Summary

The primary purpose of systems engineering is to organize information and knowledge to assist those who manage, direct, and control the planning, development, production, and operation of the systems necessary to accomplish a given mission. However, this purpose can be compromised or defeated if information production and organization becomes an end unto itself. Systems engineering was developed to help resolve the engineering problems that are encountered when attempting to develop and implement large and complex engineering projects. It depends upon integrated program planning and development, disciplined and consistent allocation and control of design and development requirements and functions, and systems analysis.

The key thesis of this report is that proper application of systems analysis and systems engineering will improve the management of tank wastes at the Hanford Site significantly, thereby leading to reduced life cycle costs for remediation and more effective risk reduction. The committee recognizes that evidence for cost savings from application of systems engineering has not been demonstrated yet.

This report follows a 1994 letter report by the National Research Council's Committee on Remediation of Buried and Tank Wastes concerning development of systems analysis and systems engineering methods and perspectives for the Department of Energy's (DOE) Tank Waste Remediation System (TWRS) program at the Hanford Site. In that letter report, the committee, though encouraged by the trend it saw within DOE to make greater use of systems analysis and systems engineering, identified numerous areas in the DOE Environmental Management (EM) Program at the Hanford Site in which the tools of systems analysis and engineering could be used more effectively. This study stresses the implementation, control, coordination, and integration of the approaches to developing engineering projects throughout the site that remain to be demonstrated in Hanford's EM program. It examines the current status of the systems engineering program within TWRS, progress by the DOE Richland Office (DOE/RL) to establish a site-wide systems engineering program for the Hanford Site, and efforts to integrate the two programs.

TWRS is the DOE program to retrieve, treat, and dispose of the wastes in the 177 large underground storage tanks at the Hanford Site. Developed as a result of the 1992-93 renegotiation of the Hanford Tri-Party Agreement, TWRS is the largest single project in the DOE/EM program. Efforts to provide a basis in systems engineering for the approaches envisioned for TWRS commenced shortly after the inception of the program. For this report, the committee examined numerous documents pertaining to these efforts, as well as those related to the Westinghouse Hanford Company 1994 Hanford Site Systems Engineering Management Plan, which was initiated in response to criticisms of the lack of integration of systems engineering efforts at DOE/RL by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. The committee also has examined more recent documents related to the on-going interactions between the Board and Hanford Site representatives over the use of systems engineering.

A sound systems engineering approach, appropriately implemented, should result in effective integration of environmental remediation and waste management effects across the entire Hanford Site. Such site-wide integration is necessary to handle soil and ground water contamination underlying several operating areas, contaminants being retrieved from a particular area that will be disposed of elsewhere on the site, and the impacts that remediation of one area or facility may have on other areas of the Hanford Site.

The TWRS program should (a) develop a comprehensive systems engineering plan so that the performance requirements for the remediation of tank contents, tanks, and surrounding soils are fully integrated; (b) generate a complete system description that includes waste streams, containment and processing options, and the ultimate dispositioning of residual waste in a manner consistent with an optimized site-wide plan; and (c) clearly articulate alternatives for meeting the integrated performance requirements of the entire system, as well as the logic for the baseline alternative as it



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--> Summary The primary purpose of systems engineering is to organize information and knowledge to assist those who manage, direct, and control the planning, development, production, and operation of the systems necessary to accomplish a given mission. However, this purpose can be compromised or defeated if information production and organization becomes an end unto itself. Systems engineering was developed to help resolve the engineering problems that are encountered when attempting to develop and implement large and complex engineering projects. It depends upon integrated program planning and development, disciplined and consistent allocation and control of design and development requirements and functions, and systems analysis. The key thesis of this report is that proper application of systems analysis and systems engineering will improve the management of tank wastes at the Hanford Site significantly, thereby leading to reduced life cycle costs for remediation and more effective risk reduction. The committee recognizes that evidence for cost savings from application of systems engineering has not been demonstrated yet. This report follows a 1994 letter report by the National Research Council's Committee on Remediation of Buried and Tank Wastes concerning development of systems analysis and systems engineering methods and perspectives for the Department of Energy's (DOE) Tank Waste Remediation System (TWRS) program at the Hanford Site. In that letter report, the committee, though encouraged by the trend it saw within DOE to make greater use of systems analysis and systems engineering, identified numerous areas in the DOE Environmental Management (EM) Program at the Hanford Site in which the tools of systems analysis and engineering could be used more effectively. This study stresses the implementation, control, coordination, and integration of the approaches to developing engineering projects throughout the site that remain to be demonstrated in Hanford's EM program. It examines the current status of the systems engineering program within TWRS, progress by the DOE Richland Office (DOE/RL) to establish a site-wide systems engineering program for the Hanford Site, and efforts to integrate the two programs. TWRS is the DOE program to retrieve, treat, and dispose of the wastes in the 177 large underground storage tanks at the Hanford Site. Developed as a result of the 1992-93 renegotiation of the Hanford Tri-Party Agreement, TWRS is the largest single project in the DOE/EM program. Efforts to provide a basis in systems engineering for the approaches envisioned for TWRS commenced shortly after the inception of the program. For this report, the committee examined numerous documents pertaining to these efforts, as well as those related to the Westinghouse Hanford Company 1994 Hanford Site Systems Engineering Management Plan, which was initiated in response to criticisms of the lack of integration of systems engineering efforts at DOE/RL by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. The committee also has examined more recent documents related to the on-going interactions between the Board and Hanford Site representatives over the use of systems engineering. A sound systems engineering approach, appropriately implemented, should result in effective integration of environmental remediation and waste management effects across the entire Hanford Site. Such site-wide integration is necessary to handle soil and ground water contamination underlying several operating areas, contaminants being retrieved from a particular area that will be disposed of elsewhere on the site, and the impacts that remediation of one area or facility may have on other areas of the Hanford Site. The TWRS program should (a) develop a comprehensive systems engineering plan so that the performance requirements for the remediation of tank contents, tanks, and surrounding soils are fully integrated; (b) generate a complete system description that includes waste streams, containment and processing options, and the ultimate dispositioning of residual waste in a manner consistent with an optimized site-wide plan; and (c) clearly articulate alternatives for meeting the integrated performance requirements of the entire system, as well as the logic for the baseline alternative as it

OCR for page 1
--> relates to the complete system description. In other words, the TWRS program should focus on completing the technical baseline documentation (requirements, architectures, and supporting documents) in a manner that clearly and simply articulates a complete TWRS program (tank contents, tanks, and soils). Only that documentation necessary for successful implementation of the program should be developed. This is a "first of its kind" program so that there are significant uncertainties about cost, schedule, and technology performance. Consequently, systems alternatives need to be reevaluated periodically. Such a radical departure from standard practice can only be achieved with the firm commitment of top management.