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RESEARCH ~ _ rim ~ IN SUBSURFACE SCIENCE U.S. Department of Energy's Environmental Management Science Program Board on Rad inactive Waste Management Water Science and Tech neology Board National Research Counci ~ NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.

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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No DE-FC01 -94EW54069/R between the National Academy of Sciences and The U.S. Department of Energy. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this pub- lication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number 0-309-06646-8 Additional copies of this report are available from National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet: http://www.nap.edu COVER IMAGE: Mercury contamination in soil at the Y-12 plant at the Oak Ridge Reservation. The mercury is visible as small droplets in the dark layer near the center of the photograph. SOURCE: Oak Ridge Reservation. Printed in the United States of America Copyright 2000 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

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National Acaclemy of Sciences National Acaclemy of Engineering Institute of Meclicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating soci- ety of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, ded- icated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the gen- eral welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal govern- ment on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the char- ter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstand- ing engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in pro- viding services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. -

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COMMITTEE ON SU BSU RFACE CONTAMI NATION AT DOE COMPLEX SITES JANE C. S. LONG, Chair, University of Nevada, Reno JAMES K. MITCHELL, Vice-Chair, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg RAN DALL J. CHARBEN EAU, University of Texas, Austin JEFFREY J. DANIELS, Ohio State University, Columbus JOHN N. FISCHER, Hydrologic Consultant, Oakton, Virginia TISSA H. ILLANGASEKARE, Colorado School of Mines, Golden AARON L. MILLS, University of Virginia, Charlottesville DONALD T. REED, Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago, Illinois JEROME SACKS, National Institute of Statistical Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina BRIDGET R. SCANLON, University of Texas, Austin LEON T. SILVER, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena CLAIRE WELTY, Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania STAFF KEVIN D. CROWLEY, Study Director STEPH EN D. PARKER, Di rector, Water Science and Tech nology Board SUSAN B. MOCKLER, Research Associate PATRICIA A. JONES, Senior Project Assistant iv

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BOARD ON RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT MICHAEL C. KAVANAUGH, Chair, Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., Oakland, California JOHN F. AHEARNE, Co-Chair, Sigma Xi and Duke University, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina CHARLES MCCOMB I E, Vice-Chair, Gipf-Oberfrick, Switzerland ROBERT J. BUDNITZ, Future Resources Associates, Inc., Berkeley, California MARY R. ENGLISH, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee DARLEANE C. HOFFMAN, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Oakland, California JAMES H. JOHNSON, JR., Howard University, Washington, D.C. ROGER E. KASPERSON, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts JAMES O. LECKIE, Stanford University, Stanford, California JANE C. S. LONG, Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno CHARLES MCCOMBIE, Consultant, Gipf-Oberfrick, Switzerland WILLIAM A. MILLS, Oak Ridge Associated Universities (retired), Olney, Maryland D. WARNER NORTH, NorthWorks, Inc., Mountain View, California MARTIN J. STEINDLER, Argonne National Laboratories (retired), Argonne, I I linois JOHN J. TAYLOR, Electric Power Research Institute (retired), Palo Alto, California MARY LOU ZOBACK, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California STAFF KEVI N D. CROWLEY, Di rector ROBERT S. ANDREWS, Senior Staff Officer THOMAS Kl ESS, Sen for Staff Officer GREGORY H. SYMMES, Senior Staff Officer JOH N R. Wl LEY, Sen for Staff Officer SUSAN B. MOCKLER, Research Associate TON I GREEN LEAF, Administrative Assistant LATRICIA C. BAI LEY, Senior Project Assistant PATRICIA A. JONES, Senior Project Assistant ANGELA R. TAYLOR, Senior Project Assistant LATRICIA C. BAI LEY, Project Assistant MATTH EW BAXTER-PARROT, Project Assistant LAURA D. LLANOS, Project Assistant

