The US Department of Energy (DOE) said that workers had completed one of the priority tasks for 2020 of the Office of Environmental Management (EM) priorities with the demolition of the last of 10 buildings at the Radioactive Materials Handling Facility (RMHF) at the Energy Technology Engineering Centre (ETEC) in Ventura County, California.
DOE and the State of California signed a consent order in May to demolish the 10 DOE-owned buildings at ETEC. Crews at the former nuclear and liquid metals research site started active clean-up in July. Workers safely demolished four buildings in the first week, and three in the subsequent week. By September, the eighth and ninth buildings — a small waste storage and packaging facility, and a building for low-level waste packaging, processing, decommissioning of parts, and laundry — had been taken down. The final building, a materials storage and processing site, was dismantled by early November.
“I’m thrilled that despite hurdles like the COVID-19 pandemic, our crews were able to deliver on EM’s commitment to complete this phase of demolition at ETEC safely, and on time," said ETEC Federal Project Director John Jones."A lot of painstaking preparation went into reaching this milestone, and we’ll continue to work with the State of California to get the ETEC site to final cleanup and completion"
Removing all 10 RMHF facilities, which were constructed in 1959 and used for the processing, packaging, and shipment of radioactive and mixed hazardous wastes during site operations that ended in 1988, reduces potential risk of release of hazardous substances due to wildfires or erosion from severe storms, DOE said.
ETEC, located in Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, served as a premier research facility from the 1950s until the end of active operations. Since the 1980s, more than 250 structures on the site have been demolished and removed.
Only eight DOE structures remain at ETEC, and on 4 November DOE signed an Amendment to the May 2020 Order on Consent with the State of California to demolish them.
Photo: A crew tears down a stack attached to Building 4022 at the Radioactive Materials Handling Facility (RMHF) at the Energy Technology Engineering Center (Credit: DOE)