February 1, 2023
Staff Accomplishment

Four Nuclear Waste Researchers Receive ASTM International Awards

Honors recognize PNNL expertise in wasteform development and spent nuclear fuel management

Matt Asmussen, Viviana Gervasio, Benjamin Parruzot, and Alessandra Fujii Yamagata pictured on a textured background with ASTM logo

Featured here are the four honorees of ASTM International Awards: (top, left to right) Matthew Asmussen, Viviana Gervasio, (bottom, left to right) Benjamin Parruzot, and Alessandra Lie Fujii Yamagata

(Original photographs by Andrea Starr, composite image by Shannon Colson | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Four Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) researchers specializing in nuclear waste management received ASTM International Awards, presented by the ASTM International Committee C26 on Nuclear Fuel Cycle for their work to develop, revise, and publish technical standards for spent nuclear fuel, waste materials, and repository waste packaging and storage.

“The efforts recognized by ASTM demonstrate the international leadership Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has in the nuclear community,” said chemist Matthew Asmussen, one of the awardees. “Our staff are the technical contacts for a variety of the ASTM standards in C26, and it shows the breadth of expertise we have in-house at PNNL.”

Asmussen received the Achievement Award for developing and leading a round robin to finalize ASTM Method C1733, “Standard Test Method for Distribution Coefficients of Inorganic Species by Batch Method.” This award was a recognition of “seeing the scientific community do what it does best, come together in a collaborative fashion to help each other out,” he said.

This research effort was carried out by an international group of nine participating laboratories and universities willing to independently perform the test method, making up what is known as a round robin. Asmussen explained, “When it comes to developing and refining techniques we use in the labs, round robins are common and should be done. They allow us to see how variable the method is across numerous users, so researchers can take that variation into account when assessing the uncertainty and error in our data.”

“Organizing a round robin by no means is easy, but the product is worth it,” Asmussen said. “It was nice to see a method that we commonly use get the final seal of approval for its precision, regardless of the lab performing it.”

Asmussen was also recognized for leading revision of ASTM Guide C1682, “Standard Guide for Characterization of Spent Nuclear Fuel in Support of Interim Storage, Transportation and Geologic Repository Disposal”.

The ASTM International Committee C26 presented the Award of Appreciation to material scientists Viviana Gervasio, Benjamin Parruzot, and Alessandra Lie Fujii Yamagata for leading the revision of several ASTM Standards. Gervasio led the revision of ASTM Method C1720, “Standard Test Method for Determining Liquidus Temperature of Waste Glasses and Simulated Waste Glasses”; while Parruzot led the revision of ASTM Method C1220, “Standard Test Method for Static Leaching of Monolithic Waste Forms for Disposal of Radioactive Waste”, and Yamagata led the revision of ASTM Guide C1752, “Standard Guide for Measuring Physical and Rheological Properties of Radioactive Solutions, Slurries, and Sludges.”

Gervasio said the award came as a surprise. “It made me realize that what I consider one of my standard work responsibilities, was more than that. By leading the ASTM review, I was participating in something bigger with worldwide resonance. It was a very exciting and humbling experience for me!”