United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Question 376: "Decay in storage" is one means of waste disposal authorized in the revised Part 20 [10 CFR 20.2001 (a) (2)]. How can "decay in storage" be used for wastes

(a) at nuclear power plants and

(b) at materials facilities?

Answer:

(a) The inclusion of the "decay in storage" option in revised Part 20 does not provide any new options for waste disposal at nuclear power plants. See the discussion of "decay in storage" in the preamble to revised Part 20 (56 FR 23380-23381). "Decay in storage" is a practical means of disposal only for radionuclides with short half lives. Wastes from nuclear power reactors usually include radionuclides whose half lives are too long for application of the "decay in storage" option. In any case, wastes that are to be released to unrestricted areas after having decayed in storage must meet the requirements of one of the other allowed forms of waste disposal in Part 20, or the requirements of §35.92, "Decay in-storage," of 10 CFR Part 35 or the specific requirements given in the applicable NRC or Agreement State License conditions. However, the requirements of §35.92 of Part 35 are not applicable to Part 50 licensees.

(b) As indicated in the answer to part (a) of this question, wastes that are to be released to unrestricted areas after having decayed in storage must meet the requirements of one of the other allowed forms of waste disposal in Part 20, or the requirements of §35.92, "Decay in Storage," of 10 CFR Part 35 or the specific requirements given in the applicable NRC or Agreement State License conditions. For medical licensees (under 10 CFR Part 35), requests for specific license amendments providing exemptions from 10 CFR 35.92 may be considered by the NRC for approval based on extraordinary circumstances, in accordance with 10 CFR 35.19, provided that the licensee demonstrates a real need for the requested exemption. These exemption requests to NRC Regional Offices will be reviewed at NRC Headquarters on a case-by-case basis under a technical assistance request from the Regional Office. See Question 389 for additional discussion of decay in storage.

(Reference: 10 CFR 20.2001).

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, September 03, 2015