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Environmental Remediation Sciences BERAC Meeting April 30, 2003. Teresa Fryberger Office of Biological and Environmental Research. Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER). Associate Director Ari Patrinos. Environmental Remediation Sciences Division Teresa Fryberger, Director.

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environmental remediation sciences berac meeting april 30 2003

Environmental Remediation SciencesBERAC Meeting April 30, 2003

Teresa Fryberger

Office of Biological and Environmental Research


Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER)

Associate DirectorAri Patrinos

Environmental Remediation Sciences Division

Teresa Fryberger, Director

Climate Change Research


Jerry Elwood, Director

Life Sciences Division

Marv Frazier, Director

Medical Sciences Division

Michael Viola, Director

  • Background—DOE cleanup problems
  • Environmental Sciences Division
  • Strategic Planning so far
environmental management
Environmental Management

The DOE Office of Environmental Management (EM) was created in 1989 to

Address the environmental legacy from over 50 years of nuclear weapons research, production, and testing - some of the most technically challenging and complex work of any environmental program in the world

environmental legacy nuclear weapons production
Environmental Legacy: Nuclear Weapons Production


Accumulation from 50 years of nuclear weapons production by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessors

doe environmental legacy1
DOE Environmental Legacy

DOE Problem Wastes - Examples

- 403,000 cubic meters of high level waste (HLW)

- 250,000 cubic meters of solid transuranic wastes (TRU)

- 4.4 million cubic meters of low level waste (LLW)

  • Non-radioactive hazardous wastes and mixed wastes
  • 5,000 – 7000 contaminated facilities
doe environmental legacy2
DOE Environmental Legacy

DOE Environmental Problems

  • 5,700+ individual plumes contaminating soil and groundwater
  • 7.8 Km2 plume at SRS
  • 18.1 Km2 plume of CCl4 at Hanford
  • 710,000 m3 of soil at NTS
  • 1.5 million m3 of soil at Fernald
the legacy continues
The Legacy Continues
  • More contamination and waste will be identified as characterization continues
  • Decontamination wastes???
  • Secondary waste streams from clean-up operations
  • Long-term stewardship of sites where residual contamination remains
why do we need basic research for the cleanup
Why Do We Need Basic Research for the Cleanup?
  • We have never done this before
  • To provide a technical basis for making decisions
  • To provide new approaches to cut costs, or sometimes just to provide approaches
  • To resolve technical problems as the cleanup progresses
hanford high level tank wastes
Hanford High Level Tank Wastes


  • Single Shell Tanks
      • 149 tanks
      • 35M gallons of wastes
      • 190K tons of chemicals
      • 132M curies of radioactivity
      • 75% Sr-90, 24% Cs-137
      • 65 “leakers”
  • Double Shell Tanks
      • 28 tanks
      • 20M gallons of wastes
      • 55K tons wastes
      • 82M curies of radioactivity
      • 72% Cs-137, 27% Sr-90
high level tank wastes how was it created
High-Level Tank Wastes: how was it created?

DOE Spent Fuel


Acid Waste


Underground Storage Tanks

403,000 m3


(Oxides, Hydroxides, Carbonates Sr, Cs,TRU)

Saltcake and Supernate

(Nitrates, Nitrites, Cs, Sr, Tc)

treatment of hlw tanks
Treatment of HLW Tanks








Separate Cs,Sr, (Tc)?


Alkaline High Level Waste




TRUs, Sr, Cs, Tc, Metals



$1-2M/glass log

hanford high level waste
Hanford High Level Waste

Science issues:

  • Chemistry of high pH solutions to predict waste behavior
  • Tailored separations processes to
    • Cut costs
    • Reduce volume
    • Improve waste form performance
  • Designer materials for wasteforms
    • Improve performance
    • Reduce volume/costs
  • Remote characterization and online monitoring tools

Hanford High Level Wastes

65 Known Leakers











What happens during retrieval??

What does it mean to say “we’re done”??

understanding contaminant transport
Understanding Contaminant Transport
  • Science issues:
    • Modeling/Prediction
    • Complexity
    • Scaling
    • Characterization/monitoring
    • In situ remediation/immobilization
    • Surficial Transport
    • Trophic Transfer
galvin commission 1995
Galvin Commission, 1995

“There is a particular need for long term, basic research in disciplines related to environmental cleanup … Adopting a science-based approach that includes supporting development of technologies and expertise … could lead to both reduced cleanup costs and smaller environmental impacts at existing sites and to the development of a scientific foundation for advances in environmental technologies.”

From the 1995 Galvin Commission Report On the Department of Energy Laboratories






environmental remediation sciences division
Environmental Remediation Sciences Division
    • Judy Nusbaum
    • Anna Palmisano
    • Paul Bayer
    • Roland Hirsch, Medical Applications Div.
    • Brendlyn Faison, Hampton University
    • Henry Shaw, LLNL
    • 3-4 new slots (hopefully)

Environmental Remediation Sciences

D. radiodurans reduces uranium

R&D for solutions to DOE’s long-term environmental cleanup challenges

The Environmental Management Science Program (EMSP) is developing the scientific basis for risk-based decision making and “breakthrough” approaches to cleaning up the nuclear weapons complex.