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WATER SCI ENCE AN D TECH NOLOGY BOARD HEN RY J. VAUX, JR., Chair, University of California, Riverside CAROL A. JOHNSTON, Vice -Chair, University of Minnesota, Duluth RICHELLE M. ALLEN-KING, Washington State University, Pullman GREGORY B. BAECHER, University of Maryland, College Park JOHN S. BOYER, University of Delaware, Lewes JOHN BRISCOE, The World Bank, Washington, D.C. DENISE FORT, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque STEVEN P. GLOSS, University of Wyoming, Laramie EVILLE GORHAM, University of Minnesota, St. Paul WILLIAM A. JURY, University of California, Riverside GARY S. LOGSDON, Black & Veatch, Cincinnati, Ohio RICHARD G. LUTHY, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania JOHN W. MORRIS, J. W. Morris, Arlington, Virginia PHILLIP A. PALMER, DuPont Engineering, Wilmington, Delaware REBECCAT. PARKIN, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. JOAN B. ROSE, University of South Florida, St. Petersburg RHODES TRUSSELL, Montgomery Watson, Inc., Pasadena, California ERIC F. WOOD, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey STAFF STEPHEN D. PARKER, Director JACQ U E L I N E MAC DO NAL D, Assoc. CH RIS ELF Rl N G. Sen for Staff Officer LAU RA EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer J EF F REY W. JACOBS, Staff Officer WILLIAM S. LOGAN, Staff Officer JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Associate MARK GIBSON, Research Associate AN ITA A. HALL, Administrative Assistant ELLEN de GUZMAN, Senior Project Assistant AN I KE L. JOH NSON, Project Assistant iate Director

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COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AN D RESOW RCES GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Chair, University of Virginia, Charlottesville RICHARD A. CONWAY, Union Carbide Corporation (retired), S. Charleston, West Virginia LYNN GOLDMAN, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland THOMAS E. GRAEDEL, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut THOMAS J. GRAFF, Environmental Defense Fund, Oakland, California EUGENIA KALNAY, University of Maryland, College Park DEBRA KNOPMAN, Progressive Policy Institute, Washington, D.C. BRAD MOONEY, J. Brad Mooney Associates, Ltd., Arlington, Virginia HUGH C. MORRIS, El Dorado Gold Corporation, Vancouver, British Columbia H. RONALD PU LLIAM, U niversity of Georgia, Athens MILTON RUSSELL, Joint Institute for Energy and Environment and University of Ten nessee (Emeritus), Knoxvi I le ROBERT J. SERAFIN, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado AN DREW R. SOLOW, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massach usetts E-AN ZEN, University of Maryland, College Park MARY LOU ZOBACK, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, California STAFF ROBERT M. HAMI LTON, Executive Director GREGORY H. SYMMES, Associate Executive Director JEAN ETTE SPOON, Administrative and Financial Officer DAVID FEARY, Scientific Reports Officer SAN Dl FITZPATRICK, Administrative Associate MARQU ITA SMITH, Administrative Assistant/Technology Analyst vii

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Preface ~. ~ The development of this report has provided an opportunity for committee members to examine and obtain an overview of a major national environmental issue subsurface contamination in the DOE complex. The committee faced a daunting task in making recommenda- tions to the Environmental Management Science Program about future research emphases to address DOE's subsurface contamination prob- lems. To do this, we needed to obtain an overview of the problems and a detailed understanding of the major clean-up issues. In addition, we needed to understand how the Environmental Management Science Program had developed so far, whether it related well to the problems as we understood them, and its relationship to environmental remed tion research done elsewhere. Finally, we were to complete this task in approximately one year with a limited number of site visits. Clearly, we could never have accomplished this task without the complete cooperation of the DOE and National Laboratory staff. We owe major thanks to a large number of persons (see Appendix B) who prepared presentations and organized visits that informed our process. A great deal of effort was spent to support us, and I would like to thank all of these people for their frankness and insights. I would especially like to recognize the efforts of Mark Gilbertson and Roland Hirsch from DOE headquarters; Roy Gephart, John Zacara, and Karl Fecht from Hanford; Tom Wil liams from the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory; and Tom Hicks and Tom Temples from Savannah River for their support of the committee. I have served on a number of excellent National Research Council committees, but I found the support provided by committee staff on this study was beyond any level of service I have ever experienced. Study director Kevin Crowley made this difficult task possible. Without his understanding, sense of group dynamics, and very significant level of effort there would have been no possibility of finishing this report. We were also provided excellent research and logistical support by the staff of the Board on Radioactive Waste Management and Water Science ,a- P r e f a c e ix

