San Onofre Special Inspection Pre-Decisional Enforcement Conference

On January 24, 2019, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) met with representatives of Southern California Edison Company to discuss preliminary findings of a Special Inspection it conducted at the
 San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station following a fuel-loading incident on August 3, 2018.

The meeting was held from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Central Time at the NRC’s Region IV office, which is located at 
1600 E. Lamar Boulevard in Arlington, Texas.  It was open to public observation and was broadcast via webinar.  NRC officials answered questions submitted via the Internet from the public following the business portion of the meeting.

No decision on the final safety significance of the findings identified in a November 2019 inspection report or any additional NRC actions were made at the conference.  That decision will be announced at a later date.

Overview of Issues and Inspection

On September 10-14, 2018, NRC officials conducted a Special Inspection at the San Onofre facility in San Clemente, California.  The inspection was conducted in response to the misalignment of a loaded spent fuel storage canister as it was being downloaded into the storage vault at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS).

Based on the results of the Special Inspection, two apparent violations were identified and are being considered for escalated enforcement action in accordance with the NRC Enforcement Policy.  The apparent violations involved the failure to:

  • ensure important-to-safety equipment was available to provide redundant drop protection features for a spent fuel canister during downloading operations; and,
  • make a timely notification to the NRC Headquarters Operations Center for the disabling of important-to-safety equipment on August 3, 2018.

The circumstances surrounding these apparent violations, the significance of the associated issues, and the need for corrective actions were discussed with San Onofre officials at the conclusion of the onsite inspection and during the final telephonic exit briefing.

Inspection Report

In a December 2018 letter transmitting the inspection findings to San Onofre officials, NRC stated as follows:

The NRC is concerned about apparent weaknesses in management oversight of the dry cask storage operations.  Your staff did not perform adequate direct observational oversight of downloading activities performed by your contractor, ensure adequate training of individuals responsible for performing downloading operations, provide adequate procedures for downloading operations, or ensure that conditions adverse to quality were entered into the corrective action program.  The NRC identified that a causal factor for the misalignment incident involved management weakness in the oversight of dry cask storage operations.

According to NRC’s letter, agency officials determined that three Severity Level IV violations of NRC requirements occurred.  The violations involved failures to:

  • identify conditions potentially adverse to quality for placement into San Onofre’s corrective actions program;
  • assure that operations of importance to safety equipment were limited to trained and certified personnel or under direct supervision; and,
  • provide adequate procedures for dry cask storage operations involving downloading operations.

The NRC determined the issuance of a Notice of Violation is appropriate because the actions to restore compliance have not been fully developed and implemented and the actions must be effective prior to beginning fuel-handling activities.

Background

Southern California Edison owns the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.  The plant is located in San Clemente, California.  It permanently shut down in 2013.

A copy of the November 2018 San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station inspection report is available online at https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1834/ML18341A172.pdf.  

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

Texas Compact Facility Legislative Oversight Report Released

On December 1, 2018, the Joint Compact Facility Legislative Oversight Committee (Joint Committee) submitted its report on the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact (Texas Compact) facility to the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Economic Development and the House Committee on Environmental Regulation.

The Joint Committee was established pursuant to House Bill (HB) 2662, which was passed by the 85th Legislature during the regular session.  The Joint Committee heard invited and public testimony during a scheduled hearing on September 6, 2018.

Charge

Since opening in 2012, Waste Control Specialists (WCS) has operated at a loss.  According to the Joint Committee’s report, “there is continued concern that the current regulatory scheme, including fee allocation, is prohibitively cumbersome and that it may prevent any owner of the Facility from operating at a profit.”

The following is the charge for the Joint Committee pursuant to HB 2662:

Assessment of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact facility to include recommendations relating to costs, fees, and any other matters the legislative oversight committee determines are relevant to the compact facility and oversight of the compact facility. Report must include the results of the assessment.

Recommendations

The following overview of the Joint Committee’s recommendations includes detailed excerpts from the report.  Interested stakeholders seeking additional information should review the report in its entirety.

