Our 2025 Vision
A decade of rapid advances in understanding the behavior of radioactive materials has hastened the processing and safe storage of U.S. radioactive waste stockpiles and deterred would-be nuclear weapons proliferators by developing definitive identifiers of nuclear processing.
Exposure to radiation changes fundamental properties of materials and presents significant challenges for nuclear reactor design, waste management, environmental remediation, and prevention of weapons proliferation. Our goal is to attain deep understanding and control of the behavior of materials in radiation environments and to identify the tell-tale “signatures” of irradiated materials as they evolve through exposure and processing.
Each year, the U.S. government spends billions of dollars managing the nuclear legacies of the Cold War, including environmental remediation, and designing chemical processes for long-term storage of defense waste. By gaining deeper understanding of the behavior and performance of irradiated materials, PNNL supports the missions of the Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and other federal agencies. The goal is to craft innovative, cost-effective solutions to the long-standing challenges associated with nuclear materials and wastes and the threat of nuclear weapons proliferation.
University of Washington, Washington State University, Georgia Tech, University of Missouri, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Notre Dame, City University of New York.
Radiochemical Processing Laboratory
PNNL’s Radiochemical Processing Laboratory (RPL) is a vital resource for addressing Hanford tank waste, subsurface contamination, and other environmental challenges. A Hazard Category II Non-Reactor Nuclear Facility, RPL's capabilities are used to develop, test, and implement processes for environmental cleanup and other needs.