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On Oct. 1, 2021, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) completed demolition of the final DOE-owned buildings at the Energy Technology Engineering Center northwest of Los Angeles, California. The final building to be torn down, with the assistance of shaped charges, was the Sodium Pump Test Facility, shown, used for testing large pumps for liquid sodium during site operations that ended in the late 1980s. Finishing the teardown of Cold War-era buildings is another important step in the Department’s cleanup activities at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL).
Energy Technology Engineering Center Sodium Pump Test Facility Demolition

The Infrastructure and Deactivation & Decommissioning Office develops policy for deactivation & decommissioning, real property asset management, sustainability and energy management. The office leads the transfer of completed projects; manages the transfer of excess contaminated facilities and materials from National Nuclear Security Agency, Office of Science, and the Office of Nuclear Energy; and has the overriding responsibility to support field offices by enabling the effective execution of the mission.

Crews remove concrete subsurface structures of the K-832 basin at Oak Ridge in 2019 and pumped nearly 2 million gallons of water from the basin before beginning demolition.
Crews remove concrete subsurface structures of the K-832 basin at Oak Ridge in 2019 and pumped nearly 2 million gallons of water from the basin before beginning demolition.

Only process contaminated excess facilities and wastes are D&D by EM. Process contamination refers to contamination, radioactive and/or chemical, resulting from mission operations and not from construction activities and associated materials, such as, but not limited to, asbestos, lead-based paint and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in light ballasts, and/or transformers. Excess means the facility has no more purpose or use under DOE’s Mission.

Following operational shutdown and transition the first disposition activity is usually to deactivate the facility. The purpose of the deactivation mission is to place a facility in a safe shutdown condition that is economical to monitor and maintain for an extended period until the eventual decommissioning of the facility. Deactivation places the facility in a low-risk state with minimum surveillance and maintenance requirements. Once deactivation is complete, the final facility disposition activity is decommissioning, where the facility is taken to its ultimate end state through decontamination and/or dismantlement to demolition or entombment. After decommissioning is complete, the facility or surrounding area may require DOE control for protection of the public and the environment or for environmental remediation. An important objective throughout transition and disposition is to continue to maintain an integrated and seamless process linking deactivation, decommissioning and surveillance and maintenance.

The Sodium Pump Test Facility was the final building owned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to be demolished at the Energy Technology Engineering Center site northwest of Los Angeles.

The Sodium Pump Test Facility was the final building owned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to be demolished at the Energy Technology Engineering Center site northwest of Los Angeles. Finishing the teardown of buildings once used for nuclear and liquid metals research is another important step in DOE’s cleanup activities at the site.

Deactivation is the process of placing a contaminated (nuclear, radiologically or radioactive), excess facility in a stable condition to minimize existing risks and protect workers, the public and the environment. Decommissioning is the final process of closing and securing the facility consistent with established end states, to provide adequate protection from radiation exposure and isolation from the human environment. The D&D process includes the removal of hazardous and radioactive materials to ensure adequate protection of workers, public health and safety, and the environment; placing the facility in a stable condition, thereby limiting the long-term cost of surveillance and maintenance, after which, demolition/disposition occurs. D&D presents unique hazards that must be addressed from a safety, programmatic, environmental and technological standpoint.

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