Matt McCormick started work at Kurion in Richland last week days after retiring as the manager of the Department of Energy Richland Operations Office for Hanford.
He will lead work to remove radioactive strontium from more than 400,000 tons of contaminated water stored in tanks near the damaged Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan.
The Kurion Mobile Processing System that will be used for the project was designed and built in the Tri-Cities, and McCormick plans to continue to live in the Tri-Cities.
McCormick will be in Japan this week where a prototype system is in place. The full-scale mobile system, which is still being finished and tested at HiLine Engineering and Fabrication in Richland, should be shipped to Japan in July.
“Matt brings a tremendous level of senior project and program management expertise that will immediately benefit our work at Fukushima,” said John Raymont, Kurion founder and president.
McCormick picked Kurion to join after 32 years of public service because of its multiple technologies that are applicable to Fukushima and elsewhere in the nuclear industry, he said.
He also was attracted to doing work in Japan, where he has family ties and empathy for the Japanese people who have coped with the aftermath of the March 2011 tsunami, he said. The tsunami and the earthquake that triggered it killed more than 15,000 people in addition to causing the meltdown of three Fukushima reactors.
McCormick’s wife, Shirley Olinger, the past manager of the DOE Hanford Office of River Protection and founder of Independent Strategic Management Solutions, has relatives in Japan. Her mother grew up in Japan and married an American serviceman in occupied Japan.
“I have had the opportunity to work on some of the toughest domestic nuclear waste challenges while at the Department of Energy, and I look forward to offering my experience at sites like Fukushima,” McCormick said.
McCormick came to Hanford in 2000 from DOE’s Rocky Flats, Colo., nuclear site and was named manager of the Hanford Richland Operations Office in 2010.