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Blueprint for Environmental Remediation: The SRNL Approach to Reducing Environmental Risk October 2012 Introduction

Blueprint for Environmental Remediation:

The SRNL Approach to Reducing Environmental Risk

October 2012

Introduction

Reducing Environmental Risk

The Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) is the United States Department of Energy’s lead laboratory for environmental management and the only national laboratory dedicated to applied science. With experience spanning six decades (and counting) as well as expertise spanning all radiological and chemical disciplines, SRNL has an extensive record of defining and developing technologies for deployment to meet identified needs.

SRNL recognizes that effectively evaluating and addressing each unique environmental remediation situation requires experienced and knowledgeable personnel and broad technical capabilities. However, SRNL also has recognized that a single comprehensive approach may facilitate evaluating and addressing any environmental clean-up.

Drawing upon its long experience as technology innovator and integrator, SRNL has synthesized the complex process of dealing conclusively with nuclear waste and materials into a uniform framework for efficiently selecting strategies, technologies, and resources appropriate to site-specific conditions and desired end states.

An interlinked network of zones representing an environmental remediation site provides a tool for approaching complex clean-up problems. The definition of typical characteristics, end-state objectives, strategic considerations, and types of technologies of those zones expedites characterization of any site, prioritization of any clean-up effort, alignment of resources with risk reduction, technical and project management, and communication with stakeholders.

SRNL has successfully applied the SRNL Blueprint to large nuclear facility decommissioning, nuclear materials disposition, radiological waste disposition, and soil and groundwater remediation. The SRNL Blueprint enables expeditious definition of environmental remediation solutions that are economically and technically practicable and acceptable to stakeholders.

For more information on this approach and its applications, please contact

Andrew Fellinger at a.fellinger@srnl.doe.gov.

Zones of a physical plume extending outward from the source of radiation/waste/ contamination to areas of lesser risk

Source Zone Impact Zone Transition Zone Disturbed Zone
Source Zone
Impact Zone
Transition Zone
Disturbed Zone
 

Source Zone

Disturbed Zone

Impact Zone

Transition Zone

 

Configuration

Engineered system containing or releasing radiological or other hazardous materials or wastes

Patchy “hot spots” of contamination outside the source zone

Contamination dispersed over a moderate to large area

Large total volume of contaminated media (water, soil, air, etc.)

Typical

Conditions

Engineered system is complex and possibly impaired

Proximity to source zone may mean man- made structures hinder access to “hot spots” and deployment of clean-up technologies

The size and shape of the dispersal area is determined by the physical and chemical nature of the waste and the flow rate and migration pattern of the dispersal fluid

Contaminated media slowly attenuate toward normal

Characteristics

Risk

Key risks to workers from potential radiological/ chemical dose/ contamination and possible structural deterioration

Immediate risks to workers; may pose broader human and environmental risk if not cleaned up

May pose human and environmental risk if not remediated

Diffuse contaminants pose lower human and environmental risk but may require response to reduce risks to as low as reasonably achievable

 

Risk

Prevent radiation uptake, radiological/ chemical contamination, and injury to workers; prevent radiation/ contaminant release outside source zone

Prevent radiation uptake, radiological/ chemical contamination, and injury to workers; eliminate contamination from disturbed zone

Reduce contaminant mobility, toxicity, or solubility

Reduce contaminant mobility, toxicity, or solubility

 

Radiological or other hazardous materials safely removed; wastes safely removed, stabilized, and/or fixed in place

Contaminated media

Contaminated media

Contaminated media isolated or stabilized and monitored

End-State

Objectives

Zone Area

safely removed

stabilized and

attenuated

Waste/

Removed radiological/ chemical materials and wastes converted to usable or disposable forms

Removed contaminated media converted to usable or disposable forms

Reduced concentration allows contaminated media to safely revert to natural state

Contaminated media returns to natural conditions and unrestricted use

Contaminated

Media

 

Source Zone

Disturbed Zone

Impact Zone

Transition Zone

 

Zone Area

Engineered system well understood, but structural damage or deterioration must be factored in to clean-up solution

Technology matching process benefits from knowledge of facility history, site-specific conditions and waste characteristics to help focus on the likely hot spots

Technology matching process benefits from knowledge of site- specific conditions that control the dispersal of the contamination, such as meteorology, hydrogeology, and biogeochemistry

Aim is to facilitate natural attenuation mechanisms

Strategic

 

Decontamination and decommissioning of facilities generally well understood so that technology solutions can be tailored to site- specific challenges

Innovative characterization to refine the limits of contaminated materials can significantly improve efficiency

Innovative characterization may help refine preferential flow paths to help target remedial actions

Identify enhancement technologies to support natural attenuation and reduce risk

Considerations

Approach

Return on

Path to closure essential to achieve end-state safely and efficiently

Because unit costs are typically $/m, 3 limiting the volume of material to be treated reduces clean-up cost

Plan for expeditious transition out of active clean-up phase to enhanced or passive attenuation phase to control costs

Plan for expeditious transition from enhanced natural attenuation phase to long-term monitoring to control costs

Investment

   

Equipment cutting,

Access tools such a direct push or cone penetrometer;

Computer simulation of contaminant dispersal;

Computer simulation of contaminant dispersal;

penetration and

deconstruction tools;

   

Robotics for remote inspection,

Immobilization methods such as encapsulation or precipitation;

Mechanical (barrier, funnel, trap) systems;

Mechanical (barrier, trap) systems;

Zone Area

Methods to

characterization, stabilization;

Fixatives, peels, thermal spray vitrification for hazardous constituents on surfaces

Capping and other barrier technologies

decontaminate buildings, roads and public spaces

Barometric, solar or tidal pumping

 

Characterization tools;

Characterization tools;

Characterization tools

Characterization tools

Material handling

Material handling

Active attenuation, e.g., geochemical stabilization methods

Enhanced natural

Waste/

Contaminated

systems;

systems;

attenuation, e.g.,

treatment systems

Media

Waste removal methods;

Waste removal methods;

 

Types of

Packaging;

Packaging;

Technologies

Transportation

Transportation

 

Performance

Monitoring tools;

Monitoring tools

Monitoring tools

Assessment;

Sensor system;

Waste forms, including glass and cementitious materials;

Remote monitoring and communications system;

Waste repositories

End-State

Surveillance, including destructive and non- destructive examination;

Waste forms, including glass and cementitious materials;

Waste repositories;

Reuse, such as plutonium to MOX

About Savannah River National Laboratory Services

About Savannah River National Laboratory Services SRNL is managed and operated for the U.S. Department of

SRNL is managed and operated for the U.S. Department of Energy by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC