United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

§ 63.2 Definitions

As used in this part:

Affected Indian Tribe means any Indian Tribe within whose reservation boundaries a repository for high-level radioactive waste or spent fuel is proposed to be located; or whose Federally-defined possessory or usage rights to other lands outside of the reservation's boundaries arising out of Congressionally-ratified treaties or other Federal law may be substantially and adversely affected by the location of the facility if the Secretary of the Interior finds, on the petition of the appropriate governmental officials of the Tribe, that the effects are both substantial and adverse to the Tribe.

Barrier means any material, structure, or feature that, for a period to be determined by NRC, prevents or substantially reduces the rate of movement of water or radionuclides from the Yucca Mountain repository to the accessible environment, or prevents the release or substantially reduces the release rate of radionuclides from the waste. For example, a barrier may be a geologic feature, an engineered structure, a canister, a waste form with physical and chemical characteristics that significantly decrease the mobility of radionuclides, or a material placed over and around the waste, provided that the material substantially delays movement of water or radionuclides.

Commencement of construction means clearing of land, surface or subsurface excavation, or other substantial action that would adversely affect the environment of a site. It does not include changes desirable for the temporary use of the land for public recreational uses, site characterization activities, other preconstruction monitoring and investigation necessary to establish background information related to the suitability of the Yucca Mountain site or to the protection of environmental values, or procurement or manufacture of components of the geologic repository operations area.

Commission means the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or its duly authorized representatives.

Containment means the confinement of radioactive waste within a designated boundary.

Design bases means that information that identifies the specific functions to be performed by a structure, system, or component of a facility and the specific values or ranges of values chosen for controlling parameters as reference bounds for design. These values may be constraints derived from generally accepted "state-of-the-art" practices for achieving functional goals or requirements derived from analysis (based on calculation or experiments) of the effects of a postulated event under which a structure, system, or component must meet its functional goals. The values for controlling parameters for external events include:

(1) Estimates of severe natural events to be used for deriving design bases that will be based on consideration of historical data on the associated parameters, physical data, or analysis of upper limits of the physical processes involved; and

(2) Estimates of severe external human-induced events to be used for deriving design bases, that will be based on analysis of human activity in the region, taking into account the site characteristics and the risks associated with the event.

Director means the Director of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.

Disposal means the emplacement of radioactive waste in a geologic repository with the intent of leaving it there permanently.

DOE means the U.S. Department of Energy or its duly authorized representatives.

Engineered barrier system means the waste packages, including engineered components and systems other than the waste package (e.g., drip shields), and the underground facility.

Event sequence means a series of actions and/or occurrences within the natural and engineered components of a geologic repository operations area that could potentially lead to exposure of individuals to radiation. An event sequence includes one or more initiating events and associated combinations of repository system component failures, including those produced by the action or inaction of operating personnel. Those event sequences that are expected to occur one or more times before permanent closure of the geologic repository operations area are referred to as Category 1 event sequences. Other event sequences that have at least one chance in 10,000 of occurring before permanent closure are referred to as Category 2 event sequences.

Geologic repository means a system that is intended to be used for, or may be used for, the disposal of radioactive wastes in excavated geologic media. A geologic repository includes the engineered barrier system and the portion of the geologic setting that provides isolation of the radioactive waste.

Geologic repository operations area means a high-level radioactive waste facility that is part of a geologic repository, including both surface and subsurface areas, where waste handling activities are conducted.

Geologic setting means the geologic, hydrologic, and geochemical systems of the region in which a geologic repository is or may be located.

High-level radioactive waste or HLW means:

(1) The highly radioactive material resulting from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, including liquid waste produced directly in reprocessing and any solid material derived from such liquid waste that contains fission products in sufficient concentrations;

(2) Irradiated reactor fuel; and

(3) Other highly radioactive material that the Commission, consistent with existing law, determines by rule requires permanent isolation.

HLW facility means a facility subject to the licensing and related regulatory authority of the Commission pursuant to sections 202(3) and 202(4) of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (88 Stat. 1244).1

Host rock means the geologic medium in which the waste is emplaced.

Important to safety, with reference to structures, systems, and components, means those engineered features of the geologic repository operations area whose function is:

(1) To provide reasonable assurance that high-level waste can be received, handled, packaged, stored, emplaced, and retrieved without exceeding the requirements of § 63.111(b)(1) for Category 1 event sequences; or

(2) To prevent or mitigate Category 2 event sequences that could result in radiological exposures exceeding the values specified at § 63.111(b)(2) to any individual located on or beyond any point on the boundary of the site.

Important to waste isolation, with reference to design of the engineered barrier system and characterization of natural barriers, means those engineered and natural barriers whose function is to provide a reasonable expectation that high-level waste can be disposed of without exceeding the requirements of § 63.113(b) and (c).

Initiating event means a natural or human induced event that causes an event sequence.

