106th ACNW Meeting U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, February 23, 1999
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON NUCLEAR WASTE
106th ACNW Meeting
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Two White Flint North
11545 Rockville Pike
Tuesday, February 23, 1999
The above-entitled proceedings commenced at 8:30
a.m., pursuant to notice, B. John Garrick, chairman,
George Hornberger, Vice Chairman
Charles Fairhurst, Member
Ray Wymer, Member
Mary L. Thomas, Member
PRESENT FOR THE ACNW STAFF:
Dr. Larkins (EDO), Andrew Campbell, Lynn Deering,
Richard K. Major
Richard Craun, DOE; John Greeves (Director, NRC
Division of Waste Management, Division of Waste Management,
Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards
P R O C E E D I N G S
DR. GARRICK: Good morning. The meeting will now
come to order. This is the first day of the 106th Meeting
of the Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste. My name is John
Garrick, chairman of the ACNW. Other members of the
committee include George Hornberger, Ray Wymer, and Charles
Fairhurst. Dr. Steindler is with us today as a consultant
to the committee. The entire meeting will be open to the
During today's meeting the committee will first
discuss the Department of Energy's license application
design selection process, review nuclear waste-related
research and technical assistance underway in the agency in
preparation for a report to the Commission on that subject,
and meet with John Greeves, NRC's Director, Division of
Waste Management, to discuss developments at Yucca Mountain,
rules and guidance under development, resources, and other
issues of mutual interest. We will be preparing for the
next meeting with the Commission which will be on March
17th, 1999, and we will be discussing possible new ACNW
reports on ACNW self-assessment, NRC's waste-related
research and technical assistance program, DOE's viability
assessment for Yucca Mountain, and a white paper on
repository design issues.
Richard Major is the designated federal official
for the initial portion of the meeting and, as usual, this
meeting is being conducted in accordance with the provisions
of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. We have received no
written statements from members of the public regarding
today's session, and should anyone wish to address the
committee, please make your wishes known to one of the
It is requested that each speaker use one of the
microphones, identify himself or herself, and speak with
sufficient clarity and volume so that he or she can be
Before proceeding with the first agenda item, I
would like to cover some brief items of current interest.
Paul Lohaus has been appointed Director, Office of
State Programs, following the retirement of Richard Bangart.
New Mexico's government began hearings on February
22nd to decide whether to grant the Department of Energy a
permit to begin using the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Chancellor Gerhard Stroder has delayed approval of
appointments to the German Reactor Safety Commission -- this
is the government's top nuclear safety advisory body. A
spokesman for Stroder said that the matter may be discussed
by Stroder during the next meeting of his cabinet, which
maybe has taken place by now, and according to other
sources, Stroder agreed to shelve 12 appointments to RSK
proposed by the Federal Minister of Environment, after
industry exerted pressure to block his designation of
A sad note. Former Congressman Morris Udahl died
at age 76 from Parkinson's disease. Many consider him the
father of the Low Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act. He
also sponsored legislation under which Congress consented to
the formation of the Southwestern Low Level Waste Compact.
He represented the Tucson, Arizona congressional district
from 1962 until he resigned in 1991, and was clearly a
prominent figure on the Hill in the nuclear waste area.
I think with that, we will get the jump on our
first agenda item, which is the Department of Energy's
license application design selection presentation, and I am
going to ask Vice Chairman of the Committee George
Hornberger to lead us in that discussion. George.
DR. HORNBERGER: Thanks, John.
I think we will just proceed right into the
presentation by Richard Craun.
MR. CRAUN: Hello, I am Richard Craun. I am with
the Department of Energy, and I would like to share some
information with you today on the license application design
selection process. Why don't I just go ahead and get
Today's discussion -- I wanted to give you a brief
history. The effort has started a couple years ago, and I
wanted to give you a brief history, I wanted to talk to some
of the current schedule of status of events and give you
some information on how the designs that we are looking at,
how they compare to the design that was issued in the
The design selection effort really started back in
December of '97 with a working group that we called the
Repository Design Alternatives Working Group. There they
went through and tried to assimilate all the information
they could find on the different inputs that we had on our
design and came down with a series of design alternatives
and design features.
Now let me just take a minute and describe a
design alternative. Design alternatives are a conceptual
design. It's a broad, sweeping perspective of the design
wherein it consists of several features to implement that
alternative. So a design feature would be a smaller item
within a larger set of a design alternative. A design
alternative might be a high temperature design, a low
temperature design, whereas a design feature may be a filler
material that you would put into a waste package and/or a
ceramic coating that you would put on the waste package. So
it's not -- it's a smaller group, the features are, compared
to the alternatives.
The license application design selection process,
we call it LADS, started in June of '98. Now I want to
focus in on the activities before, during and after what we
call an enhanced design alternative workshop, which was
January 4th through the 15th. We call it an enhanced design
alternative simply because it is the next generation of
designs, the next generation beyond the viability
assessment. So in order to present that information, I want
to go through a little bit of the pre-workshop activities,
which includes an independent review panel that we pulled
together, the activities of the workshop, and then the
post-workshop activities leading up to what we are doing
right now, leading up then to the final report that should
be coming out. In the April 15th timeline, we expect the
M&O contractor to submit to the Department of Energy a
report summarizing the designs that they have studied.