  • Waste Disposal Rates for In-Compact Generators The Joint Committee recognized the intent of the rate rule, while acknowledging that current compliance regulations pose a risk to the financial viability of a private operator.  The Joint Committee expressed a desire to retain the spirit of the rate rule by providing low prices to in-compact generators, but recognized that the contract review process has proven to be an impediment to WCS’s desire to participate in the free market for out-of-compact waste.  In the Committee’s discussion of the rate rule and pricing issue, a number of possible solutions were developed to the issues posed by the rate rule. The proposals included accepting WCS’ request to untether non-compact waste from the rate rule; creating a floating rate that is more adaptable to market conditions; and, developing quicker mechanisms to ensure compliance.
  • Contract Review The Joint Committee expressed concerns with allowing private companies to audit another private company with whom they are actively negotiating contracts due to the inequitable negotiating position in which WCS would be placed.  The Joint Committee further expressed concerns with adopting an alternative compliance mechanism without specificity in how it would be implemented.  Absent a sufficient regulatory framework, if in-compact generators and WCS ever disagreed on compliance with a contract, a potential for routine litigation may be created.  The Joint Committee recognized that untethering the out-of-compact rates would eliminate the need for a cumbersome contract review process.  The Joint Committee also discussed statutory changes that would allow TCEQ to review an aggregation of contracts rather than reviewing them on an individual basis.  Practically speaking, TCEQ would review both in-compact and out-of-compact contracts over a certain period of time and compare the average rates for each to verify compliance.
  • Fees and Surcharges The Joint Committee discussed the amount and purpose of the fees and surcharges assessed on both in-compact and out-of-compact waste.  The Joint Committee recognized that the default surcharge levels of 36.25% and 16.25% are excessive, especially in light of WCS’s competitor’s surcharges, and found that a reduction in fees may be reasonable.  The Joint Committee further recognized that reducing the surcharges would result in an increase in both in-compact and out-of-compact waste because WCS would be able to offer more competitive rates.  The Joint Committee considered that despite reducing the surcharges, the state might actually receive a greater financial benefit due to the increased volume of waste disposed that would be incentivized by lower surcharges.
  • Waste Disposal Capacity The Joint Committee recognized the balancing that is needed to ensure there is capacity for in-compact generators while also allowing WCS to accept imported waste to finance the operation and expansion of the facility.  In discussing this balance, a number of suggestions were made.  One suggestion was to aggregate the 275,000 annual curie limit over ten years, meaning the limit on imported waste would be 2.75 million curies over ten years.  This would provide WCS with the flexibility to bid on potential larger contracts without eliminating or increasing the average annual curie limit.  The Joint Committee noted that ARDT is requesting that capacity be guaranteed for in-compact waste without a guarantee that the in-compact generators will use the CWF instead of the alternative disposal and storage options.  Furthermore, imposing such a requirement necessarily requires a capital investment by WCS, while at the same time impeding their ability to compete for profit generating contracts.  In light of this, the Joint Committee also discussed imposing “take or pay” provisions.  This would require the in-compact generators to either use the facility or pay a fee for not meeting certain disposal quotas.  This would likely be based on ARDT’s suggested operational trigger that considers average historic volume disposed.  Requiring the in-compact generators to prepay for capacity was also an option discussed.  This would provide WCS with the capital necessary to build out capacity and also serve to incentivize in-compact generators to use the facility.
  • Fixed Costs/Costs of a State-Operated Facility The Joint Committee discussed alternatives to having a private operator for the CWF as it currently exists.  The Joint Committee unanimously expressed concerns regarding the potential cost if the state were to operate the CWF.  Furthermore, when specifically asked if TCEQ possesses the requisite expertise to manage and operate a CWF, TCEQ acknowledged that they do not.  The Joint Committee recognized that no existing state agency or office has the requisite expertise or ability to maintain and operate a CWF.  The state would thus need to appropriate funds to secure a contractor to operate the site on the state’s behalf.
  • Contingency Plan In response to the testimony provided by the Texas Compact Commission, the Joint Committee expressed serious concerns that a comprehensive contingency plan has yet to be developed, notwithstanding the Commission’s reservations about directing the state to take prescribed actions without input from a designated state office or agency.  While the Joint Committee recognized that the Texas Compact Commission does not have authority to access funds to implement the plan, it stated that the legislature could appropriate those funds separately, should the need arise to implement the plan.

