Federal, contractor, and regulator representatives involved with the activities of the DOE Environmental Management (EM) Nevada Program recently participated in a dynamic panel discussion at the 2020 RadWaste Summit, hosted by ExchangeMonitor Publications & Forums. At the event, held virtually for the first time, the representatives discussed how a shared commitment to cross-collaboration and risk-informed decision making has helped to safely accelerate closure, cut costs, and best protect people and the environment in Nevada.
Participants in the Nevada panel included Bill Wilborn, Deputy Program Manager, Operations, for EM Nevada; Christine Andres, Chief, Bureau of Federal Facilities for the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection; and Dave Taylor, Program Manager for Navarro Research and Engineering, the Environmental Program Services contractor to EM Nevada.
The panel discussion centered on the Nevada partners’ shared embrace of risk-informed decision making, which prioritizes the protection of human health and the environment, while considering future land use, in the development of cleanup strategies. The panel also discussed their successful efforts to develop a culture of collaboration and consistent communication, which has helped to streamline the development, review, and approval processes surrounding cleanup and closure activities.
“The three of us have worked together for a number of years, spanning over a decade,” said Andres. “Through those years, we have always respected each other, and, through that respect, we’ve built a trust that we are all here to do our jobs – and that’s to protect Nevada and Nevadans.”
Working collaboratively to adopt new and innovative approaches, the entities have achieved closure at 100 percent of atmospheric nuclear testing sites covered by the Nevada Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order, completing the milestone six years early, saving an estimated $66 million in federal funding. Additionally, the accelerated closure of groundwater areas impacted by underground nuclear testing at the NNSS is anticipated to result in $100 million in savings over initial baseline estimates, with the timeline expedited by an estimated three to six years.
The Nevada panel discussion was moderated by Jesse Sleezer, Strategic Communications Manager for Navarro Research and Engineering. To learn more about EM Nevada Program activities, please visit: https://www.nnss.gov/pages/programs/em/Environmental.html.