A federal safety board has announced the appointment of two Oak Ridge resident inspectors, primarily at the Y-12 National Security Complex, and a major board reform has been announced.
The two will serve as Oak Ridge resident inspectors for the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, an independent federal agency responsible for safety oversight at U.S. Department of Energy defense nuclear facilities.
In Oak Ridge, the DNFSB reports often focus on activities at Y-12, but they can also include work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. ORNL is a DOE Office of Science lab, and Y-12 is a National Nuclear Security Administration site. The NNSA is a DOE agency.
The appointments of Duncan and Weathers were announced in July by DNFSB Acting Chairman Bruce Hamilton.
Duncan has been a member of the Board’s technical staff since 2000. Most recently, he served as the supervisory engineer for engineering analysis within the Nuclear Programs and Analysis group. Previously, Duncan was the technical staff lead for safety oversight of various design and construction projects and sites, such as Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Transuranic Waste Facility, Uranium Processing Facility, Y-12 National Security Complex, NNSA tritium facilities at three sites, and the Salt Waste Processing Facility. Duncan has also served as a resident inspector at the Pantex Plant and Savannah River Site.
Duncan has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan and a master’s in chemical engineering from Princeton University.
Weathers has been a member of the Board’s technical staff since January 2016. Most recently, he served as the Y-12 cognizant engineer. Prior to that, he provided oversight of safety bases development and implementation for facilities across the Department of Energy complex. Before joining the Board, Weathers worked as a senior engineer at MPR Associates Inc. and Southern Company, where he worked on various nuclear engineering projects. Weathers has a bachelor’s degree in nuclear and radiological engineering and an master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
In August, the DNFSB announced a major reform of its staff.
“The reform is in response to a number of studies and critiques on the Board’s effectiveness during the past several years,” the board said in a press release.
Among the changes:
- an 80 percent increase in the number of resident inspectors located at defense nuclear facilities operated by the U.S. Department of Energy;
- two new field offices in Albuquerque and Las Vegas, which will provide full-time coverage of Sandia National Laboratories, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the Nevada National Security Site, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Idaho National Laboratory;
- a 46 percent reduction in headquarters personnel;
- a facilities-focused re-organization of the headquarters staff; and,
- the establishment of a new executive director of operations, or EDO, who will lead the entire agency.
The majority of headquarters staff reduction will be accomplished through the strategic management of currently vacant positions and the new positions in the field, the board said.
“Today, the Board will begin a process of change that is long overdue,” Hamilton said when announcing the reform. “In recent years, the Department of Energy has changed its processes, procedures and organization, and we have been slow to adapt. This re-structuring will improve our safety focus and independent oversight priorities in the field, while making our headquarters organization leaner to make us more responsive in the execution of our mission.”
The new structure will be effective October 1, and it is expected to be implemented during Fiscal Year 2019. Christopher Roscetti, the current technical director, will serve as the agency’s first acting EDO until the Board permanently fills the position, a press release said.
By statute, the DNFSB has five members. Hamilton is joined on the Board by Jessie Roberson, Daniel Santos, and Joyce Connery. There is one board vacancy.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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