Environmental Remediation

DOE issues $19 million Community Capacity Building Grant Program FOA

December 8, 2023, 12:01PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management released a competitive funding opportunity announcement (FOA) on December 6 for the Community Capacity Building Grant Program, aimed at communities affected by DOE-EM’s mission to clean up legacy nuclear waste.

Portsmouth Site tests radiation-detecting drone

November 2, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
A radiation detection drone was tested at the Portsmouth site in southern Ohio. (Photo: DOE)

Through a collaborative effort between the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management and the state of Ohio, a drone outfitted with radiation detectors underwent testing recently at the site of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant for potential future use.

DOE issues additional Cleanup to Clean Energy RFIs

October 20, 2023, 9:32AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy has released two additional requests for information related to its Cleanup to Clean Energy initiative, which aims to repurpose certain DOE-owned lands—portions of which were previously used during the nation’s nuclear weapons program—into sites for clean energy generation, including include solar, geothermal, wind, and nuclear electricity.

DOE-EM lacks clear view of operating costs, GAO says

October 4, 2023, 9:51AMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management, which is responsible for the cleanup of 15 nuclear sites across the country, lacks a clear understanding of its costs for work not directly related to site cleanup, hampering the department’s ability to prioritize competing funding needs, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office.

EPA adds Oklahoma’s Fansteel Metals site to National Priorities List

September 13, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions

The Environmental Protection Agency announced last week that it is adding Oklahoma’s Fansteel Metals/FMRI Superfund site to the National Priorities List. The list includes the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination and serves as the basis for prioritizing EPA Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions.

Draft RFP issued for $3 billion West Valley cleanup contract

September 1, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
A West Valley ancillary support building is demolished in 2018. (Photo: DOE/CH2M Hill–BWXT West Valley)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has issued a draft request for proposal for a contract covering the next phase of cleanup at the West Valley Demonstration Project in western New York.

Former plutonium processing facility at Hanford coming down

August 28, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
Work crews remove old infrastructure near the Hanford Site’s Cold War–era PUREX plant. (Photo: DOE)

Demolition is underway on several former chemical storage tanks and associated infrastructure near the Plutonium Uranium Extraction (PUREX) plant, the final and most advanced chemical separations facility at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Site.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of September.

Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce receives DOE grant

June 6, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Paducah site. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has awarded a $2 million grant to the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce for its work in considering the possible future uses of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant site in Kentucky. The project will consist of site mapping, community studies, data analysis, and development of recommended strategies.

DOE-EM outlines its cleanup goals for the coming decade

May 22, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has released its Strategic Vision 2023–2033, a blueprint of the office’s anticipated cleanup achievements over the next decade. DOE-EM said the strategic vision is focused on the priorities of addressing radioactive liquid tank waste, demolishing contaminated buildings, remediating contaminated soil and groundwater, and safely managing and disposing of waste.

“The Strategic Vision 2023–2033 is intended to help us gaze further out to a place we want to be in the future,” DOE-EM senior advisor William “Ike” White said. “It sets EM on a course that will span a decade and inspire us all to achieve EM’s vital nuclear cleanup mission.”

Feds, state reach agreement in Hanford cleanup negotiations

May 4, 2023, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
The Hanford Site’s B Complex area tank farm containing waste created during the production of plutonium at the site. (Photo: DOE)

After nearly three years of discussions and more than 60 mediation sessions, the Department of Energy, Washington State Department of Ecology, and the Environmental Protection Agency announced that they have reached a conceptual agreement on revising plans for managing millions of gallons of waste stored in tanks at the Hanford Site near Richland, Wash.

Kewaunee to begin site restoration work in tandem with reactor D&D

April 11, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The Kewanee nuclear power plant is located along the shore of Lake Michigan. (Photo: EnergySolutions)

EnergySolutions subsidiary KewauneeSolutions is hoping to begin site restoration work at the closed Kewaunee nuclear power plant in Wisconsin later this year and has submitted a request to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to use the plant’s decommissioning trust fund to do so.

Contaminated Oklahoma site to be made an EPA priority

April 5, 2023, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed adding the Fansteel Metals Superfund site in Muskogee, Okla., to the National Priorities List (NPL), the roster of the nation’s most contaminated sites that threaten human health or the environment. By adding this site to the NPL, the EPA said it can prioritize funding for cleanup and necessary enforcement action.

