The Materials Characterization Center (MCC) at the Pacific Northwest Laboratory is the experimental arm of the Materials Characterization Organization (MCO), which was established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in FY 1980 to ensure high quality characterization and qualification of waste package materials essential to the reliable performance of DOE nuclear waste management programs. The MCC is responsible for publishing key test methods and data in the Nuclear Waste Materials Handbook (DOE/TIC-11400) after the methods and data have been reviewed and approved by the Materials Review Board (MRB), which is the other major operating arm of the MCO.
The MCC is carrying out its responsibilities in several ways. It sponsors a continuing series of workshops that address materials characterization test method issues. It supplies well-characterized reference and testing materials for use by the DOE nuclear waste management programs. It develops generic test methods and supports the repository waste package projects in developing selected site-specific test methods and performing confirmatory testing of these methods. When these test methods are approved by the MRB they constitute the formal tests to be used by laboratories to test and qualify materials, evaluate waste package components, and assure compliance with standards and/or specifications for the final product.