Senate Approves All Three Nominees for NRC Commissioners

On May 24, 2018, by a voice vote during an evening session, the U.S. Senate approved en banc the confirmations of all three outstanding nominees to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) including:

  • Annie Caputo, a nuclear policy adviser to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY);
  • David Wright, an energy consultant and former president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners; and,
  • Jeff Baran, an attorney and member of the Commission since 2014 who’s current term is scheduled to expire on June 30, 2017.

Shortly before the confirmations’ vote, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a budget proposal that provided no money for the proposed Yucca Mountain radioactive waste repository in Nevada.  Caputo and Wright were sworn-in as new NRC Commissioners the following week.

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 Chair 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.  The Commission is currently comprised of Chair Kristine Svinicki, Commissioner Jeff Baran and Commissioner Stephen Burns.

For additional information related to Commission business, please contact Annette Vietti-Cook, Secretary of the Commission, at (301) 415-1969 or at NRCExecSec@nrc.gov.

New Jersey Governor Signs Several Clean Energy Initiatives

Includes Subsidies for Continued Operation of Nuclear Power Plants

On May 23, 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed several legislative initiatives that are designed to advance the state’s clean energy goals, including a bill that would subsidize the continued operation of nuclear power plants.  The cost for the new law to subsidize nuclear power plants is estimated to be approximately $300 million a year.

Overview of New Jersey Legislation

The new law establishes a Zero Emissions Certificate (ZEC) program in an effort to maintain New Jersey’s nuclear energy supply, which is the state’s largest source of carbon free energy and contributes almost 40 percent of the state’s electric capacity.  Under the law’s provisions, plants seeking to participate in the program would be required, among other things, to demonstrate that they make a significant contribution to New Jersey air quality and are at risk of closure within three years.

There are currently four reactors operating in New Jersey with generating capacity over 4,100 megawatts (MW) of electricity.  Three of the reactors are located at the Salem-Hope Creek nuclear plant and are operated by a unit of Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), which is the state’s biggest power company.  The other reactor, Oyster Creek, is owned by Exelon Corporation, which also owns part of the Salem reactors.

In addition to the nuclear subsidy law, Governor Murphy also signed legislation to require that 50 percent of the state’s power come from renewable sources by 2030, as well as to establish plans to build 3,500 MW of offshore wind by 2030; implement energy efficiency programs to reduce electric and gas usage; and, achieve 2,000 MW of energy storage by 2030.  The governor also signed an Executive Order directing state agencies to develop an Energy Master Plan by June 1, 2019 that provides a path to 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

Potential Action by Other States and DOE

Passage of the new legislation makes New Jersey the fourth state to adopt a program that is intended to provide a new revenue stream to assist nuclear reactors that are in service in an effort to meet the states’ greenhouse gas reduction goals.  Other states that have passed such laws include New York, Illinois and Connecticut.

States with reactors set to retire over the next few years for economic reasons (including Pennsylvania and Ohio) and officials at the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) are reportedly also looking at programs designed to keep nuclear plants operating.

Background

Exelon has announced plans to shut the Oyster Creek reactor in October 2018 pursuant to a long-standing agreement with the state.  In addition, PSEG has warned that it could shut its reactors if they do not receive some sort of federal or state assistance.

By the end of 2021, twenty-four of the operating nuclear power plants in the United States are either set to close or will no longer be profitable according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) that was issued on May 15, 2018.  In addition, the report cautions that more plants are likely to close.

Texas Compact Commission Holds May 2018 Meeting

On May 17, 2018, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) held a regularly scheduled meeting in Austin, Texas.  The meeting began at 9:30 a.m. CDT.  It was held in Room E1.028 at the Texas Capitol, which is located at 1100 Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas.

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 NextEra Point Beach, Entergy Grand Gulf, Talen Energy, Talen Energy (irradiated hardware), RAM Services and Thomas Gray;
  • consideration of and possible action on amendments to existing agreements with Exelon and EnergySolutions;
  • consideration and possible action on May 15, 2018 letter to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regarding the February 14, 2018 notice in the Federal Register relating to the Very Low-Level Waste (VLLW) scoping study;
  • receive reports from Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) about recent site operations;
  • receive report from Chair on Texas Compact Commission activities including an update on the to-be-formed committee as a result of recent legislation;
  • report from Leigh Ing, Executive Director of the Texas Compact Commission, on her activities relating to workshops and Texas Compact Commission operations;
  • discussion and possible changes of dates and locations of future Texas Compact Commission meetings in 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

Report Cautions re Early Retirement Risks for U.S. Nuclear Plants

Electricity Demand, Renewable Energy and High Fixed Costs Pressure Nuclear Fleet

By the end of 2021, twenty-four of the operating nuclear power plants in the United States are either set to close or will no longer be profitable according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) that was issued on May 15, 2018.  In addition, the report cautions that more plants are likely to close.  In March 2018, a similar analysis found that half of U.S. coal-fired power plant capacity is also facing significant financial challenges.

Overview

According to Power Magazine, which reported on the BNEF study, the struggling plants have a total generating capacity of 32.5 gigawatts.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration lists the total capacity of the U.S. nuclear power fleet at slightly over 100 gigawatts.

In the BNEF report, analyst Nicholas Steckler and co-author Chris Gadomski state that it would cost approximately $1.3 billion to address the revenue gaps for all of the struggling plants across the country.  The industry has successfully convinced policy makers in states including New York, Illinois and New Jersey to take steps to assist struggling plants in recognition of their emissions-free generation and concerns about job losses.

Despite the cautionary tone, the report finds that the average U.S. nuclear plant still is expected to make money before taxes, especially on the East Coast.

Background

According to the BNEF study, the industry is increasingly challenged by sluggish power demand, inexpensive natural gas and the rise of renewable energy.  This is especially true in the Midwest, where the use of wind power and other renewable power options are being used increasingly.

In this regard, a February 2018 report from BNER and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy found that renewable power had reached 18 percent of the U.S. electricity generation capacity.  The expansion has been spurred, in part, by an increase in hyrdopower investments in the West.  Nuclear power recently contributed about 20 percent, but that figure is declining as operating facilities continue to shut down.

In addition, the U.S. Energy Department (DOE) is currently weighing a March 2018 request from the competitive power unit at FirstEnergy Corporation to declare that an emergency exists its PJM market.  The PJM Energy Market procures electricity to meet consumer’s demands both in real time and in the near term.  It includes the sale or purchase of energy in PJM’s Real-Time Energy Market (five minutes) and Day-Ahead Market (one day forward).  If DOE Secretary Rick Perry agrees to the request, it would mean the PJM would have to compensate both nuclear and coal generators in the at-risk market in order to protect the stability of the grid.

Southwestern Compact Commission Hosts 78th Meeting

On May 15, 2018, the Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission hosted its 78th meeting beginning at 9:00 a.m. PDT at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, which is located at 1380 Harbor Island Drive in San Diego, California 92101.

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

  • call to order
  • roll call
  • welcome 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 – 2017 (E-17-111 – E-17-124 & WCS-17-067 – WCS-17-084) and 2018 (E-18-001 – E-18-103 & WCS-18-001 – WCS-18-043)
  • export report – presented by Commissioner Vadnais
  • discuss, review and possible action on impacts of Very Low-Level Waste (VLLW) and by-laws recommended by legal counsel
  • discuss draft policy on “reuse” by legal counsel
  • report on necessary “reserves” and direction from Commission on compact funds
  • update on SONGS, PGE-Diablo, WCS new ownership and visit to Texas
  • executive session pursuant to California Government Code § 11126(a)(1) to report and discuss action regarding interview and contract for legal counsel

return to open session

  • discuss and direct Executive Director pursuant to above closed session, if required
  • review and approved current budget, if necessary
  • public comment
  • future agenda items
  • next meeting – October 5, 2018
  • adjournment

Members of the public were invited to attend the meeting and comment on specific agenda items as the Commission considered them.  The total public comment time on each agenda item was limited to 15 minutes.  Written material was also accepted.  A 15-minute public comment period was provided near the end of the meeting at which time members of the public were invited to bring before the Commission issues relating to low-level radioactive waste but which were not on the agenda.

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

DOE Plans to Move Forward with Key WIPP Infrastructure Upgrade

On May 14, 2018, the Office of Environmental Management (EM) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced plans to move forward with a key infrastructure upgrade at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico.  According to the announcement, the upgrade will enable increased progress in DOE’s mission to address the environmental legacy of decades of nuclear weapons production and government-sponsored nuclear energy research.

Assistant Energy Secretary for Environmental Management Anne White approved the start of construction for the $288 million underground ventilation system.  The Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS) will be key to DOE’s plans to increase shipments of transuranic waste to WIPP from cleanup sites across the DOE complex.

“This will be a significant improvement for WIPP in support of its critical role in our national mission,” said White.  “I am appreciative of the unwavering support from our local, state and federal elected officials and stakeholders at WIPP who have helped to ensure we have proper funding to make infrastructure improvements, like the new ventilation system.”

According to EM, the SSCVS will significantly increase the amount of air available to the underground portion of the WIPP facility.  As a result, DOE will be able to perform transuranic waste emplacement activities simultaneously with facility mining and maintenance operations.  The new ventilation system will also allow for easier replacement and preventative maintenance activities.  EM expects construction of the new ventilation system to be completed by early 2021.

The new ventilation system is one of a number of infrastructure projects planned for WIPP in the coming years to enable the facility to continue to play an integral role in DOE’s cleanup program.  To date, more than 90,000 cubic meters of transuranic waste have been disposed of at WIPP.

Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board Holds Meeting

On May 10 2018, the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board held an electronic/telephonic meeting beginning at 1:30 p.m. in accordance with the Utah Open and Public Meetings Act.

The anchor location of the Board meeting, which was open to the public, was the Red Rocks Conference Room 3132, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), in 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 May 2018 Board meeting:

  1. Call to Order
  1. Approval of Meeting Minutes for the April 12, 2018 Board Meeting (Board Action Item)

III.    Underground Storage Tanks Update

  1. X-Ray Program
  1. Approval of Mammography Imaging Medical Physicists (MIMPs) in accordance with UCA-19-6-104(2)(b). (Board Action Item)
  1. 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.

NRC Seeks Comments re Retrospective Review of Administrative Regulations

On May 3, 2018, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency is soliciting public comments on its strategy for identifying administrative regulations that are outdated or duplicative and can be eliminated without an adverse effect on the agency mission.  (See 83 Federal Register 19,464 dated May 3, 2018.)  The NRC anticipates this effort will improve how applicants and licensees submit information, keep records and report to the agency.

Overview

The goal of the retrospective review is to enhance the management and administration of regulatory activities, as well as to ensure that the agency’s regulations remain current and effective.  The effort is limited to identifying outdated or duplicative, non-substantive administrative regulations that may be eliminated without an adverse effect on public health or safety, common defense and security, protection of the environment, or regulatory efficiency and effectiveness.

In particular, the review is intended to identify regulatory changes that are administrative in nature and which will make information submittal, record keeping and reporting processes more efficient for the agency, applicants and licensees.

Specific Questions

The NRC is providing an opportunity for the public to submit information and comments on the criteria that the NRC proposes to use to identify administrative requirements for potential modification or elimination. The NRC is particularly interested in gathering input in the following areas:

  • Do the proposed evaluation criteria serve the purposes described in this notice? Why or why not?
  • The NRC is considering whether the burden reduction minimum is appropriate. Is “significant burden” the appropriate measure?  Are the examples given for the third identified criterion appropriate or useful?  Should the NRC use different bases for measuring “significant burden” and, if so, what are these measures and how would they result in a more accurate or complete measurement of burden?
  • The NRC is considering multiple thresholds for different classes of regulated entities, as a single threshold might not be useful to identify burden reductions for all licensee types. What is the appropriate threshold for your entity class (e.g., operating reactor, industrial radiographer, fuel cycle facility)?
  • Are there other evaluation criteria the NRC should consider using in its retrospective review of administrative regulations? What are those criteria and why?

