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Summary The Department of Energy's Environmental Management Program (DOE- EM) is one of the largest environmental clean up efforts in world history. The program is estimated to cost over $100 billion (some estimates exceed $200 billion) and is expected to continue for decades (DOE, 1998c). The EM division charged with developing or finding technologies to accomplish this massive task,2 its Office of Science and Technology (OST), has been reviewed extensively, including six reports from committees of the National Research Council's (NRC's) Board on Radioactive Waste Management (BROOM) that have been released since December 1998 (see Box 1 in Chapter 1~. These committees examined different components of OST's technology development program, including its decision-making and peer review processes and its efforts to develop technologies in the areas of decontamination and decommissioning, waste forms3 for mixed waste, tank waste, and subsurface contamination. Gerald Boyd, head of OST, asked the Board on Radioactive Waste Management (BROOM) to summarize the major findings and recommendations of the six reports and synthesize any common issues into a number of overarching recommendations (see Box 2 in Chapter 1 for the complete Statement of Task). Such an assessment is timely because it occurs soon after the appointment of a new Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management. The board believes that DOE leadership will find this report useful as it works 2 Significant effort also is done by industry. Much DOE-EM cleanup can use technologies appropriate for non-DOE remediation activities. Recently, DOE has moved to allowing contracts that require the contractor to provide all the initial funding and develop the technologies to be applied. This is often called "privatization." 3 A "waste form" is considered a solid material that is the product of one or more treatment processes (Mixed Waste report, p. 2~. 1 1

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2 TECHNOLOGIES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT to improve EM's efforts to research, develop, and demonstrate technologies for environmental remediation and restoration of DOE sites. Although some of the six reports were released recently, most of the authoring committees completed their information gathering and deliberations months ago. Therefore, the reports may not take into account recent changes that are being made by OST management in response to criticisms by Congress, the General Accounting Office, and the BROOM. To better understand these recent changes, the board received from OST two briefings, written responses to three of its recent reports (DOE, l999b,c; 1998d), and a summary of changes made in response to the 1996 report from the BROOM's Committee on Environmental Management Technologies (CEMT) (DOE, 1999a). The board has reviewed these documents and, where appropriate, acknowledges where progress has been made. It is clear that OST also has begun, or is planning, to make a number of changes to address the issues raised in the subject reports. In many cases, however, it is simply too early to judge the efficacy of the changes. A credible evaluation of these anticipated changes and their possible impacts would entail an extensive study that is beyond the scope of this synthesis effort. The board identified four themes from its analysis of the six reports: (1) clarify the role and mission of OST, including effective use of strategic plans; (2) put discipline into decision making; (3) expand the reach of OST's efforts outside DOE; and (4) address constraints to technology implementation. The board's overall conclusion is that OST has made some progress since the BROOM's most recent overall assessment of its technology development program (NRC, 1996~. However, the board believes that additional efforts are needed. Many factors have hindered progress, including conflicting directions given by regulators, Congress, and over parts of DOE; reduced funding; interagency conflicts; and that a decade or longer is often required to develop and implement truly innovative technologies. The board believes Cat a lack of management leadership In OST, EM, and DOE also has been a factor. The board offers upper-level DOE management and Congress the following recommendations to address these issues. CLARIFY THE ROLE AND MISSION OF OST The lack of well-defined strategic goals for OST is one of the most consistent themes of the six reports.4 Some areas within OST (e.g., the Mixed 4 Detailed references to the individual reports are not included in this Summary. References to the individual reports that form the basis of the board's conclusions and recommendations are provided in the corresponding section of the body of this report.

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SUMMARY 3 Waste Focus Area) have done reasonably well in defining strategic plans. The implementation of many of OST's programs has suffered, however, because Mere existed no formal strategic plan on which to base discussions, select alternatives, and manage Me program, and because OST strategic goals have not been sharply focused.5 Despite these problems, Me board believes Mat there is a role for centralized research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) activities in providing economical, effective, acceptable, and practicable technologies for use In DOE-EM site cleanups.6 Although OST accounts for only a small part of Me DOE-EM budget, its work can have substantial and beneficial impact In reducing Me costs (and the risks) of environmental remediation activities. To achieve this potential role, the board recommends that OST managers, in conjunction with other top-level EM managers, produce strategic goals and plans that define explicitly the technical problem areas that OST program units will and will not address. Any top-level strategic goals developed by OST should be consistent with the EM mission and be derived in concert with technology user plans and needs. It is important to recognize that ten years or more is a realistic time frame for development, demonstration, and deployment of truly innovative technologies. Such long- term efforts should target both site-specific and complex-wide problems that are either intractable or very difficult (e.g., expensive) with current technologies. Lists of major recommendations from all of the individual reports also are provided in Appendixes A through F. 5 The board notes that DOE-EM recently released a Research and Development Program Plan (DOE, 1998a) and a Strategic Plan for Science and Technology (DOE, 1998b). Due to the limited time available to prepare this report, the extensive study that would be required to evaluate the efficacy of these new plans, and the board's task (i.e., to summarize and synthesize recent NRC reports), the board did not conduct a detailed evaluation of these documents or their possible impacts. 6 The Decision Making Committee recommended that "A centralized RD&D function within DOE-EM should be maintained because of its potential advantage in coordinating potentially duplicative technology development efforts needed at DOE-EM sites and because it is in a better position to address important broader issues (e.g., alternative technologies in the baseline functional flowsheets and alternative functional flowsheets) than more specifically directed RD&D" (Decision Making report, p. 74~.

