Events & Highlights

Secretary of Energy selects Kosson as member of key review committee

August 03, 2012

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has assembled a group of independent technical experts to assess certain aspects of the design of a new, state-of-the art waste treatment plant that the Department of Energy is planning to construct on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeastern Washington state. David Kosson, the Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been selected as one of its nine members.

The Hanford Waste Treatment & Immobilization Plant Project will be the world’s first chemical waste processing facility capable of both separating radioactive liquid waste and turning it into a stable glass form suitable for permanent disposal. The plant is being designed and built to treat millions of gallons of tank waste from plutonium production at Hanford from the 1940s to the 1980s. 

The review is focused on the plant’s capability, as designed, to detect equipment failure and to repair failed equipment inside enclosed concrete rooms in the facility called “black cells.” Due to high levels of radioactivity once the plant begins operations, the cells are designed to be sealed with no access by personnel over the plant’s anticipated 40-year operating life.

“I will be receiving input from each of these highly capable experts to help improve our ability to detect and address any potential issues in the black cells that could arise during the course of the waste treatment plant’s operational life,” Chu said. “These experts have a reputation for developing creative solutions to highly technical issues, and their independent advice will enable us to integrate worthwhile ideas into the design of the plant before construction is completed.”

“David’s appointment to Secretary Chu’s team is great news. His appointment is further recognition of the Vanderbilt School of Engineering’s long-term research expertise in nuclear environmental remediation. It demonstrates that Vanderbilt engineers are focused on some of the major challenges that our nation faces,” said Philippe Fauchet, dean of the School of Engineering.

Kosson is familiar with the operations at Hanford due to his role as principal investigator of the Consortium For Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP), a multi-university group funded by DOE to advance cost-effective, low-risk methods for cleaning up radioactive waste sites at the nation’s nuclear weapons production facilities and to do so in a manner that is acceptable to the people living in the area. CRESP has been funded by DOE for more than 15 years and has had considerable success in assisting the department in designing acceptable remediation plans

SRA 2012 Annual Meeting

December 9-12, 2012 — San Francisco, California

Risk Analysis, including risk perception, risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication, represents an interdisciplinary field that is the foundation of decision making across a myriad of disciplines. The annual meeting of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) brings together nearly 1,000 international scientists and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines who share an interest in risk analysis. Representing academia, government, industry, NGOs, private firms, and themselves, SRA members recognize the value of diverse perspectives and a shared commitment to high quality risk analysis methodology and practice. Preliminary Program Guide

CRESP Participation:

Parameters for a biomonitoring plan for mercury in freshwater ecosystemsBurger J*, Gochfeld M, Kosson D, Powers CW, Clarke J; Rutgers University, UMDNJ, Vanderbilt University and CRESP   

Abstract: Biomonitoring for contaminants of concern to eco-receptors and humans is an important part of protecting human and ecological health. Usually a biomonitoring plan is developed to fit several objectives, several stressors, and several contaminants, making it difficult to manage the variability involved. We propose that a tiered approach is necessary for biomonitoring in freshwater ecosystems whereby an initial assessment examines a wide range of contaminants and radionuclides, followed by a periodic sampling plan that addresses specific contaminants of concern, with a smaller set of bioindicators. We suggest that for mercury, the following steps are required 1) Identification of lead agency (or organization), 2) identification of sources, stockpiles, and level of contamination, 3) definition and agreement of objectives, 4) clarification of temporal and spatial scales, 5) definition of scope, 6) selection of bioindicators, 7) development of monitoring methodology (and agents to conduct the sampling and analysis), 8) data evaluation in the context of remedial actions and anticipated results of remedial actions, 9) cost, time, and expertise evaluations (can the plan be easily conducted and evaluated), and 10) iterative evaluation of all previous steps. For monitoring of mercury levels in freshwater organisms, the following must be considered: 1) interspecific and intraspecific variation, 2) age, sex, and condition variables of indicator species, 3) seasonal differences, 4) mobility and migration effects, 5) trophic status (and food items), 6) foraging location (water column, bottom), 7) habitat usage (eggs and tadpoles are aquatic, adult frogs may be semi-terrestrial), 8) current or water movement patterns, and 9) life span and growth rates. Further attention needs to be devoted to co-contaminants or co-elements that might amplify effects (e.g. PCB levels that might enhance toxicity) or ameliorate effects (e.g. selenium that can partly protect against mercury toxicity).

