Archive-Name: gov/us/fed/nara/fed-register/1999/jun/03/64FR29811
Posting-number: Volume 64, Issue 106, Page 29811
[Federal Register: June 3, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 106)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 29811-29813]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr03jn99-17]

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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
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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.

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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

10 CFR Part 850

[Docket No. EH-RM-98-BRYLM]
RIN 1901-AA75


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.

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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 
20585, 301-903-5684.

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

[[Page 29812]]

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 
recipient.

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 
the public.
    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 
beryllium contamination.
    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

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transferred to a DOE facility for beryllium work.\1\
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    \\ 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.
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    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.
David Michaels,
Assistant Secretary for Environment, Safety and Health, Department of 
Energy.
[FR Doc. 99-14077 Filed 6-2-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P