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114th ACNW Meeting U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, November 18, 1999

                       UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
                         NUCLEAR WASTE (ACNW)

                        U.S. NRC
                        Conference Room 2B3
                        Two White Flint North
                        11545 Rockville Pike
                        Rockville, Maryland
                        Thursday, November 18, 1999
         The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 8:31 a.m.

         B. JOHN GARRICK, Chairman ACNW
         GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Vice Chairman, ACNW
         RAYMOND W. WYMER, ACNW Member.                         P R O C E E D I N G S
                                                      [8:31 a.m.]
         DR. GARRICK:  Good morning.  The meeting will now come to
     order.  This is the second day of the 114th meeting of the Advisory
     Committee on Nuclear Waste.
         My name is John Garrick, Chairman of the ACNW.  Other
     members of the committee include George Hornberger, Ray Wymer, and
     Milton Levenson, serving as an ACNW consultant.
         This entire meeting will be open to the public.
         Today the committee will first review 10 CFR Part 63, NRC's
     proposed high level waste regulation; second, to describe the process of
     moving from issue resolution status reports to a Yucca Mountain review
     plan; third, review the Yucca Mountain draft environmental impact
     statement; and, fourth, prepare ACNW reports on -- a white paper on
     near-field chemistry considerations, a report of the joint ACRS/ACNW
     subcommittee on implementing a framework for risk-informed
     performance-based regulations in the Office of   Nuclear Materials Safety
     and Safeguards.
         I understand we have actually issued that letter, which is a
     milestone.  Three, risk communications; four, the Yucca Mountain draft
     environmental impact statement; five, 10 CFR Part 63 and the
     rubblization decommissioning concept.
         Those are the topics on which we will be writing and
     preparing letters.
         Lynn Deering is the Designated Federal Official portion of
     today's meeting.
         This meeting is being conducted in accordance with the
     provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
         We have received one request from Mr. Robert Bernero, who
     wishes to talk to the committee on 10 CFR Part 63.  Should anyone else
     wish to address the committee, just make your wishes known to one of the
     committee staff.
         As usually, it is requested that each speaker use one of the
     microphones, identify themselves, and speak clearly and loudly so that
     he or she can be readily heard.
         Unless there are comments on the part of the committee
     members or consultant or staff, I think we'll jump right into the first
     topic on the agenda, which is 10 CFR Part 63, NRC's proposed high level
     waste regulation, and I guess Tim McCartin is going to lead it off.
         I would ask that each of the subsequent speakers introduce
     themselves prior to their briefing.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Thank you.  Today I'd like to give an
     overview of the comments we've received on Part 63 and Janet Kotra,
     sitting over at the table over there, will help me out in some of the
     areas, because obviously we've gotten comments across a lot of different
         I would like to stress that today we will be giving you --
     this is work in progress and there are really no final responses for the
     comments.  However, we have areas where this is where we're headed, we
         There are discussions, internal, going on.  We were trying
     to give as much information of where we think we're coming out.  We
     certainly would appreciate the committee's comments, either today in the
     meeting or in the letter that you write, and I will show you briefly the
     schedule we're on.
         As with the proposed Part 63, final Part 63 is on an equally
     fast track.
         Briefly, what I would hope to do today is give you a brief
     summary of the public comments, our schedule.  In terms of responding to
     comments, we're grouping them into categories.  I'll give you some of
     those categories, what our potential responses are, where we're leaning
     as we can in the responses, and then, finally, at the end, I'll give --
     as you know, the Commission has sent comments to EPA on their proposed
         It is in the PDR, but I'll give a brief synopsis of the main
     points that the Commission provided to EPA on their standard.
         First, in general, what do the comments look like for Part
     63?  There are approximately 100 sets of written comments that we
     received.  We had five public meetings, where transcripts were taken,
     and we got comments there.
         All that translates into approximately 700 specific comments
     with regard to Part 63.  We also got comments, in one of your previous
     letters on Part 63, that has been docketed as part of the rule-making.
         Right now, as I indicated to staff, we've compiled and
     categorized all the comments and we're preparing responses in a format
     similar to what was done for the Part 35 rule-making, which what was
     done is you would state an issue and then that would be somewhat a
     grouping of a lot of comments.  For example, let's take compliance
     period, we might have had 50 comments on compliance period and the issue
     could be, well, what is the appropriate compliance period for evaluating
     high level waste repository.
         That would be stated as the issue and then underneath it we
     would summarize the comments we received, some pro, some against
     potentially, and just give the reader what kinds of comments we had
     received, and then, finally, it would be followed by a response.  So for
     all the -- we would identify a number of issues.
         Right now, I'd have to say, I have not counted them, but if
     I had to take a guess, we probably have on the order of, I would say,
     100 to 150 issues coming out of the public comments.  Each one of those
     would have comments and responses.
         As we prepare the responses, we are looking -- there might
     be some response that, gee, this is pretty much the same answer and we
     might do further grouping to reduce the number of overall issues we
     have, but that's what was done in Part 35.  It seemed to be a fairly
     effective way to show people how we responded to the comments.
         DR. GARRICK:  Tim, is this compilation and categorization
     part of the public documentation?
         MR. McCARTIN:  Yes.  It would be part of the Federal
     Register notice when we go for a final Part 63.  That would be up front,
     here's all the issues and responses, followed by then we'd give a
     summary of how the rule changed, and then finally what the final rule
     looked like.
         In terms of the schedule, I figured I'd start off with
     today.  We're briefing the ACNW in November on where we're at and, once
     again, I do stress that we're right in the middle of it, which makes it
     very timely, but in some areas, we really can't say much, because we
     have not discussed them enough internally to come up with an approach.
         We are shooting to have all the responses completed by the
     end of December and have a draft final rule by January 31, and then
     ultimately the final rule-making packages, our schedule today is getting
     it to the Commission by March 31, which, once again, I stress it is a
     fairly quick schedule.  So you an see the need for comments.  We do need
     them somewhat timely.
         In terms of the categories, this is not all the issues, in
     terms of some of the more large categories that I'll be talking to
     today, we have NRC's regulatory authority, safety analyses, dose limit,
     lack of ground water protection, multiple barriers, additional
     requirements in the rule, such as retrievability, human intrusion, et
         We have comments on specific aspects of the regulatory
     process, such as the hearing process itself, multi-stage licensing,
     transportation, and selection of the Yucca Mountain site.  I will go
     through all of these in more detail and try to give you a flavor of some
     of the comments we received and what we believe the staff response will
     be at this time.
         First, NRC's regulatory authority.  In bold, I have somewhat
     the issue and in italics is some of the NRC thinking with respect to
     responding to that comment.  We've received comments that EPA should set
     the standards, not the NRC; that we should have held off until there was
     a final EPA standard and not proceed until that time.
         As we said in the background to Part 63 when we proposed it,
     that there are many aspects to Part 63 other than the standard that we
     felt the NRC needed to get on record and talk to and get that out in the
     public and get comments and finalize that in a timely manner.
         As I go through some of the slides, you'll see a number of
     these topics, that we have received substantial comment on that we
     believe are NRC's job.  We needed to get out and get that out and start
     getting comment and working on it, because it takes a fair amount of
     time to think through some of these issues.
         Finally, we did say in Part 63 that we will amend the
     regulation, as necessary, to conform to a final EPA standard.  However,
     because of the tight timelines in the program, we feel it would be much
     easier to have a final rule in place.
         With everything there that NRC has to take care of, to amend
     it to a final EPA standard would be a relatively easy thing to do if we
     have a final Part 63 and all the other aspects in place, rather than
     trying to do everything at once.
         There were comments that we received that Nevada should be
     provided the same level of protection as New Mexico.  Generally, people
     were referring to the WIPP standard, that had a 15 millirem individual
     dose limit and had separate requirements for ground water protection.
         The NRC still believes that the individual all pathway dose
     limit of 25 millirem is protective.  It includes the ground water
     pathway, and, at this time, we do not see changing that.  However, we
     will amend our regulation, as needed, if the EPA standard comes out
         There were comments that the statute requires a
     site-specific standard, does not necessarily require a site-specific
     implementing regulation.
         We noted, however, the NAS, in their recommendations,
     provided things to the NRC, such as subsystem requirements.  There are
     things that we felt needed to be changed to be consistent with those
     recommendations, as well as we're talking about a single site rather
     than a generic regulation.
         There were things we felt we could simplify from Part 60 and
     make those changes in Part 63 to make it clearer what was required.  So
     we have done that.  We believe we're consistent with the forward-moving
     comments of the NAS.
         Safety analyses, not surprising, we got a number of comments
     on the safety assessments.  Generally, if I had to put them in a
     nutshell -- and be aware that what I'm listing here, some of these are
     not the issues.  There are many issues under these, but in the -- just
     to get done in an hour's time, I had to group a lot of things.
         There was a general concern of how NRC would ensure that the
     repository performance is properly evaluated and this goes for both pre
     and post-closure.
         We believe right now we have requirements for doing the
     safety assessments, both pre and post-closure, and we have still
     provided flexibility to the DOE on how the analysis is to be done.
         In terms of changing the rule, there might be some minor
     clarifications, but in general, we believe our requirements for the
     integrated safety assessment, for the performance assessment, encompass
     enough that we believe that if the Department of Energy adheres to all
     the things that need to be in those assessments, that it will be
     properly evaluated.  We will have to obviously evaluate that to ensure
         We can provide guidance in other documents, such as the
     IRSRs and the Yucca Mountain review plan.  People looking at the IRSRs,
     we've talked to scenario selection, model development, et cetera, and we
     hope to give further guidance there.  But in terms of the rule, we don't
     believe there needs to be any significant changes there.  We may clarify
     some things.
         In terms of the integrated safety assessment, some
     commenters associated that with a very particular analysis and we did
     not have a very particular analysis in mind, such as what is done for
     the chemical industry.  We looked on performance assessment, integrated
     safety assessment as a generic description of a type of analysis that
     you're looking at all these issues that we at least identify in the
     regulation that need to be analyzed, and we weren't suggesting a
     particular type of analysis, but more or less these are the topics that
     need to be considered.
         How best to do that, the Department is free to how best to
     analyze these things.  So we weren't suggesting that, say, an integrated
     safety analysis is exactly the same kind of analysis that the chemical
     industry does, for example.
         Can NRC clarify the scope for what's required for category
     one and two design basis events, and generally the Department of Energy
     provided comments in this area.  I think we do need to clarify and will
     have to clarify in the Federal Register notice exactly how these design
     basis events are to be evaluated.
         For example, what the Department suggested, and I think it
     went along with our thinking, not necessarily could you read that into
     what was stated in the regulation, I think we do need to make it
         But what their comment was for, say, design basis event,
     category two design basis event, rare things that happen infrequently,
     do they have to analyze them and group them all together or are they
     analyzd a single events and compared to the dose limit.
         We believe the latter.  You analyze them as single events
     and you compare the dose -- compare the estimated dose to the dose
     limit.  Likewise, they said that they intended to aggregate all the
     category one events.  These are the things that happen frequently.
         So you look at, in the course of a year, all the things that
     could happen in that year would be aggregated and you would have a sum
     dose due to all the category one events that are likely to occur in a
     single year and you analyze that dose.  They would not be done on
     isolated event basis.
         So that I think we need to clarify.  So you will see
     something, I believe, in the change there.
         One thing in terms of the design basis event probabilities.
     There was a question raised whether it was the initiating event
     probability or the entire sequence.
         Although we believe we did make statements in the rule that
     it was the event sequence we were interested in, there is no question
     that we could make it clearer that the probability of a category one or
     category two design basis event is the probability of the event
     sequence, and we will clarify that in the regulation.
         There are a few places in the definitions that we could have
     made that more explicit.
         DR. GARRICK:  Is the concept of a design basis confusing the
     issue?  Did you get any comment on that?
         MR. McCARTIN:  No.  Actually no.  But I will say, most of
     the design basis event questions, comments, came from the Department of
     Energy.  Not too surprising.  They're the ones that have to implement
         I think when we look back, we could have done a better job
     in making it clearer exactly what was required.  The Department also
     asked, in terms of reg guides that have been developed with regard to
     other applications, what kind of precedent would they have for setting
     design basis events for the repository.
         At this time, we think -- and the discussions are still
     going on, I might add, but this would be considered on a case-by-case
     basis.  It's very difficult to say whether something done for a reactor,
     how it would apply to an underground potentially accident at Yucca
         So we certainly would look at it, but we can't give a
     blanket statement that we would necessarily adopt every reg guide or
     everything set up for design basis events for other applications.  Right
     now, I think it's a case-by-case basis.
         There were a lot of comments on the thermal limit.  I think
     it might be a tribute to the internet, in that there was a lot of
     e-mails going back between different groups, but we did get a lot of
     comments on requesting a thermal limit.
         Right now, we realize that the thermal effects, both pre and
     post-closure, will need to be evaluated by the Department of Energy.  It
     is possible at a later date that we could put a license condition on the
     thermal limit if the uncertainties were so great that felt it necessary.
     Right now, we're not contemplating that, but that is -- there is always
     the possibility of placing a license condition, but right now most of
     the comments siad we needed to have a thermal limit, with no
         There were a few that pointed to the great uncertainties as
     the TRB has talked about, a cool repository would have less
     uncertainties and it might be wise to go to that.  But there were a
     number of comments on that.
         Continuing in the broad category of safety analyses, there
     is a question, if one looks a the rule for performance confirmation,
     there are some prescriptive requirements that people commented were not
     consistent with a performance-based approach in other parts of the rule.
         We're looking at that and I think there is some merit to
     what people said and we're looking at those requirements and as needed,
     anything inappropriate we will look to remove from the regulation, where
     we really don't need that level of detail of specification.
         Why does NRC require DOE to evaluate alternative repository
     designs?  That was a question by the Department.  They are required to
     evaluate different designs.
         Right now, that's under discussion.  The original thinking
     that we lose something that actually was in Part 60, that came over into
     Part 63.  Part of the thinking there at the time was that we wanted to
     see an evaluation of different designs, if there were some designs that,
     even though met the dose limit, if there were some designs that
     significantly improved performance, didn't cost a lot, well, maybe it
     would be prudent to include that, even though it isn't necessary to show
         That was the thinking why that's there.  It wasn't an
     attempt to try to put DOE through more and more hoops, but we are
     looking at that provision and right now it's under discussion.
         MS. KOTRA:  Tim, if I might add, on the last bullet, with
     regard to performance confirmation.  I think one of the areas where we
     may address that is in the statement of consideration to explain more
     crisply and with more clarity what performance confirmation is supposed
     to accomplish and that if that objective is well defined, then the
     prescriptive details are not as necessary.
         But it's not that we're just going to remove them wholesale.
     It's going to be after careful consideration and a better description of
     what the NRC expects or the NRC staff expects performance confirmation
     to accomplish.
         DR. GARRICK:  I would also assume that the last bullet,
     having to do with alternative repository designs there, the extent to
     which that is an issue would depend on the level of detail that you
     would want the alternatives.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Sure.  Yes.
         DR. GARRICK:  And I could see where it could get quite out
     of hand.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Yes.  That's the one thing I will say we got
     a lot of very good comments that it only takes a few words here or there
     in a requirement and are you creating mischief or are you helping your
     overall intent of what you're trying to accomplish, and this is one of
     those that I think we need to clarify what's intended, so that mischief
     isn't created.
         DR. GARRICK:  On the other hand, I can also see the view
     that one of the most basic tenets of decision analysis is the
     consideration of alternatives and I think that from a public
     perspective, one of the criticisms that they often offer is that there
     are no alternatives and that DOE and the regulator are simply trying to
     push a specific concept, without consideration of alternatives.
         So I can see it going either way, but it seems that the key
     here is how it's managed.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Right, exactly.  And as you pointed out, what
     level of detail of analysis are we expecting, and that, I have to say,
     in the regulation, there isn't any clear statement as to, yes, you have
     to evaluate alternatives, but to what level of detail, et cetera.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Are there any parallels?  That is, are
     there requirements in anything for reactors to evaluate alternative
         MR. McCARTIN:  That I don't know.  It's worth checking,
     we'll have to do that, yes.
         In terms of the individual protection limit, there are a
     number of comments.  We got some on the compliance period with regard to
     setting it at 10,000 years.  The staff, while there were comments raised
     to lengthen the compliance period, we still believe that the 10,000
     years is appropriate for -- based on some of the technical reasons we
     put forward in the statements of consideration and policy
         One of the things that we got too smart for ourselves, I
     guess, does expected dose equate to the mean dose, and I guess we really
     did ourselves an injustice by using expected dose and it got
     misinterpreted by various people and I think we need to clarify that in
     the new rule, and we'll just use a mean dose, which is much more readily
     understood by people.
