Joel Fox has over thirty-two years of experience in the nuclear industry, most recently working on the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) for the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of River Protection (ORP). Before that, he was a branch head in the Reactor Engineering Division at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
Mr. Fox was a Facility Representative (FR) at the ORP WTP Operations Oversight Division (OOD) and was qualified in the High-Level Waste (HLW) facility. He performed detailed oversight and assessments of construction, start-up, commissioning, and operations across the entire WTP site to identify actual and potential issues adverse to safety and quality. Routine responsibilities included conducting and documenting routine (daily) facility walk-downs and assigned program assessments to observe and assess the safety and operational performance. These activities evaluated contractor compliance with authorization basis, documented safety analysis, design procedures, code, and standard, or dangerous waste permit requirements and the requirements of 10 CFR Part 851, Worker Safety and Health Program. These oversight activities are documented in Assessment and Surveillance Reports in the Integrated Contractor Assurance System (ICAS). When indicated, findings were issued and tracked via ICAS to ensure contractor corrective actions were complete and effective.
Prior to qualifying as a FR, Mr. Fox was a Safety Systems Oversight engineer in the WTP Engineering Division (WED). Joel’s primary assignment was an oversight in the design phase of the WTP Low-Activity Waste (LAW) and Laboratory (LAB) HVAC/Mechanical/Off-Gas Treatment systems. This included related work on radial HEPA filters, carbon bed adsorbers, and ammonia scrubbers. Routine responsibilities included performing surveillances and assessments on various HVAC and Mechanical Systems, Structures and Components (SSCs) to ensure contractor compliance with relevant DOE regulations, industry standards, contract requirements, safety basis requirements, and applicable system requirements. Mr. Fox’s work in the comprehensive review of system design documentation as well as system design work control and change control processes was essential in the development of accurate design materials.
As a Nuclear Engineering Supervisor at Puget sound Naval Shipyard, Mr. Fox was responsible for engineering, technical, and radiological services such as procedure development, process implementation, problem resolution, radiological engineering, quality, and safety oversight to support the maintenance of shipboard radiological shielding and liquid storage tanks, reactor plant ventilation, and nuclear preservation/coating systems on a wide variety of U.S. Navy nuclear-powered surface ships and submarines. The branch was typically staffed with ten Cognizant System Engineers.
Mr. Fox has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Portland State University and is a registered Professional Engineer in Washington State and Maine.
Mr. Fox was part of the team review for the Requirements Implementation Matrix for WTP operations. The implementation matrix was subsequently approved, completing a significant milestone in the transition to facility operations.
He was on the Hanford Site SME team that developed DOE-STD-1168-2013, Confinement Ventilation and Process Gas Treatment Functional Area Qualification Standard. The Confinement Ventilation and Process Gas Treatment (CV&PGT) FAQS establishes common functional area competency requirements for all DOE CV&PGT personnel who provide assistance, direction, guidance, oversight, or evaluation of contractor technical activities that could impact the safe operation of DOE’s defense nuclear facilities.
Mr. Fox has participated in numerous planned and reactive assessments and surveillance activities as a team member and lead. These activities promoted improved contractor performance across all phases of the WTP project lifecycle.
Mr. Fox played a significant role in producing correct contractor design and development documents relevant to facility operations for the Direct Feed Low Activity Waste (DFLAW) program. Under this important Department priority, the DFLAW program combines Hanford Tank Farms and WTP projects to prepare and deliver appropriate legacy waste feed for permanent immobilization in the WTP LAW vitrification facility.
Mr. Fox worked closely with the WTP facility Federal Project Directors (FPDs) through the Integrated Project Teams (IPT) to ensure FPDs were provided with adequate and timely information to assess the implementation of the design. His participation led to identifying and resolving issues related to the design, construction, acceptance testing, test procedure development, and their cost and schedule impacts.
Mr. Fox was the acting OOD FR training coordinator from a construction focus to commissioning and operational oversight during the transition period. The FRs perform a vital field oversight role of all contractor work, and the comprehensive qualification process often requires more than one year to complete. Joel employed his many years of nuclear facility experience to craft an efficient qualification process from onboarding, completing required training, and ultimately acquiring all the necessary field knowledge for FR candidates to competently represent DOE management in the field. Joel also developed the examination materials and conducted the final qualification activities –designed to verify satisfactory FR candidate preparation to perform their difficult role. During a six-month assignment as the acting OOD director, DOE further relied on his expertise focused on developing strategies to integrate the WTP and Tank Farms oversight groups.
Mr. Fox was a member of several interview panels and selection boards for SSO and FR candidates.