Isolation means inhibiting the transport of radioactive material to:

(1) The location of the reasonably maximally exposed individual so that radiological exposures will not exceed the requirements of § 63.113(b); and

(2) The accessible environment so that releases of radionuclides into the accessible environment will not exceed the requirements of § 63.113(c).

Performance assessment means an analysis that:

(1) Identifies the features, events, processes (except human intrusion), and sequences of events and processes (except human intrusion) that might affect the Yucca Mountain disposal system and their probabilities of occurring;

(2) Examines the effects of those features, events, processes, and sequences of events and processes upon the performance of the Yucca Mountain disposal system; and

(3) Estimates the dose incurred by the reasonably maximally exposed individual, including the associated uncertainties, as a result of releases caused by all significant features, events, processes, and sequences of events and processes, weighted by their probability of occurrence.

Performance confirmation means the program of tests, experiments, and analyses that is conducted to evaluate the adequacy of the information used to demonstrate compliance with the performance objectives in subpart E of this part.

Permanent closure means final backfilling of the underground facility, if appropriate, and the sealing of shafts, ramps, and boreholes.

Preclosure safety analysis means a systematic examination of the site; the design; and the potential hazards, initiating events and event sequences and their consequences (e.g., radiological exposures to workers and the public). The analysis identifies structures, systems, and components important to safety.

Public Document Room means the place at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Room O-1F13, Rockville, MD, at which records of the Commission will ordinarily be made available for public inspection and any other place, the location of which has been published in the Federal Register, at which public records of the Commission pertaining to a geologic repository at the Yucca Mountain site are made available for public inspection.

Publicly Available Records System (PARS) Library means the electronic library generated by the NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) to provide access to public documents. PARS has full text documents which can be searched using specific fields and parameters. The public can search, download, print, create reports, and order documents online. The PARS Library contains publicly available documents created or received by NRC since November 1, 1999, as well as some older documents that the NRC has retrofit into the collection. PARS is accessible from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm.html.

Radioactive waste or waste means HLW and radioactive materials other than HLW that are received for emplacement in a geologic repository.

Reasonably maximally exposed individual means the hypothetical person meeting the criteria specified at § 63.312.

Reference biosphere means the description of the environment inhabited by the reasonably maximally exposed individual. The reference biosphere comprises the set of specific biotic and abiotic characteristics of the environment, including, but not necessarily limited to, climate, topography, soils, flora, fauna, and human activities.

Restricted area means an area, access to which is limited by the licensee for the purpose of protecting individuals against undue risks from exposure to radiation and radioactive materials. Restricted area does not include areas used as residential quarters, but separate rooms in a residential building may be set aside as a restricted area.

Retrieval means the act of permanently removing radioactive waste from the underground location at which the waste had been previously emplaced for disposal.

Saturated zone means that part of the earth's crust beneath the regional water table in which statistically all voids, large and small, are filled with water under pressure greater than atmospheric.

Site means that area surrounding the geologic repository operations area for which DOE exercises authority over its use in accordance with the provisions of this part.

Site characterization means the program of exploration and research, both in the laboratory and in the field, undertaken to establish the geologic conditions and the ranges of those parameters of the Yucca Mountain site, and the surrounding region to the extent necessary, relevant to the procedures under this part. Site characterization includes borings, surface excavations, excavation of exploratory shafts and/or ramps, limited subsurface lateral excavations and borings, and in situ testing at depth needed to determine the suitability of the site for a geologic repository.

Total effective dose equivalent (TEDE) means the sum of the effective dose equivalent (for external exposures) and the committed effective dose equivalent (for internal exposures).

Underground facility means the underground structure, backfill materials, if any, and openings that penetrate the underground structure (e.g., ramps, shafts, and boreholes, including their seals).

Unrestricted area means an area, access to which is neither limited nor controlled by the licensee.

Unsaturated zone means the zone between the land surface and the regional water table. Generally, fluid pressure in this zone is less than atmospheric pressure, and some of the voids may contain air or other gases at atmospheric pressure. Beneath flooded areas or in perched water bodies, the fluid pressure locally may be greater than atmospheric.

Waste form means the radioactive waste materials and any encapsulating or stabilizing matrix.

Waste package means the waste form and any containers, shielding, packing, and other absorbent materials immediately surrounding an individual waste container.

Water table means that surface in a ground-water body, separating the unsaturated zone from the saturated zone, at which the water pressure is atmospheric.

[68 FR 58815, Oct. 10, 2003; 74 FR 10828, Mar. 13, 2009]

1 These are DOE "facilities used primarily for the receipt and storage of high-level radioactive wastes resulting from activities licensed under such Act (the Atomic Energy Act)" and "Retrievable Surface Storage Facilities and other facilities authorized for the express purpose of subsequent long-term storage of high-level radioactive wastes generated by (DOE), which are not used for, or are part of, research and development activities."

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, July 25, 2013