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EM Update | Vol. 13, Issue 35 | Sept. 7, 2021


EM Nevada Marks 3.5 Million Hours Without Lost Workday Incident

Employees with Navarro Research & Engineering, the EM Nevada Program's environmental program services contractor, are shown at work at the Nevada National Security Site prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Navarro recently achieved 3.5 million hours without a lost workday due to a safety incident.

LAS VEGAS – The EM Nevada Program recently reached a major milestone when its environmental program services contractor reached 3.5 million hours without a lost workday due to a safety incident.

The period for Navarro Research & Engineering’s 3.5 million hours extends more than 16 years and multiple contracts and contract teaming partners. A lost workday is an occupational injury or illness that results in an employee being unfit for work following the incident.

"The successes in safety over multiple contracts can be attributed to consistent engagement of personnel at all levels in the organization in work planning and execution where hazards are identified and mitigated prior to and during project performance," Navarro Environmental Safety and Health Manager Tom Bastian said.

The EM Nevada Program implements environmental corrective actions to address contamination resulting from historic nuclear testing at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) and surrounding Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR).

EM’s mission in Nevada involves workplace hazards such as heavy machinery, radiological contamination, unexploded ordinances, work outdoors in excessive heat and extreme weather conditions, and slips, trips and falls that are a risk in every workplace.

Navarro employees who work at the NNSS and NTTR develop groundwater characterization wells, survey soils and industrial-type facilities for contamination, excavate land, and manage waste. Navarro adheres to DOE’s Integrated Safety Management System, which ensures safety is ingrained in management and work practices at all levels and stages of planning and execution.

Safety leadership has become a model best practice, through which EM Nevada and Navarro personnel are regularly trained to understand safety culture expectations, think for themselves, consider consequences, and act with health and safety first and foremost in mind. Without exception, every day in the field starts with both a daily operations call and a safety briefing, during which workers review procedures, acknowledge potential hazards, and address safety measures.

"Safety expectations are communicated with all personnel in safety leadership discussions, daily operation calls, and tailgate safety briefings. Safety issues or concerns are documented and addressed using a formal issues management system,” Bastian said. “These processes and employee commitment have been instrumental in the safe operations at EM Nevada.”

Another major component of EM Nevada’s safety culture is its experienced workforce. The unique hazards specific to their worksites are well known, and their experience gained over many years in the field helps prevent accidents.

“Ultimately, a collaborative environment has been developed where workers take responsibility for their own safety as well as the safety of their co-workers, which has contributed greatly to EM Nevada and Navarro's exemplary safety record,” Bastian said.

-Contributor: Michelle French

Two Idaho Site Internships Help Graduate Land Job Supporting EM

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – As interns prepare to go back to college after spending the summer at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Jenna Abbott will be staying put at the EM site.

After graduating from Idaho State University this past spring, Abbott leveraged her intern experience from this summer and last into a full-time job with EM INL Site contractor Fluor Idaho.

The 22-year-old graduate with a bachelor’s degree in workplace training and leadership started her job as a training specialist at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project (AMWTP) earlier this month. She said the internships at the Idaho Cleanup Project gave her the necessary skills to fulfill the job description requirements.

“The internships were instrumental in providing me the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform within a training specialist role,” Abbott said.

As a training intern in 2020, she accompanied instructors to the INL Site to learn about operations at facilities there. That internship helped her recognize a possibility and capability for expanded virtual training for employees.

Abbott was given additional responsibilities for her internship this summer. She was tasked with developing a training session for instructors, instructional technologists, training coordinators, and INL Site schedulers. She also helped expand virtual training across many site facilities.

“Reaching more participants over a larger area is the main goal,” she said. “It is within that session that I spoke about a few engagement techniques to keep learners better engaged while delivering instruction virtually.”


A spring 2021 graduate of Idaho State University, Jenna Abbott has been hired by Fluor Idaho as a training specialist following two summer internships supporting EM at the Idaho National Laboratory Site.