Interested stakeholders may suggest other criteria.  In such case, NRC requests that stakeholders provide supporting rationale for any alternative criteria.

Submitting Comments

The comment period will run until July 2, 2018.  Comments received after this date will be considered if deemed practical to do so.  Due to the NRC’s schedule for completing the retrospective review of administrative regulations, the agency will not prepare written responses to each individual comment.  Comments can be submitted through the following methods:

  • facsimile to (301) 415-1101;
  • mail to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff; or,
  • hand deliver to 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852 between 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on federal workdays.

Interested stakeholders are requested to please include Docket ID NRC-2017-0214 in any submission.

Background

On August 11, 2017, the NRC announced that the agency was initiating — beginning in the fall of the calendar year 2017 — a retrospective review of its administrative regulations to identify those rules that are outdated or duplicative.  Once identified, the regulations will be evaluated to determine whether they can be eliminated without impacting the agency’s mission.

On November 22, 2017, the NRC staff issued SECY–17–0119, “Retrospective Review of Administrative Regulations,” which provided for Commission approval of the NRC staff’s proposed strategy for the retrospective review of regulations.  The staff requirements memorandum associated with SECY– 17–0119 approved the NRC staff’s proposal and directed staff to implement the strategy.

Overall, the goal of the retrospective review is to enhance the management and administration of regulatory activities and to ensure that the agency’s regulations remain current and effective.  The review is intended to identify regulatory changes that are administrative in nature that will make the information submittal, record keeping, and reporting processes more efficient for the staff, applicants, and licensees.

The strategy takes into consideration the agency’s overall statutory responsibilities, including mandates to issue new regulations, the number of regulations in Chapter I of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations and available resources.  According to NRC, this effort will not impact the agency’s mission, as it will be limited to identifying outdated or duplicative, non-substantive administrative regulations.

For additional information, please contact Margaret Ellenson of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) at (301) 415-0894 or at Margaret.Ellenson@nrc.gov or Andrew Carrera of NMSS at (301) 415-1078 or at Andrew.Carrera@nrc.gov.

NRC Announces Senior Management Selections

On May 3, 2018, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced the following senior management selections in the Office of New Reactors (NRO), the Office Nuclear Regulatory Research (RES), the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) and the Office of Commission Appellate Adjudication (OCAA):

  •   Office of New Reactors:  Frederick Brown will become Director of NRO, effective immediately.  Brown, whose permanent position was Deputy Executive Director for Materials, Waste, Research, State, Tribal, Compliance, Administration, and Human Capital Programs, has been serving as the NRO Acting Director.  He joined the NRC in 1994, working in Region III, having served in both resident and senior resident inspector positions.  After joining the Senior Executive Service (SES), Brown held positions in NRO and NRR, including Director of the Division of Inspection and Regional Support. He worked in Region II as the Deputy Regional Administrator for Construction and has worked in various SES positions in the Office of the Executive Director for Operations and the Office of the Chief Information Officer.  Before joining the NRC, Brown worked as an engineer, supervisor, and manager at California’s Mare Island Naval Shipyard.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree, with a double major from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York.
  •   Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research:  Effective July 3, 2018, Raymond Furstenau will become Director of RES, following the retirement of Mike Weber.  Furstenau will transition to the NRC later this month from his current SES position at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), where he serves as Associate Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and Central Technical Authority of the Office of Nuclear Energy.  He has previously served as the Chief of Nuclear Safety for the Under Secretary of Energy.  Prior to his senior leadership positions at DOE, Furstenau worked in various roles at the DOE Idaho Operations Office for more than 25 years, providing federal oversight of nuclear energy and national security research programs and safety oversight of nuclear facility operations at the Idaho National Laboratory.  He also served in the military on active duty as an officer in the Army Finance Corps and in the Army Reserve.  Furstenau holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Science and Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy and a Master of Science degree in Nuclear Science and Engineering from Idaho State University.
  •   Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation:  Ho Nieh will become Director of NRR in August.  Nieh, a member of the SES, will return to the NRC this summer from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, where he serves as the Director of the Division of Nuclear Safety Technology and Regulation at the Nuclear Energy Agency.  He began his NRC career in 1997 as an engineer in Region I, joining the agency after serving in various engineering positions at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory.  At the NRC, Nieh worked as a resident and senior resident inspector before joining the newly created Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response in 2003.  He has also served in various management positions in NRR, including as Director of the Division of Inspection and Regional Support, as well as Director of the Division of Reactor Projects.  Additionally, Nieh was assigned to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Department of Nuclear Safety and Security.  He also served as Chief of Staff to NRC Commissioner Bill Ostendorff.  He graduated from the U.S. Naval Nuclear Power School and holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Marine Engineering from the State University of New York Maritime College and a Master of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University.
  •   Office of Commission Appellate Adjudication:  Effective June 24, 2018, Catherine Scott will become Director of OCAA.  She most recently served in the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) in the position of Assistant General Counsel for Operating Reactors from 2016 to the present and for Materials Litigation and Enforcement from 2008 to 2016.  She was appointed to the Committee to Review Generic Requirements in 2017.  Scott also served as a legal assistant to NRC Commissioner Peter Lyons from 2005 to 2008.  In 2001, she was assigned a detail position to the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Scott began her career as an attorney in the Reactor Programs division in OGC.  She is a graduate of Boston University and Suffolk University Law School.

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

Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum Establishes New Working Group

Will Address NRC Activities, Initiatives and Rulemakings

During the spring 2018 meeting of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) in California, the organization’s Board of Directors passed a resolution to establish a new working group.

The purpose of the new working group is to review, consider and provide timely input and feedback from the states and low-level radioactive waste compact commissions on activities, initiatives and rulemakings of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The text of the resolution, as approved by vote of the LLW Forum Board of Directors, is as follows:

As the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has several significant activities, initiatives and rulemakings ongoing related to the management and disposition of low-level radioactive waste including, but not limited to:

  • completion of work on a final rule to 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;”
  • outreach regarding proposed revisions to its guidance document for alternative disposal requests entitled, “Guidance for the Reviews of Proposed Disposal Procedures and Transfers of Radioactive Material Under 10 CFR 20.2002 and 10 CFR 40.13(a);”
  • preparation for a very low-level radioactive waste (VLLW) scoping study to identify possible options to improve and strengthen the NRC’s regulatory framework for the disposal of the anticipated large volumes of VLLW associated with the decommissioning of nuclear power plants and material sites, as well as waste that might be generated by alternative waste streams that may be created by operating reprocessing facilities or a radiological event;
  • publication of a draft regulatory basis for proposed new regulations on the decommissioning of commercial nuclear power reactors;

As various additional NRC activities, initiatives and rulemakings are planned upon the completion of the 10 CFR Part 61 rulemaking including, but not limited to:

  • drafting of proposed changes to 10 CFR Part 20 Appendix G and NUREG/BR-0204, which require that an NRC Uniform Waste Manifest (UWM) be prepared for waste intended for ultimate disposal at a licensed low-level radioactive waste land disposal facility;
  • consideration of a potential rulemaking on waste classification tables; and,
  • development of a regulatory basis for the disposal of Greater-than-Class C (GTCC) and transuranic waste through means other than a deep geologic disposal, including near surface disposal;

As the NRC is seeking and will continue to seek input from interested stakeholders on the above-referenced and initiatives and rulemakings and other activities related to the management and disposition of low-level radioactive waste;

As all currently operating low-level radioactive waste disposal facilities are regulated by the states in which they are located pursuant to agreements with the NRC;

As the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) is comprised of designated officials to represent the views and perspectives of states and low-level radioactive waste compact commissions on issues related to the management and disposition of low-level radioactive waste;

As the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act of 1980 and its 1985 amendments provides that the federal government will provide technical assistance to the states and low-level radioactive waste compact commissions;

As, during a March 2017 meeting, the then-Acting Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) informed the LLW Forum that DOE would be reducing its funding to the LLW Forum in FY 2017 by 26% and that other federal agencies need to more equitably participate in future cost-sharing toward this program;

As, in March 2018, DOE notified the LLW Forum of an additional 50% cut in the remaining grant funding allocation for FY 2018;

As, at the fall 2011 LLW Forum meeting, the then-Director of NRC’s Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection in the Office of Federal & State Materials & Environmental Management Programs specifically requested that the states and low-level radioactive waste compact commissions provide greater input and feedback on NRC activities, initiatives and rulemakings;

As, through the LLW Forum, the states and low-level radioactive waste compact commissions have created working groups to develop and submit input on a variety of NRC activities, initiatives and rulemakings including, but not limited to, the Branch Technical Position on Concentration Averaging and Encapsulation (CA BTP), 10 CFR Part 61 rulemaking, security and accountability of Category 3 radioactive sources and devices, and financial assurance regulations for radioactive byproduct material;

As, these LLW Forum-organized working groups have provided significant benefit and cost efficiencies to the NRC including having the states and low-level radioactive waste compacts resolve, where possible, conflicts and different perspectives prior to the submittal of input on NRC activities, initiatives and rulemakings;

Now Wherefore Be it Resolved that the LLW Forum hereby creates a working group that will review, consider and provide timely input and feedback from the states and low-level radioactive waste compact commissions on NRC activities, initiatives and rulemakings to the extent that financial resources are available;

Now Wherefore Be it Further Resolved that the LLW Forum will submit an unsolicited application for financial assistance to the NRC to fund the activities of the working group pursuant to NRC Management Directive 11.6, Financial Assistance Program, and in line with direction from the DOE for more equitable cost sharing and from NRC for increased comment from the states and low-level radioactive waste compact commissions on NRC activities, initiatives and rulemakings;

Now Wherefore Be it Further Resolved that the LLW Forum Chair, in consultation with the LLW Forum Executive Committee, will be empowered to designate state and compact representatives to participate on the working group;

Now Wherefore Be it Further Resolved that the working group may seek input from other stakeholders including, but not limited to, other federal agencies, waste disposal facility operators, brokers and processors, industry organizations, generators and users of radioactive materials.

 

The spring 2018 LLW Forum meeting was held at the Hyatt Regency Airport Hotel in San Francisco, California on April 16-17, 2018.

The Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission co-sponsored 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

FirstEnergy Solutions Declares Bankruptcy and Plant Closing Dates

On March 31, 2018, FirstEnergy Solutions — the parent of First Energy Nuclear Operating Company — filed for bankruptcy protection.  As part of its restructuring plan, the company noted that it intended to close three nuclear power plants.

According to published news reports, FirstEnergy Chief Executive Officer and President Charles E. Jones stated as follows:   “FirstEnergy will remain focused on creating long-term value for its customers, employees and shareholders.  Simply put, we will be better positioned to deliver on the tremendous opportunities for customer-focused growth.”

Plant Closings

The company plans to retreat from its role as an energy generating company.  In this regard, FirstEnergy Solutions intends to close the following plants:

  •  the Davis Besse nuclear plant in Oak Harbor, Ohio by 2020;
  • the two-unit Beaver Valley Power Plant in Shipingport, Pennsylvania by 2021; and,
  •  the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Perry, Ohio, in 2021.

The company said the closings were a milestone in its path towards redefining itself as a utility and not a power producer.

DOE Filing

Pursuant to the Federal Power Act law, FirstEnergy Solutions has also requested that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) declare that an emergency exists its PJM market.  The PJM Energy Market procures electricity to meet consumer’s demands both in real time and in the near term.  It includes the sale or purchase of energy in PJM’s Real-Time Energy Market (five minutes) and Day-Ahead Market (one day forward).

If DOE Secretary Rick Perry agrees to the request, it would mean the PJM would have to compensate both nuclear and coal generators in the at-risk market in order to protect the stability of the grid.

Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission Annual Meeting

Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission

Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin
John Linc Stine, Chair;
Alex Moon, Vice-Chair
James Chiles, Executive Director
c/o Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
RMA Division, 520 Lafayette Road North, St. Paul, MN  55155
Voice: 651-757-2272    Fax: 651-297-1456

 

ANNUAL MEETING NOTICE

The Midwest Interstate Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission will hold its annual meeting by telephone conference call at 10:00 am – 12:00 pm CDT (or an earlier adjournment if the business is completed) (Note: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm EDT for Indiana and Ohio) on Monday, June 11, 2018.

The public is encouraged to attend.  See the list of sites below.

Calling in: Toll-free dial-in number (888) 742-5095;

Conference code:  6805842054

Proposed agenda:

  1. Call to order; roll call
  2. Review of minutes of June 9, 2017, meeting
  3. Review of financial report
  4. Chair’s report
  5. Executive Director’s report
  6. Consultant expenses projected for FY 2019

a. Legal counsel fees
b. Accounting/audit proposal
c. Website fees
d. LLW Forum membership

7. Adoption of FY 2019 budget
8. Other business
9. Adjournment

 

The sites are as follows:

In 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.

In Iowa: Fifth Floor West Conference Room, IA Department of Natural Resources, Wallace State Office Building, 502 East 9 th Street, Des Moines;. For information about the site and handicap access, call Iowa DNR Customer Service at 515.725.8200.

In Minnesota: Conference Room 501, 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

In Ohio: Ohio Department of Health, 246 N. High Street, Columbus.  For information about the site and handicap access, call 614.644.2727.

In Wisconsin: Dept. of Health Services, 1 W. Wilson St., Rm 150 (CR 150), Madison, WI  53702.  For information about the site and handicap access, call Susan Hagstrom at 608.267.4793

Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board Meets

On April 12, 2018, 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, in 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 April 2018 Board meeting:

  • call to order;
  • approval of meeting minutes for the February 8, 2018 Board meeting (Board Action Item);
  • underground storage tanks update;
  • administrative rules:

–     approval to proceed with formal rulemaking and public comment on a proposed rule change to R313-37, Physical Protection of Category 1 and Category 2 Radioactive Materials, to incorporate federal regulatory changes promulgated by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  (Board Action Item);

  • used oil section:

–     final adoption of rule changes to R315-15, Standards for the Management of Used Oil Rules.  (Board Action Item);

  • Director’s report:

–     proposed Stipulation and Consent Order between the Board and EnergySolutions, LLC.  (Information Item Only);

  • other business:
  • miscellaneous information item;
  • scheduling of next Board meeting;
  • election of Board Chair and Vice Chair (Board Action Item); and,
  • 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.

Public Meetings Scheduled re Proposed Holtec Consolidated Interim Spent Fuel Facility in New Mexico

On April 9, 2018, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency is seeking public comment on the scope of its environmental review of Holtec International’s application for a license to construct and operate a consolidated interim spent fuel storage facility in Lea County, New Mexico.  NRC staff will hold a series of public meetings in late April and early May to describe the review process and take public comments.

Overview

According to the license application, Holtec is seeking to store up to 8,680 metric tons of uranium in commercial spent fuel in the Holtec International Storage Module Underground “MAXimum” Capacity (HI-STORM UMAX) Storage System for a 40-year license term.  The subterranean used nuclear fuel storage system has a maximum storage capacity of 10,000 canisters.  The initial license application is for 500 storage cavities.  The NRC previously certified HI-STORM UMAX in Docket number 72-1040.

“Engineered over a decade ago and licensed by the NRC in 2015, HI-STORM UMAX is physically sized to store all of the used nuclear fuel produced in the U.S. and all canisters currently licensed in dry storage in the country making it a truly universal used fuel storage facility,” states Holtec.  “Already deployed at multiple nuclear power plants around the U.S. …, the HI-STORM UMAX stores the stainless steel canister containing the spent fuel or high-level waste entirely below-ground to serve as a ‘security-friendly’ storage facility, providing a clear, unobstructed view of the entire CISF from any location.  HI-STORE CIS is envisioned to unify the storage of all different storage canisters (both vertically and horizontally stored) in one standardized HI-STORM UMAX cavity system simplifying operations and aging management activities.”

“Storing the Nation’s used nuclear fuel in the HI-STORM UMAX system is a temporary measure, as the stainless-steel canisters are easily retrievable and ready for transport pending the determination of a safe permanent solution for managing used nuclear materials.,” continues Holtec.  “The canisters are designed, qualified, and tested to survive and prevent the release of radioactive material under the most adverse accident scenarios postulated by NRC regulations for both storage and transportation.”

Holtec is using its own funds to support the licensing action.  According to Holtec, the project has “the enthusiastic support of nuclear-savvy communities in southeastern New Mexico incorporated as the Eddy Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA), LLC.”  If the initial application is approved, Holtec plans to make supplemental submittals to incorporate the various canister types being used in the industry.

The Holtec application and other documents related to the NRC’s review are available on the NRC website at www.nrc.gov.

Public Comment

On April 25, 2018, NRC will hold the first “scoping” meeting at the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.  The meeting is scheduled from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET.  There will also be a webinar so people unable to attend in person may follow the meeting.  Interested stakeholders may participate in the meeting via webinar at

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7824864004787186434.

NRC staff will also hold three meetings in New Mexico as follows:

  • April 30, 2018 from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. MT at the Eastern New Mexico University- Roswell, Campus Union Building, Multi-Purpose Room 110, which is located at 48 University Boulevard in Roswell;
  • May 1, 2018 from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. MT at the
Lea County Event Center, which is located at 5101 N. Lovingston Highway in Hobbs; and,
  • May 3, 2018 from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. MT at the Eddy County Fire Service, which is located at 1400 Commerce Drive in Carlsbad.

The first meeting will be an open house and poster session.  The other two meetings will be full scoping meetings.  NRC staff members will hold an open house one hour before each of the Hobbs and Carlsbad meetings to meet informally with members of the public.  A court reporter will be available to record comments at all locations.  Spanish-speaking staff will be available at the New Mexico meetings to assist with translation.

Background

Holtec submitted its application on March 30, 2017.  The NRC formally docketed the application on February 28, 2018.  On March 30, 2018, NRC published a Federal Register notice requesting public comments on the scope of its environmental review.  (See 83 Federal Register 13,802 dated March 30, 2018.)  Comments will be accepted through May 29, 2018.  On April 6, 2018, NRC published a separate notice about the public meetings.  (See 83 Federal Register 14,897 dated April 6, 2018.)

For additional information, please contact , please contact Erika Grandrimo of Holtec at (856) 797-0090 ext. 3920 or at e.grandrimo@holtec.com or David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Anne White Sworn in as Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management

On March 29, 2018, Anne Marie White of Michigan was sworn in as Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management (EM) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

“As Assistant Secretary, White will provide leadership to continue the safe cleanup of the environmental legacy brought about from five decades of nuclear weapons development and government-sponsored nuclear energy research,” states the DOE press release announcing the swearing in.  “She will work closely with communities that have partnered with DOE and its predecessor agencies for many decades.”

“It is an honor to serve as Assistant Secretary of Energy for EM,” White said.  “I look forward to the challenges ahead and know that with the talented federal staff, our dedicated workers in the field, and the support of a wide array of stakeholders, we will deliver the EM mission safely and cost effectively.”

Overview

White is the founder of Bastet Technical Services, LLC — a consulting firm that has been engaged in providing strategic solutions to solve complex environmental challenges across the DOE complex.  She has more than 25 years of experience across a broad range of activities within the nuclear field, mainly focused on project and program management projects with complex technical, regulatory, and stakeholder challenges.

“She has industry-recognized credentials in technical skills that lead to sound, technically underpinned, cost effective solutions,” stated an earlier announcement.  “She has extensive hands on in the field experience at many of the Environmental Management sites for which she will have responsibility.”

White, who has supported a number of emerging nuclear power nations to develop legal and regulatory structures and national policies, received a Master’s Degree of Science in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Background

On January 3, 2018, the White House announced President Donald J. Trump’s intent to nominate White to be the EM Assistant Secretary.  On March 22, 2018, White was confirmed for the position by voice vote of the U.S. Senate.

Since June 2017, James Owendoff has been serving as the Acting EM-1 Assistant Secretary.  In this role, Owendoff has focused on more timely decisions on cleanup projects.

The position was previously held by Monica Regalbuto at the end of the administration of former-President Barack Obama.

For additional information, please contact Douglas Tonkay, Director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Disposal, at (301) 903-7212 or at Douglas.Tonkay@em.doe.gov or go to www.energy.gov.

Texas Compact Commission Publishes Final Waste Management Rule

On March 23, 2018, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) published a final rule regarding the management of low-level radioactive waste within the Texas Compact in the Texas Register.  (See 43 Texas Register 1,871 dated March 23, 2018.)

In particular, the Texas Compact Commission adopted a new §675.24 titled, “Requirement to Report on the Importation of Certain Low-Level Radioactive Waste for Management or Disposal that is not Required to be Disposed of in the Compact Facility.”  The final rule incorporates changes to the text as originally published in the Texas Register on November 3, 2017.  (See 42 Texas Register 6,123 dated November 3, 217).

Copies of the proposed rule can be obtained from the Texas Compact Commission’s website at http://www.tllrwdcc.org/rules/. 

Summary of the Factual Basis for the Adoption of the New Rule

In order to fulfill its responsibilities with respect to 42 United States Code §§2021(b) – 2021(j) and the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact §3.04(9) and §3.05(6), as set out in Texas Health and Safety Code (THSC), Chapter 403, the Texas Compact Commission has determined that it is in the public interest to gather information regarding low-level radioactive waste that enters the host state irrespective of whether it requires an agreement for importation for disposal at the Compact Facility.

Pursuant to the Commission’s authority set out in THSC §403.006, the Commission adopts a new §675.24 to facilitate the gathering of that information by way of reporting requirements after the entry of the low-level radioactive waste into the state rather than requiring approval for the importation of certain categories of low-level radioactive waste into the host state.

Summary of Changes made in the Proposed Rules after Comments

After reviewing comments received during the public comment period, the Texas Compact Commission:

  •   revised the rule to require semi-annual rather than quarterly reporting;
  •   added language to sub-section (b)(4) to exclude waste that is regulated under §675.23 titled, “Importation of Waste from a Non-Party Generator for Disposal;
  •   revised subsection (b)(4) to clarify that the Texas Compact Commission seeks gross volume or weight of reported waste;
  •   added language to subsection (b)(4) to reflect that waste disposed of in the same reporting period which it was received should not be reported;
  •   revised subsection (c)(2) to clarify the source attributes of waste;
  •   removed subsection (c)(6) and combined information sought regarding location of management or the date and location of disposal of waste into subsection (c)(5);
  •   added language to subsection (d) to set forth the term of the Texas Compact Commission’s fiscal year;
  •   added language to subsection (d) to note that entities with a reporting obligation may do so on their own forms so long as the Texas Compact Commission provides prior authorization of the forms; and,
  •   added language to note that new entrants that import waste into the host state must enter into an agreement with a reporting requirement within 30 days of commencement of operations.

Public Comment and Commission Responses

The public comment period on the proposed new rule opened on November 3, 2017 and closed at midnight on December 8, 2017.  On January 29, 2015, the Rules Committee of the Texas Compact Commission conducted a meeting to consider comments on the proposed rule in the Office of the Attorney General of Texas.

During the public comment period, the Commission received written comments from EnergySolutions, Nuclear Sources & Services (NSSI), and Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS).  EnergySolutions supports adoption of the rule.  WCS does not oppose adoption of the rule.  NSSI believes the rule is inapplicable to its operations based on other law.

Concise Restatement of Statutory Authority

A new §675.24 is adopted pursuant to Public Law 105-236 and the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact as set out in THSC Chapter 403.

  •   Texas Compact §3.05(4) grants the Texas Compact Commission the rulemaking authority to carry out the terms of the Texas Compact.
  •   Texas Compact §3.04(9) authorizes the Texas Compact Commission to assemble and make public information concerning low-level radioactive waste management needs, technologies and problems.
  •   Texas Compact §3.05(6) authorizes the Texas Compact Commission to enter into agreements regarding the management and disposal of low-level radioactive waste.

