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Desert Research Institute wins new contract for work at Nevada National Security Site

The Desert Research Institute has been awarded a new multiyear contract to assist the U.S. Department of Energy with study and stewardship at the Nevada National Security Site.

The Technical Research, Engineering, and Development Services contract extends for up to five years and has a value of up to $47.7 million, the institute announced Thursday.

Faculty and staff from the research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education will provide scientific and engineering services to the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration. The work will include nuclear stockpile stewardship, nonproliferation and counterterrorism; emergency response to radiological events; environmental remediation and the stewardship of natural and cultural resources within the 1,360-square-mile test site.

“New research will include seismic hammer experiments to improve detection of foreign underground nuclear tests, and flood hazard assessments for site facilities,” said hydrogeologist Jenny Chapman, DRI’s test site program manager.

Under the new contract, the institute also will continue investigating the way groundwater and contaminants move through fractures in rock at the Pahute Mesa underground nuclear test area; studying the impact of wildfire on soil erosion in areas contaminated by nuclear testing; and training local community representatives in Southern Nevada, Utah, and California to collect radiation and weather data in populated areas surrounding the test site.

DRI has been supporting the Energy Department’s mission at the secure site about 70 miles northwest of Las Vegas for the past 40 years.

DRI spokesman Justin Broglio said none of the institute’s work is connected to the proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Find @RefriedBrean on Twitter.

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