The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) Nevada Program today released a 10-year Strategic Vision for EM mission activities at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). The effort is a component of the DOE Office of Environmental Management’s Strategic Vision initiative, which is intended to provide a clear and concise summary of the progress EM anticipates making at key sites over the coming decade. The full EM Strategic Vision, including EM Nevada’s plans at the NNSS, can be found here: EM Strategic Vision | Department of Energy.
“The 2022-2032 Strategic Vision demonstrates that the EM Nevada Program is laser-focused on the safe, secure, and successful completion of our environmental restoration missions at the Nevada National Security Site,” said Rob Boehlecke, EM Nevada Program Manager. “I look forward to continuing to partner with our talented federal and contractor workforce, key stakeholders, and the public to make this vision a reality.”
Over the coming decade, the EM Nevada Program expects to complete its currently identified scope of cleanup activities at the NNSS. EM Nevada will continue to collaborate closely with local stakeholders, including the Nevada Site Specific Advisory Board (NSSAB), Intergovernmental Liaisons group, Low Level Waste Stakeholders Forum, and others to complete its cleanup mission in a manner that prioritizes the protection of people, communities, and the environment.
EM Nevada Key Accomplishments for 2021
Accomplishments marked by the EM Nevada Program last year include:
- Initiated characterization and hazard reduction activities to prepare for demolition and closure of two legacy facilities at the NNSS
- Obtained regulatory approval of data completeness for the Pahute Mesa groundwater region – the last active groundwater corrective action area at the NNSS
- Safely and securely disposed ~550,000 cubic feet of classified and low-level/mixed low-level radioactive waste in support of cleanup and activities at federal sites across the U.S. involved in nuclear research, development, and testing, and ongoing national security and science missions
EM Nevada Key Regulatory Milestones for 2022-2032
EM Nevada Program activities are primarily regulated by the Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order (FFACO), an agreement between the State of Nevada and the Department of Energy governing environmental corrective actions at sites impacted by historical nuclear activities. A supplemental Agreement in Principle between the Department and the State exists to provide a role for the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection in oversight of NNSS low-level waste disposal operations. The federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which regulates hazardous waste management, also governs certain aspects of mixed low-level waste disposal at the NNSS.
Key regulatory milestones for the 10-year period include:
- Submit the Test Cell C facility closure report to the regulator — 2023
- Submit the Engine Maintenance, Assembly, and Disassembly facility closure report to the regulator — 2024
- Transition post-closure monitoring for most sites to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) — 2027
- Transition post-closure monitoring of the Pahute Mesa groundwater corrective action area to NNSA — 2028
EM Nevada Post-2032 Cleanup Scope
The EM Nevada Program is currently scheduled to finish its cleanup mission within the 10-year period of 2022-2032, which will ultimately involve the completion of all active environmental restoration activities and the conveyance of remediated sites for long-term stewardship. It is currently anticipated that there will be a need within the DOE complex for NNSS waste disposal beyond 2030.
EM Nevada Program Mission
The NNSS was used from 1951 to 1992 to conduct a total of 100 atmospheric and 828 underground nuclear weapons tests. As a result, some groundwater, surface soils, and industrial-type facilities were contaminated on the NNSS and the surrounding Nevada Test and Training Range. The EM Nevada Program is responsible for completing cleanup actions at these historic nuclear testing locations. EM Nevada also manages the safe and secure disposal of waste at the NNSS, in support of cleanup and activities at federal sites across the U.S. involved in nuclear research, development, and testing, and ongoing national security and science missions.
For more information on the EM Nevada Program, please visit: Office of Environmental Management (EM) Nevada Program.