Posting-number: Volume 64, Issue 106, Page 29811
[Federal Register: June 3, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 106)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
10 CFR Part 850
[Docket No. EH-RM-98-BRYLM]
Chronic Beryllium Disease Prevention Program
AGENCY: Office of Environment, Safety and Health, Department of Energy.
ACTION: Proposed Rule; Notice of limited reopening of the comment
period; request for public comment.
SUMMARY: The Department of Energy (DOE) reopens the comment period for
30 days, in order to solicit public comments on options that DOE is
considering for criteria to be used for the release or transfer of
equipment and other items previously used in DOE beryllium operations,
either to other DOE facilities or to the public.
DATES: Written comments on the issues presented in this notice must be
received by the Department on or before July 6, 1999.
ADDRESSES: Written comments should be addressed to: Jacqueline D.
Rogers, Office of Environment, Safety and Health (EH-51), Docket No.
EH-RM-98-BRYLM, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Ave.,
S.W., Washington, DC 20585. Public comments submitted in response to
DOE's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, some of which addressed the
subject of this notice, may be read and copied in DOE's Freedom of
Information Reading Room, 1E-190, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW.,
Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday
through Friday, except Federal holidays.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jacqueline D. Rogers, Office of
Environment, Safety and Health (EH-51), Docket No. EH-98-BRYLM, U.S.
Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On December 3, 1998, DOE published a Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) in the Federal Register proposing
regulations for a chronic beryllium disease prevention program to
reduce the number of DOE Federal and contractor workers exposed to
beryllium, minimize the levels of and potential for exposure to
beryllium, and establish medical surveillance requirements to ensure
early detection and treatment of disease. 63 FR 66940. This rulemaking
is conducted pursuant to DOE's authority under section 161 of the
Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (AEA) to prescribe such regulations as it
deems necessary to govern any activity authorized by the AEA, including
standards for the protection of health and minimization of danger to
life or property. 42 U.S.C. 2201(i)(3) and (p).
I. Background on Release Criteria
DOE included in the NOPR several issues for public comment,
including a request for information concerning appropriate criteria for
the release or transfer of equipment and other items used in DOE
beryllium activities to other DOE facilities for either beryllium or
non-beryllium uses, or to the public for non-beryllium uses. 63 FR
66948. Equipment that has been used for beryllium work often retains
residual contamination that could present an occupational or public
health hazard if the beryllium becomes airborne. Before such equipment
is sold or otherwise transferred to the public, or released for other
DOE uses, steps must be taken to ensure that there are no potential
health hazards to the receiver of the equipment.
DOE solicited views and information concerning whether DOE should
develop a consistent approach or uniform criteria for the release of
beryllium-related items at DOE facilities. Currently, the criteria vary
among those DOE facilities that have established release criteria for
equipment and other items used in beryllium work. For example, the
Pantex facility in Texas has a surface contamination release criterion
of less than or equal to 0.1 g/100 cm \2\; the Mound facility
in Ohio uses a criterion of less than or equal to 0.3 g/100 cm
\2\; and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory uses a criterion of
less than or equal to 1 g/100 cm \2\. The Rocky Flats
Environmental Technology Site in Colorado uses two levels of allowable
surface contamination for items to be released, depending upon the
receiver of the equipment. For equipment to be released to the public
or to other DOE facilities where the equipment will not be used for
beryllium work, the Rocky Flats criterion is less than 0.2 g/
100cm \2\. For equipment released to other DOE facilities where the
equipment will be used for beryllium work, the criterion is the lesser
of the allowable level of the receiving facility, or less than or equal
to 2.5 g/100cm \2\. The Rocky Flats process also compares the
current value of the equipment to the cost of decontamination and the
cost of disposal.
II. Public Comments on the NOPR
The request for comment in the NOPR yielded additional information
and views on the subject of appropriate release criteria. The release
levels recommended by commenters ranged from zero (The Consortium for
Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation) to 1 g/100 cm
\2\ (Fluor-Daniel Hanford, Inc.). The Atomic Weapons Establishment
(AWE) in the United Kingdom stated that AWE uses a release criterion of
1 g/ft \2\ (or about 0.1 g/100cm \2\). Lockheed
Martin Energy Research Corporation commented that DOE should establish
release limits to ensure consistency throughout the DOE complex, but
did not recommend a specific release criterion.
Two commenters recommended establishing a single regulatory release
level. The Navy Environmental Health Center recommended that the level
be the same as the housekeeping surface contamination level. Fluor-
Daniel Hanford, Inc., recommended that the same release criterion or
level apply both to released equipment and to areas of a facility that
are released or transferred to non-beryllium work or uses.
The University of California (UC) recommended a graded approach
based on the nature of the item being released or the recipient. UC
suggested that for ``consumer goods,'' such as desks, machine tools,
and cabinets, the surface contamination level should be less than 0.2
g/100 cm \2\, and the items should be released only to a scrap
metal or waste disposal company (with a release tag
notification). For items that have internal contamination but are
easily cleaned on the outside, UC recommended a release level of 0.2
g/100 cm \2\ for use within DOE, if the items are labeled to
warn of the potential for internal contamination. For items released
for DOE use that are not easily sampled or are porous, UC recommended
using a stabilizing material (e.g., paint) as a sealant, and a warning
label to indicate that the equipment was previously used in a beryllium
area. UC further recommended that if a graded approach is not included
in the rule, then each site should be permitted to specify release
criteria in its program.
Brush Wellman, Inc., expressed concern about using only a single
surface contamination level to determine the releasability of an item
to the public, because the swipe sampling method alone may not
adequately characterize the potential exposure risk. For example, a
piece of equipment released on the basis of a surface contamination
criterion may contain beryllium dust in cracks and crevices that could
be released during future maintenance.
The Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation
(CRESP) commented that allowing the release of equipment or buildings
with detectable levels of beryllium would pose a health risk to the
III. Options Being Considered by DOE
DOE has tentatively concluded that the final rule should contain
requirements for the release of beryllium-related items at DOE
facilities. Having preliminarily evaluated the comments submitted in
response to the NOPR request for information, DOE now is considering
specific release criteria within the range of recommendations presented
by the comments already received, and would like public comment on the
options and issues presented in this notice section.
A. Surface Contamination Release Level
The quantitative limit of detection for beryllium (using the OSHA
ICP method) is 0.043 g. This detection limit makes it possible
to determine surface contamination as low as 0.04 g/100 cm
2. However, surface contamination is only a cleanliness
measure, and is not a predictor of health risk from beryllium
contamination. Thus, the selection of an appropriate surface
contamination release level depends on an assessment of health risk,
feasibility, cost, and cleaning technology.
Because of the scientific uncertainty about what is a ``safe''
level of exposure to beryllium, DOE believes that any surface
contamination release level selected should be as low as practicable.
Most of the surface contamination levels established by DOE facilities
and those recommended by public commenters for release of items used in
beryllium areas to the public are in the range of 0.1 g/100
cm2 to 0.3 g/100 cm2. The comment by the
AWE that it reduced the housekeeping surface action level in its
Cardiff, Wales facility to 1 g/ ft2 (about 0.1
g/100 cm2) in 1990 suggests that a public release
level as low as 0.1 g/100 cm2 is achievable, and
therefore, could be a reasonable criterion for release of an item to
DOE is not inclined to agree with the comment that any detectable
level of beryllium on the surface of an item should be presumed to
present a health risk to the public and, therefore, that no item having
a detectable level of beryllium should be released. There is no
established correlation between surface beryllium levels and airborne
concentrations of beryllium that would pose a health hazard. As OSHA
pointed out in the OSHA Technical Manual Section II, Chapter 2
``Sampling for Surface Contamination,'' ``[surface] sampling is not
attempting to assess the health risk resulting from the contamination.
Rather, it is to ensure that the cleaning and decontamination regimen
is being effectively implemented. . . . Establishing an acceptable
contamination limit will depend on the purpose of cleaning, and what is
feasible for the procedures utilized.''
B. Conditions on Release of Items
The University of California (UC) recommended placing certain
conditions on release based on the nature of the item or user. For
example, ``consumer goods'' (e.g., desks, machine tools, cabinets)
meeting a specified surface contamination level would, under UC's
suggested approach, only be released to a scrap metal or waste disposal
company. On the other hand, UC suggested allowing items to be released
for use within a DOE facility if the item could be easily cleaned on
the outside and it was labeled to warn of the potential for internal
DOE is considering establishing separate surface contamination
levels for release to the public for non-beryllium use, and release to
DOE facilities for beryllium or non-beryllium uses. DOE will consider
this matter in the light of public comments, and invites suggestions
for appropriate conditions on the release of items to the public, or to
DOE facilities for non-beryllium uses.
C. Internal Beryllium Dust or Other Contamination
As noted, surface sampling is not an adequate means of
characterizing potential exposure risk. For example, a lathe or other
piece of equipment released because it is determined to be beryllium-
free on the surface may contain internal beryllium dust that could
become airborne, and therefore present a health hazard, during future
maintenance. On the other hand, other types of equipment may contain
internal beryllium that is combined with other substances (e.g.,
grease) to make it unlikely that the beryllium would ever become
airborne. The presence of this type of entrained contamination, even at
levels above the otherwise applicable release criteria, would not
present a health hazard. DOE invites comment on how the final rule
should address such entrained contamination.
DOE's tentative view is that the final rule should permit the
release of items to the public for non-beryllium uses, or to DOE
facilities for either beryllium or non-beryllium uses, taking all of
these factors into consideration. For example, the final rule might
specify that items may be released for non-beryllium use if they
contain a beryllium contamination level less than or equal to 0.1
g/100 cm2 on surfaces accessible through operation
or maintenance activities. Under this approach, the item would need to
be disassembled as necessary and cleaned to meet the release surface
contamination level. If cleaning is not practicable (e.g., too costly),
the item would be disposed of as waste under this approach.
D. Release to Another Facility for Beryllium Work
The Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site has established a
surface contamination release level of 0.2 g/100
cm2 for release of an item to the public or to a DOE
facility for non-beryllium work, and a release level of 2.5 g/
100cm2 for an item to be transferred to another DOE facility
for beryllium work. DOE believes it may be prudent to establish a
higher surface contamination release level for items to be transferred
to another DOE facility for beryllium work than is allowed for items
released to the public or for use in DOE non-beryllium work. DOE also
is inclined to adopt in the final rule the release level of
3g/100 cm2 as the surface contamination release
level for equipment and other items that are
transferred to a DOE facility for beryllium work.\1\
\\ 3 g/100 cm2 is essentially equivalent to
the Rocky Flats criteria of 2.5 g/100 cm2, after
allowing for the variability of surface sampling.
DOE invites public comment on this approach and on other
appropriate release criteria for beryllium-contaminated items
transferred to a DOE facility for beryllium work.
IV. Public Comment.
DOE invites interested persons to submit written comments on the
options presented in Section III above, and issues related to release
criteria for items used in DOE beryllium activities.
Issued in Washington, DC on May 27, 1999.
Assistant Secretary for Environment, Safety and Health, Department of
[FR Doc. 99-14077 Filed 6-2-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P