Archive-Name: gov/us/fed/nara/fed-register/1999/mar/11/64FR12161A
Posting-number: Volume 64, Issue 47, Page 12161A

[Federal Register: March 11, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 47)]
[Page 12161-12162]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



Notice of Availability; Draft DOE Manual Requirement on Use of 
Non-DOE Facilities for Low-Level Waste and Mixed Low-Level Waste 

AGENCY: Department of Energy (DOE).

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Department of Energy (DOE) announces the availability of 
its draft requirement for the use of commercial facilities for 
treatment, storage, and disposal of radioactive waste. This draft 
requirement is consistent with the decision by DOE to continue its 
current policy of relying on DOE waste disposal facilities and of using 
commercial (non-DOE) facilities by exemption when DOE disposal is not 
practical. This decision is based on the results of DOE's policy 
analysis on the use of commercial facilities for Low-Level Waste (LLW) 
and Mixed Low-Level Waste (MLLW) disposal.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Martin Letourneau, U.S. Department of 
Energy, EM-35, 19901 Germantown Road, Germantown, Maryland 20874, by 
telephone at 301-903-7656, or by e-mail at: For additional information on the policy 
analysis, please contact: Jay Rhoderick, at the above address, or by 
telephone at 301-903-7174. Electronic copies of the draft Order and 
Manual are available on the Internet at: http://> under the title ``Series 
400 Work Process.'' Copies of the policy analysis are available through 
the Center for Environmental Management Information at 1-800-736-3282.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DOE announced in its March 19, 1998, Notice 
of Intent (63 FR 13396) that it would conduct an analysis of its use of 
commercial disposal facilities for LLW and MLLW and solicited comments 
from the public and interested organizations. DOE's current policy is 
to rely on its own facilities for the disposal of its wastes, and by 
exemption where necessary, make limited use of commercial facilities 
that have licenses from either the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or an 
Agreement State.
    The policy analysis concluded that DOE should continue its 
preference for use of DOE disposal facilities for DOE wastes and to use 
commercial facilities under an exemption process when DOE disposal is 
not practical. Where on-site DOE disposal is not practical, use of both 
off-site DOE facilities and commercial facilities may be necessary, and 
this provides DOE with greater flexibility to ensure cost efficiency. 
DOE has delegated the exemption authority for determining when 
commercial facilities should be used to the DOE Field Office Managers 
to facilitate the exemption process when use of commercial facilities 
is necessary and in DOE's best interest. The DOE Field Office Managers 
are required to consult with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for 
Environment Safety and Health prior to granting the exemption.
    Therefore, DOE will continue its policy of disposing its LLW and 
MLLW at the site at which it is generated, if practical, or if on-site 
disposal capability is not available, at another DOE disposal facility. 
DOE may approve exemptions from this policy. However, where an 
exemption is sought, the policy requires that the commercial disposal 
facility under consideration be in compliance with all applicable 
Federal, State, and local requirements, and that it have all of the 
necessary permits, licenses and approvals for disposal of the specific 
wastes involved.
    The policy analysis was not completed on August 6, 1998, when DOE 
made available a revised draft of its Order and Manual on radioactive 
waste management (63 FR 42012). These draft documents set forth the 
requirements that DOE programs and contractors must follow in managing 
DOE radioactive waste to provide for radiological protection from DOE 
facilities, operations, and activities. The draft Order and Manual will 
replace the existing DOE Order on radioactive waste management, DOE 
    The section of the draft Manual pertaining to the use of non-DOE 
facilities for treatment, storage, and disposal of radioactive waste 
was reserved pending the outcome of the policy analysis. The draft 
requirement is consistent with the results of the policy analysis and 
will be included in the section of the draft Manual that is reserved 
(DOE M 435.1, Chapter I, General Requirements and

[[Page 12162]]

Responsibilities, Section 2.E(4), Approval of Exemptions for Use of 
Non-DOE Facilities). The requirement would state:

    DOE Field Element Managers are responsible for the Approval of 
Exemptions for Use of Non-DOE Facilities. DOE radioactive waste 
shall be treated, stored, and in the case of LLW, disposed of at the 
site where the waste is generated, if practical; or at another DOE 
facility. If DOE capabilities are not practical, exemptions may be 
approved to allow use of non-DOE facilities for the storage, 
treatment, and disposal of DOE radioactive waste based on the 
following minimum requirements:
    (a) Such non-DOE facilities shall:
    1. Comply with applicable Federal, state, and local 
    2. Have the necessary permit(s), license(s), and approval(s) for 
the specific waste(s); and
    3. Be determined by the Field Element Manager to be acceptable 
based on a review conducted annually by DOE.
    (b) Exemptions for the use of non-DOE facilities shall be 
documented to be cost effective and in the best interest of DOE, 
including consideration of alternatives for on-site disposal, an 
alternative DOE site, and available non-DOE facilities; 
consideration of life-cycle cost and potential liability; and be 
protective of public health and the environment.
    (c) DOE waste shall be sufficiently characterized and certified 
to meet the facility's waste acceptance criteria.
    (d) Appropriate National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review 
must be completed. For actions taken under the Comprehensive 
Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), it 
is DOE's policy to incorporate NEPA values into the CERCLA 
documentation (reference: Secretarial Policy Statement on NEPA, June 
    (e) Headquarters shall be notified of the exemption to use a 
non-DOE facility and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for 
Environment, Safety and Health (EH-1) shall be consulted prior to 
the exemption being executed.
    (f) Host States and State Compacts where non-DOE facilities are 
located shall be consulted prior to approval of an exemption to use 
such facilities and notified prior to shipments being made.

    Issued in Washington, DC March 4, 1999.
James M. Owendoff,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management.
[FR Doc. 99-6016 Filed 3-10-99; 8:45 am]