United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Health Physics Questions and Answers - Question 389

Question 389: The revised 10 CFR 20 includes a new provision that allows disposal of licensed material "...by decay in storage..." What criteria should be used in implementing this provision? Is the NRC planning to develop generic guidance for "decay in storage"?

Answer: See the answer to Question 376 for a discussion of "decay in storage." As indicated in that answer, "decay in storage" is not a practical means of disposal of licensed material at nuclear power plants (and at some other facilities). Therefore, the NRC is providing no criteria to be used in implementing this provision at nuclear power plants and is not planning to develop (additional) generic guidance for "decay in storage" at nuclear power plants. As noted in the statement of considerations for revised Part 20 (56 FR 23380, third column, and 23381, first column), technically, the "decay in storage" option has always been available to licensees as an allowed waste disposal option. This option was formally included in the proposed and final rules because the list of disposal options is exclusive and there had been questions as to whether this option is allowed under §§20.1-20.601 (in old Part 20). It should be noted that this option does not allow material that has "decayed in storage" to be released to an unrestricted area unless it meets 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 any NRC or Agreement State license.

(References: 10 CFR 20.2001)

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, October 07, 2015