Don Orth, Christine Langton

Dr. Christine Langton, a Savannah River National Laboratory senior advisory engineer, has recently focused on the dangers associated with nuclear waste in countries with limited waste disposal capabilities.

A woman whose body of scientific work, expertise and consulting has made inroads on an international scale was recently recognized with a lifetime achievement award from the Savannah River National Laboratory.

Dr. Christine Langton was the 2019 recipient of the Donald Orth Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed by the national lab for technical excellence and leadership.

The award was presented during an event at the Rose Hill restaurant in Aiken.

Langton is recognized as an expert in designing materials and processes for treating radioactive wastes, especially in terms of waste tank and facility closure – much like what's going on at the Savannah River Site.

Her work has been implemented at SRS, about 30 minutes south of Aiken, and in Japan, Australia, Canada, China and Brazil.

Don Orth, Christine Langton, Group

Dr. Christine Langton, right, Lawrence Oji, left, and Fernando Fondeur, center, support the chemical and environmental sciences directorate at Savannah River National Laboratory.

Langton was part of a national lab nuclear cleanup team that assisted with the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster. There, she served as a principal adviser on the use of cement to seal leaks near the damaged reactors.

Langton's recent focus is related to nuclear wastes in countries not necessarily familiar with or capable of proper disposal. In that regard, Langton worked with a team in Brazil.

SRNL Director Vahid Majidi had kind words for Langton, who in 2016 was presented the Fred C. Davison Distinguished Scientist Award from Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness, a local educational nonprofit.

"For many years, Dr. Langton's expertise in cementitious materials science has been instrumental in the success of some of the most challenging site, national and international nuclear risk reduction efforts," Majidi said. "She has made the world safer through science."

The lifetime achievement award is named for Dr. Donald Orth, who retired from SRNL in 1992, following a 41-year career. The award was established to honor someone "who by character and leadership best exemplifies Dr. Orth's character and contributions," according to the lab.

Colin Demarest covers the Savannah River Site, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Nuclear Security Administration and government in general. Follow him on Twitter: @demarest_colin