United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Contaminated Soil at Big Rock Point

HPPOS-042 PDR-9111210190

Title: Contaminated Soil at Big Rock Point

See the memorandum from F. J. Congel to C. J. Paperiello

dated April 11, 1985. Contaminated soil cannot be left in

place without NRC approval pursuant to 10 CFR 20.302. 10

CFR 30.14 on "Exempt Concentrations" is not applicable.

The health physics position was written in the context of

10 CFR 20.105, 20.106, and 20.302, but it also applies to

the "new" 10 CFR Part 20, Sections 20.1301, 20.1302, and


NRR reviewed the matter of contaminated soil with regard to

the need for the licensee to request permission under 10

CFR 20.302 [or 10 CFR 20.2002] to dispose of the material

by leaving it in place. NRC considered the information

provided and made the following conclusions:

1. The licensee has licensed byproduct material in a

location and form where it is not secure (e.g., against the

weather). Even though the NRC might find, after review of

the circumstances, that leaving the material in place is

satisfactory with regard to the public health and safety

and with regard to environmental impacts, the licensee

cannot unilaterally make such a determination. The

licensee must do something about the disposition of the

material; the choices are either to excavate the material,

package it and ship it to a licensed burial ground or to

request, pursuant to 10 CFR 20.302 [or 10 CFR 20.2002],

approval of a procedure to dispose of it in some other

manner (e.g., by leaving it in place).

2. Including the estimated total quantity of

radioactivity as released effluent in their second half

1984 effluent report does not relieve the licensee of the

responsibility for the proper disposition of the licensed

material, the majority of which remains in place in the

soil. Even though weathering and leaching may deliver some

of the radioactivity to Lake Michigan within seven years,

some will remain in the soil at the location of the leak;

it continues to be licensed byproduct material for which

the licensee is responsible.

3. For purposes of determining compliance with 10 CFR

20.105 and 20.106 [or 10 CFR 20.1302 and 20.1301,

respectively], the licensee is responsible for accounting

for release of radionuclides to the environment (e.g., to

Lake Michigan, in the time periods in which they actually


4. 10 CFR 30.14, "Exempt Concentrations," is not

applicable to these circumstances; the licensee was not

given specific authorization to introduce the byproduct

into the soil. Applicable regulations, 10 CFR Part 20, do

not provide lower limits to concentrations and quantities

for which licensees are responsible.

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 30.14, 10 CFR 20.105, 10 CFR

20.106, 10 CFR 20.302, 10 CFR 20.1301, 10 CFR 20.1302, 10

CFR 20.2002

Subject codes: 9.0, 9.3, 9.7

Applicability: Reactors

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012