Morning Briefing - December 10, 2018
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December 10, 2018

WIPP Contractor Hires Familiar Face as New COO

By ExchangeMonitor

Nuclear Waste Partnership, the Energy Department contractor responsible for running the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, N.M., has hired Gene Balsmeier as its new chief operating officer and deputy project manager.

Balsmeier, who has held management posts at a number of sites in the DOE complex, replaces Tammy Reynolds, NWP President and Project Manager Bruce Covert said in the Dec. 5 press release. Reynolds is leaving to pursue another post within AECOM, which leads Nuclear Waste Partnership. The other members of the joint venture are BWX Technologies and Orano, formerly AREVA Federal Services.

The news release did not say when Balsmeier was actually taking the reins. He takes charge of day-to-day activities at the disposal site for defense-related transuranic waste. This includes responsibility for receiving and emplacing waste shipments, managing storage areas, and ensuring compliance with government permits.

The new chief operating officer is no stranger to WIPP, having served as its manager from 2016-2017, helping get the facility back into operation following an underground radiation release in February 2014. The NWP news release said Balsmeier spent 27 years in the U.S. Navy nuclear program, as well as 20 years working in management jobs at DOE facilities, most recently as being project assurance director with Fluor Idaho at the Idaho National Laboratory.

Reynolds has had a 32-year career with AECOM and URS Corp., now an AECOM subsidiary, according to her LinkedIn profile. She joined WIPP in October 2011, after helping lead high-level waste management projects at the Hanford Site in Washington state, the Idaho National Laboratory, and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, according to a biography on the WIPP website.