United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

T12  Understanding the Need and Effectiveness of Remediation involving Non-routine Radionuclide Releases from Nuclear Facilities

The session’s purpose is to examine assessments of nonroutine and unintended releases of radionuclides from nuclear facilities to subsurface and surface water bodies. These assessments involve monitoring, modeling and decisionmaking on the need for remediation.1  Examples of releases may include leakage from storage tanks, spent fuel pools, and buried pipelines.  The session focus is on environmental and safety assessments related to public health and biota, which are evaluated for compliance with Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) 20.1406, “Minimization of Contamination,” and 20.1501, “Surveys and Monitoring - General,” that became effective on December 17, 2012.  Compliance is based upon monitoring and modeling analyses using site specific data on the radionuclide release(s) and its potential impact on the environment. The decision to remediate relies upon these analyses which support the development of a remediation strategy involving the selection of appropriate remediation methods, their application, operational schedule, and spatial extent.  Once a remediation strategy is implemented, performance confirmation monitoring is needed to determine its effectiveness and to reassess the radionuclide release’s effect on public health and the environment.

In this session, invited speakers and panelists from the NRC staff, other Federal agencies, and industry will present their recent experiences in reviewing, and in some cases, conducting assessments, monitoring, modeling, and remediating radionuclide releases from nuclear facilities.  The technical challenge is to understand what constitutes an effective remediation over the period of compliance.  The lessons learned from these activities will be discussed, particularly information on the radionuclide source terms and release pathways, site characterization, adequacy of radiological surveys, potentially impacted environmental systems, the value of confirmatory monitoring programs to demonstrate the efficacy of the remediation program, and the evaluation methods for assessing risk to public health and biota.

1Remediation is defined in this context as the act or process to remedy releases of radionuclides to the environment.  Remediation can be simple such as monitored natural attenuation or complex such as pump, treat, and reinject or dispose.  In some cases, the source term needs to be isolated by slurry walls and excavated.




  • Lisa Edwards, Senior Program Manager for the Nuclear Chemistry, Radiation Management & Low Level Waste Group, Electric Power Research Institute
  • Stuart Walker, Environmental Protection Specialist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Richard Conatser, Health Physicist, Division of Site Safety and Environmental Analysis, NRO/NRC
William H. Ford, Senior Health Physicist, Division of License Renewal, NRR/NRC
James Shepherd, Project Engineer, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, FSME/NRC
Randall Fedors, Senior Hydrogeologist, Division of Spent Fuel Alternative Strategies, NMSS/NRC
Nebiyu Tiruneh, Hydrologist, Division of Site Safety and Environmental Analysis, NRO/NRC
Boby Abu-Eid, Senior Technical Advisor, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, FSME/NRC
Ralph Cady, Senior Performance Assessment Analyst, Division of Risk Analysis, RES/NRC
Don Marksberry, Senior Reliability and Risk Engineer, Division of Risk Analysis, RES/NRC
Mark Fuhrmann, Geochemist, Division of Risk Analysis, RES/NRC


  • David Aird, Reliability and Risk Engineer, Division of Risk Analysis, RES/NRC tel: 301-251-7926, e-mail: David.Aird@nrc.gov
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, May 23, 2014