The Texas Compact Commission interprets the foregoing provisions as authority to require reporting of information on NCFW.  A new §675.24 will further the public interest by gathering and monitoring information regarding low-level radioactive waste that enters the host state irrespective of whether it requires an agreement for importation for disposal at the Compact Facility.

Background

On November 3, 2017, the Texas Compact Commission published a proposed rule regarding the management of low-level radioactive waste within the Texas Compact in the Texas Register.  (See LLW Notes, November/December 2017, pp. 11-13.)  Comments on the proposed rule were due no later than the close of business on December 8, 2017.

The proposed new §675.24 related to a requirement to report on the importation of certain low-level radioactive waste for management or disposal that is not required to be disposed in the Texas Compact Facility.  In order to fulfill its responsibilities, the Texas Compact Commission determined that it is in the public interest that it gathers information regarding low-level radioactive waste that enters the host state irrespective of whether it requires an agreement for importation for disposal at the Texas Compact facility.

The proposed new §675.24 sought to facilitate the gathering of that information by the way of reporting requirements after the entry of the low-level radioactive waste into the state rather than requiring approval for the importation of certain categories of low-level radioactive waste into the host state.

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

Utah Announces Final Adoption of Rule Changes to R313-25

On March 9, 2018, the Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control notified interested stakeholders of the following rulemaking actions that were taken by the Waste Management and Radiation Control Board during its meeting on February 8, 2018:

  • final adoption of rule changes to R313-25, License Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste — General Provisions, as published in the Utah State Bulletin on November 1, 2017 except for paragraph R313-25-51.5(3);
  • approve filing with the Office of Administrative Rules of a Notice of Change in Proposed Rule to delete paragraph R313-25-51.5(3) and renumber the subsequent paragraph; and,
  • set an effective date of April 16, 2018 for the above rule changes.

The notice of Change in Proposed Rule was published in the March 1, 2018 issue of the Utah State Bulletin.

Overview of Rule Change

During the 2017 General Session, the Utah legislature passed S.B. 79, Waste Management Amendments, which requires the Waste Management and Radiation Control Board to (1) modify financial assurance requirements for the closure and post-closure care of a radioactive waste disposal facility and (2) make conforming and clarifying amendments as to “facility” definitions adopted in S.B. 79.

Although financial assurance requirements have existed in Rule R313-25 for several years, the proposed changes are being made in order to meet the prescribed rulemaking direction found in S.B. 79 and to provide the tools and flexibility the Director believes are necessary to implement S.B. 79.

More specifically, S.B. 79 allows radioactive waste licensees the opportunity to rely on either (i) RS Means or (ii) a “competitive site-specific estimate” as the basis for calculating financial surety.  While RS Means represents a national average of heavy civil construction costs, S.B. 79 did not provide a definition for “competitive site-specific estimate.”

Based on the legislative history of S.B. 79, it was apparent to the Director that this undefined term referred to local market costs.  Based on the Utah Supreme Court case, Associated General Contractors v. Board of Oil, Gas and Mining (2001 UT 112, 38 P.3d 291), the Director in this rulemaking proposes to: define this term; provide the Division with access to local market expertise from heavy civil contractors or cost estimators who are familiar with local market construction costs in order to review and validate the information submitted by a licensee; and, provide that the licensee fund such review costs.

The proposed changes to Section R313- 25-31 incorporate the mandatory new rule text from S.B. 79.  In addition a new section, R313-25-31.5, is being added to include the changes summarized above.

Background

During the 2015 General Session, the Utah legislature passed S.B. 173 that required the Board to perform rulemaking to make changes to portions of UAC R313-25 regarding financial assurance requirements for the closure and post closure care of a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility.  However, rulemaking was deferred because the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) determined that certain provisions of S.B. 173 were incompatible with federal law.  These incompatibility issues were not fully resolved until the 2017 General Session of the legislature, when additional changes were made to the statute with the passage of S.B. 79, correcting the incompatible provisions.  S.B. 79 also modified certain facility definitions, triggering the need for conforming amendments in R313-25.

At a meeting of the Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board on October 12, 2017, the Board approved proceeding with formal rulemaking and public comment by filing with the Office of Administrative Rules and publishing in the Utah State Bulletin of proposed changes to UAC R313-25.  The proposed changes were subsequently published in the November 1, 2017 issue of the Utah State Bulletin.

The public comment period began on November 1, 2017 and concluded on December 1, 2017.  One commenter (EnergySolutions) submitted comments during the public comment period.  In a letter dated January 10, 2018, the Director responded to the comments.  Based on the comments received, an additional change to R313- 25 is being proposed in order to delete paragraph R313-25- 31.5(3) and renumber the subsequent paragraph.

Utah administrative rulemaking procedures require a Notice of Change in Proposed Rule be prepared and filed with the Office of Administrative Rules for subsequent publication in the Utah State Bulletin.  When published in the Utah State Bulletin, only the additional changes (i.e., paragraph deletion and paragraph renumbering) to R313-25 will be marked and the financial impact information will only address the additional changes.  All other rule changes previously published and not being further changed are considered to be final when published as part of the Notice of Change in Proposed Rule.

For additional information, please contact Don Verbica at (801) 536-0206 or at dverbica@utah.gov or Rusty Lundberg at (801) 536-4257 or at rlundberg@utah.gov.

NRC Issues Annual Assessments for Nation’s Nuclear Plants

On March 5, 2018, 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 2017 regarding their operational performance throughout the year.  All but three plants were in the two highest performance categories.

Overview

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

The NRC determined that 13 reactors needed resolution of one or two items of low safety significance.  For this performance level, regulatory oversight includes additional inspections and follow-up of corrective actions.  Plants in this level include: Browns Ferry 1, 2 and 3 (Alabama); Catawba 2 (South Carolina); Clinton (Illinois); Columbia (Washington); Diablo Canyon 2 (California); Fermi 2 (Michigan); Grand Gulf (Mississippi); Perry (Ohio); Sequoyah 1 and 2 (Tennessee); and, Wolf Creek (Kansas).  Diablo Canyon 2 and Fermi 2 have resolved their findings 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. The NRC noted that there were three reactors 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.  Additional inspections will be conducted to confirm that the performance issues are being addressed.

Next Steps

Later this spring and summer, the NRC will host a public meeting or other event near each plant to discuss the details of the annual assessments.  A separate announcement will be issued for each public assessment meeting.  In addition to the annual assessment letters, plants also receive an NRC inspection plan for the coming year.

Background

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.  To see the 2017 assessment letters, click on “2017q4” for each plant.  Annual construction oversight assessments for new reactors at the Vogtle Unit 3 and 4 sites are also on the NRC website.

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

State of Texas Reduces Disposal Surcharges

In late 2017, the State of Texas agreed to reduce disposal surcharges for a 24-month limited period of time at the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) facilities in Andrews County, Texas.  In particular, gross revenue fees for in-compact customers have been cut in half—reduced from a total of 10% to 5%.  Gross revenue fees for out-of-compact customers have been reduced from 31.25% to 16.25%.

WCS released the following statement regarding reduced disposal surcharges:

Waste Control Specialists is delighted to inform customers that — for a limited time — the state has significantly reduced its disposal surcharges for those customers currently disposing low-level radioactive waste at the WCS facilities in Andrews County.  For both in-compact and out-of-compact generators, this will result in significant cost savings … 

These are significant reductions and already resulting in dramatic cost-savings for our customers.  This should encourage our customers to dispose of low-level radioactive waste in our state-of-the-art facility in Andrews County and we are already seeing an uptick in scheduled disposal shipments …

The new fee structure, which was passed by the Texas Legislature in 2017 and is now in effect, will remain in place through August 31, 2019.  According to WCS, “waste will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis” during the reduced surcharge period.  It is unclear as to what will happen at the end of the 24-month window of cost savings.

For additional information, please contact WCS representative Chuck McDonald at (512) 658-5958 or at chuck@mcdonaldpr.com.

NRC to Host Public Meeting re VLLW Scoping Study and Disposal of GTCC and Transuranic Waste

On February 22, 2018, the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will host a public meeting to discuss the Very Low-Level Radioactive Waste (VLLW) Scoping Study and concerns associated with the disposal of Greater-than-Class C (GTCC) waste.

The public meeting will be held in the auditorium at the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.  It is scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on February 22, 2018.

Interested stakeholders may participate via webinar or teleconference using the following information:

Webinar

Interested stakeholders may participate in the public meeting via webinar using the following link:

Teleconference

Interested stakeholders may participate in the public meeting via teleconference using the following information:

  • Teleconference Number: (800) 857-9840
  • Teleconference Password: 4975456

This meeting will be transcribed and will have a facilitated bridgeline.

For additional information on the NRC public meeting, please contact Cardelia Maupin at (301) 415-2312 or Maurice Heath at (301) 415-3137.

NRC Seeks Public Comment re Development of Regulatory Basis for Alternative Means of Disposal of GTCC and Transuranic Waste

On February 14, 2018, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a Federal Register notice announcing that the agency is seeking stakeholder participation and involvement in identifying the various technical issues that should be considered in the development of a regulatory basis for the disposal of Greater-than-Class C (GTCC) and transuranic radioactive waste through means other than a deep geologic disposal, including near surface disposal.  (See 83 Federal Register 6,475 dated February 14, 2018.)

As part of the process, the NRC is requesting that interested stakeholders respond to specific questions contained in the Federal Register notice.  Comments are due by April 16, 2018.  Comments considered after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is only able to ensure consideration of comments received on or before the deadline.

Specific Request for Comment

The NRC is seeking stakeholder participation and involvement in identifying the various technical issues that should be considered in the development of a draft regulatory basis for the disposal of GTCC and transuranic radioactive waste through means other than a deep geologic disposal, including near surface disposal.  To assist in this process, the NRC staff is requesting that interested stakeholders respond to the questions below.  In addition, the NRC staff has conducted some initial technical analyses to assist its understanding of potential hazards with near surface disposal of GTCC and transuranic wastes, which are contained in draft “NRC Staff Analyses Identifying Potential Issues Associated with the Disposal of Greater-Than-Class C Low- Level Radioactive Waste.”  The draft analyses should assist in providing responses to the following questions:

  1. What are the important radionuclides that need to be considered for the disposal of the GTCC and transuranic wastes?

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has described three broad categories of GTCC wastes, including a range of transuranic radionuclides, in its “Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Disposal of Greater-than-Class C (GTCC) Low-Level Radioactive Waste and GTCC-Like Waste.”  (See LLW Notes, November/December 2017, pp. 1, 23-28.)  The three categories are entitled activated metals, sealed sources and other wastes.  The attributes (i.e., radionuclide concentrations, heat generation, and waste form) vary significantly between the three categories.  Certain waste streams represent a very specific waste form (i.e., stainless steel for most activated metals; very concentrated amounts in sealed sources) that may require specific treatment to mitigate potential safety, security and criticality concerns.  Some waste streams may contain sufficient quantities of specific radionuclides that will present a significant thermal output and/or gas generation through radiolysis.  Still other waste streams may contain a significant quantity of fissile radionuclides (i.e., some isotopes of uranium and plutonium).  The NRC is interested in identifying those radionuclides that could be important for evaluating the safety and security of storage associated with the operational period at a disposal facility and the post-closure period (including inadvertent intruder protection).  Additionally, the NRC is interested in obtaining available data and information to support the characteristics of GTCC and transuranic wastes.

  1. How might GTCC and transuranic wastes affect the safety and security of a disposal facility during operations (i.e., pre-closure period)?

The presence of sufficient quantities of high activity radionuclides and/or fissile radionuclides in GTCC and transuranic wastes may impact the design and operational activities associated with a disposal facility prior to disposal.  The NRC is interested in identifying those design and operational activities at a disposal facility that may be impacted by GTCC and transuranic wastes.  For example, the requirements in 10 CFR Part 73 would require licensees to develop safeguards systems to protect against acts of radiological sabotage and to prevent the theft or diversion of Special Nuclear Material (i.e., transuranic waste such as plutonium, uranium-233 or uranium enriched in the isotopes uranium-233 or uranium-235) if a sufficient amount of Special Nuclear Material were present above ground at the disposal facility. 

