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NNSA Saves $4 million Disposing of Contaminated Excess Machine Tools at Sandia California

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that it has removed contaminated excess machine tools at Sandia National Laboratories in California under a low-cost plan that saved taxpayers millions by forging an innovative partnership with an outside vendor.

“After overcoming several disposition challenges, we successfully executed a strategy that resulted in significant savings to NNSA and American taxpayers,” said Randal S. Scott, Deputy Associate Administrator for Infrastructure and Environment. “The removal of the contaminated tools at Sandia California is another example of NNSA’s commitment to turning a Cold War-era nuclear weapons complex into a 21st century nuclear security enterprise.”

Sandia California’s Building 979 housed machine tools that had been used to support a wide array of research and development projects since the early 1990s. That work was completed in recent years, resulting in a determination that the tools were no longer needed by the Department of Energy and NNSA and could be disposed of as excess.

Potential reuse of the tools was complicated because of contamination, but the cost for disposing the tools at the Nevada Test Site was estimated at more than $4 million. Looking to most efficiently utilize taxpayer dollars, Sandia contacted NNSA’s Office of Infrastructure and Environment to determine if there was a lower cost method to dispose of the tools.

NNSA identified a Nuclear Regulatory Commission-licensed vendor – Toxco, Inc. of Oak Ridge, Tenn. – capable of receiving the equipment for processing and release from regulatory control. The vendor agreed to take title to the equipment “as-is, where-is” at Sandia and transport the items to their licensed facility in Tennessee for reclamation. The total cost of this plan was roughly $70,000, and the vendor provided all transportation, processing and waste disposal services necessary to disposition the equipment either as waste or reusable equipment.

Photos of the excess machine tools removed from Sandia are available here offsite link.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.