         Why did NRC select a dose limit of 25 millirem?  Well, we
     believe it's protective of health and safety, consistent with the NAS in
     terms of a starting point, and there are international and national
     practices that have a similar dose limit and it's consistent with how we
     regulate other things at NRC.
         A lot of this, most people wanted to see a 15 millirem
     standard, consistent with what, at that time, was the WIPP standard.
         Is the dose limit protective of children?  We still feel
     that the 25 millirem limit was selected based on what's appropriate for
     a lifetime exposure, 25 millirems every year.  So we feel that that is
     -- in using that, a lifetime dose limit to pull out the annual limit is
     sufficiently protective of children.  It also, by using the critical
     group, where we're identifying those people expected to receive the
     highest doses, it is protective of children and other sensitive segments
     of the population, because it's looking at a lifetime.
         Obviously, the child does not remain a child for his entire
         MS. KOTRA:  Tim, Janet Kotra, again, from Division of Waste
     Management.  I just wanted to take this opportunity at this point.  This
     is probably one of the best examples we have of where our public
     meetings have served us very well in pointing out areas where we've not
     explained ourselves in plain English, and we've taken the opportunity to
     sharpen up our explanation of how the dose limit and the basis for
     selection of a dose limit which has been made throughout NRC programs
     does take into account protection of individuals at all ages and
         But we do need an awful lot more work at explaining what's
     in the regulation, not just in this area, but in others, and we are
     going to be working to do that as we shape mostly the language
     accompanying the additional -- supplemental information accompanying the
     final rule, but, where necessary, also perhaps language changes in the
     rule itself.
         But I think the problem here that became very evident in a
     number of public meetings is that we hadn't done a very good job of
     explaining the basis for what we were doing in a way that people could
     understand, and I think we're going to try a lot harder to do that in
     the final rule package.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Has NRC used cautious and reasonable
     assumptions about the characteristics of the critical group?  We
     certainly got comments suggesting that we should do a subsistence
     farmer, for example.
         Other comments saying that they felt our approach was
     appropriate.  We believe that we have the location and the diet of the
     critical group, have been based on cautious and reasonable assumptions,
     looking at the characteristics of the Yucca Mountain site, farming
     practices in the southwest of the United States.
         However, having said that, we are continuing to look at the
     basis for these assumptions and their impact on the dose estimates, and
     we did not get much in the way of additional information in the
     comments.  People wanted, say, a subsistence farmer.  There wasn't a lot
     of basis for, well, why should I go to a subsistence farmer.  So we
     still feel we're cautious.
         We are looking, continuing to look at different closer-in
     locations, different sensitivities, as Janet pointed out, based on some
     of the comments we heard about doses to children.  We are improving the
     TPA code to look at doses to other groups, such as children, to get a
     better understanding of what the impacts are on these other groups.
         So we will continue to look at it, but we still believe
     right now the approach is cautious and reasonable.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Tim, I don't think I understood what you
     just said.  I didn't realize the TPA code carried on beyond calculated
     doses.  You're telling me that TPA now you're evaluating responses,
     you're doing -- using a dose response curve?
         MR. McCARTIN:  No.  Well, we're -- we can put in the dose
     conversion factors for a child and get the dose to an infant for a given
     year for an exposure of X, and we're trying to actually -- one of the
     improvements for the TPA code, it has been a single dose, set of dose
     conversion factors, and we're looking to make that more stochastic and
     include a range of things, but also being able to target, well, what
     would the dose this year be to a child.
         So just to get a better sense, once again, and hopefully we
     may have some of the analytical results in responding to comments.  So
     we can say what the doses are, because generally the -- it's a fairly
     complicated process, because the child has less intake, more sensitivity
     to some nuclides.  So there is this balance and the calculations we've
     seen to date, the doses are not that different.  Maybe a factor of two
     to three times higher for the child.
         We got a number of comments on the absence of separate
     ground water protection criteria.  People pointing to WIPP, et cetera.
         The NRC still believes that the all pathway individual
     protection limit for radiation protects individuals.  It treats all
     organs on an equal basis.  It ensures a consistent level of protection
     and we don't see changing this.  Obviously, if a final EPA standard has
     ground water protection in it, we will amend our regulations, but we
     believe the -- we will once again reemphasize in our responses that the
     individual all pathway limit does look at the ground water pathway and
     it ensures that it is protective to the limit of the individual
     protection standard.
         Here's my easy slide.  Multiple barriers.  Easy because I'm
     going to pass it off.  What's required to demonstrate that the
     repository is comprised of multiple barriers?  Generally, we will
     provide more clarity on this requirement.  Christiana Lui will talk
     later after me, discussing where the staff is at this particular time.
     So I won't talk to that at all.  That's why it's easy.
         In terms of the additional requirements, when I spoke before
     of why did NRC go out when they did with the regulation, some of these
     additional requirements are all things that a lot of them are NRC's job
     exclusively.  We needed to get feedback on some of these things and get
     that part of the regulation in place, and they're not that dependent on
     a standard.
         So for example, retrievability, we got comments.  There is a
     requirement for retrievability for the plants.  We got comments that DOE
     should have to demonstrate that they can retrieve things consistent with
     their plan.  Right now, that's under discussion, a comment we received.
         Probably the biggest surprise, at least to me, in the public
     comments was on human intrusion.  We got far more comments on human
     intrusion than I would have imagined.  I would say if there was one
     single lightning rod in Part 63 for public comment, it was human
         Should NRC -- should we prescribe a more realistic approach
     to the stylized calculation for human intrusion?  We got a number of
     comments to the effect that it was impossible for someone to
     inadvertently drill through a C22 container at 100 years.  So that
     should not be there.  The probability of that is zero.  You should
     prescribe something else, a later time, per chance.
         W also got comments that, well, gee, why not -- if it can do
     it in 100 years, it should be every 100 years drill another bore hole
     all the way to 10,000 years, and every 100 years you have another
     penetration by a drilling event.
         So we got a lot of comments, probably, I'll say, I believe
     DOE and NEI were commenters that questioned the logic behind what we
     were requiring and I think there were a lot of very good comments made.
         We are looking into that at this time.  There were -- I
     don't know if there were many things misunderstood, but people were
     questioning the stylized calculation, how we would use it in estimating
     compliance, et cetera.  We need to go back and look at that.
         Some of the things we're doing, the center, the
     metallurgists and the hydrologists are looking at well drilling
     practices, what would be the type of drilling event interacting with a
     container of C22.  So technically we want to examine some of the
     questions that we were called on, was this could not happen.
         Well, they're looking into that to see technically using
     current drilling practices, et cetera.  One thing I believe was
     misunderstood.  Some people interpreted that we would put waste down to
     the saturated zone.  We thought we had excluded that by saying that use
     standard drilling practices.  We felt that standard drilling practices,
     drill cuttings went up to the surface, not down.
         So by that clause, we thought we weren't putting waste down
     to the saturated zone.  However, people misinterpreted that.  At a
     minimum, we would certainly clarify that in the regulation.  But there
     were a lot of discussions with respect to the human intrusion
     calculation.  Like I said, we really got a lot of comments on that and
     some of them have really caused us to think a little harder.
         Will NRC require that DOE provide funding to local
     communities to enhance emergency preparedness?  Some of these comments
     came from our public meetings, as Janet pointed to.  The public meetings
     were very, very useful, I think.
         Communities, such as Caliente, there was concern that if
     there's a transportation accident and we have to respond to a radiation
     accident, we are not prepared; what happens.  And the question is, is
     DOE going to provide funding to enhance the capability for these
     communities near Yucca Mountain, so that they are ready to respond to a
     radiation accident.  Right now, that's under discussion, but there were
     a number of -- the communities that aren't necessarily affected by
     releases from Yucca Mountain itself, but the transportation to Yucca
     Mountain, there was a lot of concern.
         We're going to see a lot of traffic through here of a lot of
     high level waste, and what happens if an accident occurs.
         MS. KOTRA:  Tim, can I supplement that a little bit?  I just
     came from a meeting yesterday where issues of transportation of --
     safety of transportation were discussed, and I think that this is a very
     important issue and we got a lot of comment from corridor communities.
         We certainly, as Tim indicated, got a lot of concern
     expressed in very concrete terms in our meeting in Caliente.  But to the
     extent that we determine that this is a requirement that would go beyond
     what we would logically include in the emergency plan for the operation
     of the repository, we will be discussing with the Spent Fuel Project
     Office other mechanisms whereby we can address these concerns for
     transportation corridors generally.
         In my mind, there is some limitation to what you would put
     in Part 63 and what would be a general transportation issue, and I think
     we need to be discussing that.  So this is very much a work in progress,
     as Tim indicated at the beginning of his talk.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Quality assurance was also brought up and
     there were issues of how will ensure that DOE maintains an appropriate
     quality assurance program.
         The quality assurance requirements are being revised as the
     agency is making some overall general changes in quality assurance and
     we will revise Part 63 consistent with that.
         As necessary, we will provide some clarifying language on
     what's required of QA, so that DOE implements the QA requirements
         The other side of it is that we will certainly provide
     people -- part of the response to public comments is giving further
     information that the NRC does conduct observation audits and
     surveillance and we will be inspecting the repository to ensure the QA
     program is implemented appropriately.
         How will DOE document decision-making as new information is
     obtained?  That was the people were worried that DOE could make changes
     and not document it if the level of importance wasn't high enough, and I
     think we need to -- we'll be clarifying the intent on changes, tests and
     experiments consistent with how the agency is looking at that issue, and
     tailoring it to an application to Yucca Mountain.
         In terms of the regulatory process, even though we did not
     specifically ask for comments on the hearing process, merely let people
     know that there was an effort within the Commission looking at the
     hearing process, we did get comments on that.
         There were comments both ways.  Some people felt we should
     stay with an adjudicatory hearing.  Some people felt the hearing
     process, a more informal approach was more appropriate.
         However, I will say on both sides, even though people we
     were suggesting different hearing -- a different hearing process, they
     all wanted -- they were suggesting the one they -- their recommendation
     was for the process they believe would be most amenable to presenting
     information and making clear to the public that all the issues were
         So their goals were exactly the same, but they had a
     different take on what process would allow that.  Right now, as you
     know, the Commission is still considering that and we will incorporate
     things into the rule, but that would require obviously changing the
     hearing process is a Part 2 change and that's done at the Commission
         In terms of the multi-stage licensing, should NRC allow DOE
     to receive waste prior to completion of the construction, and
     there were many aspects of the multi-stage licensing that people brought
     up very good points.
         Part of it was some people believe until everything is
     completely done, we should not allow them to receive waste.  There were
     also questions of at what stage, what kind of information do you want to
     see with respect to confirming post-closure performance.  They felt that
     should be made clear.
         When you grant a construction authorization, what level of
     information do you need for post-closure performance versus the license
     determining.  So when you have the multi-stage license, there was
     concern that we would require everything at the construction
     authorization, but if not, what's the level across those three, the
     different stages of the licensing.  That's something under discussion.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Tim, that means that the suggestion --
     prior to completion of construction, that would mean every single one of
     the mine drifts would be completed and the tunnel boring machines would
     all be out and that's when the licensee could receive waste?  Is that
     what is meant by that question?
         MR. McCARTIN:  Well, in the regulation, it's the surface
     facilities.  So the regulation states, and I won't say I'm quoting it,
     but in spirit, it's when the surface facilities are substantially
     complete, they can apply for a license to receive waste.
         And there were comments that people -- they felt they should
     be -- everything should be completed on the surface facilities prior to
         DR. GARRICK:  Is the point here to prevent the surface
     facilities from being an interim storage facility?
         MR. McCARTIN:  Generally, I think the tenor of the comments
     in this regard were more that there was a concern that safety of
     operations was compromised, rather than say, well, you just want to get
     the waste there and then you're going to -- it will be a done deal once
     the waste is there.
         As I read the comments, it was more that what do you mean
     you're not going to have everything in place; you won't be able to
     safely handle this if it's not totally complete.
     But in addition to that, I mean, I'm grouping a lot of things under here
     and let me say I think that also very challenging was let's say if you
     look at three big segments of the high level waste repository, the
     construction authorization, a license to receive and emplace waste, and
     the amendment to close the repository, at those three stages, what kind
     of information do we -- what level of analyses do we expect for the
     post-closure performance.
         I think it was a very interesting comment, that certainly
     there will have to be a complete license application at construction
     authorization, but how much information do you allow to gather, and it
     gets to performance confirmation.
         There's some very difficult and important concepts that I
     think we're wrestling with right now and how best to express that.
         As Janet noted, we got a lot of comments on transportation
     and there were questions as to how will NRC ensure the safe
     transportation of radioactive waste to Yucca Mountain, especially from
     some of the surrounding communities that will see the highest volume of
     the transportation.
         Right now, we are not looking to change or add any
     requirements in Part 63 for transportation.  They're handled by other
     parts of NRC's regulations.  We will provide, in terms of responding to
     the comments, we will provide a summary of what NRC does for
     transportation regulations, to give them a sense of how it's being
     protected, but there would be no changes to Part 63 at this time.
         A number of people questioned the selection of the Yucca
     Mountain site, saying why should we consider Yucca Mountain, and
     generally the Energy Policy Act identifies Yucca Mountain as the sole
     site to be characterized, and we will certainly respond to those, but a
     lot of people did not want us to be considering Yucca Mountain.
         That's it for the main points on the rule.  In terms of --
     and I don't know, I'm assuming the committee has copies of our comments
     on the EPA standard.  If not, we can certainly get you a copy.
         But in terms of the three big comments that we provided to
     the EPA, first and foremost, we objected to the inclusion of a separate
     ground water protection requirements, because these requirements result
     in non-uniform risk levels, are a misapplication of the MCLs, and far
     exceed what's needed for public health and safety.
         We tried to illustrate our point by converting things into
     risk rather than getting into the -- we've always felt that it gets very
     difficult to explain when you talk about 15 pico curies per liter, four
     millirems for beta photon emitters.  It gets cumbersome very quickly.
         Let's turn it all into risk and see what we have, and if we
     look at the health risk from neptunium, at its MCL, the health risk is
     approximately three-times-ten-to-the-minus-five per year.  Whereas
     iodine-129, at its MCL, is seven-times-ten-to-the-minus-eighth per year,
     approximately 400 times more restrictive.
         Then if we look at the health risks of the 15 millirem
     standard, it's nine-times-ten-to-the-minus-six per year.  So you can see
     you really have a range of different things.  One of the problems with
     the MCLs, as we see it, for iodine, the health risk is so far below the
     individual protection limit that the individual protection limit is
     essentially meaningless.  The repository will rise and fall on the
     health risk of iodine-129 at a ten-to-the-minus-eighth risk level.
         As you can see, approximately three orders of magnitude
     range and risk levels by these three numbers, you get just a wide
     variety of risk.  It's hard to explain to the public what you're
     protecting, how you're protecting, et cetera.  It becomes very
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Tim, was it also pointed out that -- Milt
     suggested yesterday or pointed out yesterday that iodine, it may be a
     health risk, but it's not a risk of a latent fatal cancer.  It's
         MR. LEVENSON:  The majority of thyroid cancers appear to be
     curable and, therefore, the difference here is not a couple orders of
     magnitude, it may be four orders of magnitude for fatalities.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Well, that is actually taken into account in
     this risk level, in that the MCL for iodine is four millirem to any
         So if you look at -- this risk number takes into account
     four millirem to the thyroid and then we would weight it by its
     weighting factor of .03, primarily because of its resiliency to dose.
     So it does account for the weighting factor.
         Now, I don't know if that's --
         MR. LEVENSON:  Well, in the letter itself, that isn't clear
     at all, because it identifies fatal cancers from neptunium and fatal
     cancers from iodine-129, and they're certainly not on a comparable
         MR. McCARTIN:  Well, the weighting factor does that.  It
     takes the --
         MR. LEVENSON:  That's not obvious, that it was used.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Okay.  But that's how we got -- that's why
     the risk number is so low.  It's four millirem times .03, the weighting
     factor to put it on a fatal cancer, equate it the same.
         DR. GARRICK:  What this also suggests is that depending on
     the species, you could be in compliance with the four millirem
     requirement at a much higher dose than 15 millirem or 25 millirem even
     all pathways.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Yes.
         DR. GARRICK:  So depending on the species, you might even
     have 100 or 300 millirem and be in compliance with the ground water
     standard.  So it works both ways in terms of --
         MR. McCARTIN:  No, it works against you in terms of that.
     In terms of neptunium, you actually are allowed a higher dose limit, but
     the four millirem to the thyroid is really in terms of -- if you turn it
     into TEDE, it's actually you multiply that by .03, you're limited to .12
     millirem TEDE to the thyroid, and that's why the health risk of iodine
     is so low.
