Denmark Tech, SRR Memorandum

Denmark Technical College President Dr. Christopher Hall, left, and Savannah River Remediation President and Project Manager Tom Foster sign a memorandum of understanding on Oct. 7.

The Savannah River Site's liquid-waste contractor on Oct. 7 inked an agreement with Denmark Technical College, offering a formal avenue for collaboration as well as opportunities to expand education and expose students to careers and the workforce.

The memorandum of understanding – signed by Savannah River Remediation President and Project Manager Tom Foster and the technical college's president, Dr. Christopher Hall – strengthens ties between the two entities. 

Savannah River Remediation, per the agreement, plans to bring Denmark Technical College students into its intern program, provide chances for mentoring, compare the school's curriculum to industry needs and identify students to be considered for jobs.

The contractor's technical nuclear work – handling and processing roughly 35 million gallons of radioactive waste stored at the site in aging, underground tanks – calls for an educated workforce, especially one with science, technology, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM, backgrounds.

"Education is one of the best ways a person can improve his or her quality of life," Foster said in a statement distributed by his team. "By facilitating educational and career advancement opportunities, we are helping members of our community reach their potential, while ensuring SRR continues to lay the groundwork for future work opportunities."

Such partnerships are not abnormal at SRS, south of Aiken, and among other outside-the-fence institutions.

In September 2018, Savannah River National Laboratory formalized an education agreement, dubbed the College Affiliate Program, with USC Aiken. That agreement aimed to elevate the same education areas, with the exception of arts: science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM for short.

Savannah River Remediation is an AECOM-led team with partners Bechtel National, Jacobs and BWX Technologies. The contractor has been on the liquid-waste job at SRS for about a decade now.

Colin Demarest covers the Savannah River Site, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration and government in general. Follow him on Twitter: @demarest_colin