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North America



In cooperation with U.S. and Mexican Federal, State, and local agencies, the Carlsbad Area Office (CAO) has assumed the DOE lead for developing and implementing technical collaborations with Mexico’s industry, government, and academic sectors to improve the management of hazardous wastes throughout the U.S./Mexico border region. It was determined at the U.S./Mexico Border Region Forum, Application of Energy Technologies to Hazardous Waste Needs, which was held in August 1998 in Carlsbad, New Mexico, that DOE is well suited to be the technology experts to address the regions escalating environmental degradation that is associated with an array of hazardous waste problems. DOE’s potential contribution as technology experts was strongly endorsed during the Carlsbad meeting by U.S. and Mexican elected officials, scientific leaders from both countries, U.S. and Mexican industrial participants, and the international academic community. The consensus was that the Office of Science and Technology within DOE, provides expertise which could be used in developing environmental restoration and waste management approaches for the border region.

DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) is considering establishing an international collaboration with the Mexican government and its associated research institutes to address environmental management issues as they relate to the border region.

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DOE/EM proposes to invite Mexican delegates to observe selected technology demonstrations which are scheduled to be conducted in FY1999 at DOE sites in support of the Characterization, Monitoring and Sensor Technology Cross Cutting Program and the Subsurface Contaminants Focus Area. These technology demonstrations will provide the Mexican side with a view of the latest, state of the art, environmental management technologies that are currently being developed in the U.S. In addition to participating in the technology demonstration, these projects will provide the Mexican side with the opportunity to conduct in-depth technical discussions with U.S. experts in the area of environmental management. These relationships will provide the foundation for any future scientific collaborations. The following demonstrations are currently planned for FY1999 and would benefit from Mexican participation at a very low cost to DOE:

  • Chemical Analysis Automation Demonstration
  • In-Situ Vitrification and Stabilization of Transuranic/Mixed Waste Demonstration
  • Passive Reactive Barrier Demonstration
  • Alternative Landfill Cover Demonstration (ALCD)

Finally, in late FY1999 or early FY2000, an appropriate site in a border state could be identified for a technology demonstration involving Mexican participants.

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In May 1998, the Chemical Analysis Automation (CAA) Program held a DOE-sponsored workshop and meeting on CAA technology, which included tours of the Mobile Environmental Laboratory. The purpose of the workshop was to determine the deployment possibilities of CAA technology for environmental usage in Mexico, and to form a working relationship for possible future collaborations and joint activities involving CAA.

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Work for Others Projects with Mexico

On June 10, 1998, Secretary Pena and Secretary Tellez signed Project Annex 1 and 2 on Cooperation in the Field of Energy Efficiency and in the Field of Renewable Energy under the Bilateral Agreement for Energy Cooperation between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Secretariat of Energy of the United Mexican States. On October 21, 1998, Project Annex 3 for Environmental Cooperation in the Field of Hydrocarbons was signed in Mexico City by Secretary Richardson and Secretary Tellez. This work is coordinated through HAZWRAP, Oak Ridge Operations Office.

Project Annex 1- Cooperation in the Field of Renewable Energy
Specific activities under this Annex include: agricultural development, protected areas Management and Ecotourism, Solar Water Heating Initiative, and Rural Electrification.

Some results of this project are: over 200 systems installed, representing 100kW in 10 Mexican states, over 40 renewable energy companies from the U.S. & Mexico are participating in the program, and more that 50,000 Mexicans have benefited from the renewable energy applications in Mexico.

Project Annex 2- Cooperation in the Field of Energy Efficiency
Accomplishments under Annex 2 include: a week long DSM training sponsored by LBNL for 38 CFE employees, (and twelve people from three other Mexican agencies) in Torreon, Mexico under funding support to CONAE from DOE; participation by the Alliance to Save Energy in the Monterrey Sustainable Cities Program in 1995; and ten educational energy efficiency seminars and trade missions.

Project Annex 3- Environmental Cooperation in the Field of Hydrocarbons
This Annex includes projects relating to: joint research, development, demonstration and evaluation of environmental technologies to increase the efficiency and reduce the environmental impacts of fuels, and of technologies to help characterize and remediate hydrocarbon-based contamination; cooperation in the assessment of environmental and ecological damage by hydrocarbons and cooperation in the assessment of environmental technologies and their efficiency in addressing environmental problems; and collaboration in the training, in environmental technologies and methods, of researchers, engineers, and technicians.

POC: Patty Breed, DOE- PO-82, 202/586-2510

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The Light Duty Utility Arm (LDUA), developed through the Tanks Focus Area (TFA) in partnership with Spar Aerospace Limited of Canada, continues to assist in characterization, surveillance and retrieval activities at high-level waste tank sites across the DOE complex. Originally deployed at the Hanford Site to conduct characterization activities in 1996, the arm was then modified and used for retrieval and scarification activities at Oak Ridge Reservation. Most recently, the LDUA was deployed at Idaho to conduct a nondestructive examination of tank walls and to collect heel samples. The data samples collected in 1999 will be used to help Idaho develop plans for closing the tank farm and for analyzing various tank remediation options being considered in their High Level Waste Environmental Impact Statement. The LDUA will remain at Idaho for future use in the remaining 10 underground storage tanks and other applications.

Contact: Kurt Gerdes, EM-53, 301/903-7289

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Development and Evaluation of Technologies to Remediate Fractured Bedrock Sites Contaminated by Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs)

In May 1999, a Statement of Intent (PDF) was signed between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, outlining a cooperative project in the area of ground water contamination with DNAPLs in fractured bedrock.

This agreement proposes that the MOE for the Province of Ontario work jointly with the Office of Environmental Management’s (EM) Office of Science and Technology (OST) of the U.S. Department of Energy to pursue the development, evaluation and dissemination of information about more cost-effective characterization and remediation techniques for these sites.

The MOE, through the Smithville Phase IV Bedrock Remediation Program, has developed and/or applied site characterization technologies at the Smithville Site as part of the evaluation of remedial solutions. The comprehensive site characterization, using leading edge technologies and the extensive database available makes Smithville an ideal location for applied remediation technology evaluation and development. Technologies developed at the Smithville site would be applicable to many other sites in the United States and Ontario.

OST’s mission is to provide the full range of Science and Technology resources and capabilities, from basic research to development, and from demonstration and deployment to technical assistance, needed to deliver and support fully developed, deployable scientific and technological solutions to EM cleanup and long-term environmental stewardship problems.

Both parties have complementary missions and consequently agree to share information on site characterization methods, computer modeling, and remediation technologies for contaminated ground water at these sites. Also, a seminar/workshop on ground water contamination in fractured rock is proposed for FY1999 or FY2000. To the extent possible and practical, the MOE will make the Smithville site available for research and demonstration purposes.

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

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