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introduction and Task The Department of Energy's (DOE's) Environmental Management (EM) Science Program was created by the 1 04th Congress to bring the nation's basic science i nfrastructu re to bear on the massive envi ran men- tal cleanup effort now underway in the DOE complex. The objectives of the program are to . provide scientific knowledge that wi I I revol ution ize tech nologies and cleanup approaches to significantly reduce future costs, schedules, and risks; bridge the gap between broad fundamental research and needs- driven appl fed technology; and focus the nation's science infrastructure on critical DOE environ- mental management problems. To meet these objectives, the EM Science Program provides three- year awards to investigators in industry, national laboratories, and uni- versities to undertake research on problems relevant to DOE cleanup efforts. Project awards are competitive and are made on the basis of merit and relevance reviews managed through a partnership between the DOE Office of Environmental Management, which has the primary responsibility for the cleanup mission, and the DOE Office of Science,2 which manages DOE basic research programs. A more detailed descrip- tion of the program is provided in Appendix A. Since its establishment by Congress, the program has held four pro- posal competitions and has awarded about $225 million in funding, which puts it among the largest environmental research efforts in the federal government (see Chapter 4~. The first two proposal competitions ~ Publ ic Law 104-46, 1995. 2Formerly the Office of Energy Research. C h a p t e r 1

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were completed in fiscal years 1996 and 1997 and resulted in 202 awards totaling about $160 million. These awards covered a wide range of problems related to cleanup of the defense complex, including sub- surface contamination problems.3 The third proposal competition was completed in fiscal year 1998 and resulted in 30 awards totaling about $30 million. These awards provided funding for projects primarily relat- ed to high-level radioactive waste and deactivation and decommission- ing. The fourth proposal competition was completed in fiscal year 1999, while this report was in the end stages of completion, and focused pri- marily on subsurface contamination and low dose radiation.4 Shortly after the program was established, DOE requested advice from the National Academies on its structure and management. In response, the National Academies established the Committee on Building an Effective Environmental Management Science Program, which operated from May 1996 through March 1997 and produced three reports.5 One of the primary recommendations made by this committee was that DOE should develop a science plan for the EMSP [Environmenta/ Management Science Program1. This science plan should provide a compre- hensive list of significant cleanup problems in the nation's nuclear weapons complex that can be addressed through basic research and a strategy for addressing them. (NRC, 1997b, p. 3J This committee also recommended a near-term and a long-term process for developing this science plan: For the near term, program managers should develop a science plan from existing DOE docu- ments. For the longer term, DOE shou Id consu It with its problem hold- ers (i.e., site technical staff, managers, and stakeholder advisory groups who have knowledge of the cleanup issues) about cleanup problems that cannot be resolved practically or efficiently with current knowl- edge or technologies. 3An analysis of the program's subsurface science portfolio for fiscal years 1996 and 1997 is provided in Chapter 3. 4Thirty-one awards totaling $25 million were made for projects related to sub- surface contamination research, and eight awards totaling about $8 million were made for low dose radiation research in cooperation with the DOE Office of Science's Low Dose Radiation Research Program. The committee did not have an opportunity to review the fiscal year 1999 projects. 5Bui/ding an Effective Environmenta/ Management Science Program: Initia/ Assessment (NRC, 1 996a); Letter Report on the Environmenta/ Management Science Program (N RC, 1 996b); and Building an Effective Environmenta/ Management Science Program: Fina/Assessment(NRC, 1997b). All three reports can be viewed at the National Academy Press Web site (http://books.nap.edu/ catalog/5557.html). S U B S U R F A C E S C ~ E N C E 12

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SIDEBAR 1.1 STATEMENT OF TASK The objective of this study is to provide recommendations to DOE's EM Science Program on the formu- lation of a long-term basic research' program to address subsurface contamination problems at DOE sites.These recommendations will take into account significant subsurface contamination problems at major DOE sites that cannot be addressed with current technologies and science knowledge gaps rele- vant to these problems.The recommendations also will take into account the research already com- pleted and currently in progress by other federal and state agencies and will identify areas of research where the EM Science Program can make significant contributions to address DOE's subsurface conta- mination problems and to add scientific knowledge generally. Scientific research comprises a spectrum of investigative activities that are frequently classified using artificial groupings such as basic and applied (e.g., Pielke and Byerly, 1998). In the committee's view, basic research is defined as research that creates new generic knowledge and is focused on long-term, rather than short-term, problems. See also NRC (1995). In the spring of 1 998, Gerald Boyd, the then-acting director (now director) of the Office of Science and Technology, requested that the National Academies convene another committee of experts to advise DOE on its first science plan for the EM Science Program, which DOE had decided would address subsurface contamination. In response, the current committee was formed under the joint auspices of the Board on Radioactive Waste Management and Water Science and Technology Board. This committee has expertise in basic research and research management in the scientific disciplines relevant to subsurface contam- ination problems at DOE sites.6 The statement of task for this study (see Sidebar 1.1 ) charged the committee to provide recommendations for a science research program for subsurface contamination problems at DOE sites, and especially to identify areas of research where the program could make significant contributions to DOE's cleanup efforts and add to scientific knowledge generally. The committee held six meetings between October 1998 and july 1999 to gather information on subsurface contamination and relat- ed problems at six major DOE sites and to develop this report.7 The committee also produced an interim report to advise DOE on the fiscal year 1999 proposal call. That report is given in Appendix E. The committee received briefings on subsurface contamination problems at the Hanford Site (Washington), Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, Nevada Test Site, Oak Ridge Site 6Biographical sketches of committee members are given in Appendix C. 7See Appendix B for a summary of the information-gathering activities. C h a p t e r l

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(Tennessee), and Savannah River Site (South Carolina). The committee toured the Hanford Site and Savannah River Site to make direct obser- vations of the problems and obtain briefings from site personnel, and it reviewed DOE and other documents concerning the subsurface conta- mination problems at these sites and at the Rocky Flats Site in Colorado. The committee did not request briefings on the Rocky Flats Site because of time constraints and because DOE advised that its planned cleanup activities of this site would be completed by 2006 (e.g., DOE, 1 998a). The committee focused primarily on the scientific issues in keeping with its collective basic-research expertise. The committee has reviewed the subsurface contamination problems at major DOE sites (see Chapter 2) and provides recommendations on a research agenda to address these problems (see Chapter 5~. The committee also considered the research being sponsored by other federal programs (see Chapter 4) as well as the projects supported in the current EM Science Program port- folio (see Chapter 3), so that unnecessary duplication of effort can be . . . . mlnlmlzea. In Chapter 6, the committee recommends a strategy for implement- lng a research agenda, but it has refrained from making recommenda- tions on program management, which is largely beyond its collective expertise and was covered in detail by a previous National Academies committee (NRC, 1 997b). The committee also comments on the level of effort (both in time and funding) that will be required to make signifi- cant progress on the research agenda. The committee believes that the success of the EM Science Program will depend both on the nature of the problems addressed and on the effort sustained in solving them. S U B S U R F A C E S C ~ E N C E 14