b'P ROVING THE P RINCIPLEM e m o r i es of an Operator Helper at the Chem PlantI recall reporting to Shift Supervisor up. This, often as not, fell to the lowly was not within specifications as ascer-Archie Larson on a Sunday day shift. Helper because he was the one delegat- tained from the samples submitted byHe gave me an orientation in the ed to do that dirty radioactive sam- the Helper to the Shift Lab.works of the Process Makeup area, pling work, but whenever the Helperwhere non-radioactive chemicals were could pin the cause on an Operator, he Most plant work was done on a 24-measured and mixed for use. did get some help. hour day coverage by three crewsworking eight-hour shifts. [rotating.Operator Helpers were shift work was less desir-shown how to air sparge able than straight day[agitate a liquid by pump- work but better thaning air into it] solutions in [straight evening orvessels so as to mix the straight midnight shifts].chemicals into a homoge-nous solution, and then I also worked as anwhere and how to draw Operator Helper on ansamples and to take them aluminum-clad radioac-to the Shift Lab for analy- tive fuel element process-sis. This work was consid- ing campaign.I helpedered entry-level, and charge fuel elements totraining was on the job, the dissolvers for batch-usually by experienced wise dissolution, pulledhelpers and/or Operators. input feed samples,Experienced personnel helped with routine read-were most always anxious INEEL09662 ings, and made some ofto be relieved of this type of work Water and mopheads were basic aids for the acid or base feed adjustment addi-because of the tedium [and] ever-pre- decontaminating spills. tions.sent risk of radioactive contamina-tionanalogous to dirty work.Vessels, pumps, etc, in each cell or.I was also assigned [to] the Waste Process Makeup area wereOne other usual job for Operator Processing building. This work, of titled/labeled with those respective areaHelpers was to mop up radioactive course, included the usual sampling, designations and followed by three-materials when they were inadvertently mopping, and routine shift readings. digit numbers, the first digit.designat-released from the intended confines of Waste collection was an on-going con- ing the type of equipment as follows:the process piping, vessels, sample tinuous operation, if not the surveil- 1-vessel, 2-pump, 3-heat exchanger, 4-garages, sample bottles, and cell vent lance of filling vessels or pump-outs, agitator, 5-jet, 6-sampler, 7-burrette, 8-systems. There was a sort of unwritten then periodically the operation of the funnel, 9-special. Thus C-101 was acode that whoever caused a spill or low-level liquid waste evaporator.with vessel in C Cell, D-301 was a heatrelease of radioactive material, thus the attendant collection of clean non- exchanger in D Cell.creating radioactive contamination of radioactive condensate.and disposal toan area, should be the one to clean it the service waste wellor re-run, if it Mark L. Sutton1 0 0'