Identifying the contamination challenges before cleanup begins

To determine the extent of radiological contamination at sites scheduled for decontamination and decommissioning, the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) performs independent, objective environmental assessments.

These contaminated site assessments are designed using the data quality objectives process, which focuses on the particular objective of the assessment, thus narrowing the data collected. Surface scans are performed and documented using technology such as Global Positioning Systems to produce location-specific, color-coded maps to document locations where radiation has been detected. ORISE also performs media sampling and radiochemical analyses to support these assessments. 

ORISE also provides scoping surveys, which include cursory scanning and measurements, as well as limited sampling to determine the presence of radioactive contaminants. Designation or inclusion surveys determine whether a site is contaminated to the extent that regulatory guideline levels are exceeded.

The benefits of ORISE environmental assessments include:

  • Reduces uncertainty in the estimates of contaminated land and facilities
  • Allows evaluation of various cleanup alternatives
  • Produces reliable estimates of radioactive waste volumes generated