Note: This story was published in the November 21 edition of “EM Update” by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management. EM Update recently spoke with Jay Mullis, the new manager of the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM), about his vision and priorities for the EM program in Oak Ridge.
What are your main priorities going forward as the new manager of OREM?
Overall, I want to ensure our program maintains the momentum we’ve achieved during the past several years. First, it is important for us to continue pushing forward to complete cleanup at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP, also known as the former K-25 site) by 2020. This will facilitate the transfer of the site back to the community so it can be transformed into a vibrant industrial park capable of generating jobs and economic growth for the region. It will also allow our program to shift its focus and resources toward cleanup at two important, active DOE sites: the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Before we finish our cleanup mission at ETTP, we must also fulfill our historic preservation commitments to preserve and celebrate the many achievements that occurred there during the Manhattan Project and Cold War.
Secondly, it is very important that we begin laying the foundation for our next big challenges at Y-12 and ORNL. That began on November 20, when we broke ground on the new Mercury Treatment Facility at Y-12. This critical piece of infrastructure will provide an important control measure for mercury and opens the door for us to clean and remove mercury contaminated facilities and soils. Additionally, it is crucial to construct another onsite disposal facility that will provide the space necessary for the waste generated by completing cleanup at Y-12 and ORNL.
Finally, we will continue our focus on eliminating Oak Ridge’s waste inventory. We are making progress packaging and disposing transuranic waste from ORNL with the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant again accepting shipments. We are working to eliminate the remaining portion of the uranium-233 inventory from ORNL to improve safety and significantly reduce security costs. [Read more…]