Source: DOE EM | June 15, 2016

The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) recently hosted its annual community workshop, an event intended to raise awareness about the organization’s budget and planning process, including its funding levels, commitments, and near-term priorities.

OREM uses the meetings to inform residents about the local cleanup program’s ongoing projects, and its future cleanup plans for the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), Y-12 National Security Complex, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The event is open to the public and provides the opportunity for a two-way dialogue with attendees.

“These meetings are valuable to us because they give us a great forum to share information and engage with community members and local officials to hear feedback and new perspectives,” OREM Manager Sue Cange said,

This year’s agenda had an eye toward the future and focused on how the cleanup program enables the missions at Oak Ridge’s three primary campuses. Panel members from the site’s major contractors — Consolidated Nuclear Security, UT-Battelle, and URS | CH2M Oak Ridge (UCOR) — discussed the ongoing missions at their respective campuses and how the environmental cleanup planned or underway will make their visions possible.

UCOR panelist Steve Dahlgren, who serves as the project manager for deactivation and decommissioning, environmental remediation, and closure, said employees are working toward achieving Vision 2016 and Vision 2020 at ETTP.

These two goals play a pivotal role in the Oak Ridge Reservation’s landscape and hold significant economic potential. Vision 2016 is EM’s goal to remove all five of the former uranium enrichment plants at Oak Ridge by the end of 2016, and Vision 2020 is the goal to complete cleanup and transfer the site as a private industrial park by 2020.

Y-12 Site Master Planner Jane Nations said planning is already underway with OREM to remove the old, contaminated Manhattan Project and Cold War facilities at Y-12, paving the way for a safer, modern campus with space for new national security missions.

First, however, OREM announced it is designing and constructing a mercury treatment facility that will control potential increases in mercury releases during the demolition of buildings where large amounts of mercury was used for operations decades ago. The cleanup program will also need a second onsite disposal facility that offers the capacity needed for the debris from the demolished facilities.

Lee McGetrick, ORNL’s nuclear infrastructure program manager, talked about the laboratory’s ongoing advances at the site, whether it’s taking a leadership role in exploring exascale supercomputing, developing next generation manufacturing technologies and materials, or conducting advanced nuclear modeling and simulation.

While ORNL has undergone extensive modernization efforts on the east and west portions of the campus during the past decade, OREM is needed to remove contaminated facilities in the older, central campus area. This valuable real estate would provide the ideal location for future science and energy missions.

In addition to planning and preparing these facilities for removal, OREM is processing and shipping waste and materials from ORNL, thereby improving safety and reducing the current security level required at the site.

“We’ve made tremendous progress, but there’s much more work to do,” said Cange. “Fortunately, Oak Ridge’s federal programs and contractors have an outstanding partnership and worked together to develop a unified vision and strategy that allows us to accomplish far more.”