The head of the EM program and the second-ranking official from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) came together late last week for a two-day visit to Savannah River Site (SRS) and the surrounding communities.
EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White and NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Frank Rose traveled to South Carolina to provide information, hear feedback and answer questions about the planned SRS management transition from EM to NNSA.
The transition planning is underway and will not affect EM’s cleanup work at SRS or its management of Savannah River National Laboratory.
The visit billed as a “listening tour,” included a town-hall style meeting with SRS employees, a broadly attended community breakfast, and meetings with SRS site leadership.
At the employee meeting, the EM and NNSA leaders emphasized the importance of hearing from the EM and NNSA workforces and answering questions throughout the process.
“As we move forward with this transition, its success is a priority for EM and NNSA. While the process has just begun, the details will be critical to doing it right, and finishing with a successful transition,” White said to SRS employees.
He continued, “EM has a successful track record in effectively working with NNSA to pursue legacy cleanup activities at NNSA-managed sites such as Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Nevada National Security Site. We will look to leverage our experiences at these sites to aid our transition here.”
White also congratulated the SRS employees who recently received awards from Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm for their service and contribution to DOE’s mission. Read more about those awards here.
White and Rose also spoke to a large group of community members and stakeholders at a Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness (CNTA) breakfast and answered questions about the SRS transition to NNSA.
White assured participants in the breakfast he and other DOE leaders have the long-term outlook for SRS in mind as EM and NNSA plan the transition.
NNSA’s Rose told the breakfast crowd EM and NNSA are currently working closely to plan every detail of the transition and pledged to maintain transparency throughout the process.
“While NNSA will assume landlord authorities, the EM mission will also continue for many years," Rose said. "We are committed to keeping the community informed of progress throughout the process. We have a long history of community engagement and collaboration, which will continue throughout and following this transition.”
Jim Marra, the CNTA executive director, said CNTA and the Aiken Chamber of Commerce were happy to host White and Rose for the discussion with the local community.
“The site transition is an important topic to many stakeholders as evidenced by over two hundred people in attendance,” Marra said.
White also squeezed in a visit with SRS Citizens Advisory Board Chair Gregg Murray and Vice Chair Charles Hilton and toured key cleanup projects underway at SRS.
On the second day, White and Rose held meetings in Allendale, South Carolina, at the University of South Carolina Salkehatchie. They heard from community leaders and elected officials from Barnwell and Allendale counties, as well as other stakeholders. White and Rose answered questions about the SRS transition and received briefings on DOE-funded training and apprenticeship programs.
To receive the latest news and updates about the Office of Environmental Management, submit your e-mail address.