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  • WIPP closure has Los Alamos nearing limit on transuranic waste storage, IHS Energy Daily, 25 Sep 2015
    only that it expected to have by the fall a revised cost and schedule for addressing WIPP s safety problems and reopening the site That delay means Los Alamos could hit its transuranic waste limit before WIPP reopens according to the DNFSB disclosure about the buildup of waste at the lab The looming waste storage limit was cited in an August 14 memo to DNFSB headquarters from one of the board s site inspectors at Los Alamos The memo said senior DOE and contractor officials at Los Alamos along with DOE officials from WIPP and DOE headquarters had conducted a workshop on transuranic waste management issues including safety issues involving storage of nitrate salt wastes at Los Alamos the same kind of wastes that led to the WIPP leak The overarching objective of the workshop was to achieve alignment amongst these parties in the midst of an extremely complex situation that includes resolving numerous safety basis issues treating the remediated nitrate salt wastes and the inability of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to receive wastes the memo said Of likely interest to the board Los Alamos National Laboratory analysts currently forecast the potential for transuranic waste accumulation to reach the site s total estimated storage capacity including Area G Technical Area 55 and the yet to be completed Transuranic Waste Facility in approximately fiscal year 2017 Since the federal government s fiscal year begins in October fiscal year 2017 begins in October 2016 Los Alamos officials did not respond to inquiries asking about the looming waste storage limit and what they will do if the site hits the limit before WIPP reopens Meanwhile DOE signaled Thursday that it will be at least a year before the new Los Alamos cleanup contractor comes on board The agency announced that it was

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/IHS_Energy_Daily_25Sep2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • DNFSB Identifies Alternative Storage Options for MAR at PF-4, NSDM, 25 Sep 2015
    boxes and the floor locations most vulnerable to earthquakes and fires hold nearly 80 percent of the MAR the amount of radioactive material vulnerable to release in an accident Meanwhile safes on the first floor largely contain less hazardous MAR which suggests this material can be moved elsewhere to make room in the safes for higher hazard MAR The study found idle material stored material no longer in active use on the first floor of PF 4 including several items that had remained there over a decade Less than 1 percent of the first floor s MAR limit corresponds with material that must remain there due to long term programmatic activities the report says meaning more than 300 kg of Pu 239 equivalent could be moved off the first floor to more robust storage locations The study also notes that material handlers are not required to document the type of container that holds MAR Because certain containers are certified as capable of protecting MAR from fire and drop insults the DNFSB said maintaining an accurate database and transitioning away from the use of non certified containers could help reduce the MAR inventory The study says the ideal location in PF 4 for the storage of MAR is the vault which offers several hundred available storage locations because it can withstand a design basis earthquake The letter also points to 50 safes in PF 4 that could be used for storage pending nuclear criticality safety evaluations including six large robust safes that were acquired in the past few years that could accommodate more than 200 kg of material but are presently empty The report further identifies a project under the Material Recycle and Recovery program meant to recycle or dispose of nuclear materials and transuranic waste that will free up storage

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/NSDM_25Sep2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • NNSA Moving Forward With Pu Capabilities Project at LANL, Requests $155.6 Million in FY 2016, NSDM, 6 Feb 2015
    from the CMR by adding new equipment to the recently built Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building The Department of Energy authorized the procurement of long lead equipment and site preparations to begin in late December with a cost range of 505 675 million The project is expected to be completed by the first quarter of FY 2020 Remaining analytical chemistry and material characterization work will be transferred to PF 4 through the PF 4 Equipment Installation Subproject which includes modifying parts of PF 4 removing contaminated equipment and purchasing new equipment The cost range of the second project is 995 million to 1 4 billion and work is expected to be completed by FY 2024 The REI Phase 2 subproject will be implemented by the lab through design bid build construction contracts the PF4 Equipment Installation Subproject will be excuted through a lab issued final design with the work being self performed in PF 4 Some non nuclear work will be conducted by the U S Army Corps of Engineers according to the budget documents Funding for Modular Strategy Unclear No construction funds are requested for building the modules but the budget documents indicate that Program Readiness money would be used to fund the development of early project documentation and pre conceptual planning for the modular concept The budget documents do not indicate how much money was requested specifically for work on the modular concept which is expected to cost in excess of 2 billion The NNSA said it is expected to build no less than two modules that will achieve full operating capability not later than 2027 Other Construction Projects The Administration also requested 40 9 million for work on the Transuranic Liquid Waste Facility at Los Alamos a 33 5 million increase from FY 2015 levels and 11

