IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – New EM Assistant Secretary Anne Marie White traveled to the Idaho Cleanup Project (ICP) last week to view projects and meet with workers in her second visit to a field site as head of the cleanup program.
White toured the Accelerated Retrieval Project (ARP), Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project (AMWTP), and Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU) during the April 9 visit. White visited EM's Paducah Site earlier this month.
At the ARP’s Subsurface Disposal Area, White observed waste exhumation activities that entail retrieving targeted waste disposed there from the former Rocky Flats Site in Colorado. She also watched workers resize and repackage large transuranic legacy waste boxes from the former Mound Site for treatment at the AMWTP. That waste is being prepared for eventual shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for disposal.
White toured the IWTU, a new facility constructed to treat over 900,000 gallons of liquid, radioactive sodium-bearing waste. The facility will soon undergo a demonstration that will use non-radioactive simulant to prepare for eventual radioactive waste processing.
The Assistant Secretary met with the site’s EM employees, and workers from cleanup contractor Fluor Idaho.
“I really appreciated her interest in meeting with us and how open she was,” Fluor Idaho Operations staff member Angie Goodwin said.
Fluor Idaho Program Manager Fred Hughes was proud of the knowledge and professionalism employees displayed while supporting White’s tours.
“Our guests witnessed skilled individuals, demonstrating their technical prowess of operating one-of-a-kind facilities, and fully engaged and committed to the mission of safe and compliant cleanup. The cleanliness and orderliness of our facilities was also on display and a testament to the commitment and pride of Fluor Idaho employees,” he said.
Field Note from Assistant Secretary White
Thanks to Jack Zimmerman and the federal staff at DOE-Idaho, as well as Fred Hughes and his staff at Fluor Idaho, I had a great agenda that allowed me to see a variety of key initiatives underway. One thing that struck me at every stop was the pride in the workers for what they do, and in the safe and disciplined way they do it. Walking through the various sections of the ARP with Hoss Brown, who seemed to know each and every worker by name, the level of trust, respect and cooperation among all of the workers at the Idaho site, regardless of who they work for or where they sit in the organization, quickly became apparent. This is critical not only for our continued success at Idaho, but across the EM program.
It was great to walk through the AMWTP treatment facility with Jeremy Hampton to get an up-close look at its waste processing capabilities. Thad Clark and Robert Bird demonstrated this to me as they deftly manipulated the BROK robotic arms that are one of the main features of the facility. I was also glad to have the opportunity to walk with Craig Olson through the IWTU, where we are working to safely and effectively prepare for operations. We have had our challenges with this facility, but I appreciated the chance to hear first-hand from those involved on the steps being taken for a deliberate approach to startup.
One of my goals in my visits to the field is to learn more from those directly involved in our mission as to what concerns they may have and what new ideas they may have come up with that can help us perform in innovative ways. I have brought back to DC what I learned during this trip, and look forward to continuing my listening tour in visits to other EM sites in the near future.
-Anne Marie White