A 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan that knocked out a nuclear power plant helped inspire PNNL computational scientists looking for clues of future nuclear reactor mishaps by tracking radioactive iodine.
At PNNL, subsurface science inhabits two separate but interlocking worlds. One looks at basic science, the other at applied science and engineering. Both are funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
With the help of a diagnostic tool called the Salish Sea Model, researchers found that toxic contaminant hotspots in the Puget Sound are tied to localized lack of water circulation and cumulative effects from multiple sources.
The world’s largest scientific society honored Sue B. Clark, a PNNL and WSU chemist, for contributions toward resolving our legacy of radioactive waste, advancing nuclear safeguards, and developing landmark nuclear research capabilities.
The inner Salish Sea’s future response to climate change, while significant, is predicted to be less severe than that of the open ocean based on parameters like algal blooms, ocean acidification, and annual occurrences of hypoxia.
Installing new access holes (up to 6 feet in diameter) could reduce the overall time and cost to retrieve waste from Hanford's underground storage tanks, according to a structural analysis of the tank domes by PNNL and Becht Engineering.
"It's sort of like using infrared goggles to see heat signatures in the dark, except this is underground." PNNL and CHPRC implemented a state-of-the-art approach to monitor the process of remediating residual uranium at Hanford's 300 Area.
Researchers used novel methods to safely create and analyze plutonium samples. The approaches could prove influential in future studies of the radioactive material, benefitting research in legacy, national security and nuclear fuels.