  1. How might GTCC and transuranic wastes affect disposal facility design for post-closure safety including protection of an inadvertent intruder?

The NRC is considering disposal units (i.e., a single trench, borehole, and vault) that would contain a single category of waste (i.e., sealed sources) as well as disposal units that contain a mixture of all three waste types.  However, the NRC believes the best approach for understanding the issues would be to assume that waste within a disposal unit would be separated by the waste category and not be co-mingled.  Such an approach could provide a clear understanding of the issues associated with how a specific waste category might affect disposal facility design.  Certain waste streams associated with GTCC and transuranic wastes have larger inventories and concentrations of radionuclides than was typically considered at low-level radioactive waste disposal facilities.  For example, certain GTCC and transuranic wastes in sufficient quantities have the potential for significant thermal output that could affect degradation processes within a disposal unit and hydrogen gas generation through radiolysis that could also affect degradation processes of the waste package and waste form.  Additionally, waste streams associated with GTCC and transuranic wastes may have fissile materials that require facilities to be designed to limit the potential for a criticality event or limit the amount of fissile material that can be disposed.  There is a potential balance between security/safety and economic feasibility of design, construction and operation.  The NRC would like to hear from the stakeholders on these aspects as well.  The information provided on economic feasibility would be in concert with the NRC’s strategies on examining the cumulative effects of potential regulatory actions.  The NRC is interested in identifying the various scenarios that should be considered in evaluating the post-closure safety for the disposal of GTCC and transuranic waste—especially scenarios associated with specific issues and concerns that may not have been previously considered for commercial disposal facilities (i.e., synergistic effects of the thermal output on geochemical processes affecting release of radionuclides).

Submitting Comments

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

  •   Email Comments to:  Email comments to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov.  If you do not receive an automatic email reply confirming receipt, then contact the NRC at (301) 415-1677.
  •   Fax comments to:  Fax comments to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, at (301) 415-1101.
  •   Mail comments to:  Mail comments to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555– 0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff.
  •   Hand deliver comments to:  Comments may be hand delivered to the NRC at 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852 between 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Interested stakeholders are reminded to please include Docket ID NRC 2017-0081 in the subject line of any comment submission.

Background

 

The NRC’s “Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste” are provided in 10 CFR Part 61.  Section 10 CFR 61.2, “Definitions,” provides that waste as used in Part 61 means those low-level radioactive wastes containing source, special nuclear or byproduct material that are acceptable for disposal in a land disposal facility.  The definition also indicates that low- level radioactive waste means radioactive waste not classified as high-level radioactive waste, transuranic waste, spent nuclear fuel or byproduct material as defined in paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) of the definition of byproduct material in § 20.1003.

The Statements of Consideration (SOC) for the 10 CFR Part 61 proposed rule explained that not all waste may be suitable for disposal in the near surface.  Specifically, Section IV, “Purpose and Scope,” of the SOC indicates that, while 10 CFR Part 61 was intended to deal with the disposal of most low-level radioactive waste defined by the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act, the 10 CFR Part 61 waste classification system identified some low-level radioactive wastes that are not suitable for disposal under its regulatory framework, and alternative methods would have to be used.

In § 61.55, “Waste classification,” the NRC developed a classification system for waste for near surface disposal, which categorizes waste as Class A, B or C.  This provision also describes waste that is not generally acceptable for near-surface disposal, whose disposal methods must be more stringent than those specified for Class C waste.  This waste is referred to as GTCC waste.

Nuclear power reactors, facilities supporting the nuclear fuel cycle and other facilities and licensees outside of the nuclear fuel cycle generate the GTCC waste.  This class of wastes include:

  • plutonium- contaminated nuclear fuel cycle wastes;
  • activated metals;
  • sealed sources; and,
  • radioisotope product manufacturing wastes – i.e., wastes “occasionally generated as part of manufacture of sealed sources, radiopharmaceutical products and other materials used for industrial, education, and medical applications.”

Transuranic waste is not included in the § 61.2 definition of low-level radioactive waste.  In a 1988 amendment to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, a definition for transuranic was added.  Transuranic waste is defined as “material contaminated with elements that have an atomic number greater than 92, including neptunium, plutonium, americium, and curium, and that are in concentrations greater than 10 nanocuries per gram [(nCi/g)], or in such other concentrations as the [U.S.] Nuclear Regulatory Commission may prescribe to protect the public health and safety.”  Transuranic waste is a byproduct of nuclear research and power production and is primarily produced from spent fuel recycling, medical isotope production or nuclear weapons fabrication.  The waste may consist of rags, tools and laboratory equipment contaminated with organic and inorganic residues.

The identification and evaluation of regulatory concerns associated with land disposal of GTCC and transuranic waste will largely depend on the characteristics of the wastes – i.e., isotopes; concentrations and volumes of waste; and, physical and chemical properties.  The variable characteristics of the waste can influence the decision regarding the appropriate regulatory approach to use for management and disposal of these wastes.  Overly conservative assumptions for the inventory and characteristics could significantly limit disposal options, whereas, overly optimistic assumptions with respect to characteristics could lead to a disposal facility that may not provide adequate protection of public health and safety and security.

For additional information, please contact Cardelia Maupin of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) at (301) 415–4127 or at Cardelia.Maupin@nrc.gov.

NRC to Conduct Very Low-Level Radioactive Waste Scoping Study

On February 14, 2018, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a Federal Register notice announcing the agency’s plans to conduct a very low-level radioactive waste (VLLW) scoping study to identify possible options to improve and strengthen the NRC’s regulatory framework for the disposal of the anticipated large volumes of VLLW associated with the decommissioning of nuclear power plants and material sites, as well as waste that might be generated by alternative waste streams that may be created by operating reprocessing facilities or a radiological event.  (See 83 Federal Register 6,619 dated February 14, 2018.)

As part of the process, the NRC is seeking stakeholder input and perspectives.  Respondents are asked to consider specific questions posed by the NRC staff and other federal agencies in the Federal Register notice.  Comments are due by May 15, 2018.  Comments considered after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is only able to ensure consideration of comments received on or before the deadline.

Specific Request for Comment

The NRC is interested in receiving comments from a broad range of stakeholders including professional organizations, licensees, Agreement States and members of the public.  Likewise, interested stakeholders with insight into relevant international initiatives are invited to provide their perspectives regarding international best practices related to VLLW disposal or other experiences that the NRC staff should consider.  All comments will be considered and the results of the scoping study will be documented in a publicly available report, which will inform the Commission of the staff’s recommendation for addressing VLLW disposal.

All comments that are to receive consideration in the VLLW Scoping Study must be submitted electronically or in writing.  Respondents are asked to consider the background material (see below) when preparing their comments.  In responding, commenters are encouraged to provide specific suggestions and the basis for suggestions offered.  Specifically, the NRC staff requests comment on the following questions:

  1. The United States does not have a formal regulatory definition of VLLW. What should the NRC consider in developing its own regulatory definition for VLLW?  Is there another definition of VLLW that should be considered?  Provide a basis for your response.
  1. The existing regulatory framework within 10 CFR 61.55 divides low-level radioactive waste into four categories: Class A, Class B, Class C, and GTCC. Should the NRC revise the waste classification system to establish a new category for VLLW?  What criteria should NRC consider in establishing the boundary between Class A and VLLW categories?
  1. The NRC’s alternative disposal request guidance entitled, ‘‘Review, Approval, and Documentation of Low- Activity Waste Disposals in Accordance with 10 CFR 20.2002 and 10 CFR 40.13(a),’’ which is undergoing a revision, allows for alternative disposal methods that are different from those already defined in the regulations and is most often used for burial of waste in hazardous or solid waste landfills permitted under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Should the NRC expand the existing guidance to include VLLW disposal or consider the development of a new guidance for VLLW disposal?  Why or why not?
  1. If the NRC were to create a new waste category for VLLW in 10 CFR Part 61, what potential compatibility issues related to the approval of VLLW disposal by NRC Agreement States need to be considered and addressed? How might defining VLLW affect NRC Agreement State regulatory programs in terms of additional responsibilities or resources?
  1. Following the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985, states formed regional compacts for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste. If the NRC were to create a new waste category for VLLW, does it fall within regional compact authority to control VLLW management and disposal?  How might defining VLLW affect regional compacts in terms of additional responsibilities or resources?
  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-imposed waste analysis requirements for facilities that generate, treat, store and dispose of hazardous wastes are defined in 40 CFR Parts 264 through 270. How would NRC incorporate and apply waste analysis requirements for VLLW at RCRA Subtitle C and D facilities?  Should the NRC impose concentration limits and/or treatment standards for VLLW disposal?
  1. Are there any unintended consequences associated with developing a VLLW waste category?
  1. What analytical methods/tools should be used to assess the risk of disposing of VLLW at licensed low-level radioactive waste disposal facilities or RCRA Subtitle C and D facilities — i.e., generic or site- specific?
  1. How should economic factors be considered in the VLLW scoping study?

Submitting Comments

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

  •   Mail comments to:  May Ma, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN–2– A13, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555– 0001.

Background

In 2007, following developments in the national program for low-level radioactive waste disposal, as well as changes in the regulatory environment, the NRC conducted a strategic assessment of its regulatory program for low-level radioactive waste.  The results of this assessment were published in late 2007 in SECY–07–0180, “Strategic Assessment of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Regulatory Program.”  The strategic assessment identified the need to coordinate with other agencies on consistency in regulating low activity waste (LAW) disposal and to develop guidance that summarizes disposition options for low-end materials and waste.

In 2016, the NRC staff conducted a programmatic assessment of the low-level radioactive waste program to identify and prioritize tasks that the NRC could undertake to ensure a stable, reliable and adaptable regulatory framework for effective low-level radioactive waste management.  The results of this assessment were published in October 2016 in SECY–16–0118, “Programmatic Assessment of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Regulatory Program.”  The programmatic assessment identified the need to perform a LAW scoping study as a medium priority.

In International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Safety Guide No. GSG– 1, “Classification of Radioactive Waste,” the IAEA defines VLLW as waste that does not meet the criteria of exempt waste, but does not need a high level of containment and isolation and is therefore suitable for disposal in a near surface landfill type facility with limited regulatory control.  The NRC currently does not have a formal regulatory definition for VLLW, nor has it adopted the IAEA definition.  However, the NRC uses the term VLLW consistent with the international regulatory structure.  In general, the NRC considers VLLW as material containing some residual radioactivity, including naturally occurring radionuclides that may be safely disposed of in hazardous or municipal solid waste landfills.

The LAW scoping study, which was later renamed the VLLW scoping study, will combine several tasks initially defined in the 2007 strategic assessment into one. These tasks include:

  • coordinating with other agencies on consistency in regulating LAW;
  • developing guidance that summarizes disposition options for low-end materials and waste; and,
  • promulgating a rule for disposal of LAW.

As part of the scoping study, the NRC will also evaluate regulatory options that would define the conditions under which LAW, including mixed waste, could be disposed of in Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C hazardous waste facilities.

Consistent with SECY–16–0118, the NRC is conducting this VLLW Scoping Study, which will consider disposal of waste as defined by 10 CFR Part 61 as the isolation, by emplacement in a land disposal facility, of radioactive wastes from the biosphere that is inhabited by man and that contains his food chains.  As such, the scoping study will not address non-disposal related disposition pathways including unrestricted release, clearance, reuse or recycle of materials.

The purpose of the VLLW scoping study is to identify possible options to improve and strengthen the NRC’s regulatory framework for the disposal of the anticipated large volumes of VLLW associated with the decommissioning of nuclear power plants and waste that might be generated by alternative waste streams that may be created by fuel reprocessing or a radiological event.  Additionally, the NRC plans to evaluate regulatory options that could define the conditions under which VLLW, including mixed waste, could be disposed of in RCRA hazardous waste facilities.