Background

Texas and Vermont are currently members of Texas Compact for the purposes of assuring that each state is able to efficiently and safely dispose of low-level radioactive waste.  Per the terms of the Texas Compact, the State of Texas serves as the host state, meaning that Texas is responsible for providing a CWG to dispose of low-level waste generated within each state.  In exchange for serving as the host state, Texas received $25 million from Vermont.  The Texas Compact created the Texas Compact Commission whose primary responsibility is to ensure capacity at the CWF is available for the in-compact generators.

By far the largest generators of low-level waste are the nuclear power plants in each state.  There are two operational plants located in Texas and one plant in Vermont, the latter of which is expected to begin decommissioning in late 2019.  Other generators include universities and hospitals and research facilities.  The in-compact generators are represented by ARDT.

The Texas Compact creates a distinction between “in-compact waste” and “imported waste” or “non- compact waste.”  In-compact waste refers to waste generated from within the member states of Texas and Vermont.  Imported waste, or non-compact waste, is waste generated in any other state.  There are currently 34 states that are not in a compact or do not have a facility at which they can dispose of certain classes of low-level waste, namely Class B and Class C waste.

In order to satisfy Texas’ obligations under the Texas Compact, the state initially took steps to develop a CWF known as the Sierra Blanca site in Hudspeth County.  The site was ultimately unsuccessful in obtaining a license from the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC).  Subsequently, the legislature created a regulatory structure that allowed for a private operator to receive a permit to construct and operate the CWF.  WCS applied for, and was granted, a permit from the TCEQ – the regulatory agency responsible for permitting radioactive waste in Texas. WCS then financed the construction of the CWF, understanding that the state assumes legal liability for the waste buried at the CWF.

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

US Ecology Announces Purchase of Ecoserv Industrial Disposal

On November 14, 2018, US Ecology announced the acquisition of Ecoserv Industrial Disposal — a wholly owned subsidiary of Ecoserv and a leading provider of non-hazardous industrial wastewater disposal solutions in the Gulf Coast.

Overview

The Ecoserv Industrial Disposal facility employs deep-well injection technology and is strategically positioned within reach of key markets such as Houston and Beaumont in Texas and Lake Charles in Louisiana.  The facility serves refinery, petrochemical and environmental services customers.  Total consideration for the business and related property was $87.2 million, subject to a working capital adjustment, and will be funded from cash on hand and US Ecology’s existing credit facility.

“This acquisition adds unique, high volume industrial liquids disposal capabilities, complements other investments we’ve made in the region, and strengthens our comprehensive environmental services offerings,” commented US Ecology Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Feeler.  “The facility, permitted for a wide variety of non-hazardous industrial waste including solids, sludges, leachate, and ammonia, offers a lower cost alternative to traditional wastewater treatment.”

The transaction closed on November 14, 2018.  It will be reported as part of the Environmental Services segment.  The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings per share.  US Ecology expects no significant financial impact to 2018 earnings per share or Adjusted EBITDA for the six weeks of ownership in 2018 and reaffirms its previously issued 2018 earnings guidance that was disclosed in the company’s third quarter earnings release on November 1, 2018.  US Ecology expects the acquisition to contribute approximately $9.0 million to $10.0 million of Adjusted EBITDA in 2019. 

Background

US Ecology is a North American provider of environmental services to commercial and government entities.  The company addresses the complex waste management needs of its customers, offering treatment, disposal and recycling of hazardous, non-hazardous and radioactive waste, as well as a wide range of complementary field and industrial services.

“US Ecology’s focus on safety, environmental compliance and best–in-class customer service enables us to effectively meet the needs of our customers and to build long-lasting relationships,” states the company’s press release.  “US Ecology has been protecting the environment since 1952 and has operations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.”

For additional information, please contact Joe Weismann at (208) 331-8400 or at jweismann@usecology.com or go to www.usecology.com.

Comment Period Extended re Proposed Texas Interim Storage Facility

On October 19, 2018, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has extended the public comment period on the scope of its environmental review of an application by Interim Storage Partners to construct and operate a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas.  The new deadline for comment is November 19, 2018.

