The United States is managing the largest environmental cleanup program in the world. More than five decades of production of materials for nuclear weapons and nuclear research led to victory in World War II and the Cold War - and scientific breakthroughs that have improved society in myriad ways.
Medical imaging, carbon-free nuclear energy, and high-performance supercomputers capable of modeling climate change are just a few examples.
But it but also left a legacy of nuclear and chemical waste and contamination. A key mission of today's U.S. Department of Energy is to clean up this legacy for the benefit of future generations.
The mission is similar in the UK and other countries.
Protecting the precious Columbia River in Washington state is a key objective of the U.S. Department of Energy's environmental cleanup program.
More than three decades of successful cleanup, decommissioning, remediation and closure efforts
Since 1980, the U.S. and UK governments have sought out comprehensive environmental services to address the legacy of early nuclear research. Our customers benefit from:
- A demonstrated record of performance in environmental cleanup, as we have shown in more than $100 billion in contracts with environmental scope;
- Experience with national, state, and local regulators and stakeholders on sensitive environmental matters, which we have delivered at nearly every U.S. DOE site and in the UK;
- Experience in design, build, and operations of first-of-a-kind treatment systems;
- Compliance experience with U.S. and UK laws regulating toxic and hazardous waste;
- Capabilities in hazardous, nuclear, and mixed waste characterization, remediation, permitting, treatment, storage, shipment, and disposal; and
- Lessons learned from work at more than 500 sites for commercial customers; the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DOD), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC); and the UK Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA).
The Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Plant greatly accelerated environmental cleanup at the Idaho National Laboratory.
We consistently rank at or near the top of the annual Engineering News-Record list of environmental firms, including these categories:
- Construction and remediation
- Hazardous waste
- Federal customers
- Air pollution and control
Cleanup and remediation
The cleanup jobs encompasses every type of remedial action from surface to subsurface soil excavation to groundwater and surface water cleanup to building decontamination and demolition.
Our thousands of successfully completed projects range from retrieving contaminated soil at small residential properties to tackling some of the world’s most daunting remediation challenges.
Waste processing and disposal
Many of the world’s most challenging waste processing and disposal projects have required innovative technologies to tackle contaminated legacy sites. We have partnered with customers in the U.S. and abroad to manage millions of cubic yards of contaminated soil and materials; treated millions of gallons of liquid radioactive waste; and safely shipped waste by rail, barge, and road to licensed disposal facilities.
Decontamination and decommissioning
Transforming contaminated legacy sites into safe environments where communities flourish demands the ability to tackle complex projects and supply chains. Our footprint reduction activities have demolished millions of square feet of contaminated structures, making way for a new chapter for these lands to prosper.
We have decommissioned more than 800 facilities for government and commercial clients.
Nuclear Safety Center of Excellence
Environmental cleanup requires careful nuclear safety analysis to ensure the cleanup process is safe for workers and surrounding communities. In the Nuclear Safety Center of Excellence, Bechtel has supported analysis and research for more than 60 years in commercial and government nuclear projects to deliver expertise in:
- Nuclear facility hazard evaluation
- Accident analysis
- Radiation protection
- Safety basis development
Nuclear waste cleanup innovation
At hundreds of sites and locations around the world, spent nuclear fuel is sitting in temporary dry casks and pools, according to the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA). At this time, there are no permanent high-level waste repositories for retrievable underground storage or final disposal anywhere in the world.
Today, there is an additional solution being developed for disposal of spent nuclear fuel rods from commercial power plants, as well as defense-related high-level waste. Bechtel is working with Deep Isolation, Inc. to accelerate the deployment of their innovative and patented technology to safely isolate spent nuclear fuel rods and high-level radioactive waste in deep geologic boreholes.
Using technology developed in the extraction industry, it’s now possible to drill down thousands of feet, and then slowly turn the borehole to horizontal so that canisters can be lowered into the hole and safely sealed deep underground, below the water table.
"Bechtel was the first major industry player that understood the significance of what Deep Isolation is doing. They appreciate the importance of innovation and urgency in solving the nuclear waste problem." - Elizabeth Muller, CEO of Deep Isolation.