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Asia & The Pacific Rim


DOE has been working with China on a wide range of sustainable energy activities with China for many years. In 1995, DOE signed a new Protocol for Cooperation in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. In Februay 1995, Secretary Hazel O’Leary led a Presidential Mission on Sustainable Energy and Trade to China. In May 1997, a DOE delegation participated in the first United States-China Energy Efficiency Steering Committee Meeting in Beijing to coordinate U.S. -China energy efficiency activities under the 1995 protocol.

DOE is involved in a number of ongoing cooperative efforts and projects in China including:

  • The United States-China Center for Energy and Environmental Technology
  • The Beijing Energy Efficiency Center
  • United States-Chongqing Cooperation in Energy and Environment
  • The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Project
  • Climate Change
  • Energy Security

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U.S. DOE/State Development Planning Commission Agreement on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Technologies

On June 29, 1998, the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy Technologies Agreement between the DOE and the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC) was signed in China. This agreement outlines the cooperation between the parties in activities supporting peaceful nuclear technologies, which are to be directed towards exchanging information on, and finding solutions to, mutually existing problems. The areas of cooperation covered by this agreement that are specific to the DOE Office of Environmental Management include:

  • Reactor deactivation and decommissioning, including fuel treatment and storage
  • Nuclear material transportation, including transportation of spent fuel, and shipping casks
  • Environmental remediation, radioactive and chemical waste management, and spent fuel management

For the initiation of this agreement, Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson met with Chairman Zhang Huazhu, of the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) while in Vienna, Austria in October 1998. At this meeting, Mr. Richardson expressed his wishes to begin activation of the agreement. Along these lines, DOE Policy representatives will be traveling to Beijing to outline proposed areas of cooperation, and to establish a Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) meeting to be held in Spring 1999 between DOE and SDPC in Beijing.

Contact: Elizabeth O’Malley, EM-54, 202/586-0175

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Agreement on Radioactive Waste Management

The DOE and the Japan Nuclear Cycle Development Institute (JNC) have signed an Agreement on Cooperation in the area of Radioactive Waste Management on November 20, 1986. The objective of the agreement is to study topics of joint interest associated with the safe management of radioactive wastes. Areas of cooperation covered by this agreement include:

  • Waste-form characterization, including the standardization of tests to predict glass performance during disposal
  • Development of new waste forms
  • Development and testing of waste treatment processes
  • Transportation requirements

Four "Work for Others" Annexes to this agreement have been signed in the areas of Mass Transport: Characterization and Predictive Technologies, Thermochemical and Adsorption Data, Performance Assessment and Experimental Studies, and Collaborative Program on Flow and Transport Modeling Research Initiatives.

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Mass Transport: Characterization and Predictive Technologies

The objectives of this four year U.S.- Japanese collaborative program, initiated in March 1993, are to: 1) improve the understanding of the fundamental physics and chemistry that governs the processes that will play a significant role in the safety of radioactive waste disposal, and 2) develop characterization and predictive technologies of release and transport of radionuclides in heterogeneous geologic media. Emphasis will be placed on advanced understanding of mass transport through complex geological systems by reviewing experimental design, analyzing experimental data, and testing current analytical and numerical models against the experimental results.

JNC will sponsor 100% of this research program at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) with anticipated results applicable to problems of radioactive waste isolation.

Contact: Chin Fu Tsang, LBNL 510/486-5782

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Thermochemical and Adsorption Data

This collaborative program, initiated in November 1993, highlights international recognition of DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) staff as experts in Thermochemical and Adsorption Data. Its principle objectives are to:

  • Develop thermodynamic data for aqueous species and solid phases important to the geological disposal of nuclear waste
  • Develop mechanistic adsorption processes
  • Develop kinetic data needed to evaluate the importance of increased crystallinity of the solid phases on predicted aqueous solubilities
  • Conduct experimental validation of thermodynamic data and adsorption models using waste glasses and soils/geologic materials

The benefits to DOE and JNC include availability of data for use in high-level, low-level, and tank wastes, which is currently being used in performance assessment calculations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and the Plutonium Immobilization Program (PIP). Also, the development of technical expertise and the enhanced credibility of performance assessment calculation for repository programs will prove beneficial in both the U.S. and Japan.

Contact: Lynette Downing, PNNL 509/372-4010

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Performance Assessment and Experimental Studies

JNC and DOE agreed on a collaborative program on performance assessment and experimental studies at Sandia National Laboratories in the areas of High Level Nuclear Waste Disposal, Transuranic (TRU) Waste Disposal, and Long-Term Research for understanding the basic processes for nuclear waste disposal.

The primary objective of the collaborative program is to further develop radioactive waste management technologies in the following areas: 1) methodology development and implementation for performance assessment, site characterization planning, and decision analysis; 2) laboratory and field experimental work for process model development; and 3) quality assurance and other programmatic support.

Contact: Peter Davies, SNL 505/844-3072

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Collaborative Program on Flow and Transport Modeling Research Initiative

The purpose of this task is to identify possible sources of uncertainty that have been ignored in the flow calculation with intercomparison of the reference flow calculations in the fractured rock for the JNC second progress report on geological disposal.

Sandia National Laboratories, Geohydrology Department will simulate a JNC defined test problem using a combination of geostatistically-based fracture models coupled with high-resolution simulation of subsurface flow. Transport simulation will be performed if time and resources permit. It is assumed that the test problem will look like the current reference case of the JNC second progress report. The flow and transport simulation will be run using the massively-parallels POR-SALSA code developed at Sandia National Laboratories. The intercomparison exercise consists of the following two stages: benchmarking and model comparison.

Contact: Eric Webb, SNL 505/844-2479

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The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) has cooperated with DOE Laboratories since 1994. The following is a summary of the various projects ANSTO has completed in conjunction with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the Plutonium Immobilization Project:

  • Prepare and Process Sample Waste Forms, March 1994
  • Report on Process Flow Diagram, descriptions and samples, September 1994
  • Optimization of Cold and Press Routes, May 1996
  • Application of Synroc to Plutonium, February 1997
  • Demonstration of Pu Immobilization in Synroc, February 1997
  • Form Development and Performance Testing. Process equipment testing, June 1998

ANSTO has also cooperated with the Argonne National Laboratory, in a project entitled, "Demonstration of Hot Isostatic Press Technologies for Production of High Level Radioactive Waste Forms", and is negotiating a Staff Collaboration Agreement concerning application of LEU targets for Mo 99 production (for Radiopharmaceuticals). DOE and ANSTO are currently considering the establishment of a formal Science and Technology Agreement.

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