRUCTIVE TESTING; PERFORMANCE; PROCESSING; RADIOASSAY; SAFETY; SPECIFICATIONS; STORAGE; WASTE MANAGEMENT; WASTES; WIPP

Citation Formats

O'LEARY, GERALD A. ACCELERATION OF LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY TRANSURANIC WASTE DISPOSITION. United States: N. p., 2007. Web.
O'LEARY, GERALD A. ACCELERATION OF LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY TRANSURANIC WASTE DISPOSITION. United States.
O'LEARY, GERALD A. Thu . "ACCELERATION OF LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY TRANSURANIC WASTE DISPOSITION". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1000490.
@article{osti_1000490,
title = {ACCELERATION OF LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY TRANSURANIC WASTE DISPOSITION},
author = {O'LEARY, GERALD A.},
abstractNote = {One of Los Alamos National Laboratory's (LANL's) most significant risks is the site's inventory of transuranic waste retrievably stored above and below-ground in Technical Area (TA) 54 Area G, particularly the dispersible high-activity waste stored above-ground in deteriorating facilities. The high activity waste represents approximately 50% (by activity) of the total 292,000 PE-Ci inventory remaining to be disposed. The transuramic waste inventory includes contact-handled and remote-handled waste packaged in drums, boxes, and oversized containers which are retrievably stored both above and below-ground. Although currently managed as transuranic waste, some of the inventory is low-level waste that can be disposed onsite or at approved offsite facilities. Dispositioning the transuranic waste inventory requires retrieval of the containers from above and below-ground storage, examination and repackaging or remediation as necessary, characterization, certification and loading for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad New Mexico, all in accordance with well-defined requirements and controls. Although operations are established to process and characterize the lower-activity contact-handled transuranic waste containers, LAN L does not currently have the capability to repack high activity contact-handled transuranic waste containers (> 56 PE-Ci) or to process oversized containers with activity levels over 0.52 PE-Ci. Operational issues and compliance requirements have resulted in less than optimal processing capabilities for lower activity contact-handled transuranic waste containers, limiting preparation and reducing dependability of shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Since becoming the Los Alamos National Laboratory contract in June 2006, Los Alamos National Security (LANS) L.L.C. has developed a comprehensive, integrated plan to effectively and efficiently disposition the transuranic waste inventory, working in concert with the Department of Energy Los Alamos Site Office, Carlsbad Field Office and the Department of Energy Headquaeters. Rather than simply processing containers as retrieved, the plan places priority on efficient curie disposition, a direct correlation to reducing risk. Key elements of the approch include balancing inventory and operational risks, tailoring methods to meet requirements, optimizing existing facilities, equipment and staff, and incorporating best practices from other Department of Energy sites. With sufficient funding this will enable LANL to ship the above-ground high activity contact-handled transuranic waste offsite by the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 and to disposition the remaining above- and below-ground contact-handled and remote-handled transuranic waste inventory by December 2010. Nearly 70% of the contact-handled transuranic waste containers, including the high activity waste, require processing and repackaging before characterization and certification for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. LANL is employing a balanced risk approach that accomplishes significant long-term risk reduction by accepting short-term increased facility operations risk under well-developed and justified interim controls. Reviews of facility conditions and additional analyses show that the Waste Characterization, Reduction and Repackaging Facility and the Radioassay and Nondestructive Testing Facility are the most appropriate facilities to safetly remediate, repackage, and ship lower activity and the remaining high activity drums. Updated safety documentation supporting limited Hazard Category 2 operations in these facilities has been developed. Once approved, limited-term operations to process the high activity drums can begin in early 2007, building upon the experience base established performing Hazard Category 3 operations processing lower activity waste in these facilities. LANL is also implementing a series of actions to improve and sustain operations for processing contact-handled transuranic waste inventory. Building 412 Decontamination and Volume Facility and Dome 231 Permacon will be reconfigured to remediate and repackage oversized containers. Actions are underway to stage the inventory in a manner that facilitiates handling and processing, and builds a backlog at key process steps to improve efficienty and minimize the impact of operational slowdown elsewhere in the process. Several initiatives will improve safety and strengthen disciplined operations and compliance with established requirements. Retrieval is a critical element in dispositioning the below-ground contact-handled and remote-handled transuranic waste inventory and will be subcontracted to a firm(s) with the experience and specialized capability to retrieve the contact-handled and remote-handled inventories. Performance specifications consider likely container integrity issues and anticipated challenges recoveirng the waste from storage in pits, trenches, and lined shafts.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Jan 04 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Thu Jan 04 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}

