White Celebrates EM’s Transformational Progress at National Cleanup Workshop

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an address at the National Cleanup Workshop, EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White said EM remains on track for 2020 to be a significant year for achievement despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The accomplishments we have this year are keeping us on track to realize transformational progress over the decade ahead,” White said.

EM will complete cleanup work at some sites and advance noteworthy mission scope at others, White said. These efforts are addressing the Department’s largest environmental risk — tank waste — which represents 60 percent of EM’s total environmental liability and takes at least 40 percent of the EM budget annually. White added that Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, Deputy Secretary Mark W. Menezes, and Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar have demonstrated a commitment to addressing the tank waste challenge head-on.

Among EM's successes this year: Continued progress on the facilities necessary for the Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste approach to tank waste treatment at the Hanford Site; completion of the transfer of the Tonopah Test Range in Nevada from EM to the DOE Office of Legacy Management; and the launch of an Acquisition Corps to serve on Acquisition Integrated Project Teams and Source Evaluation Boards that evaluate submissions for contract awards, further strengthening EM's procurement capabilities.

EM Senior Advisor William "Ike" White
EM Senior Advisor William "Ike" White

At the Savannah River Site (SRS), DOE approved the final stage of startup for the site’s Salt Waste Processing Facility (SWPF), a first-of-a-kind, multi-billion dollar facility. White noted that SWPF greatly accelerates EM’s ability to empty and close tanks at SRS. By 2030, it is expected that most of the tank waste inventory will be processed and nearly half of the site’s underground waste tanks will be closed.

White also discussed the Idaho Site’s continued progress on the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit, which will treat the remaining 900,000 gallons of liquid sodium bearing waste at the site. Other 2020 accomplishments include Oak Ridge completing the Vision 2020 effort at the East Tennessee Technology Park, buildings coming down for the first time in over a decade at the Energy Technology Engineering Center, and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant moving forward with upgrades to continue its vital role in supporting cleanup and national security programs.

White stressed the importance of ensuring a long-term strategic focus on the cleanup program and the expectation that the EM complex will be a very different place by 2030. To ensure EM is on track to complete significant scopes of work over the next decade, he emphasized the need to have the right people in the right positions.

In closing, White shared that he is inspired by how the EM team, industry partners, and stakeholder groups have pulled together to boost productivity and teamwork in the face of the global pandemic.

Read about EM’s Strategic Vision here.