William "Ike" White, the leader of the U.S. Department of Energy's nuclear cleanup wing, visited the Savannah River Site on Thursday, according to people familiar with the matter as well as various corroborating photos later posted to social media.
White was on hand to celebrate the successful end of an 11-year cleanup project at the site known as the Actinide Removal Process (ARP) and Modular Caustic Side Solvent Extraction Unit (MCU). He also toured liquid waste facilities.
In one photo published on the Savannah River Site's official Facebook account, White is seen speaking to a crowd with a banner on the wall that reads: "ARP/MCU End of an era and a job well done!" There's cake on the table, too.
In a separate photo posted to the Savannah River Site Twitter account, White is seen outside with SRS manager Michael Budney and deputy manager Thomas Johnson Jr.
The ARP/MCU project enabled the DOE Office of Environmental Management to process 7.4 million gallons of radioactive waste, according to a recent announcement from the department. It also enabled the closure of six high-level waste tanks at SRS, and set the stage for the Salt Waste Processing Facility, a workhorse plant designed to process millions of gallons of nuclear waste every year.
White toured the SWPF during his stop-in.
"ARP/MCU has far exceeded everyone's expectations," Tom Foster, the Savannah River Remediation president and project manager, said in a previous prepared statement. Foster further lauded ARP/MCU as a "win-win."
SRR is the current – and long-running – liquid waste contractor at the site.
Thursday was not White's first time at the Savannah River Site, which is about 30 minutes south of Aiken.
White, formally recognized as the senior adviser for Environmental Management to the under secretary for science, was named to the cleanup role earlier this year.
Before joining Environmental Management, White was the National Nuclear Security Administration chief of staff and associate principal deputy administrator, a senior post.
NNSA chief Lisa Gordon-Hagerty has said White is certainly qualified for the remediation-focused job.
Environmental Management, established in 1989, is charged with cleaning up the nation's legacy from the Cold War and other government-sponsored energy research. The Savannah River Site is one of 16 active sites under Environmental Management's watch.