United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Information Notice No. 97-56: Possession Limits for Special Nuclear Material at the Envirocare of Utah Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility

                                     UNITED STATES
                             NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
                   OFFICE OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL SAFETY AND SAFEGUARDS
                                WASHINGTON, D.C.  20555

                                     July 28, 1997


NRC INFORMATION NOTICE 97-56:  POSSESSION LIMITS FOR SPECIAL NUCLEAR           
                               MATERIAL AT THE ENVIROCARE OF UTAH LOW-         
                               LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL FACILITY


Addressees

All licensees authorized to possess special nuclear material (SNM).

Purpose

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing this information
notice to alert addressees about recent enforcement actions at the Envirocare
of Utah, Inc., commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal facility
associated with a violation of Envirocare's possession limit for SNM under its
Agreement State license and with Envirocare's conformance to the terms of the
exemption granted by NRC in 10 CFR Part 150.10 and 150.11.

It is expected that recipients will review the information for applicability
to their facilities and activities, and consider actions, as appropriate, to
avoid similar problems.  However, suggestions contained in this information
notice are not NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action or written
response is required.

Description of Circumstances

On May 15, 1997, the State of Utah inspected the Envirocare of Utah, Inc.,
commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal facility at Clive, Utah.  The
Utah Radiation Control Board (URCB) found that Envirocare had not conducted
its activities in full compliance with the conditions of the license and with
the requirements of the Utah Radiation Control Rules.  Specifically, the State
found that Envirocare was in possession of more than 350 grams of uranium-235
in the form of waste received from other persons, which violated the
possession limits imposed in Condition 13 of State License No. UT 2300249. 
This condition limits the amount of SNM that Envirocare can possess,
undisposed of, at any one time to the quantities specified in 10 CFR Part
150.11 (e.g., 350 grams U-235).

The State issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Envirocare on May 19, 1997,
that identified  a serious noncompliance that has continued for six months or
longer.  The URCB also con- cluded that the violations resulted from a
careless disregard for the requirement in 
License Condition 13.  The State also issued an Order, dated May 27, 1997,
directing Envirocare to dispose of radioactive waste containing SNM in order
to reduce quantities  of SNM in possession at the site to those authorized by
Condition 13 by June 25, 1997,  and thereafter maintain compliance with
License Condition 13.


9707220296.                                                                   
                                                                 IN 97-56  
                                                                 July 28, 1997
                                                                 Page 2 of 3


On June 9-10, 1997, NRC conducted an inspection of Envirocare's disposal
facility and identified that Envirocare had received and held in temporary
storage more than 2,400 grams of uranium-235 that had not been disposed of. 
Based on the inspection, NRC determined that Envirocare had violated the
requirement for an NRC license in NRC regulations.  NRC issued a Confirmatory
Action Letter (CAL) on June 12, 1997, and a Confirmatory Order on June 25,
1997, superseding the CAL, effective upon issuance.  

The NRC Order requires the following:

1.     Envirocare shall not receive SNM at its facility until four business
       days after it complies with Condition 4 (below), except as described in
       Condition 2 below, unless Envirocare receives written authorization from
       NRC based on NRC review of Envirocare's Compliance Plan for meeting the
       terms of the exemption in 10 CFR 150.10 and 150.11.  This condition
       applies to mixed and non-mixed low-level radioactive waste containing
       SNM.

2.     Shipments of waste containing SNM enroute to Envirocare as of June 11,
       1997, may be received at the facility.  In addition, any shipment,
       whether or not enroute by  June 11, 1997, containing one gram or less of
       SNM per conveyance (single rail car or truck) may be received.

3.     All SNM within the restricted area at the site, other than SNM placed
       within the disposal cell, shall be included in determining application
       of the exemption granted  in 10 CFR 150.10.  [Note that this condition
       will be superseded by the Compliance Plan after NRC approves of the
       Compliance Plan in writing.]

4.     Envirocare will submit to the NRC no later than August 4, 1997, written
       confirmation that the actions described in Envirocare's June 16, 1997,
       disposal plan have been completed.

Discussion

Envirocare receives low-level radioactive waste at the disposal facility from
a variety of commercial (NRC and Agreement State licensees) and government
generators across the United States.  As part of Envirocare�s waste disposal
operations, the waste is stored temporarily at the Envirocare site until it is
accepted, prepared, and then placed in the disposal cell.  By the requirements
of Condition 13 of the Utah license and by the terms of the NRC exemption in
10 CFR 150.10 and 150.11, Envirocare's possession of SNM is limited to
quantities not exceeding 350 grams of contained U-235; uranium-233 in
quantities not exceeding 200 grams; plutonium in quantities not exceeding 200
grams; or any combination of them in accordance with the following sum of the
fractions formula:  [(grams of U-235/350) + (grams of U-233/200) + (grams of
Pu/200)] less than or equal to unity.
.                                                                
                                                                 IN 97-56
                                                                 July 28, 1997
                                                                 Page 3 of 3


The SNM is no longer considered in Envirocare's possession once it has been
properly placed in the low-level waste or the mixed waste disposal cell at the
disposal facility.  Consequently, the limits in Condition 13 and the terms of
the exemption in 10 CFR 150.10 and 150.11 only apply to material in
Envirocare's possession prior to disposal at the Clive facility.  However, the
license condition and exemption delimit Envirocare's permission to receive and
possess on site waste containing SNM.

This information is being provided to you, as an existing or potential
customer of Envirocare, so that you can take those actions necessary to assure
that shipments of radioactive waste on a single conveyance or multiple
conveyances from your facility do not place Envirocare in violation of its
State License, NRC's June 25 Order, and the exemption in 10 CFR 150.10 and
150.11.  Licensees should also be aware and incorporate into their
transportation planning the new limitations on the amount of SNM that can be
shipped without prior NRC approval under 10 CFR Part 71.  (See 62 FR 5907,
February 10, 1997).

This information notice requires no specific action or written response.  If
you have any questions about the information in this notice, please contact
one of the technical contacts listed below or the appropriate regional office.


                                               signed by

                                        Carl J. Paperiello, Director
                                        Office of Nuclear Material Safety
                                          and Safeguards

Technical contacts:  Harry Felsher, NMSS
                     (301) 415-5521
                     E-mail:  hdf@nrc.gov

                     Tim Harris, NMSS
                     (301) 415-6613
                     E-mail:  teh@nrc.gov
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, December 03, 2013