United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Overview & Summary of NRC Involvement with DOE in Tank Waste Remediation System-Privatization (TWRS-P) Program (NUREG-1747)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: June 2001
Date Published: August 2001

Prepared by:
A. P. Murray, M. N. Baker, F. H. Burrows,
S. A. Burrows, L. W. Chang, G. C. Comfort,
R. E. Shewmaker, W. R. Smith, M. Srinivasan,
R. K. Struckmeyer, M. Tokar, R. G. Wescott,
A. Wong

Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards
Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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Abstract

In 1995, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) embarked on an effort to privatize the processing through vitrification of 54 million gallons of radioactive waste that has been stored in 177 underground storage tanks at the Hanford Site. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) provided assistance to DOE on the Tank Waste Remediation System-Privatization (TWRS-P) program, with a potential transition to NRC regulatory authority at a future time. In 2000, DOE terminated the privatization approach, and decided to use more traditional contracting methods.

During their reviews, NRC staff analyzed both unmitigated and mitigated consequences from potential accident scenarios at the proposed facility. NRC staff's efforts identified several key areas of uncertainty, such as melter failure modes and frequencies, that would require further study before more refined analyses could be performed. The reviews also identified several open issues, including the need for significantly more detailed design information and safety analyses, and greater defense-in-depth. In particular, the design, at the time of termination of the privatization, was found to be very preliminary and corresponded to perhaps a 15 percent level of design.

This report summarizes NRC's participation in and observations on the TWRS-P program and identifies issues from the NRC's perspective.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, June 12, 2013