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Linking legacies: Connecting the Cold War nuclear weapons production processes to their environmental consequences

Description: In the aftermath of the Cold War, the US has begun addressing the environmental consequences of five decades of nuclear weapons production. In support of this effort, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1995 directed the Department of Energy (DOE) to describe the waste streams generated during each step in the production of nuclear weapons. Accordingly, this report responds to this mandate, and it is the Department`s first comprehensive analysis of the sources of waste and contamination generated by the production of nuclear weapons. The report also contains information on the missions and functions of nuclear weapons facilities, on the inventories of waste and materials remaining at these facilities, as well as on the extent and characteristics of contamination in and around these facilities. This analysis unites specific environmental impacts of nuclear weapons production with particular production processes. The Department used historical records to connect nuclear weapons production processes with emerging data on waste and contamination. In this way, two of the Department`s legacies--nuclear weapons manufacturing and environmental management--have become systematically linked. The goal of this report is to provide Congress, DOE program managers, non-governmental analysts, and the public with an explicit picture of the environmental results of each step in the nuclear weapons production and disposition cycle.
Date: January 1, 1997
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Out-of-tank evaporator demonstration: Tanks focus area

Description: Approximately 100 million gal of liquid waste is stored in underground storage tanks (UST)s at the Hanford Site, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), Savannah River Site (SRS), and Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR). This waste is radioactive with a high salt content. The US Department of Energy (DOE) wants to minimize the volume of radioactive liquid waste in USTs by removing the excess water. This procedure conserves tank space; lowers the cost of storage; and reduces the volume of wastes subsequently requiring separation, immobilization, and disposal. The Out-of-Tank Evaporator Demonstration (OTED) was initiated to test a modular, skid-mounted evaporator. A mobile evaporator system manufactured by Delta Thermal Inc. was selected. The evaporator design was routinely used in commercial applications such as concentrating metal-plating wastes for recycle and concentrating ethylene glycol solutions. In FY 1995, the skid-mounted evaporator system was procured and installed in an existing ORNL facility (Building 7877) with temporary shielding and remote controls. The evaporator system was operational in January 1996. The system operated 24 h/day and processed 22,000 gal of Melton Valley Storage Tank (MVST) supernatant. The distillate contained essentially no salts or radionuclides. Upon completion of the demonstration, the evaporator underwent decontamination testing to illustrate the feasibility of hands-on maintenance and potential transport to another DOE facility. This report describes the process and the evaporator, its performance at ORNL, future plans, applications of this technology, cost estimates, regulatory and policy considerations, and lessons learned.
Date: November 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Mobile integrated temporary utility system. Innovative technology summary report

Description: The Mobile Integrated Temporary Utility System (MITUS) integrates portable electrical power along with communications and emergency alarm and lighting capabilities to provide safe, centralized power to work areas that need to be de-energized for decommissioning work. MITUS consists of a portable unit substation; up to twenty portable kiosks that house the power receptacles, communications, and emergency alarm and lighting systems; and a central communications unit. This system makes sequential decommissioning efforts efficient and cost-effective by allowing the integrated system to remain intact while being moved to subsequent work sites. Use of the MITUS also eliminates the need to conduct zero-energy tests and implement associated lock-out/tag-out procedures at partially de-energized facilities. Since the MITUS is a designed system, it can be customized to accommodate unique facility conditions simply by varying kiosks and transformer configurations. The MITUS is an attractive alternate to the use of portable generators with stand-alone communications and emergency system. It is more cost-effective than upgrading or reconfiguring existing power distribution systems.
Date: December 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Airborne laser induced fluorescence imaging. Innovative technology summary report