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/NSDM_6Feb2015a.html (2016-02-16)
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  • No Timeline Yet for Restart of Operations at LANL Plutonium Facility, NSDM, 12 Sep 2014
    quickly and safely as possible Los Alamos spokesman Kevin Roark said Roark emphasized that the focus of NNSA and the lab was to ensure that restarted operations are high quality and sustainable with continuous improvement in criticality safety and formality of operations Together we are working to upgrade both infrastructure and procedures and processes and will undertake a deliberate and rigorous readiness review process that supports a long term plutonium mission at the Laboratory Roark said Los Alamos and NNSA are applying the resources and attention necessary to complete this work as soon as possible but will not compromise safety Lengthy Readiness Reviews to be Conducted on Remaining Stopped Work McConnell said lengthy readiness reviews will be conducted on operations that haven t yet been restarted That will include contractor readiness reviews for welding assembly inspection and part and low energy radiography Federal readiness assessments will be conducted on pyrochemistry aqueous chloride aqueous nitrate cementation casting milling and blending welding isotope fuel impact tester hot isotopic press electrolytic decontamination of uranium machining and furnace operations Operations that have already restarted include work involving Plutonium 238 high energy radiography full scale test facility actinide chemistry and material characterization dynamic testing repackaging consolidation and discard 3013 packaging materials identification and surveillance oxide characterization non destructive assay waste shipping receiving material storage and staging drop boxes and material transfer carts We will continue to focus on improvement in the operations that have already been resumed through the Laboratory Director s process McConnell said Senior LANL managers in conjunction with federal oversight will be present to monitor and support continuous improvement in resumed operations to achieve a high standard of safety through robust conduct of operations practices including implementing concise and direct criticality safety requirements Widespread Problems Preceded Pause The lab announced a full

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2014/NWMM_12Sep2014.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Estimate for First Phase of New LANL Pu Strategy Set at $2 Billion, NSDM, 29 Aug 2014
    begin in January of 2015 after a National Environmental Policy Act Supplement Analysis is completed The PPEP suggests the project will be completed by 2024 Underestimation of Costs Blamed for Demise of CMRR NF In the memo significant underestimation of costs for CMRR NF is suggested as the culprit for the project s cancellation When CD 1 was first approved for the project in 2005 the cost range was 745 to 975 million but that grew to a range of 3 7 and 5 9 billion before the project was deferred Several factors contributed to the significant cost growth in the estimate to complete the design and construction of the Nuclear Facility the memo says Chief among those were the reliance on overly optimistic and less rigorous cost estimates when CD 1 was approved in 2005 and an inability to properly define and control incremental changes to the project s requirements commonly referred to as scope creep as design progressed The cost estimate for the new project includes a range of 505 to 675 million for the installation of new equipment in the lab s existing Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building and 995 to 1 4 billion for reconfiguring space and installing equipment in the lab s Plutonium Facility The total estimate of 2 9 billion also includes 856 million in already spent funds 199 million on construction of RLUOB 197 million on installation of equipment at RLUOB and 460 million already spent on designing CMRR NF Analysis Lifecycle Costs of First Two Phases Significantly Cheaper According to the PPEP the lifecycle costs for the two phases are considerably less than the estimated lifecycle costs for CMRR NF The document indicates that operating CMRR NF for 50 years would cost 6 6 billion while it will only cost an increase of 1 25 billion above current costs to run RLUOB and PF 4 The document does not analyze what building modules for pit production would cost or what the lifecycle costs of such a facility would be NWC Committed to Modular Approach in July The Nuclear Weapons Council formally committed to the new strategy including building modules in July triggering Congressional approval of 90 million in funds that had been stuck in limbo as lawmakers pushed for a promise on the modular approach Nuclear Weapons Council Chairman Frank Kendall and National Nuclear Security Administration chief Frank Klotz pledged to complete the modular structures by 2027 in a July 25 letter to Congressional leaders The Fiscal Year 2013 and FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Acts prevented the NNSA from spending money on an alternate plutonium strategy without the commitment We request your support to use the remaining CMRR funding to begin the first two steps of the plutonium strategy as subprojects within the CMRR project Kendall and Klotz wrote Your continued support is appreciated and we look forward to updating Congress on our progress With the letter in place the House Armed Services Committee is expected to give its approval to

