The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) mission is to address the nation’s Cold War environmental legacy resulting from five decades of nuclear weapons production and government-sponsored nuclear energy research. This legacy includes some of the world’s most dangerous radioactive sites with large amounts of radioactive wastes, spent nuclear fuel (SNF), excess plutonium and uranium, thousands of contaminated facilities, and contaminated soil and groundwater. Created in 1989, EM has the responsibility for completing the cleanup of this Cold War legacy and managing the remaining nuclear materials.
As the largest environmental cleanup program in the world, EM has been charged with the responsibility of cleaning up 107 sites across the country whose area is equal to the combined area of Rhode Island and Delaware. EM has made substantial progress in nearly every area of nuclear waste cleanup and as of September 2012, completed cleanup at 90 of these sites.