DOE-Savannah River Operations Office (DOE-SR) Manager Mike Budney was recently honored with the prestigious Meritorious Presidential Rank Award for his sustained record of extraordinary professional and technical achievements and the highest levels of integrity and dedication exhibited throughout his Senior Executive Service (SES) career.

The award is the second-highest annual honor for career SES leaders, professionals or scientists who achieve results and consistently demonstrate strength, integrity, industry and a relentless commitment to excellence in public service.

Serving as the DOE-SR manager at the Savannah River Site (SRS) since February 2018, Budney has demonstrated sound,

Portrait photo with US Flag
Mike Budney, Savannah River Site Manager

results-oriented leadership among a collective federal and contractor staff of over 12,000, building credibility and trust among key stakeholders and local communities and providing exceptional service to the American people.

Under Budney’s leadership, the SRS environmental management program has gained sustained regulatory support for new, innovative technologies that maximize cleanup, protect public health and the environment and save millions in taxpayer dollars.

Budney oversaw completion of the construction of all parts of the tank-waste treatment system at SRS, including 25 years of successful operations at the Defense Waste Processing Facility and the startup of the new Salt Waste Processing Facility. He achieved this important facility startup milestone ahead of schedule and under budget despite significant obstacles, including the COVID-19 pandemic. EM has safely disposed of record amounts of radioactive tank waste at SRS.

In another critical component of the SRS liquid waste program, Budney drove progress on design and construction of new Salt Disposal Units, large concrete vaults used for permanent disposal of decontaminated salt solution, under budget and ahead of schedule.

In nuclear material management, Budney was instrumental in implementing the Accelerated Basin De-inventory (ABD) mission that will allow processing of all remaining spent nuclear fuel in the L Basin storage area through H Canyon without recovery of highly enriched uranium, and immobilize the resulting dissolved material to be disposed of in the future. The ABD mission is expected to save more than 20 years of work and reduce the environmental liability at SRS by $4 billion.

Budney led efforts for advancing the design and construction start of the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative (AMC). Once constructed, the AMC will provide an accessible, modern facility for research and development that brings government, industry and academia together to develop and share advanced manufacturing technology. It will also support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to train the next generation of workers to support both DOE missions and U.S. industry that will increase manufacturing competitiveness across the state, region and nation.

In stakeholder engagement, Budney has been instrumental in continuing the site’s strong working relationships with the Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board and key community, business and regulatory partners.

Prior to SRS, Budney served as director of the Office of Business Operations in the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

He retired as a United States Navy captain after 29 years of service. While on active duty, he served aboard four submarines and three ships, commanding a Trident Ballistic Missile Submarine.

The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 established the Presidential Rank Awards Program to recognize a select group of career members of the SES for exceptional professional, technical and scientific achievement recognized on a national or international level.

-Contributor: Julie Petersen