Original Date: 11/03/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Knowledge Preservation Program
In 1993, the Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board (DNFSB) made a formal recommendation to the Department of Energy (DOE) to mitigate the loss of safe operations knowledge at the Nuclear Weapons Complex sites. Sites targeted were the weapons testing site in Nevada, the weapons dismantling site at Pantex in Texas, the National Laboratories (Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia), and the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant in Tennessee. The DNFSB’s recommendation came about from the downsizing activity at the time and the projected continuation of downsizing for the future.
Each targeted site worked directly with the DOE to develop its own Knowledge Preservation program on safety, assembly, processing, disassembly, and quality evaluation. Program objectives were to promote safe nuclear operations and preserve anecdotal operations knowledge for future workers. Program benefits included preserving safe operation knowledge in an accessible form; providing historical process knowledge for diagnostic and upgrading purposes; and retaining knowledge of existing records for future reference.
Y-12's Knowledge Preservation program, now completed after four years, established a highly-publicized electronic archive that contains transcribed interviews from current and retired employees. All 239 interviews can be searched using full text. An interview consists of a one-to-two-hour meeting with an interviewer who guides the open discussion via a questionnaire. The interviews provide a living list of key safety documents and knowledge from employees.
Y-12's initiative to establish an organizational infrastructure strengthened its Knowledge Preservation Program. In addition, Y-12 has demonstrated its enthusiasm, identified its line-organization responsibilities, and received support from its management which enabled the successful completion of this program.
For more information see the
Point of Contact for this survey.