The Applied Geosciences organization performs applied earth science research and provides critical support for INL’s Environmental Remediation and High-Level Waste programs, Environmental Affairs, and numerous other site operations. Applied research activities include development of reservoir engineering tools for delineating and understanding reservoir behavior, air pathway contaminant transport assessment and modeling, and investigations of next generation predictive models for understanding subsurface processes. Environmental and operations support includes regulatory site characterization and sampling services, flow and transport computer modeling, and analyses of the effects of contaminant releases on human health and the environment.
INL monitoring system installed at the Gilt Edge Mine, South Dakota.
The Applied Geosciences department bridges the gap between basic research and applied technology development. Staff members possess a wide range of expertise and work in areas ranging from bench scale research to consulting services. The organization focuses on site characterization and remediation, and atmospheric and surface science research through multi-pathway contaminant transport modeling, and radiological and toxic chemical environmental assessment. Additionally, staff conduct numerical reservoir simulation studies in support of ongoing energy research at INL.
The staff of 40 scientists, engineers, and technicians hold degrees and experience in geology, geochemistry, hydrology, subsurface modeling, atmospheric and surface transport modeling, soil physics, geophysics, reservoir engineering, health physics, and other earth science and engineering disciplines. The Applied Geosciences department provides technical support and expertise to a variety of external federal, state, and industry customers.
Site Characterization and Remediation
Staff members with over a decade of experience in environmental compliance work, extensive field experience in soil and groundwater sampling, aquifer testing, geophysical imaging, and remediation and environmental regulations are at the heart of virtually every environmental cleanup and applied field research effort at INL. Work includes evaluating the nature and extent of contamination at hazardous, radioactive, and mixed-waste sites, evaluating the potential health risk of releases and predicting contaminant transport through computer modeling. Contact: Tom Wood, 208-526-1292, Send E-mail
Subsurface and Contaminant Transport Modeling
Researchers are conducting advanced modeling studies to better understand and predict the flow and transport of water and contaminants in saturated and unsaturated subsurface environments. Staff are skilled in developing conceptual models; identifying appropriate hydrologic, chemical and transport parameters for modeling purposes; and performing and interpreting simulation results. Inverse models for parameter estimation and uncertainty analysis also are being developed. Contact: Jeff Sondrup, 208-526-8396, Send E-mail
Field sampling to determine atmospheric transport and deposition of air pollutants in high mountain snowpack.
Radiological and Toxic Chemical Environmental Assessment
Researchers are studying how radiological and toxic chemical releases impact human health and the environment. Researchers support air permit development, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) risk assessments, waste site performance assessments, and varied safety analyses. The staff also are als involved in state of the science research to determine regional patterns of mercury movement. Staff include environmental health physicists and environmental scientists with experience in environmental transport modeling and dose assessment. Analysts integrate exposure assessments and biokinetic modeling into contaminant transport models. Contact: Mike Abbott, 208-526-8596, Send E-mail
Research staff also apply numerical and analytical models to better support energy science needs. Models are being developed to correctly predict the phase behavior in geothermal and fossil energy reservoirs, the formation and behavior of methane hydrates, and carbon sequestration methods. Conventional reservoir simulation also is being coupled to geophysical models, in order to better monitor energy resources. These modeling studies are complemented by analytical tools used to predict flow paths and velocities in the subsurface. Contact: Michael Shook, 208-526-6945, Send E-mail