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Environmental Cleanup

May 15, 2014
Energy Department Announces Secretarial Determination of No Adverse Material Impact for Uranium Transfers

Transfers to Advance U.S. National Security Interests and Fund Cleanup at Portsmouth or Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plants

April 10, 2014
This graphic shows the benefit of applying a thin film as a polymer coating to waste containment bags used for radioactive waste shipments.
EM Lab Addresses Waste Challenge, Improves Worker Safety

AIKEN, S.C. – EM is funding research at the Savannah River National Laboratory to develop a material to safely contain the radioactive waste generated by a planned multi-year decontamination project at the Savannah River Site (SRS) while the waste is being shipped for disposal.

August 23, 2013
EM Office of External Affairs Acting Communications Director Dave Borak talks with EM intern Valerie Edwards. | Photo courtesy of the Energy Department.
Internships Help Future Energy Leaders Gain Hands-On Experience

What's it like interning at the Energy Department? We interviewed one intern to find out.

August 6, 2013
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is the nation’s largest multi-program science and technology laboratory. ORNL's mission is to deliver scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs that will accelerate the development and deployment of solutions in clean energy and global security. Today, ORNL pioneers the development of new energy sources, technologies, and materials and the advancement of knowledge in the biological, chemical, computational, engineering, environmental, physical, and social sciences.

August 6, 2013
Y-12 National Security Complex

The Y-12 National Security Complex is one of the nation’s most important national security assets. The 811 acre site contains the nation’s stockpile of highly enriched uranium and also performs nuclear non-proliferation missions. Historically, Y-12’s operations focused on a uranium enrichment method that used vast amounts of mercury. Over the years, nearly 700,000 pounds of mercury leaked from machines and pipes into the environment.

August 6, 2013
East Tennessee Technology Park

For 40 years, the 2,200-acre East Tennessee Technology Park was home to a complex of facilities that enriched uranium. The site dates back to the World War II Manhattan Project. In addition to defense missions, the plant produced enriched uranium for the commercial nuclear power industry from 1945 to 1985. In 1987, DOE terminated uranium enrichment operations in Oak Ridge and closed the site. As a result of these operations, ETTP has a legacy of contaminated buildings, soil, sediment, and groundwater that require remediation for the protection of human health and the environment.

August 6, 2013
Waste Disposal

The low-level radiological and hazardous wastes generated from Oak Ridge’s cleanup projects are disposed in the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility (EMWMF). The EMWMF is comprised of six disposal areas that have a total capacity of 2.2 million cubic yards. EM ensures waste is accurately characterized so materials sent to the disposal area comply with all of the regulations included in the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

August 6, 2013
Waste Processing

Transuranic waste, or TRU, is one of several types of waste handled by Oak Ridge’s EM program. This waste contains manmade elements heavier than uranium, hence the name “trans” or “beyond” uranium. Transuranic waste material generally includes objects and materials associated with the human manipulation of fissionable material such as clothing, tools, soil, and debris.

August 6, 2013
Reindustrialization

Oak Ridge’s EM and reindustrialization missions are closely connected. As cleanup advances, the Department of Energy is able to open more facilities and land for reuse and development. Together, these programs save taxpayer dollars and spur economic development in the region.

August 6, 2013
Waste Management

Years of diverse research and uranium and isotope production led to numerous forms of waste in Oak Ridge. However, our EM program has worked to identify, characterize, and safely store all of the waste as we develop strategies to process, secure, or remove it. Waste ranges from highly radioactive uranium isotopes to building debris and personal protection equipment.