September 30, 2008
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:
Thank you for your report on the adequacy of the contractor training and qualification program at the Pantex Plant. B&W Pantex and the Pantex Site Office are taking appropriate action in regard to the opportunities for improvement identified by your staff.
You requested a report on the measures necessary at both the site and the National Nuclear Security Administration to address the long-term fidelity of the weapon trainer units at the Pantex Plant. As noted in the staff report accompanying your letter, during the past few years, NNSA has taken action to improve the fidelity of weapon trainer units. Specifically, in FY 07, a trainer unit for the W80 program was completely refurbished, and in FY08 trainer units for the W78 and W87 programs (one each) are in the process of being refurbished. However, as identified in your report, there is currently no formal program to maintain the trainers in a condition that, as closely as feasible, mimics the actual weapon.
NNSA agrees with your concern and concluded the most appropriate course of action is to provision trainer units in the same manner as is currently conducted for weapons. The Pantex Plant contractor will identify the replacement parts required to maintain the fidelity of each trainer that supports the active stockpile and then those componentsí will be included as part of the Integrated Programmatic Scheduling System (IPSS). The IPSS is used to capture provisioning information for each active war reserve weapon program and is updated annually. B&W Pantex is currently preparing a plan that describes the actions and schedules to accomplish this task for each applicable trainer unit. That plan should be available by the end of October for review by the NNSA and will be shared with your staff. The enclosed letter from B&W Pantex provides more detail on this plan of action.
Please contact me or Karl Waltzer of the Pantex Site Office at (806) 477-3148 should you have any questions regarding this matter.
Robert L. Smolen
for Defense Programs
cc: Mark Whitaker Jr., HS-1.1