May 4, 2004
The Honorable John T. Conway
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board
625 Indiana Avenue, NW, Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20004
Dear Mr. Chairman:
The purpose of this letter is to provide a final response to your December 2, 2003, letter regarding the glovebox fire that occurred in Building 371 at the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site (RFETS) on May 6, 2003, and deficiencies identified in the Integrated Safety Management System.
The Departmentís interim response from Assistant Secretary Roberson, dated February 3, 2004, provided a Self-Assessment and Causal Analysis of the Safety Oversight Program Corrective Action Plan performed by the Rocky Flats Project Office (RFPO). †An update to that Corrective Action Plan is enclosed. †The update documents the current status of the actions committed to in the interim response and includes an additional action to revise the RFPO Closure Project Oversight Program. †Aggressive actions have been taken by the RFPO Manager to address your concerns and those of your staff regarding Federal oversight of the contractorís work at the RFETS.
I am also enclosing an updated Comprehensive Corrective Action Plan developed by the contractor, Kaiser-Hill Company, LLC. †This plan provides an in-depth review of the safety deficiencies at the site and actions that have been and are being taken to correct them. †It also establishes mechanisms to ensure that safety is and remains an integral part of the RFPOís and contractorís performance as closure progress continues. †The plan incorporates corrective actions deemed necessary based on a recently completed independent Integrated Safety Management System assessment. †The result of this independent assessment has led to a more comprehensive and robust corrective action plan than initially envisioned.
The Departmentís obligation and commitment to the public and our workers is to perform work safely to minimize risk at our sites. †Accelerated closure is the risk elimination path from RFETS. †However, risk reduction without safety is an invitation to failure. †This response is a path forward where safety is a priority.† The corrective actions committed to by both RFPO and Kaiser-Hill will reinforce and strengthen the safety posture at the RFETS. †Additional details on the corrective actions have been shared with your staff.
Please contact Dr. Inťs Triay, Acting Chief Operating Officer, if there are follow on questions regarding the corrective actions being taken at Rocky Flats. †If you, or your staff, have any questions regarding our continued closure effort at Rocky Flats, please contact me or Ms. Jessie Hill Roberson, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management, at (202) 586-7710.