Description: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) continues to face a major radioactive waste tank remediation problem with hundreds of waste tanks containing hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of high-level waste (HLW) and transuranic (TRU) waste across the DOE complex. Approximately 80 tanks are known or assumed to have leaked. Some of the tank contents have reacted to form flammable gases, introducing additional safety risks. These tanks must be maintained in a safe condition and eventually remediated to minimize the risk of waste migration and/or exposure to workers, the public, and the environment. However, programmatic drivers are more ambitious than baseline technologies and budgets will support. Science and technology development investments are required to reduce the technical and programmatic risks associated with the tank remediation baselines. The Tanks Focus Area (TFA) was initiated in 1994 to serve as the DOE`s Office of Environmental Management`s (EM`s) national technology development program for radioactive waste tank remediation. The national program was formed to increase integration and realize greater benefits from DOE`s technology development budget. The TFA is responsible for managing, coordinating, and leveraging technology development to support DOE`s four major tank sites: Hanford Site (Washington), Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) (Idaho), Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) (Tennessee), and Savannah River Site (SRS) (South Carolina). Its technical scope covers the major functions that comprise a complete tank remediation system: waste retrieval, waste pretreatment, waste immobilization, tank closure, and characterization of both the waste and tank with safety integrated into all the functions. The TFA integrates program activities across organizations that fund tank technology development EM, including the Offices of Waste Management (EM-30), Environmental Restoration (EM-40), and Science and Technology (EM-50).
Date: September 1, 1997
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