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and Technology Board, most notably Steve Parker, Patricia Jones, and Susan Mockler. We were greatly privileged to have Jim Mitchell serve as the com- mittee's vice-chair. Jim was the conscience of the committee and played a critical role in keeping us on course throughout our deliberations. His careful analysis, insight, and review provided quality to our product. It was a great treat to work with km. Normal committee dynamics are such that a few people do a dis- proportionate share of the work. This committee was an exception to that rule; the members all contributed and all did the assignments we gave them. The committee was unusually productive and creative, and its members contributed not only their knowledge and understanding, but they also listened to others and incorporated this information into a consensus. I learned a great deal from my committee colleagues, and my sense is that the entire committee found the process beneficial. The committee's review left some very clear impressions concerning the scope of DOE's subsurface contamination problems. As noted in Chapter 2 of this report, the committee concluded that much of the contamination that is now in the subsurface at major DOE sites will not be removed by any active remediation efforts. The huge scale of the "environmental insult" (to quote committee member Lee Silver) and the extraction of contamination on the scales required would require a major decrease in entropy and would simply not be possible. This means that a major focus of coming to terms with the problem has to be understanding, predicting, and containing the subsurface contamina- tion. These issues are paramount in site closure. They have received insufficient attention from the EMSP in the past and are a major focus of this report. Secondly, the committee recognized that the amount of contamina- tion that is contained in surface and near-surface facilities at DOE sites is massive compared to that which has already leaked into the subsur- face. Millions of gallons of waste and millions of curies of radioactivity are currently in storage at DOE sites and, if this waste is not managed correctly, it could potentially become a major source of future sub- surface contamination. Clearly, an important lesson DOE can learn from its current subsurface contamination problems is to not repeat the mistakes of the past. It is true that DOE no longer places high-level nuclear waste in barrels that are dumped into topographic lows (see Sidebar 2.5), but DOE is placing new land disposal facilities in regions that have generated massive contaminant plumes in the past (see, for example, Sidebar 2.9~. During the course of this study, the committee saw no institutional process to address the question, "How should the results and impacts of what was done in the past inform the decisions S U B S U R F A C E S C ~ E N C E

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of the future?" The committee recogn izes that DOE cannot change what was done in the past. DOE can, however, make better decisions in the future. The committee believes that a very important role for research sponsored by the Environmental Management Science Program is to provide the information DOE will need to make technically sound and responsible waste management decisions in the future. Jane C. S. Long, Cha Air

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List of Report Reviewers eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Susan Brantley, Pennsylvania State U niversity Helen Dawson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Joh n Fou ntai n, State U n iversity of New York Robert Huggett, Michigan State University Philip Palmer, DuPont (retired) Frank Schwartz, Ohio State University John Taylor, Electric Power Research Institute (retired) Peter Wierenga, University of Arizona Although the reviewers listed above have provided many construc- tive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by George Hornberger, appointed by the Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources, and Paul Barton, appointed by the Report Review Committee, who were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with NRC procedures and that all review comments were carefully con- sidered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the NRC. i s t 0 f R e p 0 r t R e v i e w e r s xlli

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Contents ~.e Summary 1 Introduction and Task 2 Subsurface Contamination in the DOE Complex 3 Assessment of the EM Science Program Portfolio 4 Research Programs in Other Agencies of Government 5 Knowledge Gaps and Research Needs 6 Recommendations for a Long-Term Research Program 115 References 11 15 47 59 93 131 Appendixes A Description of the Environmental Management Science Program 137 B List of Presentations 139 Biographical Sketches of Committee Members 1 41 Additional Resources 145 I nterim Report 1 49 Acronym List 1 59 C 0 n t e n t s xv

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RESEARCH NEEDS IN SUBSURFACE SCIENCE

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