Beatty Low-Level Radioactive Waste Site
Fire Incident, Initial Investigation and Interim Response
On October 18, 2015, infiltrating rainwater came into contact with metallic sodium waste in Trench 14 of the Site and caused a fire. The fire consisted of a deflagration (combustion that propagates through a gas or across the surface of an explosive at subsonic speeds) and a subsequent release of sodium hydroxide. A description of the incident and initial investigation into the immediate cause of the fire is presented in the December 30, 2015 report prepared by the Nevada Department of Public Safety (DPS). The report can be found at: http://dps.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/dpsnvgov/content/media/SFM-BeattyIncidentReport.pdf.
Since October 18, the RCP has participated in two Site investigation visits: The first was on October 21, 2015 with the site manager of US Ecology Nevada (USEN), Nye County Sheriff and Nye County Fire/Hazmat, NDEP, State Fire Marshal (SFM) and the RCP; 2) The second was on November 5, 2015 with NRC cap experts, Department of Energy (DOE) representative, SFM, RCP, USGS hydrologist, USEN staff, and Nye County representatives.
In November 2015, RCP contracted with USEN to remove the previously placed moisture barriers and complete interim repairs. The interim repairs included packing ejected material and 11 partial and complete barrels into over pack barrels and placing back into the trench. The water barrier was placed, and then additional soil was placed to the top of the site to create a mound to settle over time. Riprap (a layer of stones, chunks of concrete or similar material placed on an embankment slope to prevent erosion) was added to the fence line to prevent erosion. The areas of subsidence were manipulated to force filling of the cracks. Then soil was added to the natural level, the barrier was placed and soil added to mound the area for settlement. Additionally, RCP contracted with USEN to collect materials released during the incident by scraping the areas where material landed. This material amounted to 275,000 pounds and consisted of soil mixed with sodium hydroxide. Approval to dispose of these collected materials at the USEN commercial hazardous waste facility was obtained from NDEP and USEN. Once approval was granted USEN, USEN disposed of these materials in the hazardous waste facility.
Currently the Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) and NDEP have teamed up with USGS, Desert Research Institute (DRI) and the NRC to create a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to develop and oversee a plan with a timeline, a scope of work (SOW) and a request for proposal (RFP) for a contract to study and develop repair options. The TAG will use these options and stakeholder input to formulate a permanent repair of the site in a second SOW and RFP.
Frequently Asked Questions
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Technical Advisory Group
Click on the link below for meeting and other information about the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for the Beatty Low-Level Radioactive Waste Site.
Beatty LLRW Site Post-Closure Activities