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EM Update | Vol. 12, Issue 20 | Aug. 4, 2020


West Valley Resumes Shipments of Deactivation and Demolition Waste

Trucks carrying waste containers leave the West Valley Demonstration Project in late July en route to an offsite disposal facility. Pictured in the background is the Main Plant Process Building, which is set for demolition this year. Demolishing that facility is an EM 2020 priority.

WEST VALLEY, N.Y.EM West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) crews resumed waste disposal shipments in late July as part of cleanup efforts after the site moved into the second phase of its operations plan in response to COVID-19.

The waste being shipped is from the demolition of a former utility building that began in July. The 6,955-square-foot building is an ancillary structure to the Main Plant Process Building, the last remaining major facility at the West Valley site. Teardown of the Main Plant is among EM’s 2020 priorities.

Waste disposition is the final step in the completion of deactivation and decommissioning (D&D) of onsite structures. WVDP stopped shipments in March after D&D activities were put on hold due to COVID-19.

WVDP’s second phase of its operations plan in response to COVID-19 adds high-priority operations and activities to those authorized in the first phase. The additional activities in the second phase call for use of more personal protective equipment and other health and safety precautions while workers continue to follow social distancing guidelines and other controls.

“The protection of our workers, the public, and the environment remains our priority as we resume operations at the site,” EM WVDP Director Bryan Bower said. “The resumption of waste shipments is another accomplishment the WVDP team can be proud of as we safely and compliantly continue with our resumption-of-work plan.”

Debris generated from the demolition of the former utility building is expected to fill about 75 waste containers. The waste is being sent to an out-of-state disposal facility.

“Our team members continue to use their combined knowledge to safely resume work during this challenging time,” said John Rendall, president of WVDP cleanup contractor CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley. “I’m proud of their efforts and accomplishments, and the work they continue to do on this project.”

-Contributor: Joseph Pillittere 

EM Joins U.S.-Japan Workshop on Potential Decommissioning Collaborations

DOE officials were among the more than 170 government and industry representatives who explored potential collaborations between the U.S. and Japan in a workshop held virtually last week.

It was the second U.S.-Japan workshop held online this year focusing on decommissioning work in Japan. The latest event was hosted by Japan’s Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry and supported by EM’s Office of Intergovernmental and Stakeholder Programs.

“The information shared by the presenters, for example, on the decommissioning timelines and Japan’s decommissioning implementation plan, should provide a basis for potential meaningful interactions,” DOE Chief Risk Officer James Owendoff said.

Participants discussed possible collaborations in Japan, including decommissioning commercial reactors not affected by the Fukushima Daiichi accident, regulatory aspects of decommissioning in both countries, and stakeholder engagement challenges. The workshop was designed to help participants understand decommissioning models in both countries.

Workshop speakers included officials from Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as well as representatives from U.S. companies Amentum and EnergySolutions, and Japanese companies Toshiba and Kajima.

Council Honors EM Sites, Contractors for Purchasing Sustainable Products

Several EM sites and contractors across the DOE complex were recognized last week for their efforts to purchase products that protect the environment, conserve energy, and reduce costs.

The Green Electronics Council and managers of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) named 2020 EPEAT Purchaser Award winners representing the Hanford, Portsmouth, Paducah, Oak Ridge, and Moab sites. EPEAT is a ranking system that helps companies compare and select environmentally friendly office equipment. Ranking criteria includes greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous waste production, and total energy usage.

For the fourth straight year, the council awarded Hanford Site contractors CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company, HPMC Occupational Medical Services, Mission Support Alliance (MSA), Washington River Protection Solutions, and Wastren Advantage for their efforts to protect the environment by using sustainable electronics.

“Congratulations to all of the Hanford contractors who were a part of this award,” said Jeff Frey, EM Richland Operations Office assistant manager for mission support. “The continued recognition of the Hanford Site is further validation of our ongoing efforts to reduce our environmental impact.”

As Hanford’s site services provider, MSA tracks the purchase of electronic products for use by all contractors at the site.

“These kind of partnerships with the other contractors are important in accomplishing DOE’s goal of protecting the environment,” said Todd Eckman, MSA vice president for information management. “Congratulations to all of the contractors for their efforts to help Hanford achieve this award.”

