PHOENIX – Florida International University (FIU) staff members and students who work with EM on research efforts took part in the Waste Management 2014 Conference on the safe management and disposition of radioactive materials and waste in Phoenix earlier this month.
The staff members and students are from FIU’s Applied Research Center (ARC), which provides technical research support to EM in environmental remediation and student workforce development for high-priority areas such as radioactive waste processing and facility deactivation and decommissioning.
Their research efforts fall under a five-year cooperative agreement between EM and FIU that has allowed the university to developed expertise and specialized facilities through its dedicated scientific and engineering work, which is aligned with EM’s mission to accelerate risk reduction and site cleanup.
At the conference, FIU participants conducted technical presentations at seven sessions. The presentations were based on applied research conducted by ARC on behalf of EM. Eighteen DOE Fellows who are pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate, graduate, and post graduate degrees took part in discussions and presentations. These fellows are part of the DOE-FIU Science and Technology Workforce Development Initiative. In addition, two FIU STEM graduates and 45 students from other U.S. and international colleges and universities attended.
At a student poster competition, participants presented 17 technical posters based on research performed at ARC and in summer internships at DOE sites and national laboratories. This year’s Best Student poster went to Alexandra Fleitas, a 2013 DOE Fellow. Fleitas’ poster was titled, “Innovative High-Level Waste Pipeline Unplugging Technologies for Hanford Site Asynchronous Pulsing System,” marking the fourth time a DOE Fellow won the Waste Management Student Poster Competition. A second DOE Fellow gave a presentation titled, “The Effect of Ca Ions on the Removal of U (VI) via In Situ Ammonia Gas Injection at the Hanford Site 200 Area.” A third participated in a panel session on “Graduating Students and New Engineers – Wants and Needs.”
The FIU staff and students hosted a conference booth with information on the EM applied research conducted at ARC and provided live demonstrations of the Deactivation & Decommissioning (D&D) Knowledge Management Information Tool(D&D KM-IT), a free web-based knowledge management information tool custom built for the D&D user community. FIU also presented a workshop on the D&D KM-IT in the Energy Facility Contractors Group Deactivation & Decommissioning and Facility Engineering Working Group meeting.
This summer, DOE Fellows will undertake 10-week internships at DOE sites. They will be paired with scientists and engineers at EM headquarters and sites and DOE national laboratories to tackle environmental challenges under the guidance of mentors. After the fellows complete the internships, they will document their summer activities in a technical report and have the opportunity to present their accomplishments during the annual DOE Fellows’ Poster Exhibition & Competition held in October at FIU and next year’s Waste Management Conference in Phoenix. Anyone interested in hosting a DOE Fellow as an intern this summer can contact EM Office of Human Capital Management Analyst Junita Turner at Junita.Turner@em.doe.gov or 202-586-8137.
The FIU workforce development program has created introductory videos presented by the FIU students. In these videos, the students provide brief introductions of their applied research conducted as part of the cooperative agreement. The videos and additional information on the DOE Fellows are available here.