December 20, 2023
Staff Accomplishment

Waste Management Symposia Selects PNNL Experts for Key Roles

Gadey, Peeler, and Brouns represent PNNL’s radioactive waste management research

David Peeler (left), Harish Gadey (center), and Tom Brouns (right) with the WMS24 logo

PNNL’s David Peeler (left), Harish Gadey (center), and Tom Brouns (right) have been appointed to key positions on the Waste Management Symposia’s Program Advisory Committee.

(Composite image by Shannon Colson | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory)

Three Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) experts were elected to key positions for the Waste Management Symposia (WMS).

WM Symposia, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that provides an international forum to share radioactive waste management solutions and nuclear facility decommissioning processes. The upcoming WM2024 event marks the 50th anniversary of the annual conference, which commenced in 1974. The WM2024 event’s theme is “Marking 50 Years: Proud of our Past, Poised for the Future,” which will take place on March 10–14, 2024, in Phoenix, Arizona.

The Program Advisory Committee (PAC) roles are based on ongoing active voluntary support by individuals who want to support the mission of WMS.

Physicist Harish Gadey was named a PAC member to help coordinate track five, which covers packaging and transportation topics. Gadey specializes in spent nuclear fuel analysis and radiation detection. His research at PNNL focuses on the areas of back-end systems analysis, spent fuel transportation, health physics code consolidation, radiation detection, and machine learning. 

“I’m looking forward for the opportunity to review abstracts and papers, co-chair sessions, and organize sessions with a focus on spent nuclear fuel packaging and transportation,” said Gadey. “As a Program Advisory Committee member, it is exciting to promote cutting edge research and help put together a great session for experts in the field worldwide to learn from one another and stay up-to-date with the latest research and information.”

David Peeler, deputy sector manager of environmental management programs at PNNL, was elected to serve a three-year term as the Track 2 co-chair, which concentrates on high-level radioactive wastes and spent nuclear fuel. Peeler is a materials scientist with over 30 years of experience in nuclear waste processing, which has primarily focused on developing baseline flowsheets, advanced glass formulations, and alternative processing strategies to improve operational efficiencies for national and international vitrification facilities. 

“It is an honor to be elected as Track 2 co-chair and have the opportunity to work with dedicated Waste Management staff and volunteers to advance and strategically align Track 2 with emerging international waste processing challenges or cross cutting technology needs to solve complex issues associated with high-level waste and spent nuclear fuel,” said Peeler.

Tom Brouns, sector manager of environmental management programs, was elected to a two-year term as the PAC representative to the WMS Board of Directors. In this role, Brouns will serve on various WMS PAC and Board committees, including the Program and Performance standing committee which reviews and constantly evaluates the scope and effectiveness of the conference and makes recommendations for action if necessary.

Brouns is a chemical engineer with extensive technical and management experience in the disposition and remediation of chemical and nuclear waste, including processing, disposal, and subsurface cleanup. Since joining PNNL in 1987, he has led major science and technology programs for the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) and for DOE contractors. He served as a WMS Track 2 Co-chair for many years and was elected as WM Symposia Fellow in 2016.

The PAC terms start on March 14, 2024. Gadey, Peeler, and Brouns will join nearly 3,000 attendees from more than 30 countries at WM2024. The conference covers cross-cutting topics including robotic handling, remote systems, new technologies, radioactive and hazardous waste characterization, treatment storage, packaging, transportation, and disposal, engineering design and construction, environmental laboratories, decontamination, decommissioning, and environmental remediation. An interactive demonstration of PNNL’s research will be in booth 1210.

“More than five dozen PNNL researchers and leaders attend this premier international conference annually to share technical expertise and showcase PNNL’s mission critical, science and engineering contributions toward nuclear waste management,” Brouns said. “WMS also builds collaboration on emerging international topics where PNNL contributes research, including small modular reactors for nuclear energy.”