The Office of Environmental Management (EM) was established to mitigate the risks and hazards posed by the legacy of nuclear weapons production and research. The most ambitious and far ranging of these missions is dealing with the environmental legacy of the Cold War. Many problems posed by its operations are unique, and include the transportation of unprecedented amounts of contaminated waste, water, and soil, and a vast number of contaminated structures during remediation of the contaminated sites. Since Fiscal Year (FY) 2004, EM has completed over 150,000 shipments of radioactive material and waste.
The mission of the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Packaging and Transportation (OPT) positioned within EM is to provide the tools, guidance, support, and oversight to assure that shipments of radioactive and other hazardous materials are carefully planned, tracked, safe, secure, timely and efficient to meet the needs of DOE programs, and to protect the health and safety of workers and the public. In FY 2012, DOE made over 13,000 hazardous material shipments. EM made about 75 percent of the shipments. OPT provides the centralized support, expertise, and efficiency that cannot be provided through a site-by-site ad hoc approach.
Some major accomplishments in FY 2012 include:
- Completing 34 package certification actions related to review and approval of new transportation packages, amendments, renewals, special approvals, and terminations.
- Coordinating with the Energy Facility Contractors Group to resolve Departmental transportation issues such as the Release Contamination Limits Working Group, which worked to identify inconsistencies in radiation survey requirements between shipping and receiving sites, leading to non-acceptance of shipments at the receiving sites.
- Collaborating with the General Services Administration in efforts to bring the Department’s transportation/traffic management activities in line with other Federal agencies in an effort to reduce overall transportation costs.
- Negotiating tenders rates with truckload (TL) and less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers for Department-wide use. The negotiated tender rates resulted in a savings of 10 percent for TL shipments and 28 percent for LTL shipments.
- Partnering with state and tribal instructors, along with instructors from the DOE Radiological Assistance Program and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the Transportation Emergency Preparedness Program (TEPP) provided 112 training courses in 26 different states, resulting in 2,009 responders being trained. An additional 57 state-taught brings the total to 2,853 responders trained in 169 classes using TEPP training materials.
- Recognition at the Secretary’s Honor Award Program for Packaging Certification Program (PCP) staff contributions to the Argonne National Laboratory Nuclear Footprint Reduction and Deactivation Plan. PCP worked with a diverse group of Federal and contractor employees who persistently and innovatively worked together across several organizations and DOE programs to achieve a highly favorable result.
- Providing assistance to the field through transportation compliance assessments at Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant and Moab sites, by identifying cost avoidance opportunities and working to implement program and process enhancements.