Draft Agenda Released for Fall 2017 LLW Forum Meeting

Hilton Alexandria Old Town Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia
October 16-17, 2017

The draft agenda for the upcoming Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) meeting has been released and posted to the organization’s website at www.llwforum.org. The meeting will be held at the Hilton Old Town Alexandria Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia on October 16-17, 2017.

As a reminder, the discount rate hotel room block for the meeting closes in just four weeks on September 29, 2017, unless the block reaches capacity in advance of the deadline.  Currently, there is only very limited space remaining in the discount room block.   Accordingly, interested stakeholders are encouraged to register and make hotel reservations for the meeting at your earliest convenience.

The Southeast Compact Commission for Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management and the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission are co-sponsoring the meeting.

The LLW Forum meeting documents—including a meeting bulletin, registration form and draft agenda—have been posted to the LLW Forum Meeting page of the organization’s web site at www.llwforum.org.  As a new option for interested stakeholders, a registration form may be completed and submitted online.

Agenda Topics  The following is a list of agenda topics for the meeting:

  • panel discussion/interactive dialogue re regulatory oversight of oil and gas operations—management and disposition of the resultant radiological byproduct material;
  • panel session re decommissioning of nuclear power plants—regulatory requirements and updates, operator experiences and future planning considerations;
  • development and implementation of a program re source reuse and reutilization;
  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulatory program emerging issues including rulemaking and guidance development; management of very low-level radioactive waste; and, program budget request;
  • NRC’s proposed revisions re guidance for alternative disposal of low-activity waste;
  • IMPEP process and non-common indicator re low-level radioactive waste disposal program;
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) activities and updates including the development of new federal guidance for dose and risk assessment;
  • addressing cybersecurity issues and concerns at U.S. nuclear power plants;
  • emergency planning for radiological incidents and nuclear terrorism;
  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) activities and updates including path forward for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and transuranic waste across the DOE complex; waste management forecasts, planning and prioritization; and, next steps re Greater-than-Class C environmental impact statement;
  • Category 3 source security and accountability re-evaluation;
  • Mount Sinai experience in reducing and removing the risk of malicious use of radioactive materials;
  • pilot Source Collection and Threat Reduction (SCATR) project re disposal of high-activity cesium irradiator;
  • preparation and submittal of report to Congress by the Radiation Source Protection and Security Task Force;
  • reporting and tracking of commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal;
  • NRC import and export waste and licensing activities;
  • radium contamination at non-military sites across the country;
  • updates and activities re the Waste Control Specialists commercial and federal low-level radioactive waste disposal facility in Andrews County, Texas; and,
  • updates and activities re the Clive low-level radioactive waste disposal facility in Tooele County, Utah.

Attendance  Officials from states, compacts, federal agencies, nuclear utilities, disposal operators, brokers/processors, industry, and other interested parties are encouraged to attend the spring 2017 LLW Forum meeting.

LLW Forum meetings are an excellent opportunity to stay up-to-date on the most recent and significant developments in the area of low-level radioactive waste management and disposal.  They also offer an important opportunity to network with other government and industry officials and to participate in decision-making on future actions and endeavors affecting low-level radioactive waste management and disposal.

Location and Dates  The fall 2017 LLW Forum meeting will be held on Monday, October 16 (9:00 am – 6:00 p.m.) and Tuesday, October 17 (8:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.) at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town Hotel, which is located at 1767 King Street in Alexandria, Virginia.

Located in the historic, vibrant King Street neighborhood, the Hilton Alexandria Old Town hotel is one of the most convenient hotels in Alexandria, VA for business and leisure travelers visiting Washington, DC.  The hotel is just steps away from King Street Metro station and close to Reagan National Airport.  Downtown DC attractions and government buildings are minutes away by Metro.

Registration  All persons must pre-register for the meeting and pay any associated registration fees in order to be allowed entry.  Registration forms are needed in order to ensure that you receive a meeting packet and name badge.  Accordingly, interested attendees are asked to please take a moment to complete the registration form at your earliest convenience and return it to the Southeast Compact Commission at the mailing or e-mail address listed at the bottom of the form.

The meeting is free for up to two individuals representing members of the LLW Forum.  Additional and non-member registration is $500, payable by check only to the “LLW Forum, Inc.”  (Credit card payments are not accepted.)

Reservations  Persons who plan to attend the meeting are strongly encouraged to make their hotel reservations and send in their registration forms as soon as possible, as we have exceeded our block at the last few meetings.

A limited block of hotel rooms has been reserved for Sunday, October 15th and Monday, October 16th at the rate of $231.00 plus tax per night (for single/double occupancy), $239 plus tax (king), $251 triple and $271 quad).  The same rates have been extended to three days prior and three days post the meeting dates.

To make a reservation, please call (703) 647-2035 (Group Code is OLW).  Reservations may also be made at the website at:

http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/groups/personalized/D/DCAOTHF-OLW-20171015/index.jhtml.

The deadline for reserving a room at the discounted rate is September 29, 2017.

Transportation and Directions  From Reagan National Airport via the Metro, the hotel is located next to the King Street Metro Station, accessible by the Blue and Yellow lines and only two stops from Reagan National Airport. Directions from other airports are given on the Hilton website, www.hiltonalexandria.com.  Taxi fares are typically around $20.00.

If you have questions or require additional information, please contact Todd D. Lovinger, Esq.—Executive Director of the LLW Forum and Project Director of the Disused Sources and Part 61 Working Groups (DSWG/P61WG)—at (754) 779-7551 or at LLWForumInc@aol.com

Utah Issues Licensing and Rulemaking Actions for Public Comment

Byproduct License Renewal and Source Material Distribution

During the last week of August 2017, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC), announced that it is currently accepting public comment on the following licensing and rulemaking actions:

  • renewal of the EnergySolutions’ 11e.(2) byproduct radioactive materials license (UT2300478) for the licensee’s site near Clive (Tooele County), Utah; and,
  •   changes to the state’s radiation control rules to incorporate the federal regulatory changes promulgated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) related to 10 CFR Parts 30, 40 and 70

In addition, on August 18, 2017, the DWMRC notified stakeholders that it had approved the final adoption of rule changes to incorporate the following into Title R315 of the Utah Administrative Code (UAC):

  •   the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) final Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule (HWGIR) as published on November 28, 2016 at 81 Federal Register 85,732;
  •   addition of a used oil generator as defined under Mixed Mode Transit System (NAICS code of 485111) to the list of used oil transporters considered to have a permit by rule to transport their own used oil to a permitted used oil recycler; and,
  •   selected corrections and clarifications.

Renewal of EnergySolutions’ 11e.(2) Byproduct Radioactive Materials License  On May 3, 2012, EnergySolutions submitted an application to the DWMRC Director to renew the Clive facility’s 11e.(2) byproduct radioactive materials license.  On August 16, 2017, the DWMRC commenced a forty-five day public comment period for the proposed licensing action.  The public comment period will end on October 2, 2017.

A public hearing will be scheduled if requested, by any citizen, by September 5, 2017.  If requested, the hearing will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on September 26, 2017.  The purpose of the public hearing, if held, will be to take comments from the public and to provide an opportunity for questions and answers relating to the renewal of the 11e.(2) license.

Written comments will be accepted if received by 5:00 p.m. on October 2, 2017.  Comments can sent by electronic mail to dwmrcpublic@utah.gov.  Comments sent in electronic format should be identified by putting the following in the subject line: Public Comment on EnergySolutions’ 11e.(2) license UT2300478 Renewal.  All documents included in comments should be submitted as ASCII (text) files or in pdf format.

The draft license and Technical Review and Environmental Assessment Report are available on the Division website at https://deq.utah.gov/NewsNotices/notices/waste/index.htm#phacp or by using EZ Records Search http://eqedocs.utah.gov/. 

For further information, please contact David Esser of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control at (801) 536-0079.

Changes to the State’s Radiation Control Rules to Incorporate Federal Regulatory Changes re 10 CFR Parts 30, 40 and 70  On May 29, 2013, the NRC adopted changes to 10 CFR Parts 30, 40, and 70.  These rule changes require the initial distribution of source material to exempt persons or to general licensees be explicitly authorized by a specific license, including new reporting requirements.  Changes to corresponding Utah radiation control rules are required to maintain regulatory compatibility with NRC rules and Utah’s status as an Agreement State with the NRC.

The rule is intended to provide timely information on the types and quantities of source material distributed for use either under exemption or by general licensees.  In addition, the rule modifies the existing possession and use requirements of the general license for small quantities of source material to better align the requirements with current health and safety standards.

The rule also revises, clarifies, or deletes certain source material exemptions from licensing to make the exemptions more risk informed.  This rule affects manufacturers and distributors of certain products and materials containing source material and certain persons using source material under a general license and under exemptions from licensing.

Comments may be submitted by email to dwmrcpublic@utah.gov.  The public comment period will end on September 15, 2017.

For additional information and the specific proposed rule changes, please see the August 15, 2017 issue (Volume 2017, Number 16) of the Utah State Bulletin at https://rules.utah.gov/publications/utah-state-bull/.

Final Adoption of Rule Changes to Incorporate Hazard Waste Generators Improvements Rule  The effective date for the final adoption of rule changes to, amongst other things, incorporate HWGIR became effective on August 31, 2017.

For additional information and the specific proposed rule changes, please see the June 1, 2017 issue (Volume 2017, Number 11) of the Utah State Bulletin at https://rules.utah.gov/publications/utah-state-bull/ or the DWMRC Board meeting packet for August 10, 2017 at https://utah.gov/pmn/files/319799.pdf. 

For additional information, please contact Rusty Lundberg, Deputy Director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, at (801) 536-4257 or at rlundberg@utah.gov.

NRC to Amend Rules on Medical Uses of Radioactive Materials

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved amendments to its requirements for medical uses of radioactive materials. A final rule—approved on August 17, 2017—modifies 10 CFR Part 35 and makes conforming changes to Parts 30 and 32.  The rule will be published in the coming months in the Federal Register after NRC staff makes certain revisions directed by the Commission.

Overview  According to an NRC press release issued in mid-August 2017, the changes will:

  •   amend the definition of medical events associated with permanent implant brachytherapy;
  •   update training and experience requirements for authorized users, medical physicists, radiation safety officers and nuclear pharmacists;
  •   address a petition the NRC received seeking to recognize the qualifications of board certified physicists and radiation safety officers not specifically named on a license;
  •   change requirements for measuring molybdenum contamination and reporting generator tests that exceed allowed concentration levels;
  •   allow associate radiation safety officers to be named on a medical license; and,
  •   make several minor clarifications.

Background  While implementing the current regulations, the need for the revisions was identified by NRC staff, stakeholders, and the NRC’s Advisory Committee on the Medical Uses of Isotopes (ACMUI).  On July 21, 2014, a proposed rule appeared in the Federal Register for 120 days of public comment.  The final rule takes those comments into consideration and provides responses to them.

For additional information, please contact David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

NRC To Review Its Administrative Regulations

On August 11, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced plans to initiate a retrospective review of its administrative regulations to identify those that are outdated or duplicative.  The review is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2017.

Overview  Any regulations that are identified during the review will be evaluated to determine if they can be eliminated without impacting the agency’s safety and security mission.  NRC anticipates that the review will result in improvements with regard to how applicants and licensees submit information, keep records, and report to the agency.

Process  NRC plans to develop a strategy to accomplish its retrospective review and will seek input from stakeholders through public meetings and a Federal Register notice.  In particular, the NRC plans to encourage its staff, its applicants, licensees and the public to provide input.

Background  Efficiency is one of five NRC principles of good regulation.  The retrospective review is an effort to improve the management and administration of regulatory activities and to ensure that the agency’s regulations remain current, appropriate, and effective.

For additional information, please contact the NRC’s Office of Public Affairs at (301) 415-8200.

Texas Compact Commission Holds August 2017 Meeting

On August 10, 2017, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) held a regularly scheduled meeting in Austin, Texas.  The meeting began at 9:00 a.m. CT.  It was held in the Room E201S at the offices of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), which is located at 12100 Park 35 Circle in Austin, Texas.

The formal meeting agenda is available on the Texas Compact Commission’s web site at www.tllrwdcc.org. 

Agenda  The following is an abbreviated overview of the agenda for the Texas Compact Commission meeting.  Persons interested in additional detail are directed to the formal agenda themselves.

  • call to order;
  • roll call and determination of quorum;
  • introduction of Commissioners, elected officials and press;
  • public comment;
  • consideration of and possible action on applications for importation of low-level radioactive waste from Alaron Veolia, U.S. Army, Bionomics, Perkin Elmer, Dominion Kewaunee, Duke Brunswick, Duke Brunswick (irradiated hardware), Exelon, Fort Calhoun, Southern Nuclear Vogtle, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Xcel Prairie Island;
  • consideration of and possible action on an application for exportation of low-level radioactive waste from Luminant Comanche Peak, Entergy Vermont Yankee, STP, University of Houston, Midland, Trinity, UTHSC Houston and UTMB;
  • receive reports from Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) about recent site operations and any other matter WCS wishes to bring to the attention of the Texas Compact Commission;
  • receive reports from Texas Compact Commission committees including the Rules Committee (as Chaired by Commissioner Morris) and the Capacity Committee (as Chaired by Commissioner Weber);
  • consideration and possible action to adopt the Commission’s annual budget for FY 2018 pursuant to Article VI, Section Two of the Commission’s Bylaws and approve the budget estimates for FY 2019 and FY 2020;
  • consideration, evaluation and possible action with respect to the renewal, extension, modification of terms or dismissal of contract employees including Leigh Ing, Andrew Tachovsky and Diane Fulmer;
  • Chairman’s report on Texas Compact Commission activities including reporting on fiscal matters to be taken by the compact and addressing personnel matters;
  • report from Leigh Ing, Executive Director of the Texas Compact Commission, on her activities and questions related to Texas Compact Commission operations;
  • discussion and possible changes of dates and locations of future Texas Compact Commission meetings in 2017 and 2018; and,
  • adjourn.

Background  The Texas Compact Commission may meet in closed session as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551, Texas Government Code.  Texas Compact Commission meetings are open to the public.

For additional information, please contact Texas Compact Commission Executive Director Leigh Ing at (512) 305-8941 or at leigh.ing@tllrwdcc.org

SCE&G to Cease New V.C. Summer Nuclear Project

On July 31, 2017, South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G) announced that it would cease construction of two new nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Jenkinsville, South Carolina.  SCE&G, which is a principal subsidiary of SCANA Corporation (SCANA), further announced that the company intends to promptly file a petition with the Public Service Commission of South Carolina seeking approval of its abandonment plan.

According to the company’s press release, this decision was reached by SCE&G after considering the additional costs to complete the new nuclear reactors, the uncertainty regarding the availability of production tax credits for the project and the amount of anticipated guaranty settlement payments from Toshiba Corporation (Toshiba).  SCE&G’s decision was also influenced by other matters associated with continuing construction including the decision of the co-owner of the project, the South Carolina Public Service Authority (Santee Cooper), the state owned electric utility, to suspend construction of the project.

Based on these factors, SCE&G concluded that it would not be in the best interest of its customers and other stakeholders to continue construction of the project.

Overview and Analysis  Following the bankruptcy filing of Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC (WEC), SCE&G and Santee Cooper each began a comprehensive process of evaluating the most prudent path forward for the new nuclear reactors.  The project owners worked with WEC and Fluor Corporation, as well as other technical and industry experts, to evaluate the project costs and schedules.

Based on this evaluation and analysis, SCE&G concluded that completion of both new nuclear reactors would be prohibitively expensive.  According to SCE&G’s analysis, the additional cost to complete both reactors beyond the amounts payable in connection with the engineering, procurement, and construction contract would materially exceed prior WEC estimates, as well as the anticipated guaranty settlement payments from Toshiba.  Moreover, in order to qualify for production tax credits under current tax rules, the new reactors would need to be online before January 1, 2021.  SCE&G’s analysis concluded that the new reactors could not be brought online until after this date.

SCE&G also considered the feasibility of completing the construction of Unit 2 and abandoning Unit 3 under the existing ownership structure and using natural gas generation to fulfill any remaining generation needs.  This option provided a potentially achievable path forward that may have delivered SCE&G a similar megawatt capacity as its 55% interest in the two reactors and provided a long-term hedge against carbon legislation/regulation and against gas price volatility.  SCE&G had not reached a final decision regarding this alternative when Santee Cooper determined that it would be unwilling to proceed with continued construction.  Consequently, SCE&G determined that it is not in the best interest of customers and other stakeholders for it to continue construction of one reactor.

Based on the evaluation and analysis, and Santee Cooper’s decision, SCE&G has concluded that the only remaining prudent course of action will be to abandon the construction of both Unit 2 and Unit 3 under the terms of the Base Load Review Act (BLRA).  Accordingly, normal construction activities at the site will cease immediately and efforts will be shifted toward an orderly transition of winding down and securing the project property.  SCE&G plans to use the anticipated payments resulting from the settlement of Toshiba’s guaranty to mitigate cost impacts to SCE&G electric customers.

Abandonment Proceeding  On August 1, 2017, SCE&G will fully brief the Public Service Commission of South Carolina and thereafter initiate the abandonment proceeding.  In accordance with the BLRA, SCE&G intends to seek an amortization of the project costs and a return at the weighted average cost of capital on the unamortized balance until fully recovered. SCE&G plans to use the anticipated proceeds from the Toshiba settlement and benefits derived from tax deductions to mitigate rate increases and lessen the impact on its customers for several years.

Background  SCANA Corporation—which is headquartered in Cayce, South Carolina—is an energy-based holding company principally engaged, through subsidiaries, in electric and natural gas utility operations and other energy-related businesses. The Company serves approximately 718,000 electric customers in South Carolina and approximately 1.3 million natural gas customers in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.

SCE&G is a regulated public utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 718,000 customers in South Carolina.  The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 362,000 customers throughout the state.

Additional information about SCANA and its businesses is available on the Company’s website at www.scana.com.  Additional information about SCE&G is available at www.sceg.com.

NRC Finalizes Guidance for Subsequent License Renewals

On July 11, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published guidance documents for both submitting and reviewing applications to renew operating licenses of plants that have already renewed their licenses, a process referred to as subsequent license renewal.

Overview  The newly released guidance documents include the Generic Aging Lessons Learned for Subsequent License Renewal Report and the Standard Review Plan for Review of Subsequent License Renewal Applications for Nuclear Power Plants.  The aging lessons learned report outlines an acceptable approach for applicants to demonstrate adequate management of plant aging effects.  The standard review plan guides the NRC staff on performing safety reviews of these applications.

Next Steps  The NRC staff plans to publish two more documents before the end of 2017.  These additional documents lay out the technical bases for changes to the guidance documents and the staff’s response to public comments received during the public comment period.

Background  The NRC developed these guidance documents over several years in preparation for reviewing subsequent license renewal applications.  NRC staff held more than 25 public meetings to gather stakeholders’ perspectives.  The guidance documents also include significant input from the License Renewal Subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS), as well as from the full committee.

Guidance documents are available at the Guidance for License Renewal and Subsequent License Renewal page on the NRC website.

For additional information, please contact Scott Burnell of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Further Actions Approved re Yucca Mountain Licensing Process

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has approved further actions related to its review of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) application for authorization to construct a high-level radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

In particular, the next steps involve information-gathering activities related to the suspended adjudication on the application.  The activities are intended to enable efficient, informed decisions in support of executing any further appropriations of funds for the High-Level Waste Program.

Overview  The Commission has directed agency staff to hold a virtual meeting of the Licensing Support Network Advisory Review Panel to provide information to, and gather input from, advisory panel members and the public regarding reconstitution of the Licensing Support Network (LSN) or a suitable replacement system.  Agency staff will also gather preliminary information regarding potential hearing venues.

The Commission limited expenditures for the information-gathering activities to $110,000 from the Nuclear Waste Fund.  As of June 30, 2017, NRC had approximately $634,000 in remaining unobligated Nuclear Waste Fund appropriations.

Background  The LSN was an online database of nearly 4 million documents created to allow various parties and the public access to information needed for the hearing on DOE’s request for a construction authorization for the Yucca Mountain repository.  The NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Boards (ASLB) had admitted nearly 300 contentions from various parties challenging aspects of DOE’s application.

In September 2011, the Yucca Mountain hearing was suspended and the LSN was decommissioned after Congress reduced funding.  At the time, the Commission directed agency staff to preserve the documents from the LSN within ADAMS.

Subsequently, in August 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered the NRC to resume its review of the application using the remaining previously appropriated funds.  In response, NRC staff completed the Safety Evaluation Report (SER) in January 2015 and a supplement to DOE’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in May 2016.

The Commission’s Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM), Commission voting records and the staff’s proposal (COMSECY-17-0019) are available on the NRC website at www.nrc.gov.

For additional information, please contact David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

NRC Amends Licensing, Inspection and Annual Fees for FY 2017

On June 30, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that the agency has amended its existing regulations to reflect the licensing, inspection, special project and annual fees it will charge applicants and licensees for fiscal year 2017.  The amended regulations reduce annual fees for most licensees, primarily due to a decrease in the agency’s budget.

Overview  Annual fees for FY 2017 decrease by 7.5 percent over last year for operating reactors; 2 to 11 percent for most fuel facilities; less than 1 percent for research and test reactors; and, 4.6 percent for spent fuel storage and reactor decommissioning licensees.  Fees increase by 13 percent for
 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) uranium recovery activities, while other uranium recovery licensees remain flat.  For the final rule, the NRC has lowered the hourly rate of staff review time from $265 to $263 for FY 2017.  Fees charged under 10 CFR Part 170 have been updated accordingly.

The NRC estimates the FY 2017 annual fees will be paid by licensees of 99 operating commercial power reactors, four research and test reactors, 122 spent nuclear fuel storage and decommissioning reactor facilities, nine fuel cycle facilities, 10 uranium recovery facilities and approximately 2,700 nuclear materials licensees.  The final rule implements several process improvements approved by the Commission in
FY 2016 aimed at making the NRC’s fees process more efficient and transparent.  Of 14 process improvements, 10 have been fully implemented, with the remainder due to be completed by September 30, 2017. 

Background  A proposed fee rule was published for public comment on January 30, 2017.  The final rule was published in the Federal Register on June 30, 2017.  (See 82 Federal Register 30,682.)  The rule includes fees required by law to recover approximately 90 percent of the NRC’s budget.  For FY 2017, the NRC received total budget authority of $940.1 million, including $23 million in prior year carryover funds.  The carryover funds are not included in the calculation of fees for
FY 2017.

The NRC’s required fee recovery amount for FY 2017, after billing and collection adjustments, is $805.9 million.  Approximately 37 percent, or $297.3 million, of the fees will recover the cost of specific services to applicants and licensees under 10 CFR Part 170.  The remaining 63 percent,
$508.6 million, will be billed as annual fees to licensees under 10 CFR Part 171.

For additional information, please contact David McIntyre at (301) 415-8200.

Modifications Approved to EnergySolutions’ State-Issued Part B Permit

On June 29, 2017, EnergySolutions announced the approval of the modifications to the Clive, Utah site’s state-issued Part B Permit.  The modifications involved the following changes:

  •   2017-001394:  Approval of a Class 1 modification to Attachment II-7, Closure Plan; Attachment II-7-1, Overall Facility Closure Cost Summary; Attachment II-7-2, Closure Cost Estimate- Mixed Waste Details; and, Attachment II-7-3, Reserve Capacity Calculations.
  •   2017-002785:  Approval of a Class 1 modification to Attachment VI-1, Groundwater Field Sampling Plan.
  •   2017-000709:  Approval of a Class 2 modification to Attachment II-6, Contingency Plan and Attachment II-5, Preparedness and Prevention Plan.

EnergySolutions’ compliance history is available from the facility contact person at the Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC).

Questions regarding these modifications or requests for review of the modification applications and related documents may be directed to Tim Orton of EnergySolutions at (801) 649-2000 or to Otis Willoughby of the Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control at (801) 536-0200.

Central Interstate Commission Passes Resolution Authorizing Waste Exports

On June 20, 2017, the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission held its annual meeting at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas.

During the meeting, the Commission passed a resolution granting approval for all low-level radioactive waste generators in the compact region (Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma) to export their low-level radioactive waste without first making application to the Commission.

The text of the resolution is as follows:

WHEREAS, the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission (“Commission”) was established in 1984 pursuant to the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact (“Compact”) (Public Law 99-240) and has, as current member states, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, and  

WHEREAS, Article III.g. of the Compact provides that, unless authorized by the Commission, it shall be unlawful after January 1, 1986 for any person to export from the region, low-level radioactive waste (“LLRW”) generated within the region, and to transport LLRW from the site at which it is generated except to a regional facility, and 

WHEREAS, in 2006, the Commission adopted a resolution to not actively pursue siting a regional facility in one of the member states, and  

WHEREAS, by not having a regional facility in one of the member states, all LLRW generators in the member states have exported their LLRW wastes from the region to a non-Compact disposal facility after having applied to, and obtained authorization from, the Commission, as required by Article III.g., and 

WHEREAS, the Commission has determined there is no further need to require each LLRW generator to apply to the Commission for export authorization,  

BE IT NOW THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT:

 

A. This Resolution shall take effect July 1, 2017 and shall serve as authorization for export required under Article III.g. of the Compact.

B. The Commission authorizes all LLRW generators within the member states to export LLRW generated at their facilities to any duly authorized and permitted disposal facility outside of the Compact, without application to the Commission or payment of any application fee, provided the export is done in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and regulations and any terms or conditions required of both the disposal facility to receive the LLRW and the regional Compact in which the disposal facility is located. 

C. Within 30 days of the date this Resolution is adopted, the Administrator shall ensure a copy of this Resolution is posted on the Commission’s webpage and is provided to: 

  • all LLRW generators who have filed Export Applications with the Commission during Fiscal Years 2015 to the present; and
  • the following LLRW disposal facilities and their associated Compact:
    • EnergySolutions in Barnwell, South Carolina (Atlantic Compact);
    • EnergySolutions in Clive, Utah (Northwest Compact);
    • S. Ecology in Richland, Washington (Northwest Compact); and
    • Waste Control Specialists in Andrews, Texas (Texas-Vermont Compact).

This resolution shall remain in effect until modified, suspended, or revoked by the Commission.

The resolution was adopted by a 4 to 0 vote of the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission.  The effective date of the resolution, which was signed by Commission Chair Jon Roberts, is July 1, 2017.

For additional information, please contact Kristie Valtierra, Administrator of the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission, at (402) 702-5220 or at admin@cillrwcc.org or visit their web site at www.cillrwcc.org.

District Court Prohibits Proposed Acquisition of Waste Control Specialists by EnergySolutions

On June 21, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Delaware issued a Judgment and Order in a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking to block the proposed $367 million acquisition of Waste Control Specialists LLC by EnergySolutions.  The United States of America is the plaintiff in the case.  The listed defendants include EnergySolutions, Inc.; Rockwell Holdco, Inc.; Andrews County Holdings, Inc.; and, Waste Control Specialists LLC.

In its order, the district court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants, specifically enjoining and restraining the defendants “from carrying out the acquisition of Waste Control Specialists LLC by EnergySolutions, Inc. as memorialized in the merger agreement between Rockwell Holdco, Inc. and Andrews County Holding, Inc. dated November 18, 2015 and any amendments thereto.”

The case—which is listed as United States of America v. EnergySolutions, Inc.; Rockwell Holdco, Inc.; Andrews Country Holdings, Inc.; and, Waste Control Specialists—can be found under civil docket number 16-1056-SLR in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware.

Proposed Acquisition  On November 19, 2015, in separate press releases, it was announced that Rockwell Holdco had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Waste Control Specialists—a wholly owned subsidiary of Valhi, Inc. and operator of a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility located in Andrews County, Texas.  Rockwell Holdco is the parent company of EnergySolutions—which operates low-level radioactive waste disposal facilities in Tooele County, Utah and Barnwell, South Carolina.  Rockwell Holdco is owned by Energy Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on investing in North America’s energy infrastructure.  According to the companies’ press releases, upon closing, Rockwell Holdco would pay $270 million in cash and $20 million face amount in Series A Preferred Stock.  In addition, Rockwell Holdco would assume approximately $77 million of Waste Control Specialists’ debt, as well as all financial assurance obligations related to the Waste Control Specialists’ business.

