Taking part in the Environmental Management Disposal Facility groundbreaking last week, from left, were Steve Arnette, president, Critical Mission Solutions Business, Jacobs; Mark Whitney, president, National Security, Amentum; Wade Creswell, county executive, Roane County; Brent Booker, Laborers’ International Union of North America; Kevin Adkisson, North America’s Building Trades Unions; Jeaneanne Gettle, acting regional administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Randy McNally, Tennessee lieuten

Taking part in the Environmental Management Disposal Facility groundbreaking last week, from left, were Steve Arnette, president, Critical Mission Solutions Business, Jacobs; Mark Whitney, president, National Security, Amentum; Wade Creswell, county executive, Roane County; Brent Booker, Laborers’ International Union of North America; Kevin Adkisson, North America’s Building Trades Unions; Jeaneanne Gettle, acting regional administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Randy McNally, Tennessee lieutenant governor; David Salyers, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation commissioner; Ken Rueter, president and CEO, UCOR; Jay Mullis, manager, Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management; Chuck Fleischmann, U.S. representative; and William “Ike” White, EM senior advisor.

The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) and contractor UCOR accomplished an EM priority four months ahead of schedule when they broke ground on the Environmental Management Disposal Facility (EMDF) last week.

National, state and local leaders joined OREM and UCOR to celebrate the start of the $550 million infrastructure project that will keep cleanup momentum on track at Oak Ridge. They also recognized partnerships with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) that made it all possible.

The current onsite disposal facility, the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility, is nearing full capacity, but hundreds of buildings still remain at the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) requiring demolition. The new EMDF will provide the disposal capacity OREM needs to complete cleanup at those sites.

The current onsite disposal facility, the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility, is nearing full capacity, but hundreds of buildings still remain at the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) requiring demolition.

The new EMDF will provide the disposal capacity OREM needs to complete cleanup at those sites. EMDF will support projects that remove old, dilapidated facilities and clear land the DOE Office of Science and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) can reuse to support research and national security missions.

EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White addresses the crowd gathered to celebrate the partnerships that made it possible to begin field work on the Environmental Management Disposal Facility project.
EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White addresses the crowd gathered to celebrate the partnerships that made it possible to begin field work on the Environmental Management Disposal Facility project.

Officials at the event included U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White, EPA Acting Regional Administrator Jeaneanne Gettle, TDEC Commissioner David Salyers, OREM Manager Jay Mullis and UCOR President and CEO Ken Rueter.

“As the leader for the cleanup program for the Department of Energy, I very much feel the responsibility that we have to address the legacy of the past,” White said. “This facility is an incredibly important part of making sure we can continue to do that here, and the teams doing cleanup in Oak Ridge are some of the best in the country.”

Fleischmann emphasized the project’s importance.

“Because of what we are doing here today, legacy cleanup will continue in Oak Ridge for the next 30 or 40 years until it’s complete,” he said. “That means that Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be able to take down excess facilities. That means that our friends at NNSA will be able to do the critical work on our nuclear arsenal to keep our country safe.”

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann speaks about the importance of the Environmental Management Disposal Facility for continued environmental cleanup, and to support future growth at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann speaks about the importance of the Environmental Management Disposal Facility for continued environmental cleanup, and to support future growth at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex.

NEW EMTV VIDEO ALERT: Watch this video on the recent Environmental Management Disposal Facility groundbreaking event. Beginning early site preparations for the construction of the facility is an EM priority for 2023. Oak Ridge achieved that priority four months ahead of schedule.

EM is complying with all federal and state requirements. It is also incorporating numerous engineering features into the facility’s design, under the oversight of EPA and TDEC, to ensure its waste remains isolated from the environment. Additionally, DOE will continue sending all highly contaminated waste out of state for disposal.

“I made a commitment to you — our stakeholders, our community, our client, our labor brothers and sisters — that we would be standing here today because of how important this is and that what you saw happen at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) would then be eclipsed by what we will see take place at Y-12 and ORNL,” Rueter said.

In 2020, EM achieved a historic accomplishment by completing core cleanup at ETTP, including demolishing more than 500 structures. It marked the first time in the world an entire uranium enrichment complex has been removed, and it is also DOE’s largest completed environmental cleanup effort to date.

The EMDF groundbreaking marked the start of early site preparation for the facility. The project will be conducted in three phases, and EMDF is scheduled to be operational in 2029.