         DR. GARRICK:  But my only point is if indeed you do focus on
     the ground water standard, you get a swing in the all pathways.  You can
     get a swing in the all pathways dose, depending on the species that
     you're working with.
         MR. McCARTIN:  I'm not sure --
         DR. GARRICK:  We can talk about that.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Okay.  There were a number of portions of the
     proposed standard that addressed technical matters of compliance,
     determination and implementation, and we feel those are NRC's job and
     they should not be in the standard, and there were a number of things
     that we pointed to, reasonable expectation versus reasonable assurance.
     They said that we could not use reasonable assurance, we had to use
     reasonable expectation.
         It's a matter of implementation, how we judge what's
     appropriate for the standard.  Specification of the reasonably and
     maximally exposed individual, once again, is getting at what are you
     going to use to do the calculation of whether you've met the standard or
         We believe specification of an RMEI is inappropriate to the
     standard.  We have used, as people know, the average member of the
     critical group, consistent with the NAS.  Specification of the stylized
     calculation of human intrusion, they specified a calculation.  We also
     believe that that's a matter of implementation, not the standard.
         The last two ticks, they asked for comment on whether they
     should include assurance requirements.  We believe that's appropriate to
     NRC, not to the EPA, and, in fact, some of the assurance requirements
     they asked for comment on of whether they should include it are required
     by NRC by law.  The authority for them are given to us.
         And inclusion of the requirements for the use of expert
     opinion, how we would use expert opinion in the licensing hearing we
     believe is a matter for NRC.
         For some of these, I will say we aren't necessarily
     disagreeing with what EPA put in there in some cases; however, it does
     not belong in the standard, it belongs in NRC's implementing regulation.
         And finally, we object to the 15 millirem individual dose
     limit from all pathways.  We believe a 25 millirem limit is sufficiently
     protective of public health and safety.
         With that, I'd be happy to answer any questions.
         DR. GARRICK:  Thanks, Tim.  Ray, you got any questions?
         DR. WYMER:  I've got a comment.  As you know, the ACNW has
     taken an interest in communication recently and for quite a while, and
     one of the things that we have heard at some of the meetings we've held
     is the feeling of impotence on the part of the public that what they say
     doesn't make any difference.
         You've just pointed out a number of examples where it looks
     like it will make a difference.  It seems to me that in the interest of
     communication, which is the Commissioners have taken up pretty
     aggressively now, you might want to work a little harder somehow at
     pointing out to the public that you are accommodating this Part 63 to
     the input.  Maybe you are already planning to do that.
         MR. McCARTIN:  That's a good point and I'd have to say that
     as a staff, we've grown quite a bit over the five public meetings we've
     had in Las Vegas and they, I think, help us quite a bit.  When we first
     went out there, I think for most of us, we had never talked in a public
     forum to that.  We talked to scientific bodies, technical meetings, and
     there's a different way to communicate, a different way to explain
     things, and we've learned.
         I think the participation has gotten better over those five
     meetings.  We would like to continue that, because we certainly wanted
     people to feel that we're there to protect them.  That's our role.
     You're right, part of the responses to the public comments we hope were
     -- we have not thrown out any comment we have received and we will
     provide some type of written response in the Federal Register notice of
     how we dealt with it.
         We do have planned, there is no date as yet, that when the
     rule is finalized, to go back out to Nevada and explain, at least give
     people, okay, here's what we did and here is why, and explain things for
     them, and I think that would go along the lines as you're suggesting.
         I think, from a personal standpoint, probably the first
     couple of public meetings were a bit hard, fairly stressful for us.  I
     think by the fourth and fifth meetings, they actually were enjoyable and
     I think we learned a lot from those meetings.  I know our management is
     interested in keeping the dialogue going, because there's things you
     hear that sometimes we're just too close to what were doing here.
         I'll give one simple example, expected dose.  We had
     blinders on.  Everyone is going to know that.  Well, no.  And it carried
     the wrong meaning, and little things like that, I think, go a long way
     to improving the rule and proving our intent.
         DR. WYMER:  One other point.  If you'd stop kicking the cat
     in frustration over Part 63, you probably wouldn't hurt your foot.
         DR. GARRICK:  George?
         DR. HORNBERGER:  No.
         DR. GARRICK:  Milt?
         MR. LEVENSON:  I've got a couple of questions or comments.
     On your slide 11, on the question of will NRC require DOE provide
     funding to local communities to enhance emergency preparedness, the
     question I have is this is really much broader a generic issue than
     shipping stuff to Yucca Mountain.
         I mean, even the stuff going to Yucca Mountain, the most
     likely accident is a shipping truck accident without radioactive
     consequences.  To be equivalent to other things, are other industries
     being required, gasoline trucks are going through the communities, are
     they going to have to fund emergency preparedness?  I don't see what's
     particularly unique about the hazards here, and I wondered, as part of
     the discussion, whether that general matter has been discussed.
         Some of those communities, for instance, have no hospitals,
     have no medical facilities at all and sure they need them, but how is
     this all put in perspective?
         MR. McCARTIN:  As noted on the slide, it was a very real
     concern that we heard both in writing and at public meetings about we
     aren't ready for a radiation accident and the fear that it would happen
     and they wouldn't be prepared is real.
         What we are going to do, as Janet alluded to, are we looking
     at changing our rule to require funding.  There are many implications
     under that concern.
         Right now, we have not gone very far at all in discussing
     it, but we have to weigh a lot of things and the one thing I think is
     fair to say, these people deserve an answer to that question and part of
     it could allude to what's done for other industries and what types of
     accidents are expected, et cetera.
         But the question we feel is a legitimate one.  The fear is
     out there in the communities.  I think the only way to deal with that is
     to give an answer to that.
         MR. LEVENSON:  I agree that people need an answer.  The
     point is will the answer identify that the radioactive part of this is
     only an incremental increase in the risk from the shipping accidents, et
     cetera, to put it all in perspective.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Well, I'd like to give you a more concrete
     answer.  At this time, it's work in progress and this is one of those
     areas where we have not gone very far at all.
         MS. KOTRA:  Might I add here that at a very minimum, the
     emergency planning requirements for a repository will be no less
     stringent than what we would require for any other fuel cycle facility
     of appropriate to the risks involved, and that includes a careful and
     deliberate assessment of the risks and all of the nuclear facilities
     that the NRC regulates, at least the large ones, have to prepare an
     emergency plan.
         And the requirements for that, which were held in abeyance
     in the old Part 60, we have proposed in the new Part 63 to be comparable
     to those that are required for MRS and storage facilities.
         Now, in those instances, and as for reactors, our licensees
     are expected to assure, through their plan, that there are facilities
     and capabilities in the community to address a radiological emergency,
     irrespective of that community's ability to handle other emergencies.
         So I think at a minimum, I think it's safe to say that it is
     incumbent upon us to require of the repository that adequate emergency
         Now, what I was speaking to earlier was how far beyond that
     along the transportation corridor NRC will consider in view of the
     strong comments that we received, and I think that's very much under
         But I think the fact that there will be requirements for an
     emergency plan for the repository is not news.  It's comparable to what
     we require for the large facilities that handle and manipulate fuel.
         MR. LEVENSON:  And I think the people along the shipping
     corridor don't care about what you're doing at the facility.  They want
     to know about them.
         On page 13, you say how will NRC ensure safe transportation
     of radioactive waste and the answer is a brief summary of the NRC
     transportation regulations.
         I think for the public, that's no answer at all.  The reason
     being, the public really doesn't understand the limited role of NRC in
     this versus the role of DOT versus the states, and I know in the public
     meeting that we had in Nevada, that kind of an answer will really
     antagonize the public.
         You need to communicate to them the fact that NRC is
     responsible for only a piece of that.
         MR. McCARTIN:  I think that would be part of our -- when we
     talk about our regulations, at least allude to how they mesh with other
     parts of the U.S. Government, like DOT, et cetera.  Yes.  But there's a
     lot under there, because people ask questions of us, the local
     communities wanted some say in terms of the route selection.
         So there's a lot of issues under there that we'll try to get
     forward.  Some communities, obviously enough, distrusted the state,
     saying that, yeah, we're not a transportation route yet and we don't
     have good roads, but we know the state is going to move it away from
     this county over to us, and we're worried that, at the last minute,
     they're going to make that change.  We want a say in those routes.
         So there's more than just the regulations there, but I do
     think we have to talk to -- how transportation in general, that's a good
     point, is protected.
         DR. GARRICK:  One of the factors that came out of the public
     meetings, of course, is this whole issue of building public confidence
     and public trust, and I'm just curious.  When you talk about additional
     requirements, as you did on Exhibit 11, how will NRC ensure DOE
     maintains an appropriate quality assurance program, how will DOE
     document decision-making as new information is obtained and these kind
     of things.
         Is there any evidence on the basis of DOE going beyond
     specific requirements or legal compliance that would enhance public
     confidence on some of these kinds of issues?
         I guess what I'm thinking of is that there is now an
     operating repository.  DOE is the applicant, so to speak, and while it's
     not NRC-regulated, it is regulated.
         I guess the question then is, is there any evidence at this
     early date from that operation that would contribute to a building of
     public confidence in some of these specific areas?
         The one thing that builds confidence is to do more than
     you're asked to do or to do more than is legally required.  I think that
     in most regulated activities, applicants at least make the claim that
     they do a lot more than what is required by the regulations, in the
     interest of safety or in the interest of performance.
         Is there any merit in looking at that issue in the context
     of WIPP operations, for example?
         MR. McCARTIN:  In terms of trying to transfer some of the
     things they did right to --
         DR. GARRICK:  Going back to the underlying problem here
     being public trust, public confidence.  Of course, the way you deal with
     public trust and public confidence is with evidence, and that a good job
     is being done and that the applicant knows how to run a repository, et
         This whole issue, for example, of information and how it's
     used as it's accumulated is still an issue at WIPP, because one of the
     issues there is what can be done during operation that would enhance our
     confidence in the long-term performance of the repository.
         All I'm getting at is some specific examples are much better
     than a lot of talk and discussion.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Yes.
         DR. GARRICK:  And is there any tracking going on by the NRC,
     even though it's not an NRC-regulated facility, of activities there that
     might have relevance to your decision-making process?
         MR. McCARTIN:  We certainly follow WIPP to a limited extent.
     Off the top of my head, I guess I can't give you any specific examples,
     but it would be interesting to look at some of the things that are going
     on there and try to transfer -- I'm just thinking even in some of our
     responses in terms of how will we ensure DOE, we could maybe point to
     some examples at WIPP, DOE did this, we might expect them to do a
     similar kind of --
         DR. GARRICK:  See, the emphasis in the regulatory process
     has always been on the post-closure activity, and that's understandable
     when you're talking about a 10,000-year compliance period.
         But on the other hand, we're also talking about facilities
     that are going to have pre-closure operations much longer than anything
     that the NRC has ever licensed in the past.
         So it seems that there is an opportunity there to do some
     things that would enhance our ability to reduce the uncertainties in the
     long-term performance or to increase confidence and what have you.
         So that's the only point I'm making, is the NRC taking more
     than a casual interest in WIPP in respect to that point.  It sounds like
     the answer is you're taking an interest, but it's not disciplined or
     deliberate or systematic.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Right.  But the only thing, at least in terms
     of the pre-closure activities, we believe we're drawing upon a lot of
     the requirements and what would be done, we believe, would be drawn upon
     fuel handling facilities that the NRC has regulated.
         In terms of moving spent fuel, there's a lot of experience
     in terms of that and so we certainly can draw upon that experience base
     in terms of the pre-closure aspect.
         DR. GARRICK:  Okay.  Any other questions?  Staff?  Yes, go
         MS. DEERING:  Thank you.  Tim, I had a question about the
     location of the critical group.  One of the public meetings that I
     attended, there were individuals that were challenging NRC's assumptions
     about drilling technology, whether it was economically feasible to drill
     deeper than 100 meters, which was the basis for the location.
         Do you expect that -- at the time of the meeting, you all
     seemed pretty impressed with that information coming in.  Do you think
     that's going to weigh in at all on any decisions you make?
         MR. McCARTIN:  We still have not seen any significant
     information that says for the type of minimal farming that goes on, that
     people would pump from much beyond the 100 meters that we have at the 20
     kilometer location.
         It does get to be expensive, if you have to pull up a large
     amount of water, the energy, et cetera, for a minimal type crop, like
     alfalfa.  You're right, people said, well, I could still do it if I had
     to.  Well, that's true.  I mean, there's nothing to preclude someone
     from pumping from 200 meters.
         But in terms of the economics of farming, it does get to be
     a bit questionable.  And in terms of cautious and reasonable, we have
     never said it's impossible and could someone go in -- just a single
     household, not farming, and live, you can pay a lot more for a limited
     amount of water than if you're trying to put, say, five feet of water on
     an alfalfa field.
         But we didn't get a lot -- we have not -- we continue to
     look at farming practices within the southwest, arid, similar arid-type
     environments, and we have not seen enough information to come in to
     suggest that farming would be limited, significantly limited as you
     started getting to water tables 100 meters or deeper.
         DR. GARRICK:  Andy?
         DR. CAMPBELL:  This is follow-up to John's question about
     following WIPP.  To what extent are you guys involved with or following
     the updated modal study?  The transportation risks to spent fuel casks,
     transportation casks.
         MR. McCARTIN:  We're in discussions with the Spent Fuel
     Office and we're allowing them to -- obviously, Division of Waste
     Management, we want to be aware of it, but we are going to let those
     people handle the transportation questions, et cetera, and has Janet has
     something she wants to add.
         MS. KOTRA:  Yes.  I attended the Washington meeting
     yesterday, where the Spent Fuel Project Office held a very large and, I
     think, very successful roundtable discussion, getting public input on
     the structure of the updated modal study.  They'll be holding additional
     public meetings in Henderson, Nevada and in Pahrump.  I'll be attending
     those meetings as an observer and will be keeping fairly close eye on
     what information comes from those meetings.
         But they're in a preliminary stage of that and the final
     product, as I heard yesterday, will not be in place until probably 2003.
         So we're kind of at a point now of observing their progress,
     but as Tim indicated at the beginning of his presentation, we have a
     deadline imposed by the Commission of this coming March.
         So if there are some suggestions you would have as to how we
     could incorporate that information in a timely way, I'd certainly be
     interested in hearing it.  But I'm not sure, other than just being aware
     of what's going on and participating to the extent of any comments that
     would come up that would affect Part 63, which is my main intent, I'm
     not sure what else we can do at this time.
         DR. GARRICK:  I think we want to move on now.  Thanks very
     much, Tim, and we'll hear from Christiana later.  But I think right now
     we want to hear from Mr. Bernero, in the context of a public comment,
     and I have indicated to Bob that he has the 15 minutes that's needed to
     cover what he has to say.
         MR. BERNERO:  Thank you very much for the opportunity.  For
     those of you who don't know me, I am Bob Bernero, formerly of the
     Director of Nuclear Materials Safety and Safeguards here at NRC.
         I just -- these comments -- I filed comments last May or
     sometime like that on Part 63, but I had the pleasure of participating
     in the international workshop that the National Academy of Science just
     held in Irvine a little over a week ago, and that prompted me to seek
     further comments.
         Now, my comments are directed toward the decision process
     for Part 63 or for high level waste licensing.  They are just an
     amplification really of my previous comments that I filed.  The reason
     the international workshop prompts it is I think there are certain
     matters of consensus that are quite clear.
         Deep geologic disposal is internationally recognized as the
     logical solution.  There are questions in some nations, Belgium, for
     instance, that they don't have much ground under them, and it can be
     quite limiting.  But nevertheless, people are setting aside or have set
     aside pretty much any other alternative.
         Now, what that has done is it has led to a widespread
     consensus, an international consensus on the approach to licensing or to
     approving, to demonstrating a repository, and a thing I like to call a
     societal pledge is another consensus.
         That is, the objective is that no one in the future will
     suffer radiation exposure or harm or risk from this disposal that we
     would not find acceptable today, and that's just the universal fact.
     You go look at anybody's standards and you will find they are trying to
     implement that.
         Then they have great debate about when does it come out, is
     10,000 years adequate or should you go to 100,000 years or something
     like that.
         These corollaries are important.  Most people are selecting
     the objective to be exposure limits that are the same as those
     acceptable, permitted, licensed today.  Now, that's not harmful levels
     that would be clinically detectable in the human body, that would get
     you way up.  That's not the level that is widely tolerated in radiation
     exposure from background in certain areas.
         That's not the radiation level that is accepted for
     radiation workers, because of its controls.  This is a very low level.
     It is that fraction of the tolerable exposure to the general public that
     we find acceptable and, therefore, you get numbers that are so low.