Antitrust Lawsuit  On November 16, 2016, the DOJ filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware seeking to block the proposed $367 million acquisition of Waste Control Specialists by EnergySolutions.  DOJ argued that the proposed transaction “would combine the two most significant competitors for the disposal of low level radioactive waste … available to commercial customers in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.”  DOJ asserted that the proposed transaction “would deny commercial generators of … [low-level radioactive waste] —from universities and hospitals working on life-saving treatments to nuclear facilities producing 20 percent of the electricity in the United States—the benefits of vigorous competition that has led to significantly lower prices, better service and innovation in recent years.”

Low-Level Radioactive Waste  Low-level radioactive waste is the radioactive byproduct of nuclear power generation, scientific research and certain medical treatments.  Low-level radioactive waste includes such items as personal protective clothing, tools, water purification filters and resins, hardware from nuclear power plants, and equipment from medical and research institutions.  Low-level radioactive waste may only be disposed of in a facility licensed by, or pursuant to an exemption provided by, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) or a state acting under an agreement with the NRC.  Low-level radioactive waste disposal is an essential service for operating nuclear reactors, research laboratories and medical facilities.  Additionally, low-level radioactive waste disposal is a requirement for the safe decommissioning of such facilities when they reach the end of their useful lives.

For additional information about EnergySolutions, please contact Dan Shrum at (801) 649-2000 or at dshrum@energysolutions.com or go to the company’s web site at www.energysolutions.com.  For additional information about Waste Control Specialists, please contact Rodney Baltzer at (972) 450-4235 or at rbaltzer@valhi.net or visit the company’s web site at www.valhi.net.

NAS Releases LLW Workshop Proceedings

On June 6, 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) released the final publication, Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management and Disposition: Proceedings of a Workshop.  The publication documents the proceedings from a workshop that was organized by the NAS Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board, Division on Earth and Life Studies, at the request of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE or Department).  The workshop was held in Washington, DC on October 24-25, 2016.

During the workshop, presenters and attendees provided perspectives from academia, industry, federal agencies (including those outside of DOE), state governments, international organizations, public interest groups, and national laboratories.  The proceedings provide a factual description of the workshop presentations and discussions and are limited to the views and opinions of those participating in the event.  The proceedings do not contain consensus findings or recommendations.

Overview  DOE asked NAS to organize this workshop to discuss approaches for the management and disposition of low-level radioactive waste.  The workshop considered similarities between successful case studies, in which unique disposition pathways have been developed to address low-level radioactive wastes, and explored ways to extend these similar characteristics to problematic wastes—i.e., low-level radioactive wastes currently without a clear disposition pathway.  Specifically, the workshop explored the key physical, chemical, and radiological characteristics of low-level radioactive waste that govern its safe and secure management (i.e., packaging, transport, storage) and disposition, in aggregate and for individual waste-streams; and, how key characteristics of low-level waste are incorporated into standards, orders, and regulations that govern the management and disposition of low-level radioactive waste in the United States and in other major waste-producing countries.

Workshop Structure  The workshop began by defining the “universe” of low-level radioactive waste within the United States and elsewhere—first by introducing the types of waste that exist and then by exploring the standards, orders, regulations, and laws that define and control their disposal.  Case studies were then presented to highlight the successful disposal of a variety of wastes that previously lacked a clear disposition pathway—these case studies are referred to as “success stories.”  The studies were selected from within and outside of the United States.  The participants explored common themes that led to success within the case studies such as: the use of existing regulations and standards (i.e., waste classification) to provide an anchor for disposal decisions; the identification of lessons learned from similar or analogous problems such as Canada’s or France’s approach to managing and disposing of very low-level waste (VLLW); and, the importance of site characteristics for disposal decisions.  These themes were organized into an approach to guide future discussions and disposition decisions for challenging low-level radioactive waste streams—referred to in the proceedings as a “common themes approach.”

Waste Streams  The common themes approach was applied to a set of five pre-selected challenging low-level radioactive waste streams that spanned a variety of waste characteristics including Greater-Than-Class C (GTCC) and commercial transuranic waste (TRU) waste in excess of 100 nCi/g; sealed sources; VLLW and very low-activity waste; incident waste; and, depleted uranium.  One leader from each breakout group introduced a specific challenging low-level radioactive waste stream to the full workshop and later summarized the breakout group’s results of applying the common themes approach to the issues associated with the disposal of this waste stream.  Several participants identified short-term actions or next steps that could be taken to show progress in addressing each challenging waste stream in the final session of the workshop.

Challenges  Each of the waste streams discussed at the workshop presents a unique set of challenges for disposal.  For example, GTCC waste and commercial TRU waste in excess of 100 nCi/g lack a clear disposition pathway, while VLLW and very low-activity waste have a disposition pathway in which the level of protection may be considered incommensurate with the hazard, or a potentially non-optimal disposition pathway.  According to NAS, the application of the common themes approach to these diverse waste streams was intended to explore how adaptable this approach would be as a tool in discussing or presenting a variety of disposal options.

Background  The Department’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) is responsible for the cleanup of the sites used by the federal government for nuclear weapons development and nuclear energy research.  DOE-EM cleanup involves retrieval, treatment, storage, transportation, and disposition of hundreds of different radioactive and hazardous solid and liquid wastes.  Low-level radioactive waste—which is defined by exclusion as waste that does not meet the statutory definitions for spent nuclear fuel, high-level radioactive waste, or transuranic waste—is physically and chemically diverse, ranging from lightly contaminated soils and building materials to highly irradiated nuclear reactor components.  It is the most volumetrically significant waste stream (millions of cubic meters) being generated by the cleanup program.

The NAS proceedings are available to interested stakeholders for free download at https://www.nap.edu/catalog/24715/.  For additional information, please contact Jennifer Heimberg, Senior Program Officer, Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board (NRSB), Board on Life Sciences (BLS), Board on Environmental Change and Society (BECS), NAS at (202) 334-3293 or at jheimberg@nas.edu.

Waste Management Accepting Abstracts & Fellow Award Nominations

Abstracts are now being accepted for the Waste Management 2018 Conference, which will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona on March 18-22, 2018.  This year’s conference theme is Nuclear and Industrial Robotics, Remote Systems and Other Emerging Technologies.

Background  The annual Waste Management Conference, presented by WM Symposia (WMS), is an international symposium concerning the safe and secure management of radioactive wastes arising from nuclear operations, facility decommissioning and environmental remediation, as well as storage, transportation and disposal and associated activates.  WMS was founded to provide a forum for discussing and seeking cost-effective and environmentally responsible solutions for the safe management and disposition of radioactive waste and radioactive materials.  WM2018 marks the 44th year of the conference and is expected to attract over 2,000 nuclear specialists from over 35 countries, presenting more than 500 papers in over 130 technical sessions.

Supporting Organizations  Supporting organizations include the American Nuclear Society (ANS), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Framework for Nuclear Energy Cooperation (IFNEC) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development/Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD/NEA).  The conference is also organized in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).

Abstract Submissions  WMS welcomes abstracts in nine topic areas related to nuclear waste management.  The submission site became available in mid-June 2017. To submit an abstract, interested parties will need to visit the WMS website at www.wmsym.org and login using a registered username and password.  The deadline for submission is Friday, August 11, 2017.  Please note, there is a limit of abstract submissions to two (2) per presenter, but no limit on the number of abstracts that may be co-authored.

Fellow Award Nominations  WMS is also accepting nominations for the conference Fellow Award.  Nominations must be submitted no later than August 11, 2017.  Nomination forms should be submitted to awards@wmarizona.org.  All questions related to the WMS Fellowship should be directed to Fred Sheil, Chair of the WM Board of Directors Honors & Awards Committee.  Sheil can be reached by phone at +44-19-46-813342 or by email at Fred@Sheil.myzen.co.uk.

The Call for Abstracts and the detailed Topic Listing are available online at www.wmsym.org.  For additional information on the Waste Management Conference, please call (480) 557-0263 or email to shelley@wmarizona.org.

Perma-Fix to Host 15th Nuclear Waste Management Forum

On November 27-29, 2017, the 15th Perma-Fix Nuclear Waste Management Forum will be held in Nashville, Tennessee.  Registration details and forum hotel accommodation information will be released in the upcoming weeks.

Nuclear industry leaders that focus on the area of radioactive waste management attend this event.  Attendees learn information about the latest technologies and applications regarding waste characterization, packaging, treatment, transportation and disposition while sharing lessons learned that improve safety and efficiency for their projects.  This is an opportunity to network with experts from a variety of U.S. and international waste generator sites, government officials and other companies focused on waste management objectives.

For additional information, please contact Autumn Bogus at (865) 251-2088 or at abogus@perma-fix.com

NRC Proposes FY 2018 Budget to Congress

On May 23, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) released the agency’s proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 as presented to Congress.  The agency is proposing an FY 2018 budget of $952 million, including the Office of the Inspector General—a request nearly $45 million lower than 2016’s spending levels.  Since the NRC recovers approximately 90 percent of its budget from licensee fees, which are sent directly to the U.S. Treasury, the resulting net appropriation request is $138 million.

Specific details of the budget include the following:

  • Requested funding for 3,284 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, including the OIG—which represents a reduction of approximately 270 FTE from the FY 2016 level. Reductions in staffing were related to completion of work related to the Fukushima Near-Term Task Force and improved efficiency of agency operations, including reductions in procurement operations, physical and personnel security, and information technology.
  • Requested funding of $466.7 million for nuclear reactor safety, $171.1 million for nuclear materials and waste safety—which includes $30 million to support activities for the proposed Yucca Mountain deep geological repository for spent fuel and other high-level radioactive waste—and $301.4 million for corporate support.
  • Requested funding of $12.1 million for the OIG, an independent office that conducts audits and investigations to ensure the efficiency and integrity of NRC programs, and promote cost-effective management. The OIG’s budget also includes funding to provide auditing and investigation services for the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

The budget briefing slides and the Congressional Budget Justification are available on the NRC website.  A limited number of hard copies of the report will be available from opa.resource@nrc.gov.

For additional information, please contact Holly Harrington of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Final EIS Issued for Proposed Northwest Medical Isotopes Facility

On May 16, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published its final environmental impact statement on a medical radioisotope production facility proposed for Columbia, Missouri.  The study recommends that, barring the identification of any safety issues during the agency’s ongoing safety review, a construction permit be issued to Northwest Medical Isotopes, LLC.

Northwest submitted the application in February 2015 proposing to construct a facility to produce molybdenum-99 from low-enriched uranium.  Molybdenum-99 decays to technetium-99m, the most commonly used radioisotope in medicine.  Technetium-99m is used in 20 to 25 million diagnostic procedures around the world each year, such as bone and organ scans to detect cancer and cardiovascular imaging.  There are currently no molybdenum-99 production facilities in the United States, though the NRC has issued a construction permit to SHINE Medical Technologies to build one in Janesville, Wisconsin.

The environmental impact statement (NUREG-2209) documents the NRC staff’s environmental review of Northwest’s construction permit application.  The review examined the environmental impacts of constructing, operating and decommissioning the proposed facility, as well as the transportation of uranium targets to research reactors and their irradiation in those reactors.  It concludes that the environmental impacts would be small, with cumulative impacts on air quality and noise being small to moderate, and cumulative impacts on ecological resources being moderate.  None of the projected impacts would be significant enough to deny the construction permit.

The NRC published a draft environmental impact statement for public comment in November 2015.  Comments received were addressed in the final version.

For additional information, please contact Maureen Conley at (301) 415-8200.

New Potential Regulations for Power Reactor Decommissioning

From May 8-10, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held a public meeting to discuss the draft regulatory basis and preliminary draft regulatory analysis for a future regulation on decommissioning commercial nuclear power plants.  The meeting was held at the NRC’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.

Overview  On March 15, 2017, NRC published the draft regulatory basis for the rulemaking for public comment.  It describes several decommissioning issues to be addressed in the new regulation, as well as possible resolutions.  The rule would establish clear requirements for commercial power reactors transitioning to decommissioning.  The draft regulatory basis draws upon comments submitted in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) that was published in November 2015.  A notice regarding the draft regulatory basis was published in the Federal Register later in March 2017, initiating a 90-day public comment period.  The preliminary draft regulatory analysis, which describes the costs and benefits of all approaches to resolving the issues, was published prior to the public meeting.

Public Meeting  During the public meeting, NRC staff members presented both the draft regulatory basis and the preliminary draft regulatory analysis with extended discussions of various subjects to be addressed in the rulemaking.  Members of the public were encouraged to ask questions and provide feedback, although the staff did not take formal public comment on either document at the meeting.  The following is a brief overview of the agenda topics for each day of the meeting: the current regulatory approach to decommissioning, the back-fit analysis of the proposed rulemaking, drug and alcohol testing and fatigue management; emergency preparedness, aging management, cyber security and physical security; decommissioning trust funds, onsite and offsite insurance indemnity agreements, and certified fuel handler training and minimum staffing; and, the preliminary draft regulatory analysis.

Staff Analysis  In the draft regulatory basis, the NRC staff concludes there is sufficient justification to proceed with rulemaking in the following areas: emergency preparedness; physical security; decommissioning trust funds; offsite and onsite financial protection requirements and indemnity agreements; and, application of the back-fit rule.  The staff suggests guidance, rather than rulemaking, should be used to address the following items: the role of state and local governments in the decommissioning process; the level of NRC review and approval of a licensee’s post-shutdown decommissioning activities report; and, whether to revise the 60-year limit for power reactor decommissioning.  The NRC staff is seeking additional public input before making recommendations on the following topics: cyber security; drug and alcohol testing; minimum staffing and training requirements for certified fuel handlers; aging management; and, fatigue management. That additional input, as well as comments received on the draft document, will be considered as the staff develops the final regulatory basis, which the NRC plans to publish in late 2017.  That document will be used in developing a proposed rule to be provided to the Commission in the spring of 2018.  The NRC staff expects to provide a draft final rule to the Commission in fall 2019.

Background  The NRC published an ANPR on the draft regulatory basis for a future power reactor decommission rule in November 2015, seeking public comment on a number of areas to be considered during the rulemaking process.  The NRC began a similar rulemaking process in 2000-2001, but stopped after a stronger focus on security was prompted by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  However, five reactors have permanently shut down since the beginning of 2013, and three more are expected to cease operations by 2019.  The five reactors now undergoing decommissioning required several exemptions from NRC’s regulations for operating reactors to reflect their decommissioning status.  By incorporating changes into regulation, the NRC believes the transition from operation to decommissioning can become more efficient and effective for the agency and the licensee, as well as more open and transparent for the public.

For additional information, please contact David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Washington Releases Annual Environmental Monitoring Report

In the spring of 2017, the Office of Radiation Protection, Environmental Public Health Division, Washington State Department of Health released US Ecology Washington’s Annual Environmental Monitoring Report for Calendar Year 2015.

Each year, US Ecology Washington submits an annual report, which is required by state law and the Washington State Department of Health’s license conditions as per Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 246-250-600.  WAC 246-250-340 also requires environmental monitoring.

US Ecology Washington receives and disposes low-level radioactive waste at the Hanford Site near Richland, Washington.

The report is now available on the agency’s website at www.doh.wa.gov.  For additional information, please contact Kate Lynch at (360) 236-3259 or at kate.lynch@doh.wa.gov.

Central Interstate Compact Commission to Hold Annual Meeting

On June 20, 2017, the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission will hold its annual meeting.  The meeting will be held at the Capital Hotel, which is located at 111 West Markham Street in Little Rock, Arkansas.  The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. CDT.  Interested stakeholders may participate via teleconference by calling (888) 822-7517 and entering code 4495347.

The following items are on the draft agenda for the meeting:

1.  Call to Order and Roll Call (Chair)

2.  Introduction of Oklahoma’s Alternate Commissioner (Chair)

3. Administrator Report (Administrator)

4. Chair Report (Chair)

5. Commissioners Reports

  • Opportunity for each Commissioner to report on any activities in their states that may be of interest to the Commission.

6.  Approval of Minutes of November 17, 2016 Special Teleconference Meeting

  • Questions/Discussion by Commissioners
  • Questions/Discussion by Public
  • Roll Call Vote

7.  Ratify Action Taken on Export Applications

  • December 2016
  • January 2017
  • February 2017
  • March 2017
  • April 2017
  • May 2017
  • June 2017
    • Questions/Discussion by Commissioners
    • Questions/Discussion by Public
    • Roll Call Vote

8.  Resolution Regarding Export Authorizations

  • The Commission is proposing a resolution to authorize all low-level radioactive waste generators in the Compact region (AR, KS, LA, OK) to export their wastes to an appropriate disposal facility outside of the region without first applying to the Commission for such authorization.
    • Questions/Discussion by Commissioners
    • Questions/Discussion by Public
    • Roll Call Vote

9.  Revisions to Rules of the Commission Relating to Requests for Authorization to Export Waste – Policy Statement and Rule 1

  • This Agenda item will be considered only if the Resolution under Agenda Item 8 is approved.  This action will: (1) revise the Rule 1 Policy Statement to align with the Resolution and (2) suspend Rules 1.1 through 1.4 related to export applications and payment of application fees.  Rule 1.5 authorizing the Commission to enter into agreements with the United States, other Compacts, or individual states for the exportation or management of waste will not be affected.
  • Questions/Discussion by Commissioners
  • Questions/Discussion by Public
  • Roll Call Vote

10.  Revisions to Rule of the Commission Relating to the “Regional Waste Disposal Administrative Fee” – Policy Statement and Rule 10

  • This Policy Statement and Rule 10 establish an administrative fee for low-level radioactive waste disposed in a disposal facility located in the Central Interstate Compact region.  This action is to insert clarifying clauses and correct a couple of scrivener’s errors.
  • Questions/Discussion by Commissioners
  • Questions/Discussion by Public
  • Roll Call Vote

11.  Revisions to Rule 27 – Public Notice & Announcement Procedures

  • This action is to ensure alignment of Rule 27 with the Commission Bylaws.
  • Questions/Discussion by Commissioners
  • Questions/Discussion by Public
  • Roll Call Vote

12.  Review and Approve Commission’s FY 2018 Administrative Budget

  • Questions/Discussion by Commissioners
  • Questions/Discussion by Public
  • Roll Call Vote

13.  Set Date for November Special Teleconference Meeting and Date/Location for June 2018 Annual Meeting

14.  Executive Session for Personnel Matters – Administrator Review

15.  Adjourn

For additional information, please contact Kristie Valtierra, Administrator of the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission, at (402) 702-5220 or at admin@cillrwcc.org or visit their web site at www.cillrwcc.org.

NRC to Hold Fuel Cycle Information Exchange

On June 13-14, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will host the 11th Fuel Cycle Information Exchange at the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.  This event enables NRC staff, licensees, international counterparts, members of the public and other stakeholders to discuss issues related to uranium enrichment and conversion, and nuclear fuel fabrication.  Online registration is now open.  Onsite registration will also be available during the conference.

Agenda Overview  On the morning of June 13, 2017, NRC Executive Director for Operations Victor McCree will deliver opening remarks and Eileen Supko, Principal at Energy Resources International, will give a keynote address.  The conference will also include discussions and presentations on safety culture, advanced fuels, small modular and advanced reactors, waste disposal, fees, operating experience, and cybersecurity.

Logistics  The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. on June 13 and from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on June 14.  It will be held in the NRC Auditorium.  A telephone bridge line has been set up for those who cannot attend the conference in person.  An operator will moderate the bridge line, allowing participants to ask questions at designated times.  Anyone choosing to phone in should call (888) 790-9948 and use passcode 3424316.

For additional information, please contact Maureen Conley of the NRC at (301) 415-8200. 

Midwest Compact Commission to Hold Annual Meeting

On June 9, 2017, the Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission (MCC) will hold its annual meeting.  The meeting—which will be held by teleconference call—is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. CDT (11:00 a.m. for Indiana and Ohio).

The following items are on the draft agenda for the meeting:

  • call to order and roll call
  • review of the minutes of the June 28, 2016 meeting
  • review of the financial report
  • Chair’s report including the MCC website
  • discussion—the future of the Midwest Compact, including whether the Compact should continue to exist as it is now, dissolve or affiliate with another compact, or go in another direction;
  • consultant agreements
  • legal counsel proposal
  • accounting/audit proposal
  • website management proposal
  • adoption of 2017-18 budget
  • election of Chair and Vice-Chair
  • Executive Director resignation and replacement
  • other business
  • adjournment

For additional information, please contact Stanley York, Chair of the Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission, at (608) 267-4793 or at stanyork080@gmail.com or visit the Compact Commission’s web site at www.midwestcompact.org.

Northwest Compact Commission Hosts Meeting

On June 8, 2017, the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management will host a meeting beginning at 9:00 a.m. PDT in Helena, Montana.  The meeting will be held at the Radisson Colonial Hotel, which is located at 2301 Colonial Drive in Helena, Montana.

The following topics, among others, are on the meeting agenda:

  • Welcome and Introductory Remarks (Earl Fordham, Chair)
    • Introductions
  • Compact Business (Kristen Schwab, Executive Director)
    • Approve Minutes of June 21, 2016 Committee Meeting
  • Party States Reports (Committee Members)
  • US Ecology – Activities Overview (Mike Ault, General Manager, US Ecology Inc.)
  • Disposal Volume Summary for 2016 and for 2017 through May
  • 2017 Revenue Requirement
  • MTCA Investigation
  • Other Issues
  • Utah – Activities Overview (Rusty Lundberg, Deputy Director, Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control)
  • Legislation
    • EnergySolutions’ Activities Including Status of EnergySolutions’ Depleted Uranium Performance Assessment
  • Other Issues
  • Break
  • US Ecology MTCA Investigation (Ron Skinnarland, Washington State Department of Ecology)
    • Overview and Update
  • National and Regional Issues (Kristen Scwhab, Executive Director)
    • Import/Export License Applications
    • Texas Compact/Waste Control Specialists
    • Compact Updates
    • Other Issues
  • EnergySolutions – Activities Overview (Dan Shrum, Senior Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, EnergySolutions)
    • 2016 Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Volumes
    • Other Issues
  • Lunch
  • Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum’s Disused Sources Working Group (Gary Robertson, DSWG Technical Consultant)
    • Disused Sources Background
    • Disused Sources Current Status
    • Disused Sources Program Update
  • Transfer of Northwest Compact Activities (Earl Fordham, Chair)
    • Status Update
  • Update on Legal Issues (Kristen Mitchell, Compact Counsel, Washington State Attorney General’s Office)
    • Status Update
  • Break
  • Committee Business
  • Public Comment
  • Meeting Adjourned

For additional information, please contact Kristen Schwab, Executive Director of the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management, at (360) 236-3232 or at Kristen.schwab@doh.wa.gov.

NRC Issues New Reactor License for North Anna Site

On May 31, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency had authorized the issuance of a Combined License for Dominion Virginia Power’s North Anna site in Virginia.  The license grants Dominion permission to build and operate an Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBW) design at the site, which is located near Mineral, Virginia.

Overview  The Commission authorized the agency’s Office of New Reactors to issue the license following a hearing on March 23, 2017.  In so doing, the Commission found the staff’s review of Dominion’s application to be adequate to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings.  NRC issued the license in early June 2017.

The license contains certain specified conditions including:

  • specific actions associated with the agency’s post-Fukushima requirements for Mitigation Strategies and Spent Fuel Pool Instrumentation; and,
  • a pre-startup schedule for post-Fukushima aspects of the new reactor’s emergency 
preparedness plans and procedures.

Background  On November 26, 2007, Dominion submitted the North Anna application to NRC for an ESBWR adjacent to the company’s two existing reactors.  The NRC certified the 1,600-megawatt ESBWR design following a Commission vote in September 2014.

The NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) independently reviewed aspects of the application that concern safety, as well as the staff’s final safety evaluation report.  On November 15, 2016, the committee provided the results of its review to the Commission.  In February 2010, the NRC completed its environmental review and published the final impact statement for the proposed reactor.

For additional information, please contact of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.  Additional information on the ESBWR certification process is available on the NRC website at www.nrc.gov

President Trump Announces Intent to Nominate NRC Commissioners

On May 22, 2017, U.S. President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate Annie Caputo and David Wright as Commissioners  for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), as well as to nominate current NRC Chair Kristine Svinicki as Commissioner and Chair for a new five-year term.

Annie Caputo   According to the White House news release dated May 22, 2017, President Trump intends to nominate Annie Caputo of Virginia to be an NRC Commissioner for the remainder of a five-year term expiring June 30, 2021.  Caputo currently serves as Senior Policy Advisor for Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.  She also held this position for previous Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) from 2007 to 2012.  From 2005 to 2006 and from 2012 to 2015, Caputo worked for the House Committee on Energy & Commerce handling nuclear energy issues.  Prior to working for the Congress, Caputo worked as an Executive Assistant and Congressional Affairs Manager for Exelon Corporation.  Caputo has more than 20 years of experience advising the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, as well as the nuclear industry, on nuclear energy regulation, policy development, legislation, and communications.  Caputo graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor’s degree in Nuclear Engineering.  Caputo, her husband and two children reside in McLean, Virginia.

Kristine L. Svinicki  President Trump also plans to nominate Kristine L. Svinicki of Virginia to be an NRC Commissioner for a five-year term expiring June 30, 2022, as well to designate her as Chair.  Svinicki currently serves as an NRC Commissioner, having been originally confirmed in 2008, re-nominated to a second term in 2012 and designated as the Commission’s Chair by President Trump in January of 2017.  Prior to being confirmed as an NRC Commissioner, Svinicki served in various staff positions in the U.S. Senate, including as a Professional Staff Member for the Committee on Armed Services, with a concentration on defense science and technology policy and the atomic energy defense activities of the U.S. Departments of Energy (DOE) and Defense (DoD).  Previously, Svinicki worked as a Nuclear Engineer in DOE’s Washington headquarters and the Department’s Idaho Operations Office.  Earlier in her career, she was an Energy Engineer with the State of Wisconsin, Public Service Commission in Madison, Wisconsin.  Svinicki graduated from the University of Michigan and currently resides in Falls Church, Virginia.

David Wright  The May 22 press release states that President Trump also plans to nominate David Wright of South Carolina to be an NRC Commissioner for the remainder of a five-year term expiring June 30, 2020. Wright is currently the President of Wright Directions, LLC—a strategic consulting and communications business in the energy sector.  Wright previously served as a Member and Chair of the South Carolina Public Service Commission (SCPSC) from 2004 – 2013.  He was elected to serve as President of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) for 2011 – 2012.  Wright has owned and operated several different businesses, and served as a Councilman, Mayor and a Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.  A colon cancer survivor, Wright is active as an advocate for colon cancer awareness and education and is frequently asked to share his message with groups around the country.  Wright received his Bachelor’s Degree from Clemson University.  He has four children and three grandchildren and currently resides in Columbia, South Carolina.

Background  Five Commissioners appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for five-year terms head the NRC.  One of them is designated by the President to be the Chairman and official spokesperson of the Commission.  The Chair is the Principal Executive Officer of and the Official Spokesperson for the NRC.  As Principal Executive Officer, the Chair is responsible for conducting the administrative, organizational, long-range planning, budgetary and certain personnel functions of the agency.  The Chair has ultimate authority for all NRC functions pertaining to an emergency involving an NRC license.  The Chair’s actions are governed by the general policies of the Commission.  The Commission operates as a collegial body to formulate policies, develop regulations governing nuclear reactor and nuclear material safety, issue orders to licensees, and adjudicate legal matters.  In addition to Chair Kristine L. Svinicki, the NRC currently has two other Commissioners including Jeff Baran and Stephen G. Burns.

For additional information related to Commission business, please contact Annette L. Vietti-Cook, Secretary of the Commission, at (301) 415-1969 or at NRCExecSec@nrc.gov.  For additional information related to Federal Intergovernmental Matters, please contact Darrell Adams, Congressional/External Affairs Officer, at (301) 415-1776 or at oca_web@nrc.gov.

Alert Declared at Hanford Site

At 8:26 a.m. on May 9, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Richland Operations Office activated the Hanford Emergency Operations Center after an alert was declared.  In particular, officials responded to reports of a cave-in of a 20-foot section of a tunnel that is hundreds of feet long that is used to store contaminated materials.  The tunnel is located next to the Plutonium Uranium Extraction Facility, also known as PUREX, which is located in the center of the Hanford Site in an area known as the 200 East Area.