Bioremediation Research (NABIR) provides the understanding of how microbes that naturally exist in soils can stabilize metals and radionuclides. Studies span the range of microbial genetics of all the way to field studies at actual contaminated sites.

The Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) is serving environmental users from around the world by providing the leading edge of computational and experimental capabilities for understanding processes at the molecular level.

The Savannah River Ecology Laboratory (SREL)is studying the ecological impacts of remediation activities in real time at the Savannah River Site while providing hands-on educational programs at the Site.

complexation ions with tetramethoxycalix[4]arene of cesium


Environmental Remediation Sciences: FY03 Budget (thousands of $)

NABIR $24,720

EMSP $29,900

EMSL $38,000 (operations)

SREL $ 6,800

Misc. $10,100

Total $109,500

Minus ~12M for unfunded Congressional earmarks in FY03!

Largest program of its kind anywhere!

strategic planning for environmental remediation sciences
Strategic Planning for Environmental Remediation Sciences

NRC Recommendation:

“…that DOE develop a strategic vision for its Environmental Quality (EQ) R&D portfolio. This vision should provide the framework for developing the science and technology necessary to address EQ problems that extend beyond the present emphasis of short-term “compliance” and should incorporate the principal of continual improvement.”

A Strategic Vision for DOE Environmental Quality R&D(National Academy Press, 2001)

strategic planning
Strategic Planning
  • 2 Strategic Planning workshops (July and September, 2002)
    • Involved scientists from all relevant disciplines, other DOE offices, other agencies
    • Used NRC Reports on EM Science needs as a basis
  • Formation of BERAC Subcommittee
    • 1st meeting in April 2003
    • Reviewed Strategic Plan Draft
  • Draft II is on its way!

Environmental Remediation Sciences: Mission

Enable scientific advances that help solve currently intractable environmental problems or otherwise provide break-through opportunities for DOE environmental missions, while also contributing to the general advance of the scientific fields involved.

environmental remediation sciences goals
Environmental Remediation Sciences: Goals
  • Provide science to inform decisions about environmental remediation and stewardship
  • Advance scientific foundations that enable innovative remediation technologies and methodologies
  • Synthesize and integrate across disciplines to foster new scientific approaches that match the complexity of the problems
ersd characteristics
ERSD Characteristics
  • Primary focus is on a subset of DOE-EM relevant issues
      • That are currently “intractable”
      • Where science can have the greatest impact
  • Highly interdisciplinary – integrates results from biology, geology, chemistry, ecology, etc.
  • Committed to developing and supporting a suite of field research sites
  • Develop a “toolbox” of characterization and monitoring tools.

Environmental Remediation Sciences

Program Emphasis

  • Improve our understanding of contaminant fate and transport by investigating and linking relevant processes
  • Focus on interdisciplinary hypothesis-driven field studies to address complexity, scaling, and validation of models and lab results
  • Understand nature’s tools for cleaning up the environment — harness the cleanup potential of microorganisms and geochemistry
environmental remediation sciences program emphasis continued
Environmental Remediation SciencesProgram Emphasis (continued)
  • Help develop the next generation of computational and experimental capabilities for understanding contaminant behavior
  • Provide the basis for new characterization and monitoring capabilities
  • Provide the basis for new separations and waste management options
collaborating coordinating
  • Interagency Steering Committee on Multimedia Environmental Modeling
  • National Science and Technology Council committees
  • Collaborations/Joint Research Calls with
    • EPA, NSF, NIEHS…
  • Other BER: Genomes to Life, Ecology, Microbial Genome
  • Other DOE: Environmental Management, Basic Energy Sciences, Advanced Scientific Computing, Yucca Mountain Project

The Office of ScienceProgram Offices and Environmental Capabilities


Raymond L. Orbach

Principal Deputy Director

James F. Decker

Deputy Director for Operations

Milton D. Johnson

Chief of Staff

Jeffrey T. Salmon

Office of Basic

Energy Sciences

Associate Director

Patricia M. Dehmer

Office of

High Energy and

Nuclear Physics

Associate Director

S. Peter Rosen

Office of

Biological and



Associate Director

Aristides Patrinos

Office of Fusion

Energy Sciences

Associate Director

N. Anne Davies

Office of Advanced


Computing Research

Associate Director

C. Edward Oliver


Heavy Element Chem.

Analytical & Separations Chemistry

User Facilities:

synchrotron light sources, (nanoscience centers, neutron source)

Climate Change

Genomes to Life

Microbial Research



Low Dose Radiation

EM Science Program

User Facility: EMSL

Computation Initiatives:

Genomes to Life

(Contaminant Flow and Transport)

programmatic challenges
Programmatic Challenges
  • Integrating the science across the division programs
  • Fostering interdisciplinary research teams
  • Nurturing truly innovative ideas
  • Getting our science used
getting our science used
Getting our science used
  • Work directly with cleanup staff at sites to identify and collaborate on the field research sites.
  • Work on specific site problems
  • Sponsor frequent technical exchange workshops with sites
  • Develop a strategy to “advertise” our successes.
  • to “revolutionize” environmental studies—bringing much-needed rigor and the new tools of genomics, nanoscience, and computing to bear.
  • to have far-reaching impacts on the way environmental issues are approached.
  • to apply to a broader set of problems (e.g. water quality, future energy options, waste minimization, mining and industrial wastes)