Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials

The Interfacial Dynamics in Radioactive Environments and Materials (IDREAM) conducts fundamental science to support innovations in retrieving and processing high-level radioactive waste.


A Foundation for New Discoveries

The mission of IDREAM is to master fundamental interfacial chemistry in complex environments characterized by extremes in alkalinity and low-water activity. We are especially interested in chemical phenomena driven far from equilibrium by ionizing radiation. This information fills a critical knowledge gap around complex chemistry and radiolysis of highly alkaline systems, which can aid in accelerating processing of legacy high-level radioactive waste.

Since August 2016, IDREAM has created a transformative new understanding of key aspects of aluminum chemistry in highly alkaline electrolytes and the influence of ionizing radiation. Our work has resulted in key breakthroughs and is directly challenging long-held beliefs and surmounting barriers through our integrated computational and multi-modal experimental approaches.

IDREAM aims to provide the fundamental science basis to speed up processing of the millions of gallons of highly radioactive wastes stored at DOE’s Hanford and Savannah River Sites. With currently available technologies, removing these wastes from tanks and stabilizing them for disposal will take decades and will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Building on IDREAM’s research progress, our research goals advance a foundation of use-inspired knowledge, enabling accelerated waste-processing alternatives.

IDREAM is an interdisciplinary team of experts united around common research goals, each with unique approaches and tools with transcendent impacts.  Our core science thrusts center on discovering the general principles describing interfacial chemistry under extreme conditions that include highly alkaline electrolytes exposed to ionizing radiation.

  • Science Thrust 1: Molecular and Solution Processes
  • Science Thrust 2: Interfacial Structure and Reactivity
  • Science Thrust 3: Dynamics of Confined Electrolytes

Fusion of knowledge from the core thrusts via cross-cutting activities will enable a comprehensive understanding of interfacial radiolysis that supports accelerated alternatives for processing high-level waste. Our cross-cutting themes are embedded within each of the science thrusts.

  • Cross-Cutting Theme 1: Radiolysis and Radiation Dynamics
  • Cross-Cutting Theme 2: New Computational Tools and Theory
  • Cross-Cutting Theme 3: Synthesis and Materials Characterization