Overview  During a routine surveillance of the area in the morning, a 20-foot-wide hole in the roof of one of the tunnels was observed, leading to the precautionary sheltering of employees and notifications to area counties and states.  After no contamination was detected, the shelter in place order was lifted and employees were sent home from work early as a precaution.  Workers continue to monitor the area for contamination as a crew prepares to fill the hole with clean soil.

Actions taken to protect site employees included the following:

  •   As a precaution, workers in the vicinity of the PUREX facility—as well as the Hanford Site north of the Wye Barricade (southern entrance to the site)—were told to shelter in-place.
  •   Access to the 200 East Area of the Hanford Site, which is located in the center of the Hanford Site, has been restricted to protect employees.

All personnel in the vicinity of the PUREX facility were accounted for and there were no reports of injuries.

Background  In the 1950s and 1960s, two tunnels were constructed next to the PUREX former chemical processing plant.  The tunnels were constructed of wood and concrete and covered with approximately 8 feet of soil.  The tunnels were constructed to hold rail cars that were loaded with contaminated equipment and moved into the tunnels during the Cold War.

The approximately 360-foot-long tunnel where the partial collapse occurred contains 8 rail cars loaded with contaminated equipment.  That tunnel feeds into a longer tunnel that extends hundreds more feet and contains 28 rail cars loaded with contaminated equipment.  The hole opened up in the shorter tunnel near where it joins the longer tunnel.  The tunnels were sealed in the mid-1990s and are checked periodically.

DOE hosted a briefing on its Hanford Site Facebook channel.  Interested stakeholders can view the briefing on the Hanford Site Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HanfordSite/.

2018 Hodes Award Nominations Sought

The Southeast Compact Commission for Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management is accepting nominations for the 2018 Richard S. Hodes, M.D. Honor Lecture Award—a program that recognizes an individual, company, or organization that contributed in a significant way to improving the technology, policy, or practices of low-level radioactive waste management in the United States.  The award recipient will present the innovation being recognized at a lecture during the Waste Management ’18 Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona.  The award recipient will receive a $5,000 honorarium and all travel expenses will be paid.
Criteria  The criteria for selection include:

  1. Innovation.  Is the improvement unique? Is it a fresh approach to a standard problem? Is it a visionary approach to an anticipated problem?
  2. Safety.  Does the practice enhance radiation protection?
  3. Economics.  Does the approach produce significant cost savings to government, industry or the public?
  4. Transferability.  Is this new practice applicable in other settings and can it be replicated?  Does it increase the body of technical knowledge across the industry?

Eligibility  To be eligible for the award, the individual/group must consent to being nominated and must be willing to prepare and present a lecture about the innovation being recognized at the Waste Management Symposium.  Individuals or organizations can nominate themselves or another individual, company, institution, or organization.

Nominations  To nominate yourself or another individual, company, or organization for this distinguished award, please contact:

Awards Committee
c/o Ted Buckner

Executive Director
Southeast Compact Commission
Post Office Box 5427
Cary, NC 27512
(919) 380-7780
(919) 380-7710 – FAX
tedb@secompact.org

or visit the Southeast Compact Commission’s website at http://www.secompact.org/.

Nominations must be received by August 31, 2017.

Southwestern Compact Commission Hosts 75th Meeting

On May 16, 2017, the Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission hosted its 75th meeting beginning at 9:00 a.m. CDT in the State of North Dakota.

The following topics, among others, were on the meeting agenda:

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Welcome Remarks – Dave Glatt from the Governor’s Cabiner, North Dakota – and Introductions
  • Statement Regarding Due Notice of Meeting
  • Reports – Activity and/or Status
    • Commission Chair
    • Executive Director
    • Licensing Agency
    • Party States
  • Exportation
    • Ratification of Approved Petitions
  • Update and Action on Annual Audit RFP by Miers & Miers
  • Discuss Holding LLW Forum Spring 2018 Meeting – Consider Action Options
  • Amend Approved Budget
  • Public Comment
  • Future Agenda Items
  • Next Meeting – October 6, 2017
  • Adjournment

For additional information, please contact Kathy Davis, Executive Director of the Southwestern Compact Commission, at (916) 448-2390 or at swllrwcc@swllrwcc.org.

Southwestern Commission Hosts Workshops re Use of Rad Materials

On May 10 and 12, 2017, the Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission hosted two separate workshops in Northern and Southern California on the use and disposition of radioactive materials, including radioactive sealed sources and devices.

 

The following is the agenda for the workshops:

  •   Welcome and Introductions (9:00 – 9:20 a.m.)
  •   Southwestern Compact Vice Chair Donna Earley of Cedars Sinai (9:30 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.)
    • Earley will discuss medical uses of radioactive materials, including new therapeutic uses as well as experience with the disposal of Cs-137 irradiators and Co-60 gamma knife.
    • Earley has extensive knowledge and experience overseeing the Radiation Safety Programs and personnel of Cedars Sinai and the coordinating with local law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles for the safety and security of the Cedars Sinai Facility.
  •   Jeff Cromwell, Radioactive Waste Manager and Radioactive Shipment Manager, University of Berkeley
    • Cromwell will discuss waste management at the University of Berkeley along with some waste management challenges from some recent facility decommissioning projects.
    • What challenges have you had at your facility that you can share on decommissioning, shipments or closing out research projects-what are you doing with the waste?
  •   Morning Break (10:30 – 10:50 a.m.)
  •   Mike Albanese, Radiation Safety Officer for Qal-Tek (10:55 – 11:20 a.m.)
    • Albanese will discuss Qal-Tek’s U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Service License and its new Reutilization Program in a joint effort with the Southwestern Compact.
    • Outline of maximum time limits and requirements.
    • A petition will be required for disposal to Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) in Andrews, Texas.
    • How will this affect me?
    • Can I qualify for this program?
  •   Lunch Break (11:25 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.)
  •   Sherry Frenette, Technical Services Project Manager, WCS (12:20 – 12:45 p.m.)
    • Frenette will discuss WCS’s capabilities for treatment, storage and disposal of waste and answer any questions you may have concerning those capabilities, or the process for getting waste to WCS.
    • Frenette will also provide an update on the status of the application for spent fuel storage at the WS facility.
    • Frenette works in the Technical Services Department at WCS.  She helps commercial customers navigate the process for sending waste to all of the facilities at WCS.
  •   Leigh Ing, Executive Director, Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact (12:50 – 1:15 p.m.)
    • Ing will share the need for Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact (Texas Compact) import agreements and WCS contracts—they are different!
    • Ing will discuss information on requirements, brokers, small generator’s limits, and the processing time frames for the Texas Compact.
    • What are the annual limits set by the Texas legislators for non-compact waste?
    • Does Texas want our waste?
    • Will this change?
    • Is there enough space for the future?
    • How long can you afford to store?
  •   Afternoon Break (1:20 – 1:55 p.m.)
  •   Vern Rogers, EnergySolutions of Utah (1:40 – 2:05 p.m.)
    • Video of Zion Decommissioning, SONGS schedule for decommissioning, new services to be offered—Class A sealed sources, depleted uranium (DU) options, mixed waste and various processing programs offered.
    • What can we expect for the future of EnergySolutions?
  •   [Northern California] John Fassell, Chief for Inspection, Compliance & Enforcement, California Radiological Health Branch and [Southern California] Robert Greger, Senior Health Physicist, California Radiological Health Branch (2:10 – 2:35 p.m.)
    • When the inspector is at your door.
    • A presentation on state audits, reporting requirements, renewing a state license—does location matter, and safety requirements at your site.   Come with your questions!  This is an important resource for you.
  •   Adjourn (3:15 p.m.)

For additional information, please contact Kathy Davis, Executive Director of the Southwestern Compact Commission, at (916) 448-2390 or at swllrwcc@swllrwcc.org.

NAS Releases LLW Workshop Proceedings

On April 13, 2017, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) released the publication, Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management and Disposition: Proceedings of a Workshop.  The NAS Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board, Division on Earth and Life Studies, hosted the workshop on October 24-25, 2016.  The workshop was held at the NAS’ Keck Center, which is located at 500 Fifth Street NW in Washington, DC.

Background

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) is responsible for the cleanup of the sites used by the federal government for nuclear weapons development and nuclear energy research.  DOE-EM cleanup involves retrieval, treatment, storage, transportation, and disposition of hundreds of different radioactive and hazardous solid and liquid wastes.

Low-level radioactive waste—which is defined by exclusion as waste that does not meet the statutory definitions for spent nuclear fuel, high-level radioactive waste, or transuranic waste—is physically and chemically diverse, ranging from lightly contaminated soils and building materials to highly irradiated nuclear reactor components.  It is the most volumetrically significant waste stream (millions of cubic meters) being generated by the cleanup program.

Overview

The workshop considered similarities between successful case studies, in which unique disposition pathways have been developed to address low-level radioactive wastes, and explored ways to extend these similar characteristics to problematic wastes—i.e., low-level radioactive wastes currently without a clear disposition pathway.

Specifically, the workshop explored:

  •   the key physical, chemical, and radiological characteristics of low-level radioactive waste that govern its safe and secure management (i.e., packaging, transport, storage) and disposition, in aggregate and for individual waste-streams; and,
  •   how key characteristics of low-level waste are incorporated into standards, orders, and regulations that govern the management and disposition of low-level radioactive waste in the United States and in other major waste-producing countries.

For additional information, please contact Jennifer Heimberg, Senior Program Officer, Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board (NRSB), Board on Life Sciences (BLS), Board on Environmental Change and Society (BECS), NAS at (202) 334-3293 or at jheimberg@nas.edu.

The NSA proceedings are available to interested stakeholders for free download at https://www.nap.edu/catalog/24715/.

Texas Compact Activity, Disposal Reporting and Pending Legislation

At the spring 2017 meeting of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) in Denver, Colorado on April 24-25, 2017, the Executive Director of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (TLLRWDCC or Commission) provided the following information and overview related to Commission activities and operations.

Background

The Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact (Texas Compact) includes the State of Vermont and is not an agency of the State of Texas.  The TLLRWDCC is a “legal entity separate and distinct from the party states…”  The Commission must comply with its federal compact law and is charged with protecting the capacity of the compact facility for Texas and Vermont generators.

Limitations to Jurisdiction and Purview

The Texas Compact does not own or operate the compact facility, which is owned by the State of Texas and operated by Waste Control Specialists (WCS).  The Texas Compact does not set surcharges or charge fees of any type, nor does it determine licensing requirements or license the facility.  The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) licenses the compact facility and approves waste streams.  The following matters are outside of the TLLRWDCC’s purview:  high-level waste, transuranic waste, Greater-than-Class C waste, spent fuel storage, NORM or TENORM, site operations at the compact waste facility (TCEQ), and waste shipments (TCEQ and DSHS).

Imports and Exports

The TLLRWDCC authorizes imports and exports in alignment with Texas policy and law and ensures protection of capacity.  For imports, the Commission has developed an approach based on:  a policy to ensure maximum disposal of allowed curies; the need for flexibility based on the regulatory and industry hurdles generators/brokers encounter; and, a need for a fair and unbiased allocation of curie availability.  The TLLRWDCC supports exports for good cause.  As such, it will be conducting an analysis of exported quantities.

Irradiated Hardware

Given that irradiated hardware can have a significant impact on the amount of curies disposed at the compact facility, the TLLRWDCC will continue to approve import applications as it always has with the exception of irradiated hardware.  Under the Commission’s policies, irradiated hardware must be submitted as a separate import application.  All requests over 15,000 curies, if approved, will be issued conditionally.  Once the generator submits documentation that substantiates volume, curies and shipment date, the Commission will release conditionally authorized curies, if available on a first come, first served basis.  This approach has been adopted as policy that can be found on the Commission’s website.

Forms and Automation

The TLLRWDCC rules require the use of an Import Application Form—a.k.a. “Annex A.”  The form is currently available as a pdf on the Commission’s website.  In addition, the Export Application Form and Generator Authorization Form are also available on the website.  The Commission is beginning work to automate import and export processing.  This will require the import and export forms to be fillable.

Annual Reporting and Disposal Numbers

Annual Reports are available at http://www.tllrwdcc.org/reports-more/.  The 2016 Annual Report is more robust and includes:  listing of import agreements, volume and curies; listing of export agreements; and, fees generated.  Disposal numbers in volume and curies for imported waste and in-compact waste are available at http://www.tllrwdcc.org/reports-more/.

Legislative Activities

Because the Texas Compact receives funding through the State of Texas appropriation process, the status of the Compact as an agency presents confusion.  The Texas Compact is with working with the legislature to provide clarification to State of Texas employees that the Texas Compact is a “legal entity separate and distinct from the party states …”  During the current legislative session, two items—SB 1667 by Senator Seliger and HB 3946 by Representative Landgraf—have been filed as companion bills.  SB 1667 and HB 3946 relate to the nature, funding, and functions of the TLLRWDCC.

Management Rule

TLLRWDCC Commissioner Linda Morris chairs a committee that is charged with drafting rules for management of low-level radioactive waste in the Texas Compact.  These rules will have applicability in Vermont.  The scope of the rule will likely include only reporting requirements.  The rulemaking will include an informal comment period before instituting the formal process.

Workshops

In September 2016, the Texas Compact conducted its first workshop in Burlington, Vermont.  The workshop was geared toward Vermont generators.  The Texas Compact is considering doing a similar workshop for Texas generators, particularly small generators.  The compact will also consider workshops for larger generators, as may be needed.

For additional information, please contact Texas Compact Commission Executive Director Leigh Ing at (512) 305-8941 or at leigh.ing@tllrwdcc.org

LLW Forum Releases Report re Compact Import-Export Requirements

The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) is pleased to announce the release of a report on Compact Import and Export Requirements.  The report, which was prepared by the Disused Sources Working Group (DSWG), includes links to each individual low-level radioactive waste compact’s websites, as well as links to any applicable policy statements and forms.  For those compacts that have export and/or import permit requirements, a brief explanation of the program is provided.  Any specific questions about a compact’s permit program should be addressed to the respective compact.  The contact information is available on the compact’s website.

The LLW Forum is a non-profit organization of representatives appointed by Governors and compact commissions that seeks to facilitate state and compact implementation of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1980 and its 1985 amendments, as well as to promote the objectives of regional low-level radioactive waste disposal compacts.   In September 2011, the LLW Forum formed the DSWG to develop recommendations from the states and compacts for improving the management and disposition of disused sources.

For additional information about the LLW Forum and DSWG, please contact LLW Forum Executive Director and DSWG Project Director Todd D. Lovinger, Esq at (754) 779-7551 or at LLWForumInc@aol.com.

A copy of the report can be found on the LLW Forum website at http://llwforum.org/about/#compact.

WCS Places Spent Fuel Storage Application on Hold

By letter dated mid-April 2017, Waste Control Specialists (WCS) asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to temporarily suspend the agency’s review of its application to construct and operate a spent nuclear fuel Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) in Andrews County, Texas.

WSC “is faced with a magnitude of financial burdens that currently make pursuit of licensing unsupportable,” Rod Baltzer, the company’s President and CEO, said in a letter to the NRC dated April 16, 2017.  According to Baltzer, the estimated $7.5 million that is needed to continue the licensing process was a significant factor in WCS’ decision.  The following day, NRC announced that it would freeze the review.

The request comes as EnergySolutions is trying to buy WCS, although the U.S. Department of Justice has sued to block the merger, arguing it would essentially create a monopoly on radioactive waste disposal.  “WCS expects to go forward with this project at the earliest possible opportunity after completion of the sale,” Baltzer said in a statement.

In the meantime, on March 16, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency was providing additional opportunities for the public to comment on the CISF application that was submitted by WCS.

Background

On April 28, 2016, WCS filed an application seeking a 40-year license for a CISF to receive spent fuel from nuclear reactors for storage, pending final disposal.  (See LLW Notes, May/June 2016, pp. 16-17.)  Specifically, WCS is requesting authorization to construct and operate a CISF at the company’s 60.3 square kilometer (14,900 acre) site in western Andrews County, Texas.  On this site, WCS currently operates facilities that process and store certain types of radioactive material—mainly low-level radioactive waste and mixed waste.  The facility also disposes of hazardous and toxic waste.

According to the application, WCS plans to construct the CISF in eight phases.  Phase one of the CISF would be designed to provide storage for up to 5,000 metric tons uranium (MTU) of spent nuclear fuel received from commercial nuclear power reactors across the United States.  WCS proposes that small amounts of mixed oxide spent fuels and Greater-Than-Class C (GTCC) low-level radioactive wastes also be stored at the CISF.  WCS stated that it would design each subsequent phase of the CISF to store up to an additional 5,000 MTU.  A total of up to 40,000 MTU would be stored at the site by the completion of the final phase.  Each phase would require NRC review and approval.

WCS would receive canisters containing spent nuclear fuel from the reactor sites.  Once accepted at the site, WCS would transfer them into onsite dry cask storage systems.  WCS plans to employ dry cask storage system technology that has been licensed by the NRC pursuant to 10 CFR Part 72 at various commercial nuclear reactors across the country.  According to WCS, the dry cask storage systems proposed for use at the CISF would be passive systems (i.e., not relying on any moving parts) and would provide physical protection, containment, nuclear criticality controls and radiation shielding required for the safe storage of the spent nuclear fuel.  WCS also states that the dry cask storage systems would be located on top of the concrete pads constructed at the CISF.

For additional information, please contact Maureen Conley of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at (301) 415-8200.

DOE and NRC to Hold Third Advanced Reactor Workshop

On April 25-26, 2017, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) continued their joint workshop series on innovative reactor technologies in Bethesda, Maryland.  The workshop, which was open to the public, begin at 8:30 a.m. on April 25, 2017.  It was held at the Bethesda North Marriott in Bethesda, Maryland.  The workshop included presentations as well as structured and open discussions, using a facilitator.

“We are encouraging interested parties to continue discussing the most efficient and effective path forward to safely develop and deploy advanced reactors in the United States,” said Vonna Ordaz, Acting Director of the NRC’s Office of New Reactors.  “We expect to discuss topics such as modeling and testing innovative technologies, as well as how vendors might approach getting their designs approved for U.S. use.”

The NRC defines advanced reactors as those technologies using something other than water to cool the reactor core.  The NRC is currently discussing one such advanced design with a vendor considering applying for design certification.  The NRC remains available for early-stage discussion with other potential advanced reactor vendors.

For more information on the workshop, please contact the Nishka Devaser at (301) 415-5196 or at nishka.devaser@nrc.gov; John Segala at (301) 415-1992 or at john.segala@nrc.gov; Trevor Cook at (301) 903-7046 or at trevor.cook@nuclear.energy.gov; or, Tom Sowinski at (301) 903-0112 or at thomas.sowinski@nuclear.energy.gov.

Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board Meets

On April 13, 2017, the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board held a regularly scheduled meeting beginning at 1:30 p.m. MT in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The meeting, which was open to the public, was held in Conference Room 1015, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Board Room, on the first floor of the Multi Agency State Office Building that is located at 195 North 1950 West in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The following items, among others, were on the agenda for the April 2017 Board meeting:

  1. Call to Order
  1. Approval of Meeting Minutes for the February 9, 2017 Board Meeting (Board Action Item)

III.    Underground Storage Tanks Update

  1. Administrative Rules
  1. Solid Waste Rules: Approval to proceed with formal rulemaking and public comment to remove paragraph R315-302-1(2)(a)(iii) that prohibits a new solid waste facility from being located within certain farmland classified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Board Action Item)
  1. Solid and Hazardous Waste Rules: Approval to proceed with formal rulemaking and public comment to incorporate the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) hazardous waste generator improvement rule (promulgated on November 28, 2016 at 81 Federal Register 85,732) into R315-15, R315-260, R315-261, R315-262, R315-263, R315-264, R315-265, R315-266, R315-268, R315-270, R315-273, R315-301, R315-304-3 and R315-305-3 (Board Action Item)
  1. Director’s Report/ Legislative Update
  1. Open and Public Meetings Act, Utah Public Officers and Employees Ethics Act

VII.   Other Business

  1. Miscellaneous Information Item
  1. Scheduling of Next Board Meeting

VIII.  Election of Board Chair and Vice-Chair

  1. Adjourn

The Board—which is appointed by the Utah Governor with the consent of the Utah Senate—guides development of Radiation Control policy and rules in the state.  The Board holds open meetings ten times per year at locations throughout the state.  A public comment session is held at the end of each meeting.

Copies of the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board meeting agendas and packet information can be found at http://www.deq.utah.gov/boards/waste/meetings.htm.

 

For additional information, please contact Rusty Lundberg, Deputy Director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, at (801) 536-4257 or at rlundberg@utah.gov.

 

Central Midwest Compact Commission Holds Spring Meeting

On April 11, 2017, the Central Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission held its spring meeting beginning at 9:30 am CDT (Illinois)/ 10:30 am EDT (Kentucky).  The meeting was held at the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) in Springfield, Illinois.

The agenda for the meeting was as follows:

  • Call to Order
  • Adoption or Modification of the Agenda
  • Adoption of Minutes from the Annual Meeting on September 27, 2016
  • Executive Session
  • First Public Comment Period
  • Reports
  • Chairman and Host State Report and Acknowledgement of Agreed Mandated Responsibility

*    Illinois 45 ILCS 140

*    Kentucky 211.859

*    Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) Fall 2016 Meeting Update (Saratoga Springs, New York) and Disused Sources Working Group (DSWG) Update

  • Kentucky Report

*    Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material/ Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM/TENORM) Violation Update

*    TENORM – Status of Regulation Revision

  • Executive Assistant report
  • Second Public Comment Period
  • Other Business
  • Next Scheduled Meeting or Announcement of Special Meeting
  • Adjournment

For additional information, please contact Joseph Klinger, Chairman of the Central Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission, at (217) 836-3018 or at joe.klinger@illinois.gov.

Interested stakeholders may also go to the Central Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission web site at http://www.cmcompact.org.

NRC Releases Draft Regulatory Basis for Decommissioning Rule

On March 10, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency was making publicly available a pre-publication draft regulatory basis for a future power reactor decommissioning rule.  The intent is to provide an efficient decommissioning process; reduce the need for exemptions from existing regulations; and, support the principles of good regulation—including openness, clarity, and reliability.

A notice regarding the draft regulatory basis was published in the Federal Register later in March 2017, initiating a 90-day public comment period.

Overview

NRC released the preliminary draft document in order to facilitate discussion during the agency’s annual Regulatory Information Conference, which was held from March 14-16, 2017.  (See LLW Notes, January/February 2017, pp. 40-41.)  The conference included a March 15 technical session on power reactor decommissioning.

The rule would establish clear requirements for commercial power reactors transitioning to decommissioning.  The draft regulatory basis draws upon comments submitted in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) that was published in November 2015.

Staff Analysis

In the draft regulatory basis, the NRC staff concludes there is sufficient justification to proceed with rulemaking in the following areas:  emergency preparedness; physical security; decommissioning trust funds; offsite and onsite financial protection requirements and indemnity agreements; and, application of the back-fit rule.

The staff suggests guidance, rather than rulemaking, should be used to address the following items:  the role of state and local governments in the decommissioning process; the level of NRC review and approval of a licensee’s post-shutdown decommissioning activities report; and, whether to revise the 60-year limit for power reactor decommissioning.

The NRC staff is seeking additional public input before making recommendations on the following topics:  cyber security; drug and alcohol testing; minimum staffing and training requirements for certified fuel handlers; aging management; and, fatigue management.

That additional input, as well as comments received on the draft document, will be considered as the staff develops the final regulatory basis, which the NRC plans to publish in late 2017.  That document will be used in developing a proposed rule to be provided to the Commission in the spring of 2018.  The NRC staff expects to provide a draft final rule to the Commission in fall 2019.

Background

The NRC published an ANPR on the draft regulatory basis for a future power reactor decommission rule in November 2015, seeking public comment on a number of areas to be considered during the rulemaking process.

The NRC began a similar rulemaking process in 2000-2001, but stopped after a stronger focus on security was prompted by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  However, five reactors have permanently shut down since the beginning of 2013, and three more are expected to cease operations by 2019.

The five reactors now undergoing decommissioning required several exemptions from NRC’s regulations for operating reactors to reflect their decommissioning status.  By incorporating changes into regulation, the NRC believes the transition from operation to decommissioning can become more efficient and effective for the agency and the licensee, as well as more open and transparent for the public.

For additional information, please contact David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

The pre-publication draft regulatory basis for a future power reactor decommissioning rule is available on the NRC website at http://ric.nrc-gateway.gov/docs/abstracts/sessionabstract-20.htm.

NRC Issues Annual Assessments for Nation’s Nuclear Plants

On March 3, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has issued annual letters to the nation’s 99 commercial nuclear power plants operating in 2016 regarding their performance throughout the year.  All but three were in the two highest performance categories.

Overview

Of the 96 highest-performing reactors, 83 fully met all safety and security performance objectives and were inspected by the NRC using the normal “baseline” inspection program.

Thirteen reactors were assessed as needing to resolve one or two items of low safety significance.  For this performance level, regulatory oversight includes additional inspection and follow- up of corrective actions.  Plants in this level include:  Davis Besse (Ohio); Diablo Canyon 2 (California); Dresden 3 (Illinois); Ginna (New York); Grand Gulf (Mississippi); Hope Creek 1 (New Jersey); Monticello (Minnesota); Oyster Creek (New Jersey); Salem 2 (New Jersey); South Texas Project 1 and 2 (Texas); and, Vogtle 1 and 2 (Georgia).  Oyster Creek, as well as Vogtle 1 and 2, have resolved their identified issues since the reporting period ended and have transitioned to the highest performing level.

There were no reactors in the third performance category with a degraded level of performance.

Three reactors are in the fourth performance category.  Arkansas Nuclear One 1 and 2 require increased oversight because of two safety findings of substantial significance.  Pilgrim (Massachusetts) is in the fourth performance category because of long-standing issues of low-to-moderate safety significance.  Reactors in this category receive additional inspections to confirm the performance issues are being addressed.

Later this spring and summer, the NRC will host a public meeting or other event for each plant to discuss the details of the annual assessment results.  Details for each event will be announced separately.  In addition to the annual assessment letters, plants also receive an NRC inspection plan for the coming year.

Background

“These assessment letters are the result of a holistic review of operating performance at each domestic power reactor facility,” said Bill Dean, Director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.  “In addition to inspecting U.S. nuclear plants to verify that they are operating safely, the NRC continuously assesses their performance.  The letters help our stakeholders understand our plant performance assessments and how we address any identified performance deficiencies.”

Information on the NRC’s oversight of commercial nuclear power plants is available through the NRC’s webpage on the Reactor Oversight Process.  The NRC routinely updates information on each plant’s current performance and posts the latest information as it becomes available to the action matrix summary.

For additional information, please contact David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Draft Agenda Released for the Spring 2017 LLW Forum Meeting

Embassy Suites Downtown Convention Center Hotel
Denver, Colorado on April 24-25, 2017

The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) has released the draft agenda for its spring 2017 meeting, which will be held at the Embassy Suites Downtown Convention Center Hotel in Denver, Colorado on April 24-25, 2017.

As a reminder, the discount rate hotel room block for the meeting closes in just three weeks on April 5, 2017.  There is limited space remaining in the discount room block.   Accordingly, interested stakeholders are encouraged to register and make hotel reservations for the meeting at your earliest convenience.

The Rocky Mountain Low-Level Radioactive Waste Board and Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission are co-sponsoring the meeting.

The meeting documents—including the meeting bulletin, registration form and draft agenda—have been posted to the LLW Forum’s web site at www.llwforum.org.  

 

Agenda Topics

The following is a list of agenda topics for the meeting:

  •  overview and analysis re Executive agency and Congressional transition and impacts on the nuclear industry;
  •  the National Academies’ low-level radioactive waste management and disposition workshop;
  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulatory activities and updates including Part 61 rulemaking initiative;low-activity waste scoping study; rulemaking SECY re financial assurance for byproduct material; and, assessment for the low-level waste branch;
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) activities and updates including final revisions to National Emission Standards for Radon Emissions from Operating Mill Tailings; publication of final Protective Action Guides and Planning Guidance for Radiological Incidents; and, public comments and next steps re the 40 CFR Part 190 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR);
  •  U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) activities and updates;
  • updates and activities re the Waste Control Specialists commercial and federal low-level radioactive waste disposal facility in Andrews County, Texas;
  • updates and activities re the Clive low-level radioactive waste disposal facility in Tooele County, Utah;
  • consideration of alternative options for the management of low activity waste;
  •     requirements for plans regarding waste minimization;
  •     tools to assist decision makers regarding low-level waste management;
  •     perspectives from the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) on the state of the commercial nuclear power industry;
  •     industry insights and perspectives regarding waste management and disposition;
  •     addressing abandoned cyclotrons and decommissioning in Colorado;
  • survey results re alternative technologies for irradiators and other radioactive sources and devices;
  • implementation of new Part 37 requirements and review of cyber-security for nuclear-related issues;
  • proposals to license Greater-than-Class C (GTCC) and transuranic waste cells and spent nuclear fuel storage in Texas;
  • past, present and future use of uranium in Colorado;
  •  development of a radiation response volunteer medical reserves corp unit;
  •   lack of oversight for management of exempt sealed radioactive sources;
  • the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD) Part S Working Group re suggested state regulations on financial assurance for sealed sources;
  • potential revisions to regulations or processes re Category 3 source protection and accountability; and,
  •  removal and packaging of Category 1 and 2 self-shielded devices.