For additional information, please contact Maurice Heath of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) at (301) 415–3137 or at Maurice.Heath@nrc.gov.

NRC Issues Regulatory Basis for New Decommissioning Regulations

On November 27, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published in the Federal Register the regulatory basis for proposed new regulations on the decommissioning of commercial nuclear power reactors.  (See 82 Federal Register 55, 954 dated November 27, 2017.)

The regulatory basis supports a proposed rule, which the agency expects to publish for public comment next year.

The regulatory basis titled, “Regulatory Improvements for Power Reactors Transitioning to Decommissioning,” has been assigned NRC Docket ID 2015-0070 and can be found at https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1721/ML17215AO1O.pdf.

Overview

In the regulatory basis, the NRC staff concludes that there is sufficient justification to proceed with new regulations in the following areas:

  • emergency preparedness;
  • physical security;
  • cyber security;
  • drug and alcohol testing;
  • training requirements for certified fuel handlers;
  • decommissioning trust funds;
  • financial protection requirements and indemnity agreements; and,
  • application of the backfit rule.

In many cases, these new regulations would formalize steps to transition power reactors from operating status to decommissioning, without the use of exemptions and license amendments.  The NRC staff also recommends clarifying requirements regarding topics such as spent fuel management and environmental reporting requirements.

The NRC staff recommends addressing some topics via updated guidance or inspection procedures in lieu of rulemaking.  These topics include:

  • the role of state and local governments in the decommissioning process;
  • certain staffing requirements; and,
  • aging management of certain plant systems, structures and components.

In addition to the regulatory basis, NRC staff plans to publish a revised preliminary draft of the regulatory analysis, which will update and refine the analysis of costs and benefits.

Background 

The NRC published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (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.  (See LLW Notes, November/December 2017, pp. 37-38.)  In March 2017, the agency issued a draft regulatory basis in the Federal Register.  (See LLW Notes, March/April 2107, pp. 23-24.)  The NRC staff considered public comments received during both stages in preparing this regulatory basis.

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.

The regulatory basis is publicly available in the NRC’s ADAMS online document database at accession number ML17215A010.  For additional information, please contact David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Texas Compact Commission Publishes Proposed Waste Management Rule

On November 3, 2017, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) published a proposed rule regarding the management of low-level radioactive waste within the Texas Compact in the Texas Register.  Comments on the proposed rule were due no later than the close of business on December 8, 2017. 

Copies of the proposed rule can be obtained from the Texas Compact Commission’s website at http://www.tllrwdcc.org/rules/. 

Purpose

The Texas Compact Commission is proposing a new §675.24 relating to a requirement to report on the importation of certain low-level radioactive waste for management or disposal that is not required to be disposed in the Texas Compact Facility.

In order to fulfill its responsibilities with respect to 42 United States Code, §§2021(b) – 2021(j) and §3.04(9) and §3.05(6) of the Texas Compact as set out in Texas Health and Safety Code (THSC) §403.006, the Texas Compact Commission has determined that it is in the public interest that it gather information regarding low-level radioactive waste that enters the host state irrespective of whether it requires an agreement for importation for disposal at the Texas Compact facility.

Proposed new §675.24 seeks to facilitate the gathering of that information by the way of reporting requirements after the entry of the low-level radioactive waste into the state rather than requiring approval for the importation of certain categories of low-level radioactive waste into the host state.

Proposed Rule Language

The proposed rule language is as follows:

  • 675.24. Requirement to Report on the Importation of Certain Low- Level Radioactive Waste for Management or Disposal that is not Required to be Disposed of in the Compact Facility.
  • This section is applicable only in the host state. 


(b)  This section is designed to gather information on the importation into the host state for disposal or management of certain low- level waste that:  

  • is required when shipped to be listed on Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Forms 540 or 541 (Uniform Low-Level Waste Manifest Shipping Forms);
  • is included within the definition of low-level radioactive waste found in 30 TAC §336.2(89) (relating to Definitions) as the definition is in effect on the date this section becomes effective or as 30 TAC §336.2(89) may be amended or renumbered in the future, but is not intended for disposal in the Compact Waste Facility;
  • is not low-level radioactive waste described by 42 United States Code, §2021c(b)(1); and

(4) for the purposes of this section, the material described in this subsection will be referred to as Non-Compact-Facility Low- Level Radioactive Waste (“NCFW”).  

(c) Any entity in the host state that imports NCFW must enter into an agreement with the Commission that contains a requirement that it will report to the Commission on a quarterly basis the following information with respect to each shipment of NCFW that it has received in the previous quarter:  

  • the name of the generator; 

  • the name of the state and the name of the low-level waste compact (if any) where the waste originated;
  • the activity of the waste in curies; 


(4)  the volume or weight of the waste; the date of receipt; whether the waste is being stored, processed, or otherwise managed;  

(5)  location of management; and 
 

(6)  the date of and location of disposal of that waste. 
 

(d) Quarterly reports must be submitted electronically on forms provided by the Commission and must be submitted before the 31st day after the end of each quarter of the Commission’s fiscal year.  

(e) An entity that imports low-level radioactive waste into the host state as described in subsection (c) of this section shall have entered into an agreement with the Commission within 90 days after the effective date of this section or within such time extensions thereafter as the Commission may allow. To the maximum extent possible, each agreement entered into under this section will contain provisions identical to those in each other agreement entered into under this section.  

(f) An entity that imports waste into the host state as described in subsection (c) of this section shall submit an application for entry into an agreement with the Commission electronically or on paper on a form provided by the Commission.  

(g) Failure on the part of an entity that imports waste into the host state as described in subsection (c) of this section to comply with any provision of this section or the agreement entered into pursuant to subsection (d) of this section may result in the Commission reporting such failures to the host state agency that has licensed, permitted, or otherwise authorized the operation of such entities.  

(h) The Commission may revoke or amend an agreement on its own motion or in response to an application by the agreement holder. When the Commission amends an NCFW agreement on its on motion, it may provide a reasonable time to allow the agreement holder to make the changes necessary to comply with any additional requirements imposed by the Commission. No importation of NCFW shall be allowed under any amended agreement for the importation of NCFW until:  

(1) the amendment to the NCFW agreement has been executed by both the Commission and the agreement holder; and  

(2) the agreement holder has made any changes necessary to comply with additional requirements.

Benefits and Costs

According to the Texas Register notice, the changes in the proposed rule are expected to increase the knowledge available to the Texas Compact Commission and the public with respect to the presence of low-level radioactive waste in the host state.

The notice states, “By requiring a quarterly report of certain information about low-level [radioactive] waste that enters the host state for a purpose other than disposal at the compact facility, the proposed [Texas Compact] Commission rule benefits the host state and the public by allowing more complete tracking of low-level radioactive waste that enters the host state.”

The Texas Compact Commission anticipates that businesses and individuals will have no significant additional economic costs as a result of their compliance with the proposed rule, as the new reporting requirements would require the reporting of minimal information that is already maintained by the entities required to report under the proposed new §675.24.

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

Utah DWMRC Notifies Stakeholders of Rulemaking Actions

On November 3, 2017, the Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC) notified interested stakeholders of the following rulemaking actions that were taken by the Waste Management and Radiation Control Board at its meeting on October 12, 2017:

  1. Final adoption of rule changes to incorporate the following in to Title 313 of the Utah Administrative Code and set an effective date of October 13, 2017:
  •  U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) final rule published in the May 29, 2013 Federal Register (78 Federal Register 32310) under the title of Distribution of Source Material to Exempt Persons and to General Licensees and Revision of General License and Exemptions.
  • Selected corrections and clarifications not associated with the above final rule.

 

  1. Approval to proceed with formal rulemaking and public comment with the following proposed changes to R313-25, License Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste – General Provisions, of the Utah Administrative Code:
  •   Proposed amendments to R313-25 to incorporate the rule changes required by S.B. 79 (2017 General Session) to the financial assurance requirements for a radioactive waste disposal facility.  Additional changes to the financial assurance requirements are being made for added detail to the Director’s review of and action on the financial assurance cost estimate submitted by a licensee of a radioactive waste disposal facility.

 

Additional information on the proposed changes to the radiation control rules can be found on the Division website or via the Office of Administrative Rules website for the November 1, 2017 issue (Vol. 2017, No. 21) of the Utah State Bulletin.

 For additional information, please contact Otis Willoughby of the Utah DWMRC at (801) 536-0200.

Modifications Issued re EnergySolutions’ Clive Facility License

On November 2, 2017, EnergySolutions provided notification of the approval of modifications to the Part B Permit issued by the State of Utah for the company’s Clive facility in Tooele County, Utah.  The modifications involved the following changes:

  • 2017-006477: Approval of a Class 1 modification to Revisions to Attachment II-7-1, Overall Facility Closure Cost Summary
  • 2017-006478: Approval of a Class 1 modification to Revisions to Attachment II-7-2, Closure Cost Estimate
  • 2017-006479: Approval of a Class 1 modification to Revisions to Module II, General Facility Conditions, Revision Date List

The above modifications are all related to the 2016 Annual Surety Review modification that was initially submitted on May 23, 2017.

On October 20, 2017, EnergySolutions provided notification of the approval of a modification to the Part B Permit issued by the State of Utah for the company’s Clive facility in Tooele County, Utah.  The modification involved the following changes:

  • 2017-007164: Approval of a Class 1 modification to Revisions to Attachment II-7-1, Overall Facility Closure Cost Summary

Questions regarding these modifications or requests for review of the modification applications and related documents may be directed to EnergySolutions or the Utah Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (DWMRC).

For additional information, please contact Otis Willoughby of the Utah DWMRC at (801) 536-0200 or Tim Orton of EnergySolutions at (801) 649-2000.

NYSERDA Seeks Project Manager for WVDP

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) West Valley Site Management Program (WVSMP) is seeking an experienced technical professional to join NYSERDA’s team at the Western New York Nuclear Service Center in northern Cattaraugus County, New York.

This individual will be responsible for supporting NYSERDA’s participation in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP), a joint federal-state decommissioning and radioactive waste cleanup project.  This position reports to NYSERDA’s WVDP and End-State Planning Program Manager and will involve on-site observation, monitoring, inspection and oversight of WVDP work activities.

Responsibilities

The Project Manager’s primary responsibilities will be to:

  • provide direct observation, inspection, monitoring, oversight and reporting of WVDP work activities, including (but limited to) facility demolition activities, soil excavation and waste packaging;
  • provide subject matter expert reviews of plans, procedures, work packages and radiological and chemical safety work control documents for decommissioning, deactivation and demolition activities;
  • prepare written reports and otherwise keep management fully apprised of WVDP activities, including contractor performance related to safety, regulatory compliance, cost and schedule;
  • prepare MS-Project or Primavera P6 schedules and assist other staff in the preparation of integrated project schedules;
  • represent NYSERDA at meetings with DOE, the site contractor, regulatory agencies, members of the public and other stakeholders;
  • contribute to a positive team environment, a culture of excellence and creative problem solving; and,
  • perform other responsibilities as assigned.

Qualifications

Required minimum qualifications an individual must possess include:

  • a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in engineering, health physics or industrial safety plus 5 years of relevant experience (i.e., work at the WVDP or a similar nuclear facility, including decommissioning experience, radioactive material management or radioactive waste management) or an unrelated Bachelor’s or Master’s degree plus 7 years relevant experience (work at the WVDP or a similar nuclear facility, including decommissioning experience, radioactive material management or radioactive waste management);
  • strong analytical skills including a demonstrated ability to effectively organize and evaluate quantitative information, draw conclusions and make recommendations or decisions;
  • strong organizational, planning and scheduling abilities with demonstrated proficiency in MS-Project or Primavera P6;
  • strong work ethic and resolute integrity;
  • strong written and verbal communication abilities and interpersonal skills;
  • knowledge of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations or DOE Orders and policies; and,
  • ability to work effectively outdoors in inclement weather conditions and safely negotiate unpaved walking surfaces, moderately steep slopes and uneven terrain.

