DOE Office of Environmental Management: December Bulletin

SRS Reaches Milestone in Construction of Large-Scale Disposal Unit; Mock-ups Prove Effective in Testing Idaho Waste Treatment Facility; and much more!

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EM Update | Vol. 11, Issue 47 | Dec. 10, 2019


Celebrating 30 Years of EM: Employee Spotlight


SRS Employees Shift to New Project, Saving $900,000


HB Line operators Tony Jacobs, left, and Tom Carraway load a sample drum for shipment to Savannah River National Laboratory.

AIKEN, S.C. – More than $900,000 in savings are expected to result from enlisting employees at a Savannah River Site (SRS) facility to help ship analytical samples between Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) locations.

“SRS is constantly looking for ways to improve processes and to ensure we are being good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” DOE-Savannah River Nuclear Materials Manager Maxcine Maxted said. “This reallocation of resources from HB Line to SRNL is an example of how we accomplish that.”

Shipping and receiving personnel with EM contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) had supported plutonium oxide production at HB Line, a chemical processing facility. The material was produced to make fuel for commercial power reactors, or shipped for disposal.

HB Line personnel required unique certifications and equipment to support shipping and receiving of special nuclear materials. That mission ended last year and the facility is being placed in safe shutdown status. When the need to support SRNL shipments became apparent, HB Line operations personnel were made available for that work, and have completed 13 safe shipments for the laboratory since November 2018.

“Our folks were interested in helping out, and it made sense based on the infrequency of our HB-Line specific shipments in support of safe shutdown,” SRNS HB Line First Line Manager Brooks Hubbard said. “It afforded us additional opportunities to remain proficient in shipping and receiving operations. Working with SRNL, we developed a plan to have our employees support the nuclear material shipments.”

The need for personnel for the SRNL shipments resulted from a multi-year project to relocate analytical, environmental monitoring, and other services from SRNL laboratory facilities to SRNL’s central location a few miles away. The move is expected to reduce costs due to those laboratory facilities being placed in surveillance and maintenance mode.

“Part of the modification project requires F/H Laboratories to ship nuclear materials from their location to SRNL’s main location,” Hubbard said. “Since that capability did not already exist, SRNL would have had to hire and train personnel and purchase a transport vehicle, which would have cost significant amounts of money and delayed SRNL operations. However, when HB Line personnel learned of the transportation needs, they stepped up to offer their help.”

Woodie Melton, director of SRNL Analytical Laboratories, commended the HB Line staff for helping SRNL.

“I want to thank the HB Line staff for their responsiveness in meeting SRNL’s critical need to get these materials transported,” Melton said. “Your lining up of resources and changing facility priorities is really appreciated.”

-Contributor: Lindsey MonBarren

Crews Mark 1 Million Miles of Safe Driving at Hanford Disposal Facility


Hanford Site workers with contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company recently marked three years and 1 million miles of safe driving to support operations at the site’s disposal facility for low-level waste, the Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Employees with EM Richland Operations Office (RL) contractor CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) recently marked 1 million miles of safe driving to dispose of cleanup debris at the Hanford Site’s Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility (ERDF). Check out this video for a day in the life of an ERDF driver.

CHPRC’s safe driving record goes back to August 2016, when the contractor took over operations of the site’s disposal facility for low-level waste after the previous contractor’s contract was completed.

Since ERDF began operating in 1996, the facility has received more than 18 million tons of contaminated soil, debris and solid waste from cleanup — most of it from areas along the Columbia River. The 107-acre facility — roughly the same area as 52 football fields — has supported the demolition of more than 800 facilities and remediation of more than 1,300 waste sites.

“ERDF has been a critical component of Hanford’s cleanup strategy for more than 20 years,” said Mark French, RL project and facilities division director. “The facility played a key role in moving most of the contaminated material away from the Columbia River, and it will continue to support our risk-reduction work on Hanford’s Central Plateau, where much of the nation’s plutonium was produced.”


The Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility supports cleanup efforts across the 580-square-mile Hanford Site. Since 1996, more than 18 million tons of contaminated soil, debris, and solid wastes from cleanup activities have been safely disposed of at the 107-acre facility.

Since the facility began operating in the 1990s, ERDF drivers have logged nearly 30 million miles in support of environmental cleanup efforts across the 580-square-mile Hanford Site.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” said Tammy Hobbes, CHPRC vice president for the river risk management project. “Seeing the ERDF trucks moving across the site has become a daily reminder of the ongoing progress in Hanford cleanup.”

-Contributor: Lynn Tegeler

Oak Ridge Contractor Named One of America’s Safest Companies


UCOR Safety & Health Operations Manager Chris Thursby and UCOR Chief of Staff Ashley Saunders accept an award as one of America’s Safest Companies for their work conducting environmental cleanup in Oak Ridge.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – The magazine EHS Today has named EM’s Oak Ridge cleanup contractor UCOR one of America’s Safest Companies.

Each year, EHS Today recognizes companies with exceptional occupational safety, health, environmental, and risk management efforts. UCOR was one of 16 companies recently honored at the publication’s safety leadership conference in Dallas. EHS stands for environmental health and safety.

UCOR is EM’s prime cleanup contractor tasked with completing major cleanup at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). It is also responsible for surveillance and maintenance of DOE’s largest inventory of high-risk excess contaminated facilities, as well as deactivation, demolition, and remediation projects at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12).

EHS Today identifies companies that meet criteria for America’s Safety Companies, such as support from leadership and management for environmental health and safety efforts, employee involvement in those efforts, innovative solutions to safety challenges, and good communication about the value of safety.


UCOR employees ensure safety as they conduct complex and challenging deactivation and decommissioning work at Oak Ridge.

Oak Ridge became the first site in the world to remove all of its gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment buildings, and next year, Oak Ridge is set to become the first site in the world to complete major cleanup of an entire uranium enrichment complex.

EHS Today’s recognition of UCOR’s safety program comes on the heels of DOE’s recertification of the company’s Star status. That’s the highest level of recognition for contractors through the Department’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP). UCOR also recently received its third consecutive Star of Excellence Award from the VPP.

“We have 1,800 people working across ETTP, ORNL, and Y-12,” UCOR President and CEO Ken Rueter said. “ETTP, in particular, presented formidable cleanup challenges with the legacy buildings and structures with significant radioactive and chemical hazards. So, ‘Safety is a prerequisite to all we do’ quickly became our mantra.”

-Contributor: Susanne Dupes

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