WELCOME TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY'S LONG-TERM STEWARDSHIP RESOURCE CENTER
The purpose of this web site is to provide the public and the Department of Energy's (DOE) community with a variety of information resources for long-term stewardship (LTS) responsibilities. LTS includes the physical controls, institutions, information and other mechanisms needed to ensure protection of people and the environment at sites or portions of sites where DOE has completed or plans to complete "cleanup" (e.g., landfill closures, remedial actions, corrective actions, removal actions and facility stabilization) and where legacy contamination will remain hazardous. The DOE's Legacy Management (LM) procedures for DOE sites includes a combination of land-use controls, monitoring and maintenance and information management practices. LTS activities are performed by the following DOE programs:
- Legacy Management
- Office of Environmental Management
- Nuclear Energy
- National Nuclear Security Administration
- Office of Science
DOE is a responsible Federal land manager and steward of natural and cultural resources at DOE sites. DOE uses institutional controls for its LM (or LTS) program to manage lands, facilities, materials and resources under its jurisdiction. Many of these controls are required as part of the decision process established by various laws, such as the Nuclear Waste Policy Act; the Atomic Energy Act; the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), or cultural resource management statutes. In other cases there are no specific statutory requirements, but DOE has decided to use institutional controls to supplement active remediation, pollution control, public and resource protection, physical security, or to bolster the integrity of engineered remedies. DOE’s Office of Health, Safety and Security web site provides guidance and resources for LTS-related requirements: http://homer.ornl.gov/sesa/environment/.
LONG-TERM STEWARDSHIP HISTORY
During World War II and the Cold War, the federal government developed the “nuclear weapons complex,” a vast network of industrial facilities for the research, production, and testing of nuclear weapons and nuclear devices. The production and testing of nuclear weapons and energy research activities left a legacy of radioactive and chemical waste, contamination, and hazardous facilities and materials. During the past few decades, DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) has made significant progress in addressing this environmental legacy and has reduced the risks and costs associated with maintaining safe conditions across the DOE complex. Based on existing plans and agreements with state and federal environmental regulators, along with community involvement, EM program cleanups will result in radioactive waste and other residual hazards at most sites. As a DOE cleanup nears completion, long-term stewardship becomes a major priority.
Click here to learn about EM's environmental cleanup story.
Long-term stewardship as defined in A Report to Congress on Long-Term Stewardship (U.S. Department of Energy [DOE], 2001):"... refers to all activities necessary to ensure protection of human health and the environment following completion of remediation, disposal, or stabilization of a site or a portion of a site. Long-term stewardship includes all engineered and institutional controls designed to contain or to prevent exposures to residual contamination and waste, such as surveillance activities, record-keeping activities, inspections, groundwater monitoring, ongoing pump and treat activities, cap repair, maintenance of entombed buildings or facilities, maintenance of other barriers and containment structures, access control, and posting signs."
After cleanup is completed and LTS plans are in place, LTS responsibilities are carried out by the DOE program responsible for on-going mission at the site. When a site’s mission ends, DOE’s Office of Legacy Management (LM) ensures LTS for the site.
Click here to learn more about DOE's Office of Legacy Management.