PULLMAN, Wash. –Thirteen research projects have been selected for initial
funding as part of the first joint collaborative effort between the Inland
Northwest Research Alliance and the Department of Energy’s Idaho National
Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. Washington State University has
received funding for four of the 13 projects.
This research is oriented toward gaining a better understanding of subsurface
conditions and various contaminants present at the INEEL site, located 50
miles west of Idaho Falls, as well as other Department of Energy facilities. The
goal is to develop environmental cleanup methods that can be used in a
variety of applications.
INRA funding for the projects will total about $3 million over three years and
fund doctoral and postdoctoral researchers who will work on collaborative
projects. The various INRA member institutions will contribute another $1
million toward the success of the projects.
Researchers will spend time on their projects at the INEEL and at the various
INRA institutions. These collaborative projects are designed to stimulate
additional collaborations between the faculty at the INRA member institutions
and the researchers at the INEEL, and to prepare a new work force for the
“We hope to use these projects to help build the science base for the
laboratory, as well as for new funding opportunities for our institutions,” says
James Petersen, interim executive director of INRA.
The winning proposals include:
— A portable sensor for detecting subsurface contaminants, Boise State
University, the University of Idaho and INEEL.
— High-resolution three-dimensional characterization of heterogeneous
sedimentary architecture and transport parameter distributions in coarse
unconsolidated alluvial deposits, BSU, INEEL.
— Accelerator XRF soil assays, Idaho State University, BSU, INEEL
— Basalt stratigraphy beneath INEEL, ISU, INEEL.
— Laser-assisted secondary ion emission for molecular characterization of
mineral surfaces at microscopic scale, Montana State University, INEEL.
— Indirect microbial alteration of reducible metal ions, MSU, INEEL.
— Addressing community and natural resources policy as a part of INEEL
subsurface science, UI, Utah State University, INEEL.
— Molecular characterization of TCE co-metabolizing microbial communities in
the Snake River Plain aquifer, UI, INEEL.
— Development of an integrated watershed information management tool for
long-term facilities stewardship at the INEEL, USU, INEEL.
— Vapor phase partitioning of chlorocarbons on INEEL soil — quantifying
non-ideal sorption phenomena, Washington State University, INEEL
— Destruction of DNAPLS in the subsurface of metal oxide-catalyzed
fenton-like reactions, WSU, INEEL.
— Developing analytical methods to determine the chemistry of plutonium and
other actinide association with INEEL subsurface materials, WSU, INEEL.
— Sorption of cesium in natural sediments, WSU, INEEL.
Seven universities formed the Inland Northwest Research Alliance in the
spring of 1999. The member universities include Boise State, Idaho State, the
University of Idaho, Montana State, the University of Montana, Utah State
and Washington State. INRA is a partner with Bechtel BWXT Idaho, the
corporation responsible for managing and operating the INEEL.
The INEEL is a science-based, applied engineering national laboratory
dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s missions in
environment, energy, science and national security. In its managing role, INRA
will help set the direction for scientific research performed at the INEEL.
“One of the objectives of INRA is to fund excellence,” says Petersen. “This
collaborative effort is a way to focus on the good science going on at the
INEEL and the universities. These projects demonstrate how INRA is a benefit
for the universities, INEEL and the region.”
The 13 projects were selected from 26 proposals received. They were peer
reviewed by a panel of representatives from each INRA institution, three
scientists from the INEEL and one scientist from the Department of Energy’s
Idaho Operations Office.