HARVESTING EMSP RESEARCH RESULTS FOR WASTE CLEANUP Page: 2 of 14
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WM'03 Conference, February 23-27, 2003, Tucson, AZ
The projects highlighted in this paper are divided into three categories based on technology maturity:
Field transfers technologies that have been successfully demonstrated or deployed in the field
at a DOE site
Emerging science projects that will result in technologies that may be ready for deployment
within two years with the support of a site champion to take the research to the next step
Core science projects in the conceptual phase and expected to yield results in greater than two
The EMSP is currently in its seventh year, and promising new results for DOE's cleanup program are
emerging. Although the program is relatively young, EMSP research has been instrumental in five
deployments to field operations. Research by one EMSP project supported the technical basis for
amending the Record of Decision for groundwater treatment at the Test Area North location at the Idaho
National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL). The new remedy, which uses monitored
natural attenuation and in situ bioremediation, in combination with the originally selected pump and treat
technology, will accelerate removal (by a factor of two) of trichloroethylene contamination to within 15
years and save taxpayers $23 million in life-cycle costs (1). When the plugging of an evaporator at the
Savannah River Site caused premature shutdown of the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) in
October 1999, an EMSP researcher studying the formation of aluminosilicates developed a
thermodynamic model to predict solids formation and establish a safe operating envelope for evaporator
composition (2). Also at the DWPF, severe foam problems occurred that hindered processing. EMSP
research on the fundamental understanding of the physical mechanisms that produce foaming in the DOE
high-level waste and low-activity radioactive waste separations processes led to the development of a
radiation-resistant anti-foam agent for the DWPF (3). In another project, a radon thoron detector
developed by New York University has been deployed around radon silos at the Fernald site. It has also
been deployed to detect radon in water at fish hatcheries in Pennsylvania and for various monitoring
activities in China, Finland, Canada, Thailand, and Japan (4). In yet another project, an electromagnetic
survey of Pit 9 at the INEEL created maps of buried waste, which when coupled with the information
obtained from other surveys and shipping records enabled DOE to safely emplace stainless steel tubes for
neutron logging and chose a preferred excavation site to demonstrate remediation capabilities.
Construction began four months ahead of schedule, and a $1 million fine was avoided.
Projects highlighted in this paper are just a sampling of some of the successful EMSP projects. At least
ten technologies resulting from EMSP research have already been commercialized. In addition to these
quantifiable benefits, EMSP research has increased the scientific knowledge base in areas directly needed
to achieve DOE's cleanup mission. Scientific concepts developed by EMSP researchers have already
shown promise in fields unrelated to DOE cleanup, and may be useful in both the public and private
sector, similar to technologies developed by the space program. Countries, such as the former Soviet
Union, are using the advances from EMSP research for cleanup or monitoring of contaminated nuclear
EMSP FIELD TRANSFERS
The following five EMSP projects have been deployed. The number of projects deployed is a significant
accomplishment for a basic research program since the transition from basic research to application
normally takes several years to occur.
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Guillen, Donna Post; Nielson, R. Bruce; Phillips, Ann Marie & Lebow, Scott. HARVESTING EMSP RESEARCH RESULTS FOR WASTE CLEANUP, article, February 27, 2003; Tucson, Arizona. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc783434/m1/2/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.