In fiscal 2019, 97.5 percent of the electronics purchased by Hanford contractors met the EPEAT standard. Environmental benefits of these purchases include:

  • Reduced use of primary materials, including oil, iron, and wood by an estimated 323 metric tons.
  • Reduced hazardous waste by 2.6 metric tons.
  • Reduced solid waste by 19 metric tons.
  • Saved more than 1.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity — enough to power 121 average-sized homes for a year.

The council also honored EM West Valley Demonstration Project cleanup contractor CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV). Among CHBWV’s achievements in 2019:

  • Purchased 2,903 EPEAT-registered products, leading to a cost savings of more than $116,000 over the lifetime of the products.
  • Reduced greenhouse gases by 702,139 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents, similar to removing 150 average U.S. passenger cars from the roads for a year.
  • Saved 1,472 megawatt hours of electricity, comparable to the annual electricity consumption of 121 average U.S. households.

“Sustainability in electronics purchasing is part of our commitment to be good stewards of the environment,” EM WVDP Director Bryan Bower said. “Environmental stewardship is the right thing to do, and it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, and saves money for taxpayers and the government.”

EM WVDP Regulatory Strategy and Environmental Compliance Team Lead Moira Maloney said the site’s regulatory strategy and procurement teams do an excellent job preparing requests for proposals that obtain the best results for WVDP’s electronics sustainability goals.

“They are always finding creative ways to proceduralize these initiatives to ensure the best results from qualified subcontractors and suppliers. It is truly a team effort,” Maloney said.

East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), which is managed by Oak Ridge cleanup contractor UCOR, was recognized for the 508 EPEAT-registered products it purchased in 2019, representing a cost savings of $24,655 over the lifetime of the products. This is the sixth consecutive year ETTP has received the award.

UCOR uses EPEAT in purchasing contracts to require that vendors only provide electronics that meet strict sustainability criteria. These products are more energy efficient, less toxic, longer lasting, and easier to recycle than products that do not meet EPEAT criteria.

“It’s an honor to win this award,” said David Buhl, UCOR pollution prevention and waste minimization coordinator. “While DOE requires us to make sustainable electronics purchases, it’s something that UCOR has done for a number of years already and it’s just the right thing to do.”

The council also honored the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP), which purchased 246 EPEAT-registered products in 2019, resulting in a cost savings of $9,981 across the lifetime of the products. In 2019, the site also:

  • Reduced greenhouse gases by 54,149 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents, similar to taking 12 average U.S. passenger cars from the roads for a year.
  • Saved 209 megawatt hours of electricity, comparable to the annual electricity consumption of 17 average U.S. households.

"Practicing sustainable purchasing moves us closer to achieving a shared vision of minimizing DOE’s environmental impact," said Jeff Bettinger, EM’s Portsmouth site lead with the Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office. "The Portsmouth Site is proud to have received this recognition and is committed to continued procurement of sustainable electronics."

EPEAT Purchaser Award winner Swift & Staley, a Paducah Site contractor, purchased 1,055 EPEAT-registered products in 2019. That will bring a cost savings of $24,059 over the lifetime of those products. Among Swift & Staley’s achievements in 2019:

  • Reduced greenhouse gases by 161,986 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents, similar to removing 35 average U.S. passenger cars from the roads for a year.
  • Saved 245 megawatt hours of electricity, comparable to the annual electricity consumption of 20 average U.S. households.

The council also recognized the Moab Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project.

Updated Agenda Available for Virtual 2020 National Cleanup Workshop


An updated agenda is now available for the 2020 National Cleanup Workshop, which will take place as a virtual half-day event on Sept. 16, 2020. The workshop will feature remarks from Under Secretary for Science Paul Dabbar and senior DOE officials, state and local government officials, and industry leaders. They will discuss key issues facing the DOE complex in the year ahead and celebrate important progress made this year.

Last year, workshop participants celebrated 30 years of EM’s cleanup program. This year’s agenda will focus on continuing success and overcoming adversity with moderated discussions about the path forward for EM’s strategic vision, EM hot topics, and contracting updates.

Click here to view the updated agenda. For more information, please click here.

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