 Salary

 Candidates will be considered for Project Manager through Senior Project Manager based on qualifications and experience.  An excellent benefits package is also offered. 

Application 

In order to apply for the open position, please submit a cover letter and resume to recruiter@nyserda.ny.gov.  When applying, please include Project Manager, WVDP and Job Code 473 in the Subject Line.

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

Texas Compact Commission Holds November 2017 Meeting

On November 16, 2017, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) held a regularly scheduled meeting in Austin, Texas.  It was held in Room E1.028 at the Texas Capitol, which is located at 1100 Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas.

The meeting, which began at 9:30 a.m. CDT, followed the conclusion of a one-day workshop focused on disposal options for in-compact waste generators, specifically on topics that are important to Texas generators.

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 Arizona Public Service Palo Verde; Qal-Tek (as broker); Qal-Tek (as generator); Southern Nuclear Company Hatch; and, Southern Nuclear Company Hatch Irradiated Hardware;
  • receive reports from Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) about recent site operations;
  • receive report from Chair on Texas Compact Commission activities including an update on the to-be-formed committee as a result of recent legislation;
  • report from Leigh Ing, Executive Director of the Texas Compact Commission, on her activities relating to workshops and Texas Compact Commission operations;
  • discussion and possible changes of dates and locations of future Texas Compact Commission meetings in 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

NRC Extends Comment Period re Part 61 Draft Regulatory Analysis

On November 24, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published a Federal Register notice reopening and extending the public comment period on the draft regulatory analysis, “Draft Regulatory Analysis for Final Rule: Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal.”  Among other things, the draft regulatory analysis seeks specific cost and benefit information to better inform the updated draft regulatory analysis.  (See 82 Federal Register 48,283 dated October 17, 2017.)

The comment period originally closed on November 16, 2017.  In order to allow more time for members of the public to develop and submit their comments, however, the NRC decided to reopen and extend the public comment period until December 18, 2017.

The Part 61 Working Group (P61WG) of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum), the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SC DHEC) and the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control (Utah DEQ DWMRC) previously submitted comments on the draft regulatory analysis.

The Federal Register notice requesting public comment on the draft regulatory analysis is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/10/17/2017-22459/low-level-radioactive-waste-disposal. 

Comment letters from the P61WG, South Carolina and Utah regarding the draft regulatory analysis are available on the Resources Page of the Part 61 Working Group (P61WG) website at http://part-61.org/resources/. 

For additional information, please contact Gregory Trussell, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, at (301) 415-6445 or at Gregory.Trussell@nrc.gov.

Texas Compact Commission Holds Low-Level Waste Disposal Workshop

On November 15, 2017, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (TLLRWDCC) hosted a workshop in Austin, Texas.  The workshop, which was held at the Legislative Conference Center at the Texas State Capitol, was a full-day event.

Workshop presentations focused on disposal options for in-compact waste generators, specifically on topics that are important to Texas generators.  The meeting agenda included the following:

  • 9:00 – 9:30: Welcome and Program Introduction — TLLRWDCC
  • 9:30 – 10:00: Why is Source Disposal So Important? — National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
  • 10:00 – 10:30: Superfund!  No One is Immune — Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)
  • 10:45 – 11:45: Source Storage and the 2-Year Rule — Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS)
  • 1:15 – 1:45: How Can I Dispose of My Source?  The Source Collection and Threat Reduction (SCATR) Program — Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD)
  • 1:45 – 2:15: What is a Low-Level Waste Compact?  How does a Compact Affect Me? — TLLRWDCC
  • 2:30 – 3:15: Does Texas Have a Compact Facility?  And Why Do I Care? — Waste Control Specialists (WCS)
  • 3:15 – 3:45: The Role of the TCEQ — TCEQ
  • 3:45 – 4:00: Closing Remarks — TLLRWDCC

Attendance for the workshop, for which there were 70 slots available, was free.

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

Utah Waste Management and Radiation Control Board Holds November 2018 Meeting

On November 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 meeting, which was open to the public, was held in Conference Room 3132, Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Board Room, in 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 November 2017 Board meeting:

I.   Call to Order

II.   Approval of Meeting Minutes for the October 12, 2017 Board Meeting (Board Action Item)

III.   Underground Storage Tanks Update

IV.   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 treat by stabilization waste containing High-Subcategory Mercury.  (Board Action Item)
  2. 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.  (Board Action Item)
  3. EnergySolutions, LLC request for a site-specific treatment variance from the Hazardous Waste Management Rules. EnergySolutions seeks authorization to dispose of waste containing hazardous constituents and PCBs as Underlying Hazardous Constituent.  (Board Action Item)

V.  Other Business

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

VI. 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.

Comment Period Opens re Guidance Document for Alternative Disposal Requests

On October 19, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published a notice in the Federal Register requesting comment on the draft revision to its guidance document for alternative disposal requests entitled, “Guidance for the Reviews of Proposed Disposal Procedures and Transfers of Radioactive Material Under 10 CFR 20.2002 and 10 CFR 40.13(a).”  (See 82 Federal Register 48,727 dated October 19, 2017.)

The Federal Register notice regarding the draft revision to the NRC guidance document for alternative disposal requests is available at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-10-19/pdf/2017-22694.pdf.

Purpose  The purpose of the referenced document and associated procedure is to provide guidance for NRC staff and describe the process for documenting, reviewing, and approving (on a case-by- case basis) requests received from licensees, license applicants and other entities for alternative disposal of licensed material.  The staff may authorize these requests under the provisions of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) 20.2002 and 10 CFR 40.13(a).

Scope  The procedure covers the steps that NRC staff need to take in order to review, document, and approve a request for alternative disposal of licensed material, including:

  •   entering documents into the NRC public document system, which is known as the Agency-Wide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS);
  •   establishing an Enterprise Project Identifier (EPID) and/or Cost Activity Code (CAC) for 
monitoring time charged to the project;
  •   conducting a technical review of the disposal request, including performing dose 
assessments;
  •   preparing a Safety Evaluation Report (SER) or Technical Evaluation Report (TER);
  •   preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA);
  •   coordinating with state regulatory agencies and disposal site operators;
  •   implementing a Communications Plan, where applicable, including conducting public 
meetings; and,
  •   implementing the approaches included within the All Agreement States Letter.

Although § 20.2002 and § 40.13(a) reviews are similar in most respects, there are a few differences that are described in the document.  Where there are differences between the procedures for handling the different types of requests, a sub-section for each type of request is 
provided.  Otherwise, they will be referred to collectively as ADRs.

The procedure does not cover all releases of solid materials from a licensee’s control, only those that are submitted for NRC approval under 10 CFR 20.2002 and 10 CFR 40.13(a).  The NRC’s procedures for release of solid materials are described in NUREG-1757, Volume 1, Rev. 2, Section 15.11.

Submitting Comments  Comments are due by December 18, 2017.  Comments received after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is able to assure consideration only for comments received on or before this date.

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

  •   Federal Rulemaking Web Site:  Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2017-0198.
  •   Mail comments to:  May Ma, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: OWFN-2-A13, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

Docket ID NRC-2017-0198 should be referenced when submitting comments.

For additional information, please contact Robert Lee Gladney, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, at (301) 415-1022 or Robert.Gladney@nrc.gov.

NRC Seeks Public re Draft Regulatory Analysis for Final Part 61 Rule

Specific Cost and Benefit Information Requested

On October 17, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published a Federal Register notice requesting comment on the draft regulatory analysis, “Draft Regulatory Analysis for Final Rule: Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal,” and seeking specific cost and benefit information to better inform the updated draft regulatory analysis.  (See 82 Federal Register 48,283 dated October 17, 2017.)

The Federal Register notice regarding the draft regulatory analysis for the final Part 61 rule is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/10/17/2017-22459/low-level-radioactive-waste-disposal.

Discussion  In addition to specified rule language changes, the Commission, in SRM-SECY-16-0106, also directed the NRC staff to “be informed by broader and more fully integrated, but reasonably foreseeable costs and benefits to the U.S. waste disposal system resulting from the proposed rule changes, including pass -through costs to waste generators and processors.”  To support development of the new supplemental proposed rule as directed by the Commission in SRM-SECY-16-0106, the NRC staff is seeking comment on how to improve the approach/methodology and actual cost data currently used in the draft final rule regulatory analysis to provide more accurate cost and benefit data in the final regulatory analysis.  In particular, the NRC is seeking information on any cost changes that should be incorporated into the regulatory analysis in light of the Commission’s changes to the draft final rule.

Requested Information and Comments  NRC is providing the below specific questions associated with the draft regulatory analysis (ADAMS Accession No. ML16189A050).  The questions will also be discussed at the public meeting.  The NRC staff will consider the responses to the questions as it revises the regulatory analysis.

  •   Is the NRC considering appropriate alternatives for the regulatory action described in the draft regulatory analysis?
  •   Are there additional factors that the NRC should consider in the regulatory action?  What are these factors?
  •   Is there additional information concerning regulatory impacts that the NRC should include in its regulatory analysis for this rulemaking?
  •   Are all costs and benefits properly addressed to determine the economic impact of the rulemaking alternatives?  What cost differences would be expected from moving from the discussed 1,000 year and 10,000 year compliance periods to a single 1,000 year compliance period? Are there any unintended consequences of making this revision?
  •   Are there any costs that should be assigned to those sites not planning to accept large quantities of depleted uranium for disposal in the future?
  •   Is NRC’s assumption that only two existing low-level radioactive waste sites (i.e., EnergySolutions’ Clive Utah disposal facility and Waste Control Specialists’ Texas disposal facility) plan to accept large quantities of depleted uranium for disposal in the future reasonable?
  •   What additional costs or cost savings, not already considered in the draft regulatory analysis, will the supplemental proposed rulemaking or alternatives cause to society, industry, and government?  What are the potential transfer (“pass- through”) costs to the waste generators and processors?

Submitting Comments  Comments are due by November 16, 2017.  Comments received after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is able to assure consideration only for comments received on or before this date.  Interested stakeholders may submit comments by any of the following methods:

  •   Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2011-0012.
  •   E-mail comments to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov. If you do not receive an automatic e-mail reply confirming receipt, then contact us at 301-415-1677.
  •   Fax comments to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 301- 415-1101.
  •   Mail comments to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff.

Docket ID NRC-2011-0012 should be referenced when submitting comments.

For additional information, please contact Gregory Trussell, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, at (301) 415-6445 or at Gregory.Trussell@nrc.gov.

DSWG Releases Report re Source Disposition Options and Costs

The Disused Sources Working Group (DSWG) of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) is pleased to announce the release of its report titled, “Disposition Options and Costs for Certain Radioactive Sealed Sources and Devices.”

The report is intended to serve as a companion document to educational materials released by the DSWG earlier this year including educational brochures for current and prospective licensees of radioactive sealed sources and devices.

The new report can be accessed via a link on the Resources Page of the DSWG website at http://www.disusedsources.org/resources/#disposition.

Overview  The DSWG report is intended to assist stakeholders in understanding the likely options and estimated costs related to the disposition of common radioactive sealed sources and devices.  These include industrial radiography devices, fixed industrial gauges, well logging and brachytherapy sources, portable gauges, teletherapy devices, and both self-contained and panoramic irradiators.  Common characteristics of these devices are summarized in Table 1 at the end of the document.

Readers are cautioned that the information contained in the report is intended as a guide only, providing general information about the most common types of sources and devices.  The identified costs are provided as estimates only based on current information and guidance and should not be relied upon as determinative of actual future disposal costs.