Kosson Appointed as Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering

David S. Kosson, professor and chairman of the department, received the honor of being named a Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Engineering. Dr. Kosson is an internationally recognized expert in safe and environmentally responsible management of large volume wastes and highly hazardous materials.

Read Story

Craig Benson named to National Academy of Engineering

Craig Benson, Wisconsin Distinguished Professor of Geological Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering, is among 66 new members and 10 foreign associates elected to the NAE in 2012. Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer, and membership honors those who made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice or education..

Read Story

CRESP Participation in Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future Meetings

Final Report from BRC available

CRESP Participation in WM2012

Use of risk evaluation analysis to build confidence in LLW performance assessments – 12310, Rustick, J., J. Clarke, and M. Letourneau.

Panel: University/ Laboratory Research Collaboration in Support of WM and Environmental Remediation, Panelists: B. Moore, US DOE; K. Higley, Oregon State University; W. Wicker, Colorado State University; M.J. Graham, LANL; W. Kuhne, SRNL and R.C. Williamson, South Carolina University.

Perceptions and Attitudes about Nuclear and Other Energy Sources Following the Fukushima Accident – 12087, J. Burger, and M. Gochfeld.

An Ecological Multidisciplinary Approach to Protecting Society, Human Health and the Environment at Nuclear Facilities -12244, J. Burger

Characterization and Model Parameterization for Assessing the Impact of Episodic Hydrological Events on Long-Term Disposal Facilities – 12117, Worthy, R., M. Abkowitz, J. Clarke, and C. Benson.

CRESP Participation in WM2011

Analysis of Modeling Capabilities to Predict Disposal Facility Cover Design and Performance at DOE sites – 11057 Roneisha Worthy, James Clarke, Mark Abkowitz, Vanderbilt University; Craig Benson, University of Washington (USA)

Multimodel Assessment of the Worth of Data under Uncertainty – 11416 Shlomo Neuman, Liang Xue, University of Arizona; Dan Lu, Ming Ye, Florida State University (USA)

Transparency in the Selection of Biosphere Transfer Parameters for Geological Disposal Systems – 11515 David Bytwerk, Kathryn Higley, Elizabeth Houser, Oregon State University (USA)

GoldSim’s Dynamic-Link Library (DLL) Interface for Cementitious Barriers Partnership (CBP) – 11444 Kevin Brown, Vanderbilt University; Frank Smith, Greg Flach, Savannah River National Laboratory (USA)

Cementitious Barriers Partnership (CBP),Phase 1: Code Integration – 11446 Kevin Brown, Sohini Sarkar, Vanderbilt University; Greg Flach, Frank Smith, Savannah River National Laboratory (USA)

Cementitous Barriers Partnership Accomplishments and Relevance to the USDOE Complex – 11443 Heather Burns, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions; Greg Flach, Christine Langton, Savannah River National Laboratory; David Kosson, Kevin Brown, Vanderbilt University; Linda Suttora, Pramod Mallick, US DOE; David Esh, Jacob Philip, US NRC; Edward Garboczi, National Institute of Standards Technology (USA); Eric Samson, SIMCO Technologies, Inc. (Canada); H. Van Der Sloot, JCL Meeussen, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (The Netherlands)

E5. Perceptions of Native Americans and Caucasians Interviewed at the Fort Hall Reservation about Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Resources to be Restored – 11386 Joanna Burger, Rutgers University; Charles Powers, Vanderbilt University; Michael Gochfeld, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School(USA)

Building Confidence in Performance Assessments through Performance Confirmation – 11394 Joseph Rustick, James Clarke, Vanderbilt University; Martin Letourneau, US DOE (USA)

Effect of Various Factors on the Durability Prediction of Nuclear Waste Containment Structures – 11546 Sohini Sarkar, David Kosson, Sankaran Mahadevan, Kevin Brown, Vanderbilt
University; H. Van Der Sloot, JCL Meeussen, Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (The Netherlands); Greg Flach, Christine Langton, Savannah River National Laboratory (USA)

Pumping Test Characterization of Deep Vadose Zone Properties – 11415 Shlomo Neuman, Phoolendra Mishra, University of Arizona (USA)

  • News & Updates Categories
  • Monthly Archives
  • Archives
  • Categories
    • No categories
  • Events & Highlights