[Federal Register: March 13, 1995 (Volume 60, Number 48)] [Notices] [Page 13424-13425] From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov] [DOCID:fr13mr95-46]
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Strategy for Management and Disposal of Greater-Than-Class C Low-Level Radioactive Waste
AGENCY: Office of Environmental Management, Department of Energy.
ACTION: Notice of inquiry.
SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Environmental Management, is soliciting public and stakeholder input to the development of a strategy for management and disposal of greater-than-Class C low-level waste (GTCC LLW). Public workshops to discuss strategy options will be held in April 1995. The Department is inviting interested parties to prepare written input for use in developing the strategy, and to present their views at the workshops.
DATES AND ADDRESSES:
Two public workshops are planned for the purpose of obtaining public and stakeholder input to the DOE's strategy for management and disposal of GTCC LLW. Those planning to attend the workshops are requested to notify the identified DOE contact office by telephone to assure adequate meeting room space is provided.
Attendees should also notify the DOE in advance of the workshops, if they would like a specific time allocation for presentation of their views or have comments that will be useful in developing the workshop agendas. Dates and locations for the two workshops are as follows:
April 11, 1995--Washington, DC, area (near Dulles International Airport), Hyatt Dulles, 2300 Dulles Corner Boulevard, Herndon, VA 22071, Telephone (703) 713-1234 or toll-free 1-800-233-1234. A block of lodging rooms for workshop attendees will be held until April 1, 1995, under the heading ``GTCC DOE Strategy Workshop.''
April 13, 1995--Portland, Oregon, Red Lion Hotel Lloyd Center, 1000 N.E. Multnomah, Portland, OR 97232, telephone (503) 281-6111, or toll-free 1-800-541-1111. A block of lodging rooms for workshop attendees will be held until March 29, 1995, under the heading ``GTCC Strategy Workshop.''
The decision to convene two workshops in separate locations was based solely on consideration of attendee convenience; the workshops will be identical in planned format. Each workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. The morning session will be devoted to presentations by DOE and contractor personnel that provide background information on the GTCC LLW program strategy development, summaries of the two program reassessment reports, and description of the DOE's tentative program management strategy.
Adequate time will be allowed during these presentations for question-and-answer discussions pertinent to the material presented. The afternoon session will be devoted to discussion of stakeholder comments and suggestions on the GTCC LLW management and disposal strategy options. A verbatim transcription will be made of the workshop proceedings.
Written comments will also be incorporated into the proceedings, if received by the DOE no later than April 28, 1995. Workshop attendance is not required for submittal of written comments. All stakeholder comments and suggestions, both written and oral, will be addressed by the DOE in further developing and finalizing the GTCC LLW program strategy.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Questions or comments regarding this strategy development process, plans for the public workshops, or submittal of comments should be addressed to Mr. Terry L. Plummer, U. S. Department of Energy, Office of Environmental Management (EM-32), Trevion II, Washington, DC 20585-0002, Telephone: (301) 903-7176.
Greater-Than-Class C low-level waste (GTCC LLW) is commercially generated low-level waste that exceeds the quantitative Class C limits presented in Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations, part 61 (10 CFR 61), entitled ``Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste.''
In accordance with the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985 (Public Law 99-240, referred to herein as ``the Act''), the federal government is responsible for disposal of GTCC LLW that is generated by licensees of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Although the Act does not describe the particular approach or schedule for providing disposal capability, it requires that such disposal must be performed in a facility licensed by the NRC. NRC indicates that this material requires more stringent disposal methods than Class C LLW, and in the absence of specific proposals for disposal of such waste in a disposal site licensed pursuant to part 61 that are approved by the Commission, such wastes must be disposed of in a geologic repository as defined in part 60 (see 10 CFR 61.55(a)(2)(iv)).
The Department of Energy (DOE) is assumed to be the Federal agency responsible for GTCC LLW disposal. Preliminary schedule forecasts indicate that GTCC LLW disposal capability may not be available for about 20 years or more. The DOE recognizes that during that time, some waste generators may be unable to provide continued safe storage for their GTCC LLW while disposal capability is being developed. Therefore, the DOE's strategy to date has maintained an option for DOE acceptance of GTCC LLW for storage prior to disposal, subject to terms and conditions that have not yet been established.
