Issued 12/17/98

#98-121
Contact: Diane Greenberg (516) 344-2347 or Mona S. Rowe (516) 344-5056

 

 

BROOKHAVEN LAB ADOPTS NEW STANDARD FOR ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

Upton, NY - The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory is implementing a new environmental management system that adopts the International Standards Organization's (ISO) 14001 standard for environmental management. ISO 14001 provides a framework for Brookhaven Lab to plan, monitor and improve environmental performance. The new Brookhaven system will also increase emphasis on regulatory compliance, pollution prevention and community outreach.

Brookhaven joins hundreds of organizations - including Lucent Technologies, Ford Motor Company and several DOE sites - in following the ISO 14001 standard. Companies that adopt the standard must identify all of their activities that can significantly impact the environment and then develop a systematic approach for eliminating, minimizing or managing environmental impacts. Employee environmental training, comprehensive self-audit and expanded pollution prevention are some of the initiatives that Brookhaven is implementing to ensure that the program is on track.

The new management system fulfills contractual commitments made by Brookhaven Science Associates (BSA), when the not-for-profit company took over the management of Brookhaven Lab for DOE in March. While the Laboratory estimates that the new management system will cost $2.74 million to develop and implement, its advantages are numerous, according to Susan L. K. Briggs, who is in charge of implementing the new environmental management system at Brookhaven.

"The Laboratory will save money through pollution prevention, reduced disposal costs and the elimination of environmental infractions that would make the Laboratory subject to fines and/or the shutdown of facilities," Ms. Briggs said.

"The new system integrates sound environmental management practices into all aspects of the Lab's operations. It will implement controls to minimize adverse impacts to the environment, eliminate pollution sources when possible and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements," Ms. Briggs added. "Further, we hope that the systematic approach, and improved performance we expect as a result, will allay community concerns about the effect our activities are having on the environment and establish Brookhaven Lab's reputation for responsible environmental stewardship."

Initially, Brookhaven will pilot ISO 14001 implementation in three high-priority programs at Brookhaven. One of the pilot programs is Reactor Operations, the division in charge of two research reactors on Brookhaven's site: the Brookhaven Medical Research Reactor and the High Flux Beam Reactor. The latter has been shut down since December 1996, originally for maintenance and subsequently after Brookhaven announced contamination below the reactor's spent fuel pool.

Also participating in the pilot program will be the Waste Management Division, which processes chemical, radioactive and mixed waste generated at Brookhaven; and the Relativistic
Heavy Ion Collider, a unique machine that will be used, when it starts operations in 1999, by physicists around the world to understand the nature of matter just after the Big Bang. The balance of facilities at the Laboratory will join the new environmental management project in the summer of 1999.

Briggs explained, "We plan to fully implement the ISO 14001 criteria throughout the Laboratory by fiscal year 2000, and undergo a third-party, independent audit by an ISO certified registrar at that time."

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory creates and operates major facilities available to university, industrial and government personnel for basic and applied research in the physical, biomedical and environmental sciences, and in selected energy technologies. The Laboratory is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates, a not-for-profit research management company, under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.


-30-