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Introduction

At the request of the U.S. Department of Energy's Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management (DOE-EM), the National Research Council (NRC) formed the Committee on Environmental Management Technologies (CEMT) in 1994 to provide independent review and recommendations to DOE-EM on scientific and technical issues for the environmental management of DOE's weapons complex facilities.

In keeping with the statement of task, CEMT has the following responsibilities:

  • review and evaluate DOE-EM's technology-development programs, including guidelines, methodologies, protocols, demonstrations, and applications, with attention to the most important problems facing DOE-EM;
  • identify, review, and recommend, as appropriate, new technical criteria and emerging technologies in environmental management that are most relevant to DOE-EM;
  • review technology transfer and commercialization issues for DOE-EM technology programs; and
  • issue reports, recommendations, and options for DOE-EM's technology development, including substantive annual reports on its activities undertaken during the year and other topical reports when appropriate.

To address the breadth of activities in the EM program, CEMT formed five subcommittees that parallel DOE's five focus areas. The focus areas, which form the basis of DOE's new integrated team structure established in 1994, are: (1) Contaminant Plume Containment and Remediation (''Plumes''); (2) Landfill Stabilization ("Landfills"); (3) High-Level Waste in Tanks ("Tanks"); (4) Mixed-



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--> 1 Introduction At the request of the U.S. Department of Energy's Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management (DOE-EM), the National Research Council (NRC) formed the Committee on Environmental Management Technologies (CEMT) in 1994 to provide independent review and recommendations to DOE-EM on scientific and technical issues for the environmental management of DOE's weapons complex facilities. In keeping with the statement of task, CEMT has the following responsibilities: review and evaluate DOE-EM's technology-development programs, including guidelines, methodologies, protocols, demonstrations, and applications, with attention to the most important problems facing DOE-EM; identify, review, and recommend, as appropriate, new technical criteria and emerging technologies in environmental management that are most relevant to DOE-EM; review technology transfer and commercialization issues for DOE-EM technology programs; and issue reports, recommendations, and options for DOE-EM's technology development, including substantive annual reports on its activities undertaken during the year and other topical reports when appropriate. To address the breadth of activities in the EM program, CEMT formed five subcommittees that parallel DOE's five focus areas. The focus areas, which form the basis of DOE's new integrated team structure established in 1994, are: (1) Contaminant Plume Containment and Remediation (''Plumes''); (2) Landfill Stabilization ("Landfills"); (3) High-Level Waste in Tanks ("Tanks"); (4) Mixed-

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--> Waste Characterization, Treatment, and Disposal ("Mixed Wastes"); and (5) Facility Transitioning, Decommissioning and Final Disposition ("D&D"). In addition to the five focus areas, CEMT has also reviewed, in a limited fashion, pertinent cross-cutting areas, including characterization, monitoring and sensor technology; efficient separations and processing; robotics; and disposal. The role of CEMT is largely programmatic and deals with the overarching issues of technology development, implementation and evaluation, with a focus on the management and soundness of DOE-EM initiatives. An additional role of CEMT is to evaluate specific technologies of importance. Although the subcommittees provide technical information to CEMT, they are not acting as technical project review agents in the focus areas. During their various meetings, CEMT and its subcommittees were exposed to a cross section of issues related to technology development and were briefed by representatives from DOE headquarters, academia, private industry, national laboratories, and public policy and public interest groups. The topics discussed at these meetings included a variety of technical approaches for management of DOE-EM's complex cleanup, as well as the details of specific technologies. The different stages of development of DOE's focus areas are reflected in the subcommittee reports (Appendix A), which have been reviewed and accepted by the full CEMT. Because these reports were compiled by five distinct groups, they are presented in various formats. The subcommittee reports should be regarded as works in progress—the preliminary findings are limited by the short time that the subcommittees have been in operation. The five subcommittees have additional meetings scheduled for 1996—generally, at major DOE sites having both R&D and remediation operations. The additional information to be collected at these meetings may augment or modify some of the specific findings presented in the subcommittee reports. In the next few years, CEMT will continue its study as outlined in its statement of task. The committee will look at issues affecting technology development, including the status of technologies available, strategic goals, performance measures, prioritization schemes, barriers to achieving goals, criteria for technology development, and changes in various regulations and policies. The limited time available to the committee makes it impractical for the CEMT to be fully aware of all aspects of DOE technology-development activities throughout the weapons complex. Nevertheless, the committee believes that some general principles are now obvious. These conclusions and recommendations are given in Chapter 2. During the process of evaluating DOE-EM's technology-development program, CEMT has noted several activities that indicate that DOE-EM has made some progress in improving the program. These activities, noted below, should continue. Useful steps seem to be in process to make cooperation among DOE-EM's Waste Management program (EM-30), Environmental Restoration program

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--> (EM–40), and Technology–development program (EM–50) successful in improving technology development throughout EM. Successful LASAGNATM1 technology demonstrations involving industry, DOE organizations, and EPA offer the promise that it will be a useful technology for remediation of solvents in the subsurface at some sites within the weapons complex. Progress has been made in determining the value of plasma arc and plasma hearth vitrification of mixed wastes and in comparative studies of thermal and nonthermal technologies. The efficient separations and processing cross–cutting area has leveraged the expertise of industry in developing innovative processes for the separation of137 Cs from radioactive wastes. The Digface2 characterization system is a useful development that uses available site information while retaining the flexibility to acquire information as excavation proceeds. (see Appendix A, Landfills). The CEMT recognizes the difficulties facing DOE in implementing technology–development programs of this scope and magnitude. The committee is hopeful that this 1995 report will be helpful to those responsible for managing the EM Research and Development (R&D) program and looks forward to providing further support and guidance in subsequent years. The 1995 report has focused more in management and related areas; the 1996 report is expected to be more technology oriented. 1   The LASAGNATM technology, a trademark of the Monsanto Company, is a system or combination of components in a configuration of electrodes and degradation zones that permits in-situ treatment of contaminants in low-permeability environments. Monsanto Company has coined the word LASAGNA to identify its products and services based on this integrated in-situ remediation technology. 2   The Digface characterization project being developed by the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL), Ecology International, and Rust Geotech Inc., is an integrated demonstration of multiple sensors that can be used as part of a retrieval effort. The Digface characterization technology will allow continuous and continually improving monitoring and characterization of the site being remediated.

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