Abbott looks forward to furthering her experience in training as a Fluor Idaho employee.
“I like the ability to connect with people,” she said. “I like to hear about people’s experience in operations.”
She credited her intern supervisor, Cindy McCormick, with giving her the training experience necessary to become a Fluor Idaho employee.
“She gave me the chance of a lifetime and here I am just starting my career,” Abbott said.
Ironically, McCormick was an intern herself 20 years ago. She’s now the training manager in charge of several trainers who educate more than 1,800 Fluor Idaho employees.
“It’s been so great, and I’m so grateful for everyone,” Abbott said of McCormick and her training colleagues. “I’ve received an outpouring of support from the training department.”
In addition to starting a career supporting EM, Abbott also just got married. She and her husband, an electrician, live in Ammon, adjacent to Idaho Falls.
-Contributor: Erik Simpson

‘Tremendous’ Progress Continues on Hanford Tank Waste Treatment Disposal Facility


Workers with EM contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company are installing heavy-duty liners inside two 400,000-gallon leachate tanks at the Integrated Disposal Facility at the Hanford Site. The tanks contain leachate — water from rain, snowmelt, and dust suppression — until it is transferred to an on-site water treatment facility.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Integrated Disposal Facility, a key component of the Hanford Site’s Direct-Feed Low-Activity Waste Program, is a step closer to disposing of treated tank waste, thanks to EM Richland Operations Office (RL) contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company (CPCCo).

This summer, crews have been installing heavy-duty liners inside the facility’s two 400,000-gallon leachate tanks. These tanks will hold runoff from rain, snow, and dust suppression that reaches the bottom of the two large-lined disposal cells. The leachate will be monitored and sent to an on-site water treatment facility to ensure the protection of groundwater.

CPCCo is completing construction on the engineered landfill to provide safe permanent disposal of vitrified low-activity tank waste from the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant. The facility is designed similar to Hanford’s Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility, which has safely supported cleanup activities for 25 years.

“It’s exciting to see the landfill site continue to take shape,” said Gary Pyles, RL federal project manager for the facility. “This facility is critical to the success of DOE’s initiative to begin tank waste treatment by the end of 2023, Hanford’s highest priority.”


In coming months, crews at the Hanford Site will install domes on the Integrated Disposal Facility’s two leachate tanks. EM contractor Central Plateau Cleanup Company is completing construction on the engineered landfill for safe, permanent disposal of vitrified low-activity tank waste from the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant.

The liner placement follows completion of utility upgrades, construction of waste container pallet and transport trailer inspection buildings, and the addition of a pipeline between the facility’s two leachate collection tanks to optimize system operations.

“We have made tremendous progress on the Integrated Disposal Facility over the past year,” said Andy Drom, director for CPCCo’s waste projects and operations group. “I’m proud of our team for keeping the project safely on track in support of the sitewide effort to begin tank waste treatment.”

In coming months, crews will install domes on the leachate tanks, as well as build a concrete waste storage and treatment pad. Construction activities are expected to be completed in 2022.

-Contributor: Dieter Bohrmann

Oak Ridge Video Takes In-Depth Look at EM’s Impact on Tennessee Economy


OAK RIDGE, Tenn.Watch this video on EM’s contributions to DOE’s $7.2 billion impact on Tennessee’s economy each year. “Having DOE spending $7.2 billion dollars annually is an impressive number,” Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management Manager Jay Mullis says in the video. “It shows what a big impact on the GDP (gross domestic product) for the state that the DOE program, and the EM program in particular, have in this region and for the state.” A report recently released by the East Tennessee Economic Council shows DOE creates $7.2 billion in economic benefits and high-quality jobs annually for the state’s economy through research, national security, and environmental cleanup missions in Oak Ridge. About 2,500 Oak Ridge employees support the EM program. Their work is creating new economic opportunities by transforming the East Tennessee Technology Park to attract new private industry and clearing away old infrastructure at the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to pave the way for new facilities and expanding missions.

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