US environmental cleanup mission shares 2020 scorecard

14 January 2021

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) has released a "scorecard" reflecting its accomplishment of the "vast majority" of its 2020 priorities amid the federal government response to the COVID-19 pandemic. EM said it is now positioned for a decade of "transformational progress" in its mission to clean up the environmental legacy from decades of US nuclear weapons development and government-sponsored nuclear energy research.

(Image: EM)

EM released its list of priorities for 2020 early in the year. These included: achieving significant construction project milestones; executing key projects enabling its cleanup mission; reducing the footprint of the EM complex; awarding contracts that enable accelerated progress; and driving innovation and improved performance.

Overall, 2020 was an inflection point for EM, the office said, with achievements including the completion of demolition at the East Tennessee Technology Park - the first site in the world to remove an entire uranium enrichment complex; the start of operations at the first-of-a-kind Salt Waste Processing Facility at the Savannah River Site; and the advancement of key components of DOE's tank waste treatment mission at other sites, including Hanford.

Significant accomplishments were also seen at smaller sites, EM said, such as the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project in Utah, workers reached the milestone of 11 million tons of mill tailings shipped from a former uranium ore processing site in Moab to a disposal cell near Crescent Junction.

"Our scorecard on EM's 2020 mission priorities demonstrates remarkable progress by our cleanup workforce during a global pandemic," EM Senior Advisor William White said. "I am inspired by the way the EM workforce pulled together in 2020, adapting and finding ways to boost productivity and teamwork while adhering to the COVID-19 protocols."

"While we were not able to check off every item on our 2020 priorities, the full list demonstrates our ambitious view of what the EM program is capable of achieving," he added.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News