Description: Laser-Induced Fluorescence (LIF) was demonstration as part of the Fernald Environmental Management Project (FEMP) Plant 1 Large Scale Demonstration and Deployment Project (LSDDP) sponsored by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science and Technology, Deactivation and Decommissioning Focus Area located at the Federal Energy Technology Center (FETC) in Morgantown, West Virginia. The demonstration took place on November 19, 1996. In order to allow the contaminated buildings undergoing deactivation and decommissioning (D and D) to be opened to the atmosphere, radiological surveys of floors, walls and ceilings must take place. After successful completion of the radiological clearance survey, demolition of the building can continue. Currently, this process is performed by collecting and analyzing swipe samples for radiological analysis. Two methods are used to analyze the swipe samples: hand-held frisker and laboratory analysis. For the purpose of this demonstration, the least expensive method, swipe samples analyzed by hand-held frisker, is the baseline technology. The objective of the technology demonstration was to determine if the baseline technology could be replaced using LIF.
Date: June 1, 1999
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Accelerating cleanup: Paths to closure

Description: This report describes the status of Environmental Management`s (EM`s) cleanup program and a direction forward to complete achievement of the 2006 vision. Achieving the 2006 vision results in significant benefits related to accomplishing EM program objectives. As DOE sites accelerate cleanup activities, risks to public health, the environment, and worker safety and health are all reduced. Finding more efficient ways to conduct work can result in making compliance with applicable environmental requirements easier to achieve. Finally, as cleanup activities at sites are completed, the EM program can focus attention and resources on the small number of sites with more complex cleanup challenges. Chapter 1 describes the process by which this report has been developed and what it hopes to accomplish, its relationship to the EM decision-making process, and a general background of the EM mission and program. Chapter 2 describes how the site-by-site projections were constructed, and summarizes, for each of DOE`s 11 Operations/Field Offices, the projected costs and schedules for completing the cleanup mission. Chapter 3 presents summaries of the detailed cleanup projections from three of the 11 Operations/Field Offices: Rocky Flats (Colorado), Richland (Washington), and Savannah River (South Carolina). The remaining eight Operations/Field Office summaries are in Appendix E. Chapter 4 reviews the cost drivers, budgetary constraints, and performance enhancements underlying the detailed analysis of the 353 projects that comprise EM`s accelerated cleanup and closure effort. Chapter 5 describes a management system to support the EM program. Chapter 6 provides responses to the general comments received on the February draft of this document.
Date: June 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

EM international activities: May 1998 highlights

Description: This publication is produced twice a year by the International Technology Systems Application staff. This issue is divided into the following sections: (1) Global Issues Facing Environmental Management; (2) Activities in Western Europe; (3) Activities in Central and Eastern Europe; (4) Activities in Russia; (5) Activities in Asia and the Pacific Rim; (6) Activities in South America; (7) Activities in North America; (8) Country studies; and (9) International Organizations. Some topics discussed are nuclear materials management, radioactive waste and hazardous waste management, and remedial action programs.
Date: May 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Graphite electrode DC arc furnace. Innovative technology summary report

Description: The Graphite Electrode DC Arc Furnace (DC Arc) is a high-temperature thermal process, which has been adapted from a commercial technology, for the treatment of mixed waste. A DC Arc Furnace heats waste to a temperature such that the waste is converted into a molten form that cools into a stable glassy and/or crystalline waste form. Hazardous organics are destroyed through combustion or pyrolysis during the process and the majority of the hazardous metals and radioactive components are incorporated in the molten phase. The DC Arc Furnace chamber temperature is approximately 593--704 C and melt temperatures are as high as 1,500 C. The DC Arc system has an air pollution control system (APCS) to remove particulate and volatiles from the offgas. The advantage of the DC Arc is that it is a single, high-temperature thermal process that minimizes the need for multiple treatment systems and for extensive sorting/segregating of large volumes of waste. The DC Arc has the potential to treat a wide range of wastes, minimize the need for sorting, reduce the final waste volumes, produce a leach resistant waste form, and destroy organic contaminants. Although the DC arc plasma furnace exhibits great promise for treating the types of mixed waste that are commonly present at many DOE sites, several data and technology deficiencies were identified by the Mixed Waste Focus Area (MWFA) regarding this thermal waste processing technique. The technology deficiencies that have been addressed by the current studies include: establishing the partitioning behavior of radionuclides, surrogates, and hazardous metals among the product streams (metal, slag, and offgas) as a function of operating parameters, including melt temperature, plenum atmosphere, organic loading, chloride concentration, and particle size; demonstrating the efficacy of waste product removal systems for slag and metal phases; determining component durability through test runs of extended duration, ...
Date: May 1, 1999
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Innovative technology summary report: High-speed clamshell pipe cutter

