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5 Programmatic Recommendations

In two presentations to the committee, Mark Gilbertson, Director of the EM Office of Basic and Applied Research, asked the committee to suggest a vision for the Environmental Management Science Program (EMSP) that would help the program to best fulfill its congressional charter (Gilbertson, 2000a, 2000b). In addition, the committee's statement of task provided that “[t]he committee may also consider and make recommendations, as appropriate, on the processes by which (1) future research needs can be identified, and (2) successful research results can be applied to DOE's D&D problems.” In the course of its site visits, fact finding, and subsequent deliberations, the committee developed ideas that it felt would be helpful to the EMSP in the above areas. In addition the committee believes that the EMSP can strengthen itself by emphasizing its role in developing new scientists and engineers and the commercial value of the research that it funds. The committee's programmatic recommendations for the EMSP are described in this chapter.

A Vision Statement for the EMSP

The EMSP was created by the 104th Congress to “stimulate basic research, development, and demonstration efforts to seek new and innovative cleanup methods to replace current conventional approaches, which are often costly and ineffective.” 1 Accordingly, EMSP research is needs driven or mission directed (NRC, 1997). 2 The EMSP has the

1Conference report accompanying the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill (Public Law 104-46, 1995).

2This committee as well as other review committees (NRC, 1997, 2000a; EMAB, 2001) have interpreted EMSP's charter to include basic and applied



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Page 71 5 Programmatic Recommendations In two presentations to the committee, Mark Gilbertson, Director of the EM Office of Basic and Applied Research, asked the committee to suggest a vision for the Environmental Management Science Program (EMSP) that would help the program to best fulfill its congressional charter (Gilbertson, 2000a, 2000b). In addition, the committee's statement of task provided that “[t]he committee may also consider and make recommendations, as appropriate, on the processes by which (1) future research needs can be identified, and (2) successful research results can be applied to DOE's D&D problems.” In the course of its site visits, fact finding, and subsequent deliberations, the committee developed ideas that it felt would be helpful to the EMSP in the above areas. In addition the committee believes that the EMSP can strengthen itself by emphasizing its role in developing new scientists and engineers and the commercial value of the research that it funds. The committee's programmatic recommendations for the EMSP are described in this chapter. A Vision Statement for the EMSP The EMSP was created by the 104th Congress to “stimulate basic research, development, and demonstration efforts to seek new and innovative cleanup methods to replace current conventional approaches, which are often costly and ineffective.” 1 Accordingly, EMSP research is needs driven or mission directed (NRC, 1997). 2 The EMSP has the 1Conference report accompanying the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill (Public Law 104-46, 1995). 2This committee as well as other review committees (NRC, 1997, 2000a; EMAB, 2001) have interpreted EMSP's charter to include basic and applied

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Page 72opportunity to bridge the gap between fundamental research and needs-driven applied technology development. Accordingly the committee believes that the vision for the EMSP should extend from fundamental science to applications of science and technology that create major benefits for the EM program. The proposed EMSP vision statement is as follows: Provide scientific knowledge to allow dramatic improvements in worker safety, cost, and schedule for meeting the national need to clean up DOE sites while protecting public health and the environment. In doing this, the EMSP will be recognized as a key partner by the focus areas and DOE sites, will be supported by Congress and stakeholders, and will be preparing and developing qualified scientists for future DOE program needs. To help achieve this vision the committee believes that the EMSP and the rest of the EM community must develop and pursue aggressive, shared goals for improvements in worker safety, cost, and schedule. The ambitious goals for dramatic improvements (factors of 3 to 10) set forth in the Robotics and Intelligent Machines Roadmap (Sandia, 1998) are appropriate examples for the EMSP. 3 The committee believes that establishing and pursuing such shared goals will significantly enhance the EMSP's efforts to identify needs and apply results, as discussed in the next two sections. Improving Science Needs Identification In July 1996 DOE issued a “National Needs Assessment” document that attempted to identify the complex-wide technology needs for DOE's environmental management program. For the D&D area, the document identified 102 technology needs grouped into 31 categories. The document was compiled from inputs received from DOE field offices and represented a bottoms-up list of specific needs. There was no management top-down review, evaluation, and prioritization of these needs (NRC, 1998a). In 1999 the NRC report Decision Making in the U.S. Department of Energy's Environmental Management Office of research, gates 1 and 2 in the Office of Science and Technology's (OST) technology development strategy (see Figure 3.1). OST's focus areas are responsible for developing, demonstrating, and deploying new technologies. 3These goals are not the result of the committee's analysis, nor intended to be required of contractors, but are indicative of goals that could be achievable and will help identify true breakthrough areas for research.