         Now, at the back of the handout, there is a table that I
     submitted with my public comments and it just gives a radiation exposure
     scale and the whole point of it is people debate in high level waste
     acceptable exposures at the bottom of that ladder.
         They are virtually off the scale.  In fact, the four
     millirem per year, even calculated with more modern or up-to-date
     figures, four millirem a year was one of the candidates for below
     regulatory concern, when I was here, when we had the infamous debate
     about that about 1988, '89 and '90.
         Now, the problem in the decision process -- this, by the
     way, is the same slide I used in the National Academy workshop.  The
     regulator is trying to set down a framework of decision ahead of time
     that is sufficiently accurate, sufficiently precise to predict in
     advance how do you satisfy that pledge, that societal pledge, have you
     taken into account the uncertainties, are the multiple barriers
         And we're hearing from Christiana a little bit later about
     some of the thoughts on that.
         But everyone, all the regulators use a phrase like this;
     proof, in the ordinary sense of the word, is not to be had.  And, yet,
     we have arguments and argument after argument about whether you have
     proven compliance.
         One of my concerns is that there is an undue concern about
     the compliance with regulations to be demonstrated or proven in the
         Now, the Board on Radioactive Waste Management had the
     workshop a little over a week ago.  There was a prequel to that about
     ten years ago, and many of the people in this room, I think,
     participated in it, I did, the board met and the board came up with
     these recommendations and basically they said you ought to have a
     flexible process, you ought to deal with problems as they come, don't
     pile up all the requirements at the beginning.
         Well, the Yucca Mountain process or the review and
     regulation process for the high level waste repository that is now Yucca
     Mountain didn't follow that advice and at the time, I and many others
     felt we couldn't.
         Only one repository apparently could follow that advice.
     That was WIPP.  Because remember, at WIPP, at that time, it was not a
     certified repository.  It was DOE from beginning to end, it was DOE the
     developer, DOE the regulator, with the long range knowledge that they
     would never be allowed to operate unless they had some kind of external
         So my concern that right now in 1999 there's been great
     progress on site characterization.  Carbon-14, which was a terrible
     problem ten years ago, a really, really difficult problem, because on
     its face, the NRC should have told DOE close the door.  In fact, DOE
     should have closed the door without being told.  And yet, there was no
     health risk, no threat to the public involved, and it was a very grave
         What we have now is the two proposed standards, 40 CFR 197
     and 10 CFR 63, and there is hot debate, as you well know.  You
     undoubtedly read the NRC comments on 197 and it's a repeat session of
     what we've had in the past of warfare through literature.
         The agencies are in hot contest with one another.  They need
     to resolve it.  The nation needs to have resolution of that.  There is a
     ray of hope, if you look at it, there is perhaps a little more in common
     than appears.
         There are the problems about who is supposed to have the
     details of implementation, who sets the standard and who decides how to
     implement the standard.  But if you look at the terms, 10,000 years as
     the time of compliance or demonstration, they both have the recognition
     that, yeah, we know more comes out later, and I think the words EPA used
     were you want to look at later releases to see if they have a dramatic
         I think that was the word they used, dramatic.  I don't know
     how you deal with that, but NRC, the same, is talking about being aware
     of or analyzing those releases later and having some basis of fitting
     them into the evaluation.
         Well, to get to the decision process, what we face today in
     the current decision process, and I'll refresh your memory by going back
     to the site characterization plan.  I'm sorry to say that was ten years
     ago and the statute doesn't have NRC approving the site characterization
     plan, but it put a very powerful weapon in the NRC's hands.
         It was the prerogative to review, to comment, and to object.
     I remember vividly July 31, 1989, I signed a letter to DOE that objected
     to the site characterization plan.  That's a showstopper.  It was and it
     still is.
         Anytime that the regulating agency can say, in effect, you
     better stop now, because there's no way you'll get there from here, that
     is a very serious and powerful weapon.
         Now what we have in this decision process, we have a
     viability assessment that was invented, it was invented about the time I
     retired, because time had passed.  Many, many dollars had gone past.
     And DOE was trying to develop a support for their request to the
     President to submit to Congress, to get to the action in here.
         The present decision process has this viability assessment,
     most of it issued last year or early this year, I forget the exact
     timing, but the key step is the Presidential recommendation.  That puts
     the vote to the Congress.  That's when the nation gets to decide is it
     Yucca Mountain after all on a political basis.
         Then there is the construction authorization, where DOE is
     applying.  Now, the Presidential recommendation is just that DOE feels
     that they're ready to apply.  The application follows later.  NRC
     reviews it.  There's litigation.  Then there's the emplacement of waste
     decision years later.
         DOE applies, NRC reviews for license to emplace, that's what
     I call the OL, the operating license, and there's litigation opportunity
     again, and then years later, there's the site closure, DOE applies, and
     you go all over again.
         What has happened is there has been a backup of proof
     expectation not just at the end, but all the way back up even -- I have
     talked to many people, people expect the TSPA/VA -- that is, the total
     system performance assessment for viability assessment -- to prove that
     Yucca Mountain is acceptable.
         Two things that are something of a contradiction.  Probative
     use of probabilistic analysis is certainly not a demonstrated art, and
     what is wrong is the design is evolving.  The Yucca Mountain design, in
     fact, we heard a little bit about it in the public comments, the
         From what I gather, talking to a number of people, this is
     kind of a prognosis, that Yucca Mountain is evolving to an open gallery
     with no backfill, to be force ventilation cooled and to be retrievable
     for many, many years.  In other words, an underground MRS.
         It solves a great deal of the thermal uncertainty by getting
     down on that decay heat curve quite a bit and it also ensures
     retrievability.  This is something that I think is not reflected in the
     current decision process.  The proof of acceptability coming at the VA
     stage, NRC can agree, there needs to be a decision process that defines
     the body of information for the demonstration of acceptability, and that
     needs to be phased.  That needs to be scaled.
         And I have a suggestion to recalibrate, and starting at the
     viability assessment.  The viability assessment is DOE's job.  It's a
     programmatic judgment on expectations.  They ought to be able to do that
     job and the only thing, it should be without NRC objection.  NRC has
     still, in its hands, that very powerful tool of objection and, of
     course, there needs to be an understanding of the standard or a
     reasonable expectation of what the disposal standards will be and the
     licensing thereof.
         For the construction authorization, it really would be
     sufficient, in my mind, if there was a clear basis that Yucca Mountain
     can be licensed as an MRS, as an underground MRS, without compromising
     its role as a repository, and that there is a promising basis that
     further work will demonstrate that the site closure can be licensed; in
     other words, that ultimately it can be an acceptable repository.
         Recall that reactors had construction permits and operating
     licenses so that the owners wouldn't invest too much in the facility
     until you saw all the details and thereby it puts you in an -- put the
     regulator in an untenable backfit situation.  You didn't want that
         That does not fit the repository.  DOE has spent, I think
     the number is 5.9 billion already.  That concept just doesn't fit here.
     What we're dealing with is a national program where the construction
     authorization, which is excavation, is really geared more toward storing
     the material.
         The operating license, and this would be when it begins to
     receive waste, it's really the MRS.  It's licensed as an MRS and there
     is a strong, the very strong basis that it can ultimately be
     demonstrated as a final repository, but the finding is this is safe,
     without compromise, and here is further examination, research,
     consideration to be done, and then closure.
         Yucca Mountain would be licensed as a repository before
     closure and, therefore, it would be the final action of closing the
     facility, sealing the shafts, doing whatever you do to close the
         I suggest that this Part 63 revision has the flexibility
     within the statute to take this kind of an approach.  I, of course,
     recommend that the resolution of the conflict on the standard between
     EPA and NRC be resolved as soon as possible.  That's not something that
     the committee can do, but it certainly is needed.
         I thank you, and would be happy to deal with any questions.
         DR. GARRICK:  Sure.  Thanks, Bob.  Questions?
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Bob, I think that I could probably have an
     argument with you on at least some level that what you're suggesting is
     merely semantics; that the current track is every bit what you suggest
     at the end de facto.
         So my question is why would calling it an MRS make things go
     any more smoothly than they are likely to go by not calling it an
     underground MRS?
         MR. BERNERO:  That's a very good point.  One of the things
     -- let me just put the slide back on.  This is a slide I used at -- it
     had a different heading, but the same slide, at California.  That's
     societal pledge.  I've used that expression quite a few times.
         I had someone, a senior person, approach me and say if we
     adopt your proposed standard, referring to that, you have killed Yucca
     Mountain.  There is a -- what I think might be called a paranoia that I
     have to prove it.  I have to prove.  It's not there in writing, but when
     the peer panel for the TSPA/VA, they had a phrase like you cannot
     predict with TSPA.  Immediately, you killed Yucca Mountain.
         That was the reaction.  There is an expectation of proof
     that is not clearly written and it can only be -- in my view, it can
     only be set aside with clear language.
         One of the main criticisms I had of Part 63 as proposed is
     the expected value and I registered complaint about that, that expected
     to a lot of people means it might be higher, it might be lower.  It's
     the most likely thing, and I don't think a mean is that.
         It is something that demands a clear exposition, just how
     far do we have to go at this stage, the next stage.  That's why I say I
     think this flexibility is within the existing statutes.  But there's a
     lot of stuff embedded in the old Part 60 which is being replaced here
     that needs to be clarified and enunciated in a far better way.
         DR. GARRICK:  Ray?
         DR. WYMER:  No.  Sounded excellent.
         DR. GARRICK:  Milt?
         MR. LEVENSON:  Bob, I have a question.  It's not related to
     your presentation, but based on your past and a lot of years of thinking
     about the issues and thinking about what underlies what we're trying to
     do, rather than just superficial things.
         I know when dose limits were set for occupational workers,
     long before there was an NRC -- in fact, we dropped the dose by a factor
     of five the day after the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
     The crisis was over.
         But one of the factors considered was not only that it was
     controllable, but you were talking about a small subset of the
     population.  So that the matter of integrating it over the whole
     population wasn't directly relevant.
         In that context, where, if it's a very small part of the
     population, you ought to be considering maybe a different dose, since
     it's a statistical thing.
         Do you care to comment on the use of a single person as
     setting dose limits for a repository as opposed to general population?
         MR. BERNERO:  Well, in my view, the reasonable maximally
     exposed individual and the average member of the critical population
     group are different, but not terribly different.  I think that is a
     minor point.
         My real point in looking at an individual dose, whether it's
     an individual dose as average member or reasonably maximally exposed, is
     when we begin to argue about the levels of risk that are associated with
     25 millirem, 15 millirem, four millirem, we're counting angels on the
     head of a pin.
         It is because we are consistently and carefully trying to
     use the linear hypothesis and that was exactly the problem with
     carbon-14.  40 CFR 191 is an ALARA standard that says this is
     achievable; therefore, that's my objective, is to achieve it, that's the
     bound of acceptability.
         It had an individual dose limit.  If only it had been
     willing to say if you discover an isotope that leaks out due to
     peculiarity, like carbon-14, use the individual dose limit as a measure,
     that problem would have gone away.  We wouldn't have the Energy Policy
     Act of '92 dealing with high level waste in Yucca Mountain.  We would
     have saved an awful lot of grief and we would have had the same standard
     in this nation for both repositories.
         And individual dose, if carried to such low extremes that
     are not genuine safety concerns, if we are really concerned about four
     millirem a year, then we better do something about controlling air
     traffic and any other number of things.
         But we're not.  We tolerate wide variations in background
     radiation, in people receiving exposure, whether voluntarily or not,
     most people don't realize what they're getting, it's that use of
     individual risk or individual exposure down at such low levels that
     troubles me.
         It's as if that is -- that acceptability or unacceptability
     hangs on that.  How does society decide whether Yucca Mountain is
     acceptable or not?  It's not established.  It's a process that will take
     years.  The same thing with WIPP and society has apparently made the
     decision in WIPP successfully.
         Now, you can -- certainly the political atmosphere was quite
     different and the site is quite different, different waste, but I think
     we've got to be very careful with the use of individual doses at these
     very low levels.
         DR. GARRICK:  Any other comments?
         MR. IBRAHIM:  Bakr Ibrahim, NMSS.  I got the impression from
     your talk that you -- I feel that you may prefer to extend the period of
     opening the repository instead the 100 year to 300 years, which can work
     as an MRS.  Can you comment on that?
         MR. BERNERO:  Having many times looked at the decay heat
     curve and recognizing that when you get out to decades, it's pretty
     flat, you aren't much cooler at 50 years than you are at 40 years and
     certainly waiting 100 years isn't going to be all that much.
     I think retrievability, controlling closure, that retrievability is a
     conceptual thing.  Yes, you have obvious retrievability.  It's like
     parking a car in a garage, you can back it right out, if you haven't
     closed the galleries.
         If you have this retrievability to the point where both the
     thermal issue are -- you're sufficiently cool and you're sufficiently
     confident of the data to proceed with closure.
         So there is nothing that says that emplacement of waste has
     to wait or, rather, site closure has to wait for 100 years after the
     initial emplacement of waste.  It could be moved forward or backward.
         It's the conceptual basis of are you ready to close
     galleries, and it might be easier to operate that way, to backfill
     galleries in sets or something like that.
         DR. GARRICK:  Any other comments, questions?
         MS. DEERING:  What should NRC do to help resolve this
     difference with EPA?
         MR. BERNERO:  That's a job for the Commission, in my view.
     I spent many, many hours when I was at NRC working with EPA.  I think
     the staff has to provide substantial support with the Commission, to the
     Commission, but I really think that's the leadership of EPA and the
     Commission have to deal with that.
         DR. GARRICK:  Thank you very much.
         MR. BERNERO:  Thank you.
         DR. GARRICK:  I think what we'd like to do right now is take
     a 15-minute break.
         DR. GARRICK:  May we come to order, please?  Staff has
     informed me that we have a gentleman that wants to make a few remarks,
     after Christiana's presentation and perhaps later in the day, after the
     EIS discussion, and that person is Mike Baughman.  We will accommodate
         Okay.  Christiana, you have the floor.
         MS. LUI:  Thank you.  I usually have difficulties with
     microphones.  I just want to make sure that I'm at the right place this
         As the title implies, this is our current thinking on
     multiple barriers.  So this is work in progress and we welcome the
     committee's input on this particular topic.
         What I'm going to do here today is exactly to present you
     what's the current status of the staff's work on multiple barriers.
         Before I start, I would just like to mention that we
     actually have a team of technical staff working on this particular topic
     and the team members are Norm Eisenberg, Tim McCartin, Janet Kotra, Seth
     Coplan, Keith McConnell, on the NRC staff.  We also have contractor
     support from the Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analysis, and Budhi
     Sagar, Gordon Wittmeyer, and James Weldy are the staff who are assisting
     us on this particular task.
         I see that most of the people are here willing and eager to
     help answering questions at a later time.
         As Tim has alluded to in his presentation, that we have
     received approximately 100 sets of public comments, written comments,
     and staff has also held two sets of public meetings out in Nevada.
     Approximately 20 commenters commented on the topic of defense-in-depth
     and multiple barriers.
         Also, on November 2, we held a public roundtable discussion
     out in Nevada to further try to clarify the concept on defense-in-depth
     of multiple barriers.
         There are basically three categories of comments that we
     have received.  Use the approach in the old rule, that's 10 CFR Part 60.
     The other category is the proposed approach in the proposed 10 CFR Part
     63 is clear and good enough.  The third group of comments is people feel
     comfortable enough with the proposed approach in Part 63; however, there
     are a few concepts and implementation issues that they would like to
     have clarifications on.
         The rest of the presentation will focus on the third group
     of comments and, where appropriate, we will touch upon the first
     category of comments; i.e., use the approach in the old rule, and, also,
     where appropriate, I will mention the key points that came out of the
     roundtable discussion on November 2.
         What is the intent of multiple barriers?  As in the
     Commission's white paper on risk-informed and performance-based
     regulation, defense-in-depth is an element of NRC's safety philosophy
     and the multiple barriers concept is used to implement the
     defense-in-depth philosophy for the repository system.  In fact, it's a
     way for us to evaluate the physical system of the repository.
         And the next bullet, before I jump into that, I just want to
     mention that performance assessment is really the tool and the means to
     show compliance with the safety limit in the 10 CFR Part 63.  The intent
     of the performance assessment is for DOE to do as realistic as possible
     and as defensible as possible analysis based on the current state of
         That means all the uncertainties that are from all the
     different sources DOE has collected need to be appropriately factored
     into the performance assessment.
         However, because of the long compliance period, we will
     never know everything people would like to know; in other words, predict
     exactly how the repository is going to behave.  So there is this
     imperfect knowledge part and we would like to use the multiple barriers
     requirement to tackle that particular aspect.
         So multiple barrier, as an assurance requirement, goes
     beyond and above what is required in the performance assessment.
