DOE to demolish 18 structures on nuclear research site

DOE to demolish 18 structures on nuclear research site

The Department of Energy will prepare demolition and disposal plans for each building at the Energy Technology Engineering Center in California.

September 27, 2019

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) to demolish the remaining structures at the Energy Technology Engineering Center (ETEC) site in Ventura County, California. 

This action comes just weeks after DOE Secretary Rick Perry visited the former nuclear research site.

“As Secretary of Energy, one of my main priorities has been to tackle our enterprise-wide cleanup challenges, including the ETEC site. I recently had the opportunity to travel to California and visit the site where I was able to see first-hand the progress that has been made and learn about the remaining challenges,” Perry says. “The issuance of this ROD marks a significant step forward toward the final cleanup of this site.”

The ROD outlines the process of removing the remaining 18 DOE-owned structures. DOE will prepare demolition and disposal plans for each building, which include processes for characterizing building materials; collecting, handling, transporting, and disposing of debris; and identifying permitted off-site facilities to receive the debris. In addition, the decision recognizes that the demolition of five structures among the 18 in Area IV must be compliant with State of California permits under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and California hazardous waste laws. 

The ETEC site, located at the 2,850-acre Santa Susana Field Laboratory, was developed as a remote site to test rocket engines and conduct nuclear research and served as a premier research facility for the U.S. during the Cold War. As the mission associated with each structure was completed, the structure was decontaminated, demolished, and the debris were transported off site for disposal.Since the 1980s, more than 200 structures at ETEC have been demolished and removed. 

DOE will now work with its contractor to finalize demolition plans and processes. Once work begins, it is expected to continue for approximately two years.

This ROD follows the December 2018 release of a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which analyzed the potential environmental impacts of remediation options on various resources, including cultural resources, wildlife and local communities; the potential environmental impacts resulting from the length of cleanup; and numerous other factors.