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Disposal Process for Waste Incidental to Reprocessing

From 1997 through 2003, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) periodically consulted with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), in the course of its waste determination process. In such instances, the NRC served in an advisory capacity, and its advice did not constitute regulatory approval. Then, in October 2004, Congress enacted the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 exit icon (NDAA), and the NRC took on a consultative role in reviewing DOE’s waste determinations and monitoring its disposal activities for waste incidental to reprocessing (WIR). For additional detail regarding the NRC's role, see the following pages, as well as the WIR Documents dataset and related Data Dictionary (both in Microsoft Excel format):

Under the NDAA, WIR is managed under DOE’s regulatory authority. In particular, Section 3116 of the NDAA authorizes the Secretary of Energy, in consultation with the NRC, to determine that certain radioactive waste from reprocessing spent reactor fuel is WIR if it meets the criteria set forth in Section 3116. Section 3116 now applies to DOE waste determinations in the Covered States of Idaho and South Carolina.

Additionally, the NRC's responsibilities under Section 3116 of the NDAA include consulting with DOE on each of the Secretary’s waste determinations. Section 3116 also directs the NRC, in coordination with each of the Covered States, to monitor DOE's WIR disposal actions. In so doing, the NRC and Covered States determine whether DOE’s disposal actions comply with the performance objectives set forth in Subpart C of Title 10, Part 61, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 61), “Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste.”

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, November 19, 2013