Client: United States Department of Energy
Location: Richland, Washington, USA
Challenge. Integrate modeling and risk assessments to support decision making by multiple contractors and regulators on the largest environmental restoration project in the United States
Solution. INTERA is providing modeling, risk assessment, and data analysis services to support the safe, environmental cleanup of the Central Plateau area of the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hanford Site. Established in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project, the Hanford Site included nine nuclear reactors along the Columbia River and five large plutonium processing complexes, which produced plutonium for most of the more than 60,000 weapons in the United States nuclear arsenal. As a result of early safety procedures and waste disposal practices, operations at Hanford released large amounts of radioactive materials and other contaminants into the air, soils, groundwater, and the Columbia River. Today, it is the site of the largest environmental cleanup project in the United States. INTERA is a key member working under the Plateau Remediation Contract—a 10-year, $4.5 billion effort to eliminate risks at the Hanford Site and protect the adjacent Columbia River. Environmental restoration activities at the site are being conducted in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) through a Tri-Party Agreement between DOE, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and the Washington Department of Ecology. INTERA’s ability to develop and apply high-quality risk-informed decision support tools has been recognized by DOE’s Richland Operations Office and Office of River Protection, as well other major site contractors, as one of the keys to building consensus among all project stakeholders. These tools support the definition of preliminary remediation goals; the evaluation, design, and optimization of remediation systems; the identification of additional site characterization data needs; and the communication of site risks to stakeholders. We have made major contributions to decision documents developed under CERCLA, RCRA, and DOE Order 435.1. We have also developed tools and prepared web-delivered annual reports for the groundwater monitoring system and the pump-and-treat operations that allow stakeholders to query underlying data, create charts and geologic cross sections, and display complex analyses information. INTERA has consistently delivered services and work products in accordance with established schedules and budgets, and made significant contributions toward meeting nearly every Tri-Party Agreement milestone specified in the contract.