Attendance

Officials from states, compacts, federal agencies, nuclear utilities, disposal operators, brokers/processors, industry, and other interested parties are invited and encouraged to attend.

The meeting is an excellent opportunity to stay up-to-date on the most recent and significant developments in the area of low-level radioactive waste management and disposal.  It also offers an important opportunity to network with other government and industry officials and to participate in decision-making on future actions and endeavors affecting low-level radioactive waste management and disposal.

Location and Dates

The spring 2017 LLW Forum meeting will be held on Monday, April 24 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm) and Tuesday, April 25 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm) at: 

Embassy Suites by Downtown Convention Center Hotel
1420 Stout Street
Denver, Colorado 80202

 

The hotel offers a gateway to Denver’s lively downtown scene.  Boasting a contemporary convention venue, the hotel is within walking distance of the best attractions in the downtown area.

Registration

All persons must pre-register for the meeting and pay any associated registration fees in order to be allowed entry.  Registration forms are needed in order to ensure that you receive a meeting packet and name badge.  Accordingly, interested attendees are asked to please take a moment to complete the registration form at your earliest convenience  You can submit the registration form electronically via the online link or print a hard copy and return it to the Administrator of the Rocky Mountain Board at the mailing address, e-mail or fax number listed at the bottom of the form.

The meeting is free for up to two individuals representing members of the LLW Forum.  Additional and non-member registration is $500, payable by check only to the “LLW Forum, Inc.”  (Credit card payments are not accepted.)

Reservations

Persons who plan to attend the meeting are strongly encouraged to make their hotel reservations and send in their registration forms as soon as possible, as we have exceeded our block at the last few meetings.

A limited block of hotel rooms has been reserved for Sunday, April 23rd and Monday, April 24th at the rate of $178.00 plus tax per night (for single/double occupancy).

To make a reservation, please call (800) 445-8667.  Please ask for the LLW Forum block in order to get the discounted meeting rate.

The deadline for reserving a room at the discounted rate is Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

Transportation and Directions

From Denver International Airport (DIA), one way taxi fare is available for approximately $70.00.  Another option is the train from DIA to Union Station downtown.  From Union Station, you can walk or take the 16th street mall shuttle the additional 1.2 miles to the hotel off of Stout Street.

For additional information, please contact Todd D. Lovinger, the LLW Forum’s Executive Director, at (754) 779-7551 or go to www.llwforum.org

Texas Compact Commission Holds February 2017 Meeting

On February 23, 2017, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) held a regularly scheduled meeting in Austin, Texas.  The following items were on the meeting agenda:

  • call to order;
  • roll call and determination of quorum;
  • introduction of Commissioners, elected officials and press;
  • public comment;
  • consideration of and possible action on an amendment to an import agreement for importation of low-level radioactive waste from ThermoProcess;
  • consideration of and possible action on applications and proposed agreements for importation of low-level radioactive waste from EnergySolutions Bear Creek and RAM Services;
  • consideration of and possible action on an amendment to an exportation agreement for exportation of low-level radioactive waste from Bionomics TAMU Kingsville;
  • consideration of and possible action on applications for exportation of low-level radioactive waste from Bionomics Peleton;
  • discussion and consultation with legal counsel concerning pending litigation United States v. EnergySolutions, Inc. (Civil Action No.: 1:16-cv-01056-GMS) and responses to inquiries and requests from litigants in the litigation;
  • receive reports from Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) about recent site operations and any other matter WCS wishes to bring to the attention of the Texas Compact Commission;
  • receive reports from Texas Compact Commission committees including the Rules Committee (as Chaired by Commissioner Morris) and the Capacity Committee (as Chaired by Commissioner Weber);
  • Chairman’s report on Texas Compact Commission activities including reporting on fiscal matters to be taken by the compact and addressing personnel matters;
  • report from Leigh Ing, Executive Director of the Texas Compact Commission, on her activities and questions related to Texas Compact Commission operations;
  • discussion and possible changes of dates and locations of future Texas Compact Commission meetings in 2017; and,
  • adjourn.

The Texas Compact Commission may meet in closed session as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551, Texas Government Code.  Texas Compact Commission meetings are open to the public.

For additional information, please contact Texas Compact Commission Executive Director Leigh Ing at (512) 305-8941 or at leigh.ing@tllrwdcc.org

NRC Issues Notice of Violation to Minnesota Company

On February 14, 2017, NRC announced that the agency has issued an Order barring a radiographer from participating in NRC-licensed activities for one year.  The enforcement action against Curtis Thompson is based on his deliberate actions in performing radiographic operations without another qualified individual present while at a temporary jobsite in Gary, Indiana.  The NRC issued the enforcement action after finding that Thompson alone willfully used a camera with radioactive material on numerous metal welds while working for a client.  During the NRC investigation, Thompson admitted to violating NRC requirements in order to complete the work.

The NRC also issued a Severity Level III Notice of Violation to American Engineering Testing Inc., Thompson’s former employer.  The company is located in St. Paul, Minnesota and is licensed by the NRC to use radioactive materials.  Implementation of agency regulations ensures the safety of its workers and the public.  Thompson’s actions resulted in the company violating NRC requirements.  “This enforcement action against Thompson and the violation to the company underscore that willful violations of safety requirements will not be tolerated,” said NRC Region III Administrator Cynthia Pederson.  The company independently identified this issue, informed the NRC of the situation and took corrective actions.  As a result, the NRC will not issue a civil penalty to American Engineering Testing Inc.

The NRC’s Order directs Thompson to cease all activities involving NRC-licensed activities for one year and he must notify the NRC for the following one-year probation period if he becomes involved in NRC-licensed activities.  A second qualified accompanying individual is required to prevent unauthorized entry into a restricted area where radiographic operations are being performed and to provide assistance when needed.  The NRC’s order and notice of violation are available on the agency’s website at www.nrc.gov.

For additional information, please contact Viktoria Mitlyng at (630) 829-9662 or Prema Chandrathil at (630) 829-9663.

Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board Meets

On February 9, 2017, the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board held a regularly scheduled meeting beginning at 1:30 p.m. MT in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The following items, among others, were on the agenda for the February 2017 Board meeting:

  1. Call to Order
  2. Introduction of New Assistant Attorney General Bret Randall
  3. Laura Lockhart Retirement
  4. Approval of Meeting Minutes for the January 12, 2017 Board Meeting (Board Action Item)
  5. Underground Storage Tanks Update
  6. Underground Storage Tank Rules
    1. Approval to File Five-Year Review Notices for Underground Storage Tank Rules: R311-200, R311-201, R311-202, R311-203, R311-204, R311-205, R311-206, R311-207, R311-208, R311-209,  R311-210, R311-211 and R311-212 (Board Action Item)
  7. VII.   Used Oil Program
  8. Final Adoption of Changes to Used Oil Rules: R315-15-13 (Board Action Item)
  9. VIII.  Legislative Update
  10. Other Business
  11. Miscellaneous Information Item
  12. Scheduling of Next Board Meeting
  13. Adjourn

The Board—which is appointed by the Utah Governor with the consent of the Utah Senate—guides development of Radiation Control policy and rules in the state.  The Board holds open meetings ten times per year at locations throughout the state.  A public comment session is held at the end of each meeting.

Copies of the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board meeting agendas and packet information can be found at http://www.deq.utah.gov/boards/waste/meetings.htm.

 

For additional information, please contact Rusty Lundberg, Deputy Director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, at (801) 536-4257 or at rlundberg@utah.gov.

Disused Sources Working Group Holds Winter Meeting

On February 6-7, 2017, the Disused Sources Working Group (DSWG) of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) held a meeting in San Diego, California with organizational representatives of the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD), the Organization of Agreement States (OAS) and the Health Physics Society (HPS).

Agenda Items

The following items, among other things, were on the winter 2017 DSWG meeting agenda:

  • review and response to the recent Federal Register notice in which the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency is seeking input from licensees, Agreement States and the public to inform the staff’s assessment of potential revisions to regulations or processes requiring Category 3 source protection and accountability;
  • development and distribution of working group documents including educational materials for current and prospective licensees, source disposal costs and import/export authorities and requirements for the ten operating low-level radioactive waste compacts; and,
  • source calculation and methodology re number of sealed sources in the United States;
  • development of regional workshops for stakeholders interested in management and disposition of sealed sources and radioactive devices;
  • outreach by designated organizational liaisons and feedback received on the outstanding recommendations from the March 2014 DSWG report; and,
  • charting the next steps and a path forward.

For additional information and ongoing updates, interested stakeholders are encouraged to go to the DSWG web site at www.disusedsources.org.

Background

The LLW Forum is a non-profit organization of representatives appointed by Governors and compact commissions that seeks to facilitate state and compact implementation of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1980 and its 1985 amendments, as well as to promote the objectives of regional low-level radioactive waste disposal compacts.

In September 2011, the LLW Forum formed the Disused Sources Working Group (DSWG) to develop recommendations from the states and compacts for improving the management and disposition of disused sources.

For additional information about the DSWG, please contact Project Director Todd D. Lovinger, Esq at (754) 779-7551 or at LLWForumInc@aol.com.

LLW Forum Launches New Website with Enhanced Features

The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) is pleased to announce the launch of our new website with enhanced features including

  • an interactive calendar that allows stakeholders to keep track of relevant meetings and events, including a new feature that allows you to add them to your personal calendar;
  • news briefs providing the most recent and up-to-date information on significant industry topics such as the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) Part 61 rulemaking initiative, tracking of and financial assurance for byproduct material radioactive sealed sources, and implementation of the Branch Technical Position on Concentration Averaging and Encapsulation (CA BTP);
  • a dedicated page to provide information about upcoming LLW Forum meetings, including a new option for online registration;
  • updated contact information for designated representatives of low-level radioactive waste compacts, host states, unaffiliated states, federal agencies, waste facility operators, brokers and processors, industry associations and other stakeholders; and,
  • up-to-date information regarding activities of the LLW Forum’s Disused Sources and Part 61 Working Groups (DSWG/P61WG).

As with the prior website, the new site has a restricted-access, member-only section that provides LLW Forum members and subscribers with exclusive access to dedicated pages providing links to

  • LLW Forum publications including the LLW Notes (our highly acclaimed bi-monthly publication), meeting presentations, annual contact list, working group reports, maps and charts, and other state and compact documents;
  • all ten operating low-level radioactive waste compacts, unaffiliated states and state organizations;
  • federal agencies and offices including the executive branch, legislative branch, judicial branch and political analysis; and,
  • other industry stakeholders including associations, international groups, radioactive waste businesses, newspapers, general interest, universities and citizens groups.

We invite everyone to review the new website, which can be found at http://llwforum.org.

If you have questions or require additional information, please contact Todd D. Lovinger, Esq.—Executive Director of the LLW Forum and Project Director of the Disused Sources and Part 61 Working Groups (DSWG/P61WG)—at (754) 779-7551 or at LLWForumInc@aol.com

Federal and State Officials Attend WIPP Reopening Ceremony

On January 9, 2017, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz and DOE Office of Environmental Management (EM) Assistant Secretary Monica Regalbuto joined New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and others to mark the reopening and resumption of waste operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), which is located approximately 40 miles southeast of Carlsbad, New Mexico.  U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce and Michelle Lujan Grisham, and Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway also attended the celebration.

Waste emplacement activities were suspended at WIPP following a waste drum rupture in an underground storage panel and a separate underground fire in early 2014. “The tireless efforts by the workforce, the contractor and federal management and the community to make WIPP a safer place to fulfill its critical mission is a remarkable feat,” said Energy Secretary Moniz.

Overview

On December 23, 2016, DOE and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) authorized WIPP to reopen following almost three years of recovery operations due the early 2014 underground fire and subsequent unrelated fire.  Twelve days later, on January 4, 2017, the Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) began moving waste underground from the Waste Handling Building.

The Waste Handling Building, which contains approximately 40,000 square meters of storage space, was originally intended to store waste before underground disposal at the WIPP facility.  However, it began being used for indefinite storage following the suspension of disposal operations in early 2014.  NMED, which serves as the WIPP facility’s primary state regulator, has set a deadline to clear out the Waste Handling Building by June 30, 2017—although DOE is considering a more ambitious timeframe according to various news outlets.  Transuranic waste stored at the Waste Handling Building must be disposed below ground before WIPP can resume accepting new shipments of nuclear waste from across the DOE nuclear complex.

According to DOE, the WIPP facility is expected to accept approximately five shipments per week once shipments are resumed to the mine.  Prior to the 2014 accidents, the WIPP facility was accepting more than 15 shipments per week.  According to the Department’s 2016 Annual Transuranic Waste Inventory Report, there was approximately 45,000 cubic meters of contact-handled transuranic waste destined for the WIPP facility across 14 sites in the DOE’s nuclear complex.  In addition, there was approximately 2,500 cubic meters of remote-handled transuranic waste at 11 sites. These figures, according to the report, do not include transuranic waste that DOE expects to generate from ongoing and future Department cleanup operations.

In July 2016, DOE approved strict new waste acceptance criteria for the WIPP facility.  DOE sites will not be able to ship waste to the facility unless it meets the new criteria, which has created some challenges in cases where waste was packaged under the old criteria, but will now need to be certified to meet the new criteria.  DOE has not yet announced which sites will ship waste to WIPP first.

Background

Transuranic waste began accumulating in the 1940s with the beginning of the nation’s nuclear defense program.  As early as the 1950’s, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommended deep disposal of long-lived transuranic radioactive wastes in geologically stable formations, such as deep salt beds.  Sound environmental practices and strict regulations require such wastes to be isolated to protect human health and the environment.

Bedded salt is free of fresh flowing water, easily mined, impermeable and geologically stable—an ideal medium for permanently isolating long-lived radioactive wastes from the environment.  However, its most important quality in this application is the way salt rock seals all fractures and naturally closes all openings.

Throughout the 1960’s, government scientists searched for an appropriate site for radioactive waste disposal, eventually testing a remote desert area of southeastern New Mexico where, 250 million years earlier, evaporation cycles of the ancient Permian Sea had created a 2,000-foot-thick salt bed.

In 1979, Congress authorized the WIPP facility, which was constructed during the 1980’s.  Congress limited WIPP to the disposal of defense-generated transuranic wastes.  In 1998, EPA certified WIPP for safe, long-term disposal of TRU wastes.

In February 2014, DOE suspended operations at WIPP following an accidental radiation release and unrelated underground fire.  DOE spent nearly three years on recovery operations at an estimated cost of approximately $1.5 billion, including NWP’s management and operations contract.  DOE is still working to return the underground ventilation back up to pre-accident levels, which is expected to push the total bill for the recovery closer to $2 billion.

Additional information is available on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website at http://www.wipp.energy.gov/wipprecovery/recovery.html.

Comment Opportunity re Category 3 Source Protection and Accountability

On January 9, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published a notice in the Federal Register seeking input from licensees, Agreement States, and the public to inform the agency staff’s assessment of potential revisions to regulations or processes requiring Category 3 source protection and accountability.   Comments on the notice, which contains specific questions that NRC has developed to assist the agency in its analysis that are separated into sections based on the topics and applicability to relevant stakeholders, are due by the close of business on March 10, 2017.

“The NRC is committed to keeping the public informed and values public involvement in its assessment effort,” states the Federal Register notice.  “Responses to this solicitation will be considered by NRC in preparing a report to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate, pursuant to Public Law 113– 235, Section 403 and will inform staff consideration of the regulatory impacts for any recommendations related to Category 3 source security and accountability, which will be documented in a paper to be provided to the Commission in August 2017.”

The notice further states that the NRC plans to hold three public meetings and two webinars during the public comment period for this action.  The first public meeting was held at the NRC headquarters in Rockville, Maryland on January 31, 2017.  The two other public meetings will be held outside of the Washington, DC area.  The webinars are scheduled for February 21, 2017 and March 2, 2017.  The public meetings and webinars will provide forums for the NRC staff to discuss the issues and questions with members of the public.  NRC plans to use the information received to develop a report to the Commission.

Overview

On October 18, 2016, NRC issued a Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM) for COMJMB–16–0001 and directed NRC staff to take specific actions to evaluate whether it is necessary to revise NRC regulations or processes governing source protection and accountability.

Specifically, the Commission asked the staff to conduct an evaluation of, among other things, the pros and cons of different methods of requiring transferors of Category 3 quantities of radioactive material to verify the validity of a transferee’s license prior to transfer; the pros and cons of including Category 3 sources in the National Source Tracking System (NSTS); and, the risks posed by aggregation of Category 3 sources into Category 2 quantities.

As part of this evaluation, the NRC is seeking input from licensees, Agreement States, and the public to inform the staff’s assessment of potential revisions to regulations or processes requiring Category 3 source protection and accountability.

Comments

Interested stakeholders may submit comments by any of the following methods:

  •   Federal Rulemaking Website:  Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC–2016–0276.
  •   Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN–12–H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001.

Interested stakeholders are requested to please include Docket ID NRC–2016– 0276 in any comment submission.  Comments are due by the close of business on March 10, 2017.

For additional information, please contact Irene Wu of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) at (301) 415– 1951 or at Irene.Wu@nrc.gov.

NRC to Review WCS Application re Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility

On January 26, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that the agency has docketed and accepted for formal review an application from Waste Control Specialists (WCS) to build and operate a spent nuclear fuel Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) in Andrews, Texas.  The NRC’s decision follows an acceptance review to determine whether the application contains sufficient information for the agency to begin its formal review.

WCS is seeking to store 5,000 metric tons uranium of spent fuel received from commercial nuclear power reactors across the United States.

Overview

NRC’s review will proceed on two parallel tracks—one on safety issues and the other on environmental issues.  Both the safety and environmental reviews must be completed before the NRC makes a final licensing decision on the application.

In a letter to WCS dated January 26, 2017, the NRC set a schedule for its safety and environmental reviews.  The schedule sets a target of making a licensing decision by the third quarter of fiscal year 2019—assuming that WCS provides high-quality responses, on schedule, to any NRC requests for additional information.

Interested stakeholders will have 60 days from publication of a notice of docketing in the Federal Register, which will appear shortly, to submit requests for a hearing and petition to intervene in the licensing proceeding for the proposed facility.  Details on how to submit those requests and petitions will be in the Federal Register notice.

The NRC’s letter to WCS is available on the agency’s website at https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1701/ML17018A168.pdf.

Public Meetings

The NRC will hold the following two public meetings near the site of the proposed CISF to take public comments on the scope of the environmental review:

  • Hobbs, New Mexico:  Lea County Event Center (5101 N. Lovington Highway) from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. MT on February 13, 2017
  • Andrews, Texas:  James Roberts Center (855 TX-176) from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. CT on February 15, 2017

Stakeholders that are interested in attending or speaking are encouraged to pre-register by calling (301) 415- 6957 no later than three days prior to the scheduled meetings.  The public may also register in person at each meeting.  The time allowed for each speaker may be limited, depending on the number of registered speakers.

The NRC is also planning to hold additional scoping meetings at the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland during the week following the local meetings.  Details for these meetings are still being finalized.

Information about the public meetings will be posted to the NRC public meetings schedule on the agency’s website at www.nrc.gov.

Submitting Comments

Interested stakeholders can submit comments on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the CISF as follows:

  • Federal Rulemaking Website: Electronic provide comments at regulations.gov
  • Mail:  Send comments to Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN-12 H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001

Written comments should refer to Docket ID NRC-2016-0231.  The NRC will accept public comments through March 13, 2017.

Background

On April 28, 2016, WCS filed an application seeking a 40-year license for a CISF to receive spent fuel from nuclear reactors for storage, pending final disposal.  (See LLW Notes, May/June 2016, pp. 16-17.)  Specifically, WCS is requesting authorization to construct and operate a CISF at the company’s 60.3 square kilometer (14,900 acre) site in western Andrews County, Texas.  On this site, WCS currently operates facilities that process and store certain types of radioactive material—mainly low-level radioactive waste and mixed waste.  The facility also disposes of hazardous and toxic waste.

According to the application, WCS plans to construct the CISF in eight phases.  Phase one of the CISF would be designed to provide storage for up to 5,000 metric tons uranium (MTU) of spent nuclear fuel received from commercial nuclear power reactors across the United States.  WCS proposes that small amounts of mixed oxide spent fuels and Greater-Than-Class C (GTCC) low-level radioactive wastes also be stored at the CISF.  WCS stated that it would design each subsequent phase of the CISF to store up to an additional 5,000 MTU.  A total of up to 40,000 MTU would be stored at the site by the completion of the final phase.  Each phase would require NRC review and approval.

WCS would receive canisters containing spent nuclear fuel from the reactor sites.  Once accepted at the site, WCS would transfer them into onsite dry cask storage systems.  WCS plans to employ dry cask storage system technology that has been licensed by the NRC pursuant to 10 CFR Part 72 at various commercial nuclear reactors across the country.  According to WCS, the dry cask storage systems proposed for use at the CISF would be passive systems (i.e., not relying on any moving parts) and would provide physical protection, containment, nuclear criticality controls and radiation shielding required for the safe storage of the spent nuclear fuel.  WCS also states that the dry cask storage systems would be located on top of the concrete pads constructed at the CISF.

For additional information, please contact Maureen Conley of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at (301) 415-8200.

Final Rule Signed re Revisions to NESHAP Subpart W of 40 Part 61

On December 20, 2016, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy signed a final rule that revised “National Emission Standards for Radon Emissions from Operating Mill Tailings,” Subpart W of 40 CFR Part 61, which was last issued in 1989.

Subpart W is a radon emission standard for operating uranium mill tailings.  (Tailings are the remaining portion of a metal-bearing ore after some or all of a metal, such as uranium, has been extracted.)  In accordance with the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, EPA formed a work group to review the standard.

Interested stakeholders can view a pre-publication copy of the final rule and a fact sheet at

https://www.epa.gov/radiation/subpart-w-rulemaking-activity.

Overview

EPA’s mission is to protect human health and natural resources from pollution.  The Agency sets limits on the amount of radioactivity that can be released into the environment.

Based on a review and assessment of available, effective and affordable pollution control approaches, EPA determined that the revised Subpart W standards protect human health and the environment by limiting the amount of radon emitted by uranium byproduct material or tailings being managed at uranium recovery facilities.

Background

EPA limits emissions of hazardous air pollutants under the authority of the Clean Air Act.  As found in 40 CFR Part 61, EPA’s National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) set limits on hazardous air pollutants from different activities and facilities.  Subpart W of 40 CFR Part 61, National Emission Standards for Operating Mill Tailings, limits radon emissions from uranium byproduct material or tailings at operating uranium recovery facilities.  EPA originally issued Subpart W in December 1989, as found at 54 Federal Register 51,703, and then updated Subpart W in 2016.

The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 required EPA to review and, if appropriate, revise the standards in Subpart W.  After completing the review and soliciting public comment, EPA concluded that revisions were needed to clarify definitions and to be more specific about what kind of uranium byproduct material or tailings management is subject to the standard.  EPA also concluded that requirements for generally available control technology (GACT) management practices are an appropriate means to control radon emissions from uranium byproduct material or tailings.  GACT consists of commercially available methods, practices and techniques for operation and maintenance of emissions control systems.

Although EPA enforces the Clean Air Act at Subpart W, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has regulatory responsibility for licensing and operation of uranium extraction facilities and other commercial facilities that use radioactive materials.  The revised Subpart W does not relieve the owner or operator of the uranium recovery facility of the monitoring and maintenance requirements specified in the operating license issued by the NRC or its Agreement State.

For additional information, please contact Dan Schultheisz, Office of Radiation and Indoor Air, Radiation Protection Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, at (202) 443- 9290 or at schultheisz.daniel@epa.gov.  Interested stakeholders may also access the EPA website to find information related to this rulemaking at https://www.epa.gov/radiation/.

MOU re Cooperation on Radioactive Materials Transportation Security

By letter dated December 22, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) informed state counterparts of the existence of a federal memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the secure transportation of radioactive materials and
 the voluntary opportunity for state participation in implementation of the MOU.

The MOU can be accessed in the NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System Accession (ADAMS) under Accession Number ML16074A004 or by going to https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/view?AccessionNumber=ML16074A004.

Overview

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 directed the creation of an interagency task force on radiation source protection and security under the lead of the NRC.  The Radiation Source Protection and Security Task Force (RSPSTF) was convened and provided its first report of recommendations and actions to Congress and the President in August 2006.  One recommendation was the development of a transport security MOU to serve as the foundation for cooperation in the establishment of a comprehensive and consistent transport security program for risk-significant radioactive materials.

The MOU for the secure transport of radioactive material was developed to satisfy this recommendation by enhancing cooperation and coordination among federal agencies that have responsibilities related to secure transport of risk-significant radioactive materials including Category 1 and 2 materials (10 CFR Part 20, Appendix E); Categories I, II, and III special nuclear material (10 CFR 73.2); and, irradiated reactor fuel.  The NRC is the lead agency for implementation of the MOU.

For additional information, please contact Albert Tardiff of the NRC at (301) 415-3613 or at Al.Tardiff@nrc.gov.

Registration Opens for NRC’s 2017 Regulatory Information Conference

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has opened registration for its 29th annual Regulatory Information Conference (RIC), which is scheduled for March 14-16, 2017.  The conference will be held at the Bethesda North Marriott, which is located at 5701 Marinelli Road in Bethesda, Maryland.

Overview

Approximately 3,000 people are expected to attend the RIC including industry executives, representatives from state governments, non-governmental organizations, individual community members, and representatives from dozens of foreign countries.  The conference is an opportunity for attendees to discuss issues related to the safety and security of commercial nuclear facilities and current regulatory activities.

The RIC program will feature NRC Chair Stephen Burns as the keynote speaker.  Additional program highlights will include plenary sessions with Commissioner Kristine Svinicki and Commissioner Jeff Baran.

NRC’s Executive Director for Operations Victor McCree will deliver remarks.  Bill Dean, Director of NRR, will give welcome and introductory remarks.  This year’s special guest speaker is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations Robert Willard. Located in Atlanta, INPO is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the highest levels of safety and reliability—to promote excellence—in the operation of nuclear electric generating plants.

Other technical sessions will address significant domestic and international issues such as cybersecurity, subsequent license renewal, advanced and small modular reactors, spent fuel research activities, recent reactor material issues and the reactor oversight process.

Background

The NRC’s offices of Nuclear Reactor Regulation and Nuclear Regulatory Research jointly host the RIC.  The conference is open to the public.  Registration is required, but there is no registration fee.

The deadline for online registration is February 28, 2017.  Early registration is encouraged; however, onsite registration will also be available during the conference.

Additional RIC information, including a copy of the agenda and online registration links, is available on the NRC website at www.nrc.gov.  

LLW Forum Announces Details re Fall 2017 LLW Forum Meeting

The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) is pleased to announce that our fall 2017 meeting will be held on Monday, October 16 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm) and Tuesday, October 17 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm) at: 

Hilton Alexandria Old Town Hotel
1767 King Street
Alexandria, Virginia

Located in the historic, vibrant King Street neighborhood, the Hilton Alexandria Old Town hotel is one of the most convenient hotels in Alexandria, Virginia for business and leisure travelers visiting the Washington, DC metropolitan area.  The hotel is just steps away from King Street Metro station and close to Reagan National Airport.  Downtown DC attractions and government buildings are minutes away by metro.

The Southeast Compact Commission for Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management and the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission are co-sponsoring the meeting.

