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.

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.

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 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

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.

NAS Hosts LLW Management and Disposition Workshop

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

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

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

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

Specifically, the workshop explored:

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

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

NRC Posts Additional CA BTP Implementation Questions & Answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Southeast Compact Commission Elects New Officers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overview

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

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

Section 3.05.  The commission may:

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

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

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

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

Questions for Comment

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

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

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

  1. Is quarterly reporting an appropriate reporting timeframe?

Submitting Comments

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

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

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

NRC Seeks Comments re Contaminated Material and Contaminated Trash

In a Federal Register notice issued on January 20, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency is requesting comments on whether NRC staff should formally document a position on contaminated material and contaminated trash.

In February 2015, NRC issued Revision 1 of the Branch Technical Position on Concentration Averaging and Encapsulation (CA BTP). The CA BTP provides acceptable methods that can be used to perform concentration averaging of low-level radioactive waste for the purpose of determining its waste class for disposal. When the NRC issued the revised CA BTP, it noted that one issue, distinguishing contaminated materials from contaminated trash, may need further clarification. The NRC also stated that it would consider whether additional guidance, such as a Regulatory Issue Summary (RIS), would be warranted for distinguishing contaminated materials from contaminated trash.

Interested stakeholders are requested to submit comments by March 21, 2016. Comments received after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but NRC is able to ensure consideration only for comments received before this date.

The Federal Register notice includes a list of questions for which the NRC is requesting specific comments, as well as information on how to submit comments.

NRC’s request for comments can be found at 81 Federal Register 3,166 (January 20, 2016) via the following link: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-01-20/pdf/2016-00972.pdf.

For additional information, please contact Don Lowman, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, at (301) 415– 5452 or at Donald.Lowman@nrc.gov.