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DOE-Japan Collaboration Expands with U.S. Embassy Fellows

Submitted by on February 17, 2013 – 11:55 amNo Comment

TOKYO –Two DOE researchers with expertise in EM’s decontamination and environmental restoration are serving as U.S. Embassy Science Fellows in Japan, advising the Ministry of Environment and other agencies as they clean up from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident in 2011.

The fellowships mark new efforts to share EM’s nuclear facilities cleanup experience with Japan in a growing partnership that has included collaboration by a bilateral commission and EM-led workshops in Japan and EM’s Hanford site that addressed technical issues in the Fukushima cleanup.

The fellows are Dr. Robert Sindelar, a researcher from EM’s Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, and Mark Triplett, with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) at the Hanford site in Washington state.

DOE’s Japan Office in Tokyo was the driving force behind the fellowships, which began this month, said EM Office of Tank Waste Management Director Steve Schneider, who co-leads the U.S.-Japan Bilateral Commission on Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation working group that focuses on decommissioning and environmental management.

DOE’s Japan Office Director Jeff Miller said the fellowships are beneficial to the bilateral relationship and will assist Japan in advancing its decontamination planning and execution.

“The Embassy Science Fellows program provides an opportunity to bring radiological decontamination experts from the DOE complex to Japan as part of our commitment to support Japan in decontamination and decommissioning activities resulting from the accident,” Miller said.

Sindelar has 28 years of research and development experience in nuclear science and is internationally recognized for his work in nuclear fuel management and water decontamination. He participated in the Japan-U.S. workshop that addressed technical issues in the Fukushima cleanup, giving presentations on water decontamination, corrosion control and leak repair technologies.

“Bob Sindelar’s range of experience makes him exceptionally well qualified to represent the U.S. and to contribute to the efforts underway in Japan,” said Dr. Jeff Griffin, Associate Laboratory Director for Environmental Management at SRNL. “We’re gratified that Bob and SRNL are able to play a constructive role on behalf of DOE and the EM program.”

Triplett, a PNNL employee of more than 30 years, has worked on many aspects of Hanford site cleanup, including soil, groundwater and tank waste cleanup, and has expertise in planning and prioritizing cleanup activities. He has experience communicating cleanup issues to stakeholder groups.

“The experience Mark has gained working on U.S. environmental nuclear remediation challenges at Hanford is extremely relevant to challenges faced at Fukushima, particularly in determining what environmental cleanup is required and how it should be prioritized and executed,” PNNL Environmental Health and Remediation Sector Manager Paul Bredt said.

Sindelar and Triplett will support Japan’s Ministry of Environment in decontamination project planning and implementation for active and future work. They will be working in Tokyo and the Fukushima Prefecture at Ministry of Environment offices.

Expenses for the fellowships, which end in the spring, are funded by the U.S. State Department, SRNL and PNNL.

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