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From Cold War Clean Up to Remediation and Reuse

Kim Hauer Amentum Environment

Coming Full Circle Over 100 Years

Amentum through its legacy companies, has been there every step of the way in support of our Nation’s nuclear defense and clean-up mission.  From start-up of the very first nuclear reactor and production of plutonium for the top-secret Manhattan Project to supporting the monumental cleanup of the Office of Environmental Management (EM), and now ensuring post-closure responsibilities for the Office of Legacy Management (LM) – we’ve been there. Supporting long-term, post-closure activities across the DOE complex affirms our 100 plus year commitment to supporting and protecting the legacy of the Cold War cleanup.

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Weapons Production – Genesis of the Complex

At its peak, the nuclear weapons complex in the United States consisted of 16 major facilities, including vast reservations of land in Nevada, Tennessee, Idaho, Washington, and South Carolina.  In its diversity, the complex ranged from tracts of isolated desert in Nevada, where weapons were tested, to warehouses in New York City that once stored uranium.  Its national laboratories in New Mexico and California designed weapons with production of various components in Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Washington.  In 1977, responsibility for mission and program activities as well as for any cleanup associated with the nuclear weapons complex was transferred to the newly created Department of Energy.

For Amentum – then Westinghouse Savannah River Company (WSRC) – the mission required project support at numerous production sites such as Savannah River Site (SRS).  Owned by DOE and operated by WSRC, the site used each of its five nuclear reactors and produced materials for the U.S. nuclear arsenal and various isotopes for use in space research and nuclear medicine.

Environmental Cleanup – a Monumental Task

EM’s story has roots from a cold morning in December 1989, when Rocky Flats workers in Colorado loaded the last plutonium ‘trigger’ for a nuclear warhead into a tractor trailer bound southeast to the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, TX.  No one knew then that the nuclear weapon built with the plutonium trigger would be the last one made in the US for the foreseeable future.

Fifty years of nuclear weapons production and energy research generated some of the world’s most dangerous radioactive sites with large amounts of radioactive wastes, spent nuclear fuel (SNF), excess plutonium and uranium, thousands of contaminated facilities, and contaminated soil and groundwater.   One of the largest and most diverse, technically complex environmental cleanup operations in the world, the Office of Environmental Management (EM) Program has the mission to complete the safe cleanup of this environmental legacy.  Established in 1989, EM is charged with the responsibility of cleaning up 107 sites across the country whose area is equal to the combined area of Rhode Island and Delaware.  They have made tremendous progress in nearly every area of nuclear waste cleanup and to date have completed cleanup at 91 of these sites.

We Deliver End State Certainty

Vital to successful legacy closures, Amentum brings a legacy of success and key achievements across the DOE enterprise.  From teardown to turnover, we have accelerated and delivered iconic legacy closures and projects including Washington Closure Hanford (WCH) and SRS to the Vision 2020 cleanup of the East Tennessee Technology Park, formerly the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant.  The plant was built in unprecedented secrecy in the 1940s as part of the Manhattan Project to provide enriched uranium for the world’s first atomic bomb.  Cleanup of the site included more than 500 facilities, at the heart of which were five massive uranium enrichment facilities.  Achieving this milestone marks the first time in the world an entire enrichment complex has been cleaned and demolished – and we were there.

Today – Leading Legacy Management

The Office of Legacy Management (LM) was officially established in December of 2003, assuming responsibility for ensuring that DOE’s post-closure responsibilities were met and for providing DOE programs for long-term stewardship of 101 sites in the U.S. and the territory of Puerto Rico.  Today it is support of this complex LM mission that brings Amentum full circle in carrying out the environmental clean-up from the Cold War nuclear mission.

A Clear & Righteous Mission

Amentum’s Manager of Environment and Clean Energy and U.S. Naval Academy graduate, Kim Hauer, served at the height of weapons production on a submarine sleeping on a cot next to a Trident Missile.   Upon leaving the U.S. Navy, Kim signed on with then WRCS working the Defense Waste Processing Facility at SRS doing clean up.  With a father who served in the Navy during WW2 and a Marine father-in-law with two Purple Hearts, Kim’s heritage, and 30+ year career spans the full circle of our Nation’s defense process and protecting the legacy of the Cold War clean up.

“This is so fulfilling for me personally as I reflect on my parent’s service and like many others, if not for what they did, we wouldn’t be here.  The opportunity to not only be a part of a team dedicated to this mission from the start, but to now look forward to ensuring we are fulfilling our commitments to the responsibilities associated with the legacy of World War II and the Cold War.  In the words of President Roosevelt… ‘those who are actually in the arena…and spend themselves in a worthy cause’. There’s nothing bigger.”

–Kim Hauer, Vice President

 

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