Cleanup activities resume at DOE’s Energy Technology Engineering Center

July 23, 2020, 3:06PMRadwaste Solutions

Workers from DOE contractor North Wind gather furnishings taken from buildings in the Radioactive Materials Handling Complex that is being demolished at the Energy Technology Engineering Center. Photo: DOE OEM

After more than a decade, cleanup work has resumed at the Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC), a former nuclear and liquid metals research site in Ventura County, California.

The work: The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management reported that the cleanup work had started up again on July 21 with the demolition of a guard station and a storage shed at the ETEC’s Radioactive Materials Handling Facility (RMHF). The RMHF consists of 10 buildings built in 1959 that were used for the processing, packaging, and shipment of radioactive and mixed hazardous wastes.

A bit of history: ETEC, located in Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, served as a research facility from the 1950s until the end of active operations in 1988. Since the 1980s, more than 200 structures on the site have been demolished and removed, according to the DOE. After completing RMHF demolition, only eight DOE structures will remain at the site.

Cleanup agreement: Demolition of the RMHF is being conducted under a recently signed agreement between the DOE and the state of California. Removing the RMHF facilities will reduce the potential risk of release of hazardous substances due to wildfires or erosion from severe storms, according to the DOE.

Timeline, etc.:The RMHF’s demolition and removal of debris is expected to take about six months. The DOE said that activities are being conducted under safety practices that will protect workers from exposure to the coronavirus. Debris from the cleanup is being transported outside of California for disposal at licensed commercial disposal facilities. The DOE’s contractor for the cleanup work is North Wind.

Quote: “The Department of Energy is pleased to be making progress again at ETEC,” said William “Ike” White, senior advisor for Environmental Management to the Under Secretary for Science. “DOE will continue to work with the state to advance cleanup at the ETEC site.”

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