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Nevada National Security Site Presentation to the Operating Experience Committee – September 9, 2014 -1- Lessons Learned from the NFO/NSTec Joint Accident.

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Presentation on theme: "Nevada National Security Site Presentation to the Operating Experience Committee – September 9, 2014 -1- Lessons Learned from the NFO/NSTec Joint Accident."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nevada National Security Site Presentation to the Operating Experience Committee – September 9, Lessons Learned from the NFO/NSTec Joint Accident Investigation Addressing June 13, 2014, Drum Explosion at the Nonproliferation Test and Evaluation Complex (NPTEC) Mike Kinney, CSP, SGE National Security Technologies, LLC September 9, 2014

2 Nevada National Security Site Presentation to the Operating Experience Committee – September 9, Facility History In 1982, Congress authorized construction of the Liquefied Gaseous Fuels Spill Test Facility (later renamed NPTEC). –Performed tests using hazardous chemicals and liquefied gaseous fuels –Certified operational in 1986 NPTEC is located along the eastern edge of the NNSS within the general western side of Frenchman Lake. NPTEC is used as a basic research tool for studying the dynamics of releases of various hazardous materials. –Physics of atmospheric dispersion of chemical releases –Validation of equipment and techniques for chemical release detection –Effectiveness of mitigation technologies NPTEC is the only facility in the world authorized by the EPA to conduct these types of chemical releases. –Essential support for Homeland Security –Three letter agencies (e.g., DOD, FBI) –Troops in theater

3 Nevada National Security Site Presentation to the Operating Experience Committee – September 9, Facility History (continued) Facility is equipped with: - Cameras - Public address system - Evacuation alarms - Radio network Staffing: - 6 to 14 personnel during customer testing - 3 to 5 personnel during other periods Management: - Global Security Directorate (GS): program management, customers - Nuclear Operations Directorate (NOD): facility management, maintenance Location of drum explosion

4 Nevada National Security Site Presentation to the Operating Experience Committee – September 9, Accident Description June 13, 2014 –NPTEC, West Motel, Bay 30, approximately 0850 hrs –Two workers enter Bay 30 to obtain test chemicals One worker lifts open top (empty) drum by hand –Instantaneous explosion Other worker had just moved further inside Bay 30, thereby avoiding more extensive injuries –Both workers injured Worker approximately 6–8 feet from explosion had ringing in ears; examined by medical personnel and released Worker lifting drum was projected 8 feet out of the bay; received contusions and lacerations from shrapnel –Transported to hospital for medical treatment –10 stitches to right calf –Approximately 12 stitches to big toe of right foot –Also experienced singed hair on forearms, face, and head –Individual has recovered from the injuries –EOC Monitoring Team activated, approximately 1130 hrs –NFO/NSTec Joint Accident Investigation Board (AIB) requested

5 Nevada National Security Site Presentation to the Operating Experience Committee – September 9, AIB Results Direct Cause: the immediate events or conditions that caused the accident –The preponderance of evidence indicates that the direct cause of the event was the detonation of shock-sensitive peroxides caused by movement of the event drum Root Causes: causal factors that, if corrected, would prevent recurrence of the same or similar accidents –The safety culture at NPTEC did not facilitate the effective identification and resolution of problems Personnel hesitant to raise concerns; concerns with chemical storage assigned lowest possible priority –NSTec failed to fully implement formality and operational rigor necessary for managing and operating NPTEC NPTEC not adequately staffed; CONOPS implementation not effective; limited NOD management presence –NSTec did not effectively manage chemicals in a safe and compliant manner, including the disposition of legacy chemicals Lack of comprehensive chemical management plan; West Motel not authorized for storage of flammable/combustible substances; chemicals of unknown origin, and/or unknown content, were stored at this location for several years

6 Nevada National Security Site Presentation to the Operating Experience Committee – September 9, AIB Results (continued) Contributing Cause: events or conditions that collectively with other causes increased the likelihood of an accident, but that individually did not cause the accident –The transition of NPTEC facility management from GS to NOD created a false sense of security with respect to the formality of facility operations. NSTec Senior Management was not aware of adversarial relationship/unhealthy tension between GS and NOD; promoted a culture of indifference regarding storage of legacy chemicals –NPTEC Facility and Program organizations did not effectively manage issues. On occasion, non-conservative decisions were made when addressing issues due to time and/or resource constraints; need for consideration of potential systemic and/or programmatic impacts not always recognized –NSTec and NNSA/NFO processes did not enable risk-informed decision making regarding operation and maintenance of NPTEC. NPTEC oversight (facility, project, federal) did not fully recognize hazards associated with storage of legacy chemicals; operational/maintenance criteria for Moderate Hazard Facilities have not been established

7 Nevada National Security Site Presentation to the Operating Experience Committee – September 9, Key Stressors Safety Culture Challenges –NvE Safety/Security Culture Assessment (S/SCA), FY 2013 Requested by NNSA/HQ to not release report Limited ability of NNSA/NFO and NSTec to clearly link improvement efforts with S/SCA Report results –NvE S/SCA Report identified a series of challenges, including: Leadership involvement, lack of accountability, fear of reprisal –Similar safety challenges identified at NPTEC Limited visibility of senior management at NPTEC Lack of accountability Hesitant to raise issues Lack of risk-informed decision making –NFO/NSTec Senior Management not aware of decisions involving legacy chemicals Original disposition request, submitted 2005 timeframe, denied Second disposition request, submitted by NOD in 2012, was also denied –Adverse impacts of staffing reductions/minimal staffing not fully realized nor understood

8 Nevada National Security Site Presentation to the Operating Experience Committee – September 9, Key Stressors (continued) Lack of guidance for facilities designated Moderate or High Hazard –Commonly established to ensure these types of facilities have the requisite operational requirements in place –Only evidence provided to AIB consisted of CONOPS Matrix Use of “On Hold” designation for issues/findings –Appeared to be primarily used when funding was not available –Responsible Manager (RM) makes this determination –Concurrence by NFO/NSTec Senior Management not required prior to issues being placed “on hold” –Once so designated, limited visibility of these “on hold” issues Work control not consistently implemented –Work package did not address chemical dispensing/transfers One of the most hazardous, and most frequent, activities conducted at NPTEC –Field walk-down or table-top review of work package not performed –Lid left off drum for two days prior to the explosion, evaporation of liquid –Required PPE (safety shoes) not worn by worker treated at hospital after the drum explosion

9 Nevada National Security Site Presentation to the Operating Experience Committee – September 9, Final Thoughts Cost estimates to dispose of legacy chemicals –2005: $11,000 –2012: $35,000 –2014: $300,000+ AIB Conclusion: The accident was completely preventable.


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