March 16, 2018

IDREAM Center Discusses Nuclear Waste with DOE Under Secretary for Science


Under Secretary Paul Dabbar views radioactive materials in a hot cell at the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory, where alternative approaches for radioactive waste treatment are tested. Research in the Department of Energy's IDREAM Energy Frontier Research Center provides a strong science foundation to support these engineering studies.

Photo courtesy of Andrea Starr, PNNL

Under Secretary Paul Dabbar and Chief of Staff Kristen Ellis toured Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on February 6-8, 2018. During their tour, they met with Dr. Sue Clark, Director of the Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials (IDREAM) Energy Frontier Research Center. Clark discussed research accomplishments related to interfacial chemistry in radioactive wastes, which is the focus of IDREAM. These accomplishments support exploration of alternative approaches for radioactive waste processing that may reduce the overall costs of legacy waste cleanup at the Hanford Site, Washington State. These alternative approaches are tested in hot cells at the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory, and are answering tough, fundamental questions vital to removing and vitrifying nuclear waste.

Dabbar serves as the Department of Energy's principal advisor on basic research and energy technologies. As part of his portfolio, Dabbar oversees the Office of Science and its national laboratories. Before his confirmation as Under Secretary, he worked in operations, finance, and strategy roles in the energy sector. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Columbia University, he served as a nuclear submarine officer at Mare Island, California, and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The IDREAM Energy Frontier Research Center is funded by the Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences.

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Pacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on its distinguishing strengths in chemistry, Earth sciences, biology and data science to advance scientific knowledge and address challenges in sustainable energy and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit For more information on PNNL, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Published: March 16, 2018