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2014/NSDM_29Aug2014.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Estimate for First Phase of New LANL Pu Strategy Set at $2 Billion, WCM Morning Briefing, 28 Aug 2014
    the revamped project to proceed in the wake of a decision to defer work on the larger Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility Congressional authorizers and appropriators earlier this month signed off on an approximately 90 million reprogramming request to free up money The project includes the installation of new equipment in the lab s existing Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building RLUOB and Plutonium Facility PF 4 as well as efforts to reconfigure space in PF 4 It does not include construction of new modules for plutonium work which are expected to cost approximately another 2 billion and are expected to need separate authorization in DOE s Critical Decision process NS D Monitor obtained the CD 1 authorization memo drafted by Ingrid Kolb the director of DOE s Office of Management and signed by Poneman as well as the project s Preliminary Project Execution Plan PPEP Both documents outline the plans for moving forward with the project noting that long lead procurement is slated to begin in January of 2015 after a National Environmental Policy Act Supplement Analysis is completed The PPEP suggests the project will be completed by 2024 The cost estimate includes a range of 505 to

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2014/WCM_morning_briefing_28Aug2014.html (2016-02-16)
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  • CRS Report Raises Questions About LANL Plutonium Strategy, NSDM, 22 Aug 2014
    conclusions other than saying more information about the various options is needed to figure out how to reach the capacity to produce 80 pits per year by 2030 as the Administration is planning The biggest issue according to the report is the amount of space available in the lab s Plutonium Facility and the amount of material at risk MAR in the facility Currently the space and MAR at the facility can be configured to support up to 30 pits per year Determining how much MAR and space would be needed to manufacture 80 ppy would require an industrial process analysis Medalia said A study would seek to determine what equipment would be needed to manufacture 80 ppy lay out production lines in PF 4 to accommodate that equipment while retaining space needed for other tasks determine what tasks if any could be moved from PF 4 if necessary to accommodate the lines and calculate what MAR would result from this production line configuration The report suggests that it might be possible to reconfigure the space in PF 4 and reduce the MAR at the facility such that modular facilities are not needed The report suggests PF 4 s space

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2014/NSDM_22Aug2014.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Nuclear Weapons Council Formally Commits to LANL Modular Pu Strategy, NSDM, 1 Aug 2014
    said the strategy is dependent on timely receipt of congressional appropriations and authorizations as well as the release of funds previously requested for reprogramming from the CMRR NF project Senate Appropriators Skeptical About Modular Approach The NNSA requested 35 7 million in FY 2015 to outfit its Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building with equipment that can shoulder some of the load planned for the CMRR NF facility and another 3 8 million to begin studying the new modular approach While Congressional authorizers and appropriators have supported the request they ve done so skeptically most notably with Senate appropriators directing in report language released last week that NNSA thoroughly vet alternatives for modernizing Los Alamos s plutonium capabilities before moving forward with the modular approach It urged the agency to explore options brought up in a February Congressional Research Service report that suggested existing facilities could be used to help the NNSA meet its plutonium capabilities affordably and quickly Before proposing the construction of laboratory modules the Committee believes NNSA must first conduct a realistic and thorough assessment of alternatives which explores the use of existing facilities across DOE and NNSA labs and sites to meet plutonium mission needs the committee said If modules are found to be the best approach the committee said the NNSA should establish a Red Team similar to the group that studied the UPF project to determine whether NNSA s preferred option is the most cost effective and time sensitive McMillan Outlined Lab Needs Earlier this year Los Alamos Director Charlie McMillan said the lab needs about 90 million in Fiscal Year 2014 38 million in FY 2015 and then a steady funding profile of about 85 million a year through 2019 for the plutonium strategy Lab officials have said the money is key to getting

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2014/NSDM_1Aug2014.html (2016-02-16)
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