U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Bob Corker (R-TN) have written a letter urging the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to complete its long-term plan for conducting much needed nuclear cleanup work at Oak Ridge.
“There are roughly 150 contaminated structures, storage tanks, and other facilities at Oak Ridge National Lab and Y-12 that need to be addressed,” said Alexander. “Delaying the cleanup threatens the safety and effectiveness of these institutions that are so important to keeping our nation safe and competitive in the global economy.”
“Continuing with the cleanup efforts at Oak Ridge would advance the science mission at the Lab and the national security mission at Y-12,” said Corker. “It is necessary that funding be available for additional sites so that as the current cleanup winds down, the transition to these other sites can begin seamlessly.”
In a letter dated June 4, the Senators wrote to DOE Deputy Secretary Clay Sell urging the Department to include additional sites – contaminated structures, storage tanks, a scrap yard, and source materials at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the Y-12 Weapons Site – in the long term plan for the Environmental Management (EM) program, which is the federal program for cleaning up contaminated DOE sites. The Senators stress that adding these sites to the EM program is essential to Oak Ridge meeting the requirements under the Federal Facilities Agreement with the State of Tennessee.
“Proceeding with the cleanup would be beneficial to the science mission at ORNL and the national security mission at Y-12,” they write, “Moreover, it is necessary that funding for cleanup be provided in the same time frame as the completion of the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) so that as the ETTP work ramps down to closure, the IFDP [Integrated Facilities Disposition Plan] work can ramp up to utilize the existing workforce skills in the region.”