The extension was announced at 83 Federal Register 53,115 (October 19, 2018).

Project History

Waste Control Specialists (WCS) initially filed the application in April 2016.  However, in April 2017, WCS requested that the NRC suspend its review pending the anticipated sale of the company. In January 2018, WCS was sold to J.F. Lehman & Co.  In March 2018, WCS and international nuclear supplier Orano formed Interim Storage Partners as a joint venture to take over the spent fuel storage project.  The new company submitted a revised application to the NRC in June 2018.

When NRC’s review was suspended last year, the staff was in the process of receiving public comment on the scope of its environmental review and had issued a notice of opportunity for an adjudicatory hearing.  (See LLW Notes, January/February 2017, pp. 18-19.)  According to NRC’s press release, those processes will now resume.  The staff will consider all comments previously received on the scope of the environmental review.

Review Process

The NRC completed its administrative review of the revised application and informed Interim Storage Partners of its decision to resume the review in a letter dated August 21, 2018.  The staff expects to complete its safety, security and environmental reviews in the summer of 2020.

On September 4, 2018, the NRC published a notice in the Federal Register requesting additional public comment on environmental issues to be considered in its environmental impact statement.  (See 83 Federal Register 44, 922.)  Comments will be accepted through October 19, 2018.

In a separate notice that was published in the Federal Register on August 29, 2018 – and then subsequently corrected in a Federal Register notice that was published on August 31, 2019 – the NRC announced an opportunity to request a hearing through October 29, 2018.  The notices include detailed instructions on how to file a hearing request or submit public comment.

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 requested 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 David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Texas Compact Commission Holds October 2018 Meeting

On October 11, 2018, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) held a regularly scheduled meeting in Manchester, Vermont.  Interested stakeholders were able to participate on the campus of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in Austin, Texas.  No member of the Commission was present at the Austin location.

The following items were on the agenda for the Texas Compact Commission meeting:

  • 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 Duke Brunswick, Dale Brunswick IH, Exelon, Southern Nuclear Company – Vogtle, Arizona Public Service, Tennessee Valley Authority and Tennessee Valley Authority IH;
  • consideration of and possible action on an application for exportation of low-level radioactive waste from UT HSC – Ameriphysics;
  • consideration of and possible action on amendments to an existing agreement with Entergy Grand Gulf;
  • 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 Compact Commission;
  • report from Commissioner Morris, Chair on 31 TAC §675.24 relating to 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;
  • discussion and possible action on the adoption of an amendment or amendments to the Commission’s Bylaws authorizing the reimbursement of members of the Commission and staff for reasonable and appropriate gratuities with limitations and guidelines for such reimbursements;
  • discussion and possible action relating to long term planning and actions of the Commission relating to fiscal matters, staff roles, public reporting concerning low-level radioactive waste imported in to the compact states and methods and requirements for such data collection;
  • discussion of a Contingency Plan for the Compact Facility;
  • receive report from Chair on Texas Compact Commission activities including an update on fiscal matters to be taken by the compact, H.B. 2662 Legislative Committee meeting and addressing personnel matters;
  • report from Leigh Ing, Executive Director of the Texas Compact Commission, on her activities relating to Texas Compact Commission operations including change in office location, industry conferences and Texas Compact Commission Annual Report;
  • discussion and possible changes of dates and locations of future Texas Compact Commission meetings in 2018 and 2019; 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

Governor Appoints Salsman and Edwards To Texas Compact Commission

On August 24, 2018, it was announced that Texas Governor Greg Abbott has reappointed John Salsman and appointed Lisa Edwards to the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission for terms to expire on September 1, 2023.  The Texas Compact Commission manages the disposition of low-level radioactive waste, while maintaining the health, safety and welfare of citizens.

Appointments

John Salsman is the Director of the Environmental Health and Safety Department at the University of Texas at Austin.  He is a member of the Health Physics Society (HPS) and the American Academy of Health Physics.  Salsman received a Bachelor of Science in radiation protection engineering and a Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering from Texas A&M University.  He lives in of Driftwood, Texas.

Lisa Edwards is a Senior Program Manager of Chemistry, Radiation Safety, and High-Level Radioactive Waste at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).  Edwards received a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Cornell College.  She lives in Granbury, Texas.