If you have questions or require additional information, please contact Todd D. Lovinger, Esq.—Executive Director of the LLW Forum and Project Director of the Disused Sources and Part 61 Working Groups (DSWG/P61WG)—at (754) 779-7551 or at LLWForumInc@aol.com

San Onofre Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Contract Awarded

In late-December 2016, following a ten-month competitive bid process, Southern California Edison announced that it has selected a joint venture of AECOM and EnergySolutions as the Decommissioning General Contractor for the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).  This is one of the country’s largest commercial nuclear plant decommissioning projects.  The joint venture will be known as SONGS Decommissioning Solutions.

Overview

The major SONGS dismantlement work will not begin before 2018 when, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act, state regulators are expected to complete their environmental review.  The project is expected to create about 600 jobs during the 10-year dismantlement phase, including workers from local companies.

AECOM, a fully integrated global infrastructure firm, was named one of Fortune magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” in 2016.  AECOM designs, builds, finances and operates assets in more than 150 countries.  EnergySolutions, which specializes in nuclear plant decommissioning and waste management, is currently in the demolition phase of decommissioning both the Zion and Dairyland nuclear power stations.

The $4.4 billion nuclear plant decommissioning is financed through existing trust funds, including SCE’s share of the project as majority owner.  The total cost includes the dismantlement work awarded to SONGS Decommissioning Solutions and continued on-site storage of San Onofre’s used nuclear fuel until the federal government provides a required repository and restoration activities.

SCE shares responsibility for decommissioning with San Onofre co-owners San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside, as well as former co-owner the city of Anaheim.

Background

When operational, San Onofre Units 2 and 3 generated 2,200 megawatts of electricity.  In June 2013, SCE announced that it would retire San Onofre Units 2 and 3 and that it had begun the preparations to decommission the facility.  SCE has established core principles of safety, stewardship and engagement to guide decommissioning.

An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 15 million via 5 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.

For additional information, please visit songscommunity.com or contact Liese Mosher, Principal Manager, Decommissioning Communications, at Southern California Edison, at (949) 368-9750 or at liese.mosher@sce.com; Kathy Davis, Executive Director, Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission at (916) 448-2390 or at swllrwcc@swllrwcc.org; or, Stephen Woods, Chief, Division of Food, Drug and Safety, California Department of Public Health, at (916) 440-7883 or at steve.woods@cdph.ca.gov.

Kristen Schwab Begins Role as Northwest Compact’s New Executive Director

On December 16, 2016, Kristen Schwab started her new role as the Executive Director of the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management.  Schwab succeeds Mike Garner, who retired at the end of June 2016.  She will serve as the designated Director for the Northwest Compact to the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum, Inc. (LLW Forum).

Staff work on the Northwest Compact is being transitioned from the Washington Department of Ecology to the Washington Department of Health.  State officials will be proposing the required legislation in January 2017.

The Northwest Compact was created in 1981 and consists of the member states of Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.  The U.S. Congress ratified the Northwest Compact in 1985.  The eighth state, Wyoming, joined the Compact in March of 1992.

For additional information, please contact Kristen Schwab at (360) 236-3232 or at Kristen.schwab@doh.wa.gov or go to www.ecy.wa.gov/nwic/index.asp.

Central Interstate Compact Relocates Offices to Oklahoma

Effective February 1, 2017, the offices of the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission were relocated from Lincoln, Nebraska to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  In addition, Kristie Valtierra is now serving as the new Administrator of the Commission, following the retirement of Rita Houskie.

The Central Interstate Commission’s new address and contact information are as follows:

Central Interstate LLRW Commission
707 North Robinson Avenue
P.O. Box 1042
Oklahoma City, OK 73101
(405) 702-5220 – phone
(405) 702-5101 – facsimile
admin@cillrwcc.org – email

The Commission’s webpage address remains the same at http://www.cillrwcc.org/.

The Central Interstate Compact is comprised of the member states of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

For additional information, please contact Central Interstate Commission Chair Jon Roberts at (405) 702-7111 or at jon.roberts@deq.ok.us.

Comments Sought re Proposed Medical Radioisotope Production Facility

On November 15, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency is seeking public comment on its Draft Environmental Impact Study of a medical radioisotope production facility proposed for Columbia, Missouri.

The study recommends a construction permit be issued to Northwest Medical Isotopes LLC, barring any safety issues identified in the agency’s ongoing technical review of the application.

Overview

The DEIS (NUREG-2209) documents the NRC staff’s environmental review of Northwest’s construction authorization application.  It examines the environmental impacts of construction, operation and decommissioning of the proposed facility, as well as the transportation and irradiation of uranium targets at research reactors.  It concludes the environmental impacts would be small and therefore not be significant enough to deny the construction permit.

On December 6, 2016, NRC staff held a public meeting in Columbia to present the draft study’s findings and receive public comment.  Agency staff members were on hand one hour before the meeting for informal discussions with members of the public.

Comments

NRC accepted comments on the DEIS at the public meeting on December 6, 2016.  Comments may also be submitted in writing online at www.regulations.gov using Docket ID NRC-2013-0235.  Comments will be accepted through December 29, 2016.  Additional information on the public meeting and how to submit comments was published in the Federal Register on November 9, 2016.

Background

In February 2015, Northwest submitted an application proposing to construct a facility to produce molybdenum-99 from low-enriched uranium.  Molybdenum-99 decays to technetium-99m, the most commonly used radioisotope in medicine.  Technetium-99m is used in 20 million to 25 million diagnostic procedures around the world each year, such as bone and organ scans to detect cancer, and cardiovascular imaging.  There are currently no molybdenum-99 production facilities in the United States, though the NRC has issued a construction authorization to SHINE Medical Technologies to build one in Janesville, Wisconsin.

For additional information, please contact David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

EPA Publishes Final Revision to PAG Manual

As part of its mission to protect human health and the environment, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes Protective Action Guides (PAGs) to help federal, state, local and tribal emergency response officials make radiation protection decisions during emergencies.  On December 8, 2016, the EPA—in coordination with a multi-agency working group within the Federal Radiological Preparedness Coordinating Committee (FRPCC)—published final updates to the 1992 Manual of Protective Action Guides and Protective Actions for Nuclear Incidents (1992 PAG Manual).

The updated guidance in the revised PAG Manual: Protective Action Guides and Planning Guidance for Radiological Incidents (PAG Manual) applies the PAGs to incidents other than nuclear power plant accidents, updates the radiation dosimetry and dose calculations based on current science and incorporates late phase guidance.  The final revisions incorporate input from public comments received in 2013 and include clarifications based on those comments.

EPA plans to finalize drinking water guidance after incorporating public comments on a proposal published in June 2016.  The intention is to add it as a section in the Intermediate Phase chapter of the PAG Manual and reissue the PAG Manual once complete.

A notice regarding release of the final revision of the PAG Manual was published at 81 Federal Register 88,679 (December 8, 2016).  The final revision of the PAG Manual is available at www.regulations.gov under Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR– 2008–0268.  The PAG Manual in electronic form, as well as related guidelines and additional information, can also be found on the PAGs Web page at http://www.epa.gov/ radiation/protective-action-guides-pags.

Overview

The PAG Manual provides federal, state and local emergency management officials with guidance for responding to radiological emergencies.  A PAG is the projected dose to an individual from a release of radioactive material at which a specific protective action to reduce or avoid that dose is recommended.  Emergency management officials use PAGs for making decisions regarding actions to protect the public from exposure to radiation during an emergency.  Such actions include, but are not limited to, evacuation, shelter-in-place, temporary relocation, and food restrictions.

Development of the PAGs was based on the following essential principles, which also apply to the selection of any protective action during an incident:

  •   prevent acute effects;
  •   balance protection with other important factors and ensure that actions result in more benefit than harm; and,
  •   reduce risk of chronic effects.

The PAG Manual is not a legally binding regulation or standard and does not supersede any environmental laws.  The guidance does not address or impact site cleanups occurring under other statutory authorities such as the EPA’s Superfund program, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) decommissioning program, or other federal or state cleanup programs.  As indicated by the use of non-mandatory language such as “may,” “should” and “can,” the PAG Manual only provides recommendations and does not confer any legal rights or impose any legally binding requirements upon any member of the public, states or any federal agency.  Rather, the PAG Manual recommends projected radiation doses at which specific actions may be warranted in order to reduce or avoid that dose.  The PAG Manual is designed to provide flexibility to be more or less restrictive as deemed appropriate by decision makers based on the unique characteristics of the incident and the local situation.

Implementation

The EPA encourages emergency management and radiation protection organizations that use the PAGs in their emergency plans to incorporate the updated guidance as soon as possible.  According to EPA, this may entail training, as well as updating plans and procedures.  The EPA, the FRMAC and interagency partners on the PAG Subcommittee will conduct outreach and technical training.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) expects certain organizations associated with nuclear power plant operations to use the PAG Manual in developing their emergency management plans.  In addition, the FEMA plans to begin using the new PAG Manual during their evaluation of offsite response organizations around nuclear power facilities twelve months after the publication of the Federal Register notice.

Background

The historical and legal basis of the EPA’s role in the PAG Manual begins with Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970, in which the Administrator of the EPA assumed functions of the Federal Radiation Council (FRC), including the charge to “ . . . advise the President with respect to radiation matters, directly or indirectly affecting health, including guidance for all federal agencies in the formulation of radiation standards and in the establishment and execution of programs of cooperation with states.”  Recognizing this role, FEMA directed the EPA in their Radiological Emergency Planning and Preparedness Regulations to “establish Protective Action Guides (PAGs) for all aspects of radiological emergency planning in coordination with appropriate federal agencies.”  FEMA also tasked the EPA with preparing “guidance for state and local governments on implementing PAGs, including recommendations on protective actions which can be taken to mitigate the potential radiation dose to the population.”  All of this information was to “be presented in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ‘Manual of Protective Action Guides and Protective Actions for Nuclear Incidents.’”

Additionally, section 2021(h) charged the Administrator with performing “such other functions as the President may assign to him [or her] by Executive order.”  Executive Order 12656 states that the Administrator shall “[d]evelop, for national security emergencies, guidance on acceptable emergency levels of nuclear radiation . . .”  The EPA’s role in PAGs development was reaffirmed by the National Response Framework, Nuclear/Radiological Incident Annex of June 2008.

For additional information and related guidelines, see the PAGs Web page at http://www.epa.gov/radiation/ protective-action-guides-pags.

For additional information, please contact Sara DeCair of the Radiation Protection Division in the Center for Radiological Emergency Management at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at (202) 343–9108 or at decair.sara@epa.gov.

Registration Open for Spring 2017 LLW Forum Meeting

Embassy Suites Downtown Hotel in Denver, Colorado

April 24-25, 2017

The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) is pleased to announce that registration is now open for our spring 2017 meeting, which will be held at the Embassy Suites Downtown Convention Center Hotel in Denver, Colorado on April 24-25, 2017.  Please mark your calendars accordingly and save the date!

Interested stakeholders are encouraged to register and make hotel reservations for the meeting at your earliest convenience, as there is limited space available in our discount room block.

The Rocky Mountain Low-Level Radioactive Waste Board and Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission are co-sponsoring the meeting.

The meeting documents—including a meeting bulletin and registration form—have been posted to the LLW Forum’s web site at www.llwforum.org.

As a new option for interested stakeholders, a registration form may be completed and submitted online by going to the bottom of the LLW Forum web site’s home page at www.llwforum.org.

Attendance

Officials from states, compacts, federal agencies, nuclear utilities, disposal operators, brokers/processors, industry, and other interested parties are encouraged to attend the spring 2017 LLW Forum meeting.

LLW Forum meetings are an excellent opportunity to stay up-to-date on the most recent and significant developments in the area of low-level radioactive waste management and disposal.  They also offer an important opportunity to network with other government and industry officials and to participate in decision-making on future actions and endeavors affecting low-level radioactive waste management and disposal.

Location and Dates

The spring 2017 LLW Forum meeting will be held on Monday, April 24 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm) and Tuesday, April 25 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm) at: 

Embassy Suites by Downtown Convention Center Hotel
1420 Stout Street
Denver, Colorado 80202

The hotel offers a gateway to Denver’s lively downtown scene.  Boasting a contemporary convention venue, the hotel is within walking distance of the best attractions in the downtown area.

Registration

All persons must pre-register for the meeting and pay any associated registration fees in order to be allowed entry.  Registration forms are needed in order to ensure that you receive a meeting packet and name badge.  Accordingly, interested attendees are asked to please take a moment to complete the registration form at your earliest convenience and return it to the Administrator of the Rocky Mountain Board at the mailing address, e-mail or fax number listed at the bottom of the form.

The meeting is free for up to two individuals representing members of the LLW Forum.  Additional and non-member registration is $500, payable by check only to the “LLW Forum, Inc.”  (Credit card payments are not accepted.)

Reservations

Persons who plan to attend the meeting are strongly encouraged to make their hotel reservations and send in their registration forms as soon as possible, as we have exceeded our block at the last few meetings.

A limited block of hotel rooms has been reserved for Sunday, April 23rd and Monday, April 24th at the rate of $178.00 plus tax per night (for single/double occupancy).

To make a reservation, please call (800) 445-8667.  Please ask for the LLW Forum block in order to get the discounted meeting rate.

The deadline for reserving a room at the discounted rate is Wednesday, April 5, 2017.

Transportation and Directions

From Denver International Airport (DIA), one way taxi fare is available for approximately $70.00.  Another option is the train from DIA to Union Station downtown.  From Union Station, you can walk or take the 16th street mall shuttle the additional 1.2 miles to the hotel off of Stout Street.

If you have questions or require additional information, please contact Todd D. Lovinger, Esq.—Executive Director of the LLW Forum and Project Director of the Disused Sources and Part 61 Working Groups (DSWG/P61WG)—at (754) 779-7551 or at LLWForumInc@aol.com

Information Notices and Regulatory Issues Summaries

The following is a list Regulatory Issue Summaries (RIS) and Information Notices (IN) that were recently issued by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for nuclear power plants and other licensees around the country.

For additional information, please go to the NRC’s web site at www.nrc.gov.  

Regulatory Issue Summaries

Over the course of the past few months, NRC has issued the following Regulatory Issue Summaries:

  • NRC Employee Access to Switchyards at Licensee Facilities: RIS 2016-12, dated November 22, 2016 (ML16154A034), was issued in order to inform addressees about the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) position on unescorted physical access by NRC employee(s) to portions of a nuclear power plant that contain NERC-jurisdictional components.  RIS 2016-12 requires no action or written response on the part of an addressee.  For additional information, please contact Tania Martinez-Navedo of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) at (301) 415-6561 or at tania.martinez-navedo@nrc.gov or Alexander Schwab of NRR at (301) 415-8539 or at alexander.schwab@nrc.gov.
  • Requests to Dispose of Very Low-Level Radioactive Waste Pursuant to 10 CFR 20.2002: RIS 2016-11, dated November 13, 2016 (ML16007A488), was issued to correct the information provided in IN 1986-90, “Requests to Dispose of Very Low-Level Radioactive Waste Pursuant to 10 CFR 20.302.”  RIS 2016-11 clarifies the application process for obtaining approvals to dispose of low-level waste in accordance with Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) 20.2002 regulations, or equivalent Agreement State regulations.  The NRC expects recipients to review the information for applicability to their facilities and to consider actions, as appropriate.  However, RIS 2016-11 requires no specific action or written response on the part of an addressee.  RIS 2016-11 supersedes IN 1986-90.  For additional information, please see related story in this issue.

For additional information and copies of the above-referenced Regulatory Issue Summaries, please go to http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/gen-comm/reg-issues/2016/.

Information Notice

Over the course of the past few months, NRC issued the following Information Notice:

  • Potential Absence of Required Lock Washers in BSI Instruments, Inc. LB 7400 Series Fixed Gauges: IN 2016-12, dated October 20, 2016 (ML16217A237), was issued to alert addressees of the potential absence of a required lock washer between the source assembly and source holder in BSI Instruments, Inc. LB 7400 Series density fixed gauges.  The absence of the required lock washer may cause the source to become dislodged during use.  According to IN 2016-12, recipients should review the information contained in the document for applicability to their facilities and consider taking appropriate action, if necessary.  However, the information conveyed in IN 2016-12 is not a new NRC requirement; therefore, no specific action or written response is required.  For additional information, please contact Celimar Valentin-Rodriguez of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) at (301) 415-7124 or at Celimar.Valentin-Rodriguez@nrc.gov.

For additional information and a copies of the above-referenced Information Notice, please go to http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/gen-comm/info-notices/2016/.

Texas Compact Commission Holds December 2016 Meeting

On December 2, 2016, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) held a regularly scheduled meeting in Austin, Texas.

The meeting began at 9:00 a.m. CDT.  It was held in the Room E1.028 at the Texas State Capitol, which is located at 1100 Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas.

The formal meeting agenda is available on the Texas Compact Commission’s web site at www.tllrwdcc.org.

Agenda

The following is an abbreviated overview of the agenda for the Texas Compact Commission meeting.  Persons interested in additional detail are directed to the formal agenda themselves.

  • call to order;
  • roll call and determination of quorum;
  • introduction of Commissioners, elected officials and press;
  • public comment;
  • consideration of and possible action on applications and proposed agreements for importation of low-level radioactive waste from Exelon; Alaron Veolia; and, Entergy-Grand Gulf;
  • consideration of and possible action on petitions and proposed orders for exportation of low-level radioactive waste from Texas A&M;
  • receive reports from Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) about recent site operations and any other matter WCS wishes to bring to the attention of the Texas Compact Commission;
  • receive reports from Texas Compact Commission committees including the Rules Committee (as Chaired by Commissioner Morris) and the Capacity Committee (as Chaired by Commissioner Weber);
  • Chairman’s report on Texas Compact Commission activities including reporting on fiscal matters to be taken by the compact and addressing personnel matters;
  • report from Leigh Ing, Executive Director of the Texas Compact Commission, on her activities and questions related to Texas Compact Commission operations;
  • discussion and possible changes of dates and locations of future Texas Compact Commission meetings in 2017; and,
  • adjourn.

Background

The Texas Compact Commission may meet in closed session as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551, Texas Government Code.  Texas Compact Commission meetings are open to the public.

For additional information, please contact Texas Compact Commission Executive Director Leigh Ing at (512) 305-8941 or at leigh.ing@tllrwdcc.org

Special Inspection Conducted at Columbia Nuclear Generating Station

On December 12, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has begun a special inspection at the Columbia Generating Station to review circumstances surrounding the shipment of some low-level waste to a disposal facility.  The plant, operated by Energy Northwest, is located near Richland, Washington.

Background

On November 9, 2016, workers at the plant shipped a single package of low-level nuclear waste to the
 U.S. Ecology disposal facility about 10 miles away.  When the package containing contaminated filters arrived, workers at the disposal facility noted a discrepancy between the radiation levels specified in the shipping manifest and dose rates they measured on the shipping container.  US Ecology personnel measured radiation levels more than seven times higher than documented in the shipping manifest.  The package was rejected and taken back to the plant where it is currently being stored.

The following day, the Washington State Department of Health (WDOH) notified Columbia Generating Station officials that their disposal permit privileges to US Ecology were being suspended until a written plan containing corrective actions was approved and an on-site inspection conducted by state officials is completed.

Special Inspection

“The purpose of the NRC’s special inspection is to better understand the circumstances surrounding this event, which revealed weaknesses in the licensee’s process for packaging and preparing radioactive waste shipments,” NRC Region IV Administrator Kriss Kennedy said.  “While there was no undue risk to the public, had a transportation accident occurred, there was a potential that members of the public could have been exposed to radiation levels in excess of NRC regulatory limits.”

The three-member NRC team spent about a week on site evaluating the licensee’s cause analysis and the adequacy of corrective actions.  An inspection report documenting the team’s findings will be publicly available within 45 days of the end of the inspection.

For additional information, please contact Victor Dricks at (817) 200-1128.

NRC Seeks to Fill Open Reactor Safeguards Advisory Committee Position

On November 28, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency is seeking a qualified candidate for appointment to its Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS).

The ACRS is an advisory group that provides independent technical review of, and advice on, matters related to the safety of existing and proposed nuclear facilities, as well as on the adequacy of proposed reactor safety standards.  It also advises the Commission on issues in health physics and radiation protection.

Overview

The ACRS’s primary focus is on safety issues associated with the operation of 99 U.S. commercial nuclear power plants and regulatory initiatives including risk-informed and performance-based regulations, license renewal, power uprates, new reactor applications and the use of mixed oxide and high burn up fuels.  In addition, the ACRS may be asked to provide advice on radiation protection, radioactive waste management and earth sciences in the agency’s licensing reviews for fuel fabrication, enrichment and waste disposal facilities.

Qualifications

The Commission is seeking an individual with extensive experience in nuclear power plant probabilistic risk assessment and risk management.  The best-qualified candidates will have at least 20 years of specific experience in those areas, as well as considerable broad experience and a distinguished record of achievement in one or more areas of nuclear science and technology or a related engineering discipline.

Applications

Interested individuals should find candidate criteria and details in the corresponding Federal Register notice published on November 28, 2016.  The notice is available on the NRC website.  Resumes will be accepted until December 30, 2016.  Resumes may be submitted via

  •   mail to Jamila Perry and Alesha Ballinger, ACRS, Mail Stop T2E-26, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; or,
  •   e-mail to Jamila.Perry@nrc.gov and Alesha.Bellinger@nrc.gov.

For additional information on the ACRS go the NRC website at www.nrc.gov or contact Maureen Conley of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Department of Justice Files Civil Antitrust Lawsuit to Block Proposed EnergySolutions’ Acquisition of Waste Control Specialists

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that it has filed a civil antitrust lawsuit seeking to block the proposed $367 million acquisition of Waste Control Specialists LLC by EnergySolutions.  The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware on November 16, 2016.

According to DOJ’s press release, the proposed transaction “would combine the two most significant competitors for the disposal of low level radioactive waste … available to commercial customers in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.”

DOJ argues that the proposed transaction “would deny commercial generators of … [low-level radioactive waste] – from universities and hospitals working on life-saving treatments to nuclear facilities producing 20 percent of the electricity in the United States – the benefits of vigorous competition that has led to significantly lower prices, better service and innovation in recent years.”

“Since opening its … [low-level radioactive waste] disposal facility in 2012, Waste Control Specialists has provided EnergySolutions the only real competition it has ever faced,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division.  “This competition has allowed customers to extract better prices and to receive better and more innovative service in the … [low-level radioactive waste] disposal industry.  If consummated, EnergySolutions’ proposed acquisition of Waste Control Specialists would make EnergySolutions the only option for customers in nearly 40 states.  And this at a time when projects worth billions of dollars are set to be awarded in the coming years.”

DOJ’s press release asserts that Waste Control Specialists provides the “only true competition” for EnergySolutions.  “That competition has led to increased innovation and lower prices for customers,” contends DOJ.  “EnergySolutions’ acquisition of Waste Control Specialists would eliminate that competition, with no likelihood of new entry to fill the void.”

Low-level radioactive waste is the radioactive byproduct of nuclear power generation, scientific research and certain medical treatments.  Low-level radioactive waste includes such items as personal protective clothing, tools, water purification filters and resins, hardware from nuclear power plants, and equipment from medical and research institutions.  Low-level radioactive waste may only be disposed of in a facility licensed by, or pursuant to an exemption provided by, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) or a state acting under an agreement with the NRC.  Low-level radioactive waste disposal is an essential service for operating nuclear reactors, research laboratories and medical facilities.  Additionally, low-level radioactive waste disposal is a requirement for the safe decommissioning of such facilities when they reach the end of their useful lives.

EnergySolutions offers customers a full range of integrated services and solutions, including nuclear operations, characterization, decommissioning, decontamination, site closure, transportation, nuclear materials management, processing, recycling, and disposition of nuclear waste, and research and engineering services across the nuclear fuel cycle.

Waste Control Specialists operates a West Texas facility for the processing, treatment, storage and disposal of a broad range of low-level radioactive and hazardous wastes.

For additional information about EnergySolutions, please contact Dan Shrum at (801) 649-2000 or at dshrum@energysolutions.com or go to the company’s web site at www.energysolutions.com.  For additional information about WCS, please contact Rodney Baltzer at (972) 450-4235 or at rbaltzer@valhi.net or visit the company’s web site at www.valhi.net.  For additional information about the proposed acquisition, please contact Mark Walker at mwalker@energysolutions.com or at (801) 231-9194.

NRC Releases RIS 2016-11 re Requests to Dispose of Very Low-Level Radioactive Waste Pursuant to 10 CFR 20.2002

On November 13, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued Regulatory Issue Summary (RIS) 2016-11 to correct the information provided in Information Notice (IN) 1986-90, “Requests to Dispose of Very Low-Level Radioactive Waste Pursuant to 10 CFR 20.302.”  RIS 2016-11 clarifies the application process for obtaining approvals to dispose of low-level radioactive waste in accordance with Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) 20.2002 regulations, or equivalent Agreement State regulations.

The NRC expects recipients to review the information for applicability to their facilities and to consider actions, as appropriate.  However, RIS 2016-11 requires no specific action or written response on the part of an addressee.  The NRC is providing RIS 2016-11 to the Agreement States for their information and distribution to their licensees as appropriate.  RIS 2016-11 supersedes Information Notice (IN) 1986-90.

NRC regulations in 10 CFR 20.2002 provide that a licensee or applicant for a license may apply to the Commission for approval of procedures to dispose of licensed material not otherwise authorized in 10 CFR Part 20 for disposal.  Licensees have used 10 CFR 20.2002 to dispose of very low-level radioactive waste on a site-specific basis.  RIS 2016-11 makes the clarification that any licensee’s request for approval to dispose of licensed material under 10 CFR 20.2002, or the equivalent Agreement State regulations, must be submitted to the regulatory authority that issued the license for use of the radioactive material.  For licensees under 10 CFR Part 50, “Domestic Licensing of Production and Utilization Facilities,” or Part 52, “Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants,” this request should be made to the NRC in accordance with 10 CFR 50.4, “Written Communications” or 10 CFR 52.3, ”Written Communications.”  For NRC-issued licenses under 10 CFR Parts 30 (“Rules of General Applicability to Domestic Licensing of Byproduct Material”), 40 (“Domestic Licensing of Source Material”), and 70 (“Domestic Licensing of Special Nuclear Material”), the request should be made in accordance with 10 CFR 30.6, 10 CFR 40.5, or 10 CFR 70.5, “Communications.”  For Agreement State licensees, this request should be made directly to the Agreement State regulatory authority.  If the Agreement State has not adopted regulations equivalent to 10 CFR 20.2002, then the state may accomplish the same regulatory authorization through application of its specific exemption authority, which could approve the request to dispose of licensed material using procedures not otherwise authorized.  Also, radioactive material licensees receiving a 10 CFR 20.2002 approval must follow other permitting requirements.

For additional information on RIS 2016-11, please contact Donald Lowman of NMSS at (301) 415-5452 or at Donald.Lowman@nrc.gov; Micheal Smith of NRR at (301) 415-3763 or at Micheal.Smith@nrc.gov; or, Stephen Poy of NMSS at (301) 415-7135 or at Stephen.Poy@nrc.gov.

Scoping Effort Initiated re Environmental Review of Proposed WCS Interim Spent Fuel Storage Facility

On November 14, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency is seeking comments from the public on the issues to be covered in the environmental review of an application from Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) to construct and operate a facility to store spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas.  The NRC will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to document its evaluation of those impacts and is now taking public comments on the scope.

By letter dated July 21, 2016, WCS requested that NRC begin its EIS process as soon as possible.  In a response dated October 7, 2016, NRC agreed to WCS’ request because doing so will allow the agency to engage interested members of the public early in the process.  It will also provide additional time to consult with federal, tribal, state and local government agencies, facilitating compliance with the Endangered Species Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.  In addition, the environmental review will fulfill requirements in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to do an analysis of environmental impacts for major federal actions.  However, NRC’s decision to begin the EIS process early does not presuppose the outcome of its ongoing acceptance review of the WCS application.

The EIS prepared by the NRC staff will examine the potential environmental impacts of the proposed action.  The NRC staff will evaluate the potential impacts to various environmental resources, such as air quality, surface and ground water, transportation, geology and soils, and socioeconomics.  The EIS will analyze potential impacts of WCS’s proposed facility on historic and cultural resources and on threatened and endangered species.  Additionally, the economic, technical, and other benefits and costs of the proposed action and alternatives will be considered in the EIS.

If the application is accepted for a detailed technical review, the NRC staff will also conduct a safety review to determine WCS’s compliance with NRC’s regulations, including 10 CFR Part 20 and 10 CFR Part 72.  The NRC staff’s findings will be published in a Safety Evaluation Report.

