United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jul 20, 2024

§ 2586a.
Other programs relating to technology development
(a)
Incremental Technology Development Program
(1)
Establishment

The Secretary may establish a program, to be known as the “Incremental Technology Development Program”, to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the defense environmental cleanup processes of the Office.

(2)
Focus
(A)
Improvements
In carrying out the Incremental Technology Development Program, the Secretary shall focus on the continuous improvement of new or available technologies, including—
(i)
decontamination chemicals and techniques;
(ii)
remote sensing and wireless communication to reduce manpower and laboratory efforts;
(iii)
detection, assay, and certification instrumentation; and
(iv)
packaging materials, methods, and shipping systems.
(B)
Other areas

The Secretary may include in the Incremental Technology Development Program mission-relevant development, demonstration, and deployment activities unrelated to the focus areas described in subparagraph (A).

(3)
Use of new and emerging technologies
(A)
Development and demonstration

In carrying out the Incremental Technology Development Program, the Secretary shall ensure that site offices of the Office conduct technology development, demonstration, testing, permitting, and deployment of new and emerging technologies to establish a sound technical basis for the selection of technologies for defense environmental cleanup or infrastructure operations.

(B)
Collaboration required

The Secretary shall collaborate, to the extent practicable, with the heads of other departments and agencies of the Federal Government, the National Laboratories, other Federal laboratories, appropriate State regulators and agencies, and the Department of Labor in the development, demonstration, testing, permitting, and deployment of new technologies under the Incremental Technology Development Program.

(4)
Agreements to carry out projects
(A)
Authority

In carrying out the Incremental Technology Development Program, the Secretary may enter into agreements with nongovernmental entities for technology development, demonstration, testing, permitting, and deployment projects to improve technologies in accordance with paragraph (2).

(B)
Selection
The Secretary shall select projects under subparagraph (A) through a rigorous process that involves—
(i)
transparent and open competition; and
(ii)
a review process that, if practicable, is conducted in an independent manner consistent with Department guidance on selecting and funding public-private partnerships.
(C)
Cost-sharing

The Federal share of the costs of the development, demonstration, testing, permitting, and deployment of new technologies carried out under this paragraph shall be not more than 70 percent.

(D)
Briefing

Not later than 120 days before the date on which the Secretary enters into the first agreement under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall provide to the congressional defense committees a briefing on the process of selecting and funding efforts within the Incremental Technology Development Program, including with respect to the plans of the Secretary to ensure a scientifically rigorous process that minimizes potential conflicts of interest.

(b)
High-Impact Technology Development Program
(1)
Establishment
The Secretary shall establish a program, to be known as the “High-Impact Technology Development Program”, under which the Secretary shall enter into agreements with nongovernmental entities for projects that pursue technologies that, with respect to the mission—
(A)
holistically address difficult challenges;
(B)
hold the promise of breakthrough improvements; or
(C)
align existing or in-use technologies with difficult challenges.
(2)
Areas of focus
The Secretary may include as areas of focus for a project carried out under the High-Impact Technology Development Program the following:
(A)
Developing and demonstrating improved methods for source and plume characterization and monitoring, with an emphasis on—
(i)
real-time field acquisition; and
(ii)
the use of indicator species analyses with advanced contaminant transport models to enable better understanding of contaminant migration.
(B)
Developing and determining the limits of performance for remediation technologies and integrated remedial systems that prevent migration of contaminants, including by producing associated guidance and design manuals for technologies that could be widely used across the complex.
(C)
Demonstrating advanced monitoring approaches that use multiple lines of evidence for monitoring long-term performance of—
(i)
remediation systems; and
(ii)
noninvasive near-field monitoring techniques.
(D)
Developing and demonstrating methods to characterize the physical and chemical attributes of waste that control behavior, with an emphasis on—
(i)
rapid and nondestructive examination and assay techniques; and
methods to determine radio-nuclide, heavy metals, and organic constituents.
(E)
Demonstrating the technical basis for determining when enhanced or natural attenuation is an appropriate approach for remediation of complex sites.
(F)
Developing and demonstrating innovative methods to achieve real-time and, if practicable, in situ characterization data for tank waste and process streams that could be useful for all phases of the waste management program, including improving the accuracy and representativeness of characterization data for residual waste in tanks and ancillary equipment.
(G)
Adapting existing waste treatment technologies or demonstrating new waste treatment technologies at the pilot plant scale using real wastes or realistic surrogates—
(i)
to address engineering adaptations;
(ii)
to ensure compliance with waste treatment standards and other applicable requirements under Federal and State law and any existing agreements or consent decrees to which the Department is a party; and
(iii)
to enable successful deployment at full-scale and in support of operations.
(H)
Developing and demonstrating rapid testing protocols that—
(i)
are accepted by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department, and the scientific community;
(ii)
can be used to measure long-term waste form performance under realistic disposal environments;
(iii)
can determine whether a stabilized waste is suitable for disposal; and
(iv)
reduce the need for extensive, time-consuming, and costly analyses on every batch of waste prior to disposal.
(I)
Developing and demonstrating direct stabilization technologies to provide waste forms for disposing of elemental mercury.
(J)
Developing and demonstrating innovative and effective retrieval methods for removal of waste residual materials from tanks and ancillary equipment, including mobile retrieval equipment or methods capable of immediately removing waste from leaking tanks, and connecting pipelines.
(3)
Project selection
(A)
Selection
The Secretary shall select projects to be carried out under the High-Impact Technology Development Program through a rigorous process that involves—
(i)
transparent and open competition; and
(ii)
a review process that, if practicable, is conducted in an independent manner consistent with Department guidance on selecting and funding public-private partnerships.
(B)
Briefing

