NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

BOARD ON RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT

WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD

2101 Constitution Avenue Washington, D.C. 20418

Executive Office

202/334-3066

December 10, 1998

Mr. Mark Gilbertson

Office of Science and Risk Policy U.S. Department of Energy Washington, D.C. 20585

Dear Mr. Gilbertson:

At the request of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science and Risk Policy, the National Research Council empaneled a committee1 to assist the Department in developing a long-range science plan for subsurface contamination research sponsored by the Environmental Management Science Program (EMSP).2 The committee was asked by DOE to develop an interim report—which is provided in this letter—on the technical content of the EMSP proposal call for fiscal year 1999 (FY99),3 which DOE intends to focus on subsurface contamination problems. This interim report reflects a consensus of the committee. It has been reviewed in accordance with the procedures of the National Research Council.4

The information used to develop this interim report was obtained from several sources. The committee reviewed previous national Research Council reports on the EMSP.5 The committee also held two information-gathering meetings to familiarize itself with subsurface contamination problems at the five major DOE complex sites: Hanford, Idaho, Oak Ridge, Rocky Flats, and Savannah River. The first meeting, which was held on September 9-10, 1998 in Washington, D.C., provided the committee with an overview of the contamination problems at all five of these sites. The second meeting was held on November 10-12, 1998, in Augusta, Georgia and focused on subsurface contamination problems at the Oak Ridge and Savannah River sites. A third meeting is planned for December 15-17, 1998 to obtain additional information on contamination problems at the Hanford, Idaho, and Nevada Test sites.

The committee also reviewed the portfolio of subsurface contamination-related research projects supported by the EMSP since its inception in 1996. 6 This information included project titles, principal investigator names and affiliations, and project abstracts. The purpose of this

1  

Committee on Subsurface Contamination at DOE Complex Sites: Research Needs and Opportunities. The roster for this committee is given in Attachment A.

2  

The committee’s statement of task is given in Attachment B.

3  

DOE intends to publish the proposal call in the Federal Register in January 1999.

4  

The list of reviewers is given in Attachment C.

5  

Three reports were written by the Committee on Building an Environmental Management Science Program in 1996-97. All three reports are reproduced in the report entitled Building an Effective Environmental Management Science Program: Final Assessment (National Research Council, 1997).

6  

Information for this assessment was provided in two Department of Energy reports: U.S. Department of Energy. 1998.Report to Congress on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Environmental Management Science Program. DOE/EM-0357. Washington, D.C.: DOE Office of Environmental Management; and U.S. Department of Energy. 1998. Environmental Management Science Program Workshop. CONF-980736. Washington, D.C.: DOE Office of Environmental Management.



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