Aps1001 Project Management

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Rocky Flats Contamination Cleanup Project: Lessons Learned

Project Management, APS 1001H

Fall 2011
University of Toronto
Fall 2011

Table of Contents

Executive Summaryiii
Introduction, Background on the Rocky Flats Site Cleanup1
Project Management Lessons Learned3
Time, Cost and Performance Management3
Risk Management & Planning5
Quality Management8
Knowledge Management9
Communications Management10
Human Resources Management11
Regulation Management13

Executive Summary
The purpose of this report is to give the readers an overview about the Rocky Flats Cleanup Project which was completed in 2005 by Kaiser-Hill LLC (K-H). The Rocky Flats site was a United States governmental facility that produced nuclear weapons and weapons material; it operated for over thirty seven years. During its production life, accidents exposed significant amounts of radioactive material and permanently contaminated of buildings, grounds and ponds. The contamination issues were among the primary causes that led to closure of the facility in 1989 by the government authorities. A large amount of money was allocated for the cleanup project. K-H was selected as the contractor responsible for the execution of the project; they successfully were able to meet and exceed the expectations both in time and cost reduction. This Cleanup project received the “PMI 2006 Project-of-The-Year-Award” for its success in preparing a very detailed and well designed plan as well as for applying it very cautiously in different stages of the project. (Hunsberger, 2007) The lessons mentioned here should be used for future cleanup projects since the effort has been made to provide general lessons easily applied to different industries. The lessons are divided into seven different categories which are: “Time, Cost and Performance Management” which address issues regarding the triple objectives of the project, “Risk Management” lessons explain the experiences K-H used to create a comprehensive risk management plan to avoid and mitigate risks and what K-H did to best counteract the risks, “Quality Management” lessons deal with the quality aspect and led us to the next phase which is “Knowledge Management” with lessons that describe how important applying lessons learned from previous projects and phases are for the project’s success. The last three sections cover the lessons in regards to “Communication Management, “Human Resource Management”, and “Regulation Management”.

Introduction, Background on the Rocky Flats Site Cleanup
Figure 1, Rocky Plant Before Cleanup
The Rocky Flats plant had been used as an active nuclear weapon manufacturing facility from 1952 to 1989 located near Denver, Colorado. The facility had polluted a huge number of areas near it with dangerous and chemical substances. By late 1950s and during 1960s, numerous storage places of plutonium, which is a highly flammable radioactive chemical element used in almost all nuclear firearms, were discovered to be leaking out and spread over the nearby areas that breathing just a very small amount of it could cause lung cancer. In 1969, the site had a serious explosion that was named the “most costly industrial accident” ever happened in the United States history (Hobbs, Farrel, 2010). Twenty years later, in 1989, representatives from FBI, the Justice Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put the plant on their magnifiers to examine claims of environmental offenses. The facility later in the year was closed down due to a number of law-breakings and the plant was listed for cleanup on the U.S. EPA’s “Superfund list”. (Schubert, Tuor, 2003) Kaiser-Hill LLC. was selected for the cleanup process of the plant which started in 1995, took ten years, and was announced terminated in 2005. They started their work by planning ahead for the long term as well as the short term, in order to cut down the cost of the...
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