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EM Update | Vol. 14, Issue 26 | July 5, 2022


Tour Focuses on Collaboration With Regional Tribes at Idaho Site

Battelle Energy Alliance Cultural Resources Specialist Jeremias Pink discusses cultural resource sites within the Critical Infrastructure Test Range Complex at the DOE Idaho National Laboratory Site to representatives of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes during a June 28 tour.

IDAHO FALLS, IdahoEM employees highlighted cleanup progress across the DOE Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Site during a June 28 tour for representatives of the Shoshone Bannock (Sho-Ban) Tribes.

Eight tribal members were briefed on advancements in the Idaho Cleanup Project (ICP) mission at the Radioactive Waste Management Complex, Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center, Idaho CERCLA Disposal Facility and Integrated Waste Treatment Unit. CERCLA stands for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.

Environmental Restoration Program employees with EM contactor Idaho Environmental Coalition also took the group to two sites where CERCLA cleanup is complete and institutional controls are in place to protect people and the environment for long-term stewardship.

In turn, the tribal members shared with EM employees the importance of protecting cultural resource sites within the 890-square-mile laboratory site in eastern Idaho. Ancestors of the tribes frequently traveled across what is now the INL Site, located on the Arco Desert, from the original Fort Hall area near present-day Pocatello, Idaho, to fishing and hunting grounds near Salmon, Idaho. Thousands of artifacts, including arrowheads, pottery and ceremonial items, have been identified since the INL Site was established in 1949.

Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) Cultural Resources Specialist Jeremias Pink also participated in the tour. BEA has identified thousands of potential cultural resource sites catalogued with the use of GPS technology. DOE Office of Nuclear Energy contractor BEA manages INL.

One of the former cleanup areas at the INL Site, within the Critical Infrastructure Test Range Complex, is particularly rich with cultural resources. Pink identified such sites to the group during the tour. Sho-Ban Tribes representatives expressed interest in identifying the sites with either Shoshone or Bannock names.

Shelby Goodwin, EM CERCLA program manager, said she was pleased with the tour and its intent.

“We had a productive discussion of the facilities and the current institutional controls and operations and maintenance for ICP’s long-term stewardship,” Goodwin said. “We also had a good dialogue on cultural resources and how the protection of those areas will tie into the Sho-Ban Tribes’ long-term stewardship program. It was a great learning experience for both of us."

Goodwin said she supports renaming sites that are culturally significant to the tribes.

“It’s preserving their culture and it’s necessary,” she said. “It’s a step in the right direction.”

Goodwin said the tribes and ICP will continue to work together to develop the Sho-Ban Tribes’ long-term stewardship program.

-Contributor: Erik Simpson

Oak Ridge Waste Disposal Facility Marks 20 Years of Safe, Successful Operation


The Environmental Management Waste Management Facility has operated safely and compliantly for 20 years. The facility has reached 82% of its disposal capacity.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.EM’s onsite engineered disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste generated by environmental cleanup projects in Oak Ridge recently celebrated 20 years of safe and compliant waste disposal operations.

Over that span, the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility (EMWMF) has been instrumental in the pace of cleanup across DOE’s Oak Ridge Reservation by providing a safe and cost-effective disposal option for building debris and soil that is not highly contaminated.

Approximately 90% of the waste generated from cleanup in Oak Ridge fits that category and is disposed at EMWMF, while the remaining 10% of the waste is shipped offsite for disposal. The waste disposed offsite accounts for more than 90% of the radioactivity of the site’s total cleanup waste.

To enhance safety further, the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) built the private Haul Road for all trucks hauling waste from cleanup projects directly to EMWMF. This approach has diverted more than 100,000 truckloads off public roads, preventing traffic accidents or other incidents.

“Having the facility on the reservation has allowed DOE to help clean up the environment at tremendous savings to taxpayers,” said Jeff Grindstaff, EMWMF operations manager. “Shipping this waste offsite would be very expensive, timeconsuming, and also would require the material to travel on public roadways.”


