Dawn M. Wellman, Ph.D.
Manager, Environmental Health and Remediation Market Sector
Energy and Environment Directorate
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Dr. Wellman is a staff scientist, program manager, and the manager of the Environmental Health and Remediation (EH&R) market sector at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Dr. Wellman holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Washington State University. Her scientific expertise is in understanding and predicting contaminant transport pathways and kinetics, aqueous and mineral surface geochemistry, and reaction kinetics for environmental remediation. She builds upon this fundamental understanding to develop and implement systems-based approaches for characterizing, monitoring, and remediating contaminated groundwater and soil at sites throughout the Department of Energy, as well as internationally, supporting site contractors and site owners.
In 2009, Dr. Wellman served as the Chief Scientist for the Office of Technology Innovation and Development for Groundwater and Soil Remediation at the Department of Energy Headquarters Office for Environmental Management. In this position, she resolved technical issues and assessed technology readiness for challenges in groundwater and soil remediation.
Currently, Dr. Wellman is manager of PNNL’s EH&R sector within the Energy and Environment Directorate. EH&R develops and delivers science-based and risk-informed solutions, providing scientific foundations to enable critical cleanup decisions associated with prior waste generation activities and the impacts of contaminants in the environment. EH&R integrates fundamental science-based understanding with applied research to deliver systems-based solutions. The approaches used enable predictive understanding of system performance for managing and monitoring residual DOE tank waste, waste processing, immobilization and disposal, environmental remediation, restoration, and stewardship. Equally important, EH&R facilitates interactions with stakeholders, regulators, and the public by providing scientific and technical understanding to provide solutions and inform the risks, liabilities, and economics of complex cleanup challenges as the Nation strives to achieve environmental protection. Dr. Wellman leads the EH&R sector in demonstrating how PNNL’s unique subsurface science, nuclear waste processing, and environmental capabilities can deliver impactful solutions for our clients.
PLATFORM PRESENTER - International Experiences: It is a Small World After All
Fukushima Daiichi: Current and Future International Challenges in Remediation
The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan led to beyond-design-basis accidents in three units and their spent fuel pools at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. The tsunami caused a total station blackout, leading to loss of cooling in the reactor, which resulted in extensive fuel damage, hydrogen explosions, and release of radioactive contamination.
Vigorous remediation and recovery efforts have been implemented both on and off site. Considerable progress has been made to recover from the damage, stabilize reactors, manage spent fuel and accumulated wastes, and begin restoring the area. There have been extensive efforts to mitigate further releases of contamination beyond the station, including preventing contaminated water from entering the ocean, reducing dose rates, removing spent fuel from Unit 4, improving groundwater control, and completing engineered covers and structures. Remediation has reduced contamination in some communities, allowing residents to begin returning home. Remediation continues, as do demonstration projects to test decontamination technologies, which will guide ensuing large-scale decontamination and waste management efforts.
Many challenges remain, and PNNL has been engaged with government and industry in response and recovery efforts. This is an important issue that will play out over decades.