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Page 73 ~ enlarge ~ FIGURE 5.1 The OST's process for identifying and responding to EM site needs for science and technology. Source: DOE. Science and Technology found that there were no general guidelines for setting criteria for the selection and prioritization of technology development needs (NRC, 1999e). Since that time EM's Office of Science and Technology (OST) has significantly improved its needs identification process (see Figure 5.1), and it maintains a publicly accessible needs database. 4 Nevertheless, the committee found that there is no complete, comprehensive, and coordinated definition of D&D science needs for the DOE complex. The committee saw a variety of needs lists, particularly those from the site technology coordinating groups (STCGs), but most lists were too narrow, short term, or site specific to help determine where basic research could be helpful. Presentations made to the committee indicated that most attention and funding are aimed at short-term, site-specific D&D problems. While relevance to site-specific problems is important, too narrow a focus may preclude funding of novel outside-the-box research with potentially greater impact on D&D. 4 http://emsp.em.doe.gov/needsdatabase.asp. The sources of information for needs input into the EMSP, including advisory committees such as this one, are shown in Figure 3.3. Both the OST and this committee recognize that an advisory committee's findings are necessarily based on snapshot fact-finding visits to the sites. The committee believes that comprehensive and sustained needs identi-

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Page 74fication must come from those who live with site problems on a daily basis—the contractors, field offices, and DOE headquarters personnel. The committee has three areas of recommendations, which it develops in the following sections, to help OST and the EMSP to improve the identification and definition of D&D technology needs: Engage and integrate EMSP researchers and site contractor personnel. Develop a better framework and prioritization of technology needs. Provide an in-depth parametric analysis of a few key long-term D&D challenges. These are not one-time actions, but will require follow-up as D&D work progresses at DOE sites, lessons are learned, more needs are identified, and regulations evolve. Management tools that can help ensure appropriate follow-up include OST's Multiyear Program Plan, the needs database, and especially independent review (DOE, 2001; EMAB, 2001). Engaging scientists and contractors Today it is recognized that even routine scientific progress usually requires the efforts of a team of scientists, engineers, and technicians having a range of skills and education. A previous NRC committee writing about the EMSP noted that “the advancement of scientific knowledge is a cumulative effort involving many scientists over long periods of time (NRC, 2000a, p. 127). Collaborations are especially important when research is expected to lead to a new deployable technology. For the EMSP to succeed in the D&D area, where site contractors are reluctant to adopt new technologies, collaborations not only among scientists—the problem solvers—but also with contractors—the problem holders—will be necessary. In the D&D area the committee believes that the EMSP has not yet significantly engaged the scientific community. Since 1996 the EMSP has funded a total of 22 D&D research projects (see Table 3.1) covering six separate topics: inorganic chemistry, biogeochemistry, analytical chemistry and instrumentation, engineering science, separations chemistry, and materials science—thus on the average less than four projects in each of these important areas. For the past two years there has been no new funding for D&D science programs (Gilberston, 2000b). Only a fraction of the renewal applications from three-year grants in FYs 1996 and 1997 are expected to receive awards (Gilberston, 2000b). To

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Page 75interest scientists in helping to identify D&D research needs and to engage them on a sustained basis, stable and adequate funding will be necessary. The committee did not deal with research funding issues, but it noted that effectively engaging the scientific community would cost more than is currently being invested. Other committees are providing funding recommendations to the EMSP (EMAB, 2001; NRC, 2001b). The committee recommends that EMSP should engage the scientific community more effectively in identifying and participating in promising areas of research. A broad sustained effort by the scientific community to understand and engage in the D&D challenges would allow them to define the scientific information needed and propose relevant topics for research. This would also attract young scientists and engineers to the D&D field at a time when the availability of scientific personal is declining. DOE contractors currently engaged in D&D operations at the various sites are a potential source of information about difficult-to-address, long-term science-based problems. Presentations by contractor representatives at the sites visited by the committee emphasized that the methods proposed to complete the operations under their responsibility were baseline (tried and tested) technology. Innovation or experimentation with new methods, with its concurrent risks of failure, was considered outside the scope of their contract and not cost effective. EM is missing the opportunity to engage technical personnel at the front line of the cleanup effort in identifying longer-term needs and in providing guidance and assistance in developing fundamentally better ways to do the job. The committee recommends that EM should encourage the contractors and DOE site management to take a broader, long-term perspective of D&D needs for work to be performed in ten years or more, so that technology solutions can be developed that provide greatly improved D&D operational capabilities. The committee has two suggestions for better identifying D&D science needs by integrating research and contractor personnel: increase their interaction in the pre-proposal phase and include them in research teams. There is an opportunity for contractor personnel with firsthand knowledge of D&D problems to participate in the EMSP's biannual workshops. Their perspectives in helping to identify problems could improve the workshop discussions and subsequently the quality of research proposals that are submitted to the EMSP. Site visits by proposing teams could be encouraged in the pre-proposal stage as another

