Community reuse organizations designed to promote economic development at Energy Department’s nuclear cleanup sites got good news last month when the House Appropriations Committee voted to affirm their authority to receive and resell old equipment the federal agency no longer needs.
The committee-approved $7.2 billion fiscal budget for the Office of Environmental Management makes it clear the so-called CROs can still be used as a clearinghouse for old DOE equipment – something which has been questioned among some at the nuclear cleanup office, said Rick McLeod, president and CEO of the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization, which serves counties in South Carolina and Georgia which border the SRS site.
Language was inserted into the report that accompanied the Energy and Water Development Bill, which still must be voted upon by the full house, by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.). The lawmaker submitted the provision on behalf of CROs including the Hanford Site in Washington state, SRS, the Oak Ridge Site in Tennessee, and the Portsmouth Site in Ohio. Newhouse said the organizations use money brought in from the sales for everything from job training to business development grants.
The “asset transition program,” as DOE calls it, allows the local organizations to receive everything from old cranes to disposable clothing, McCleod said by phone last week. The CROs are then able to basically hold a “yard sale” for the old stuff.
In fiscal 2018, for example the Savannah River reuse group was able to raise $278,000 largely through the sale of several old office trailers previously used at the Energy Department site. House Appropriations passed the energy and water appropriations bill on May 21.