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SSINS No. 6835 IN 87-03 UNITED STATES NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555 January 15, 1987 Information Notice No. 87-03: SEGREGATION OF HAZARDOUS AND LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTES Addressees: All NRC licensees. Purpose: This notice is provided to inform all licensees who generate low-level radioactive waste that their internal controls should be sufficient to preclude inclusion of nonradioactive hazardous wastes (as defined by EPA regulations) in low-level radioactive waste to be disposed of at low-level waste disposal sites. It is suggested that recipients review this notice for applicability to their facilities. Suggestions contained in this information notice do not constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or written response is required. Description of Circumstances: During a recent state inspection at the Richland, Washington waste disposal site, an inspector discovered a drum leaking elemental mercury. This suggests that some licensees who generate waste are not fully complying with their responsibility to ensure that wastes which are not radioactive, but may contain other hazardous wastes, are segregated at the point of generation and disposed of properly. In this particular instance the waste package contained elemental mercury and mercury compounds, which are hazardous wastes, and trash along with small amounts of radioactive waste. The licensee could have easily segregated the wastes, but either had no procedures for doing so or did not implement them. The licensee's failure to segregate the wastes was discovered at the disposal facility during routine inspection of waste shipments before burial. Subsequently, the licensee was denied future access to the site, pending demonstration that adequate corrective measures were in place. Revised procedures that were reviewed by the State of Washington and implemented by the licensee, have allowed the licensee access to the site. Discussion: The three currently operating low-level radioactive waste disposal sites are at Barnwell, South Carolina; Beatty, Nevada; and Richland, Washington. According to the 10 CFR 61.52(a)(11), only wastes containing or contaminated with radioactive material may be disposed of at such a facility. These sites are not authorized to receive and dispose of hazardous waste under the Environmental 870130002 . IN 87-03 January 15, 1987 Page 2 of 2 Protection Agency's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. Licensees who generate low-level radioactive waste should review their procedures for waste management to ensure that actions have been implemented to segregate hazardous waste from low-level radioactive waste. No specific action or written response is required by this information notice. If you have any questions about this matter, please contact the Regional Administrator of the appropriate regional office or this office. Edward L. Jordan, Director Division of Emergency Preparedness and Engineering Response Office of Inspection and Enforcement Technical Contact: Sher Bahadur, NMSS (301) 427-4495 Attachment: List of Recently Issued IE Information Notices .
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