Background

The Texas Compact Commission meets several times per year in both Texas and Vermont.  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.

The Texas Compact Commission is next scheduled to meet in Manchester, Vermont on October 11, 2018.

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

Toshiba Withdraws from Two Planned South Texas Project Reactors

On June 7, 2018, Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corporation — a U.S. wholly owned subsidiary of Japan’s Toshiba Corporation — announced plans to withdraw from a project to build two additional advanced boiling water reactor units at the South Texas Project (STP) site in Matagorda County, Texas.

According to news reports and a company press release, Toshiba officials scrapped their involvement in the estimated $15 million project due to a lack of investors.

Overview

According to a press release from Toshiba, company officials plan to cancel all contracts related to Nuclear Innovation North America (NINA), which was established by an agreement with NRG Energy Inc. in 2008 for the purpose of building the two additional STP units.  The corporation will also cancel an engineering, procurement and construction contract it signed in 2009 with STP, as well as canceling deferred loans and forgiving loans under loan contracts.

“Under current and expected economic conditions, further development of STP Units 3 and 4 has ceased to be financially viable,” stated a press release from Toshiba.  “In these circumstances, there is no clear pathway to securing profitability.”

Tim Powell, President and CEO of STP, stated in the release that a meeting of NINA’s Board of Directors is expected in the coming weeks to determine the future of STP Units 3 and 4.  “While the further development of Units 3 and 4 are in question, I want to assure you that the safe and reliable operation of Units 1 and 2 remains the commitment of each and every employee at STP,” stated Powell.  “These units continue to be vital to the resilience and reliability of the Texas grid and we are focused on maintaining the exemplary performance we have achieved and creating further value for the community we call home.”

“With our recently granted 20-year life extension for Units 1 and 2, that mission will continue today, tomorrow and for many years to come,” continued Powell.  “STP remains a proud partner of Matagorda County and the South Texas region for over 30 years and will remain so as we continue to move forward.”

According to the release, Toshiba officials intend to meet with the NINA Board of Directors and continue the necessary withdrawal procedures with NRG.  The release states that the corporation will have completely withdrawn from the project by the end of the year.

Combined License

In February 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued two Combined Licenses (COL) for the STP site in Texas.  Based on the mandatory hearing on NINA’s application, the Commission found the staff’s review adequate to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings.

NRC staff imposed several conditions on the license, including:

  •   specific actions associated with the agency’s post-Fukushima requirements for Mitigation Strategies and Spent Fuel Pool Instrumentation;
  •   requiring monitoring and analysis of the reactors’ steam dryers during initial plant startup, in line with current procedures for existing boiling-water reactors approved to operate at increased power levels; and,
  •   setting a pre-startup schedule for post-Fukushima aspects of the new reactor’s emergency preparedness plans and procedures.

Background

  • The NRC certified the 1,300-megawatt ABWR design in 1997. On September 20, 2007, NINA submitted its application for the licenses.
  • 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 (FSER). The ACRS, a group of experienced technical experts, advises the Commission—independently from the NRC staff—on safety issues related to the licensing and operation of nuclear power plants, as well as on issues of health physics and radiation protection.
  • The NRC completed its environmental review and issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed STP reactors in February 2011. Four years later, on February 19, 2015, the ACRS provided the results of its review to the Commission. The NRC completed and issued the FSER on September 29, 2015.

STP’s two units produce 2,700 megawatts of carbon-free electricity — providing clean energy to 2 million Texas homes.  According to STP officials, Units 3 and 4 would have doubled that production output and could have created about 800 additional jobs.

Additional information on the certification process is available on the NRC web site at nrc.gov. For additional information, please contact Scott Burnell of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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 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.

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

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.

Texas Compact Commission Holds August 2016 Meeting

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

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

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

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

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

Texas LLRW Disposal Compact Commission to Meet

April 7, 2016 in Andrews County, Texas

On April 7, 2016, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) will hold a regularly scheduled meeting in Andrews County, Texas.  The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. CDT.  It will be held in the Glorietta Room at the Business and Technology Center, which is located at 201 NW Ave. D in Andrews County, Texas.

