DOE completes cleanup at Nevada’s Tonopah Test Range

Weapon systems, research rockets, and artillery were tested on the Tonopah Test Range beginning in 1956. Photo: DOE

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced on October 27 that it has completed another of its 2020 priorities—completing the remediation activities on and around the Tonopah Test Range and conveying 70 sites into long-term stewardship. Cleanup of the historic site, located within the Nevada Test and Training Range about 160 miles northwest of Las Vegas, was completed in less than half the time initially estimated, according to the DOE.

Oversight of the 70 remediated sites has now been transferred from the Office of Environmental Management to the DOE’s Office of Legacy Management (LM), which provides long-term surveillance and maintenance of remediated and closed DOE sites. Undersecretary for Science Paul Dabbar and other representatives from the DOE and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) celebrated the transfer of the sites to LM on October 20.

Milestone reached in Moab Site mill tailings removal project

Officials with the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action project display commemorative flags recognizing the milestone of disposing of 11 million tons of mill tailings. Photo: DOE

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) announced on October 20 that it has achieved a 2020 priority with the removal of another million tons of contaminated soil and debris from the Moab Site in southeastern Utah.

With this latest milestone, EM’s Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action project has disposed of a total of 11 million tons of mill tailings from the site along the Colorado River, putting the project two-thirds of the way toward completing the removal and disposal of 16 million tons of mill tailings.

Site employees also recently surpassed a safety milestone, exceeding 1,500 workdays without a lost-time injury or illness, the DOE said.

Draft appropriations bill hikes nuclear energy funding

The House Appropriations Committee yesterday released a draft of the fiscal year 2021 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies appropriations bill, calling for higher levels of funding for nuclear energy. The legislation would fund activities at the Departments of Energy and Interior, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a number of related agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

DOE awards $350-million contract for Nevada site cleanup

Oak Ridge, Tenn.–based Navarro Research and Engineering has been awarded a 10-year environmental program services contract worth up to $350 million for cleanup services at the Nevada National Security Site, the Department of Energy announced on June 17. The new contract replaces the current NNSS cleanup contract, also held by Navarro Research and Engineering, which expires on July 31.

Final RFP issued for $6.4-billion cleanup contract

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management on May 27 issued a final request for proposals for the cleanup of the Idaho National Laboratory site, near Idaho Falls, Idaho, and the Fort Saint Vrain facility near Platteville, Colo. The 10-year contract for the projects—collectively called the Idaho Cleanup Project—has an estimated ceiling of about $6.4 billion.

DOE issues strategic vision for next decade

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has issued an outline of planned accomplishments over the next decade to capitalize on progress it has made in cleaning up former government weapons and research sites over its first 30 years. The release of the 66-page report, A Time of Transition and Transformation: EM Vision 2020-2030, was announced on March 9 by William “Ike” White, DOE senior advisor for environmental management, during the 2020 Waste Management Conference in Phoenix, Ariz.