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Audit Report: IG-0837

August 10, 2010

Nuclear Safety: Safety Basis and Quality Assurance at the Los Alamos National Laboratory

The Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated facility that is part of the National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) nuclear weapons complex. Los Alamos' primary mission is to ensure the safety, security and reliability of the Nation's nuclear deterrent force. To meet its mission, Los Alamos employees and subcontractors operate in close proximity to or in contact with special nuclear materials, explosives and hazardous chemicals. NNSA's Los Alamos Site Office is responsible for overseeing the operations of Los Alamos. Since June 1, 2006, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, has managed and operated Los Alamos under contract with NNSA. The Department considers safety an integral part of its mission, operating in compliance with nuclear safety requirements of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 830 (10 CFR 830), Nuclear Safety Management. The Regulation, among other things, requires contractors to complete, and update as conditions change, Documented Safety Analyses (DSA) that identify hazards associated with relevant work processes and to design and implement controls over such hazards. Further, under DOE Order 414.1C, Quality Assurance, contractors are required to develop and implement a Quality Assurance Program to prevent or detect safety or other problems in the workplace. The DSA and Quality Assurance requirements are critically important and are designed, when properly implemented, to protect workers, the public and facilities from the potentially devastating effects of nuclear-related accidents. We initiated this audit to determine whether Los Alamos had fully implemented the required nuclear safety management regime.

Topic: National Security & Safety