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Workers have begun demolition at the Radioactive Materials Handling Facility complex at the Energy Technology Engineering Center.
Workers have begun demolition at the Radioactive Materials Handling Facility complex at the Energy Technology Engineering Center.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. – Work crews have begun demolishing a set of Department of Energy-owned buildings at the Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC), a key step forward in cleanup at the former nuclear and liquid metals research site in southern California.

On July 21, an ancillary guard station at the Radioactive Materials Handling Facility (RMHF) complex was the first structure being torn down under a recently signed agreement between DOE and the State of California that allowed active cleanup to resume at ETEC after more than 10 years. This cleanup is among EM's 2020 priorities.

The agreement cleared the way for demolition of the RMHF complex, 10 buildings constructed in 1959 on 1.5 acres and used for the processing, packaging, and shipment of radioactive and mixed hazardous wastes during site operations that ended in 1988. Removing the RMHF facilities will reduce potential risk of release of hazardous substances due to wildfires or erosion from severe storms.

“It is a great feeling to see progress being made again at ETEC,” said ETEC Federal Project Director John Jones. “We are committed to conducting our work safely and efficiently.”

RMHF demolition and removal of debris is expected to take approximately six months. Activities are being conducted in adherence to safety practices recommended to protect workers from exposure to the coronavirus. Debris from the cleanup is being transported outside the State of California for disposal at licensed commercial disposal facilities.

ETEC, located in Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in Ventura County, served as a premier research facility from the 1950s until the end of active operations. Since the 1980s, more than 200 structures on the site have been demolished and removed. After completing RMHF demolition, only eight DOE-owned structures will remain.

DOE will continue to work with the state on the steps necessary to remove the remaining DOE buildings at ETEC, and toward remediation of soils and groundwater at the site.

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