The scoping period began on November 14, 2016.  If the WCS application is docketed, the scoping period will end 45 days after publication of a notice of docketing the application.

Written comments on the scope of the environmental review may be submitted via:

  •   the federal government’s rulemaking website at www.regulations.gov;
  •   email to WCS_CISF_EIS@nrc.gov; or,
  •   mail to Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN- 12 H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

Comments must be submitted by the closing date of the scoping period to ensure consideration.  Stakeholders should include Docket ID NRC-2016-0231 when submitting comments.

The ER submitted by WCS can be found on the NRC’s project-specific web page at http:// www.nrc.gov/waste/spent-fuel-storage/ cis/wcs/wcs-app-docs.html.  For additional information, please contact James Park, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, at (301) 415– 6954 or at James.Park@nrc.gov.

NRC Staff Seeks Commission Approval to Initiate Rulemaking to Require Financial Assurance for Category 1 and 2 Sealed Sources

In SECY-16-0115 dated October 7, 2016, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff seeks Commission approval to initiate a rulemaking to require financial assurance for the disposition of Category 1 and 2 byproduct material radioactive sealed sources.  The rulemaking would revise § 30.35 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), “Financial Assurance and Recordkeeping for Decommissioning.”

NRC staff ranks the proposed rulemaking in SECY-16-0115 as a high priority using the Common Prioritization of Rulemaking (CPR) methodology and offers the following estimated schedule:

  •   initiate regulatory basis phase – October 2017;
  •   complete regulatory basis – October 2018;
  •   publish proposed rule – October 2019; and,
  •   publish final rule – October 2020.

The NRC’s regulations in 10 CFR 30.35 require a fixed dollar amount of financial assurance or a Decommissioning Funding Plan (DFP) for licensees possessing byproduct material with a half-life greater than 120 days and at activity levels above certain thresholds.  However, the thresholds for sealed byproduct material are such that many licensees possessing Category 1 and 2 byproduct material radioactive sealed sources are not required to provide financial assurance for decommissioning.  Where financial assurance is required, it is to support decommissioning of the site, not necessarily to disposition an individual radioactive sealed source that has become disused or unwanted.

The NRC staff conducted a scoping study to determine whether additional financial planning requirements for end-of-life management for some radioactive byproduct material (particularly radioactive sealed sources) were needed.  Based on the scoping study, which is documented in SECY-16-0046, “Radioactive Byproduct Material Financial Scoping Study,” the NRC staff recommends that the financial assurance requirements in 10 CFR 30.35 be expanded to include all Category 1 and 2 byproduct material radioactive sealed sources tracked in the National Source Tracking System (NSTS).

NRC staff identified three main reasons for proceeding with the rulemaking.  Specifically, requiring financial assurance for disposition of Category 1 and 2 byproduct material radioactive sealed sources would:

  •   ensure that licensees possessing these risk-significant radioactive sealed sources are financially prepared for the costs of end-of-life dispositioning;
  •   complement the existing regulatory framework to ensure safe and secure management of Category 1 and 2 byproduct material radioactive sealed sources by facilitating timely disposition when these radioactive sealed sources become disused or unwanted; and,
  •   help ensure that dispositioning costs are borne by those who receive the associated economic benefits from the use of these sources.

In SECY-16-0115, NRC staff state that the proposed rulemaking would result in increased regulatory costs and that its implementation would require additional NRC and Agreement State resources.  Accordingly, NRC staff asserts that engagement with Agreement States and other stakeholders early in the rulemaking process would be prudent to ensure that the benefits of the rule and resource impacts are well understood and that the new requirements can be implemented effectively and efficiently.

For additional information, please contact Ryan Whited, NMSS/DUWP, at (301) 415-1154, or Robert MacDougall, NMSS/MSTR, at (301) 415-5175.

Pennsylvania DEP Finds Record Level of Radon in Home

By press release dated November 17, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced that it has detected a new record-high level of radon and is once again encouraging state residents to test their homes for this radioactive gas, a leading cause of lung cancer.

In particular, in October 2016, a home in southern Lehigh County showed a radon level of 6,176 picocuries per liter (pCi/L)—the highest recorded in the state.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set an action level for radon concentration in homes at 4 pCi/L.  Homes testing above this level should have a radon reduction system installed.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, radioactive gas that occurs naturally through the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks.  It can enter a home through cracks in the foundation or other openings.

The National Toxicology Program—comprising the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—classifies radon as a known human carcinogen.  Scientists estimate that about 20,000 lung cancer deaths yearly are related to radon.  It’s the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers and second leading cause in smokers.

Because of its geology, Pennsylvania is prone to high radon levels.  Radon has been detected in all 67 counties.  Approximately 40 percent of homes in the state have levels above EPA’s action level.  In 2014, a number of homes in the southern Lehigh County area were found to have radon levels over 1,000 pCi/L.  That area is near the Reading Prong, a geological section of granite rock that historically has generated high levels of radon.

Testing is the only way to know if a home, school, workplace or other structure has elevated levels of radon.  An easy home test kit can be purchased at hardware or home improvement stores for about $20 to $30.  People may also hire a state-certified testing company.

If a level above 4 pCi/L is found, a radon mitigation, or reduction, system should be installed.  This is essentially a pipe with a fan to suction the gas from the ground and discharge it above the roofline, where the radon is dispersed.  DEP recommends that homebuilders install radon reduction systems during construction.  DEP certifies all radon testers, mitigators and laboratories doing business in the state, to ensure reliable results.

For additional news, including information on interpreting radon test results and finding a Pennsylvania-certified radon contractor, visit the DEP Radon Division website at http://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/RadiationProtection/RadonDivision/Pages/default.aspx or call (800) 237-2366.

Seventh U.S. National Report Issued for Convention on Nuclear Safety

On October 27, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has published its Seventh National Report for the Convention on Nuclear Safety.  The report describes the U.S. government’s actions under the convention to achieve and maintain a high level of safety for its nuclear power plants.

The Convention on Nuclear Safety entered into force in 1996 and was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1999.  It establishes legally binding obligations for signatory states regarding national regulation and safety at commercial nuclear power facilities.

The Seventh National Report for the Convention on Nuclear Safety addresses issues identified through the peer review conducted during the sixth review meeting in 2014, as well as challenges and issues that have arisen since that time.  The sixth review meeting identified the following six U.S. challenges:

  • Fukushima-related activities;
  • transition to risk-informed fire protection regulations;
  • ensuring continuity during the oversight transition from plant construction to operation;
  • nuclear industry strategy;
  • report on status of periodic safety reviews pilot program; and,
  • status of NRC’s work on subsequent license renewal for plant operation beyond 60 years.

Countries that are parties to the convention meet every three years to discuss their reports.  The NRC has submitted the Seventh National Report for the Convention on Nuclear Safety for peer review by other countries.

NRC officials will discuss the report and respond to peer review questions at the seventh review meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, in March 2017.

The Seventh National Report for the Convention on Nuclear Safety demonstrates how the United States implements a high level of nuclear safety by enhancing national measures and international cooperation, and by meeting the obligations of all the articles established by the convention.

Some of the additional challenges discussed in the new report include:

  • digital instrumentation and control systems;
  • open-phase conditions in electric power systems;
  • spent fuel pool neutron-absorbing materials; and,
  • plant transition from operation to decommissioning status.

The report includes a section developed by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) describing the U.S. industry’s work to ensure safety.  INPO officials will also be part of the U.S. delegation to the convention review meeting.

For additional information, please contact David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board Meets

On November 10, 2016, the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board held a regularly scheduled meeting beginning at 1:30 p.m. MT in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The meeting, which was open to the public, was held in Conference Room 1015, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Board Room, on the first floor of the Multi Agency State Office Building that is located at 195 North 1950 West in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The following items, among others, were on the agenda for the November 2016 Board meeting:

  1. Call to Order
  1. Approval of Meeting Minutes for the October 13, 2016 Board Meeting (Board Action Item)

III.    Underground Storage Tanks Update

  1. Underground Storage Tank Rules
  1. Final Adoption of Changes to the Underground Storage Tank Rules R311-200, R311-201, R311-202, R311-206 and R311-212 (Board Action Item)
  1. Approval of a Change in Proposed Rule for R311-203 to incorporate comments made by the Environmental Protection Agency (Board Action Item)
  1. Low-Level Radioactive Waste Section
  1. EnergySolutions LLC request for a site-specific treatment variance from the Hazardous Waste Management Rules. EnergySolutions seeks authorization to receive Cemented Uranium Extraction Process Residues for disposal. (Information Item Only)
  1. Administrative Rules
  1. EnergySolutions’ Petition to Initiate Rulemaking to repeal and reenact R313-25 and adopt 10 CFR Part 61 by reference (Information Item Only)

VII.   X-Ray Program

  1. Exemption Request for the Sensus SRT-100 machine from the requirements of R313-30-3(3), R313-30 -3(4), R313-30-3(5) and R313-30-3(6) (Board Action Item)
  1. Letter from Sensus Requesting the Exemption
  1. Comments from Patients or Relatives of Patients in Support of the Exemption
  1. Comments from the Medical Community in Support of the Exemption
  1. Comments from the Medical Community in Opposition to the Exemption

VIII.  Other Business

  1. Miscellaneous Information Item
  1. Scheduling of Next Board Meeting
  1. Adjourn

The Board—which is appointed by the Utah Governor with the consent of the Utah Senate—guides development of Radiation Control policy and rules in the state.

The Board holds open meetings ten times per year at locations throughout the state.  A public comment session is held at the end of each meeting.

Copies of the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board meeting agendas and packet information can be found at http://www.deq.utah.gov/boards/waste/meetings.htm.

 

For additional information, please contact Rusty Lundberg, Deputy Director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, at (801) 536-4257 or at rlundberg@utah.gov.

NAS Hosts LLW Management and Disposition Workshop

On October 24-25, 2016, the Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board, Division on Earth and Life Studies, of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine hosted a low-level radioactive waste management and disposition workshop.  The workshop was held at the Keck Center of the National Academies, which is located at 500 Fifth Street NW in Washington, DC.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) is responsible for the cleanup of the sites used by the federal government for nuclear weapons development and nuclear energy research.  DOE-EM cleanup involves retrieval, treatment, storage, transportation, and disposition of hundreds of different radioactive and hazardous solid and liquid wastes.

Low-level radioactive waste—which is defined by exclusion as waste that does not meet the statutory definitions for spent nuclear fuel, high-level radioactive waste, or transuranic waste—is physically and chemically diverse, ranging from lightly contaminated soils and building materials to highly irradiated nuclear reactor components.  It is the most volumetrically significant waste stream (millions of cubic meters) being generated by the cleanup program.

The workshop considered similarities between successful case studies, in which unique disposition pathways have been developed to address low-level radioactive wastes, and explored ways to extend these similar characteristics to problematic wastes—i.e., low-level radioactive wastes currently without a clear disposition pathway.

Specifically, the workshop explored:

  •   the key physical, chemical, and radiological characteristics of low-level radioactive waste that govern its safe and secure management (i.e., packaging, transport, storage) and disposition, in aggregate and for individual waste-streams; and,
  •   how key characteristics of low-level waste are incorporated into standards, orders, and regulations that govern the management and disposition of low-level radioactive waste in the United States and in other major waste-producing countries.

For additional information about the meeting, please go to http://dels.nas.edu/Upcoming-Workshop/Level-Radioactive-Waste-Management/AUTO-6-58-82-D?bname=nrsb.

NRC to Consider Reevaluation of Category 3 Source Accountability

On October 18, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM) regarding a proposed agency staff re-evaluation of Category 3 source accountability.

The SRM was issued in response to a July 29, 2016 memo from NRC Commissioner Baran proposing that NRC staff revisit the question of whether and how to track Category 3 sources.  Commissioner Baran’s memo was written in response to GAO-16-330 titled, “Nuclear Security:  NRC Has Enhanced the Controls of Dangerous Radioactive Materials, but Vulnerabilities Remain.”

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which was issued on July 15, 2016, concludes that NRC and Agreement States have taken several steps to help ensure that radioactive materials licenses are granted only to legitimate organizations and that licensees can only obtain such materials in quantities allowed by their licenses.  However, GAO also determined that NRC and Agreement States have not taken some measures for better controlling Category 3 quantities of radioactive material—such as tracking and agency license verification—that leave vulnerabilities.

The SRM directs NRC staff to submit a notation vote paper to the Commission that includes the following:

  • an evaluation of the pros and cons of different methods of requiring transferors of Category 3 sources to verify the validity of a transferee’s license prior to transfer;
  • an evaluation of the pros and cons of including Category 3 sources in the National Source Tracking System (NSTS);
  • an assessment, based on these evaluations, of these and any additional options that the staff identifies for addressing the source accountability recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO);
  • a vulnerability assessment which identifies changes in the threat environment between 2009 and today that argue in favor of or against expansion of the NSTS to include Category 3 sources;
  • a regulatory impact analysis of the accrued benefit and costs of the change, to include impacts to the NRC, Agreement States, non-Agreement States, and regulated entities;
  • a discussion of potential regulatory actions that would not require changes to NRC regulations that arose from or were considered by the staff working groups—including changes to guidance, training, and other program improvements such as more closely monitoring the implementation of the staff recommendations using the Integrated Materials Performance Evaluation Program (IMPEP) process; and,
  • any other factors arising from the staff’s currently ongoing assessment that the staff concludes would bear on the Commission’s deliberation on the proposed change.

The SRM states that the NRC staff’s evaluations for the notation vote paper “should begin after completion of the ongoing broader evaluation of the overall source protection and accountability strategy for sources due to the Congress at the end of this year.”

It further states that the results of the assessment of the security requirements in 10 CFR Part 37 should be used to inform the NRC staff’s evaluation and that, in conducting these evaluations, the staff “should assess the risks posed by the aggregation of Category 3 sources into Category 2 quantities and consider the current views of our Agreement States partners.”

The staff’s evaluation and notation vote paper are due to the Commission within 10 months of the issuance of the SRM.

For additional information and direct links to NRC’s October 2016 SRM, Commissioner Baran’s July 2016 memorandum and GAO-16-330, please visit the Resources Page of the Disused Sources Working Group (DSWG) web site at www.disusedsources.org.

ACRS Subcommittee Discusses Proposed Part 61 Final Rule

The Subcommittee on Radiation Protection and Nuclear Materials of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) met from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on October 18, 2016.  The meeting, which was open to the public, was held in Room T–2B3 of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.

The Subcommittee discussed the proposed final rule 10 CFR Part 61, ‘‘Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal’’ and associated guidance.  The Subcommittee heard presentations by and held discussions with the NRC staff and other interested persons regarding this matter.  The Subcommittee gathered information, analyzed relevant issues and facts, and formulated proposed positions and actions, as appropriate, for deliberation by the full Committee.

During the meeting, the subcommittee requested that the NRC make publicly available the agency’s draft final Part 61 guidance document (Guidance for Conducting Technical Analyses for 10 CFR Part 61) to support a public meeting with the full ACRS that is scheduled for November 3, 2016.

Accordingly, NRC staff has made the draft document publicly available in ADAMS (Accession No. ML14357A072).  In addition, NRC staff has made a redline/strikeout version of the draft final rule language available in ADAMS (Accession No. ML16293A112).

In releasing the documents, NRC stresses that the comment period on this rulemaking is closed and that the staff is not soliciting comments on the draft final guidance and the draft final rule language. The draft final rule language is with the Commission for their review.

The proposed final Part 61 final rule and associated documents are available on the NRC website at http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/regulatory/rulemaking/potential-rulemaking/uw-streams.html.  For additional information regarding the proposed final Part 61 rule, please see related story in this issue.

For additional information on the ACRS meeting, please see 81 Federal Register 68,474 (October 4, 2016).  Detailed meeting agendas and meeting transcripts are available on the NRC web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/acrs.

TVA’s Watts Bar Unit 2 Achieves Commercial Operation

First New U.S. Nuclear Reactor in 20 Years

On October 19, 2016, the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA’s) Watts Bar Unit 2 officially entered commercial operation after successfully completing an extensive series of power ascension tests and reliably operating at full power for more than three weeks, becoming the nation’s first new nuclear generation in 20 years.

“TVA’s mission is to make life better in the Valley by providing reliable, low-cost energy, protecting our area’s natural resources and working to attract business and growth—all priorities simultaneously supported by the completion of Watts Bar Unit 2,” said Bill Johnson, TVA President and CEO.  “Watts Bar Unit 2 is a key part of our commitment to produce cleaner energy without sacrificing the reliability and low cost that draws both industry and residents to our area.”

According to TVA, the $4.7 billion capital construction project was completed on budget.  The unit now moves to working asset status.

In announcing the milestone, TVA notes that the Watts Bar Unit 2 has already provided consumers across the Valley with more than 500 million kilowatt/hours of carbon-free energy during testing.  It now joins six other operating TVA nuclear units to supply more than one third of the region’s generating capacity and meeting the electric needs of more than 4.5 million homes.

Watts Bar, Sequoyah and Browns Ferry nuclear stations have also contributed to reducing TVA’s carbon emissions by 30 percent since 2005.  According to TVA, the reduction will rise to 60 percent by 2020.

“Nuclear power remains the only source of carbon-free energy that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Joe Grimes, TVA Executive Vice President of Generation and Chief Nuclear Officer.  “TVA believes that Watts Bar Unit 2, and other nuclear units like it across the Valley and the nation, represents a vital investment in our clean energy future.”

Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board Holds October Meeting

On October 13, 2016, the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board held a regularly scheduled meeting beginning at 1:30 p.m. MT in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The meeting, which was open to the public, was held in Conference Room 1015, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Board Room, on the first floor of the Multi Agency State Office Building that is located at 195 North 1950 West in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The following items, among others, were on the agenda for the October 2016 Board meeting:

  1. Call to Order
  1. Introduction of Nathan Rich—New Board Member

III.    Approval of Meeting Minutes for the September 8, 2016 Board Meeting (Board Action Item)

  1. Underground Storage Tanks Update
  1. Administrative Rules
  1. Final Adoption of Repeal of Rule R313-27, Medical Use Advisory Committee (Board Action Item)
  1. Used Oil Program
  1. Approval to Proceed with Formal Rulemaking and 30-Day Public Comment Period for Used Oil Rules, R315-15-13 (Board Action Item)

VII.   X-Ray Program

  1. Request for Exclusion from Certain Requirements of R313-28-31(5) (Board Action Item)

VIII.  Other Business

  1. Miscellaneous Information Item
  1. Scheduling of Next Board Meeting
  1. Adjourn

The Board—which is appointed by the Utah Governor with the consent of the Utah Senate—guides development of Radiation Control policy and rules in the state.

The Board holds open meetings ten times per year at locations throughout the state.  A public comment session is held at the end of each meeting.

Copies of the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board meeting agendas and packet information can be found at http://www.deq.utah.gov/boards/waste/meetings.htm.

 

For additional information, please contact Rusty Lundberg, Deputy Director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, at (801) 536-4257 or at rlundberg@utah.gov.

Senators Express Concern in Response to GAO Audit on Source Security

By letter dated August 22, 2016, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein expressed concern to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Chair Stephen Burns regarding the findings in a July 2016 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report titled, “Nuclear Security:  NRC Has Enhanced the Controls of Dangerous Radioactive Materials, but Vulnerabilities Remain.”  NRC Chair Burns responded by letter dated October 7, 2016.  In his letter, Chair Burns provides assurances that NRC takes its obligations related to the licensing of radioactive materials seriously and outlines actions that the agency has taken in response to the GAO audit report.

Senator Charles Schumer expressed similar concerns to NRC Chair Burns in a letter dated October 2, 2016.  Senator Schumer also issued a press release titled, “Explosion that Shook NYC Highlights Real Risk of a ‘Dirty Bomb’ in NYC; Shocking Fed Report Shows How Almost Anyone Can Use Loophole to Purchase Radioactive Material Required to Carry Out Attack in Major City; Senator Urges Nuke Agency to Overhaul Check System Putting NY’ers at Risk.”

The GAO report, which was issued on July 15, 2016, concludes that NRC and Agreement States have taken several steps to help ensure that radioactive materials licenses are granted only to legitimate organizations and that licensees can only obtain such materials in quantities allowed by their licenses.  However, GAO also determined that NRC and Agreement States have not taken some measures for better controlling Category 3 quantities of radioactive material—such as tracking and agency license verification—that leave vulnerabilities.

GAO-16-330 recommends that NRC take the following three actions: (1) take the steps needed to include Category 3 sources in the NSTS and add Agreement State Category 3 licenses to the WBL as quickly as reasonably possible;
(2) at least until such time that Category 3 licenses can be verified using the LVS, require that transferors of Category 3 quantities of radioactive materials confirm the validity of a would-be purchaser’s radioactive materials license with the appropriate regulatory authority before transferring any Category 3 quantities of licensed materials; and, (3) as part of the ongoing efforts of NRC working groups meeting to develop enhancements to the pre-licensing requirements for Category 3 licenses, consider requiring that an on-site security review be conducted for all unknown applicants of Category 3 licenses to verify that each applicant is prepared to implement the required security measures before taking possession of licensed radioactive materials.

In a memo dated July 29, 2016, in response to the GAO audit report, NRC Commissioner Jeff Baran proposed that NRC staff revisit the question of whether and how to track Category 3 sources.  On October 18, 2016, NRC issued a Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM) that directs agency staff to submit a notation vote paper to the Commission that includes the following seven items: (1) an evaluation of the pros and cons of different methods of requiring transferors of Category 3 sources to verify the validity of a transferee’s license prior to transfer; 
(2) an evaluation of the pros and cons of including Category 3 sources in the NSTS; 
(3) an assessment, based on these evaluations, of these and any additional options that the staff identifies for addressing the source accountability recommendations made by the GAO; (4) a vulnerability assessment which identifies changes in the threat environment between 2009 and today that argue in favor of or against expansion of the NSTS to include Category 3 sources; (5) a regulatory impact analysis of the accrued benefit and costs of the change, to include impacts to the NRC, Agreement States, non-Agreement States, and regulated entities; (6) a discussion of potential regulatory actions that would not require changes to NRC regulations that arose from or were considered by the staff working groups—including changes to guidance, training, and other program improvements such as more closely monitoring the implementation of the staff recommendations using the Integrated Materials Performance Evaluation Program (IMPEP) process; and, (7) any other factors arising from the staff’s currently ongoing assessment that the staff concludes would bear on the Commission’s deliberation on the proposed change.

Links to GAO-16-330, Commissioner Baran’s memo and the SRM in response thereto can be found on the Resources Page of the DSWG web site at www.disusedsources.org.

Southwestern Compact Commission Hosts 73rd Meeting

On October 7, 2016, the Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission hosted its 73rd meeting beginning at 9:00 a.m. PDT at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento, California.

The following topics, among others, were on the meeting agenda:

  • call to order;
  • roll call;
  • welcome and introductions—announce retirement of Commissioner Godwin, introduce Brian Goretzki of Arizona;
  • statement regarding due notice of meeting;
  • reports, status and/or activity;
  • Commission Chair;

–     Executive Director;

  • licensing agency;
  • license designee; and,

–     party states;

 

  • presentation by Chris Shaw of WCS;
  • update on sealed sources—QalTek;
  • exportation actions;
  • ratification of approved petitions;

–     amend “Policy of the Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission Regarding Exportation of Various Low-Level Radioactive Waste Streams” to extend effective date;

  • amend “Requirements for Exportation Petitions for Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal” to extend effective date; and,

–     review petitions for EnergySolutions and WCS for 2017.

  • Executive Session pursuant to CA Gov. Code §11126(a)(1) to discuss staff performance evaluations;
  • review and approve Executive Director’s and Counsel’s contracts;
  • review and approve financial audit report;
  • review and approve letter of intent for 2016 audit;
  • review and approve Annual Governor’s Report;
  • amend fiscal year 2016-17 budget;
  • approve fiscal year 2017-18 budget;
  • adopt fee schedule;
  • public comment;
  • election of officers;
  • future agenda items;
  • next meeting; and,
  • adjournment.

For additional information, please contact Kathy Davis, Executive Director of the Southwestern Compact Commission, at (916) 448-2390 or at swllrwcc@swllrwcc.org.

Release of SECY-16-0106 Request for Commission Approval to Publish Final Rule re Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal (10 CFR Part 61)

On October 3, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published SECY-16-0106, which seeks Commission approval to publish a final rule in the Federal Register that would amend Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Parts 20, “Standards for Protection Against Radiation,” and Part 61, “Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste.”

The final 10 CFR Part 61 rule would do the following:

  • revise the existing technical analysis for protection of the general public to include either a 1,000-year compliance period or a 10,000-year compliance period depending on the quantities of long-lived radionuclides that have been or plan to be disposed at the site;
  • add a new technical analysis for the protection of inadvertent intruders that would include a compliance period and a dose limit;
  • add a new post-10,000-year performance period analysis for disposal sites that have low-level radioactive waste containing significant quantities of long-lived radionuclides;
  • add a new requirement to update the technical analyses at site closure;
  • add a new requirement to develop site-specific criteria for the future acceptance of low-level radioactive waste for disposal based on the results of the technical analyses, the existing low-level radioactive waste classification requirements, or a combination of both;
  • add a new description of safety case and a new requirement to identify defense-in- depth protections and describe their capabilities; and,
  • facilitate implementation and better align the requirements with current safety standards.

SECY-16-01016 states that “[t]hese amendments ensure that the … [low-level radioactive waste] streams that are significantly different from those considered during the development of the existing 10 CFR Part 61 regulations will be disposed of safely and meet the performance objectives for land disposal of … [low-level radioactive waste].”

Subsequently, at the request of the Subcommittee on Radiation Protection and Nuclear Materials of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS), NRC published the staff’s draft final Part 61 guidance document (Guidance for Conducting Technical Analyses for 10 CFR Part 61) to support a public meeting with the full ACRS that is scheduled for November 3, 2016.  In addition, NRC published a redline/strikeout version of the draft final rule language.

In releasing the documents, NRC stresses that the comment period on this rulemaking is closed and that the staff is not soliciting comments on the draft final guidance and the draft final rule language.

The draft final rule language is with the Commission for their review.  It is not final until the Commission votes.

The proposed final Part 61 final rule and associated documents are available on the NRC website at http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/regulatory/rulemaking/potential-rulemaking/uw-streams.html.

For additional information on the proposed final Part 61 final rule and associated documents, please contact either Gary Comfort at (301) 415-8106 or at Gary.Comfort@nrc.gov or Stephen Dembeck at (301) 415-2342 or at Stephen.Dembek@nrc.gov.

NRC Issues New Documents re Decommissioning Timeliness Rule

On September 27, 2015, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued Regulatory Issue Summary (RIS) 2015-19, Revision 1, Decommissioning Timeliness Rule Implementation and Associated Regulatory Relief.

The NRC issued Revision 1 of RIS 2015-19 to correct the reference for Administrative Letter 96-05, Revision 1, and to clarify language pertaining to the time period for completing decommissioning in the subsection labeled “Requirement To Begin Decommissioning.”  In addition, the NRC is taking the opportunity to provide additional clarification to the sections “Alternate Schedules for Decommissioning” and “Requesting an Alternative to the DTR’s Timeliness Requirements.”

RIS 2015-19, Revision 1, was issued to:

  •   provide clarity on the Decommissioning Timeliness Rule’s (DTR’s) requirements to notify the NRC to begin and complete decommissioning after certain criteria are met;
  •   highlight opportunities for licensees to request alternatives to the DTR’s requirements;
  •   remind licensees that there are situations where they can request an alternative to the DTR’s timeliness requirements for both beginning and completing decommissioning if adequately justified,
  •   clarify when the DTR applies to licensees whose only location of use are temporary jobsites; and,
  •   clarify when the NRC considers that the licensee has transitioned from an “operational” to a “decommissioning” status.

RIS 2015-19, Revision 1, informs licensees of requirements regarding the DTR requirements under
10 CFR Parts 30, 40, 70, and 72.  According to NRC, the RIS is supplemental guidance for decommissioning and does not contradict information presented in Administrative Letter 96-05, Revision 1, “Compliance with the Rule, ‘Timeliness in Decommissioning of Material Facilities’” or NUREG-1757, Volume 3, Revision 1, “Consolidated Decommissioning Guidance: Financial Assurance, Recordkeeping, and Timeliness, Final Report.”  NRC also states that the RIS does not apply to power reactors that have specific regulations concerning decommissioning (e.g., 10 CFR 50.82, “Termination of License,” and 10 CFR 50.83, “Release of Part of a Power Reactor Facility or Site for Unrestricted Use”).

