Improving the Characterization and Treatment of Radioactive Wastes for the Department of Energy's Accelerated Site Cleanup Program
National Research Council, Division on Earth and Life Studies, Board on Radioactive Waste Management, Committee on Opportunities for Accelerating Characterization and Treatment of Waste at DOE Nuclear Weapons Sites
National Academies Press, Jan 6, 2005 - Science - 84 pages
The Department of Energy‚€™s Office of Environmental Management (EM) directs the massive cleanup of more than 100 sites that were involved in the production of nuclear weapons materials during the Manhattan Project and the Cold War. This report offers suggestions for more effectively characterizing and treating the orphan and special-case wastes that are part of EM‚€™s accelerated cleanup program. It identifies technical opportunities for EM to improve the program that will save time and money without compromising health and safety. The opportunities identified include: making more effective use of existing facilities and capabilities for waste characterization, treatment, or disposal; eliminating self-imposed requirements that have no clear technical or safety basis; and investing in new technologies to improve existing treatment and characterization capabilities. For example, the report suggests that EM work with DOE classification officers to declassify, to the extent possible, classified materials declared as wastes. The report also suggests a new approach for treating the wastes that EM will leave in place after cleanup.