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Page 76means to improve proposal quality. One of the outcomes of a dialogue between contractors and researchers might be recognition of new and innovative approaches to research issues that would otherwise not be identified. It might also be useful to involve the contractors in the EMSP's pre-proposal screening and feedback process (see Figure 3.3). To further increase involvement of the contractors, it should be possible for appropriate contractor staff to be included with the research team in the EMSP proposal, perhaps with matching in-kind contributions from the contractor. Continuing involvement of contractor personnel with the research team throughout the research program should provide positive benefits to both parties. Framing and Prioritizing Needs Although the OST has made substantial improvements in D&D technology needs identification, after hearing presentations from site technology coordinating groups during its fact finding, the committee feels the process is not being fully utilized and that there may be ways to further strengthen it, as follows: Step 1. Establish a framework for defining problem areas requiring new science and technology. This framework can be the phases of D&D shown in Table 2.2, systems engineering functions for D&D, or other categorization of tasks. To be useful in needs identification the framework must be broadly applicable to all DOE D&D work. Then, criteria or attributes must be defined to allow description and quantification of the problems and the corresponding science and technology needs. Such criteria or attributes could include the following: estimate for the technology's complex-wide usage expressed in employee hours, surface area, material volume, and/or people affected; improvements in protection for the worker, public, and the environment; total cost savings; return on Investment; importance of problem solution to accomplishing the field office's site mission; and other attributes specific to the problem area. Each criterion can be assigned an appropriate weighing factor, if needed. Cost effectiveness should be evaluated on a DOE-wide basis and as such should be weighted more heavily if there is a large need

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Page 77throughout the DOE (NRC, 1999d). For example, from Table 2.2, many technology opportunities can be seen for the need to perform the monitoring and characterization of radioactive surfaces and materials during all phases of a D&D project. Therefore, one should expect a large return on investment for science and technology development in the form of reduced characterization and monitoring time. Step 2. Prioritize technology development needs. As part of this step, a comparison of the technologies needed for D&D with the existing available technologies should be made using the criteria from step 1 above. To help accomplish this prioritization uniformly, a set of guidelines should be established and used by all DOE field offices. Step 3. Review and evaluate the technology needs document. As pointed out previously, this is a job for top management that cannot be delegated (NRC, 1998a). The output from this step should be a short list of promising areas for research and technology development. Defining D&D Task Parameters—An Example for Remote Equipment Needs To quantitatively define the needs to be addressed in a long-term science program for D&D, a clear definition of the tasks to be performed is essential. Data for this definition can be obtained only by careful analysis of a problem by dedicated, knowledgeable personnel. The existing needs documents fall far short of the numerical clarity that is necessary to plan a two-decade-long research activity. Detailed, quantitative information could be obtained by in-depth analysis of a few of DOE's most significant D&D tasks (i.e., Hanford Building 324, Rocky Flats glove boxes, Oak Ridge Building 3019, and the INEEL Engineering Test Reactor). Data required include a standard project description; a description of distinct physical tasks for that project; planning experience including technology transfer, degree of direct operator involvement, and operator training requirements; deployment issues associated with the proposed technology; and comments on the requirements to drive the needed science. The in-depth analysis should include quantitative information such as the following: timeline and frequency of physical tasks; duration of each task; parameters describing the task (geometry, forces, speeds, accuracy, required dexterity); handling requirements (size, shape, weight); documentation requirements; and radiation levels expected.