         There are -- yes?
         DR. GARRICK:  I'm trying to distinguish the difference
     between the two.  You say known uncertainties are addressed in
     performance assessment and then the repository is sufficient to account
     for imperfect knowledge.
         From my perspective, uncertainty is synonymous with
     imperfect knowledge.  Isn't one really a subset of the other?  Why do
     you distinguish between these two?
         MS. LUI:  Okay.  It's trying to get at the question of
     known/unknown a little bit.  Basically, we have probability distribution
     to account for what we believe we do not know or the impreciseness.
         However, there may be additional pieces of information that
     we have not discovered that will either widen the distribution, narrow
     the distribution, or shift the distribution completely.
         That's the distinction that we're trying to make here.  At
     least people were talking about the probability of probability.
         DR. GARRICK:  And I don't like that concept.
         MS. LUI:  I understand that.  But --
         DR. GARRICK:  Okay.  But you're grading different states of
     uncertainty, is what you're really trying to do here.
         MS. LUI:  Yes.
         DR. GARRICK:  Okay.  All right.
         MS. LUI:  And Dr. Eisenberg would like to say something,
         MR. EISENBERG:  I think you have to recognize that all the
     uncertainties will probably not be represented in the performance
     assessment.  We tend to quantify many uncertainties, many of the related
     parameters, and try to quantify the probability of various scenarios,
     but there are other types of uncertainties which may not be represented.
         So part of the idea behind defense-in-depth is to treat
     those uncertainties and if they are not quantified in the performance
     assessment, you need a separate consideration to look at those.
         DR. GARRICK:  That's good for now.
         MR. LEVENSON:  Could I ask?  Because I'm having a little
     trouble with the same wording.
         MS. LUI:  Okay.
         MR. LEVENSON:  Is what you're saying that the first bullet
     is uncertainties in known phenomena and the second one is to cover
     phenomena that you have not addressed?
         MS. LUI:  We can look at it this way, if that helps people
     to differentiate.
         Okay.  What is required of DOE for multiple barriers?  The
     current proposed Part 63 covers the first three and the last bullet.
     Basically, DOE is required to incorporate all the significant negative
     impacts into its performance assessment.
         And DOE needs to identify the credits that they are taking
     in the performance assessment or what are the barriers that they have
     built into the system safety analysis.
         And DOE needs to describe and quantify capabilities of the
     barriers, such as what would be the waste package lifetime, because the
     waste package will help prevent release, or what would be the transport
     time in the saturated zone, because that would delay the arrival of the
     radionuclide material to the critical group.
         And what we would like to clarify or possibly add to the
     final rule is DOE will need to be -- DOE will be required to perform
     additional analyses to show that safety does not rely wholly dependent
     on one single barrier, and I will elaborate on this point a little bit
     later, what we mean by additional analysis.
         And most importantly, DOE needs to provide all the technical
     basis supporting its assertions, supporting the analyses that they have
         We are getting into a little more detail here.  How can DOE
     demonstrate multiple barriers or what kind of analysis DOE would need to
     do to demonstrate basically the additional calculations that I mentioned
     before, what are we trying to get at?
         What we are requiring or asking DOE to do is that to show
     that a balance of the repository system can compensate for any single
     under-performing barrier, because these are the "what if" calculations.
     What if the barriers that DOE has taken credit in the performance
     assessment do not behave as expected, in the negative sense, because if
     the barriers perform better, the system is safer.
         However, what if the barriers do not perform as expected in
     the performance assessment?
         There are two technical issues associated with what I just
     stated.  First of all, what should be the degree of barrier
     under-performance.  There are two different choices here.  One is the
     staff can prescribe the level of under-performance, for example, in
     DOE's performance assessment, if it shows that over the compliance
     period, one percent of the waste package will fail, whether by corrosion
     or by juvenile failure or by disruptive events, staff can say, well,
     under-perform the waste package, say that instead of one percent, ten
     percent of the waste package will fail and show us the result.
         Or we can provide DOE flexibility, let DOE decide, based on
     the amount of evidence DOE has, and the level of confidence DOE has on
     the barrier's performance, and there could be a whole range from just
     slightly under-performing to all the way, not taking any credit for the
         The staff's recommendation at this point is to use the
     performance-based approach rather than prescribing what should be the
     degree of under-performance.  The reason being that it's consistent with
     NRC's performance-based -- risk-informed and performance-based
     regulatory approach and, also, if staff prescribe a particular degree of
     under-performance, it's bound to be overly conservative for some and
     perhaps not as prudent for the others.
         We do not have basis to do that prescription at this point
     in time.
         The next technical issue, how should NRC evaluate the
     outcome of the barrier under-performance analysis by DOE?  Should we
     judge that against individual protection standard or increment above the
     individual protection standard, or we should not set any pre-determined
     numerical limit.
         The recommendation or what staff is thinking right now is
     not to set any pre-determined numerical limit, because we need to weigh
     all the available evidence come license application time, and it will
     also depend on the level of conservatism that DOE has built into its
     performance assessment and also depend on the state of knowledge at that
     particular point in time.
         I'm sure that the committee will have lots of thoughts on
     these two technical issues.
         DR. WYMER:  In that case, you're talking about a single
     particular barrier, not the aggregate of the barriers.
         MS. LUI:  Yes.  The reason that -- remember, the performance
     assessment -- the condition that entering into these additional analyses
     is that the performance assessment captures all the relevant phenomena
     and are as realistic as possible, and if there is a combination of
     barrier failure, it should have been captured in the performance
     assessment.  These are "what if" analyses, just to go further than
     what's in the performance assessment.
         DR. WYMER:  My point was you're not suggesting that any
     case, you're allowed to go over the prescribed limit.
         MR. McCARTIN:  The individual dose limit you're suggesting,
     no.  What Christiana was saying, we would leave that open.  We're not
     saying we won't set a particular value for it.  One would look at -- the
     Commission would have to look at the conservatisms in the analysis and
     what the values are and make a determination whether indeed there are
     multiple barriers.  You're not relying exclusively on one value, but
     there's no, at this time, we're certainly not saying that it has to meet
     the 25 millirem limit.
         DR. WYMER:  Well, that is what you're saying.
         MS. LUI:  Yes.
         MR. McCARTIN:  It's going to be a subjective decision and
     it's quite possible you could exceed 25 millirem and still show that the
     system is comprised of multiple barriers.
         MS. LUI:  And these additional analyses are not done for
     demonstrating compliance to the system safety.  The performance
     assessment was being held to that individual protection standard and
     these are "what if" analyses, which we do not have any evidence that
     these are going to happen, but we would just like to know what if these
     type of phenomena happens.
         Then there one other option, demonstration of the multiple
     barriers, that we have heard from the public comments and also the
     roundtable discussion is to specify performance for individual barriers.
         In particular, the natural barriers should be the primary
     barrier and engineered barriers should be secondary, primary meaning
     that greater than 50 percent of the performance should come from the
     natural barriers rather than the engineered barriers.
         We do not recommend this particular option because the
     ultimate goal is that all the components in the system work together to
     protect public health and safety, rather than focusing on the individual
     barriers capabilities.
         Another thing is if we go with this particular
     recommendation, that means DOE can design a waste package that's a lot
     worse than what it has presented to us now.
         What we want to do is what we really emphasize here is that
     we want all parts of the system to be as safe as possible.  By
     specifying performance for individual barriers, we will most likely
     defeat that particular purpose.
         Generally, what is the NRC's review?  We welcome that
     detailed technical evaluation of DOE's work and determine whether it's
     acceptable or not.  We also will perform our independent confirmatory of
     the calculations to take apart DOE's analysis piece by piece to have
     confidence that DOE has actually met all the requirements for
     performance assessment and further the multiple barriers demonstration.
         In particular, what is the NRC's evaluation of multiple
     barriers?  As I have stated before, the multiple barrier requirement is
     an assurance requirement that built upon the performance assessments
     requirement.  So we will look at, in performance assessment, we will
     look at the data collected and the quality of the data that has been
     demonstrated by DOE, the conceptual models, the assumptions that DOE has
     submitted with these license application, and what are the mathematical
     models put into the performance assessment to do the safety assessment
     or compliance demonstration, and results and conclusions.
         So these are what's in the performance assessment portion.
         To go above and beyond the performance assessment portion,
     we will make sure that both the engineered and the natural barrier
     contribute to system safety.  As the rule is written right now, DOE is
     required to have at least one natural barrier and one engineered
         All the evidence that we have seen to date, we believe that
     DOE will have more than one in each of the systems.
         Then, of course, looking at the additional analysis
     performed by DOE, DOE would have to demonstrate that the repository
     system has the ability to compensate for something that we do not
     believe is going to happen, but what if it happens, the system is still
     safe enough.
         In summary, in the final rule and statement of consideration
     for Part 63, we will clarify the intent of the multiple barriers
     requirement and we will also discuss potential methods that DOE can use
     to demonstrate the multiple barriers, such as sensitivity analysis,
     importance analysis.  Those have already been mentioned in the statement
     of consideration, but we will provide more explanation to clarify that.
         Most importantly, multiple barrier is a separate
     requirement.  A lot of the comments that we have received seem to now
     believe that multiple barrier is a separate requirement from the
     performance assessment requirement.  We want to emphasize that it is a
     separate requirement and if DOE does not demonstrate that they have met
     this particular requirement, they will not get a license.
         That's the end of the prepared presentation and I'm sure
     that the committee will be happy to provide input -- we'll be happy to
     answer any questions that we can possibly answer at this point.
         DR. GARRICK:  Thank you.  George?
         DR. HORNBERGER:  I have two questions, Christiana.  First of
     all, what you've described is a flexible kind of approach and as you
     probably know, this committee has been on record as advocating such
     flexibility from NRC.
         So in general, I think that you have a sense that we would
     approve of this kind of approach.
         Now, the question is, on one hand, giving the license
     applicant such flexibility has potential benefits.  On the other hand, a
     license applicant can get really nervous over not knowing exactly what's
         Do you have any expectation from interactions, technical
     exchanges, whatnot, with DOE as to the level to which they would be
     comfortable with the approach that you're taking?
         MS. LUI:  During the roundtable discussion on November 2, we
     basically presented this particular approach and we did not detect any
     level of uncomfort from DOE.  Another thing is DOE has been using the
     neutralization analysis.
         At the beginning, they say that it's part of the multiple
     barriers demonstration, but now they are shifting the emphasis to they
     are using the analysis to prioritize their work.
         The proposed approach here does not preclude them from using
     neutralization, if that's what DOE is comfortable with.  However, it
     does provide latitude for DOE to go less than total neutralization,
     because there is knowledge out there and total neutralization, though,
     is very easy and simple to do, but it may not be too realistic, because
     it almost shows that we don't really know anything about the behavior of
     these barriers.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  The second question I have is by taking the
     "what if" analyses outside the performance assessment, I can understand
     the demonstration for multiple barriers and the potential advantage, the
     difficulty, you've already pointed out the difficulties, and that is,
     well, how is one going to evaluate the results.
         That's the difficult bit.  But by taking it outside the
     performance assessment, I could see that some people might criticize it,
     because what you're doing is saying, well, all right, if the drip shield
     performance is degraded, then we have a demonstration that performance
     is degraded by so much, and someone is going to say but what if both the
     drip shield and the Paint Brush tuff or whatever is not functioning;
     that is, people are going to say, well, how about all of these things
     work in concert and how do we know that the appropriate analysis is to
     just do one off analyses, one barrier at a time.
         And if you say, well, no, we might look at multiple
     barriers, then all of a sudden you're thrown back into a performance
     assessment type of arena.
         MS. LUI:  Or the question is where do we stop.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Yes.
         MS. LUI:  Right.  We actually have thought about the one
     barrier or more than one barrier issue a little bit, too.  First of all,
     this "what if" analysis has helped the staff to probe DOE's performance
     assessment.  So doing one-off analysis is a lot more transparent than if
     you have more than one, because then you become difficult to separate
     out what's the effect.
         Another point is these are "what if" analyses, so the
     probability of these type of situations happening is hopefully zero or
     close to zero.
         As the committee has advocated before, that the performance
     assessment should be as realistic as possible, we have already gone
     beyond that to ask DOE to do these additional analyses, and do we really
     go that far beyond the performance assessment.
         So those are the reasons why we are looking at just one
     barrier at a time.
         MR. EISENBERG:  Christiana, perhaps another part of the
     answer is that the performance assessment considers the interaction of
     all the barriers and we would expect the -- whatever the demonstration
     is for multiple barriers to also have one barrier under-perform, but
     then look at the interaction of all the rest of the barriers with it.
         But one of the things that might lead somebody to say, well,
     what if several barriers under-perform simultaneously is the equivalent
     in the reactor business of common cause failures.
         I think we have that covered, to some extent, in the
     performance assessment itself, because we require them to analyze, DOE
     to analyze the response to various scenarios, disruptive scenarios,
     which, in fact, are believed to impair several barriers simultaneously.
         So I think that kind of thinking is already inherent in the
     total system performance assessment and this is a -- as Christiana
     mentioned earlier on, is a way to treat our imperfect state of knowledge
     and the fact that we are projecting for unprecedented periods of time,
     and you don't want to make this additional test much more robust than
     the primary goal itself.
         So if you start going to multiple barrier failures or
     under-performance, I'm not sure that you can really justify it.
         DR. GARRICK:  Thank you.  Ray?
         DR. WYMER:  No.
         DR. GARRICK:  Milt, you got any?
         MR. LEVENSON:  No.
         DR. GARRICK:  One of the things that is very important in
     this whole multiple barrier concept, I think, that is a source of
     confusion is the sense that when we removed the subsystem requirements,
     we were suggesting by that possibly less attention being paid to
     individual barriers.
         Of course, the committee just had the opposite view.  The
     committee's view was that the attention should not be on subsystem
     requirements that may or may not be closely coupled to the overriding
     performance measure, but the attention should be focused on the coupling
     between the individual barriers, if you wish, and the overall
     performance measure.
         So in many respects, the committee's view was quite the
     opposite from what it might have been interpreted by some, and that is
     that we wanted more emphasis on the barriers, not less, but we wanted
     that emphasis in the context of being able to directly relate it to
     performance rather than relating it to a surrogate measure of
         One of the things that is also of -- that's just a point of
     clarification.  One of the things that also of concern here is that, of
     course, the source term that we're talking about here is very dependent
     upon the composition of the medium that's leading to degradation of the
     waste package, for example, and that composition, of course, is driven
     by how the previous barrier, if you wish, degrades.
         So the one thing that's a problem with the one-off approach
     is that it doesn't necessarily conserve or preserve the composition of
     the barrier as a contributor to the degradation of the waste package,
     and I'm sure this is something that you're looking at very carefully.
         But it is something that concerns us and I think that this
     is why it's got to be a combination of multiple barrier analysis and
     individual barrier analysis.  You can't just turn it off and then treat
     it as if it's there as far as the downstream effects are concerned.
         It's no longer there, so the impact it's going to have on
     geochemistry, on subsequent transport is different, depending on whether
     it's there or it's not there.
         This is an area that the committee has quite a bit of
     interest in determining in the end just how the multiple barrier
     analysis is performed.
         Have you looked at that specific problem in the one-off
         MS. LUI:  Okay.  If I understand you correctly, are we
     pointing at what Dr. Eisenberg and Dr. Sagar presented before in terms
     of the removing the barriers?
         DR. GARRICK:  Yes.
         MS. LUI:  I think it may be a communication glitch or a
     perception issue here.  When they say removing, it really means that
     we'll zero out the protecting function of that particular piece of
     component.  It still physically is there.
         DR. GARRICK:  Yes.
         MS. LUI:  So if it has any impact on the near-field
     geochemistry, such as, say, waste package interacting with the
     near-field alignment and leading to change in the near-field
     geochemistry, that particular impact will still have to be modeled.
         DR. GARRICK:  Yes.
         MS. LUI:  But the main function of the waste package of
     basically protecting the waste form from the water is being zeroed out.
     Am I correct?
         DR. GARRICK:  But the impact from a transport phenomena is
     not being zeroed out.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Right.  I think the key word, I think, that
     we use is under-performance.  So if there is something about the waste
     package, be it the way it corrodes or something that enhances transport,
     if you wouldn't neutralize the waste package, let's say, or
     under-perform the waste package and thereby remove a deleterious effect
     that it would have.
         The net effect would that you -- whatever -- as Christiana
     was saying, whatever positive aspect that it was providing, that is
     degraded, but negative, if there's certain like chemical aspects that
     affect release or transport that are associated with the, say, corrosion
     of the waste package --
         DR. GARRICK:  Right.  The secondary products of corrosion
     are extremely important in the downstream performance.
         MR. McCARTIN:  Right.  If they were degrading performance,
     it would still be included.