Description: The Hanford Site C Reactor Technology Demonstration Group demonstrated the High-Speed Clamshell Pipe Cutter technology, developed and marketed by Tri Tool Inc. (Rancho Cordova, California). The models demonstrated are portable, split-frame pipe lathes that require minimal radial and axial clearances for severing and/or beveling in-line pipe with ranges of 25 cm to 41 cm and 46 cm to 61 cm nominal diameter. The radial clearance requirement from the walls, floors, or adjacent pipes is 18 cm. The lathes were supplied with carbide insert conversion kits for the cutting bits for the high-speed technique that was demonstrated. Given site-specific factors, this demonstration showed the cost of the improved technology to be approximately 30% higher than the traditional (baseline) technology (oxyacetylene torch) cost of $14,400 for 10 cuts of contaminated 41-cm and 61-cm-diameter pipe at C Reactor. Actual cutting times were faster than the baseline technology; however, moving/staging the equipment took longer. Unlike the baseline torch, clamshell lathes do not involve applied heat, flames, or smoke and can be operated remotely, thereby helping personal exposures to be as low as reasonably achievable. The baseline technology was demonstrated at the C Reactor north and south water pipe tunnels August 19--22, 1997. The improved technology was demonstrated in the gas pipe tunnel December 15--19.
Date: September 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Innovative technology summary report: Confined sluicing end effector

Description: A Confined Sluicing End-Effector (CSEE) was field tested during the summer of 1997 in Tank W-3, one of the Gunite and Associated Tanks (GAAT) at the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR). It should be noted that the specific device used at the Oak Ridge Reservation demonstration was the Sludge Retrieval End-Effector (SREE), although in common usage it is referred to as the CSEE. Deployed by the Modified Light-Duty Utility Arm (MLDUA) and the Houdini remotely operated vehicle (ROV), the CSEE was used to mobilize and retrieve waste from the tank. After removing the waste, the CSEE was used to scarify the gunite walls of Tank W-3, removing approximately 0.1 in of material. The CSEE uses three rotating water-jets to direct a short-range pressurized jet of water to effectively mobilize the waste. Simultaneously, the water and dislodged tank waste, or scarified materials, are aspirated using a water-jet pump-driven conveyance system. The material is then pumped outside of the tank, where it can be stored for treatment. The technology, its performance, uses, cost, and regulatory issues are discussed.
Date: September 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Innovative technology summary report: Concrete grinder

Description: The Flex concrete grinder is a lightweight, hand-held concrete and coating removal system used for decontaminating or stripping concrete surfaces. The US Department of Energy has successfully demonstrated it for decontaminating walls and floors for free release surveys prior to demolition work. The grinder is an electric-powered tool with a vacuum port for dust extraction and a diamond grinding wheel. The grinder is suitable for flat or slightly curved surfaces and results in a smooth surface, which makes release surveys more reliable. The grinder is lightweight and produces very little vibration, thus reducing worker fatigue. The grinder is more efficient than traditional baseline, tools at removing contamination from concrete surfaces (more than four times faster than hand-held pneumatic scabbling and scaling tools). Grinder consumables (i.e., replacement diamond grinding wheel) are more expensive than the replacement carbide parts for the scaler and scabbler. However, operating costs are outweighed by the lower purchase price of the grinder (50% of the price of the baseline scaler and 8% of the price of the baseline scabbler). Overall, the concrete grinder is an attractive alternative to traditional scabbling and scaling pneumatic tools. To this end, in July 1998, the outer rod room exposed walls of the Safe Storage Enclosure (SSE), an area measuring approximately 150 m{sup 2}, may be decontaminated with the hand-held grinder. This concrete grinder technology was demonstrated for the first time at the DOE`s Hanford Site. Decontamination of a sample room walls was performed at the C Reactor to free release the walls prior to demolition. The demonstration was conducted by onsite D and D workers, who were instructed by the vendor prior to and during the demonstration.
Date: September 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Innovative technology summary report: Innovative grouting and retrieval