Not later than 120 days before the date on which the Secretary enters into the first agreement under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall provide to the congressional defense committees a briefing on the process of selecting and funding efforts within the High-Impact Technology Development Program, including with respect to the plans of the Secretary to ensure a scientifically rigorous process that minimizes potential conflicts of interest.

(c)
Environmental Management University Program
(1)
Establishment
The Secretary shall establish a program, to be known as the “Environmental Management University Program”, to—
(A)
engage faculty, post-doctoral fellows or researchers, and graduate students of institutions of higher education on subjects relating to the mission to show a clear path for students for employment within the environmental management enterprise;
(B)
provide institutions of higher education and the Department access to advances in engineering and science;
(C)
clearly identify to institutions of higher education the tools necessary to enter into the environmental management field professionally; and
(D)
encourage current employees of the Department to pursue advanced degrees.
(2)
Areas of focus
The Secretary may include as areas of focus for a grant made under the Environmental Management University Program the following:
(A)
The atomic- and molecular-scale chemistries of waste processing.
(B)
Contaminant immobilization in engineered and natural systems.
(C)
Developing innovative materials, with an emphasis on nanomaterials or biomaterials, that could enable sequestration of challenging hazardous or radioactive constituents such as technetium and iodine.
(D)
Elucidating and exploiting complex speciation and reactivity far from equilibrium.
(E)
Understanding and controlling chemical and physical processes at interfaces.
(F)
Harnessing physical and chemical processes to revolutionize separations.
(G)
Tailoring waste forms for contaminants in harsh chemical environments.
(H)
Predicting and understanding subsurface system behavior and response to perturbations.
(3)
Individual research grants

In carrying out the Environmental Management University Program, the Secretary may make individual research grants to faculty, post-doctoral fellows or researchers, and graduate students of institutions of higher education for three-year research projects, with an option for an extension of one additional two-year period.

(4)
Grants for interdisciplinary collaborations

In carrying out the Environmental Management University Program, the Secretary may make research grants for strategic partnerships among scientists, faculty, post-doctoral fellows or researchers, and graduate students of institutions of higher education for three-year research projects.

(5)
Hiring of undergraduates

In carrying out the Environmental Management University Program, the Secretary may establish a summer internship program for undergraduates of institutions of higher education to work on projects relating to environmental management.

(6)
Workshops

In carrying out the Environmental Management University Program, the Secretary may hold workshops with the Office of Environmental Management, the Office of Science, and members of academia and industry concerning environmental management challenges and solutions.

(d)
Definitions
In this section:
(1)
The term “complex” means all sites managed in whole or in part by the Office.
(2)
The term “Department” means the Department of Energy.
(3)
The term “institution of higher education” has the meaning given the term in section 1001(a) of title 20.
(4)
The term “mission” means the mission of the Office.
(5)
The term “National Laboratory” has the meaning given the term in section 15801 of title 42.
(6)
The term “Office” means the Office of Environmental Management of the Department.
(7)
The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Energy, acting through the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management.
(Pub. L. 107–314, div. D, title XLIV, § 4406A, as added Pub. L. 117–81, div. C, title XXXI, § 3114(a), Dec. 27, 2021, 135 Stat. 2221.)
cite as: 50 USC 2586a