         DR. GARRICK:  Right.
         MR. McCARTIN:  You wouldn't say, oh, we'll remove that.
     That negative effect, too.  Under-performance is under-performance, I
     guess.  You're not taking away something that potentially has a negative
         MS. KOTRA:  One way to think about it, in reflecting on
     this, is that looking at individual barriers, they may have several or
     multiple functions in overall performance.  Some of them are
     contributing to overall performance, some of them are neutral, some of
     them are, as Tim indicated, deleterious.
         What you're conceptually trying to get at is the either
     partial or in total under-performance of one of those functions.  So you
     have to separate conceptually the barrier function from the presence of
     the barrier, and I think this has caused a lot of confusion in
     communication, as Christiana has talked about.
     What we're really looking at is the loss, either partial or total, of
     the function, not the loss necessarily of the entire barrier and the
     other functions that it may provide to the system.
         DR. GARRICK:  The reason, of course, we emphasize this is
     that when we had our working group session on engineered barriers and
     the performance thereof, the whole issue of secondary products and
     degradation products came out as major contributors to the downstream
     transport of material and the ultimate establishment of the source term.
         So this is something that, of course, is not so
     straightforward as switching on a pump and then switching it off or
     switching on a filter and then switching it off.
         It's considerably more subtle than that.
         MS. KOTRA:  Yes.  And the whole question that Christiana was
     trying to get to, I think, at the very beginning is what if the barriers
     perform in a different way than you have expected; not that they go
     away, but what if they perform in a suboptimal, to use jargon, way.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Can I follow up on that?
         DR. GARRICK:  Yes.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Given John's question, do you see it
     important to provide guidance to DOE on what might or might not be
     acceptable?  It's one thing to say three cheers for Budhi and Norm, but
     that's internal.  And what we're doing is actually in the position of
     having to evaluate what DOE does.
         MS. LUI:  Yes.  What we would like to do is this is
     basically the direction that the staff is proceeding right now and if we
     can basically get the committee's input and, to a certain extent,
     endorsement of the directions that we are heading down, then what we're
     planning on doing is in the Yucca Mountain review plan and the TSP IRSR
     provide further technical guidance.
         Basically what kind of -- the detail of the technical
     analyses that DOE can perform and how to demonstrate and also how the
     staff is going to do our evaluation.
         MR. McCARTIN:  The downside of flexibility is it adds burden
     and there's no question that -- I think currently we believe a key point
     to get across in Part 63 is we're looking at under-performance.  We want
     to give DOE flexibility to define what is under-performance for this
     barrier for our system, and we aren't going to prescribe it at this
         Now, what does that do?  That's flexibility.  However, DOE
     has the burden of developing some basis for their under-performance.
     The NRC has the burden to -- we now have to evaluate their basis and I
     think we're going to try, as Christiana pointed out, in the Yucca
     Mountain review plan, provide some things that we would do that
     hopefully gives DOE some direction, some guidance.
         But that is the dilemma.  Everyone wants flexibility, but
     there is a cost and that's it.
         MS. LUI:  What we want to prevent is to actually have a very
     flexible rule, but end up putting all the prescriptive requirements in
     the guidance document.  That's what we do not want to do.  But we will
     try to gauge what will be the right level.
         DR. GARRICK:  Yes, Norm.
         MR. EISENBERG:  I think what we want to do is clearly
     indicate in the rule what the intent of this provision is, which is to
     assure that safety in the repository does not depend on any single
     barrier.  We want to give -- and this is very consistent with the
     Commission's regulatory philosophy.  We want to give licensees,
     especially in a performance-based context, the ability to, having stated
     that goal, the ability to demonstrate compliance with it however they
     see the best way to do it.
         This has always been the Commission's policy, even if we
     write a reg guide, the licensees can come in and use some other means of
     demonstration.  It may take us a little longer to evaluate it, but we
     always still allow that.
         DR. GARRICK:  Okay.  We have slowed you up a bit.  I think
     we better proceed.
         MS. LUI:  Should I move on to the next presentation?
         DR. GARRICK:  Yes.  Well, I think he wants to comment maybe
     after her next -- or is it Part 63?  Okay.  Then let's hear from Mike
     right now.
         MS. DEERING:  One of his comments relates to Part 63.
         MR. BAUGHMAN:  Should I use one of the microphones?
         DR. GARRICK:  Yes.  And would you introduce yourself and
     affiliations, et cetera?
         MR. BAUGHMAN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the
     committee.  My name is Mike Baughman.  I'm here representing Lincoln
     County, Nevada.  I am from Nevada and I work with some of the different
     local governments out there.
         I have participated in the DOE and the NRC roundtables that
     have been held in Las Vegas and we certainly appreciate the opportunity
     to do that.
         With regard to the Part 63 proposed regulations, I'd like
     to, I guess, request that the ACNW may make a recommendation to the
     Commission that the Commission defer adoption of that portion of the
     proposed regulation that deals with revisions to the radiation exposure
     standards until after the EPA issues its final revisions to 40 Part 197.
         And let me just give a justification and a few points as to
     why we think this is an appropriate recommendation for you to make to
     the Commission and for the Commission to ultimately adopt this course of
         First of all, the public relies upon NRC to protect public
     health and safety and there is a clear link between the actions of the
     NRC and public acceptance of this project and the hazards associated
     with it.
         I would just note that with regard to public confidence and
     acceptance, we kind of see this as there being, during the
     pre-construction, pre-emplacement, pre-closure phases, that public
     acceptance and confidence is largely dependent upon process.
         We have no site monitoring, no site performance to go on.
     It's process.  It's regulatory process.  It's analysis.
         When we get to pre-closure or when we're in emplacement and
     after post-closure, we do then have site monitoring and performance
     kinds of monitoring to help us obtain that confidence and acceptance.
         So it's the actions that we take now in deciding how to do
     this project that really cause the public to determine and those of us
     that live in the state to determine whether the risks will be acceptable
     or not.
         Secondly, NRC adoption of a standard perceived as being or
     affording less protection than the EPA proposed standard may erode
     public confidence and NRC's resolve to protect public health and safety
     in later repository licensing proceedings.
         I think we need to be worried about that.  Clearly there is
     a difference of opinion here and if the NRC presses on, what message
     does that send to the people that are going to be impacted by this
     project over time.
         Thirdly, the ongoing debate between NRC and EPA regarding
     radiation exposure standards may result in a public perception that
     significant public health and safety protection benefits result from the
     EPA standard over the NRC proposed standard.
         We're talking about very low levels of exposure.  An ongoing
     concern we have had is that as people perhaps perceive that we ought to
     be affording more and more protection, perhaps we spend more and more
     dollars in over-design, we are actually then perhaps taking dollars away
     from other areas where we could truly be affording some public health
     and safety protection.
         Again, it's a public perception issue.  Your actions,
     though, and the actions of the EPA to raise this debate, I think,
     provide the public with some sense that, gee, these must be real
     significant numbers and the differences must be important.  And I think
     we really ought to be concerned about what message we're communicating
     and then what does that do to project expenditures.
         Our primary concern is that we are spending inordinate
     amounts of money to reduce very, very miniscule levels of risk which
     produce virtually no benefit in protecting public health and safety in
     terms of, for example, fatalities, when over 95 percent of the
     fatalities in this whole program will result from simple transportation
         If we could defer a rather modest amount of spending in
     terms of over-design and construction of the repository on some modest
     highway improvements, we might cut down greatly on fatalities in this
     whole program.
         So we would encourage this group to perhaps consider
     recommending to the Commission that they do hold off.  We see two
     avenues to do that.  One would be the Commission go forward and adopt
     all of the proposed revisions except the release standards and simply
     wait until EPA issues theirs and then amend the regulations to
     incorporate a release standard.
         Secondly, the Commission could adopt the revisions to 10 CFR
     Part 63, including their proposed release standards, but include in the
     regulation a sunset clause, in essence, which says when the EPA adopts
     its standards, it supersedes ours.
         I think that would be a recognition that NRC is willing to
     go along with whatever NRC does and perhaps puts this debate, to some
     extent, to an end.
         Thank you.
         DR. GARRICK:  Thank you.
         MS. LUI:  Okay.  Now, we are moving on to the Yucca Mountain
     review plan development presentation.  I would like to introduce Pat
     Mackin, who is the center coordinator for the Yucca Mountain review plan
     development, and he will be assisting me talking to the Commission about
     the detail of what we are doing today.
         MS. DEERING:  You're one page ahead.
         MS. LUI:  Maybe page 2 was missing, that's the problem.  I
     will try it again.  I think it's actually missing.
         DR. CAMPBELL:  We have hard copies.
         MS. LUI:  You have introduction.  I knew that it's risky
     always to depend on technology alone.  Hopefully, most of the people
     have the briefing package in front of them.  I would just briefly go
     through the introduction page.
         We last briefed the committee May 11, 1999, and during that
     particular briefing, I introduced a framework for developing a
     risk-informed and performance-based Yucca Mountain review plan and
     presented a schedule for development.
         Since then, the NRC staff and the center staff have been
     working together on development of the Yucca Mountain review plan and we
     have made progress on all the aspects.  Basically, the general
     information that's detailed in the proposed Part 63 under paragraph
     63.21(b), and also the safety analysis report, that's in paragraph
     63.21(c), and the safety analysis report, we basically segregate the
     evaluation into three different chapters, the pre-closure safety
     evaluation, the post-closure safety evaluation, and the requirements
     associated with administrative and programmatic plan and procedures.
         Now I would just like to turn to Mr. Pat Mackin to give you
     more detail on the progress and where we are today.
         MR. MACKIN:  Thanks, Christiana.  First of all, just as a
     reminder, this Yucca Mountain review plan will be like other NRC review
     plans.  It will identify areas of review, review methods, acceptance
     criteria, evaluation findings and so forth.
         And as we looked at the task of developing the Yucca
     Mountain review plan, we saw it kind of split into three separate pieces
     that needed to be attacked in slightly different ways.
         First of all, for the general information, the
     administrative and the programmatic sections, under the first bullet
     there, you'll see a number of sub-bullets which identify the sections of
     the review plan in these areas, and they're very common to reviews that
     are being done by the staff every day in a wide variety of regulatory
         So our assumption was that essentially a wheel has already
     been developed in these areas and there's no need for us to reinvent
     anything and we will draw heavily upon successful regulatory guidance
     documents that already exist to develop our review plan in these areas.
         Specifically, we felt that many of the operations at the
     repository will be similar to what goes on at an independent spent fuel
     storage installation and so the review plan for those licensing reviews,
     NUREG-1567 we anticipate being an excellent source of information to
     develop the Yucca Mountain review plan.
         We will, of course, then have to tailor it to specific
     aspects of the Yucca Mountain operations as necessary.
         We also have realized that certain aspects of the review may
     not be done within the Division of Waste Management, that the expertise
     in some of these areas may lie in other areas of the staff.
         So our development of the review plan for those areas, we
     will integrate or cooperate with those other staff entities to make sure
     that the product we produce is something they can use if they're going
     to be doing the review.
         The second major piece of the review plan is pre-closure
     safety.  As I think you all know, as Tim has mentioned this morning, in
     CFR Part 63, as proposed, it is performance-based, and for the
     pre-closure safety portion of the regulation, it specifies performance
     objectives which are essentially compliance with the radiation exposure
     limits in 10 CFR Part 20 and specifies also that an integrated safety
     analysis or an ISA will be the means by which DOE demonstrates
     compliance with those requirements.
         So the review plan in the pre-closure safety portions will
     focus on the integrated safety analysis and the way in which DOE uses
     that to demonstrate compliance with the performance objectives.
         To be able to do that, one of the first things we've done is
     in the last fiscal year, we had a training session by an expert in this
     area for about 20 of the NRC and center staff.  In the year to come,
     we're looking at a follow-on course that would focus on not so much the
     techniques for integrated safety assessment as how you evaluate a safety
         Tim mentioned also this morning that we'd like to have
     flexibility in how this is done.  So our review plan won't identify a
     specific ISA technique that we would expect DOE to use.  It will
     identify -- it will be flexible enough to allow us to work with and
     assess whichever technique DOE selects to present in its license
         The follow-on portions of the pre-closure safety part of the
     review plan I have listed here.  Plans for retrieval and performance
     confirmation, in particular, as Tim mentioned this morning, are still,
     to some extent, under discussion and particularly in the performance
     confirmation area, the structure of the review plan will largely depend
     upon what the final requirements in Part 63 there are, although we
     expect it will certainly be a multi-disciplinary kind of activity and
     that it will need to be integrated closely with the post-closure
     licensing reviews in the sense that the design, of course, will need to
     be able to accommodate any performance confirmation program that might
     be ongoing.
         The final, the third portion of the review plan will deal
     with post-closure performance and I've listed the primary divisions of
     the review plan here under performance assessment.  Tim, again,
     mentioned this morning, and Christiana, the approach that's being taken
     toward multiple barriers, the scenario analysis section we assume will
     basically be the place where we evaluate the methods DOE has used to
     identify and screen features, events and processes.
         I'm going to come back to model abstraction in just a
     second.  Then, of course, there's an overall demonstration of compliance
     and, again, performance confirmation program that has to be integrated
     with pre-closure safety.
         But I want to spend just a minute wrapping up my part of
     this presentation on the model abstraction portion of the post-closure
     review plan, because it's where the bulk of the review for post-closure
     safety will be done.
         I need to establish a little bit of background here, because
     the term model abstraction could be misconstrued to be fairly narrow.
     It's actually a quite broad scope.  As many of you know, for some years,
     the program has been based on the key technical issues and those key
     technical issues have a number of sub-issues.
         What we found through the performance assessment work and
     other interactions and technical work was that those KTI sub-issues tend
     to be somewhat single discipline oriented, and that as we evaluated the
     results of performance assessments, we found out that we needed a way to
     better integrate these KTI sub-issues over a number of disciplines, and
     also then to take the results of that integration and abstract, if you
     will, the process level models into the performance assessment.
         Consequently, 14 what are termed integrated sub-issues were
     identified, which span the areas covered by the KTI sub-issues, but
     which integrate them across multiple disciplines, and a determination
     was made that these 14 integrated sub-issues would form the basis for
     the post-closure portion of the review plan.
         Now, the hard part of writing the review plan is identifying
     the acceptance criteria and the review methods that the staff will use
     to assess compliance and the way we have approached that is if you
     examine the total system performance assessment issue resolution status
     report, it contains five what we call generic acceptance criteria that
     look at the whole scope of activities associated with performance
     assessment, from the collection of data from site characterization, to
     the analysis of the data, to the development of conceptual and
     mathematical models, to the abstraction of those models into a
     performance assessment.
         So we've taken each of those five generic acceptance
     criteria and used them as a foundation for each of these integrated
     sub-issues, and that's where we're obtaining the acceptance criteria for
     the review plan.
         To get the review methods, we're going to the individual key
     technical issue, issue resolution status reports.  In there, you find
     documented the acceptance criteria that the staff proposes for
     resolution of each of these KIT sub-issues.  We're extracting them and
     putting them in the review plan as review methods.
         That doesn't completely fill the bill, because it doesn't
     deal with the follow-on steps, which is multi-disciplinary integration
     among these sub-issues and the abstraction of models into the
     performance assessment.
         So there's a little more to it than that, but that will be
     the source of information for the post-closure portions of the review
     plan.  Then subsequent to that, those combined evaluations will appear
     in the review plan, in the issue resolution status reports, although
     this process is still being thought out, to some extent, we envision
     that the issue resolution status reports will be where the staff
     documents its technical basis for considering issues to have been
     resolved, and that can ultimately form a source for information for the
     safety evaluation report.
         That's the basic way we're approaching the post-closure
     portion.  Christiana?
         MR. LUI:  Thanks, Pat.  So in summary, following what Pat
     has briefed the committee, that we are systematically examining work in
     the issue resolution status report and we are focusing on DOE's
     approach, because now we are entering into the phase of the program
     where DOE are meeting their major milestones and staff also needs to
     proceed along the same timeline.
         We tried to prioritize our work based on risk significance,
     utilizing all the information and knowledge base that we have gained in
     the past year, in the past decade, the site information, the performance
     assessment, exercises on reviewing DOE's work.
         And as Pat has mentioned, where possible, we want to utilize
     the applicable existing regulatory guidance documents.  So we're not
     duplicating any prior efforts.
