Philosophical Society of Washington

The Role of Advanced Technology in Cleaning Up the DOE Nuclear Weapons Complex

Gary E. Voelker
U. S. Department of Energy

2008th Meeting Abstract
Friday, February 19, 1993 at 8:15 PM


In 1989, the U.S. Department of Energy made a commitment to clean up all of its prior weapons production facilities and to assure full compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations. The facilities are contaminated as a result of over 40 years of weapons production. This is a major commitment that may take 20 years or more and require over $150 Billion to complete. The primary sites requiring cleanup include those located in Hanford, Washington, Fernald, Ohio; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Savannah River, South Carolina; and Rocky Flats Colorado. To accomplish this large task in a timely and efficient manner, new cleanup technologies are being vigorously pursued as the major way to reduce the cost to the taxpayer. Further, as the systems needed to achieve cleanup are being configured, new challenges will be faced in transportation. Materials contaminated by radioactivity as well as by hazardous compounds may need to be transported in significant quantity.

About the Author:

Mr. Voelker received his B.S. and MS. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Ohio State University From 1967 to 1975, he was a regular officer in the U. S. Navy, serving as an aircrewman and as a research and development program manager for various computer, power, and communications systems. Following his military duty, Mr. Voelker joined the Energy Research and Development Administration (a predecessor agency to the Department of Energy), managing projects related to energy technologies. He was eventually was named Director of the Office of Coal Conversion in the Office of Fossil Energy at DOE. Mr. Voelker is currently the Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Technology Development in the Office of Environmental Restoration and Waste Management.

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