b'C H A P T E R 25M I SS I O N : F U T U R EThe Bureau also was looking for a sub- We did have to rename the lab, though.stitute for chromium in metal alloys. One day Troy Wade, the IDO manager,The United States depended on other and I were showing Governor Andruscountries for chromium, but this was a through the lab. At the time, the lab wasstrategic metal, and the Bureau did not named the Idaho Laboratory Facility.wish to rely on South Africa or Russia Andrus asked us if the lab was ownedfor supplies. IRC scientists succeeded by DOE or whether it was a privatein developing new alloys, and this work facility. We realized immediately that weled to the development of super-plastic had to put INEL in the name.INEEL 89-290-1-98alloy systems and better magnets nowused in computers. With laboratories for geophysics, chem-istry, microbiology, and other sciences,In connection with alloys, the Bureau the IRC was well-equipped to add thealso had a welding program. One of the environmental cleanup mission to itscriteria for any new alloy was whether many others. Cleanup technologies hador not it was weldable. So the IRC did to be safe for workers and be economi-welding research. Eventually, this work cal, which usually meant reducing theevolved toward the development of volume of the waste. Technologies test- INEEL 97-438-1-5automaticroboticwelding, in which ed and proven at the INEL were expect-a system monitors the welding process ed to benefit the rest of the globe, notusing complex interactions of comput- just Idaho and the INEL.ers, mathematics, and electronics.Without the decades of accumulated For example, IRC scientists built onexperience in hot cell work, this inno- their mining microbiology experiencevation might not have come about. and pioneered biodecontamination.Those successes attracted the attention While studying how microbes in theof the Department of Defense, which desert soil affect the stability of buried INEEL 83-275-1-11came to the IRC with a number of clas- concrete, scientists discovered asified projects. IRC work included microbe that might strip radioactivemembrane research, where the chal- contamination from concrete floors,lenge was to separate hazardous ions walls, and ceilings. After conductingfrom liquid solutions. This, too, contin- experiments in the basement of EBR-I,ued as a major research activity. IRC scientists perfected a means ofapplying the microbe so it would stickIt turned out that our vision was a goodto a wall. They came up with a gel-one. We deliberately went in new direcmade of cellulose, elemental sulfur, andtions that were uncharted by other the microbes. The microbe metabolizes INEEL 96-667-3-5DOE labs. We identified new areaswhere we thought American researchand development would enter. We hadlittle competition, and we continued to INEEL facilities in Idaho Falls in 1999 included, frombuild on new knowledge and apply it in top, DOE-ID South, Engineering Research Officemany different directions. Building (EROB), Willow Creek Building (WCB), theINEEL Research Center (IRC) and Technical SupportBuildings A and B (TSA and TSB).INEEL 91-181-2-10249'