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WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released an Engineering and Technology Roadmap (Roadmap), which details initiatives aimed at reducing the technical risks and uncertainties associated with cleaning up Cold War era nuclear waste over the next ten years.  The Roadmap also outlines strategies to minimize such risks and proposes how these strategies would be implemented, furthering the Department's goal of protecting the environment by providing a responsible resolution to the environmental legacy of nuclear weapons production.

"The Roadmap seeks to build on the Department's previous successes in technological innovation, which have contributed greatly to the enhanced safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of our environmental management projects," DOE's Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management Jim Rispoli said.  "As we work to improve technologies and processes to safely dispose of Cold War era nuclear waste at sites across the country, this Roadmap will serve to guide the development of an increasingly strong and responsive applied research and engineering program."

Specifically, the Roadmap consists of thirteen strategic initiatives that address anticipated technical risks and uncertainties in the following six areas: waste processing; groundwater and soil remediation; deactivation and decommissioning and facility engineering; spent nuclear fuel; challenging materials; and integration and cross-cutting initiatives.  The initiatives in the Roadmap will help ensure continued success in completing the cleanup of contaminated nuclear weapons manufacturing and testing sites across the United States.

The Department's world-class National Laboratories, led by Savannah River National Laboratory, will spearhead the integration of these engineering and technology efforts.  Input for the Roadmap was provided by DOE's National Laboratories and the Office of Environmental Management's (EM) project directors, stakeholders, site contractors, and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).  In February 2008, the NAS National Research Council (Council) issued its Interim Report on the EM Engineering and Technology program.  The Council agreed with the major program areas for strategic research and development presented in the Roadmap.

Applied engineering and technology development has long played a crucial role in achieving cleanup results in the Environmental Management program, one of the largest, most diverse, and technically complex environmental programs in the world.  The Office of Environmental Management has more information and has the Roadmap available for viewing.

Media contact(s):

Joann Wardrip, (202) 586-4940