LANL Electrical Systems Were being Probed Before Burning Accident
By Journal North Staff
PUBLISHED: Friday, May 8, 2015 at 6:00 pm
The Department of Energy had already launched an investigation into the electrical systems at Los Alamos National Laboratory before a May 3 accident at an electrical substation that left one worker burned and seriously injured, according to a report.
A Friday article in the Weapons Complex Monitor, which covers the nation’s nuclear weapons facilities, says National Nuclear Security Administration Los Alamos Field Office spokeswoman Toni Chiri confirmed that the week before the accident, DOE’s Office of Enterprise Assessments Office of Enforcement issued a notice of investigation to the lab’s contract operator, Los Alamos National Security LLC.
The notice targeted “potential deficiencies” in implementation of “requirements for hazardous energy assessment and control and several related electrical incidents,” the Monitor reported.
Chiri did not return phone and email messages from the Journal Friday. A LANL spokesman provided this statement:
“The Laboratory has experienced electrical safety concerns in the recent past, including one case where an electrical worker contacted an unexpected electrical energy source above a ceiling. This resulted in a minor burn to the hand, and prompted a two-day electrical safety stand-down and two all-electrical-worker safety briefings, hosted by the Laboratory Director (Charles McMillan).”
“The Laboratory takes electrical safety very seriously, and is taking steps to strengthen safety culture. We will work closely and cooperatively with the NNSA Office of Enforcement on their hazardous energy assessment investigation. It would be premature to comment on the outcome.”
In addition to the one worker who was seriously injured in the May 3 accident, eight other employees were sent to the hospital and one was reported to have minor injuries.
The Monitor quoted Chiri as saying that DOE has convened an Accident Investigation Board to look into the May 3 event. “In addition to investigating the scene of the accident, the AIB will review relevant documentation, conduct necessary interview and evaluate similar historical events,” she said.
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Saturday, May 9, 2015
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