United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Technical Assistance Request Regarding Issues in Several U.S. Air Force Submittals Dated February 15, 1990, March 26, 1990, and October 23, 1990

HPPOS-283 PDR-9306160232

See the memorandum from J. E. Glenn to L. J. Callan dated January 4, 1993.

This memo responds to a technical assistance request from Region IV, dated October 2, 1992 (Enclosure 1), regarding issues in several U.S. Air Force submittals dated February 15, 1990, March 26, 1990, and October 23, 1990 (Attachments to Enclosure 1).

The following are the issues summarized in the TAR by Region and the NMSS comments on these issues:

  1. USAF letter dated February 15, 1990, requests an exemption from 10 CFR Part 71 requirements when using the Department of Transportation (DOT) exemptions, Department of Defense (DOD) Exemption DOT-E 2136, March 31, 1988, and DOD Exemption DOT-E7573, July 7, 1988, issued to DOD (Attachments to Enclosure 1).

    One example cited by the USAF is the transportation of munitions containing explosives and licensed depleted uranium components by rail or in troop-carrying aircraft under sensitive circumstances involving national security or national defense. 10 CFR 71.7 states that on application of any interested person or on its own initiative, the Commission may grant any exemption from the requirements of the regulations in this part that it determines is authorized by law and will not endanger life or property or the common defense or security.

    An exemption to 10 CFR 71 is appropriate based on the exemptions granted by DOT. However, it appears from a review of these exemptions that they have both expired and are no longer valid. Therefore, the region may only grant the exemptions from 10 CFR Part 71 contingent upon the DOT exemptions being current.

  2. USAF letter dated March 26, 1990, requests exemption from leak testing carbon-14 (C-14) reference light sources used in hermetically sealed Astroinertial Navigational (AIN) units installed on aircraft.

    This exemption appeared to be justified because (1) of the small size of the sources and the radionuclide involved and (2) the sources are hermetically sealed units that USAF dose not repair to maintain. The sources range to a maximum activity of 500 microcurie (500 micro-Ci), which is only five times the value specified for exempt C-14 in 10 CFR 30.71, Schedule B.

    The request was referred by NMSS to the Source Containment and Devices Branch in a memorandum, dated November 13, 1992 (Enclosure 2), and based on their response (Enclosure 3), the revision to the leak test condition may be granted to the USAF.

  3. USAF letter dated October 23, 1990, requests approval for alternate disposal under 10 CFR 20.302 [or, at present, 10 CFR 20.2002] to release 2.6 millicuries (mCi) of krypton-85 (Kr-85) to unrestricted areas by slowly venting the gas into a fume hood which exhausts directly to the effluent.

    Alternative disposal was requested because burial sites will not accept Kr-85 at pressures above 22.044 pounds per square inch. The proposed alternate disposal is by venting the gas to unrestricted areas as discussed above. USAF's calculations show that annual limits of 10 CFR 20.106 [or, at present, 10 CFR 20.1302] for Kr-85 will not be exceeded by the venting request. Additionally, Wright-Patterson AFB (Ohio) has received concurrence from the Ohio Radiological Health Program and the Regional Air Pollution Agency for the action contingent upon NRC approval and compliance with National Emission Standards.

    The requested method of disposal and consideration appears to be similar to the method discussed in the memorandum to W. Fisher, Region IV, dated January 30, 1992 (Enclosure 4), regarding an earlier Air Force request to dispose of the Kr-85 sources. This method should be approved provided that the limits of 10 CFR 20.106 (a) [or 10 CFR 20.1302 (b)] are not exceeded and actual exposures are maintained ALARA.

Regulatory references: 10 CFR 20.302, 10 CFR 20.2002, 10 CFR 30, 10 CFR 71

Subject codes: 7.8, 9.0, 9.1, 11.1, 12.17

Applicability: Byproduct and Special Nuclear Material

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