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Kenneth G. Picha, Jr. - Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tank Waste and Nuclear Materials Management, Office of Environmental Management

Photo of Kenneth Picha

Kenneth Picha is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tank Waste and Nuclear Materials Management in the Office of Environmental Management (EM). 

Mr. Picha has over thirty years of experience in engineering, operations, and project management for the government and the private sector.  His experience includes U.S. Navy service with responsibility for operations and maintenance of naval nuclear power plant systems.  He has assisted utilities in preparing for comprehensive operations and management evaluations and in supporting licensing department staff in preparing technical licensing documents. 

His previous assignment in the Department was as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Safety and Security Management in the Office of Environmental Management (EM). 

He has over 20 years in the Department, the majority of those focused on the Department’s tank waste activities.  He was the initial EM Headquarters Project Sponsor for the Hanford Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant.  Prior to that, Mr. Picha was the High Level Waste (HLW)-Type Program Manager, responsible for integrating aspects of the Department’s approximate annual $1 billion HLW program.

Mr. Picha has also served as a technical consultant to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for preparation of Safety Guides for pre-disposal management functions associated with different categories of radioactive waste. 

He has participated in a number of Operational Readiness Reviews, including the ORR for radioactive operations of the vitrification facility at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP), the startup of the Integrated Salt Disposition Facility at the Savannah River Site, and resumption of spent fuel retrieval and packaging at K-Basins on the Hanford Site.  

Mr. Picha was also the Program Manager for the Department’s preparation of Waste Determinations through a process codified in legislation.  These Determinations allow the Secretary, with consultation from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, to determine that certain radioactive wastes from reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel do not require disposal in a geologic repository for spent fuel and high-level waste.

His initial assignment in the Department was as the EM Headquarters Program Manager for the initiation of radioactive operations at the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) at the Savannah River Site.

He is a registered Professional Engineer and a Registered Environmental Manager.