A federal board meeting on nuclear safety at the Y-12 National Security Complex has been rescheduled for Dec. 10.
The day-long public meeting and hearing of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board had originally been scheduled for Oct. 22. But it was postponed because of the partial federal government shutdown that started Oct. 1 and ended Oct. 17.
The board will still meet at the Knoxville Convention Center, and the meeting will still include two sessions. The first is from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, and the second is from 2 to 6 p.m.
There is also no change in the matters to be discussed, according to a notice published in the Federal Register.
That means the first session should still include testimony from the National Nuclear Security Administration and its contractor B&W Y-12 concerning the safety-related risks associated with continuing to operate aging defense nuclear facilities at Y-12. Y-12 was built during World War II to enrich uranium for the world’s first atomic bombs as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project.
During the morning session, the board will also “examine near-term and long-term risk assessment and mitigation efforts, including NNSA’s progress since the board’s Oct. 2, 2012, public meeting and hearing concerning improving the integration of safety into the design of the Uranium Capabilities Replacement Project, formerly known as the Uranium Processing Facility Project.”
In Session II, from 2 to 6 p.m., the board will discuss Y-12’s emergency planning, response, and oversight capabilities for severe events, including the condition and survivability of emergency response facilities. The board will also discuss the safety of nuclear operations, “specifically focused on key safety initiatives to improve conduct of operations and work planning, as well as the importance of robust oversight to sustain long-term improvements.”
It’s the second DNFSB meeting in Knoxville in a little more than one year. The focus of last year’s meeting was the UPF, including questions about the design and the need to redesign the building to fit all the equipment.
Earlier this summer, the board said it was still accepting relevant comments, technical information, and data concerning safety issues for this year’s meeting. For more information, see the DNFSB website.
You may also contact Mark Welch, DNFSB acting general manager in Washington, D.C., at (800) 788-4016.
The DNFSB is an independent organization within the executive branch given the responsibility to provide recommendations and advice to the president and the U.S. energy secretary regarding public health and safety issues at U.S. Department of Energy defense nuclear facilities. The board has operated since October 1989, and it has four members appointed by the president for staggered five-year terms.
The board is supported by almost 100 technical and administrative staff personnel and an annual budget of $22 million. The board headquarters is located in Washington, D.C., and 10 board staff personnel are currently on two-three year rotational assignment at the following DOE sites: Los Alamos, Livermore, Pantex, Hanford, Oak Ridge, and Savannah River.