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Page 78 It would also be helpful to include data on the D&D task requirements derived from experience with commercial nuclear reactors. Applying Successful Research Results to DOE's D&D Problem The OST has recognized an ongoing need to achieve greater integration of basic and applied research programs (DOE, 2000b). A previous study (NRC, 1998a) made a number of recommendations to the D&D focus area (DDFA) aimed at achieving greater deployment of D&D technologies. The Technology Deployment Initiative, Large-Scale Demonstration Projects, and Accelerated Site Technology Deployment Program are examples of efforts to improve the success rate (NRC, 1998a). Promising EMSP results are unlikely to be moved through the stages of maturity (toward deployment) unless they are sponsored, monitored, and communicated to potential users by the DDFA. Sustained funding at a reasonable level is required to fill the pipeline with science programs and results that are continually beginning as others are completing each year. As noted in the previous section of this report, EMSP funding in the D&D area has been marginal. DOE has identified a significant gap in its environmental quality portfolio relative to research and development (R&D) funding for D&D (DOE, 2000a). Continued funding will be required to generate interest in the scientific community and to instill confidence in the potential users that promising technical areas will be brought to fruition (EMAB, 2001). In addition to adequate funding and involvement of problem owners in EMSP project selection, a key ingredient in successful application of EMSP results is establishing communication with and involvement of end users at the DOE sites. 5 The recent EMSP workshops (Gilbertson, 2000b) have helped foster such communications, but much more needs to be done. No new technology will be implemented successfully without an end user pulling the rope and actively encouraging and guiding completion of the R&D program. At the time of an EMSP project award, a DDFA representative and a lead end user at one or more sites should be identified. These individuals should receive status reports and have periodic meetings with EMSP-funded scientists and end users at other sites. Funding for travel and labor hours should be provided to the 5End users are those who will use a given method or technology to accomplish a D&D task. They are usually contractor personnel at DOE sites.

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Page 79DDFA representative and the end user to enable and encourage these collaborations. Similar incentives have been recommended in a previous study of DOE site cleanup (NRC, 1999f). A final step in improving application of results is educating the EMSP-funded scientist on the requirements that must be satisfied to implement a new technology. Frequently, the scientist may believe that the project has been completed, when in fact much more is needed to aid the end user in application of the results. For example, to install or apply a new piece of equipment, the end user must have operating procedures, maintenance procedures, and training. The detailed knowledge of the scientist is often needed to prepare these implementation tools. The most effective technology transfers occur when a knowledgeable individual remains involved from the initial research phase through deployment (see Figure 3.1). The EMSP and DDFA should provide funding for continued involvement of the scientists in driving the deployment at operating sites. This would assist the end user during implementation and also give the scientists a greater appreciation of what is required to implement new technology at an operations site. Personnel exchanges between operating sites and research organizations should also be considered. The committee recommends that OST increase efforts to transition basic research to a deployable product by improving communications and cooperation among the researchers, DOE laboratories, and the contractors performing D&D. Incentives for deployment of newly developed technologies that promise advantages over older technologies should be included in D&D contracts. Incidental Benefits from the EMSP In developing the EMSP vision statement requested by Mark Gilberston, the committee found two benefits from EMSP research that are incidental to the EMSP's role as a supplier of research for new EM technologies but are nevertheless important. These include developing future scientists and providing commercially marketable research. As EM's direct link with the scientific community, the EMSP has an opportunity to enhance its visibility as a developer of new scientists and engineers. In a recommendation on EMSP funding a previous NRC committee stated that “New starts will help establish a cadre of knowledgeable and committed investigators” (NRC, 2000a, p. 127). Similarly the Science Committee of the Environmental Management Advisory Board recommended to EM that the EMSP should build and maintain a

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Page 80cadre of senior scientists and attract younger scientists to work on EM challenges (Berkey, 2000; EMAB, 2001). Graduate student interest in disciplines needed by the DOE—mathematics, physics, chemical engineering, materials science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and nuclear engineering has decreased over the last ten years (NSF, 1998). Furthermore, there appears to be a lack of student interest in DOE missions and research areas. In many instances undergraduates in the engineering and information technology fields are no longer knowledgeable of DOE laboratories and production facilities due to lack of recent recruitment. The reputation of the laboratories in providing interesting and challenging problems has decreased (DOE, 1999b, 2000c). In addition to cost savings in DOE's D&D program, technology developed from EMSP research can be expected to provide added value to the national economy. Using information drawn from the Environmental Export Council (EEC), the Environmental Protection Agency has recognized an annual commercial global market of $540 billion for 2000 in environmental technology alone (EPA, 1998). Currently, nearly half of this market is in the United States; in 1996 only 6 percent of the global market was exported to world economies (Mofat and Roa, 1996). The market for environmental technology and science and engineering expertise is broadly acknowledged by the business community and is expected to continue to grow as issues of environmental sustainability and green technology become more engrained in international policy and in public perception (Amato, 2000). Technology developed from fundamental research can also be expected to play a role in developing new products in broader industry segments (e.g., the applications for intelligent remote systems in medicine and the commercial space industry).