by George Zamora

SOCORRO, N.M., October 31, 2002 -- Robert Neill, director emeritus of New Mexico Tech's Environmental Evaluation Group (EEG), recently was appointed as a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Neill retired last year after having served as the director of EEG since its inception in 1978.

EEG, an interdisciplinary research group of scientists and engineers, was established by the State of New Mexico and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to provide independent technical evaluation of the WIPP site near Carlsbad, N.M., to ensure the protection of public health and safety and the environment.

In 1989, EEG was assigned to New Mexico Tech under the original DOE contract.

Prior to directing EEG, Neill's extensive background in public and environmental health included a long stint as a commissioned officer with the U.S. Public Health Service, which took him literally around the world as an administrator, consultant, and instructor specializing in radiological health, or radiation exposure to people.