May 2000

Lab marks record for no OSR violations

ORNL established a record on April 23:

The Lab marked its 548th day without an operational safety requirement violation. The last OSR violation was on Oct. 23, 1998.

OSRs pertain to 10 nuclear facilities at ORNL including the High Flux Isotope Reactor, Building 3019, the Radiochemical Engineering Development Center and various hot-cell facilities.

“To put this record in perspective, there have been 77 OSR violations since the first one was recorded on July 12, 1983. This is an average of one violation every 81 days,” says the Office of Nuclear Safety’s Mark Kohring. “Last year was the first full calendar year with no OSR violations since 1984.”

Kohring explains that an OSR sets controls for nuclear facility operations that ensure that radiation releases to the workplace and environment don’t occur. Common examples of violations are failure to conduct a required surveillance at the required time or failure to take necessary action when a required operational parameter is exceeded.

The last violation occured in 1998, when operations at a facility continued past an allowed time after an alarm horn was found to be inoperative.

Kohring attributes the record to “the increased attention that facility managers have given to verbatim requirements of OSRs, and to the much-improved quality of current OSRs. Revisions in the past included requirements that were not important to the health and safety of the public and workers and the environment.

“With the increased confidence of DOE in our ability to operate safely, this success enables us to run these facilities with fewer interruptions,” Kohring says.