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Review of Performance Assessment for Decommissioning Plans

Licensees that are decommissioning their facilities are required to demonstrate to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that their proposed methods will ensure that the decommissioning can be conducted safely, and that the facility will comply (at the completion of decommissioning activities) with the NRC’s radiological criteria for license termination, as set forth in Subpart E of Title 10, Part 20, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 20). Toward that end, licensees typically submit dose modeling information as part of a performance assessment, which accompanies the licensee's decommissioning plan (DP). NRC staff guidance for reviewing the performance assessment is outlined in NUREG-1757, Vol. 2, “Consolidated Decommissioning Guidance: Characterization, Survey, and Determination of Radiological Criteria.”

Among the complex materials sites undergoing decommissioning, the NRC staff is currently reviewing performance assessment information for the following sites, as described on this page:

West Valley

The West Valley site is located on the Western New York Nuclear Service Center, and comprises 3,300 acres of land established for siting a former reprocessing facility. Within that area, the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) Act gives the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) exclusive possession of the 200-acre portion of the Western New York Nuclear Service Center, which includes the former reprocessing facility, the NRC-licensed disposal area (NDA), high-level waste (HLW) tanks, waste lagoons, and above-ground waste storage areas.

Under the Phased Decision-making Alternative, decommissioning would proceed in two phases.  In Phase 1, the Main Plant Process Building, Remote Handled Waste Facility, Vitrification Facility, lagoons and various other small facilities would be removed and the source area of the North Plateau Groundwater Plume excavated.  Further, while these activities are conducted, DOE and NYSERDA would also conduct a number of activities to help determine the best technical approach to complete decommissioning of the remaining facilities.

Some of the technical review areas include radiological surveys, erosion modeling, engineered barrier performance, development of derived concentration guideline levels (DCGLs) for residual radioactivity, and ALARA analysis. The NRC remains actively engaged with DOE on these and other technical issues. Also, at DOE's request, the NRC plans to review and comment on any determinations that DOE may submit to the NRC in the future regarding waste incidental to reprocessing. In addition, the NRC has held several public meetings with DOE to discuss the scope and content of the DP, as well as dose modeling approaches to address these complex issues for Phase 1 decommissioning. See public meetings (below) for information regarding these meetings. Also see the chronological listing of Correspondence and Documents Regarding the West Valley DP (below), which the NRC and DOE have exchanged in regard to the West Valley Decommissioning Plan.

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Correspondence and Documents Regarding the West Valley DP

Since November 2008, the NRC and DOE have exchanged the following correspondence and documents related to the West Valley Decommissioning Plan. The NRC staff will consider this information in its performance assessment review for the West Valley site.

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Date Document
02/25/10 NRC Technical Evaluation Report on the West Valley Phase 1 Decommissioning Plan
12/30/09 Revision 2 to the WVDP Phase I Decommissioning Plan
12/20/09 exit icon Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for Decommissioning and/or Long-Term Stewardship
12/03/09 NRC Letter to DOE re: Public Release of FEIS for Decommissioning and/or Long-Term Stewardship at the West Valley Demonstration Project and Western New York Nuclear Service Center (DOE/EIS-0226-R)
11/05/09 Group 3 Responses to the Requests for Additional Information (RAIs) on Revision 1 of the WVDP Phase I Decommissioning Plan
09/16/09 Group 2 Responses to the RAIs on Revision 1 of the WVDP Phase I Decommissioning Plan
08/13/09 Group 1 Responses to the RAIs on Revision 1 of the WVDP Phase I Decommissioning Plan
05/15/09 Requests for RAIs on Revision 1 of the WVDP Phase I Decommissioning Plan
03/18/09 Revision 1 to the WVDP Phase I Decommissioning Plan (for NRC review)
12/03/08 Proposed WVDP Phase 1 Decommissioning Plan
11/24/08 Revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Decommissioning and/or Long-Term Stewardship (for public comment)

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Westinghouse Electric Company (Hematite Facility)

The Westinghouse Electric Company (Hematite Facility), located on about 228 acres in Jefferson County, Missouri, is the site of a former fuel cycle facility. Over the lifetime of the facility, it has had several purposes, including production of highly enriched uranium products and low-enriched uranium commercial fuel. The site consists of contaminated structures, systems, equipment, radioactive waste burial pits, surface soil, sediment, and groundwater.

Westinghouse’s decommissioning goal is to reduce the residual radioactivity to a level that permits termination of the license in accordance with NRC regulations. In its review, the NRC staff will evaluate the conceptual site models that were developed for the remediated soil and surfaces of the remaining buildings.

Under Title 10, Section 20.2002, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR 20.2002), “Method for Obtaining Approval of Proposed Disposal Procedures,” Westinghouse requested alternative disposal of a portion of the waste from the Hematite Facility. The NRC staff is reviewing this request for 804,873 ft3 of low-activity waste, consisting mostly of soil and debris, to be disposed of at U.S. Ecology in Grand View, Idaho. The staff expects to render its decision in June 2010. The staff's Evaluation of Proposed Alternative LLW Disposal Procedures includes an estimate of the resultant dose at the alternative disposal location.

The latest version of the Hematite DP, which was submitted to the NRC on August 12, 2009, reflects the proposed alternative disposal approach. In connection with its performance assessment review of the current and previous versions of the facility's DP, the NRC has held several public meetings with Westinghouse Electric Company to discuss a variety of complex decommissioning issues. See public meetings (below) for information regarding these meetings. Also see the chronological listing of Correspondence and Documents Regarding the Hematite Facility DP (below), which the NRC and Westinghouse Electric Company have exchanged in regard to the Hematite Facility Decommissioning Plan.

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Correspondence and Documents Regarding the Hematite Facility DP

Since May 2009, the NRC and Westinghouse Electric Company have exchanged the following correspondence and documents related to the Hematite Decommissioning Plan. The NRC staff will consider this information in its performance assessment review for the Westinghouse Electric Company (Hematite Facility).

Date Document
12/03/09 Westinghouse Hematite 10 CFR 20.2002 Alternate Disposal Requests for Additional Information (RAIs)
11/02/09 Completion of NRC Acceptance Review of Hematite Decommissioning Plan
08/12/09 Hematite Decommissioning Plan
05/21/09 Request for Alternate Disposal Approval and Exemptions for Specific Hematite Decommissioning Project Waste

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Public Meetings Regarding the West Valley and Hematite Facility DPs

The NRC has a long-standing practice of conducting its regulatory responsibilities in an open manner, and keeping the public informed of the agency's regulatory, licensing, and oversight activities. For that reason, the NRC is committed to informing the public about its review of performance assessment for the West Valley and Hematite DPs, and providing opportunities for the public to participate in the agency’s decisionmaking process.

Toward that end, the NRC has held a variety of public meetings to discuss the scope and content of the DPs, as well as dose modeling approaches and other complex decommissioning issues. Information regarding these meetings is available through the NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS). To access the related meeting notices, agendas, summaries, and other information, use the ADAMS Advanced Web Search, with either "West Valley" or "Westinghouse Hematite" in the Search field and "Meeting" in the Title field.

To learn about future meetings, see our Public Meeting Schedule. See Public Meetings and Involvement, Hearing Opportunities and License Applications, and NUREG/BR-0215, "Public Involvement in the Regulatory Process," for general information about the available opportunities for public involvement in NRC activities.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, December 09, 2013