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  • One of Los Alamos National Laboratory's (LANL's) most significant risks is the site's inventory of transuranic waste retrievably stored above and below-ground in Technical Area (TA) 54 Area G, particularly the dispersible high-activity waste stored above-ground in deteriorating facilities. The high activity waste represents approximately 50% (by activity) of the total 292,000 PE-Ci inventory remaining to be disposed. The transuranic waste inventory includes contact-handled and remote-handled waste packaged in drums, boxes, and oversized containers which are retrievably stored both above and below-ground. Although currently managed as transuranic waste, some of the inventory is low-level waste that can be disposed onsitemore » or at approved offsite facilities. Dis-positioning the transuranic waste inventory requires retrieval of the containers from above and below- ground storage, examination and repackaging or remediation as necessary, characterization, certification and loading for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico, all in accordance with well-defined requirements and controls. Although operations are established to process and characterize the lower-activity contact-handled transuranic waste containers, LANL does not currently have the capability to repack high activity contact-handled transuranic waste containers (> 56 PE-Ci) or to process oversized containers with activity levels over 0.52 PE-Ci. Operational issues and compliance requirements have resulted in less than optimal processing capabilities for lower activity contact-handled transuranic waste containers, limiting preparation and reducing dependability of shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Since becoming the Los Alamos National Laboratory contractor in June 2006, Los Alamos National Security (LANS) L.L.C. has developed a comprehensive, integrated plan to effectively and efficiently disposition the transuranic waste inventory, working in concert with the Department of Energy Los Alamos Site Office, Carlsbad Field Office and the Department of Energy Headquarters. Rather than simply processing containers as retrieved, the plan places priority on efficient curie disposition, a direct correlation to reducing risk. Key elements of the approach include balancing inventory and operational risks, tailoring methods to meet requirements, optimizing existing facilities, equipment and staff, and incorporating best practices from other Department of Energy sites. With sufficient funding this will enable LANL to ship the above-ground high activity contact-handled transuranic waste offsite by the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 and to disposition the remaining above- and below-ground contact-handled and remote-handled transuranic waste inventory by December 2010. Nearly 70% of the contact-handled transuranic waste containers, including the high activity waste, require processing and repackaging before characterization and certification for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. LANL is employing a balanced risk approach that accomplishes significant long-term risk reduction by accepting short-term increased facility operations risk under well-developed and justified interim controls. Reviews of facility conditions and additional analyses show that the Waste Characterization, Reduction and Repackaging Facility and the Radioassay and Nondestructive Testing Facility are the most appropriate facilities to safely remediate, repackage, and ship lower activity and the remaining high activity drums. Updated safety documentation supporting limited Hazard Category 2 operations in these facilities has been developed. Once approved, limited-term operations to process the high activity drums can begin in early 2007, building upon the experience base established performing Hazard Category 3 operations processing lower activity waste in these facilities. LANL is also implementing a series of actions to improve and sustain operations for processing contact-handled transuranic waste inventory. Building 412 Decontamination and Volume Reduction Facility and Dome 231 Permacon will be reconfigured to remediate and repackage oversized containers. Actions are underway to stage the inventory in a manner that facilitates handling and processing, and builds a backlog at key process steps to improve efficiency and minimize the impact of operational slowdown elsewhere in the process. Several initiatives will improve safety and strengthen disciplined operations and compliance with established requirements. Retrieval