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Waste Estimation Support Tool (WEST)

Management of waste from a radiological dispersal device (RDD) incident would likely constitute a large part of the 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 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

The Waste Estimation Support Tool (WEST) supports a systems approach for remediation.  The system approach to remediation of a radiological incident includes:

  • 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
  • Development of approaches for optimal cleanup of those surfaces and materials
  • Operation with the understanding that decontamination and waste management processes are linked.
  • Prioritization of remediation processes as soon as possible.Radiological Contamination PlumeRadiological contamination plume

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 in implementing an integrated response by effective analysis of many competing considerations.  The toool will achieve the 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, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711;; 919-541-0962.