[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 14 (Tuesday, January 22, 2013)]
[Page 4404]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-01132]



DOE Response to Recommendation 2012-2 of the Defense Nuclear 
Facilities Safety Board, Hanford Tank Farms Flammable Gas Safety 

AGENCY: Department of Energy.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: On September 28, 2012 the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety 
Board submitted Recommendation 2012-2, concerning Hanford Tank Farms 
Flammable Gas Safety Strategy, to the Department of Energy. In 
accordance with section 315(b) of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as 
amended, 42 U.S.C. 2286d(b), the following represents the Secretary of 
Energy's response to the Recommendation.

ADDRESSES: Send comments, data, views, or arguments concerning the 
Secretary's response to: Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, 625 
Indiana Avenue NW., Suite 700, Washington, DC 20004.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Steven Petras, Nuclear Engineer, 
Departmental Representative to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety 
Board, Office of Health, Safety and Security, U.S. Department of 
Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on January 9, 2013.
Mari-Josette Campagnone,
Departmental Representative to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety 
Board, Office of Health, Safety and Security.

January 7, 2013

The Honorable Peter S. Winokur
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board
625 Indiana Avenue NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Mr. Chairman:

    The Department of Energy (DOE) acknowledges receipt of Defense 
Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (Board) Recommendation 2012-2, Hanford 
Tank Farms Flammable Gas Safety Strategy, issued on September 28, 2012, 
published in the Federal Register on October 12, 2012, and accepts the 
    The Board acknowledged in its Recommendation that some improvements 
had been made to the specific administrative controls used for 
flammable gas monitoring, but noted that more work was needed to make 
the ventilation system a credited safety control. DOE agrees. In 
developing an Implementation Plan (IP), DOE will take the pragmatic and 
graded approach detailed below to address the sub recommendations that 
will significantly improve the robustness of flammable gas controls in 
the near term. DOE is confident this is the most expeditious approach 
to implement a more robust safety control for Double Shell Tank (DST) 
ventilation monitoring consistent with the intent of Recommendation 
    DOE's approach to addressing sub recommendations 1 and 2 will be 
divided into the following 3 phases:
     Phase 1 will be to complete implementing the DOE-approved 
Documented Safety Analysis by January 2013. This will include 
supplementing the flammable gas monitoring control with a new control 
that will measure ventilation flow through each tank on a periodic 
basis. This Documented Safety Analysis will establish priorities for 
DST primary tank ventilation system maintenance, commensurate with the 
importance of maintaining active ventilation on these tanks.
     Phase 2 will be to install initial safety-significant 
instrumentation for real-time monitoring of the ventilation exhaust 
flow from each DST that will not involve confined-space, radiological 
pit entry for data collection as is currently required. At this point, 
a robust safety-significant engineered control will be in place to 
provide exact flow measurement through each tank in real-time.
     Phase 3 will be to refine the tank flow real-time 
monitoring to make the monitoring data available at remote locations.
    Remaining actions associated with sub recommendations 3 through 5 
to reduce the potential hazards posed by gas release events will also 
be identified in the IP and will address:
     Restoring and upgrading existing installed non-safety-
related equipment being used to fulfill safety functions at the Hanford 
Tank Farms to the appropriate safety classification.
     Implementing compensatory measures in the event of DST 
ventilation systems become unavailable.
     Evaluating the means to reduce flammable gases retained in 
the DST waste.
    DOE is committed to the safe operation of its nuclear facilities 
consistent with the principles of Integrated Safety Management and the 
Department's nuclear safety requirements. DOE values the Board's input 
on how the Department can improve its activities. We look forward to 
working with the Board and its staff on preparing DOE's IP for 
Recommendation 2012-2. I have assigned the Manager, Office of River 
Protection, to be the Department's responsible manager for this 
Recommendation. He can be reached at (509) 376-8830.
    If you have any questions, please contact me or Mr. David Huizenga, 
Senior Advisor for Environmental Management, at (202) 586-7709.

Steven Chu

[FR Doc. 2013-01132 Filed 1-18-13; 8:45 am]