WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will soon resume environmental cleanup at the Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC) in Simi Valley through an agreement with the State of California. This important step allows active work to restart after more than a decade.
DOE and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control announced a consent order to demolish 10 of the remaining DOE-owned buildings, including several of the most contaminated, at the former nuclear and liquid metals research site in Ventura County.
“Under President Trump’s leadership, the Department of Energy is committed to making real and significant progress to meaningfully address the environmental legacy challenges from decades of Cold War era government research,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “This agreement is an important step that demonstrates how DOE and California can collaborate to bring the ETEC site to its final cleanup and completion.”
"Today’s actions to clean up this toxic site are the result of a critical partnership between California and the U.S. Department of Energy that greatly benefited from the personal involvement of DOE Secretary Dan Brouillette and former Secretary Rick Perry,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “The surrounding communities have waited a long time for decisive action at the Santa Susana Field Lab and today’s Order represents a new and important chapter towards the full cleanup."
The 10 buildings slated for demolition comprise the former Radioactive Materials Handling Facility complex, used for the processing, packaging and shipment of radioactive and mixed hazardous wastes. The buildings became inactive from 1999-2001.
“The Department of Energy looks forward to resuming active cleanup at the ETEC site, and it will be done safely and effectively,” said Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar. “Removing these buildings is a significant step forward toward final cleanup of the site.”
Removing the facilities will reduce potential risk from wildfires and erosion from significant storms. DOE will dispose of building demolition debris at licensed and permitted disposal facilities outside the State of California. DOE will continue to work with the State toward processes to remove the remaining DOE-owned buildings at ETEC, and toward cleanup of soils and groundwater at the site.
“This is a significant step forward in the cleanup of this important site,” said California Environmental Protection Secretary Jared Blumenfeld. “We share this community’s concern regarding the possible release of contamination from this area, and credit the Federal Department of Energy for working collaboratively to remove the buildings and complete this action.”
In September 2019, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry became the first DOE Secretary to visit ETEC, seeing first-hand the cleanup challenges facing the Site and meeting with California officials to discuss a path forward.
The ETEC site, located at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, served as a premier research facility during the Cold War era. Since the 1980s, more than 200 structures on the site have been demolished and removed; after completing this demolition, only 8 DOE structures remain.