is a critical element in dis-positioning the below-ground contact-handled and remote-handled transuranic waste inventory and will be subcontracted to a firm(s) with the experience and specialized capability to retrieve the contact-handled and remote-handled inventories. Performance specifications will consider likely container integrity issues and anticipated challenges recovering the waste from storage in pits, trenches, and lined shafts. Such an approach is one of several designed to avoid or mitigate risks associated with handling and dis-positioning the transuranic waste. Upon completion of the LANL Transuranic Waste Disposition Project, the inventory of contact-handled and remote-handled transuranic waste will have been shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and the associated low-level and mixed wastes disposed at approved onsite or offsite facilities. Doing so will eliminate a major risk to the environment, surrounding communities and the workforce two years earlier than the current baseline. (authors)« less
  • A number of key regulatory drivers affect the nature, scope, and timing of Los Alamos National Laboratory`s (LANL`s) plans for mixed transuranic (MTRU) waste shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), which are planned to commence as soon as possible following WIPP`s currently anticipated November, 1997 opening date. This paper provides an overview of some of the key drivers at LANL, particularly emphasizing those associated with the hazardous waste component of LANL`s MTRU waste (MTRU, like any mixed waste, contains both a radioactive and a hazardous waste component). The key drivers discussed here derive from the federal Resource Conservationmore » and Recovery Act (RCRA) and its amendments, including the Federal Facility Compliance Act (FFCAU), and from the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Act (NMHWA). These statutory provisions are enforced through three major mechanisms: facility RCRA permits; the New Mexico Hazardous Waste Management Regulations, set forth in the New Mexico Administrative Code, Title 20, Chapter 4, Part 1: and compliance orders issued to enforce these requirements. General requirements in all three categories will apply to MTRU waste management and characterization activities at both WIPP and LANL. In addition, LANL is subject to facility-specific requirements in its RCRA hazardous waste facility permit, permit conditions as currently proposed in RCRA Part B permit applications presently being reviewed by the New Mexico Environment Department (NNED), and facility-specific compliance orders related to MTRU waste management. Likewise, permitting and compliance-related requirements specific to WIPP indirectly affect LANL`s characterization, packaging, record-keeping, and transportation requirements for MTRU waste. LANL must comply with this evolving set of regulatory requirements to begin shipments of MTRU waste to WIPP in a timely fashion.« less
  • The Waste Characterization, Reduction, and Repackaging Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory is a flexible, nonreactor nuclear facility that is being applied to tasks much broader than the original design intent.
  • The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) achieved a national milestone on the road to shipping transuranic (TRU) waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) when it received certification authority on September 12, 1997. Since that time, LANL has been characterizing a non-mixed TRU waste stream and preparing shipments of this TRU waste for disposal in the WIPP. The paper describes the TRU waste identified as waste stream TA-55-43 Lot No. 01 from LANL Technical Area-55 and the process used to determine that it does not contain hazardous waste regulated by the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) or the Newmore » Mexico Hazardous Waste Act (HWA). The non-mixed determination is based on the acceptable knowledge (AK) characterization process, which clearly shows that the waste does not exhibit any RCRA characteristics nor meet any RCRA listing descriptions. LANL has certified TRU waste from waste stream TA-55-43 Lot No. 01 and is prepared to certify additional quantities of TRU waste horn other non-mixed TRU waste streams. Assembly and preparation of AK on the processes that generated TRU waste is recognized as a necessary part of the process for having waste ready for shipment to the WIPP.« less
  • The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has full capability to characterize transuranic (TRU) waste for shipment to and disposal at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) for its projected opening. LANL TRU waste management operations also include facilities to repackage both drums of waste found not to be certifiable for WIPP and oversized boxes of waste that must be size reduced for shipment to WIPP. All characterization activities and repackaging are carried out under a quality assurance program designed to meet Carlsbad Area Office (CAO) requirements. The flow of waste containers through characterization operations, the facilities used for characterization, andmore » the electronic data management system used for data package preparation and certification of TRU waste at LANL are described.« less