In recent years, GTCC LLW characterization studies have shown that projected GTCC LLW quantities (roughly 2,000 cubic meters through year 2035) are low relative to other radioactive waste types and earlier estimates. In addition, economic evaluations of alternative disposal concepts that would meet 10 CFR 61 licensing requirements have indicated that the unit costs for separate GTCC LLW disposal would be much higher than is warranted by the low quantities and potential hazards of the waste. Therefore, the DOE initiated a program reassessment activity to identify strategy revisions that could effectively minimize the potential adverse impacts of GTCC LLW management and disposal scenarios.
Relationship to the Department's
Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS)
The PEIS does not address specific management options for GTCC LLW, but indicates that future options will be developed. These stakeholder workshops will begin the process of identifying GTCC LLW management options. The final management strategy selected for GTCC LLW will be addressed in supplemental National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documentation to be consistent with the PEIS.
Two independent program reassessment activities have been performed under the DOE's GTCC LLW Management Program: (1) a reassessment performed by EG&G Idaho, Inc. (now Lockheed Idaho Technologies Company) was based on proposed resolutions for known programmatic issues, and (2) a reassessment by Rogers and Associates Engineering Corporation postulated approaches for minimizing adverse cost, environmental, institutional, and safety impacts.
The results of both reassessment studies have been used by DOE in the tentative selection of a strategy for GTCC LLW management and disposal. Copies of the reassessment reports are available from the DOE upon request.The Department is evaluating the feasibility of recovering radioactive material, including sealed source material, under the authority of the Atomic Energy Act. DOE is considering a recycle/reuse program for such recovered material that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has identified as material of public health and safety concern.
The Department has recovered sealed sources in the past that represented immediate threats to public health and safety at the request of NRC. Supplemental NEPA documentation will be required. Depending on its characteristics, any sealed source material that is not recycled may be added to the inventory of GTCC LLW for disposal.
(1) Pursue co-disposal of GTCC LLW with spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste in a geologic repository as the preferred co-disposal option. The repository will be an NRC-licensed facility that the NRC deems acceptable for GTCC LLW disposal, as well as for spent nuclear fuel and High Level Waste. Most of the projected GTCC LLW will be generated by nuclear utilities, and these utilities already have entered into Standard Contracts for repository disposal of their spent nuclear fuel and certain nonfuel-bearing components. Co-disposal of the remaining small quantity of non-utility GTCC LLW in the repository should also be feasible.
(2) Pursue co-disposal of GTCC LLW with DOE Special Case Waste as an alternative or supplemental co-disposal option. Some GTCC LLW types may be deemed unsuitable for repository disposal. Therefore, an option for GTCC LLW co-disposal with DOE Special Case Waste will also be maintained. The term Special Case Waste (SCW) denotes DOE waste having characteristics similar to those of GTCC LLW, and generally lacking firm disposal plans. Progress in developing this option will necessarily be tied to the development of disposal plans for DOE's SCW inventory. There is a regulatory issue to be resolved where GTCC LLW requires licensed disposal but SCW does not.
(3) Provide DOE storage capability for small quantities of GTCC LLW that DOE might accept for public health and safety reasons. Nuclear utilities generally have capability, and may prefer, to provide onsite storage capability for their GTCC LLW until disposal capability becomes available. However, some non-utility GTCC LLW generators may be financially unable to provide long-term storage for their GTCC LLW. Therefore, DOE storage for small amounts of GTCC LLW will be provided as needed to mitigate potential public health and safety issues. This contingency storage may be provided in conjunction with DOE's near-term acceptance program for sealed sources.
(4) Develop fee determination and collection methods to recover DOE's costs for GTCC LLW management and disposal. Cost recovery for DOE's GTCC LLW management and disposal services is implied by the Act, and is required by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, for repository disposal. Preliminary information on this subject will be developed using the best available assumptions regarding probable methods for DOE storage, treatment, and disposal.
(5) Develop waste acceptance criteria for GTCC LLW co-disposal options. Waste acceptance criteria will be developed for the GTCC LLW co-disposal scenarios under consideration. These waste acceptance criteria are dependent upon the performance requirements that are imposed on the disposal facility, and may also be subject to constraints imposed by disposal facility design and siting considerations. Thus, the schedule for developing waste acceptance criteria will be tied to that of disposal facility development.
Issued in Washington, DC, on March 7, 1995.
[FR Doc. 95-6120 Filed 3-10-95; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450-01-P
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