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

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 and search for Docket ID NRC-2011-0012.
  •   E-mail comments to 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

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

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 or Stephen Dembeck at (301) 415-2342 or at


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

Possession License Issued to Army for Depleted Uranium at Multiple Installations

In late March 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has added 15 installations to a license authorizing the U.S. Army to possess depleted uranium (DU).  The original license, issued in October 2013, applied to two sites in Hawaii.  The Army will use the same programs for environmental monitoring, radiation safety and physical security at all sites.

The DU comes from “spotting rounds” used with the Davy Crockett weapons system to assist with targeting accuracy.  The Army trained with this system at the sites in the 1960s.  The license allows the Army to possess and manage up to 12,567 pounds of DU and limits the amount at each site.  It requires the Army to comply with NRC regulations and standards for protecting the public and the environment from radiation, and is subject to NRC inspections and periodic reviews.  The license does not authorize the Army to use the DU or decommission the sites without additional review and approval by the NRC.


In 1978, a license allowing the Army to manufacture and distribute the DU spotting rounds issued by the NRC’s predecessor (the Atomic Energy Commission) expired at the Army’s request.  Under the earlier license, the Army distributed the spotting rounds to a number of Army installations for testing, training and deployment.  Each round contained about six ounces of DU.

In November 2006, the Army told the NRC that it had discovered DU fragments at the Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu.  Following that discovery, the Army reviewed old records and determined the Davy Crockett system was tested at other installations.  The Army has enough DU at these sites that, under the Atomic Energy Act and NRC regulations, it is required to have a possession license.

Amendment License

The initial license applied to Schofield Barracks on the island of Oahu and the Pohakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawaii.  The amendment license now also applies to

  • Forts Benning and Gordon (Georgia);
  • Forts Campbell and Knox (Kentucky);
  • Fort Carson (Colorado);
  • Fort Hood (Texas);
  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord/Yakima Training Center (Washington);
  • Fort Bragg (North Carolina);
  • Fort Polk (Louisiana);
  • Fort Sill (Oklahoma);
  • Fort Jackson (South Carolina);
  • Fort Hunter Liggett (California);
  • Fort Wainwright (Alaska);
  • Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst (New Jersey); and,
  • Fort Riley (Kansas).

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