The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management built the private Haul Road to enhance safety, diverting more than 100,000 truckloads from public roads by carrying waste on the Haul Road to the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility at Oak Ridge.

Nowhere is the impact of EMWMF more evident than at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). Use of the waste disposal facility enabled OREM to clear away 500 structures at ETTP and become the first site in the world to remove a former enrichment complex. OREM and its contractor UCOR completed the work at ETTP four years ahead of schedule, avoiding $500 million in costs to taxpayers.

ETTP now provides great benefit to the community. OREM has transferred 1,300 acres back to the community for economic development, attracting private businesses that are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to build new facilities and create hundreds of new jobs there.

Safety and compliance have been hallmarks of EMWMF operations throughout its 20-year history. The facility earned the National Safety Council’s Superior Safety Performance Award for achieving more than 10 consecutive “perfect record” years of operation without incurring an occupational injury or illness resulting in days away from work.

The EMWMF also has a stellar compliance record. Other recognitions include a Tennessee Recycling Coalition Recycling Innovator Award and a nomination for the GreenGov Awards sponsored by the White House. EMWMF operations also won five awards for pollution prevention and waste minimization.

“The project’s safety and compliance records set high standards that are indicative of a dedicated, focused workforce,” said Ken Rueter, UCOR president and CEO. “Maintaining such an exemplary record in safety and compliance while fulfilling the mission of receiving and disposing of nearly two million cubic yards of contaminated waste is truly a remarkable achievement.”

While the EMWMF has a capacity of 2.3 million cubic yards, 20 years of continuous disposal of cleanup waste has resulted in a capacity of less than 18% remaining. OREM is now working with its regulators on plans for another facility that will provide enough capacity to complete the remaining work at the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

-Contributor: Jeff Grindstaff

Idaho Site Intern Strengthens Skills While Supporting Others in Training


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – Proper training is crucial in the nuclear field to maintain worker safety and ensure work is performed according to procedures.

An EM intern at DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory Site has found her niche supporting the site training department, and in the process, has improved her own effectiveness as a communicator.

Shantelle Hunt, a public relations and corporate communications major at Utah State University, is serving her second internship for the Idaho Cleanup Project (ICP) contractor. She’s helping develop training content for those who operate equipment and perform specific work processes. Additionally, she developed an electronic newsletter aimed at helping on-the-job training instructors and evaluators be even more effective in their roles.

“I’ve been able to interview several of the instructors myself,” Hunt said. “They seem very pleased with what I’m doing.”

Prior to supporting the training department, Hunt’s experience in communications was limited to what she learned in speech and debate classes. Working in a corporate environment with many people in diverse job disciplines has strengthened her communications skills.

“I’ve improved my communications in the workplace a lot,” Hunt said.

She said working with her mentor Frank La Marca and supervisor Shannon Griggs has been beneficial in helping her blossom into her role.

“I love the people I work with,” Hunt said. “They’ve become close friends, almost like family.”

Growing up, Hunt said she always wanted to get as far away from her eastern Idaho hometown as possible. Working for cleanup contractor Idaho Environmental Coalition and the previous EM contractor at the INL Site — less than an hour drive from where she grew up — has changed her opinion.

“At first I wanted to go anywhere but Blackfoot, but this experience has made me think I could work in Idaho Falls or Boise or wherever,” she said. “I could see myself staying. It’s kind of a place I never thought I’d end up. But it’s worked out great and I love it.”

Hunt said she has a greater understanding of the nuclear industry now, having served two consecutive internships for ICP, and a greater interest in the training profession.

“I could see myself being a trainer,” Hunt said. “I like to connect with people. It’s been fun getting to know a wide range of people.”

When not at work, Hunt finds peace and solace helping her family operate a cattle ranch with 150 cows. She repairs fences, herds cattle and rides her horse on the 2,000-acre, fourth-generation family ranch north of the Blackfoot Reservoir in eastern Idaho.

Equestrians often say that all the world’s questions can be answered while sitting on the back of horse. If true, Hunt will likely make her career decision while riding high in the saddle.

–Contributor: Erik Simpson

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