New SRS Chief Focuses on Reducing Risks
plan calls for exploring alternatives for high-level waste and spent nuclear
fuel. Cleanup is scheduled to be complete by 2025.
March 28, 2003
The new manager of
the Savannah River Operations Office said he wants to change the way workers
think and approach their jobs at the former nuclear weapons complex .
Located in South Carolina The Savannah River Site (SRS) is bordered by
the Savannah River and Georgia, and is close to several major cities,
including Augusta and Savannah (Georgia), Columbia, Greenville and Charleston
Jeffrey M. Allison, who was appointed by the U.S. Energy Department, will
be responsible for the environmental management cleanup mission at the
Sanannah River Site.
"In the past, we used to look at really managing waste, managing
risks at the site, now we're looking at reducing those risks," said
Allison, who had been serving as acting manager, replacing Greg Rudy,
who left SRS this past summer.
Nn eight-year veteran of SRS, Allison will manage about 400 federal technical
and administrative employees and an annual budget of $1.5 billion.
"Jeff's experience and familiarity of DOE nuclear facilities, including
chemical processing facilities, waste management facilities and laboratories
make him ideally suited to lead," said Jessie Roberson, assistant
secretary for environmental management at the Energy Department.
The cleanup plan calls for exploring alternatives for high-level waste
and spent nuclear fuel. Cleanup is scheduled to be complete by 2025.
"I think the environmental management mission is getting more focused
on completion, treating it like a project and having a defined start and
end date," Allison said. "We're taking 20 years off of our cleanup
schedule and also are going to save about $12 billion. So that's a fairly
significant new mission."
Other missions at SRS include a tritium-extraction operation expected
to be running by July 2007 and a proposed mixed-oxide fuel fabrication
plant, which now is being reviewed for license by the Nuclear Regulatory
The MOX plant would convert weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for commercial
Allison won't directly be involved in those missions because they are
being run by another part of the Energy Department.
But "clearly as the manager of the site, I've got to interface with
that other part of DOE and make sure that things are done in a safe, secure
manner," he said.
"We try to make sure the things they do don't impact the work we've
got ongoing from an environmental management standpoint and vice versa."
SRS was constructed
during the early 1950s to produce the basic materials used in the fabrication
of nuclear weapons, primarily tritium and plutonium-239, in support of
our nation's defense programs.