United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 86-90: Requests to Dispose of Very Low-Level Radioactive Waste Pursuant to 10 CFR 20.302

                                                            SSINS No.:  6835
                                                            IN 86-90 

                                UNITED STATES
                        NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                    OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
                           WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555

                              November 3, 1966

Information Notice No. 86-90:   REQUESTS TO DISPOSE OF VERY LOW-LEVEL 
                                   RADIOACTIVE WASTE PURSUANT TO 10 CFR 
                                   20.302 

Addressees: 

All nuclear power reactor facilities holding an operating license or a 
construction permit and research and test reactors. 

Purpose: 

This notice is to inform nuclear reactor licensees of the authority of 
Agreement States in reviewing and approving disposals of waste that in the 
past might have been reviewed by the NRC pursuant to 10 CFR 20.302(a). In 
those cases where the reactor facility was in an Agreement State, the NRC 
did not have a legal basis for performing the reviews and granting 
approvals. 

It is suggested that recipients review the information provided for 
applicability to their facilities. However, information contained in this 
notice does not constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action 
or written response is required. 

Discussion: 

In February 1983, the NRC issued Information Notice No. 83-05, "Obtaining 
Approval for Disposing of Very Low-Level Radioactive Waste - 10 CFR Section 
20.302." The purpose of this information notice was to call attention to the
little-used section of NRC regulations, 10 CFR 20.302(a), that provides a 
method for obtaining approval of proposed procedures for disposing of 
radioactive material in a manner not otherwise authorized in the 
regulations. The notice identified NRR as the NRC Office to receive and 
process utility applications. Neither the Notice nor 10 CFR 20.302(a) 
addresses NRC versus Agreement State jurisdiction. As a matter of practice, 
reactor licensees who requested such approvals from the NRC for radioactive 
waste disposal in Agreement States were advised that they also must obtain 
the approval of the Agreement State. However, in a recent legal opinion 
regarding regulatory jurisdiction, the NRC's Executive Legal Director made 
it clear that in Agreement States NRC approval is not necessary for within 
or outside of the exclusion area of low-level waste from a reactor 
facility. Such approval is within the jurisdiction of the Agreement State. 
For disposal of very low-level radioactive waste in States that are not 
Agreement States, only NRC approval is required. 

8610290045 
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                                                       IN 86-90       
                                                       November 3, 1986 
                                                       Page 2 of 2 

In Agreement States, regulation of the handling and storage (including waste 
treatment) at the reactor site of low-level waste resulting from the reactor
operation is reserved to the NRC pursuant to 10 CFR 150.15(a)(l). For this 
purpose, the reactor site includes the exclusion area since it represents 
specifically the area of greatest and most immediate public health and 
safety concern in the operation of the reactor. 

Therefore, applications for disposal by reactors in Agreement States should 
be submitted to the Agreement State. Applications for disposal pursuant to 
10 CFR 20.302 by reactors in Non-Agreement States should be submitted to the
NRC Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. 

This may change at some point in the future since NRC staff is presently 
drafting a change to 10 CFR 150.15 that would clearly establish the NRC as 
having sole authority over all low-level radioactive waste activities, 
including disposal, within the exclusion area at NRC-licensed reactors and 
at certain fuel cycle facilities. 

No specific action is required by this information notice. If you have any 
questions about this matter, please contact one of the individuals listed 
below or this office. 


                                   Edward L. Jordan, Director 
                                   Division of Emergency Preparedness 
                                     and Engineering Response 
                                   Office of Inspection and Enforcement 

Technical Contacts:  Faith N. Brenneman, NRR 
                     (301) 492-7856 

                     John D. Buchanan, IE 
                     (301) 492-9657 

Legal Contact:       Robert L. Fonner, ELD 
                     (301) 492-8692 

Attachment:  List of Recently Issued IE Information Notices
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, July 22, 2014