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Management of waste from a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD) incident would likely constitute a significant fraction of the total remediation cost and effort.  The U.S. EPA’s RDD Waste Estimation Support Tool (WEST) is a planning tool for estimating the potential volume and radioactivity levels of waste generated by a Radiological Contamination Plumeradiological incident and subsequent decontamination efforts.  WEST supports decision makers by generating a first-order estimate of the quantity and characteristics of waste resulting from a radiological incident, and allows the user to evaluate various decontamination/demolition strategies to examine the impact of those strategies on waste generation. 

Systems Approach for Wide-Area Remediation

  • Initial development of remediation strategies for a wide-area radiological incident will start immediately following the contamination event
  • Identification of the materials found in both the indoor and outdoor portions of the affected areas developing approaches for optimal cleanup of those surfaces and materials
  • Decontamination and waste management processes are linked
  • Prioritize remediation processes as soon as possible

WEST Components

  • ArcGIS scripts
    • Define contaminated areas and extent of contamination
  • FEMA Hazus-MH Software
    • Estimate building counts, square footage, and composition
  • Suite of applications
    • Identify outdoor media based on satellite imagery
  • Excel spreadsheet
    • Estimate quantity, characteristics of the resulting waste
    • Examine impact of various remediation scenarios on waste

This tool will aid responders and decision makers to implement an integrated response by effective analysis of many competing considerations, with a goal of a rapid, effective remediation that minimizes economic and health impacts to the affected community.

Waste Estimation Support Tool (WEST) User Guide (with download instructions

Please direct questions to Paul Lemieux; US Environmental Protection Agency; National Homeland Security Research Center; Research Triangle Park, NC 27711;; 919-541-0962