A boost for Oak Ridge cleanup

Whitney visit 2There’s good news for the Department of Energy’s environmental cleanup program in Oak Ridge.

After the dust settled on the federal budget for the rest of Fiscal Year 2016, it looks like Oak Ridge will get a significant boost in funding for cleanup activities.

Mike Koentop, executive officer of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, said the Oak Ridge allotment is $473.8 million. That’s up significantly from the 2015 spending level of around $430 million and way above the Obama administration’s initial request of about $365 million for FY 2016.

“We believe it demonstrates a high level of confidence in our ability to safely, efficiently, and effectively execute the cleanup mission here,” Koentop said.

The added funding will enable DOE to continue making progress on cleanup priorities, as well as the historic preservation activities at the East Tennessee Technology Park (the former K-25 uranium-enrichment site), he said.

Koentop also said there’s some above-and-beyond funding in the 2016 budget that will let DOE tackle other projects involving higher-risk facilities in Oak Ridge and to help put those facilities in a safer and more stable condition.

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.