OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – DOE Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) officials reached an important milestone this fall in preparing for a new onsite disposal facility by signing a record of decision with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
The recently signed document allows OREM and its contractor UCOR to move forward with a final design for the facility and begin activities to prepare for its construction.
The Environmental Management Disposal Facility (EMDF) is key to providing the waste disposal capacity needed to continue cleanup efforts at the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. OREM’s current waste disposal facility is at 83% capacity.
While all high-level radioactive waste is shipped out of state for disposal, OREM needs the new onsite disposal facility for low-level waste, such as soil and building rubble, generated from cleanup projects.
As the EMDF project enters a new phase following the record of decision, OREM is maintaining its commitment to keep the community informed about the project as it progresses. OREM hosted an information session last week as the most recent effort to continue public outreach.
The two-hour open house style event on Dec. 8 featured posters with new information on the next phase of the project, upcoming site preparation activities and the Groundwater Field Demonstration project. That study will help OREM and regulators understand how groundwater well levels adjust, informing the final EMDF design.
Site preparation activities, scheduled to begin in summer 2023, will involve moving roads and utilities and developing an area to support future construction crews. The Groundwater Field Demonstration project is expected to begin late next year.
Top subject matter experts from the project were on hand at the Dec. 8 event to discuss updates and answer questions from attendees.
“There are still a lot of questions the public has,” said OREM Regulatory Affairs Specialist Roger Petrie. “We know more questions would arise as we proceeded, so we want to have these public meetings to address as many of those as possible.”
OREM will continue sharing the latest developments about the project at the next information session scheduled for next summer.
The Dec. 8 event follows two public comment periods, formal meetings, information sessions and numerous presentations since 2018.
More information about the EMDF project is available here.
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