Extended Life Program asks ‘How do you make your buildings last?’

Posted: March 24, 2016 - 9:39am

Y-12 is developing an Extended Life Program, or ELP, for Buildings 9215 and 9204-2E, two key processing facilities at the site. These two facilities will house all material processing activities not incorporated into the Uranium Processing Facility design.

To better understand what it takes to keep an older, large facility going, a team at Y-12 has conducted two workshops. The invitees included other DOE/NNSA sites and outside experts to share knowledge and experience dealing with aging infrastructure.

The first workshop, conducted in February 2015, provided a forum for exchanges on management challenges, initiatives and processes used to resolve enterprise-wide aging infrastructure issues. Y-12 identified several best practices during the workshop and integrated these concepts into the development of the ELP.

Internal expert-based teams gathered information on material condition, codes, standards, nuclear requirements and operational/maintenance cycles, that was reviewed by workshop attendees so they could provide recommended actions to establish a life-extension program.

The Y-12 team took that data and compiled it for a forum to evaluate and integrate into a recommended Extended Life Program plan. The forum was conducted in November with representatives of NNSA, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, and several outside aging management program experts from the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, Savannah River, the United Kingdom’s Atomic Weapons Establishment and the American Nuclear Society attending.

Workshop presentations noted that the Y-12 infrastructure supporting 9215 and 9204-2E is generally beyond design life, with a significant portion of electrical equipment obsolete and process equipment, in many cases, beyond design life and in need of upgrade/refurbishment.

To address these aging concerns, Y-12 presented a three-prong approach to aging management:

  1. reduce the material at risk in these facilities so the consequences of any accidents is significantly reduced;
  2. replace or refurbish key facility infrastructure and process equipment and
  3. address and update regulatory requirements for extending life (versus a soon-to-be-abandoned/replaced mode).

Workshop attendees’ consensus was that the current program provided a comprehensive appraisal of infrastructure and process material condition and basis for risk identification, risk mitigation and risk acceptance.

In addition, several good practices were identified, including incorporating system outages for replacements, refurbishments and preventative maintenance. There was general consensus that an outage program made up of routine short equipment/system outages and longer periodic outages was required to support the program.

The workshop attendees concluded that current elements of the proposed Y-12 ELP, with improvements to the aging management program and outage program, addressed the essential elements of a workable management program. However, sustained investment will be needed to restore key facility processes and supporting infrastructure, along with an increase in maintenance resources.

With a solid program plan established, the next steps for Y-12 involve determining budget layouts.