Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Systems tool new resource to aid groundwater cleanup

20.05.2003


After almost 50 years of nuclear materials production at the 586-square-mile Hanford Site in southeastern Washington, there are more than 700 waste sites with the potential to release contaminants to the soil and groundwater. These sites vary significantly in their inventories of radioactive and chemical contaminants and potential for contaminants to migrate through the soil to the groundwater and the Columbia River. Understanding which waste sites have the most significant impact and the cumulative effect of all the waste sites is important as decision makers investigate options for cleanup and closure of Hanford.



Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a comprehensive new tool that will provide federal and state regulators with some of the critical information they need to help protect people, the environment and the Columbia River.

The System Assessment Capability, or SAC, is an integrated system of computer models and databases that predicts the movement and fate of contaminants through the vadose zone, the groundwater and to the Columbia River. The vadose zone is the soil above the groundwater. SAC also assesses the impact of contaminants on human health, animals and the environment.


Instead of showing each waste site in isolation as has been done in the past, SAC shows each site in context. “It looks at all the waste sites at Hanford in relationship to each other and how they contribute to future impact,” said Bob Bryce, SAC project manager for PNNL. “Using SAC, we can see which waste sites are making the greatest contribution to future impact and clean them up first.”

A 14-member team of scientists in fields ranging from civil engineering to zoology created the two sets of computer models that are at the heart of SAC. One set simulates how contaminants move through the environment. The second set estimates risk and impact from those contaminants.

The environmental model is based on a comprehensive inventory of potential contaminants from Hanford operations as far back as 1944. With information about the quantity and concentration of contaminants at a site, SAC determines how the contaminant will behave. SAC models how the contaminant will discharge to the soil and move to the groundwater, discharge into the groundwater and, finally, enter the Columbia River.

SAC models these types of scenarios based on data about the geology, chemistry and hydrology of the site. It also predicts the consequences of these scenarios on the environment and the impact of various cleanup options. “These capabilities will be an important information source to aid decision makers in prioritizing cleanup of contaminated sites and putting limited funding to best use,” Bryce said.

Scientists have tested the validity of SAC by comparing SAC results to known plume migrations at the Hanford Site over time. Researchers are preparing to conduct a composite analysis of the future impacts of remaining waste at Hanford. The results of this study will be considered as future waste disposal decisions are made at the site. SAC is an integrated part of DOE’s Groundwater Protection Project.


Business inquiries on SAC should be directed to Kathryn Lang at (509) 375-3837. Business inquiries on other PNNL research and technologies should be directed to 1-888-375-PNNL or inquiry@pnl.gov .


PNNL is a DOE Office of Science research facility and delivers breakthrough science and technology in areas of environment, energy, health, fundamental sciences and national security. Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, has operated PNNL for DOE since 1965.

Geoff Harvey | PNNL
Further information:
http://www.pnl.gov/news/2003/03-17.htm

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>