FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |Contact:  Michael Butler |  (704) 779-1844  |
Monday, June 13, 2022  |

 New Regulatory Center Helps Manage Complex Cleanup Issues

|   This week’s (June 13, 2022) episode of the Gone Fission Nuclear Report podcast covers the new Regulatory Center of Excellence established recently at Savannah River National Laboratory (SREL) as an expert resource charged with helping the Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management and others manage complex issues involving science, government and communications. 

Podcast host Michael Butler interviews Center Director Stephanie Jacobs, who discusses the interactions of local, state, tribal and federal agencies with the public they serve and the need for unique technical, regulatory and communications approaches. 

The SRNL center was created to provide innovative strategies that address challenges at DOE sites, drawing upon the collective expertise of the South Carolina laboratory, the Network of National Laboratories for Environmental Management and Stewardship, the private consulting firm Longenecker and Associates, and SRNL’s university partners. 

The need for the new Center stems not only from the need for accelerated and technical solutions to challenges but also from the need for improved communications with site stakeholders, regulators and communities. 

The vision for the new Center is consistent with the direction of DOE-EM and their engagement strategies as spelled out in the DOE-EM 2022-2032 Strategic Vision. 

Specifically, the RCE will: 

Build a diverse network of experts and researchers to support DOE interactions with regulators and community leaders. 

Leverage EM experience and best practices to support other DOE missions that involve complex environmental issues requiring effective regulatory and stakeholder engagement strategies. 

Provide counsel to federal program owners, other federal partners, state regulators, tribal governments, local governments, redevelopment organizations, and members of the community in the development of risk-informed strategies for environmental cleanup and closure within the bounds of their respective regulatory agreements. 

Recommend strategies to build upon existing community interactions to strengthen communications and mitigate stakeholder concerns. 

SRNL, the Savannah River Site and the site’s other tenant organizations have enjoyed strong relationships with regulators and the surrounding communities. The RCE team wanted to examine those relationships and see what could be applied or replicated at other DOE sites. SRNL and its partners bring the demonstrated ability to facilitate communications between DOE sites, communities and regulators, and bring in those groups’ perspectives. 

The Gone Fission Nuclear Report covers the latest developments in environmental cleanup across the Department of Energy (DOE) complex. DOE is now engaged in the largest environmental remediation program in history, cleaning up nuclear production sites across the U.S. that were used to support national security missions for 75 years. 

“Some of the work on these sites dates back to the super-secret Manhattan Project, a national priority to develop the first atomic bomb that helped end World War II,” Butler said. “Cleanup of these sites is a multi-decade effort, requiring thousands of trained professionals and highly skilled crafts people with budgets in the billions of dollars.”