On March 6, 2017, the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) presented Panel 19 titled, Hot Topics and Emerging Issues in US Commercial Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management, for the 2017 Waste Management Symposium conference. The panel, which included four individual speakers, focused on emerging issues in commercial low-level radioactive waste management in the United States. The Waste Management conference was held in Phoenix, Arizona from March 6-9, 2017.
Lisa Edwards of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) provided data on key trends in waste generation by nuclear power plants showing that there is a reduction in the generation of Class B and C wet solid waste and that there is a wide range of performance that indicates different practices. Edwards noted that, as practices become more uniform, we may expect averages to decrease further. She also state that implementation of the 2015 Branch Technical Position on Concentration Averaging and Encapsulation (BTP) is expected to further lower Class B and C generation rates.
Besty Madru discussed operator perspectives regarding the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) facility in Texas including a proposal to license a disposal cell for Greater-than-Class C (GTCC), GTCC-like and transuranic waste and application to construct and operate a facility to store spent nuclear fuel. Madru reported that waste receipts are down and stated that policies do not reflect current practices. Legislation has been introduced during the current session that would increase the maximum amount of waste that could be disposed over ten years.
Ned Woodward disccussed a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report finding that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has enhanced the control of dangerous radioactive materials, but vulnerabilities remain. GAO investigators, using a fictitious business, applied for a radioactive materials license in three states. In two cases, the license applications were denied. In the third case, GAO’s fictitious business received a license. GAO altered the license and obtained commitments from two vendors to sell radioactive material that aggregated together would be considered attractive to terrorists for use in a dirty bomb. GAO then immediately alerted NRC of its findings, which the agency and Agreement States took corrective actions to address.
In the final presentation, John Tappert of the NRC provided an overview of the agencys low-level radioactive waste program with a focus on the programmatic assessment completed by agency staff, ongoing Part 61 rulemaking initiative, GTCC and transuranic waste disposal, financial assurance for radioactive byproduct material and a proposed very low-level waste scoping study. Many of these topics were discussed during an NRC public meeting that was held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel on March 10, 2017. There was no registration fee to attend and participate in the NRC public meeting.
The Waste Management conference takes place annually and is presented by Waste Management Symposia—a non-profit organization dedicated to education and opportunity in waste management.
The international conference was founded to provide a forum for discussing and seeking cost-effective and environmentally responsible solutions to the safe management and disposition of radioactive waste and radioactive materials.
This year’s conference included over 600 presentations covering all aspects of radioactive waste management, packaging and transportation, facility siting, site remediation, Fukushima progress and other related topics.
Additional information on the Waste Management 2017 Conference can be found at www.wmsym.org or by contacting the Waste Management office at (480) 557-0263.
For additional information about the LLW Forum, please contact LLW Forum Executive Director Todd D. Lovinger, Esq at (754) 779-7551 or at LLWForumInc@aol.com.