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Administrative Framework for Cooperation

In 1996, the "Implementing Arrangement between the Department of Energy of the United States of America and the National Atomic Energy Commission of the Argentine Republic for Technical Exchange and Cooperation in the Area of Radioactive and Mixed Waste Management" was signed to promote international scientific collaboration. The duration of the bilateral agreement is ten years.

The objective of this international partnership is to assist DOE in meeting its environmental restoration and waste management goals by developing and demonstrating technologies that are safer, more efficient, and less costly than those currently in use. Other benefits include encouraging the introduction and use of U.S. environmental technologies and services outside the U.S. and bringing leading scientists from multiple countries together to develop innovative environmental solutions. This working partnership conducts cost-effective, innovative technology demonstration and deployment projects that are applicable to the environmental contamination in Argentina, at DOE facilities in the U.S., and at other sites worldwide.

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The Joint Coordinating Committee for Radioactive and Mixed Waste Management

The Joint Coordinating Committee for Radioactive and Mixed Waste Management (JCCRM) was established to manage the activities conducted under the auspices of the DOE/CNEA Agreement. The JCCRM meets annually to assess program progress, review and approve proposals, and determine the level of future activities for implementation. The CNEA Head of the Coordination Unit of Projects on Radioactive Waste and the DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Science and Technology, Office of Environmental Management (EM) co-chair the JCCRM. Membership consists of specialists from both the U.S. and Argentina who represent the technical areas of cooperation. OST participation in the JCCRM ensures that the areas of technical cooperation address DOE/EM's most critical needs. JCCRM projects are reviewed and evaluated by DOE technical staff for scientific merit, applicability to key DOE site needs, and relevance to DOE users.

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Development of the JCCRM Program

First Annual JCCRM Meeting: May 1996

At the first JCCRM meeting, held May 30-31, 1996, in Miami, Florida, participants defined the following three areas of cooperation: uranium mill tailings remediation, D&D, and research and development of low- and high-level waste.  Technical presentations were made by both delegations.  CNEA presented a review of the nuclear activities in Argentina and of its facilities, as well as described the objectives of its Radioactive Waste Management Program.  This included a description of their research and development programs, types of waste generated, technologies being applied for waste treatment and conditioning, the existing and projected facilities for final disposal, and an overview of the Argentina Uranium Mill Tailings program.  The DOE delegation also provided an overview of their corresponding programs and description of their Focus Areas.

To support these agreed areas of cooperation, it was decided that the following four activities should be performed:

  1. Preliminary evaluation of possible activities on D&D applied to the Argentina Alpha Laboratory;
  2. Characterization and immobilization by vitrification of spent ion exchange resins;
  3. Characterization and separation methods of Cesium-137 (Cs-137) from Mixed-Low Level Waste (MLW) of Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) production; and
  4. A scientific exchange in the area of uranium mill tailings.

It was also determined that both countries would begin to exchange technical information within these cooperative areas.

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Second Annual JCCRM Meeting: December 1997

The second JCCRM meeting was held in December 1997 in Miami, Florida, coinciding with X-Change '97.  The conference covered operational approaches, new technologies, and other innovations for increasing the performance while reducing the costs of D&D activities on buildings and equipment at nuclear sites and other locations that handle hazardous and radioactive wastes.  Managers in government and industry discussed their specific spending plans, highlighting projects where operational decisions and new technologies can yield significant improvements in cost and performance.

The purpose of the JCCRM meeting was to discuss the projects conducted during the previous year and to determine the scope of future activities.  Program Managers and Principal Investigators provided presentations on the past years activities, discussing project results, obstacles and hurdles, and their recommendations for future activities.   Upon the agreement of future program direction, both parties signed a Record of Meeting, and collaborations were established in the following areas:  D&D, Crystalline Silicotitnate (CST), and Resin Vitrification.

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Fourth Annual JCCRM Meeting: August 1999

The 4th JCCRM meeting was held in Bariloche, Argentina, from August 30 to September 3, 1999. The meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Guido-Lavelle of CNEA and Mr. Gerald Boyd, DOE/EM-OST Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary. Technical areas of discussion included; deactivation and decommissioning, subsurface contamination; uranium mill tailings contamination, and solidification/vitrification processes.

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Fifth Annual JCCRM Meeting: November 2000

The Fifth Annual JCCRM Meeting was held in Augusta, Georgia on November 15, 2000. The meeting was held in conjunction with the 12th Technical Information Exchange (TIE) Workshop. The purpose of the JCCRM Meeting was to discuss JCCRM activities that had taken place during the previous year, and to determine the scope of future activities. The co-chairs agreed that the number of activities taking place under the JCCRM should be increased, using the Resin Vitrification project as a model for successful cooperation. It was also agreed that the U.S. DOE would provide financial support to CNEA to carry out several key projects for implementation in FY01.

CNEA presented a brief overview of changes that had occurred in their organization since the last JCCRM meeting, due to their recent presidential election. Program Managers from each side gave brief presentations on JCCRM cooperative activities during FY00, and future projects in each area of cooperation were discussed. Upon the agreement of future program direction, both parties signed a Record of Meeting, and collaborations were established in the following areas: High Level Tank Remediation, Deactivation and Decommissioning, and Characterization.

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