National Nuclear Security Administration
January 12, 2006
The Honorable A. J. Eggenberger
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board
625 Indiana Avenue, N.W., Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20004-2901
Dear Mr. Chairman:
In your May 31, 2005, letter you requested a report describing the strategy that would lead to timely resolution of all fire protection deficiencies noted by your staff and achieve site-wide improvements in the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) fire protection program for defense nuclear facilities. You suggested that the strategy should involve a multi-year project plan similar to those developed by LANL under the Operations Efficiency Project for other major institutional issues. You also requested that the report include a discussion of lessons learned at other DOE sites that have experienced similar challenges in fire protection, an estimate of engineering resources required, and a projection of when all fire protection upgrades would be completed.
Enclosed is an interim response to your letter, which includes a proposed LANL fire protection plan and the Los Alamos Site Office’s (LASO) detailed evaluation of the plan. While LASO concurs with the plan, NNSA Headquarters shares LASO concerns regarding the anticipated benefits, plan direction, and requirement expectations.
The addition of a fulltime fire protection engineer at LASO in May 2005 was an important step in increasing NNSA’s oversight capability of the LANL fire protection program. In addition, LASO has assured NNSA Headquarters that fire protection oversight has not been reduced during the ongoing LASO strategic pause.
During the transition phase for the new contract, LASO will request LANL to submit an updated fire protection strategy by March 15, 2006. LASO will review the updated strategy, develop a complementary Site Office fire protection oversight strategy with resource requirements and implementation schedule, and submit the complete package to NNSA Headquarters by April 14, 2006. The complete package will be transmitted to the Board by April 28, 2006.
If you have any questions, please contact me, or have your staff contact Mike Thompson of my office at 301-903-5648 or Gerald Schlapper, Senior Safety Advisor at LASO at 505-665-7111.
Linton F. Brooks
cc: E. Wilmot, LASO
G. Schlapper, LASO
W. Futrell, LASO
M. Whitaker, DR-1
D. Cobb, LANL
W. S. Gibbs, LANL
C. Leasure, LANL