October 8, 1999

Brookhaven Lab's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider Achieves Registration To International Environmental Standard

UPTON, NY - The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory has received ISO 14001 registration for its Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) project, certifying the quality of the project's environmental management system.

ISO 14001 is an internationally-recognized standard used to improve the structure of an organization's environmental management system and manage the environmental performance of the system to effect environmental improvement and cost savings. ISO 14001 enables an organization to define potential environmental impacts and establish controls needed to prevent any impact, to monitor and communicate environmental performance, and to establish a framework for continual improvement of the system. The RHIC project is the first DOE Office of Science and first Long Island-based organization to obtain third-party registration to the ISO 14001 standard.

"This is a great achievement, both for the RHIC project and for the Laboratory as a whole," said Brookhaven Director John Marburger. "It was only made possible through RHIC management commitment and support, a lot of hard work by all staff, combined with our implementation of enhancements to environmental and other management systems over the past two years."

RHIC is the Laboratory's newest particle accelerator. The $600-million, eight-year construction project was completed this summer, and the machine just finished its first commissioning run. RHIC management had included a comprehensive environmental management program in the project and volunteered to be the first organization at Brookhaven audited for ISO 14001 registration. By 2001, the entire Laboratory is expected to obtain registration to the standard.

RHIC's registration to the standard is particularly significant because environmental groups had raised concerns about the potential impacts of its operation and called for a full environmental review. These concerns were addressed through implementation of the ISO 14001 elements, particularly community outreach, environmental controls, extensive monitoring and requirements for annual review.

In its recommendation for certification, NSF International Strategic Registrations, Ltd., an independent third-party environmental review firm from Ann Arbor, Michigan, singled out several aspects of Brookhaven's environmental management system as being particularly noteworthy. These included a strong management commitment to the implementation of a site-wide environmental management system, a well-designed, comprehensive system that emphasized continual improvement, an impressive community outreach program, and an effective Web-based system to deliver Laboratory-wide policies, procedures and training. NSF also commended the RHIC organization for valuable "process evaluations" that identified the technical aspects and environmental impacts of its operation, any additional controls needed and pollution prevention opportunities.

The registration process was completed at the beginning of August, when NSF completed a comprehensive four-day review of the RHIC project's environmental management system. Following that review, NSF notified the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) that the project met all the requirements of the ISO 14001 standard. ANSI is the U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the group responsible for the development of the ISO 14000 series of international environmental management standards.

To gain registration to the standard, an organization must comply with a series of ISO 14001 requirements. These include:

ISO was founded in 1946 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. ISO has developed international voluntary consensus standards for manufacturing, communication, trade and management systems. Over 100 countries have national standards bodies that are members of ISO.

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.

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