Description: Innovative grouting and retrieval (IGR) technology provides an innovative and cost-effective approach for full-pit and hot-spot retrieval of buried transuranic (TRU) waste sites and in situ disposal of buried waste with improved confinement. Innovative grouting technology: minimizes spreading of contamination by agglomerating the soil particles containing plutonium/americium particulates into nonaerosolizable particles; minimizes worker risks and exposure; is more effective in controlling the spread of contamination than common mining practices such as directed air flow, misting, and fixant sprays; eliminates further treatment because the grouted, rubberized waste is ready for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP); reduces capital expenditures, operating costs, and containment structure requirements; and is an estimated five times faster than the baseline technology of removal, packaging, and storage.
Date: October 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Innovative technology summary report: Sealed-seam sack suits

Description: Sealed-seam sack suits are an improved/innovative safety and industrial hygiene technology designed to protect workers from dermal exposure to contamination. Most of these disposable, synthetic-fabric suits are more protective than cotton suits, and are also water-resistant and gas permeable. Some fabrics provide a filter to aerosols, which is important to protection against contamination, while allowing air to pass, increasing comfort level of workers. It is easier to detect body-moisture breakthrough with the disposable suits than with cotton, which is also important to protecting workers from contamination. These suits present a safe and cost-effective (6% to 17% less expensive than the baseline) alternative to traditional protective clothing. This report covers the period from October 1996 to August 1997. During that time, sealed-seam sack suits were demonstrated during daily activities under normal working conditions at the C Reactor and under environmentally controlled conditions at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
Date: September 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Innovative technology summary report: Transportable vitrification system

Description: At the end of the cold war, many of the Department of Energy`s (DOE`s) major nuclear weapons facilities refocused their efforts on finding technically sound, economic, regulatory compliant, and stakeholder acceptable treatment solutions for the legacy of mixed wastes they had produced. In particular, an advanced stabilization process that could effectively treat the large volumes of settling pond and treatment sludges was needed. Based on this need, DOE and its contractors initiated in 1993 the EM-50 sponsored development effort required to produce a deployable mixed waste vitrification system. As a consequence, the Transportable Vitrification System (TVS) effort was undertaken with the primary requirement to develop and demonstrate the technology and associated facility to effectively vitrify, for compliant disposal, the applicable mixed waste sludges and solids across the various DOE complex sites. After 4 years of development testing with both crucible and pilot-scale melters, the TVS facility was constructed by Envitco, evaluated and demonstrated with surrogates, and then successfully transported to the ORNL ETTP site and demonstrated with actual mixed wastes in the fall of 1997. This paper describes the technology, its performance, the technology applicability and alternatives, cost, regulatory and policy issues, and lessons learned.
Date: September 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Innovative technology summary report: System for Tracking Remediation, Exposure, Activities and Materials

