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SSRL Headlines Vol. 4, No. 5  November, 2003


Contents of this Issue:

  1. Science Highlight — Remediation of Uranium-contaminated Water at Fry Canyon, Utah
  2. A Message from the SSRL Director
  3. Spencer Abraham Announces DOE 20-Year Facility Plan
  4. SPEAR3 Start-up Activities
  5. Information Requested for NIH NCRR Report
  6. GERT Training Required for 2004 Experimental Run
  7. SRI 2003 Presentations Posted at Meeting Website
  8. User Administration Update

1.  Science Highlight - Remediation of Uranium-contaminated Water at Fry Canyon, Utah
      (contact: Christopher Fuller, USGS)

A new technology that acts like a giant underground filter is successfully beginning to clean up uranium contamination in an aquifer in a remote Utah canyon. Uranium contamination in groundwater is a serious problem as the toxic metal can travel long distances in underground aquifers, which are vital sources of fresh water for people, animals and agriculture. Recent research at SSRL showed that filters - called PRBs (permeable reactive barrier) - do intercept uranium, but in an unexpected way that has important implications for monitoring, costs, and future technology selection. Scientists expected that uranium would react with the mineral apatite in the filter to form an inert material that would encapsulate uranium, effectively removing it from the water and abating the threat to downstream inhabitants. This general concept had been shown to work well for lead- and cadmium-contaminated soils.

Scientists from the US Geological Survey and SSRL recently used synchrotron-based techniques to study this problem and found that uranium adsorbs to the surfaces of the apatite, instead of chemically reacting with it to form a new material. The research team - Christopher Fuller and James Davis of the USGS and John Bargar of SSRL - studied samples created in the laboratory as well as samples from Fry Canyon, Utah. Several government agencies including the USGS, EPA, DOE and BLM are collaborating at Fry Canyon to demonstrate PRB technology in an aquifer contaminated by an abandoned uranium-ore processing plant. "We knew that the barriers worked to stop uranium; now we know how they work, and we can use this information to predict how long they will work and what the costs will be. This information is necessary to compare this concept to other technologies and to select new designs," Bargar said. This fundamental knowledge will affect the engineering design of all future PRB technologies, and serves as the latest example that many environmental cleanup ideas work differently in reality than in theory. One key area to investigate now is how long the barriers can trap uranium before it gets re-released under certain conditions (e.g., a decrease in groundwater pH or saturation of the uranium binding capacity of the barrier).

For more information on this work see:
or http://www-ssrl.slac.stanford.edu/research/highlights_archive/u_ha_prb.pdf

2.  A Message from the SSRL Director

I would like to take a moment to reflect on the tremendous accomplishments that have been made on SPEAR3 since the shutdown last April. The major installation was done essentially on schedule and with the last vacuum component going in on Nov 15. All this work was accomplished with an excellent safety record. In mid September, we began a gradual transition into the operations mode with, of course, activities now fully focussing on commissioning the new machine. We anticipate beginning first at-energy injection from the booster on or before December 10 (see the update in item #4 below). While we do still have many challenging months and hard work ahead - bringing the accelerator up to operational status, and reestablishing the beam line operations and the user science program - staff at SSRL and SLAC, together with the many others who worked on and supported the project from outside contractors and program officials at DOE and NIH, should be very proud of the success to date. I think we can anticipate an exciting new year with a magnificent new accelerator. I would like to thank everyone for all of their outstanding efforts and say how very much we look forward to welcoming back our user community in 2004! Indeed we hope many of you will be able to join us for a celebration of the completion of the new accelerator and you will be hearing more about this event in the near future (the date being in late January).  — Keith

3.  Spencer Abraham Announces DOE 20-Year Facility Plan

At a meeting of the National Press Club on Monday, November 10, 2003, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced a 20-year science facility plan for DOE's Office of Science. This roadmap for the development of 28 new facilities and upgrades to existing ones was prioritized by Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, Director of the Office of Science, after reviewing a year's worth of input from the scientific community, DOE laboratories and the six DOE Office of Science Advisory Committees. According to Secretary Abraham, "This list of 28 facilities outlines to an important extent the future of science in America - and indeed the world. These facilities cover the critical areas where discoveries can transform our energy future, boost economic productivity, transform our understanding of biology, and provide revolutionary new tools to deal with disease".