         The current schedule for the production of the Yucca
     Mountain review plan is as follows.  The Rev. 0 of the Yucca Mountain
     review plan, which will contain the post-closure sections, will
     accompany the final Part 63 to go to the Commission by the end of March
         Revision 1 of the Yucca Mountain review plan, which is going
     to be a complete review plan, in other words, we are adding all the work
     on pre-closure safety evaluation, the administrative and programmatic
     requirements evaluation, and the general information portion to what's
     going to be in the Rev. 0 Yucca Mountain review plan to form a complete
     review plan is scheduled for the end of FY-2000, or the end of September
         What we intend to do with this complete version of the Yucca
     Mountain review plan is to formally invite public comments and we are
     planning on a series of interactions with DOE and also public meetings
     to get people up to speed and become familiar with what's going to be in
     the Yucca Mountain review plan.
         And Revision 2 of the Yucca Mountain review plan is planned
     for the end of FY-2001.
         Another point to mention is Rev. 1 of the Yucca Mountain
     review plan will most likely be used for staff's evaluation of the site
     recommendation, because this is the way we tried to structure, to have a
     complete review plan before the site recommendation comes out.
         I think we'd be happy to answer any questions that you may
     have at this point.
         DR. GARRICK:  Okay.  Ray?
         DR. WYMER:  I have one.  In the course of doing -- setting
     up this review plan, have you unearthed any deficiencies in the
     available projected regulations that you have or plan to make input on
     to make sure that you have everything you need to be able to carry out
     the review the way you want to?
         MS. LUI:  You mean deficiency in 10 CFR Part 63 or all --
         DR. WYMER:  Anything that you're using.
         MS. LUI:  Anything.  I do not believe we have uncovered
         MR. MACKIN:  So far, we have not.  I guess the area that I
     mentioned earlier, we felt that many of the things that happened, for
     example, at an independent spent fuel storage facility might be similar
     and regulatory guidance would be applicable.
         Maybe one of the areas where we're not sure yet, because we
     haven't gone far enough, is the underground operations portion.
         DR. WYMER:  I see.  By and large, you haven't plowed up any
         MR. MACKIN:  No.
         DR. WYMER:  To use a good old southern expression.
         MR. MACKIN:  No.
         DR. GARRICK:  George?
         DR. HORNBERGER:  When were the 14 integrated sub-issues
     defined and have we seen that list?
         MR. MACKIN:  I believe they have.
         MS. LUI:  Yes, you have.  We actually have a backup slide on
         DR. HORNBERGER:  I think it was about a year and a half ago.
         MR. MACKIN:  Oh, I remember that diagram.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Yes.
         MR. MACKIN:  Now I remember.  I just didn't remember the
         MS. LUI:  The name has changed and also the title has
     evolved to -- they were first introduced a the key elements of subsystem
     abstraction, because in the staff's strategy paper in SECY 97-300, we
     basically identified these as the key points that we want to review in
     DOE's performance assessment.  Now we are using the framework layout
     here to basically integrate that effort and through that particular
     process, we found that some of the original names were too narrowly
         So we have changed the name to be more encompassing, while
     the focus is still on performance.
         DR. GARRICK:  Milt, do you have any questions?  Any
     questions from the staff?
         DR. CAMPBELL:  I've got one, John.  In terms of one of the
     things the committee heard in Las Vegas, in the October meeting, from
     DOE is this whole process of their revising the repository safety
     strategy in light of the EDA-2 design that they've accepted, which
     they've now written to NWTRB saying that DOE has accepted that design.
         In that process, they have increased their number of
     principal factors.  I think there are now 27.  I think before in the VA
     there were 19.
         Is the intent of moving to the integrated sub-issues to
     provide an interface, more or less, between NRC's set of issues and
     DOE's set of principal factors?  Is that where the two performance
     assessments, if you will, interface?
         MS. LUI:  Staff right now is undergoing a major effort using
     the TSPA IRSR as a mechanism to really focus staff's effort on what DOE
     is doing and what we intend to do in Rev. 2 of the TSPA IRSR that's
     scheduled for the end of January next year is to focus on DOE's
     features, events and processes database and also to identify which
     principal factors in particular integrate sub-issues focus on.
         So we are making that particular linkage and hopefully --
     but my understanding is that DOE is still in the process of finalizing
     its reactor safety strategy Revision 4 -- Revision 3 or Revision 4, I
     kind of lost track, sorry.
         DR. CAMPBELL:  I think it's three at this point.
         MS. LUI:  Okay.  And, yes, they have increased the number of
     factors, but my understanding is it's not going to be all 27 or 30
     factors to be labeled as principal factors.  They're probably going to
     have a dozen of them are the really key factors that DOE is going to be
     focusing on.
         DR. CAMPBELL:  And that will be the focus.  There were seven
     of them, I think, that they talked about at the time of the presentation
     that they considered their most important principal factors and then
     that would be the focus of where NRC is placing its resources and its
     review efforts.
         MS. LUI:  That will certainly be taken into consideration.
         DR. CAMPBELL:  But there might be other ISI areas that NRC
     would say we think this is important even if DOE says we don't think
     it's that important.
         MS. LUI:  Those are the areas where we believe DOE hasn't
     done sufficient amount of work.  It may be not be important from the
     performance standpoint, but it may be deficient in terms of the
     defensibility of what DOE has done in those areas.
         DR. GARRICK:  A continuing interest on the part of the
     committee has always been to more clearly understand how the performance
     assessment process enters into the prioritizing of the issues, both at
     the key technical issue level and sub-issue level.  I think part of what
     Andy was getting at is what is the link between the issues as
     interpreted by the NRC and the issues as interpreted by DOE, both of
     whom claim some involvement of the PA in their development.
         So this is something we will continue to try to understand.
         MS. LUI:  That is certainly our goal here, to really use the
     performance-based and risk-informed approach.
         DR. GARRICK:  Right.  Any other questions or comments from
     either the committee, the staff, or anybody else?  Very good.  Thank you
     very much.
         MS. LUI:  Thank you.
         DR. GARRICK:  I think we will adjourn for lunch and commence
     at 12:30.
         [Whereupon, at 11:40 a.m., the meeting was recessed, to
     reconvene at 12:30 p.m., this same day.].             A F T E R N O O N  S E S S I O N
                                              [12:33 p.m.]
         DR. GARRICK:  The meeting will come to order.  This
     afternoon we're going to start off with an NRC staff review of the Yucca
     Mountain draft environmental impact statement.
     The committee member that will lead the discussion on this topic will be
     Vice Chairman George Hornberger.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  And we have James Firth at least starting
     us off, James, and you'll take care of any subsequent introductions.
         MR. FIRTH:  Yes, I will.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Are there other people?
         MR. FIRTH:  I'll be doing the main presentation, but I've
     been project managing the review, but we have a lot of people involved
     and a lot of people will be sitting at the table, Charlotte Abrams, Skip
     Young, we have Neil Jensen.  If questions come up, then I will then
     direct them to the appropriate people or person.
         I want to tell you briefly about where we are in terms of
     the staff review of DOE's environmental impact statement.  This is a
     review that's in process, so things I'm going to be discussing in terms
     of possible comments are still preliminary, we're still working on that,
     and that's something I will reemphasize as we go through.
         Starting with NRC's role, we're commenting on the draft
     environmental impact statement.  This is our main chance at giving DOE
     feedback on the environmental impact statement.  The Nuclear Waste
     Policy Act has directed that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
     adopt, to the extent practicable, DOE's final environmental impact
         So our role is pretty much commenting on the draft
     environmental impact statement and then after DOE comes in with a
     license or if they come in with a license application, we will then look
     to see to what extent we can adopt the environmental impact statement,
     and NRC has established criteria, Part 51, to describe what basis we
     would use to judge adoption.
         Those are as DOE has significant and new information
     developed or is NRC potentially going to be putting requirements on DOE
     that would cause impacts that are significant on the human environment.
     What we've done is a two-part review.  The first part was a completeness
     review, where we were looking to see were all the pieces there.  The
     second part is an evaluative review, which is where we were doing more
     detailed review.
         The reason we did this two-step review was to make sure that
     we could focus our efforts on the most important parts of the
     environmental impact statement.
         In the completeness review, basically we asked the question
     has DOE provided all of -- addressed all the required topics, and the
     basis for what DOE needed to include are established by the National
     Environmental Policy Act and the CEQ regulations.
         The Nuclear Waste Policy Act then constrained what DOE had
     to do to fulfill those requirements.  So what we did is we looked at has
     DOE addressed everything and this was an initial top level look.
         Another question that we asked at this stage of the review
     was has DOE conducted the appropriate inter-agency and
     inter-governmental coordination.  There are certain things, like
     coordinating with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the State Historic
     Preservation Officer, that are more required.
         Then there is also coordinating with other Federal agencies,
     state and local agencies, as appropriate.
         The next step was to do an evaluative review, which is
     merely where we went into more detail in those areas that we identified
     during the completeness review, and this review was focused on, in
     essence, compliance with the requirements of NEPA and the CEQ
     regulations, which is a different standard than we would apply for
     safety evaluation.
         The questions that we asked were did DOE use the appropriate
     data, are the analysis methods appropriate, do the analyses support the
     conclusions that DOE has in the environmental impact statement, and we
     also looked at has DOE identified and discussed the appropriate
     mitigation measures.
         The environmental impact statement covers a lot of territory
     and what we needed to do is bring in a lot of people to help with the
     review.  We've concentrated the review in the Division of Waste
     Management.  We have support from other areas within the agency, such as
     the Spent Fuel Projects Office, the Office of Nuclear Reactor
     Regulation, and the Office of General Counsel.   We also involved the
     Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analyses and the Center provided us
     with expertise that was not available to the NRC staff, such as looking
     at sociological impacts and ecological impacts, as examples.
         I wanted to give you a feeling for the broad areas that we
     had reviewers looking at in the environmental impact statement, cover
     the areas of the scientific disciplines, economics, risk assessment,
     environmental justice.
         Our review schedule began pretty much in August of 1999.  We
     had briefed the committee in June about our staff guidance.  In August,
     we finished our initial completeness review.  In October of this year,
     we met with the Department of Energy, through a video conference, where
     NRC staff asked for where specific information was in the environmental
     impact statement, where in the references would we find certain
     information, and we did make some requests for additional information.
         Examples of that would be socioeconomics and transportation.
     So DOE, after the technical exchange, has provided NRC with some of this
     additional information and we've been reviewing that as part of our
         Looking up at future dates, in early December, we're looking
     at finishing our staff review, and in January we will brief the
     Commission and the public comment period will close in early February.
         As we were going through our review, we also undertook
     several related activities.  Our intent is to observe as many of the
     public meetings that DOE is holding around the country as we can,
     without negatively impacting our review.  On this slide, you can see
     that we have attended quite a number of the hearings that are located in
         In early November, on the 9th, staff from NRC and the center
     went out to Caliente, Nevada, at the request of local officials, and we
     held our own public meeting in between two of DOE's hearings.  This was
     done at the request of the local officials.
         What we discussed there was our review process and the role
     that NRC has in the environmental impact statement.
         Now, I want to move into some of the broad areas that we may
     be commenting on the environmental impact statement.  There is some
     overlap as you review the environmental impact statement.  So this will
     give you a synopsis of areas where we are looking at commenting.  I'm
     planning on moving through these one at a time.
         The first area is that what we found is that there is a lack
     of synthesis in the environmental impact statement.  DOE has not really
     fully developed and described in one place the proposed action and it is
     very difficult for a reader to look at the environmental impact
     statement and to determine what all the impacts are from the proposed
         They're having to take information from different parts from
     within the environmental impact statement.
         There's also some difficulty in terms of doing a comparative
     table and looking at a comparative table in the environmental impact
     statement, so that someone reviewing it could see what is the difference
     between the no action alternative and the proposed action.
         We have looked at consultations.  We have noticed that DOE
     has given limited consideration to available information that was
     developed by local governments.  Examples of this would be population
     data, which is more current than the 1990 Census data that DOE used in
     the environmental impact statement.
         Also, a number of local governments and Federal agencies had
     asked to be cooperating agencies.  DOE has declined their involvement
     and we have not seen a basis for how DOE made a decision in terms of
     declining the involvement of those groups.
         In the area of mitigation measures, what we've noticed is
     that DOE has included an incomplete set of mitigation measures in their
     discussion.  Part of this arises from how they've analyzed cumulative
     impacts.  Some of it has arisen in terms of how they have analyzed
     specific impacts, such as the land withdrawal that would be required for
     constructing and operating the repository.
         There have been mitigation measures that have been proposed
     by the Indian tribes and local governments, and one thing that we have
     not seen in the draft statement is a discussion of these
     recommendations.  DOE has not indicated that they are considering them
     further, that they're declining on proceeding with those mitigation
         Also, there's a lack of specificity.  So it makes it very
     difficult to determine which mitigation measures DOE is planning on
     pursuing or how effective DOE expects these mitigation measures to be on
     mitigating the impacts.
         For cumulative impacts, we have noticed that DOE has not, in
     our mind, considered all paths and reasonably foreseeable actions when
     they've looked at cumulative impacts.  So this would include other
     Federal actions within Nevada and in the proximity of Yucca Mountain.
     There's also potential for an independent spent fuel installation in
     Utah that would impact the analysis of transportation and possibly
     environmental justice.
         So some of the areas that we're looking at being potentially
     needing more information and development is the land withdrawal, water
     resources, cultural resources, socioeconomic impacts, and environmental
     justice, and this is because DOE has not fully analyzed cumulative
         In the area of environmental justice, the U.S. Nuclear
     Regulatory Commission did its own independent and brief environmental
     justice analysis.  What we've done is identified that DOE has not
     identified the potential impacts to groups other than Native Americans.
         DOE has not culled out the specific locations and
     characteristics of the groups that they were discussing for
     environmental justice and these are important considerations because
     this information tells you are there disproportionate impacts to those
         With the no action alternative, what we've done is take a
     top level review.  We have not reviewed all of the assumptions and
     analyses within the no action alternative.  We've focused our effort
     more on the proposed action and the associated activities.
         But in conducting this top level review, we have identified
     that there are some comments that we may have to make to DOE.
         The first is that it does not provide a clear baseline.  DOE
     has described in the environmental impact statement that it's included
     the no action alternative to provide a baseline, and since the no action
     alternative was included in the environmental impact statement, we
     looked at it to see if it was reasonable and if it meant the intent that
     DOE had for the no action alternative.
         What DOE has done is included two scenarios.  On one hand,
     it's a scenario that includes institutional control over 10,000 years,
     so it has a lot higher cost than the second scenario.  The second
     scenario has much higher environmental and health impacts, but has a
     lower cost.
         DOE has indicated that both of these are not likely
     scenarios, but they have not provided any discussion in terms of how do
     the two relate or what happens for intermediate scenarios; what numbers
     is a reader going to use to prepare to the proposed action.  So that's
     one of the questions that we have with the no action alternative, that
     by using two scenarios and just presenting them as bounding scenarios,
     it doesn't help to make a comparison with the proposed action.
         The other issue associated with the no action alternative is
     that it appears to be incomplete and not representative.  DOE has not
     discussed to any extent the local environmental conditions, what are the
     local ecological resources or biological resources to the individual
     reactor in DOE sites.
         DOE used jurisdictional boundaries based on the NRC regions
     to develop five regional hypothetical sites.  They used a weighting
     factor of plutonium and americium inventory that was released as a
     weighting factor.
         So what this means is that they've taken, in one region,
     sites from both sides of the Continental Divide with very different
     environments, very different pH in the ground water, and very different
     soil conditions.
         So the sites that they're combining in a regional site
     affect very different environments.  Some releases will go into the
     Mississippi water shed and others will go into the Pacific.
         So it makes it very difficult for a reader to see what
     really are the impacts in a regional way and follow the analyses.
         In transportation, one of the possible comments is that DOE
     has not specified a preferred route or mode of transportation.  DOE has
     identified a number of national transportation options and regional
     transportation options.
         Within Nevada, DOE has not indicated whether they have a
     preference for a rail scenario, which would involve building a rail spur
     to Yucca Mountain, or a truck scenario.
         Without this information, our feeling is that the proposed
     action is incomplete and it makes it very difficult to evaluate the
     cumulative impacts and the other associated impacts, such as
         DOE has included, in our mind, an insufficient consideration
     of non-radiological impacts associated with transportation.  So by not
     considering this non-radiological issues, DOE may not be able to
     differentiate between the options that it does have.
         Also, we have noticed that DOE has not included the
     potential for an away-from-reactor independent spent fuel installation.
         In the area of socioeconomics, what we have noticed is that
     a full range of impacts have not been addressed.  DOE has used a
     specific model that will not capture all of the microeconomic and some
     of the qualitative issues in terms of what are the impacts on property
     values, are the workforce that would work in constructing the rail spur
     in some of the counties the same as the skills that already exist in the
         So do you have individuals migrating into the area that will
     then work in the construction phase, requiring infrastructure, and then
     they'll have to possibly move out or go into a new line of work after
     the construction is completed in several years.