There will be no live-feed available.  However, the meeting will be recorded and made available on the Public Meetings page of the Texas Compact Commission’s web site at www.tllrwdcc.org.

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;
  • discussions and possible action on conditions for import associated with Thermo Process Instruments import agreement;
  • 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);
  • discussion and possible action to authorize the Chair to execute a contract for an auditor to conduct annual audits each year as required by Article III, Section 3.04(5) of the Texas Compact Commission Consent Act;
  • discussion and possible action to authorize the Chair not to exceed $25,000 to contract with a person to provide technical and support services for the Texas Compact Commission from May 1, 2016 through August 31, 2016;
  • discussion and possible action to authorize the Chair to acquire office space on behalf of the Texas Compact Commission in Austin, Texas in order to meet the requirement of Article III, Section 3.04(3) of the Texas Compact Commission Consent Act that the Commission be located in the capitol city of the host state;
  • 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, Consulting Supervisory Director of the Texas Compact Commission, on her activities and questions related to Texas Compact Commission operations;
  • discussion and possible changes of dates and locations of future Texas Compact Commission meetings in 2016 and 2017; and,
  • adjourn.

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

 

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

New Reactor Licenses to be Issued for South Texas Project

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has cleared the way for the agency’s Office of New Reactors to issue two Combined Licenses (COL) for Nuclear Innovation North America’s (NINA) South Texas Project site in Texas. Based on the mandatory hearing on NINA’s application, the Commission found the staff’s review adequate to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings.

Following the Commissioners’ direction, the NRC staff will work to issue the COLs promptly. The licenses will authorize NINA to build and operate two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) at the site near Bay City, Texas. The South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company already operates two reactors at the site.

The staff will impose several conditions on the license, including:

  •  specific actions associated with the agency’s post-Fukushima requirements for Mitigation Strategies and Spent Fuel Pool Instrumentation;
  • requiring monitoring and analysis of the reactors’ steam dryers during initial plant startup, in line with current procedures for existing boiling-water reactors approved to operate at increased power levels; and,
  • setting a pre-startup schedule for post-Fukushima aspects of the new reactor’s emergency preparedness plans and procedures. 


NINA submitted its application for the licenses on September 20, 2007. 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 (FSER). The ACRS, a group of experienced technical experts, advises the Commission—independently from the NRC staff—on safety issues related to the licensing and operation of nuclear power plants, as well as on issues of health physics and radiation protection.

  • The ACRS provided the results of its review to the Commission on February 19, 2015. The NRC completed its environmental review and issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed South Texas Project reactors in February 2011. The NRC completed and issued the FSER on September 29, 2015. The NRC certified the 1,300-megawatt ABWR design in 1997.

Additional information on the certification process is available on the NRC web site at nrc.gov. For additional information, please contact Scott Burnell of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Texas Compact Commission to Meet in Austin on February 4, 2016

Agenda Items Include Discussion re Proposed Import Approval Approach and Reduction of Curie Amounts Previously Authorized

On February 4, 2016, the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) will hold a regularly scheduled meeting. The meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., will be held in Room E1.028 of the Texas Capitol located in Austin, Texas.

Links to View Meeting

The links to view the meetings at the Texas Capitol are:

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;
  • discussion and possible action with respect to ensuring payments and reimbursements from the Texas State Treasury to vendors, contractors, and other persons to whom the Texas Compact Commission is indebted;
  • discussion and consideration of and possible action on the limitation of authorization of disposal of curie amounts to ensure maintenance of the curie limit for the compact facility as specified in Texas Health and Safety Code (THSC) 401.207(e) including a reduction of curie amounts previously authorized;
  • consideration of and possible action on requests for amendment to agreements for importation of low-level radioactive waste from the Arizona Public Service; Entergy Fitzpatrick; and, Philotechnics;
  • consideration of and possible action on an application and proposed agreement from Entergy Operations, Inc.—River Bend Station for importation of low-level radioactive waste whereby 40,000 curies of the originally requested 80,000 curies was continued from the Texas Compact Commission meeting that was held on October 1, 2015;
  • consideration of and possible action on applications and proposed agreements for importation of low-level radioactive waste from Florida Power & Light Turkey Point; Entergy Pilgrim Station; Susquehanna Nuclear; NextEra Seabrook; and, RAM Services;
  • consideration of and possible action on a petition and proposed order for exportation of low-level radioactive waste from Bionomics TAMU EH&S; Bionomics TAMU NSC; and, Philotechnics Pet Net Solutions;
  • 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, Consulting Supervisory Director of the Texas Compact Commission, on her activities and questions related to Texas Compact Commission operations;
  • discussion and possible changes of dates and locations of future Texas Compact Commission meetings in 2016; and,
  • 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 Consulting Supervisory Director Leigh Ing at (512) 305-8941 or at leigh.ing@tllrwdcc.org.