Companion Documents  The new DSWG report on disposition options and costs is intended to serve as a companion document to educational brochures for current and prospective licensees of radioactive sealed sources and devices that were developed and released earlier this year by the DSWG in conjunction with the E-34 Committee of the Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors (CRCPD).   The brochures provide information regarding the ownership and use of radioactive sealed sources and devices including:

  • understanding the life-cycle costs including initial purchase price, regulatory license fees, financial assurance, operating expenses, security and end-of-life disposition;
  • consideration of the use of alternative technologies;
  • potential liabilities of using radioactive sealed sources or devices;
  • proper management and disposition of disused sources including information about the Source Collection & Threat Reduction (SCATR) Program — including a chart documenting the diminishing cost share — and the Off-Site Source Recovery Project (OSRP); and,
  • potential liabilities of storing disused sources.

Generic versions of the educational materials—which include fillable fields to incorporate individual office logos and contact information—are now available on the DSWG website to federal, state and industry stakeholders to modify and distribute as each deems appropriate.

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 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.

Southwestern Compact Commission Hosts 76th Meeting

On October 6, 2017, the Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Commission hosted its 76th 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.
  • discuss and potential action on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) activities (i.e., sponsorship, membership, workshop, future agendas and participation);
  • update and status of EnergySolutions, Waste Control Specialists (WCS) and SONGS;
  • discuss activities and potential action on Reutilization and Reuse Program;
  • 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 and amend petitions forms.
  • financial audit report by Miers & Miers;
  • 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 Annual Governor’s Report;
  • amend fiscal year 2017-18 budget;
  • approve fiscal year 2018-19 budget;
  • review and approve Office Procedures Manual;
  • review and approve Southwestern By-Laws;
  • adopt fee schedule;
  • public comment;
  • election of officers;
  • future agenda items;
  • next meetings; and,
  • adjournment.

Members of the public were invited to attend the meeting and comment on specific agenda items as the Commission considered them.  The total public comment time on each agenda item was limited to 15 minutes.  Written material was also accepted.  A 15-minute public comment period was provided near the end of the meeting at which time members of the public were invited to bring before the Commission issues relating to low-level radioactive waste but which were not on the agenda.

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

Texas Compact Commission Holds October 2017 Meeting

On October 5, 2017, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) held a regularly scheduled meeting in Montpelier, Vermont.

The meeting began at 9:30 a.m. EDT/8:30 a.m. CDT.  It was held in Room 11 at the Vermont State House, which is located at 115 State Street in Montpelier Vermont.

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;
  • welcome by Vermont Public Service Department Commissioner June Tierney;
  • discussion by Entergy Vermont Yankee regarding the closure and decommissioning of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant;
  • consideration of and possible action on applications for importation of low-level radioactive waste from Nextera Turkey Point; Dominion Kewaunee; Dominion Kewaunee IH; Philotechnics; Alaron Veolia; PGE Diablo Canyon; EnergySolutions; Energy Palisades; Energy Palisades IH; Thomas Gray; and, RAM Services;
  • reconsideration of and possible action on an application for importation of low-level radioactive waste from Southern Nuclear Vogtle;
  • consideration of and possible action to publish for public comment in the Texas Register a proposal to adopt a new §675.24 in TAC Title 31, Part 21, Chapter 675 relating to the requirement for certain entities to report on a quarterly basis the receipt of certain low-level radioactive waste that is not required to be disposed of in the Texas Compact Facility as recommended by the Texas Compact Commission’s Rules Committee;
  • receive reports from Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) about recent site operations;
  • receive report from Chair on Texas Compact Commission activities including an update on contingency planning and legislative affairs;
  • report from Leigh Ing, Executive Director of the Texas Compact Commission, on her activities relating to future workshops, export reporting and 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

LLW Forum to Hold Spring 2018 Meeting

April 16-17, 2018 in San Francisco, California

The spring 2018 meeting of the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) will be held at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in Burlingame, California on April 16-17, 2018.  Please mark your calendars accordingly and save the date!  The Southwestern Low-Level Radioactive Waste Compact Commission is co-sponsoring the meeting with the LLW Forum.

Overview  The spring 2018 LLW Forum meeting will be held on Monday, April 16 (9:00 am – 5:00 pm) and Tuesday, April 17 (9:00 am – 1:00 pm) at:  

Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport
1333 Bayshore Highway
Burlingame, California

The Hyatt Regency is located just minutes from the San Francisco International Airport on Interstate 101.  Complimentary shuttle service is available through the hotel 24 hrs a day.  In addition, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) commuter train station with direct service to downtown San Francisco will also be available by shuttle service from the Hyatt Regency. 

Background  Officials from states, compacts, federal agencies, nuclear utilities, disposal operators, brokers/processors, industry, and other interested parties are encouraged to attend the spring 2018 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.

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

NRC Accepts Comments on Draft FY 2018-2022 Strategic Plan

On September 27, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency was seeking public comments on draft NUREG–1614, Volume 7, ‘‘Draft Strategic Plan: Fiscal Years 2018–2022.’’  The draft Strategic Plan provides the agency’s strategic goals and objectives and proposed strategies for achieving them.

In the Federal Register notice, NRC states that the agency “encourages and welcomes public comments that can help it respond to challenges and shape its strategic direction over the next four years, particularly comments on the plan’s goals, objectives, and strategies.”  (See 82 Federal Register 44,858 dated September 26, 2017.)

The Federal Register notice regarding the Draft FY 2018-2022 Strategic Plan can be found at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-09-26/pdf/2017-20538.pdf.

The draft Strategic Plan is available in NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) under Accession No. ML17254A104.

Overview  The NRC is an independent agency established by the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 that began operations in 1975 as a successor to the Atomic Energy Commission.  The NRC’s mission is to license and regulate the nation’s civilian use of radioactive materials to provide reasonable assurance of adequate protection of public health and safety, as well as to promote the common defense and security and to protect the environment.

The draft Strategic Plan, covering the period Fiscal Years (FY) 2018–2022, describes how the NRC plans to achieve its two strategic goals:

  • ensure the safe use of radioactive materials; and
  • ensure the secure use of radioactive materials.

The draft establishes a framework for the next four years for the NRC to achieve its mission.  It also provides an overview of the NRC’s responsibilities, key challenges and management priorities, and it outlines the objectives and key activities to achieve the agency’s goals.

The draft plan is largely consistent with the previous plan (FY 2014-2022) with continued focus and commitment to the NRC’s mission and strategic goals of safety and security.  The most notable change is a new vision statement, which highlights the agency’s commitment to the Principles of Good Regulation.  It also includes minor updates and editorial enhancements.

Background  In accordance with the Government Performance and Results (GPRA) Modernization Act of 2010, agencies are required to submit their strategic plans to Congress the year following the start of a Presidential term.  The Commission has approved a draft Strategic Plan and is now seeking comments from the public so that the agency may benefit from a wide range of stakeholder input to help shape the NRC’s strategic direction for the upcoming planning period.

The NRC issued its first Strategic Plan in September 1997 and, as required, it has been updated every four years since then.  The 2018-2022 edition is due to Congress and the President by
February 5, 2018. 

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

NRC Issues SRM re Final Rule for Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal (10 CFR Part 61)

On September 8, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM) in response to SECY-16-0106, which sought 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 SRM can be found online at https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1725/ML17251B147.pdf.

SRM Direction  In the SRM, the Commission approved certain substantive revisions to the draft final rule and its subsequent publication as a supplemental proposed rule for a 90-day public comment period.  Specifically, prior to its publication as a supplemental proposed rule, the SRM states that the draft final rule should be revised to incorporate the following changes:

  1. reinstate the use of a case-by-case basis (i.e., “grandfather provision”) for applying new requirements to only those sites that plan to accept large quantities of depleted uranium for disposal;
  2. reinstate the 1,000 year compliance period from the proposed rule with a specific dose limit of 25 mrem/year and adopt a longer period of performance assessment—the period of which would be based on site-specific considerations and a “reasonable analysis,” as defined in SRM-SECY-13-0075, “Proposed Rule: Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal (10 CFR Part 61) (RIN 3150-AI92))—and apply the 1,000 year compliance period to the inadvertent intruder performance objective in 10 CFR 61.42 and the site stability performance objective in 10 CFR 61.44;
  3. clarify that the safety case consists of the quantitative performance assessment, as supplemented by consideration of defense-in-depth measures;
  4. modify the draft final rule text addressing defense-in-depth to narrow its consideration solely to providing additional assurance in mitigating the effects of large uncertainties that are identified during the performance assessment; and,
  5. be informed by broader and more fully integrated, but reasonably foreseeable, costs and benefits to the United States waste disposal system resulting from the proposed rule changes, including pass-through costs to waste generators and processors.

 

The SRM notes that the timing for the staff to prepare a regulatory basis for the disposal of Greater-than- Class C (GTCC) waste as directed in SRM-SECY-15-0094, “Historical and Current Issues Related to Disposal of Greater-Than-Class C Low-Level Radioactive Waste,” should be changed from the previous direction of within six (6) months of the completion of the ongoing 10 CFR Part 61 rulemaking to six (6) months after the publication of the supplemental proposed rule.

Background  The regulations for the disposal of commercial low-level radioactive waste in land disposal facilities are set forth in 10 CFR Part 61.  NRC originally adopted these regulations in 1982.  Although the NRC has never licensed any land disposal facilities under this part, the Agreement States that currently or plan to license low-level radioactive waste land disposal facilities must adopt compatible versions of these regulations.

In SECY-13-0075, dated July 18, 2013, the NRC staff provided the Commission with a proposed rule to amend 10 CFR Part 61.  The Commission approved publication of the proposed rule in SRM-SECY-13-0075, dated February 12, 2014.  After making Commission directed changes, the NRC published the proposed rule for an initial 120-day comment period in the Federal Register on March 26, 2015.  The public comment period closed on July 24, 2015.  After receiving extension requests, the staff reopened the comment period, which then closed on September 21, 2015.

 

For additional information on the 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 Assesses Civil Penalty Against Allen County Cardiology

On September 7, 2017, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has proposed a $7,000 civil penalty against Allen County Cardiology for the failure to perform daily surveys and weekly tests while handling licensed radioactive material for use in medical procedures.  The company is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The violations were identified during an NRC inspection last year and a subsequent investigation.  The NRC determined a medical technologist willfully failed to perform daily ambient radiation exposure rate surveys and weekly area radioactive contamination surveys.  The technologist also willfully provided inaccurate and incomplete records to the agency.  Allen County Cardiology took corrective actions, which included ensuring adequate time for completing the required tasks, conducting audits and committing to have an independent health physics service perform semi-annual audits.

The NRC has concluded that the company’s actions are effective and will prevent recurrence. Agency inspectors will conduct a follow-up inspection.  A copy of the Notice of Violation has been posted on the Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) at the NRC website.

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

Southeast Compact Commission Seeks Proposals for Compensation and Benefits Study

The Southeast Compact Commission for Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management (Commission) is seeking proposals from qualified consultants to perform a salary study and analysis of fringe benefits of the Commission employees, their respective positions and job classifications as it relates to the market.

The purpose of this study is to examine the base pay and employee benefits of current positions and perform a geographical and professional market comparison of those positions.  The consultant will also recommend a five-year plan that will provide a methodology for evaluating and updating pay scales in accordance to the market.

The Commission asks that Low-Level Radioactive Waste Forum (LLW Forum) members and supporters please forward the Request for Proposals (RFP) to all firms and individuals that you are aware of who may have an interest in conducting the study and analysis described in the RFP.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) may be found at the Commission’s website at http://www.secompact.org.  

For additional information, please contact Ted Buckner, the Commission’s Executive Director, at tedb@secompact.org or at (919) 380-7780.

Registration Open for Perma-Fix Nuclear Waste Management Forum

Registration is now open for the 15th annual Perma-Fix Nuclear Waste Management Forum.  The conference will be held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee on November 27-29, 2017.  Perma-Fix Environmental Services, Inc sponsors the event.

Nuclear industry leaders that focus on the area of radioactive waste management are encouraged to 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.

According to the event notice, 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 go to www.perma-fix.com or contact Autumn Bogus of Perma-Fix Environmental Services at abogus@perma-fix.com or at (865) 251-2088.

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.