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4 TECHNOLOGIES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT PUT DISCIPLINE INS O DECISION MAKING The recent reports point to a lack of discipline as a significant problem in OST's decision-making processes. In particular, the committees found that often OST's decision-making process has been ad hoc and frequently has varied from site to site and from decision to decision. To be effective, a technology development program must begin by defining and specifying particular problems to be solved, rather than by developing a solution and then looking for a problem. Another theme from the six reports is that such an approach generally has not been used by DOE-EM to manage its technology development activities. Sound decision making also demands that, in the face of technical uncertainty, multiple paths be explored to achieve intended goals. The board recommends that DOE-EM implement an end state based methodology (similar to that described in the Tanks report) to identify the technology needs and research and development required to achieve specific remediation goals. As part of this approach, DOE management and legislative decision makers should allow for consideration of a wider range of alternative end states that may be needed in the future, and this should be reflected in the DOE remediation and technology development programs. Alternative end states and scenarios should be considered for remediation scenarios that involve high uncertainty or high risk. OST has elements of a decision-making process throughout its organizational parts but it has not had a process that is applied universally and systematically across He entire organization. The board recommends that, for decisions involving the allocation of significant resources, OST institute a decision-making structure in which projects and proposals are evaluated 7 In this conceptual approach, the term "end state" does not necessarily connote a final disposition of the waste or waste site; that is, further phases with new end states may occur. ~ OST recently pilot tested a new system (its Work Package Ranking System) to create an integrated priority list of "work packages" (i.e., a group of related projects) at the OST headquarters level. The new process employs five criteria to rank the work packages: site needs, project value/need, future technology deployments, technological risks, and technology cost savings (DOE, l999a,d). In this new system, a numerical score for each work package is produced through a process stated to be based on multi- objective decision analysis methodology. Beyond this generality, the processes used to determine the scoring criteria, ranking factors, and weighting factors have not been specified (Decision Making report, p. 48~. The Decision Making Committee noted that, in principle, this prioritization process could be used to set budget targets for OST program units. However, the committee also pointed out that this system was not yet developed to a point where OST staff could use this process as the sole basis for prioritization (Decision Making report, p. 48~.

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SUMMARY s against consistently defined criteria such as project cost, probability of technical success, probability of implementation, potential cost savings, and human health risk reduction. The recommended decision-making process should be transparent, include participation from relevant interested and affected parties,9 incorporate adequate documentation, involve peer review, and lead to setting priorities. There have been no general OST-wide guidelines applied to OST programs for setting criteria for He selection and prioritization of technology development needs, although Individual OST program Gluts have developed their own guidelines. The board recommends that OST (with input from its various organizational elements) establish general selection and prioritization criteria, and guidelines for applying these criteria, including allowance for instances where exceptions to the guidelines may be necessary. EXPAND OST'S REACH OUTSIDE DOE A criticism In the 1996 CEMT report (NRC, 1996a) and repeated in several of the recent six reports is that OST does not adequately search for technologies in He international community nor In the domestic industrial and, to a lesser extent, academic communities. Based on OST responses to recent NRC reports, it appears that DOE has made some progress in creating data systems for environmental management technologies. However, most of these efforts so far appear to be focused on DOE-developed technologies, rather than as a mechanism to search and identify relevant technologies that have been developed external to DOE. DOE-EM should be more aware of technologies developed in the private, academic, and foreign sectors. OST should establish a better coordinated, less duplicative, and less cumbersome system for integration of technology procurement activities. OST should improve its formal linkages to demonstrated technologies from outside DOE, perhaps by expanding its existing databases. Doing so will require improving OST's (or DOE's) outreach and ability to identify and use non- DOE technology. 9 See Understanding Risk: Informing Decisions in a Democratic Society (NRC, 1996c) for definition of the term "interested and affected parties" which is used throughout this report rather than the term "stakeholders."

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6 TECHNOLOGIES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT ADDRESS CONSTRAINTS TO TECHNOLOGY IMPLEMENTATION The board recognizes that OST's actions are constrained by legal and regulatory requirements and other non-OST constraints, both within and external to DOE. Successful implementation of new and innovative technologies will require OST to identify these constraints, evaluate their validity and importance and, in some cases, take a more proactive role in effecting change. It is clear that merely identifying a promising technology will not result in implementation at DOE sites. Many other actions are necessary; some can be done by OST itself, but most will require OST to work with other elements in DOE. Some will also require DOE to work with other federal and state agencies. Because of the historical autonomy of individual DOE sites, there is currently no mechanusm to ensure implementation of successfully OST- developed technologies. As long as authority for technology deployment and responsibility for technology development continue to reside in different entities, centralized development of technologies to be deployed throughout the DOE complex will not, in the board's view, be effective. The board recommends that when contracts allow, agreements be developed between the sites and OST that, if certain agreed-on conditions are met, then OST-sponsored technology will be implemented at the sitets). The sites and OST would agree on technical requirements (e.g., throughput and contamination reduction percentages of processing equipment), schedules (e.g., when testing of equipment or full scale equipment will begin), and deployment costs. If these targets are met, then the sites would be required by DOE to deploy the technologies. If they are not met, the sites would be allowed to deploy any alternative that meets the targets, including those developed independently of OST. (Some flexibility, however, would be necessary to accommodate changes in regulations or multiparty agreements.) If not allowed by current contracts, DOE should consider adding such provisions to future contracts. For current contracts, DOE should consider developing incentives to encourage use of OST- developed technologies, when these meet the above conditions. In addition, DOE-EM should work to promote consensus among the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the scientific community on waste form testing methods that will be generally acceptable for providing at least a qualitative evaluation of long-term waste performance in disposal environments. DOE-EM should work with EPA and the USNRC to agree on clear guidelines that define acceptable waste 10 Including economic as well as technological success.

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SUMMARY forms for disposal of mixed waste in future near-surface disposal facilities. Well-documented decisions and sound technical reviews should be used by OST to earn the confidence of Congress and members of the public. 7