         Also, we have noticed that the impacts -- or not all of the
     impacts have been supported by data or analyses.  DOE has made a number
     of claims in the area of socioeconomic impacts that we have not found
     the analysis, may not be referenced in terms that would support those
         Also, as I said earlier, DOE has not used the best available
     information for populations.
         For cultural impacts, DOE has incompletely documented the
     cultural resources that exist in the area that may be affected.  DOE has
     not provided any maps that would indicate what are the distribution of
     known cultural resources within the affected environment, how do they
     relate to the areas of construction of either the rail spur or the
     repository operations area.
         DOE has not discussed how they identified the cultural
     resources, have they done walk-through surveys or have they used some
     other information to identify which sites exist.
         Given that they have not identified a -- or have not looked
     closely at the transportation options, the treatment of cultural
     resources in the areas that may be affected by potential rail spurs have
     not been evaluated.
         Looking at the proposed action, this is something that we've
     evaluated previously in the viability assessment.  The calculations in
     the environmental impact statement draw upon what was done for the
     viability assessment, with some minor modifications.
         Although our review of the viability assessment had a
     slightly different focus and the intent of what DOE had tried to do in
     the viability assessment was a little different than what they need for
     the environmental impact statement, one thing we're looking at doing is
     raising, again, for DOE that we have had comments on their performance
     assessment and related issues that would also apply to the environmental
     impact statement calculations.
         DOE has not examined, for example, the non-radiological
     impacts from the ventilation.  DOE has designs for ventilating the
     repository at the low, medium and high thermal loads.  That heat is
     going to be vented out into the atmosphere.  DOE has not looked at the
     impacts from that ventilation.
         We have also discussed with DOE, at the technical exchange
     in October, that DOE has the EDA-2 design that they're working towards
     and the question is that for DOE to pull that into the environmental
     impact statement, that will require some additional work.
         In our technical exchange in October, DOE indicated that
     their intent for the final environmental impact statement was to use the
     current design.  So if DOE decides that the EDA-2 design is going to be
     the current design, they will incorporate that in some way in the final
     environmental impact statement.
         So one question will be in terms of how much additional work
     DOE may need to do to incorporate it.
         The next step, as I indicated earlier, is that we're going
     to be developing a Commission paper that will document our findings and
     in January we will brief the Commission on the results of our review.
         So, again, the possible areas that I presented earlier are
     things that we're considering.  We're still sorting through all the
     information coming in from the individual reviewers.
         Looking at the schedule ahead of us, we're hoping to
     complete the Commission paper by December 6.  By January 14, the paper
     should be going to the Commission, in preparation of the briefing by the
     staff on January 25.
         And the comment period for DOE's environmental impact
     statement closes in early February, on the 9th of February.  So we are
     seeking to have our comments in the public comment period transmitted to
         Thank you very much.  I'm interested in any questions that
     you may have.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Thanks very much, James.  Milt, we'll start
     over at the left end this time.
         MR. LEVENSON:  I have one question on the no action
     alternative or the use of five regional sites.  What does that really
     mean?  Are those storage sites or are they going to be considered
     disposal sites or what is the no action case that you're referring to
         MR. FIRTH:  In the no action alternative, DOE has tried to
     bound, in essence, the status quo.  If a repository is not built,
     currently -- well, currently, waste is being stored at individual
     reactor sites and at DOE facilities.  If a repository is not built, the
     no action alternative just presents the status quo and rather than
     analyzing 77 individual sites, DOE has elected to combine these into
     five different sites and use a weighting factor based on some local
     conditions to look at what are the releases to a given water shed.
         MR. LEVENSON:  That's a surrogate of analysis only.  They're
     not proposing to ship fuel to the five sites.
         MR. FIRTH:  No, they're not.  It was just a means of
     simplifying the calculation and it was an effort to save resources.  DOE
     is proposing -- their proposed action is the Yucca Mountain repository.
     From the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, they are required to consider
     alternatives to Yucca Mountain.
         MR. LEVENSON:  Is leaving the fuel at some 50 or 60
     different sites considered an alternative?
         MR. FIRTH:  Charlotte?
         MS. ABRAMS:  You may not have realized, I think you
     misspoke, they are not required to consider alternatives to Yucca
     Mountain, I think you said --
         MR. FIRTH:  I thought that's what I said.
         MS. ABRAMS:  I just wanted to make that clear.
         MR. FIRTH:  I'm sorry.  You were about to ask?
         MR. LEVENSON:  Is the no action alternative an alternative?
     Can they leave the fuel at the 60 different sites?
         MR. FIRTH:  DOE has indicated in the environmental impact
     statement that another course of action, some course of action will have
     to be taken in the future.  So they weren't proposing that keeping the
     waste at the 77 sites indefinitely is what would happen.
         MR. LEVENSON:  The context of my question is are we asking
     somebody to do a great deal of detailed analysis for an alternative that
     is not a credible or possible one.
         MR. FIRTH:  DOE has elected to include the no action
     alternative.  The NRC regulations at Part 51 look to have an
     environmental impact statement that would cover the possibility that NRC
     would not grant a license.
         If NRC were not to grant the license, one way of covering
     the potential impacts would be to have a no action alternative.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  But, James, it's my understanding that DOE
     doesn't have to analyze alternatives, but that they do have to provide a
     no action alternative.
         I had exactly the same question as Milt.  It seems to me,
     from your comments, that the NRC staff is leaning toward insisting that
     DOE provide a, quote-unquote, realistic analysis of a no action
     alternative and there may be no such animal as a realistic no action
         Your criticism was that institutional control for 10,000
     years is not realistic and institutional control for only 100 years
     isn't realistic, and there is no way to map in between, the implication
     being that there is some realistic no action alternative.
         MR. FIRTH:  What I was trying to say was that DOE has
     provided two scenarios and no discussion in terms of how they might
     relate.  We aren't necessarily expecting that DOE has to determine
     what's going to happen in the future and to spend a lot of resources
     doing that.
         In terms of looking at the individual sites, DOE might be
     able to do that qualitatively in terms of discussing what the
     significant local resources might be that might be affected, in terms of
     trying to make sense of the uncertainty in the future, DOE might be able
     to do that qualitatively, but just present one scenario, provide their
     basis for why they selected that.
         We're not trying to get DOE, by any means, to say -- predict
     what's going to happen.  It's more just to have a baseline that you can
     compare.  It helps if you have one set of numbers, maybe an analysis
     that will look at some of the uncertainty in the qualitative way rather
     than saying definitively this is what is going to happen if the
     repository does not go forward.
         MR. LEVENSON:  I guess the context of my question was also
     that if these 50 or 60, whatever they are, power reactor sites, NRC has
     already reviewed consequences, environmental, everything, because they
     are licensed to store the fuel there.
         So why are we talking about DOE now having to replicate a
     great deal of analysis and spend a lot of money?  From a standpoint of
     safety, I'm not sure that this achieves anything.
         MS. ABRAMS:  This is Charlotte Abrams.  Our intent is not to
     ask DOE to do something like that, but we felt that because DOE did
     address the no action alternative, we had to review that.  That was our
         And some of their analyses, some of their assumptions, we
     don't think are reasonable assumptions.  That's the main thing we're
     getting to, not that we want considerable analysis, but we don't think
     what's presented in the DEIS presents always reasonable assumptions.
         MR. FIRTH:  Also, if I could --
         MR. LEVENSON:  That's a little different than the words used
     in the presentation, which said selecting five sites is incomplete.  An
     implication was that you wanted something representative of all 60
         MR. FIRTH:  The incomplete is that DOE has not even
     presented any of the local information and we're not -- DOE, under the
     National Environmental Policy Act, isn't supposed to going and looking
     in detail at the 77 sites and redoing work.  They can reference
     environmental impact statements and other information and could do it in
     a qualitative way without really going into a lot of detail.
         But when they combine the sites, they combine very different
     sites.  So there's no clear way to understand how they selected the
     sites.  Generally, in the -- what the National Environmental Policy Act
     drives at is that you use boundaries other than political boundaries,
     that you use water sheds, for example, to look at the impacts of water
         DOE has selected regional sites that include multiple water
     sheds that are very different as just one example.
         MR. LEVENSON:  Would it have been acceptable if they had
     just given you a sheet of paper, I guess it's a couple of pages, with
     the 77 sites and referenced you to the license for fuel storage at each
     of those 77 sites?
         MR. FIRTH:  We're still looking at what we are going to be
     concluding as findings, but --
         MR. LEVENSON:  I'm trying to see what you're looking for.
         MR. FIRTH:  But in terms of a baseline, DOE tried to
     establish a baseline for a very long period of time, 10,000 years.  So
     to try and use information that was not developed for that length of
     time may not go far enough for what DOE has intended with the no action
         MR. LEVENSON:  What you just said implies to me that you
     wouldn't be satisfied unless you got 10,000 years worth of information
     for 70 different sites for the no action alternative.  Is that what you
     meant to say?
         MS. ABRAMS:  No, that's not the case.
         MR. LEVENSON:  That's what he siad.
         MS. ABRAMS:  I don't think the intent was that.
         MR. LEVENSON:  I'm trying to find out what is the intent
         MR. FIRTH:  Basically, what the staff was looking for are
     things that might be found deficient upon judicial review, because
     things that are found deficient would then result in the EIS being
     returned to DOE and not be moving the -- the NRC's responsibility is to
     provide our expertise in terms of what we know about the site and other
     areas of expertise.
         If we see something that we feel poses a risk on judicial
     review, we wanted to raise that to DOE.  And if DOE has a very -- looks
     at a very limited period of time for the no action alternative and they
     have a very long performance period for the proposed action, then it's
     not clear that they do have a baseline to draw a comparison, and that's
     what DOE intended with the no action alternative.
         So what we did was look at their no action alternative from
     the intent that DOE had for it and we colored our review in that way.
     So it was DOE's decision to go 10,000 years as the baseline.
         DR. GARRICK:  It sounds like maybe Ray Wymer's comment of
     this morning, the expression from the south of plowing up some snakes
     would apply here.
         I think one of the things that's bothering some people, and
     trying to look at this from the point of view of the public, is the
     issue of genuineness.  If you really want to talk about an alternative,
     it only makes sense to talk about an alternative that's an alternative,
     that can be considered as something I can choose or not choose.
         It's obvious that the DOE didn't look at it that way, but
     there seems to be lacking some sort of consistent ground rules for what
     constitutes the strategy for managing the high level waste, and then
     look at the alternative against that strategy.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  And you have to realize we're talking about
     an EIS here.
         DR. GARRICK:  I know.  But the point I'm trying to get to is
     that it's nonsensical to talk about on-site storage as we now envision
     it as an alternative.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  But the EIS demands a no action
     alternative.  What is no action?
         DR. GARRICK:  That's what I'm getting to.  It seems to me
     that you can't accept, as a no action alternative --
         DR. HORNBERGER:  No action?
         DR. GARRICK:  -- no action.  I mean, we keep talking about
     communicating with the public and, boy, this is a classic example.  The
     only time that the alternative of on-site storage would make any sense
     is to set up a ground rule that normalizes it with respect to the Yucca
         DR. HORNBERGER:  That's exactly what the intent is.
         DR. GARRICK:  Yes.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  That's exactly what the intent is.
         DR. GARRICK:  But it's useless information in its present
     form and it certainly is not something that should bring any great
     satisfaction to the public that this is a viable consideration.
         But I guess you can't do anything about that, because you're
     just following the rules of the game.  But the rules seem to be pretty
         MR. JENSEN:  Neil Jensen, from the Office of General
     Counsel.  It's not clear that DOE had a legal obligation to consider the
     no action alternative, but they chose to do so.
         So it seems -- I'm interpreting the staff to be taking the
     position that we have to accept and evaluate the DEIS that DOE chose to
     write, and that seems to be the basis for their views.
         MR. LEVENSON:  My comment to that is that I think then it
     might have been more appropriate for the staff response to say that the
     no action alternative volunteered by DOE is incomplete and doesn't meet
     the intent and not start providing detailed interpretations and guidance
     about more information and -- it's that sort of thing which bothers me,
     starting a major program going, because people tend to overreact in
     response to suggestions from the staff.
         I just wonder, DOE volunteered more than they needed to and
     it looks to me like maybe the staff is going farther than they need to.
         DR. GARRICK:  The staff is giving credibility to a
     nonsensical action.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  That's it.  Ray?
         DR. WYMER:  I've made enough trouble.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  John?
         DR. GARRICK:  The only other question I had is that we know
     from an earlier presentation that most of the effort, as far as the NRC
     is concerned, is related to radiological impacts.  I'm just curious how
     much of your effort is, in terms of the total review, tied up in
     addressing the non-radiological impacts.
         MR. FIRTH:  Within the NRC staff or overall?
         DR. GARRICK:  Yes.  Well, I think within the NRC staff.
         MR. FIRTH:  Within the NRC staff, probably less than ten
         DR. GARRICK:  I wanted to get that perspective.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  My question had to do with that, too.  So
     it's a follow-up.  My question then is are there -- have you identified
     in your review of the DEIS any radiological issues that are not carried
     over from your review of the VA?  That is, is there anything new
     post-VA, any new radiological issues?
         MR. FIRTH:  For the post-closure?
         DR. HORNBERGER:  For the post-closure.  I don't mean
     transportation.  For the post-closure.
         MR. FIRTH:  Yes.  There were no new radiological issues
     compared to VA.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Staff?
         MR. SINGH:  I have one question in the area of
     transportation.  Did you look at the issue of sabotage?
         MR. FIRTH:  I'll let Skip Young answer that.  He's been our
     lead reviewer on transportation.
         MR. YOUNG:  We looked at the presentation and the document
     for sabotage.  The answer is yes, we did.  We feel that it's lacking.
         MR. SINGH:  Excuse me.  It's what?
         MR. YOUNG:  It's lacking.  It doesn't have the specificity,
     draws conclusions with no -- doesn't provide you the specificity for the
     conclusions that they made in the document.
         MR. SINGH:  Are you going to ask them any more additional
     information on this issue then?
         MR. YOUNG:  We will note that it's lacking details.
         MR. SINGH:  Thank you.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Other questions or comments?  Okay.  Mike,
     you wanted to make a comment on the EIS, as well.  You better
     reintroduce yourself for the record, please.
         MR. BAUGHMAN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  This is Mike
     Baughman, again, from Nevada, Lincoln County and Caliente.  We have been
     -- we're gracious -- the staff was gracious enough to come to Lincoln
     County, as they indicated, on November 9, and had a meeting with the
     residents out there concerning the NRC role with the EIS.
         It occurred to us, when they talked about the Commission
     meeting on the 25th, typically, on a project that you license, you are
     responsible for preparing a NEPA document and there's a whole public
     process associated with that, and then ultimately that whole record goes
     into the licensing process and it just kind of builds upon each other.
         In this particular case, you are going to adopt an EIS and
     not necessarily go through a NEPA process yourself.  So there won't be a
     public process associated with your NEPA document, per se, because you
     might actually do some revisions to it and whatnot as you amend it or
     adopt it, I should say.
         It occurred to us that at the Commission's meeting on the
     25th, it would be very useful for stakeholders to be able to react
     perhaps to the staff's proposed comments before the Commission, such
     that the Commission then might be informed of the concerns that the
     residents or the interested parties, as the Commission then deliberates
     on adopting the staff's recommendations, to then submit the comments to
         We recognize you're on a very tight timeframe.  I think if
     we were able to be at the meeting, to have the proposed comments
     provided to us at the meeting, review them as the staff presents them,
     and then simply react to those, that would certainly be very helpful to
     the folks in Nevada and perhaps other parties for that matter, I don't
         So it's a recommendation, I guess a request to this group to
     perhaps consider that as a recommendation to the Commission.  We do not
     want to mess up the schedule, because you are under a tight schedule,
     but it certainly would be helpful to be able to have some input and
     reaction to the staff's recommendations to the Commission.
     DR. HORNBERGER:  Thanks, Mike.
         MS. ABRAMS:  Could I respond to one thing?
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Sure.
         MS. ABRAMS:  Mr. Baughman, if I understood him correctly, I
     wanted to state that any supplement that the NRC would make to the EIS
     would be submitted for public comment.  It would have to go out for
     public comment if the NRC did any supplement to it.
         MR. FIRTH:  Okay.  Thank you.
         DR. HORNBERGER:  Thanks very much, James.  I'll turn it back
     to you, John.
         DR. GARRICK:  We're ahead of schedule, I think.  It is
     amazing.  All right.  I think what we'll do is, since this terminates
     the requirement for the court reporting for the day, we'll take a
     five-minute break and then the committee will reconvene and launch into
     its report preparation session.
         [Whereupon, at 1:18 p.m., record portion of meeting was
     recessed, to reconvene at 8:30 a.m., on Friday, November 19, 1999.]
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