The list divides the 28 facilities into near-term, mid-term and far-term priorities. The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) is one of four facilities tied for near-term Priority three and represents the highest ranked facility for x-ray studies of condensed matter, chemistry and biology. Upgrades to the National Synchrotron Light Source, the Advanced Light Source, and the Advanced Photon Source, were all included as longer term priorities.

Links to Secretary Abraham's speech as well as a PDF version of the full report can be found at http://www.sc.doe.gov/Sub/Facilities_for_future/facilities_future.htm

4.  SPEAR3 Start-up Activities
       (contacts: Bob Hettel and Ed Guerra)

SSRL is now in the final phase of the SPEAR3 project with the accelerator installation having been fully completed on schedule in mid November. Startup activities for the new SPEAR3 accelerator are now ongoing. System tests started in October while installation was still in progress, made possible by good coordination between system managers and a lot of hard work by the installation crews. Power supply tests have been conducted nightly, with work to finish the vacuum and water systems and shielding installation being done during the day. SPEAR3 is now fully under vacuum, the LCW is on and ready and certification of the PPS for the RF and power supplies is done. Full power tests and the RF system processing will take place during the week of December 1. Problems are being addressed as they arise and having all systems ready for first electron beam to be delivered from the booster on or before December 10 is on track as planned and scheduled many months ago. An intense few weeks of initial commissioning will follow.

5.  Information Requested for NIH NCRR Report
       (contact: Britt Hedman)

Each year SSRL is required by the Biomedical Technology Program (BTP) of the National Center for Research Resources, NIH, to provide scientific and administrative information related to the work being conducted by the user community at SSRL. Specifically, this information is used to document and justify facility activities to the administration of the National Institutes of Health, and to Congress. SSRL is required to document the extent to which user facilities support grantees of private, NIH and other Federal funding agencies, and the areas of scientific emphasis. This information must be accurate and timely for continued BTP support of the SSRL Resource user facility. The information is also extremely important for reporting to the major funding source for SSRL operations, the DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences, and for the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research and the NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which support the SSRL Structural Molecular Biology program in close synergy with the NIH NCRR.

In aid of this effort, SSRL spokespersons with a biomedical component in their proposals have been requested to submit brief science highlights and publications based on work done at SSRL to Lisa Dunn by December 3, 2003, and we wish to remind you that this material is now due.

6.  GERT Training Required for 2004 Experimental Run
       (contact: Cathy Knotts)

In addition to the general user safety orientation, General Employee Radiation Training (GERT) will be required for all SSRL users before they can access experimental areas during the 2004 run. If users have completed GERT training at another DOE facility within the last two years, they can forward a copy of the safety training certification to transfer that training to SLAC. Users who have not already completed GERT will be required to complete this training upon arrival. This can be done through computer-based training modules and takes 2-3 hours. There is some advance work needed on our part to establish a user ID and computer account before users can access this system, and due to a limited number of terminals, we will need to make appointments for users to complete this training. Please let us know in advance of anticipated arrivals; if arrangements are not made in advance, completing radiation safety training requirements and receiving a dosimeter and photo ID may be delayed several days, which means your facility access and experiments may be delayed.

Users working with lasers or SPPS will also be required to complete the laser safety training course and bring a copy of their eye exam.

7.  SRI 2003 Presentations Posted at Meeting Website

Presentations from the Eighth International Conference on Synchrotron Radiation Instrumentation (SRI 2003) have been posted online as PDF files at http://www.sri2003.lbl.gov/html/presentations.html. SRI 2003, which was jointly hosted this year by the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory and the Advanced Light Source, was held on August 25 - 29, 2003 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in downtown San Francisco.

8.  User Administration Update
       (contacts: Cathy Knotts and Lisa Dunn)

Macromolecular Crystallography proposals submitted for the December 1, 2003 deadline will be rated in late January and eligible for beam time beginning in March 2004. Requests for beam time on Macromolecular Crystallography beam lines will be due January 16, 2004. Spokespersons with active proposals will receive a message with more details in mid December.

For the latest information related to the 2004 SPEAR operating schedule, status of the various beam lines, deadlines for proposals and beam time requests, etc., visit:


SSRL Headlines is published electronically monthly to inform SSRL users, sponsors and other interested people about happenings at SSRL. SSRL is a national synchrotron user facility operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Sciences. Additional support for the structural biology program is provided by the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research, the NIH National Center for Research Resources and the NIH Institute for General Medical S ciences. Additional information about SSRL and its operation and schedules is available from the SSRL WWW site.


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Last Updated: 01 DEC 2003
Content Owner: L. Dunn
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