Office of Environmental Management

Grand Challenge Inspires Innovative Ideas for Hanford Cleanup Mission

June 5, 2018

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EM Office of River Protection Manager Brian Vance, right, presents a certificate to Matthew Asmussen of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, whose team won this year’s Grand Challenge competition.
EM Office of River Protection Manager Brian Vance, right, presents a certificate to Matthew Asmussen of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, whose team won this year’s Grand Challenge competition.

RICHLAND, Wash. – The winner of this year’s Grand Challenge held by EM’s Office of River Protection (ORP) proposes to develop a technical basis for using cementitious materials for immobilizing treated low-activity waste streams.

   Since its inception six years ago, this annual competition has provided a forum for creative ideas that could lead to cost savings and efficiencies for Hanford’s tank waste cleanup mission. 

   “The Grand Challenge Workshop is how we communicate our biggest mission challenge areas and encourage great ideas to tackle them. Grand Challenge participants represent the labs, contractors, and federal employees who will be the brain trust to help us solve these issues and better accomplish ORP’s mission,” said Naomi Jaschke, ORP chief technology officer and this year’s Grand Challenge lead. 

   This year’s first-place idea was submitted by a team comprised of Matthew Asmussen, Matthew Fountain, Joe Westsik, Gary Smith and Sarah Saslow from DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Ridha Mabrouki from Hanford Site tank farms contractor Washington River Protection Solutions; and DaBrisha Smith from ORP. 

   At the competition, ORP employees representing each aspect of ORP’s mission reviewed 26 ideas and selected 10 finalists, which were presented at a two-day workshop last month. Ideas were submitted by teams from DOE, its national laboratories and contractors, and universities.

   The 10 judges who determined the top entry included representatives from DOE, the labs, and federal contractors. They looked at a variety of factors, including technical viability and risks; whether ideas were achievable within a timeframe to meet mission needs; whether ideas could be executed with existing safety basis requirements; cost avoidance; cost savings; and process efficiencies. 

   The winning proposal and other top entries will be considered for potential implementation.

 

 

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