For additional information, please contact Greg Chapman, NMSS, at (301) 415-8718 or at Gregory.Chapman@nrc.gov.

Texas Compact Commission Holds September 2016 Meeting

On September 29, 2016, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) held a regularly scheduled meeting in Burlington, Vermont.  The following is an abbreviated overview of the agenda for the meeting:

  • call to order;
  • roll call and determination of quorum;
  • introduction of Commissioners, elected officials and press;
  • public comment;
  • Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin will address the Commission;
  • discussion by Entergy Vermont Yankee regarding the closure and decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant;
  • consideration of and possible action on applications and proposed agreements for importation of low-level radioactive waste from Tennessee Valley Authority; RAM Services; Qal-Tek; Alaron Veolia; PG & E; SNC – Plant Vogtle; Duke – Brunswick; Duke – Brunswick (irradiated hardware); and, Dominion Kewaunee;
  • consideration of and possible action on petitions and proposed orders for exportation of low-level radioactive waste from Triad Isotopes and the University of Vermont;
  • receive reports from Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) about recent site operations and any other matter WCS wishes to bring to the attention of the Texas Compact Commission;
  • receive reports from Texas Compact Commission committees including the Rules Committee (as Chaired by Commissioner Morris) and the Capacity Committee (as Chaired by Commissioner Weber);
  • consideration and possible action to authorize the Chair to evaluate and potentially select alternative and/or additional service providers for IT and website related activities—initial scope will include maintenance of present website, evaluation of alternative platforms and implementation of workflow automation tools with an initial budget not to exceed $5,000;
  • Chairman’s report on Texas Compact Commission activities including reporting on fiscal matters to be taken by the compact and addressing personnel matters;
  • report from Leigh Ing, Executive Director of the Texas Compact Commission, on her activities and questions related to Texas Compact Commission operations;
  • discussion and possible changes of dates and locations of future Texas Compact Commission meetings in 2016 and 2017; and,
  • adjourn.

 

The Texas Compact Commission may meet in closed session as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551, Texas Government Code.  Texas Compact Commission meetings are open to the public.

For additional information, please contact Texas Compact Commission Executive Director Leigh Ing at (512) 305-8941 or at leigh.ing@tllrwdcc.org

Central Midwest Compact Commission Holds Annual Meeting

On September 27, 2016, the Central Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission (CMCC) held its annual meeting beginning at 10:00 a.m. EDT/9:00 a.m. CDT.  The meeting was held at the Kentucky Radiation Health Branch offices located at 275 E. Main Street in Frankfort, Kentucky.  The following items were on the meeting agenda:

  • Call to Order
  • Adoption or Modification of the Agenda
  • Election of Officers
  • Adoption of Minutes from the Previous Meeting—April 26, 2016
  • Executive Session
  • First Public Comment Period
  • Reports

–     Chairman & Host State Report

–     Executive Assistant Report

  • Acceptance of Auditor’s Report
  • Adoption of Fiscal Year 17 Budget
  • Acceptance of Annual Report
  • CMCC Annual Report Discussion
  • Kentucky Input
  • Illinois Input
  • Discussion/Review of the CMCC Regional Management Plan
  • Kentucky Comments
  • Illinois Comments
  • Clinton and Quad Cities Possible NPP Shutdown—Actions Required by the CMCC When/If Decommissioning Occurs
  • Kentucky Update on Maxey Flatts and Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant
  • Other Business

–     Unfinished Business

–     New Business

  • Second Public Comment Period
  • Next Scheduled Meeting or Announcement of Special Meeting
  • Adjournment

For additional information, please contact Joseph Klinger, Chairman of the Central Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission, at (217) 836-3018 or go to http://www.cmcompact.org.

Nuclear Gauge Reported Stolen in West Virginia

A West Virginia company has notified the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that a portable moisture-density gauge containing sealed sources of radioactive material has been stolen.  Thrasher Engineering of Bridgeport, West Virginia reported that the device was stolen early on September 10, 2016 from a technician’s truck while it was parked in Beaver, West Virginia.

Surveillance video acquired by local police shows an individual parking a white pickup truck next to the truck holding the gauge and then transferring the device to his or her vehicle.  The gauge was apparently locked by two different means, as required by NRC regulations.

The gauge holds small amounts of cesium-137 and americium-241.  It is used to make measurements by projecting the radiation from the two radioactive sources into the ground and then displaying the reflected radiation on a dial on its top.

Stored in a robust, yellow transportation case when not in use, the gauge consists of a shielding container with a plunger-type handle protruding from the top.  As long as the radioactive sources are in the shielded position, the gauge would present no hazard to the public.  However, any attempt to tamper with the radioactive sources in the device could subject the person to radiation exposure.

Anyone seeing the gauge should leave it alone and report its location to the NRC’s Operations Center at (301) 816-5100 or the Raleigh County, West Virginia Sheriff’s Office at (304) 255-9300.  The NRC Operations Center is staffed 24 hours a day and accepts collect calls.

For additional information, please contact Diane Screnci at (610) 337-5330 or Neil Sheehan at (610) 337-5331.

Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board Holds September Meeting

On September 8, 2016, the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board held a regularly scheduled meeting beginning at 1:30 p.m. MT in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The meeting, which was open to the public, was held in Conference Room 1015, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Board Room, on the first floor of the Multi Agency State Office Building that is located at 195 North 1950 West in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The following items, among others, were on the agenda for the September 2016 Board meeting:

  1. Call to Order
  2. Approval of Meeting Minutes for the August 15, 2016 Board Meeting (Board Action Item)

III.    Underground Storage Tanks Update

  1. Underground Storage Tank Rules
  2. Approval to Proceed with Formal Rulemaking and 30-Day Public Comment Period for Changes to the Underground Storage Tank Rules R311-200, R311-201, R311-202, R311-203, R311-206 and R311-212 (Board Action Item)
  1. X-Ray Program
  1. Exemption Request for the Sensus SRT-100 Machine from the Requirements of R313-30-3(3), R313-30-3(4), R313-30-3(5) and R313-30-3(6) (Board Action Item)
  2. Report to Legislature
  3. Review of Comments and Final Approval of the Evaluation of Closure, Post-Closure and Perpetual Care for Hazardous and Radioactive Waste Treatment and Disposal Facilities, Report to Legislature (Board Action Item)

 

VII.   Other Business

  1. Miscellaneous Information Item
  2. Scheduling of Next Board Meeting

 

VIII.  Adjourn

 

The Board—which is appointed by the Utah Governor with the consent of the Utah Senate—guides development of Radiation Control policy and rules in the state.  The Board holds open meetings ten times per year at locations throughout the state.  A public comment session is held at the end of each meeting.

Copies of the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board meeting agendas and packet information can be found at http://www.deq.utah.gov/boards/waste/meetings.htm.

For additional information, please contact Rusty Lundberg, Deputy Director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, at (801) 536-4257 or at rlundberg@utah.gov.

Southeast Compact Commission’s Administrative Committee Holds Teleconference Meeting

On September 6, 2016, the Administrative Committee of the Southeast Compact Commission for Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management held a teleconference meeting beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET.  The following was the agenda for the Administrative Committee meeting:

  •   Introduction and Remarks (Donna Hodges, Chair)
  •   Public Comment Pertaining to Agenda Items Only (Public)
  •   Approval of Minutes from June 22, 2016 (Committee Members)
  •   Consideration of Renewal of the Contract with the Executive Director to Continue Employment (Committee Members)
  •   Other Business (Committee Members)
  •   Public Comment (Public)
  •   Adjourn

For additional information, please contact the Southeast Compact Commission at (919) 380-7780 or at secc@secompact.org.  

NRC Posts Additional CA BTP Implementation Questions & Answers

On August 29, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that additional questions and answers (Nos. 22, 23, and 24) regarding implementation of the revised Branch Technical Position on Concentration Averaging and Encapsulation (CA BTP) have been posted to the NRC public website at http://www.nrc.gov/waste/llw-disposal/llw-pa/llw-btp.html.

The regulatory requirements for licensing a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility describe a system for classifying low-level radioactive waste for near-surface disposal.  Classification of low-level radioactive waste is based on the concentrations of certain radionuclides, and 10 CFR § 61.55(a)(8) specifically allows for averaging of concentrations in determining the waste class.  The CA BTP expands on those regulatory requirements by describing acceptable averaging methods that can be used in classifying waste.

For additional information, please contact Don Lowman, Project Manager for NMSS/DSFM/SFLB, at (301) 415-5452 or at Donald.Lowman@nrc.gov.

North Dakota Ratifies TENORM Rules

On August 9, 2016, the Advisory Council to the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDH) voted unanimously to ratify new rules allowing the disposal of up to 50 picocuries of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) waste from oil and gas production in specially permitted landfills.

The rules were scheduled to go into effect in January 2016.  However, after two environmental watchdog groups sued the NDDH, a district court held that proper notice was not provided for an August 2015 public meeting.  Thereafter, the NDDH scheduled the new hearing for August 9, 2016, at which the rules were unanimously ratified.

Background  In late 2013, NDDH promulgated a draft rule based on suggested state regulations developed by the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD).  The draft rule, among other things, allowed for the disposal of up to 50 picocuries of TENORM waste from oil and gas production in specially permitted landfills.  In addition, the draft rule established requirements for waste hauler licensing, applicant background and criminal history checks, specific record keeping requirements, and RSO training requirements for certain license types.

North Dakota rules require that at least one public hearing be held for the draft rules, including a 30-day notice before the hearing and a 30-day comment period.  NDDH held three public hearings on the draft rule and extended the comment period to 80 days.

At a public meeting on August 12 2015, the NDDH approved new rules allowing the disposal of up to 50 picocuries of TENORM waste from oil and gas production in specially permitted landfills.  The Dakota Resource Council and the North Dakota Energy Industry Waste Coalition, however, sued NDDH over the new rules.  A district court ruled that proper notice was not provided for the August 2015 meeting.

The NDDH currently has two applications pending for the licensing of radioactive disposal facilities in the state, with a third application having been shelved.

TENORM Study  In November 2014, the Environmental Science Division of the Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) released a report titled, “Radiological Dose and Risk Assessment of Landfill Disposal of Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM) in North Dakota.”  (See LLW Notes, January/February 2015, pp. 1, 19-23.)

The report documents the results of a radiological dose and risk assessment of the disposal of TENORM wastes in permitted industrial waste and special waste landfills in North Dakota.  The NDDH requested that Argonne conduct the assessment to ensure that any possible rule changes regarding the handling and disposal of TENORM are protective of human health and the environment.

For additional information, please contact Dale Patrick of the NDDH at (701) 328-5188 or at dpatrick@nd.gov

NRC Makes Yucca Mountain Hearing Documents Publicly Available

By press release dated August 19, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has made nearly 3.7 million documents from the adjudicatory hearing on the proposed nuclear waste repository at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain publicly available in the agency’s online documents database.

The documents were formerly part of the Licensing Support Network (LSN) created to allow various parties and the public access to documents needed for the hearing on the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) request for a construction authorization for the repository.  The NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Boards had admitted nearly 300 contentions from various parties challenging aspects of DOE’s application.  The LSN was shut down when the hearing was suspended in September 2011 after Congress reduced funding.

In August 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered the NRC to resume its review of the application using the remaining previously appropriated funds.  In response, NRC staff completed the Safety Evaluation Report (SER) in January 2015 and a supplement to DOE’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in May 2016.

The LSN documents were placed in the NRC’s online documents database, known as ADAMS, to comply with federal records requirements and assist the staff in completing the safety review.  At that time, only LSN documents submitted by the staff were publicly available.  However, the Commission directed that all LSN documents be made publicly available in ADAMS once the staff completed its license review activities.

The new LSN Library in ADAMS includes enhanced search capabilities as well as an online user’s guide.  The NRC Public Document Room reference staff is also available to provide LSN Library assistance and can be reached at (301) 415-4737 or at (800) 397-4209 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

For additional information, please contact David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Utah Waste Management & Radiation Control Board Holds August Meeting

On August 15, 2016, the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board held a regularly scheduled meeting beginning at 1:30 p.m. MT in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The following items, among others, were on the agenda for the August 2016 Board meeting:

  1. Call to Order
  1. Approval of Meeting Minutes for the July 14, 2016 Board Meeting (Board Action Item)

III.    Underground Storage Tanks Update

  1. Proposed Non-Substantive Change to Underground Storage Tank Rule R311-210 (Information Item Only)
  1. X-Ray Program
  1. Approval of Mammography Imaging Medical Physicist (MIMP) in Accordance with UCA 19-6-104(2)(b) (Board Action Item)
  1. Administrative Rules
  1. Approval to Proceed with Formal Rulemaking and 30-Day Public Comment Period for Repeal of Rule R313-27, “Medical Use Advisory Committee” (Board Action Item)

VII.   Report to Legislature

  1. Review of Comments on the Evaluation of Closure, Post-Closure and Perpetual Care for Hazardous and Radioactive Waste Treatment and Disposal Facilities, Report to Legislature (Board Action Item)

VIII.  Other Business

  1. Miscellaneous Information Item
  1. Scheduling of Next Board Meeting
  1. Adjourn

The Board—which is appointed by the Utah Governor with the consent of the Utah Senate—guides development of Radiation Control policy and rules in the state.

The Board holds open meetings ten times per year at locations throughout the state.  A public comment session is held at the end of each meeting.

Copies of the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board meeting agendas and packet information can be found at http://www.deq.utah.gov/boards/waste/meetings.htm.

For additional information, please contact Rusty Lundberg, Deputy Director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, at (801) 536-4257 or at rlundberg@utah.gov.

 

Texas Compact Commission Holds August 2016 Meeting

On August 11, 2016, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) held a regularly scheduled meeting in Austin, Texas.

The following is an abbreviated overview of the agenda for the Texas Compact Commission meeting.  Persons interested in additional detail are directed to the formal agenda themselves.

  • call to order;
  • roll call and determination of quorum;
  • introduction of Commissioners, elected officials and press;
  • public comment;
  • consideration of and possible action on applications and proposed agreements for importation of low-level radioactive waste from Xcel – Prairie Island; PerkinElmer; Entergy – Palisades; Thermo Process Instruments; Bionomics; and, Entergy – Riverbend;
  • consideration of and possible action on applications on petitions and proposed orders for exportation of low-level radioactive waste from Alcon; Texas Children’s Hospital; and, Texas A&M;
  • receive reports from Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) about recent site operations and any other matter WCS wishes to bring to the attention of the Texas Compact Commission;
  • receive reports from Texas Compact Commission committees including the Rules Committee (as Chaired by Commissioner Morris) and the Capacity Committee (as Chaired by Commissioner Weber);
  • reconsideration of and possible action to adopt the Texas Compact Commission’s annual budget estimates for FY 2018 and FY 2019 pursuant to Article VI, Section Two of the Bylaws in light of the Legislative Appropriations Request to the State of Texas Legislative Budget Board for FY 2018 and FY 2019;
  • consideration, evaluation and possible action with respect to contract employees Leigh Ing, Andrew Tachovsky, Diane Fulmer and Eric Woomer;
  • consideration, evaluation and possible action with respect to the renewal, extension or dismissal of the contract with DigITech Web Design;
  • consideration and possible action to authorize the Chair to execute a contract, not to exceed $25,000, with an attorney to assist in matters associated with the laws and operations of interstate compacts;
  • Chairman’s report on Texas Compact Commission activities including reporting on fiscal matters to be taken by the compact and addressing personnel matters;
  • report from Leigh Ing, Executive Director of the Texas Compact Commission, on her activities and questions related to Texas Compact Commission operations;
  • discussion and possible changes of dates and locations of future Texas Compact Commission meetings in 2016 and 2017; and,
  • adjourn.

The Texas Compact Commission may meet in closed session as authorized by the Texas Open Meetings Act, Chapter 551, Texas Government Code.  Texas Compact Commission meetings are open to the public.

For additional information, please contact Texas Compact Commission Executive Director Leigh Ing at (512) 305-8941 or at leigh.ing@tllrwdcc.org

New Mailing Address for the Southeast Compact Commission

On July 31, 2016, the Southeast Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission closed its physical office in Cary, North Carolina.  Starting on August 1, 2016, the compact commission’s two employees will be working out of their homes.

The Southeast Compact Commission’s telephone number and email addresses remain the same.  However, its new mailing address is as follows:

P.O. Box 5427

Cary, NC  27512

For additional information, please contact the Southeast Compact Commission at (919) 380-7780 or at secc@secompact.org or go to the compact commission’s website at secc@secompact.org.

Commissioner Proposes NRC Revisit Tracking of Category 3 Sources

In a memo dated July 29, 2016, NRC Commissioner Baran proposes that U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff revisit the question of whether and how to track Category 3 sources.  In the memo, Commissioner Baran asserts that the “case for doing so is even stronger today than it was seven years ago.”

The memo concludes with the following proposed staff direction:

In light of [the Government Accountability Office’s] GAO’s findings and the years of operating experience with the [National Source Tracking System] NSTS, I propose that the NRC staff take a fresh look at the question of whether and how to track Category 3 sources. This re-evaluation can build on the efforts of the working groups established in response to the GAO investigation. I propose that, within six months of the Staff Requirements Memorandum resulting from this paper, the staff should submit a notation vote paper to the Commission that includes the following:

1)   An evaluation of the pros and cons of different methods of requiring transferors of Category 3 sources to verify the validity of a transferee’s license prior to the transfer; 


2)   An evaluation of the pros and cons of including Category 3 sources in the NSTS; and 


3)   Based on these evaluations, options for addressing the GAO recommendations.

In conducting these evaluations, the staff should assess the risks posed by the aggregation of Category 3 sources into Category 2 quantities and consider the current views of our Agreement States partners.

The memo, which has been posted to the Resources Page of the Disused Sources Working Group (DSWG) web site, is also publicly available via the “Recently Released Commission Documents for 2016” area of the NRC Web site at www.nrc.gov under Accession No. ML16197A229.

For additional information, please see the Resources page of the DSWG web site at www.disusedsources.org

EPA Publishes User Fees for Electronic Hazardous Waste Management System and Amendments to Manifest Regulations

On July 26, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register announcing user fees for its electronic hazardous waste management system and amendments to manifest regulations.

The EPA is proposing its user fee methodology applicable to electronic and paper manifests submitted to the national electronic manifest system (or e-Manifest system) that is being established by EPA under the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act.  After the implementation date for the e-Manifest system, certain users of the hazardous waste manifest would be required to pay a prescribed fee for each electronic and paper manifest they use and submit to the system in order for EPA to recover its costs of developing and operating the national e-Manifest system.  The final rule that EPA develops in response to public comments on this action’s proposed fee methodology will include the final fee methodology.  In addition, EPA will include the initial fee schedule and the implementation date for the e- Manifest system in the preamble to the final rule.

EPA is also proposing several amendments to the regulations governing the use of electronic hazardous waste manifests and the completion of manifests.  These amendments propose:

  •   to change EPA’s longstanding regulations regarding transporter changes to shipment routing information on the manifest during transportation;
  •   to specify a process by which receiving facilities may submit manifest data corrections to the e- Manifest system; and,
  •   to modify a provision of the current electronic manifest use requirements that precludes the use of mixed electronic and paper manifests by those users desiring to make use of electronic manifests in settings where not all users are able to participate electronically.

EPA’s action is expected to result in net cost savings amounting to $34 million per year when discounted at 7% and annualized over 6 years.

Comments must be received on or before September 26, 2016.  Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), comments on the information collection provisions are best assured of consideration if the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) receives a copy of stakeholder comments on or before August 25, 2016.

For this rule, EPA is requesting comments be submitted electronically on a comment platform being piloted at https://epa- notice.usa.gov.  Alternatively, stakeholders may choose to submit comments by postal mail or electronically through Regulations.gov.  For comments submitted via postal mail or Regulations.gov, EPA is further requesting comments be submitted using comment headings.

The EPA notice was published at 81 Federal Register 49,072 dated July 26, 2016.

For further information, please contact Richard LaShier of EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery via phone at (703) 308– 8796 or via email at lashier.rich@epa.gov, or Bryan Groce of EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery via phone at (703) 308–8750 or via email at groce.bryan@epa.gov.

New York Issues 30th Annual Low-Level Waste Status Report

In July 2016, the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) released the thirtieth annual New York State Low-Level Radioactive Waste Status Report.

The 2015 Status Report provides data on the volume and activity of low-level radioactive waste shipped to out-of-state disposal sites.  It also includes data on low-level radioactive waste stored at the end of the year pending disposal.

The New York State Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Act (Chapter 673, Laws of 1986) requires facilities in the State of New York that produce low-level radioactive waste to file annual reports with NYSERDA detailing the types and quantities of waste generated.  The Act further requires NYSERDA to prepare an annual status report summarizing this information and to submit the report to the Governor and the New York state legislature.

The report, which covers calendar year 2015, is available on NYSERDA’s website at www.nyserda.ny.gov/llw-reporting.

 

For additional information, please contact Alyse Peterson, NYSERDA’s Senior Project Manager for Radioactive Waste Policy and Nuclear Coordination, at (518) 862-1090 ext. 3274 or at alp@nyserda.ny.gov.

Pennsylvania Releases Revised TENORM Study

Earlier this summer, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) released a revised version of its January 2015 study regarding Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (TENORM), which analyzed the naturally occurring levels of radioactivity associated with oil and natural gas development in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania DEP issued the revised version to correct errors in the data tables, inconsistent use of significant figures, and some typos.  In addition, DEP published a new Appendix M that contains the non-radiological data generated and collected that was not with the scope of the study.

Although the DEP report outlined recommendations for further study, it concluded that there is little potential for harm to workers or the public from radiation exposure due to oil and gas development.

The revised study report, as well as a second version of the revised report that shows the edits, is available at http://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/Energy/OilandGasPrograms/OilandGasMgmt/Oil-and-Gas-Related-Topics/Pages/Radiation-Protection.aspx.

Missing Portable Nuclear Gauge Recovered in Connecticut

On July 27, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has been notified by a Connecticut company that a portable moisture-density gauge containing sealed sources of radioactive material that was reported stolen a day earlier has been recovered.  The gauge—which was located by police on the afternoon of July 26, 2016 at a pawnshop in Bridgeport, Connecticut—was not damaged.

On July 26, 2016, HAKS Material Testing Group—which is located in Bridgeport, Connecticut—reported that the device was stolen from a technician’s vehicle while it was parked in Bridgeport.  According to the NRC press release, the vehicle’s trunk was broken into, chains securing the gauge in place were cut and the gauge was removed.

The device contains small amounts of Cesium-137 and Americium-241.  The gauge is used to make measurements by projecting the radiation from the two radioactive sources into the ground and then displaying the reflected radiation on a dial on its top.

Upon notification of the theft, an NRC inspector was sent to the company’s offices to gather more information on the loss of the gauge.  In addition, law-enforcement authorities opened an investigation into the theft.

On July 27, 2016, an inspector from Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) traveled to the shop to inspect the recovered gauge.  Once the inspector confirmed the device was undamaged, it was returned to its owner.

According to NRC’s press release announcing recovery of the gauge, the NRC is following up on the event.  This includes an NRC inspection being conducted at the offices of HAKS Material Testing Group in Bridgeport.

For additional information, please contact Diane Screnci at (610) 337-5330 or Neil Sheehan at (610) 337-5331.

GAO Releases Report re Security of Sealed Sources

On July 15, 2016, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released GAO-16-330 titled, “Nuclear Security:  NRC Has Enhanced the Controls of Dangerous Radioactive Materials, but Vulnerabilities Remain.”  The report examines

  •   the steps that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the 37 states it permits to grant licenses for radioactive materials—called Agreement States—have taken to ensure that radioactive materials licenses are granted only to legitimate organizations and licensees can obtain materials only in quantities allowed by their licenses; and,
  •   the results of covert vulnerability testing designed to test the effectiveness of these controls.

In the report, GAO concludes that NRC and Agreement States have taken several steps to help ensure that radioactive materials licenses are granted only to legitimate organizations and that licensees can only obtain such materials in quantities allowed by their licenses.

However, GAO also determined that NRC and Agreement States have not taken some measures for better controlling Category 3 quantities of radioactive material—such as tracking and agency license verification—that leave vulnerabilities.

GAO-16-330 was prepared in response to a request from the Committee on Homeland Security of the U.S. House of Representatives.

GAO-16-330 can be obtained online at www.gao.gov/assets/680/678170.pdf.  For additional information, please contact David Trimble at (202) 512-3841 or at trimbled@gao.gov.

Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board Holds July Meeting

On July 14, 2016, the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board held a regularly scheduled meeting beginning at 1:30 p.m. MT in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The following items, among others, were on the agenda for the July 2016 Board meeting:

  1. Call to Order
  2. Approval of Meeting Minutes for the June 9, 2016 Board Meeting (Board Action Item)
  3. Underground Storage Tanks Update
  4. Administrative Rules
    1. Approve Change in Proposed Rule (CPR) for R315-319, Management of Coal Combustion Residuals Requirements in Landfills and Surface Impoundments and to Set an Effective Date of September 1, 2016 (Board Action Item)
    2. Final Adoption of Proposed Changes to Solid Waste Rule R315-310, Permit Requirements for Solid Waste Facilities and to Set an Effective Date of July 15, 2016 (Board Action Item)
    3. Approval to Proceed with Formal Rulemaking and 30-Day Public Comment Period for Repeal of Rule R313-27, “Medical Use of Advisory Committee” (Board Action Item)
  5.  Hazardous Waste Section
    1. Proposed Stipulation and Consent Order Between the Board and Heckmann Woods Cross (Board Action Item)
  6. Other Business
    1. Evaluation of Closure, Post-Closure and Perpetual Care for Hazardous and Radioactive Waste Treatment and Disposal Facilities; Report to Legislature (Information Item Only)
    2. Miscellaneous Information Item
    3. Scheduling of Next Board Meeting
  7. Adjourn

 

The Board—which is appointed by the Utah Governor with the consent of the Utah Senate—guides development of Radiation Control policy and rules in the state.  The Board holds open meetings ten times per year at locations throughout the state.  A public comment session is held at the end of each meeting.

 

Copies of the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board meeting agendas and packet information can be found at http://www.deq.utah.gov/boards/waste/meetings.htm.

 

For additional information, please contact Rusty Lundberg, Deputy Director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, at (801) 536-4257 or at rlundberg@utah.gov.

Utah Proposes Hazardous Waste Rule Changes

On July 10, 2016, the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board approved amendments to R315-261 to be published in the Utah Bulletin and commence a 30-day public comment period.

The proposed amendments, among other things, change the word “variance” to “excluded” in several sections of the rule.

The public comment period started on July 2, 2016 and ended on July 31, 2016.

The proposed modifications to the rule can be viewed at http://www.deq.utah.gov/Laws_Rules/dshw/ProposedHWRules.htm.

For additional information about the Hazardous Waste Rules, please contact Ralph Bohn of the State of Utah at rbohn@utah.gov or at (801) 536-0212 or at (801) 536-0259.

Annual Report to Congress Published re Nuclear Security Inspections

On June 30, 2016, an unclassified version of the annual report to Congress from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was made available to the public.  The report, which is required under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, details the previous year’s security inspection program.

The report covers the NRC’s security inspection program, including force-on-force exercises, for commercial nuclear power reactors and Category I fuel cycle facilities for calendar year 2015.

In 2015, the NRC conducted 242 security inspections at commercial nuclear power plants and Category I fuel cycle facilities.  Those included 22 force-on-force inspections, involving simulated attacks on the facilities to test the effectiveness of a licensee’s security.  The NRC’s security program and publicly available results of the inspections are discussed in the report.

A copy of the report can be found at www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1608/ML16081A367.pdf.  For additional information, please contact Maureen Conley of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Four New Members Named to Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards

In late June 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has appointed four new members to the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) for four-year terms effective June 12, 2016.

  • The ACRS—which is comprised of a group of experienced technical experts—advises the Commission, independently from the NRC staff, on safety issues related to the licensing and operation of nuclear power plants, as well as issues of health physics and radiation protection.

