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June 1, 2001

Les Hill Named Director of Environmental Restoration Projects at Brookhaven Lab

UPTON, NY - Leslie (Les) Hill, an environmental management professional with more than 20 years of experience, has been named Director of Environmental Restoration Projects at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory. Hill replaces Michael Schlender, who left the Lab in December 2000 after serving as Brookhaven's Assistant Laboratory Director for Environmental Management since March 1998.

"Les's background in the field of decontamination and decommissioning work (most notably the Shoreham reactor), his recent experience dealing with waste disposal sites around the country, and his 'let's-get-to-work' attitude make him the perfect person to bring the restoration work at Brookhaven to a conclusion," said Tom Sheridan, Deputy Laboratory Director for Operations.

In his new position, Hill heads a staff of more than 80 environmental and administrative professionals who make up the Environmental Restoration Division (ERD). ERD manages the ongoing environmental cleanup of the Laboratory's 5,265-acre site, focusing on soil and groundwater contamination on and near the site. The cleanup is carried out under an agreement between the Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Hill said he plans to focus on completing the environmental cleanup so Brookhaven can get back to its primary business - science. "The best thing we can do is get this job done, and do it expeditiously and safely," he said.

Hill added that although the site cleanup has progressed significantly over the past five years, several challenges remain, including the cleanup of Peconic River sediments, the decommissioning of Brookhaven's three closed reactors, and ongoing budget and management issues. "We have a great team of people here to face these challenges and a lot of seeds planted that are just starting to bear fruit," he said. "What we need now is a clear set of goals and objectives, and systems and procedures that ensure we have the focus in the right area and are making the biggest impact with available funding."

As the former manager of the Shoreham Nuclear Power Plant decommissioning project, Hill said he also recognizes the crucial importance of partnering with and retaining the support of the community. "We need to make sure we are listening to all interested parties, especially on projects like the Peconic River, where people have many diverse viewpoints," he said. "We also should be proud of the work we are doing, because we all have homes and families here and we all have the same interests in mind."

Les Hill has a bachelor's degree in nuclear engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is working towards a masters in construction management. From 1982 to 1997, Hill served in a number of positions for the New York Power Authority, including project manager of the Shoreham decommissioning project, leading a staff of 700 and administering a budget of $300 million; project manager of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant Unit 3 steam generator replacement project, with a staff of 500 and budget of $120 million; vice president of appraisal and compliance services; and site executive officer for Indian Point 3. From 1997 to 2001, Hill served as group vice president for Duratek of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the nation's largest radioactive waste processing firm, overseeing more than 500 employees at three different sites. 

NOTE TO LOCAL EDITORS: Leslie Hill is a resident of Miller Place, N.Y. Photo available upon request.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies. Brookhaven also builds and operates major facilities available to university, industrial, and government scientists. The Laboratory is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates, a partnership led by Stony Brook University and Battelle, a nonprofit applied science and technology organization.