The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has released its program priorities for calendar year 2024, covering key cleanup actions, project construction, acquisition, and other important activities that will further the office’s mission of addressing the environmental legacy of the nation’s nuclear research and weapons development.
“These critical priorities set the stage for a new chapter in cleanup in communities that supported our nation for so many years and represent EM’s commitment to doing the right thing for those most impacted by the environmental legacy of the past,” DOE-EM senior advisor William “Ike” White said.
The priorities: Among the 33 priorities (three more than last year) on the 2024 list is the goal of completing the commissioning of the Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico. The ventilation system is designed to increase airflow into the WIPP underground, which was reduced following a radiological release in February 2014.
DOE-EM also aims to receive a total of 450 transuranic waste shipments at WIPP. The office announced on January 30 that WIPP received 489 waste shipments in 2023, the site’s highest shipment total since 2013.
Other priorities look to advance construction milestones at DOE cleanup sites, execute key cleanup projects, reduce the DOE-EM footprint, award contracts to help accelerate progress, and drive innovation and performance.
The mission: According to DOE-EM, it has worked closely with its field sites and stakeholders to develop the priorities for 2024, adding that this year’s priorities reflect the office’s mission to clean up the land and water at DOE sites while contributing to national security priorities, investing in the future and aiding local communities’ efforts to build strong economies, grow jobs, and prepare for a clean energy future.
DOE-EM says that it checked off the majority of its priorities for 2023, completing complex work that led to critical progress, made possible by support from state, tribal, and local partners.