The new ACRS members include:

  •   Margaret Sze-Tai Chu: 
 Chu is a consultant to international and domestic clients on nuclear waste management, nuclear fuel cycle analysis, nonproliferation technologies and nuclear materials management.  She has more than 30 years of experience working on issues related to the nuclear fuel cycle, with an emphasis on risk assessment and performance assessment as applied to nuclear waste management.  Chu was Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management from 2002 to 2005.  Before that, she had a long career with Sandia National Laboratory that included directing the lab’s Nuclear Waste Management Center and acting as Senior Manager of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) program at Sandia. 
Chu holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Purdue University and a Doctorate in Physical Chemistry from the University of Minnesota.  She serves on the DOE Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee and the National Academies’ Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board.  Chu is the second woman to serve on the ACRS, and this marks the first time two women have served on the committee simultaneously.

 

  •   Walter Kirchner:  Kirchner retired in June 2015 from the Argonne National Laboratory.  While at Argonne, he served as an Institutional Liaison Manager following, analyzing, and advising Argonne’s leaders on science and technology policy and programmatic developments in the DOE, other federal agencies and Congress.  He began his career as a Reactor Operator/Engineering Officer on the N.S. Savannah before joining the staff at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).  During his 29 years at LANL, he held division and group leader line management positions in construction project management, defense programs, nuclear reactor design and safety projects, and applied energy research and development activities.  Kirchner’s technical expertise is in nuclear reactor design, thermal-hydraulics and nuclear reactor safety.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

  •   Jose March-Leuba:  March-Leuba is the Principal of MRU, which specializes on measurements, regulatory and uncertainty analysis, and an Associate Professor in the Nuclear Engineering Department of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  He began his career at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he did research into noise analysis and dynamic modeling, as well as running tests to determine the stability of commercial boiling water reactors.  He also developed and installed instrumentation in Russian facilities to monitor the down-blending of highly enriched uranium.  During his 37-year career as a Nuclear Engineer, March-Leuba developed expertise in reactor thermal hydraulics and dynamics, reactor instrumentation and control and protection systems, software development and testing, and instrumentation development for international safeguards.  March-Leuba has a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in Spain, as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

 

  •   Matthew Sunseri:  Sunseri is an Independent Nuclear Industry Consultant with more than 35 years of experience in the safe operation of large commercial reactors.  Prior to starting his own executive consulting practice, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation.  Sunseri has a wide range of experience in the operation, maintenance, engineering, oversight and security of the nation’s commercial nuclear power fleet.  He started his career as a Nuclear Engineer assigned to the construction, licensing, startup and operation of the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant.  Sunseri earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering from Texas A&M University and is a graduate of the Advanced General Management Program at Northwestern University and the Directors Institute at Emory University.

All member biographies are available on the NRC web site at www.nrc.gov.

For additional information, please contact Maureen Conley of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Southeast Compact Commission Elects New Officers

On June 23, 2016, the Southeast Compact Commission for Low-level Radioactive Waste Management elected the following new officers at its 108th Business Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

  •   Debra Shults:  The Commission elected Debra Shults as Chair, which duties will include presiding at all Commission meetings, appointing the membership of all committees of the Commission, officially representing the Commission, and performing all other duties that are normally performed by a presiding officer.  Shults has served as an Alternate Commissioner from the State of Tennessee since 1989 and as the Commission’s Vice-Chair since 2004.  She has over thirty years of professional experience in managing environmental programs in the state.  In 2010, Shultz was appointed as the Director of the Division of Radiological Health (DRH)) in the Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).  She serves as the Governor’s appointed State Liaison Officer to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC); the designee to receive advance notifications regarding shipments of certain radioactive materials per 10 CFR 37; and, as Treasurer of the Organization of Agreement States (OAS).
  •   Steve Harrison:  The Commission elected Steve Harrison as Chair-Elect.  His duties will include representing the Commission on behalf of the Chair when needed; preparing to assume the position of Chair to assure continuity in the leadership of the Commission; and, assumption of the position of Chair if the current Chair is unable to perform her duties.  As Chair-Elect, Harrison will serve as the Vice-Chair and will automatically become the Chair after serving a two-year term as Chair-Elect.  Harrison has served as one of the two Commissioners from the Commonwealth of Virginia since 2014.  He has served as the Director of the Commonwealth’s Office of Radiological Health in the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) since 2012.  Harrison joined VDH in 2003 where he has served as Assistant State Planning Coordinator, State Hospital Coordinator, Strategic National Stockpile and Exercise Coordinator, and Emergency Preparedness & Response’s Central Region Planner.  Prior to joining VDH, Harrison worked for Dominion Resources for 23 years, where he performed nuclear emergency planning and conducted radiological surveillance and testing.
  •   Paul Burks:  The Commission elected Paul Burks as Secretary/Treasurer, which duties will include supervising and controlling the funds of the Commission and ensuring that the minutes of all Commission meetings are recorded, prepared, and distributed to each member of the Commission.  Burks has represented the State of Georgia since 1984.  He has served on various committees of the Commission and as Chair of the Administrative Committee.  After serving nearly 31 years in Georgia state government, Burks retired in 2006 as the Executive Director of the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA).  Since 2008, he has worked on a consulting and part-time basis for the Carl Vinson Institute of Government of the University of Georgia.  He currently serves as State Services Liaison for the Institute.

The Southeast Compact for Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management is an agreement among six states—Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia—to provide for the responsible management of the region’s low-level radioactive waste.  The Southeast Compact Commission oversees administration of the Compact.

For additional information, please contact Ted Buckner, Executive Director of the Southeast Compact Commission for Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management, at (919) 380-7780 or at tedb@secompact.org or go to the Southeast Compact Commission’s web site at www.secompact.org.

Comments Accepted re Texas Compact Commission’s Draft Management Rule Concept Paper

In early June 2016, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) announced that it had initiated a rulemaking process to develop its management rules.  As part of the process, the Texas Compact Commission’s Rules Committee sought input prior to the development of a draft rule proposal for publication in the Texas Register.

In particular, the Texas Compact Commission sought comments on an outline for rulemaking for the development of a concept paper for Rule 675.24 relating to the importation of low-level radioactive waste that is below the criteria applicable for disposal in the Compact Waste Disposal Facility.

The concept paper for the management rule has been posted to the Rules Page of the Texas Compact Commission’s website at http://www.tllrwdcc.org/rules/.

Overview

The Texas Compact Commission is authorized by Section 3.05(3), (4) and (6) of the Texas Compact to promulgate rules relating to the importation of material into the compact that is not to be shipped for disposal to the Compact Waste Disposal Facility.

In this regard, Section 3.05(6) of the Texas Compact reads as follows:

Section 3.05.  The commission may:

(6) Enter into an agreement with any person, state, regional body, or group of states for the importation of low-level radioactive waste into the compact for management or disposal provided that the agreement receives a majority vote of the commission.  The commission may adopt such conditions and restrictions in the agreement as it deems advisable.

The outline for rulemaking states that the Texas Compact Commission “finds that it is important to the public health and safety in the party states that there be a process that provides a record of all low-level radioactive waste that is shipped into the Compact.”

Accordingly, the Texas Compact Commission proposes to adopt a rule that

  •   requires that all low-level radioactive waste (other than such waste that is shipped to the Compact Waste Disposal Facility for disposal pursuant to rules of the Texas Compact Commission) shipped into the Texas Compact utilizing NRC Form 540 (Uniform Low-Level Radioactive Waste Manifest Shipping Paper) be subject to the following reporting process:
  • such waste may only be shipped to a site that has an agreement (“an agreement site) with the Texas Compact Commission and is licensed by the appropriate licensing entity in a party state; and,
  • inter alia, the agreement site will agree to report shipments to its site to the Texas Compact Commission by volume and radiation activity not more than a set number of days after the end of each quarter of the Texas Compact Commission’s fiscal year;
  •   contains enforcement criteria for failure of an entity to ship to an agreement site; and,
  •   contains criteria for the agreement that will be entered into by the Texas Compact Commission with agreement sites within a party state.

Questions for Comment

In addition to seeking comments on the outline for rulemaking for the development of a concept paper for Rule 675.24 relating to the importation of low-level radioactive waste that is below the criteria applicable for disposal in the Compact Waste Disposal Facility, the Texas Compact Commission requested that stakeholders submit specific comments on the following matters:

  1. Is the scope of the rule appropriate in that “any person, state, regional body, or group of states” must enter into an agreement with the Texas Compact for importation into Texas or Vermont of low-level radioactive waste for management? Is the scope too broad?  Is the scope too narrow?
  1. Is it appropriate for all waste shipped into the Texas Compact under an NRC Form 540, 541 and 542 to be covered by this rule? What would be potential exemptions or exclusions that the Texas Compact Commission should consider?  And why?
  1. The Texas Compact is considering requiring the following information to be reported quarterly:
  •   volume;
  •   activity (in curies);
  •   low-level radioactive waste generator;
  •   the low-level radioactive waste compact, unaffiliated state, territory or possession of the waste generator;
  •   ultimate disposition of the waste;
  •   does the waste contain disused sources; and,
  •   how is the waste stored, processed or otherwise managed once imported;

The Texas Compact Commission sought comment on the above information that would be required to be reported quarterly.  Is there additional information that should be requested?  Is any of the above-listed information unnecessary to report?  Should the Texas Compact Commission choose weight, instead of volume?  Are curies the correct unit?

  1. Is quarterly reporting an appropriate reporting timeframe?

Submitting Comments

Interested stakeholders were instructed to submit comments to the Texas Compact Commission’s Rules Committee.  Comments received will be reviewed to develop rules for proposal in the Texas Register.

The comment period deadline ended on June 27, 2016.  No stakeholder meetings have yet been scheduled.

For additional information, please contact Texas Compact Commission Consulting Supervisory Director Leigh Ing at (512) 217-8045 or at leigh.ing@tllrwdcc.org.

World Institute of Nuclear Security Issues Special Report re Alternative Technologies to Replace Radioactive Sources

In May 2016, the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS) issued a special report titled, “Considerations for the Adoption of Alternative Technologies to Replace Radioactive Sources.”

The WINS report describes the advantages and disadvantages of several alternative technologies used in medicine, industry, research and academia to help interested stakeholders consider whether it would be appropriate to replace some or all of the radioactive source technologies that are currently being used with an alternative—particularly if the replacement is more effective, less burdensome, and less costly.  In addition, the report presents a process that will help stakeholders decide whether to adopt an alternate technology, suggests several issues to consider when assessing the viability of such changes, discusses some of the challenges others have faced when making this decision, and provides references to support stakeholder considerations.  Finally, Appendix A of the report provides a set of questions that will help stakeholders determine whether or not the use of alternative technologies would be viable in their individual circumstances.

In preparing the special report, the WINS considered the experience of medical, industrial and academic practitioners and regulators.  The WINS also considered guidance material published by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), selected national regulators and two WINS workshops focused on the international community’s experience with alternative technologies.

For additional information and a link to a copy of the WINS report, please go to the resources page of the DSWG web site at http://www.disusedsources.org/resources/.

For additional information on the DSWG, please contact DSWG Project Director Todd D. Lovinger, Esq. at LLWForumInc@aol.com or at (754) 779-7551.  

Midwest Compact Commission to Hold Annual Meeting

On June 28, 2016, the Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission (MCC) will hold its annual meeting.  The meeting—which will be held by teleconference call—will begin at 10:00 a.m. CDT (11:00 a.m. for Indiana and Ohio).

Draft Agenda

The following items are on the draft agenda for the meeting:

  • call to order and roll call
  • review of the minutes of the June 9, 2015 meeting
  • review of the financial report.
  • Chair’s report: 2017 LLW Forum meeting and MCC website
  • consultant agreements

–     legal counsel proposal

–     accounting/audit proposal

  • adoption of 2016-17 budget
  • election of Chair and Vice-Chair
  • other business
  • adjournment
  • special guest: Cecelia Snyder, LLW Forum consultant, who will explain how to use the MCC website and the LLW Forum Drop Box

Meeting Sites

The public is encouraged to attend the MCC meeting.  The sites are as follows:

  • Indiana:  Conference Room A, 11th floor, Government Center North, 100 N. Senate Ave., Indianapolis—for information about the site and handicap access, call (317) 234-0338
  • Iowa:  Fifth Floor East Conference Room, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Wallace State Office Building, 502 East 9th Street, Des Moines—for information about the site and handicap access, call Iowa DNR Customer Service at (515) 725-8200
  • Minnesota:  Conference Room 2-1, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul; 55155—for information about the site and handicap access, call (651) 757-2138; for directions, see map at www.pca.state.mn.us
  • Missouri:  Tavern Cave Conference Room, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Fourth Floor Central, Lewis and Clark State Office Building, 1101 Riverside Drive, Jefferson City—for information about the site and handicap access, call Kay Craig at (573) 751-3195
  • Ohio:  Ohio Department of Health, 246 N. High Street, Columbus—for information about the site and handicap access, call (614) 644-2727
  • Wisconsin:  Room B157, Division of Public Health, 1 W. Wilson Street, Madison—for information about the site and handicap access, call Susan Hagstrom at (608) 267-4793

For additional information, please contact Stanley York, Chair of the Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission, at (608) 267-4793 or at stanyork080@gmail.com or visit their web site at www.midwestcompact.org.

2017 Hodes Award Nominations Sought

The Southeast Compact Commission for Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management is accepting nominations for the 2017 Richard S. Hodes, M.D. Honor Lecture Award—a program that recognizes an individual, company, or organization that contributed in a significant way to improving the technology, policy, or practices of low-level radioactive waste management in the United States.  The award recipient will present the innovation being recognized at a lecture during the Waste Management ’17 Symposium in Phoenix, Arizona.  The award recipient will receive a $5,000 honorarium and all travel expenses will be paid.

Nominations must be received by August 31, 2016.
Background

Dr. Richard S. Hodes was a distinguished statesman and a lifetime scholar.  He was one of the negotiators of the Southeast Compact law, in itself an innovative approach to public policy in waste management.  He then served as the chair of the Southeast Compact Commission for Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management from its inception in 1983 until his death in 2002.

Throughout his career, Dr. Hodes developed and supported innovation in medicine, law, public policy, and technology.  The Richard S. Hodes, M.D. Honor Lecture Award was established in 2003 to honor the memory of Dr. Hodes and his achievements in the field of low-level radioactive waste management.
The Award

The Richard S. Hodes Honor Lecture Award—established in March, 2003—is awarded to an individual, company, or organization that contributed in a significant way to improving the technology, policy, or practices of low-level radioactive waste management in the United States.

The award recipient will be recognized with a special plaque and an invitation to present a lecture about the innovation during the annual International Waste Management Symposium (WM ’17).  The 2017 symposium is sponsored by the University of Arizona and will be held in Phoenix, Arizona in the spring of 2017.

A special time is reserved during the Symposium for the lecture and the award presentation. The Southeast Compact Commission will provide the award recipient a $5,000 honorarium and will pay travel expenses and per diem (in accordance with Commission Travel Policies) for an individual to present the lecture.
Criteria

The Richard S. Hodes Honor Lecture Award recognizes innovation industry-wide.  The award is not limited to any specific endeavor—contributions may be from any type of work with radioactive materials (nuclear energy, biomedical, research, etc.), or in any facet of that work, such as planning, production, maintenance, administration, or research.  The types of innovations to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • conception and development of new approaches or practices in the prevention, management, and regulation of radioactive waste;
  • new technologies or practices in the art and science of waste management; and,
  • new educational approaches in the field of waste management.

The criteria for selection include:

  1. Innovation.  Is the improvement unique? Is it a fresh approach to a standard problem? Is it a visionary approach to an anticipated problem?
  2. Safety.  Does the practice enhance radiation protection?
  3. Economics.  Does the approach produce significant cost savings to government, industry or the public?
  4. Transferability.  Is this new practice applicable in other settings and can it be replicated?  Does it increase the body of technical knowledge across the industry?

Eligibility

To be eligible for the award, the individual/group must consent to being nominated and must be willing to prepare and present a lecture about the innovation being recognized at the Waste Management Symposium.  Individuals or organizations can nominate themselves or another individual, company, institution, or organization.

Nominations

To nominate yourself or another individual, company, or organization for this distinguished award, please contact:

Awards Committee
c/o Ted Buckner

Executive Director
Southeast Compact Commission
Post Office Box 5427
Cary, NC 27512
(919) 380-7780

(919) 380-7710 – FAX
tedb@secompact.org

or visit the Southeast Compact Commission’s website at http://www.secompact.org/.

Nominations must be received by August 31, 2016.

Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board Holds June Meeting

On June 9, 2016, the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board held a regularly scheduled meeting beginning at 1:30 p.m. MT in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The meeting, which was open to the public, was held in Conference Room 1015, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Board Room, on the first floor of the Multi Agency State Office Building that is located at 195 North 1950 West in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Agenda

The following items, among others, were on the agenda for the June 2016 Board meeting:

  1. Call to Order
  1. Approval of Meeting Minutes for the May 12, 2016 Board Meeting (Board Action Item)

III.    Underground Storage Tanks Update

  1. UST Program Overview and Summary of Proposed Changes to R-311, Underground Storage Tank Rules (Information Item Only)
  1. Administrative Rules
  1. Approve for filing with the Division of Administrative Rules a Five-Year Review Notice and Statement of Continuation for the Following Radiation Control Rules: R313-12 General Provisions; R313-14 Violations and Escalated Enforcement; R313-16 General Requirements Applicable to the Installation, Registration, Inspection and Use of Radiation Machines; R313-17 Administrative Procedures; R313-18 Notices, Instructions, Reports to Workers by Licensees of Registrants; R313-19 Requirements to General Applicability to Licensing of Radioactive Materials; R313-22 Specific Licenses; R313-25 License Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste; R313-28 Use of X-Rays in the Healing Arts; R313-32 Medical Uses of Radioactive Material; R313-36 Special Requirements for Industrial Radiographic Operations; and, R313-70 Payments, Categories and Types of Fees (Board Action Item)
  1. Final Adoption of Amendments to Hazardous Waste Rules R315-124, R315-260, R315-261, R315-262, R315-264 and R315-273 (Board Action Item)
  1. Approval to Proceed with Formal Rulemaking and a 30-day Public Comment Period for Amendments to the Hazardous Waste Rules R315-261 and to Set and Effective Date of August 15, 2016 (Board Action Item)
  1. Final Adoption of Proposed Changes to Radiation Control Rules R313-19 and R313-22 to Incorporate Changes Made by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) (Board Action Item)
  1. Low-Level Radioactive Waste Section
  1. EnergySolutions’ Request for a Site-Specific Treatment Variance from the Hazardous Waste Management Rules—i.e., EnergySolutions Seeks Authorization to Dispose of Waste Containing High Subcategory Mercury by Stabilization Rather than Retort and Recovery (Board Action Item)
  1. EnergySolutions’ Request for a Site-Specific Treatment Variance from the Hazardous Waste Management Rules—i.e., EnergySolutions Seeks Authorization to Not Be Required to Meet Land Disposal Restriction Treatment Standard for PCBs (Board Action Item)

VII.   Other Business

  1. Miscellaneous Information Item
  1. Scheduling of Next Board Meeting and Discussion of Possible Board Tours/Dates

VIII.  Adjourn

Background

The Board—which is appointed by the Utah Governor with the consent of the Utah Senate—guides development of Radiation Control policy and rules in the state.

The Board holds open meetings ten times per year at locations throughout the state.  A public comment session is held at the end of each meeting.

Copies of the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board meeting agendas and packet information can be found at http://www.deq.utah.gov/boards/waste/meetings.htm.

For additional information, please contact Rusty Lundberg, Deputy Director of the Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control at the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, at (801) 536-4257 or at rlundberg@utah.gov.

Registration Open for the Fall 2016 LLW Forum Meeting

Registration is now open for the fall 2016 Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) meeting, which will be held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Saratoga Springs Hotel on November 7-8, 2016.  Interested stakeholders are encouraged to register and make hotel reservations for the meeting at your earliest convenience, as there is limited space available in our discount room block.  The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) is sponsoring the meeting.

The meeting documents—including bulletin and registration form—have been posted to the LLW Forum’s web site at www.llwforum.org.

Attendance

Officials from states, compacts, federal agencies, nuclear utilities, disposal operators, brokers/processors, industry, and other interested parties are invited and encouraged to attend.

The meeting is an excellent opportunity to stay up-to-date on the most recent and significant developments in the area of low-level radioactive waste management and disposal.  It also offers an important opportunity to network with other government and industry officials and to participate in decision-making on future actions and endeavors affecting low-level radioactive waste management and disposal.

Location and Dates

The fall 2016 LLW Forum meeting will be held on Monday, November 7 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm) and Tuesday, November 8 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm) at:

Embassy Suites by Hilton Saratoga Springs
86 Congress Street
Saratoga Springs, New York 12866

Located in the heart of downtown Saratoga Springs, the Embassy Suites is walking distance to the Saratoga Heritage Area Visitor’s Center, Congress Park, the Canfield Casino, and Broadway for its restaurants and shopping.

Registration

All persons must pre-register for the meeting and pay any associated registration fees in order to be allowed entry.  Registration forms are needed in order to ensure that you receive a meeting packet and name badge.  Accordingly, interested attendees are asked to please take a moment to complete the registration form at your earliest convenience and return it Cecilia Snyder of the LLW Forum at the address, e-mail or fax number listed at the bottom of the form.

The meeting is free for up to two individuals representing members of the LLW Forum.  Additional and non-member registration is $500, payable by check only to the “LLW Forum, Inc.”  (Credit card payments are not accepted.)

Reservations

Persons who plan to attend the meeting are strongly encouraged to make their hotel reservations and send in their registration forms as soon as possible, as we have exceeded our block at the last few meetings.

A limited block of hotel rooms has been reserved for meeting attendees for Sunday (November 6) and Monday (November 7) at the prevailing federal per diem rate (which is currently $120/night) plus tax/single or double.  A limited number of rooms are available at this rate for one day prior to and one day following the meeting, subject to availability.

To make a reservation, please call 1-800-HILTONS and ask for a room in the “LLW Forum block” at the Embassy Suites Saratoga Springs or use the following dedicated link:  http://embassysuites.hilton.com/en/es/groups/personalized/A/ALBESES-LLW-20161105/index.jhtml?WT.mc_id=POG

In order to receive the discounted rate, please make your reservation by October 6, 2016.

Transportation and Directions

Saratoga Springs is a 30-minute drive from the Albany International Airport.  A taxi from the airport to the hotel is a minimum estimated charge of $50/each way.   Driving directions from both airports can be found at http://embassysuites3.hilton.com/en/hotels/new-york/embassy-suites-by-hilton-saratoga-springs-ALBESES/maps-directions/index.html.  Parking at the hotel is free.

For additional information, please contact Todd D. Lovinger, the LLW Forum’s Executive Director, at (754) 779-7551 or go to www.llwforum.org.

Rocky Mountain Board to Hold Annual and Regular Meetings

On June 27, 2016, the Rocky Mountain Low-Level Radioactive Waste Board will hold both a Regular Meeting and an Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado.  The meetings—which will be held at the Westin Denver International Airport—are scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m.

The following items are on the draft agenda for the Regular Meeting: approval of minutes of the Regular Meeting on October 15, 2015 and notice of telephonic meeting on January 13, 2016; update from the Clean Harbors Regional Facility; update from URENCO USA; update from International Isotopes; discussion of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) oil and gas issues; update on national developments; Executive Director’s report re fiscal status/investment summary, permit fee revenue for 2015 and 2016; expenditure/budget comparison; and, status of volumes authorized for export and disposal in 2015 and 2016.

The following items are on the draft agenda for the Annual Meeting: election of Officers and consideration of fiscal year 2016-2017 budget.

Interested parties and the public are invited to attend the meetings and an opportunity will be provided for public comment.

For additional information, please contact Leonard Slosky, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Board, at (303) 825-1912 or lslosky@rmllrwb.us.

Central Interstate Compact Commission to Hold Annual Meeting

On June 14, 2016, the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission will hold its annual meeting.  The meeting—which will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Shreveport, Louisiana—is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. CDT.

The purpose of the meeting is to take necessary action and discussion on proposed changes to the By-Laws and Rules, reports, meeting minutes, export applications, export fee schedule (Rule 1), administrative budget, election of Chairman for fiscal year 2016-2017, and all other business to come before the Commission.

An agenda, kept continuously, is available by contacting the Commission’s office or going to their web page.

For additional information, please contact Rita Houskie, Administrator of the Central Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission, at (402) 476-8247 or at rita@cillrwcc.org or visit their web site at www.cillrwcc.org.

License Transfer Approved for La Crosse Nuclear Plant

On May 24, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has approved the transfer of the license for the La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor from the Dairyland Power Cooperative to LaCrosseSolutions.

The La Crosse plant—which is located in Genoa, Wisconsin—has been shut down since 1987.  At that time, the NRC modified the original operating license to a possession-only license for the purpose of storage of nuclear materials and waste and decommissioning activities.

On October 8, 2015, Dairyland submitted an application to the NRC requesting transfer of the license to LaCrosseSolutions, which is a subsidiary of EnergySolutions.  The license transfer would allow LaCrosseSolutions to expedite decommissioning activities on the site.

Under the terms of the transfer, Dairyland will remain the owner of the site and retain title to and responsibility for the spent nuclear fuel, which is currently stored in dry casks on the site. LaCrosseSolutions will lease the above-ground structures (other than the spent fuel storage site) and assume responsibility for decommissioning under NRC requirements.

EnergySolutions entered into a similar arrangement as that being done for the La Crosse nuclear power plant when it began to decommission the shuttered Zion nuclear power plant in Illinois in 2010.

The NRC’s order approving the transfer and its safety evaluation of the transfer are available in the NRC’s ADAMS document database at ML16123A049.

For additional information, please contact Maureen Conley of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Public Meeting Held re Performance of Monticello Nuclear Power Plant

On May 26, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held a public meeting to discuss the agency’s annual review of safety performance of the Monticello nuclear power plant.  Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota operates the plant.  It is located in Monticello, Minnesota—approximately 30 miles northwest of Minneapolis.

The NRC’s performance action matrix reflects overall plant performance and agency response.  There are five columns in the matrix with Column 1 requiring a baseline level of inspection.  A move up to another column results in an increased level of NRC oversight and inspections.  Performance indicators are statistical measurements of plant and equipment performance.

Overall, the Monticello facility operated safely last year.  All performance indicators were “green” or low safety significance.  A security finding was issued at the end of 2014.  This finding, in addition to a previously identified yellow finding, would have resulted in a move to Column 4 and a significant increase in inspection.  However, the NRC determined the plant’s performance did not warrant this move and issued a deviation memo to the plant that placed it in Column 2.

The deviation memo noted that human performance issues continued to occur and needed to be addressed.  As a result, the plant committed to perform an independent safety culture assessment with a focus on human performance.  The deviation will remain open until the NRC completes its assessment of the plant’s safety culture evaluation.

The plant moved to Column 1 by the end of 2015.  While the details on the security finding are not publically available, the plant corrected the issue and the NRC conducted a follow-up inspection to verify the plant’s actions.

Monticello will also continue to receive the detailed routine inspections conducted at all nuclear power plants.  Routine inspections are performed by two NRC Resident Inspectors assigned to the plant and by inspection specialists from the Region III Office in Lisle and the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.

For additional information, please contact Viktoria Mitlyng at (630) 829-9662 or at Prema Chandrathil at (630) 829-9663.

Open House Held re Assessment of Point Beach Nuclear Plant

On May 25, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held a public open house to discuss the agency’s annual review of safety performance of the Point Beach nuclear plant.  The two-unit plant is operated by NextEra Energy Point Beach LLC and is located in Two Rivers, Wisconsin—approximately 13 miles northeast of Manitowoc.

Overall, NRC found that the Point Beach facility operated safely in 2015.  All performance indicators and inspection findings for both units were “green” or low safety significance.  The NRC uses color-coded inspection findings and performance indicators to assess nuclear plant performance.  The colors start with “green” and then increase to “white,” “yellow,” or “red,” commensurate with the safety significance of the issues involved.  Performance indicators are statistical measurements of plant and equipment performance.

This year, Point Beach Unit 1 and 2 will continue to receive the detailed routine inspections conducted at all nuclear power plants.  Routine inspections are performed by two NRC resident inspectors assigned to the plant and by inspection specialists from the Region III Office and the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.  Among the areas of performance to be inspected this year are radiological safety, fire protection and emergency preparedness.

For additional information, please contact Viktoria Mitlyng at (630) 829-9662 or Prema Chandrathil at (630) 829-9663.