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

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