Southeastern Section - 57th Annual Meeting (10–11 April 2008)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 4:50 PM


JONES, William E.1, PHIFER, Mark A.1, WILHITE, Elmer L.2 and BRECHT, John A.3, (1)Savannah River National Laboratory, Savannah River Site, Bldg. 773-42A, Aiken, SC 29808, (2)Savannah River National Laboratory, Savannah River Site, Bldg. 773-43A, Aiken, SC 29808, (3)Publication Services, Savannah River Site, 703-43A, Aiken, SC 29808,

The United States Department of Energy's Savannah River Site (the Site), located near Aiken, SC, has processed radioactive materials for over fifty years. The Site includes five nuclear reactors, with final shut-down in the 1980's. Ongoing environmental restoration, deconstruction-and-decontamination of legacy buildings, and radioactive-materials processing have produced low-level radioactive wastes. These low-level wastes are disposed by methods including: shallow burial, burial with cement-encapsulation, concrete vault disposal, and vault disposal with cement-encapsulation. Communicating to the public the appropriateness and efficacy of each disposal method is important. DVDs (each approximately 10 minutes in length) and physical models have been developed to explain several material process and disposal methods. Physical models are effective for providing an understanding of a system's process flow or a disposal method's physical layout. DVDs have proven to be an effective approach for visually communicating hydrogeologic concepts such as rainfall infiltration, closure cap hydraulic performance, and cement encapsulation and concrete vault performance in regard to groundwater protection. A readily-understood concept, the “Isolation Quotient”, or IQ, has been developed to illustrate the relative waste isolation provided by each disposal method, and thus how appropriate disposal methods are matched with each waste stream's radioactivity level within the low-level range. Because DVD information can be reviewed repeatedly and easily, an interested member of the public can revisit information to assure understanding, a clear benefit compared to a one-time technical presentation. The DVDs are geared to a seventh-grade level, to reach the widest possible audience. A physical model and a DVD are presented as examples.