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

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

ACRS Subcommittee Discusses Proposed Part 61 Final Rule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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