January 9, 2007
The Honorable A. J. Eggenberger
Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board
625 Indiana Avenue NW, Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20004-2901
Dear Mr. Chairman:
On November 23, 2005, you sent a letter to the Secretary of Energy requesting information on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) plan “to ensure the appropriate use of risk assessment methodologies at defense nuclear facilities.” On January 23, 2006, former Assistant Secretary for Environment, Safety and Health, Mr. John Spitaleri Shaw, responded to you on behalf of Secretary Bodman, and provided the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (Board) with a draft policy and Risk Management Planning and Execution Guidance document. He also described a number of steps necessary to coordinate and improve these products. The Department’s expectation as stated in this letter was to have the final policy and guidance documents available for DOE-wide review within twelve months of the date of the letter.
A number of steps were taken by the Department towards meeting this goal. In June 2006, the Department organized and held a meeting with the Board’s staff as well as Program Secretarial Office (PSO) representatives. The group reviewed a new version of the draft guidance document and recommended that direct involvement of staff from agencies such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), with significant experience in using risk assessments, would benefit this product. As a result, a workshop was organized and convened in September 2006 in Germantown, MD with participation of a number of PSO organizations, Board staff, and representatives from NRC and NASA. After significant information exchange and discussions, the workshop participants recommended that the next version of risk assessment policy and the guidance document be developed sequentially to avoid “back tracking” and confusion as to when elements of the policy or guidance had to be modified as a result of the review process.
Following this approach, the revised draft DOE Risk Assessment Policy for Nuclear Safety has been developed and attached for your review and comments. It is our expectation to have the Policy and the guidance document ready for submittal to the DOE Directives System in March 2007.
Glenn S. Podonsky
Chief Health, Safety and Security Officer
Office of Health, Safety and Security