Texas Compact Seeks Comment re Proposed Import Approval Approach

The Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission (Texas Compact Commission) is seeking comments on a proposed process for approving import applications for the disposal of low-level radioactive waste into the Compact Waste Facility that is operated by Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) and located in Andrews County, Texas.

Under the laws of the State of Texas, no more than 275,000 curies of low-level radioactive waste may be disposed at the Compact Waste Facility in a fiscal year. Therefore, the Texas Compact Commission is working to develop and institute an import prioritization process that would provide the maximum chance of curies being available for shipment to those generators that are able to ship to the Compact Waste Facility.

The Texas Compact Commission’s proposed concept paper, which is titled “A Process for Conditional Approval of Authorization to Dispose of Curies,” states as follows:

  1. Generally, the Commission will continue to enter into agreements with generators and brokers for importation of nonparty low-level radioactive waste for disposal (“Agreement”) in the Texas-Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Facility (“Facility”) that are effective on the date of approval by the Commission through August 31 (the last day of the Facility’s operational year). Generators and brokers may submit applications for future operational years, but those applications will be considered in light of this policy.
  1. Starting with the February 4, 2016 meeting, all Agreements to import and dispose of a total volume of waste that contains more than 2,000 Curies during an operational year will be entered on a conditional basis.
  1. The conditions that will be included in any Agreement to import and dispose of more than 2,000 Curies will include (but not be limited to):
  • A condition providing that no shipments may be made under the Agreement without further authorization from the Commission.
  • A condition requiring that no less than 15 days before a shipment is made under the Agreement, the Generator or Broker shall provide the Commission a written notice containing evidence satisfactory to the Commission that a shipment will be made on the date proposed in the notice and that it will contain a specifically identified number of Curies. It is acknowledged that weather or other unforeseen conditions may cause a nominal delay of shipment, but that delay shall not exceed 5 days, or a new condition removal letter will be required.
  • A condition providing that no shipment will be made until the Generator or Broker has received a written communication from the Commission that: (1) it has received the notice from the Generator or Broker; (2) it is satisfied that the shipment will be made on the proposed date and that it will contain the proposed number of Curies; and (3) the disposal of the waste listed in the notice will not cause the total number of Curies disposed at the Compact facility to exceed the maximum yearly allowances for that operating year.
  • A condition memorializing the understanding of the Generator or Broker that the Agreement is null and void and no further shipments can be made pursuant to the Agreement on or after the date during an operating year that the Facility has received low-level radioactive waste containing 275,000 Curies.

In addition to seeking comments on the overall proposed process, the Texas Compact Commission requests that stakeholders submit responses to the following questions:

  1. What is an appropriate threshold for issuing Curies conditionally? For import applications with Curie requests above the threshold, Curies would be issued conditionally by the Commission as opposed to the current practice of issuing them unconditionally. The proposed Concept Paper proposes 2,000 Curies as that limit.
  1. What would be appropriate documentation for demonstrating proof of a shipment is imminent? Is there a document that generators and brokers already use such that a new form would not need to be created and used? Are there good examples we could use should a new form need to be developed?
  1. How many days prior to a shipment are generators certain that the shipment will occur? The proposed Concept Paper proposes 15 days.
  1. How many days prior to a shipment are generators reasonably certain of the shipment’s Curie value?

Comments on the above questions and the proposed concept paper are due by January 25, 2016.

A cover letter with additional information and the proposed concept paper are available on the Texas Compact Commission’s web site at http://www.tllrwdcc.org/.

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