Chemistry researchers at Texas A&M University have received grants totalling almost $840,000 to conduct basic research aimed at helping the federal Department of Energy dispose of radioactive wastes at Cold War-era nuclear sites.

Projects being conducted by Texas A&M chemists Abraham Clearfield and Jack Lunsford were among 139 basic research projects at universities and national laboratories across the United States to receive a total of $47 million in DOE funding for radioactive waste-related research.

DOE Secretary Hazel O'Leary announced the grants Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 20) in a nationwide audio and video news conference conducted from DOE headquarters in Washington D. C., and DOE offices in Seattle.

Clearfield's project, budgeted at $449,999 over three years, is intended to continue earlier research into the use of ion-exchange technology to selectively bind to highly radioactive materials so they can be safely separated from less-hazardous materials and put into underground storage.

Lunsford's three-year, $390,000 project involves basic studies of chemical processes that will allow toxic chemicals once used in nuclear weapons production to bind, or attach, to surfaces and thus be removed from soil or air. Working with Lunsford on the project are Texas A&M chemists D. Wayne Goodman and James Haw and graduate students and research associates.

The grants were made as part of DOE's Environmental Management Science Program, a partnership between the department's Office of Environmental Management and the Office of Energy Research. The grants are intended to encourage basic science research that will help clean up DOE nuclear waste sites.

CONTACT: Gene Charleton at (409) 845-4644 or by e-mail at e-charleton@tamu.edu; Abraham Clearfield at (409) 845-2936; or Jack Lunsford at (409) 845-3455.

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