Hearings and Business Meetings
November 15, 2005
SD-366 Energy Committee Hearing Room 10:00 AM
Ms. Nancy Tuor
TESTIMONY BEFORE THE U.S. SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Completion of the Rocky Flats Closure Project
November 15, 2005
President and CEO, Kaiser-Hill Company, LLC
Rocky Flats Closure Project
Chairman Domenici and Senator Bingaman and Committee Members – I am pleased to be here today. And I am even more pleased to report to you the safe completion of the accelerated closure of Rocky Flats. On behalf of my entire project team, please accept my sincere appreciation for your leadership over the years.
It is a pleasure to be here with Senator Allard who has literally dedicated a significant portion of his Senate career to ensuring the successful completion of this project. I am also happy that I could join Assistant Secretary Jim Rispoli here today. He represents so many people in the Environmental Management program who have provided leadership for the Rocky Flats project over the years. I would also like to recognize the work Senator Salazar has done in Congress and previously as our Attorney General in Colorado.
The closure of Rocky Flats is a monumental accomplishment that could not have been made possible without the support of this committee and without the commitment, efforts and dedication of the entire Colorado Congressional delegation, the U.S. Department of Energy from the Rocky Flats Project Office all the way to DOE Headquarters and ultimately Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman. This vision, support and commitment spanned three administrations and involved the collaborative efforts of many DOE sites across the country.
On October 13, 2005, that vision became reality for Rocky Flats. At 9:15 a.m. that day, Kaiser-Hill Company declared to DOE the physical completion of the Rocky Flats Closure Project culminating a 10-year, $7 billion project – making Rocky Flats the largest nuclear decommissioning project to be completed anywhere in the world and the largest. Moreover, it was done through a consultative process with the community and our regulations using risk-based assessments to prioritize resources for real threats to public health and the environment.
When Kaiser-Hill took on the job of the Rocky Flats cleanup in 1995 – official reports at the time had estimated that the cleanup would take seven decades and cost $37 billion. When DOE and Kaiser-Hill signed the follow-on closure contract in January of 2000, many thought accelerated cleanup was just a pipe dream. The government’s own General Accounting Office questioned the viability of the project – not once, but twice issuing reports calling closure even by 2006 unlikely – yet today I report to you that the Rocky Flats closure was completed more than a year ahead of the aggressive 2006 schedule – ultimately delivering nearly $30 billion in taxpayer savings and taking a $600-plus million a year liability off the DOE books forever.
The Rocky Flats Closure Project was a monumental effort that included the remediation of the toxic legacy from four decades of nuclear weapons production. It has literally turned from an environmental liability to an asset for the community.
Highlights of the accomplishments include the removal of 21 tons of weapons useable plutonium and highly enriched uranium, the disposition of 106 metric tons of high content plutonium residues, the remediation and/or closure of more than 360 areas of potential environmental contamination, the demolition of more than 3.6 million square feet of buildings including more than 1 million square feet of highly contaminated nuclear production facilities, and the offsite shipment and disposal of more than 600,000 cubic meters of radioactive wastes.
Many, many factors contributed to the success of this project from the day-to-day involvement and support of DOE at all levels to the efforts and innovation of our workforce.
A few of the most important success factors included -
• The establishment of a clear vision for closure and a sense of urgency for the mission
• Strong bi-partisan support in Congress both from the Colorado delegation and from key leaders in the House and Senate
• Stable project funding
• Dramatic improvements in safety
• The unique nature of the incentive-based closure contract
• Effective technological funding, coordination and deployment between the project and DOE headquarters
• Innovations in regulatory process embedded in the unique Rocky Flats Cleanup Agreement coupled with strong leadership from our Colorado State Government
• Finally, a dedicated and talented workforce that got in their each and every day and came up with the best way to get the job done.
Thank you for the opportunity to be here today and join Senator Allard, Assistant Secretary Rispoli and this entire Committee in celebrating this shared success. I look forward to answering your questions about the project.