Despite a substantial cut in President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2014 budget, the Department of Energy is still confident it can meet expectations for Environmental Management.
“It is a $107 million difference, or reduction. Mainly that is going to impact the liquid waste cleanup operations, that's where we are going to see the biggest impact,” said Jim Guisti, director of DOE-SR Office of External Affairs. “If we get the president's budget, we will meet all of our regulatory commitments with the state of South Carolina.”
While the majority of the cut falls on liquid waste operations, they still receive the lion's share of funding, around $500 million.
Guisti said that despite the funding reduction, Environmental Management work will still be fruitful. He said EM is still going to produce 100 canisters of vitrified waste, close legacy liquid waste tanks 5 and 6, and process about a million gallons of salt waste.
“We will continue to the construction of the Salt Waste Processing Facility as well as continuing activities in H-Canyon,” he added. “We will initiate processing on other fuels we have at the site and the Canadian HEU that will be shipped to us.”
A story in Thursday's Aiken Standard talked of a drastic increase in the Site Stewardship budget. There has been an increase, but this is merely an accounting change rather than the funding of a new program area. The president's fiscal year 2014 budget showed zero dollars for “Readiness in Technical Base and Facilities or RTBF,” which has received around $120 million for National Nuclear Security Administration to run tritium and other programs at the Savannah River Site. However, an accounting change put this figure on the “Site Stewardship” line of the budget for 2014 at a funding level of $129 million.
“Site Stewardship represents the portion of the RTBF money that was dedicated to facilities upkeep and similar activities at the sites and is the responsibility of the new Infrastructure and Operations organization,” said Josh McConaha, of NNSA Public Affairs.
The previous story on this issue described Site Stewardship as an environmental program under the control of the Department of Energy's Environmental Management arm. Information from EM regarding this $129 million of funding proved to be mistaken.
The Aiken Standard apologizes for the error.
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