Morning Briefing - April 09, 2019
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April 09, 2019

More Funds Sought for Santa Susana Work in DOE Fiscal 2020 Budget Request

By ExchangeMonitor

Funds for cleanup of the Energy Department’s footprint at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL) in California would increase from $11 million in fiscal 2019 to $18 million in fiscal 2020, if Congress approves the Donald Trump administration’s budget request.

The department in this calendar year expects to issue the record of decision for environmental remediation of its 470-acre portion of the 2,850-acre SSFL. The document will lay out the environmental management approach in more detail than has been disclosed so far.

Boeing owns the sprawling property in Ventura County, Calif. The aerospace giant, along with DOE and NASA, are responsible for restoring the site.

The Energy Department’s Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC) at Santa Susana was used from roughly the 1960s through the 1990s for research on nuclear power and liquid metal technology. The agency said in its fiscal 2020 budget justification it anticipates beginning decontamination and decommissioning of remaining structures at ETEC in 2020, based upon the as-yet-unpublished record of decision.

The Energy Department in 2017 signed a consent order on remediation with the California Department of Toxic Substance Control, the state regulator for Santa Susana. However, cleanup of soil and groundwater cannot start until both the federal record of decision and the state environmental impact report are issued, which is anticipated later this year.

Prior to 2007, the Energy Department did some dismantling and cleanup at ETEC under its Atomic Energy Act authority.

Eighteen DOE buildings still need to be decontaminated and torn down, according to the budget material. North Wind Group has a five-year, $26 million task order, which runs through September, to conduct environmental monitoring and surveillance, as well as demolition of the buildings, at ETEC.

Contractor CDM handles National Environmental Policy Act documentation for the project, such as the final EIS and the record of decision. Earlier this year it won a nine-month extension to its DOE contract, which would have otherwise expired on March 31. The DOE Office of Environmental Management said the extension should not raise the current task order value of about $32.4 million.