Control Air Compressor Failure Leads to Loss of Ventilation

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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  Argonne National Laboratory (Lemont, IL), Z - Not Used (use Lemont, IL Instead - was Argonne, IL )

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Operations, Work Management/Planning

On December 23, 2015, the exhaust ventilation fans at the Radioactive Waste Storage Facility were found not operating. The air compressor that controls the system dampers had failed, causing the dampers to close and the system to shut down as designed. The off shift building maintenance Point of Contact contacted the Facility Manager who granted permission to enter and identify the alarm with the qualifying instruction to call back if there were any issues. There was no call back. During opening rounds, the following day, the Assistant Facility Manager identified that the alarm panel showed an alarm condition for the differential pressure within the facility and notified the Facility Manager who entered the appropriate Limited Conditions for Operation as identified in the Technical Surveillance Requirements.

The Facility Manager or designee must take timely actions to address and correct alarming conditions. In order to do this, accurate and timely information on the cause of the alarm must be investigated and provided to the Facility Manager or designee by off-shift personnel who support alarm response callouts. This is especially important for multiple-input alarms that do not provide indication of a subsequent condition (e.g. loss of ventilation). Additionally, it is important that alarm response procedures or policies are developed for alarm panels, including documentation of control panel and local alarm issues.

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