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Independent Oversight Review, Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant Project - October 2010

October 2010

Review of Nuclear Safety Culture at the Hanford Site Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant Project

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Health, Safety and Security (HSS) conducted an independent review of the nuclear safety culture at the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) project at the Hanford Site during August and September 2010. The HSS team performed the review in response to a request in a July 30, 2010, memorandum from the Assistant Secretary for the DOE Headquarters Office of Environmental Management (EM), which referred to nuclear safety concerns raised by a contractor employee at WTP.

ORP and BNI have multiple processes for managing nuclear safety issues. These processes have been effectively implemented to address many safety issues in a transparent and well-documented manner that was successful in achieving agreement, in most cases, on the actions needed for resolution and monitoring those actions to completion. The M3 issue was also managed in accordance with rigorous processes; however, one process deficiency was identified in that the M3 Cut Sheet was closed although the closure criteria were not fully met.

Section 2 provides background information about the WTP, including challenging aspects of the project and a brief summary of the status of technical issues that have been raised concerning the WTP project. Sections 3 and 4 present the results of the HSS team’s review of the safety culture for the WTP contractors and ORP, respectively. Section 5 presents overall conclusions and a few broad recommendations for EM/ORP and BNI consideration in their ongoing efforts to sustain and improve the nuclear safety culture at WTP.

Appendix A provides supplemental information about the review, including team composition. Appendices B and C present the results of the HSS team’s review of nuclear safety issue reporting and resolution processes and management of technical issues, respectively.