Cleanup of the Nuclear Weapons Complex

State agencies and officials play an important role in the design and enforcement of site cleanup across the nuclear weapons complex. The nuclear weapons complex involves 23 sites in 14 states, but potentially impacts all states, as states may border a site in a nearby state or be impacted by the transport of waste between sites. In 1992, Congress passed the Federal Facilities Compliance Act (FFCA), which established new roles for the federal government and states in the cleanup mission. Each state, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), approved a site treatment plan that guides the long-term management of waste at each site. The clean-up work – measured by level of hazard, scope of activity and financial outlay – is the largest environmental management effort in the world.

The NGA Center for Best Practices provides technical assistance and serves as a liaison to DOE for states hosting or affected by legacy weapons production and research facilities. Since the passage of the FFCA in 1992, the NGA Center has convened a group of state regulators and policymakers from 13 weapons complex states, and significantly affected bordering states, known as the Federal Facilities Task Force (FFTF). States participate in the activities of the FFTF through representatives appointed by their governor.

The NGA Center, through the FFTF, facilitates interstate and state-federal communication on cleanup issues through semiannual meetings with DOE and other intergovernmental groups, regular newsletters, conference calls and publications. Topics the FFTF explores include:

  • Treatment and disposal of mixed, low-level and transuranic waste and disposition of nuclear materials;
  • Long-term stewardship of sites;
  • DOE budget requests and their effect on environmental cleanup and compliance at DOE facilities; and
  • Interstate waste and materials shipments.