DOE hosts Japanese officials from nuclear decommissioning group

April 5, 2023, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
Pictured at the DOE's EM headquarters, from left, are Ana Han, foreign affairs specialist, EM International Program; Joceline Nahigian, director, EM Office of Intergovernmental and Stakeholder Programs; Scott Whiteford, deputy director, DOE Office of Legacy Management; William “Ike” White, EM senior advisor; Masaki Nakagawa, special advisor to executive directors, NDF; Tokuhiro Yamamoto, executive director, NDF; Shin Morita, managing director, International Affairs Group, NDF; Taro Hokugo, managing director, International Affairs Group, NDF; Jeff Avery, EM principal deputy assistant secretary; Angela Watmore, deputy assistant secretary, EM Office of Acquisition and Project Management; and Ming Zhu, EM senior advisor for laboratory policy. (Photo: DOE)

Representatives from the Japan Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (NDF) recently visited the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management (EM) headquarters in Washington, D.C., and the Hanford Site in Washington state to promote collaboration and provide updates on the status and plans to decommission Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, caused damage to the plant and surrounding communities. The NDF was created in September 2011 to oversee the decommissioning and cleanup of the plant, which is owned by the Tokyo Electric Power Company.

Sen. Hawley introduces bill requiring cleanup of St. Louis area school

March 1, 2023, 7:01AMRadwaste Solutions
Contractors scan floors inside Jana Elementary School in Missouri during testing done in October 2022. (Photo: USACE/JP Rebello)

New legislation that would require the cleanup of Jana Elementary School in suburban St. Louis was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.). The Justice for Jana Elementary Act would also order the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to test all properties in the Hazelwood School District, of which Jana Elementary is a part.

La Crosse BWR site released for unrestricted use

February 28, 2023, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions
The La Crosse site in 2019 with major decommissioning completed. The coal-fired Genoa plant is in the background. (Photo: EnergySolutions)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that it has released the site of the La Crosse boiling water reactor in Wisconsin for unrestricted public use. The action comes after the NRC found that EnergySolutions subsidiary LaCrosseSolutions had met the agency’s radiation protection standards in decommissioning the nuclear power plant.

DOE cleanup teams win Secretary of Energy achievement awards

January 25, 2023, 12:01PMRadwaste Solutions
The ICP buried waste retrieval team successfully completed targeted TRU waste retrieval at the INL Site. The effort spanned 17 years and resulted in the exhumation of more than 10,000 cubic meters of buried TRU waste from 5.69 acres of the site’s Subsurface Disposal Area. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy recently honored eight teams from its Office of Environmental Management (EM) with Secretary of Energy 2022 Achievement Awards. The awards recognized projects at the DOE’s Idaho, Savannah River, and Hanford sites, as well as a group of employees that revamped and expanded DOE-EM’s Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP-EM). In addition, DOE-EM employees on crosscutting departmental teams received awards.

The awards were part of the DOE’s annual Honor Awards, the agency’s highest form of employee recognition for excellence and achievement.


How has digital technology changed environmental remediation?

November 29, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Jesus Zamora

Regardless of the specific field you work in or how your daily tasks are performed, digital technology does not go unnoticed, and the environmental remediation field is no exception. Digital technology can be defined as electronic tools, services, or devices that create, store, transmit, and manage data. As technology evolves, so do the ways in which it can be incorporated into remediation activities.

Adequate incorporation of these technologies can greatly improve both workflow and productivity while enhancing the quality and maintaining the integrity of data. My team and I have been able to connect radiological instruments to computers wirelessly, collect millions of radiological measurements, track the approximate location of these measurements, save measurements automatically in a database, and access them at will.

Report links U-235 found in Ohio home to Portsmouth

November 8, 2022, 7:02AMRadwaste Solutions
A screenshot from the Local 12 report. (Image: WKRC/Sinclair)

In May 2019, Zahn’s Corner Middle School in Pike County, Ohio, located within four miles of the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS), was closed after local officials reported enriched uranium and transuranic radionuclides were detected inside the school and at outside air monitors.

Now, Cincinnati’s WKRC Local 12, a news affiliate of Sinclair Broadcast Group, is reporting that a private house in Lucasville, Ohio, 10 miles from the PORTS site, has been contaminated with enriched uranium.

UCOR wins Top Workplace award

August 9, 2022, 3:03PMRadwaste Solutions
Members of the UCOR team receive their award at a Top Workplaces event.

United Cleanup Oak Ridge (UCOR), the lead environmental cleanup contractor for the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM), has been named one of the Knoxville News Sentinel’s “Top Workplaces” in eastern Tennessee for 2022. The award is the result of a confidential, third-party survey of UCOR’s 2,000-member workforce by the Knoxville News Sentinel and the survey company Energage.