The US Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (EM) has set out its key priorities for 2022 as it pursues its mission to achieve the safe cleanup of the environmental legacy brought about from decades of US nuclear weapons development and government-sponsored nuclear energy research.

(Image: EM)

The office in late December published a review of its 2021 cleanup accomplishments across its entire complex, and EM Senior Advisor William White said it is poised to achieve an "equally challenging slate of priorities" this year. "Our 2022 priorities underscore our goals to accomplish cleanup that is safe and protective of our workforce, the public and the environment, and in a manner that is transparent to the communities that host and support our sites," he said.

Priorities for the next year include: completing cold commissioning of the first melter at the Waste Treatment and Immobilisation Plant and beginning operation of the Tank-Side Caesium Removal system at the Hanford Site in Washington state, essential steps toward the treatment of tank waste at that site; processing the first 100 liquid waste containers as operations begin at the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit, a major milestone at the DOE Idaho National Laboratory Site; beginning the construction of the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative facility near the Savannah River Site that will enable the Department of Energy to partner with industry and academia on the development of technology to benefit environmental cleanup and national security missions; and completing 30 shipments of transuranic waste from EM's Los Alamos Field Office to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

EM was set up in 1989 to complete what it describes as the largest environmental cleanup programme in the world, encompassing some of the world's most dangerous radioactive sites with large amounts of radioactive wastes, used nuclear fuel, excess plutonium and uranium, thousands of contaminated facilities, and contaminated soil and groundwater. It has to date completed cleanup at 91 of the 107 sites for which it is responsible.

EM's full set of EM 2022 priorities can be accessed here.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Friday, 14 January 2022
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