Uranium groundwater study announced

April 18, 2007 at 1:59 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 18 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Energy is funding a $27.5 million, five-year study of contaminated groundwater at two former uranium processing sites.

The study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is designed to identify new approaches and strategies to help resolve questions about the movement of subsurface contaminants.

The research will be conducted at the Hanford Site in Richland, Wash. -- the nation's most contaminated nuclear site -- and at a uranium mill tailings site in Rifle, Colo.

A team of PNNL scientists and researchers from three other Energy Department laboratories, four universities and the U.S. Geological Survey are involved in the study.

"We hope to understand the microbial factors and the associated geochemistry that is controlling uranium movement, so that (the Department of Energy) can confidently remediate the uranium plumes," PNNL geohydrologist Phil Long said. "Our approach should lead to new knowledge that can then be used to develop effective flow and reactive transport models."

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