Description: The System for Tracking Remediation, Exposure, Activities, and Materials (STREAM) technology is a multi-media database that consolidates project information into a single, easily-accessible place for day-to-day work performance and management tracking. Information inputs can range from procedures, reports, and references to waste generation logs and manifests to photographs and contaminant survey maps. Key features of the system are quick and easy information organization and retrieval, versatile information display options, and a variety of visual imaging methods. These elements enhance productivity and compliance and facilitate communications with project staff, clients, and regulators. Use of STREAM also gives visual access to contaminated areas, reducing the number of physical entries and promoting safety and as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) principles. The STREAM system can be customized to focus on the information needs of a specific project, and provides a capability and work process improvement well beyond the usual collection of paperwork and independent databases. Especially when incorporated early in project planning and implemented to the fullest extent, it is a systematic and cost-effective tool for controlling and using project information. The STREAM system can support up to 50 different work stations. This report covers the period February through October 1997, when the STREAM software program, owned by Delphinus Engineering, was demonstrated at the Hanford Site`s Reactor Interim Safe Storage (ISS) Project.
Date: September 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project fiscal year 1997 annual report to stakeholders

Description: The fiscal year (FY) 1997 annual report is the 19th report on the status of the US Department of Energy`s (DOE) Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project. In 1978, Congress directed the DOE to assess and clean up contamination at 24 designated former uranium processing sites. The DOE is also responsible for cleaning up properties in the vicinity of the sites where wind and water erosion deposited tailings or people removed them from the site for use in construction or landscaping. Cleanup has been undertaken in cooperation with state governments and Indian tribes within whose boundaries the sites are located. It is being conducted in two phases: the surface project and the groundwater project. This report addresses specifics about the UMTRA surface project.
Date: December 31, 1997
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Innovative technology summary report: Cryogenic drilling

Description: Environmental drilling is used to conduct site investigations and to install monitoring and remediation wells. Employing conventional drilling techniques to conduct environmental investigations in unconsolidated soils can result in borehole collapse and may also lead to cross-contamination of aquifers and soil formations. For investigations in certain geologic conditions, there are currently no viable conventional drilling techniques available. Cryogenic drilling improves upon conventional air rotary drilling by replacing ambient air with cold nitrogen (either liquid or gas) as the circulating medium. The cold nitrogen gas stream freezes moisture in the ground surrounding the hole. The frozen zone prevents the collapse of the hole and prevents the movement of groundwater or contaminants through and along the hole. The technology, its performance, uses, cost, and regulatory issues are discussed.
Date: October 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Innovative technology summary report: Houdini{trademark} I and II remotely operated vehicle

Description: The US Department of Energy (DOE) is responsible for cleaning up and closing 273 large, aging, underground tanks the department has used for storing approximately 1 million gal of high- and low-level radioactive and mixed waste. The waste`s radioactivity precludes humans from working in the tanks. A remote-controlled retrieval method must be used. The Houdini robot addresses the need for vehicle-based, rugged, remote manipulation systems that can perform waste retrieval, characterization, and inspection tasks. Houdini-I was delivered to ORNL in September 1996, deployed in a cold test facility in November, and first deployed in the gunite tanks in June 1997. Since then, it has seen continuous (still on-going) service at ORNL, providing a critical role in the cleanup of two gunite tanks, W-3 and W-4, in the GAAT NTF. Houdini-I has proven rugged, capable of waste retrieval, and able to withstand high reaction force operations such as wall core sampling. It`s even able to operate while hanging, which was the case when Houdini was used to cut and remove cables and steel pipes hanging below manways in Tank W-3. Based upon the lessons learned at ORNL, Houdini`s design has been completely overhauled. A second generation system, Houdini-II, is now being built.
Date: July 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Innovative technology summary report: Road Transportable Analytical Laboratory (RTAL)

Description: The Road Transportable Analytical Laboratory (RTAL) has been used in support of US Department of Energy (DOE) site and waste characterization and remediation planning at Fernald Environmental Management Project (FEMP) and is being considered for implementation at other DOE sites, including the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The RTAL laboratory system consists of a set of individual laboratory modules deployable independently or as an interconnected group to meet each DOE site`s specific analysis needs. The prototype RTAL, deployed at FEMP Operable Unit 1 Waste Pits, has been designed to be synergistic with existing analytical laboratory capabilities, thereby reducing the occurrence of unplanned rush samples that are disruptive to efficient laboratory operations.
Date: October 1, 1998
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department