Between April 15th and May 28th, the Department of Energy
will review that report and make a final selection of the
design to go forward with to -- the activity is entitled
License Application. It's to both site recommendation and
the license application, so it will be the next generation
post the viability assessment, and I would also state at
this time that it will continue to evolve as we go through
the licensing process. But those are the major milestones,
and those will come up again later on in the presentation.
And I give you an overall image of the process. I
put this flow diagram together, and the top three boxes are
really associated with the pre-workshop activities. There
we took the initial activities, the initial box was defining
the design alternatives and features, and that was actually
done before the LADS effort. During the LADS effort, those
alternatives and features were changed. Some features were
dismissed, some new features were added. We went through an
evaluation process or development of an evaluation criteria
for the LADS effort, and then also evaluated each DA and
design alternative and design feature for the workshop.
Now I will come back to this pre-workshop, I
believe, on the next slide, which will give you a little
more information on what that analysis consisted of.
During the workshop we identified the enhanced
design alternatives, the next generation of design concepts
that we wanted to look at. We have developed -- we further
refined -- we didn't develop new criteria, we further
refined the evaluation criteria that we would use for
assessing the enhanced design alternatives. This is really
a break point. We are now in the process of ranking the
enhanced design alternatives right now, it's in process, so
that's really a post-workshop activity, and then we will
come up with our final documentation which is the April and
May time line, that's the level 2 and level 3 milestone for
the Department of Energy.
Let me give you a little more detail on the
pre-workshop analysis. We have prepared what are called
one-off analyses. By that, I mean we took the VA reference
-- the VA base case design and we modified only one feature
at a time. For example, the VA base case design is a 5/16
outer -- carbon steel outer package with an alloy 22, A-22
inner package material. For the one-off case, if we wanted
to reverse that to do an alloy 22 on the outside, carbon
steel on the inside, that would be the only change we made
to the base case. If we added a ceramic coating to the base
case analysis, it would be added to the carbon steel outer
Now we recognized when we did that a one-off
analysis has inherently some weaknesses. For example, a
ceramic coating on a carbon steel outer package material
will not have a very long lifetime. We don't get the full
benefit of a ceramic coating. So we recognized that there
were some synergisms that we would lose by doing the one-off
analysis, so that was recognized during that process of
performing those one-off analyses, and was discussed fairly
extensively during the workshop.
We went through prior to the workshop and we had
nine criterion that were used. We assessed each feature and
each alternative to those criterion, and that information,
which I will get to a little bit later, was presented during
In addition, some of the one-off analyses that we
did were just different enough that the designers had to
work carefully with the PA personnel, the performance
assessment personnel, to come up with the models that would
allow them to come -- to prepare information on the
performance of how that feature would work.
And then at the very end of the process prior to
the workshop we went through an elicitation process to talk
to the designers and the PA personnel that were involved
with the effort to get a sense for how confident are you in
the results that you've predicted, because they've given us
performance results, and defense-in-depth information, and
as they went through that, some of the designers had a very
strong sense that their modeling captured the essence of
that issue very effectively, and some indicated quite
clearly that the model was in its initial stages of
development to the point where it was a rough approximation.
So we elicited that confidence in the preworkshop
The Department was interested in wanting to make
sure that the LADS effort was objective, transparent, and
defensible. To that end we pulled together an independent
review group to look at the process we were using itself.
The review group met prior to the workshop. We walked them
through the process that we were going to use leading up to
the workshop and the process that we were going to use
during the workshop. After going through that they came
back with some recommendations to us prior to the workshop,
and they suggested strongly that we simplify the criteria,
they thought that it was too complicated, we had too many
elements in it, and that the level of design detail we
needed to be very cautious that we try not to make the
lowest-level design decisions. In the LADS effort they
suggested strongly that we look at the broader conceptual
decisions that we need to make and try to make those
decisions. And they also talked to us about the timing of
decisions, when we need to make decisions. Many decisions
can be delayed and not adversely affect our schedule. So
those decisions need to be identified so that we can make
them as we need them and not try to rush them, so that we
can get as much information as possible.
They did have some limited involvement in the EDA
workshop itself. We asked those that were available -- not
all were available -- to observe as much of the workshop as
possible. That was that January 4 through 15 workshop that
we had were we actually created the enhanced design
alternatives. Now we have another workshop coming up March
8 and 9. Now that workshop will be a workshop where we
actually rank the enhanced design alternatives in accordance
with the criteria, and I'll show you the criteria in just a
minute or two, and that workshop's coming up here shortly.
And we will have some of the independent team observing
Now during the enhanced design alternative
workshop the first part of the workshop was a presentation
of the one off analyses. And in those presentations they
not only discussed the strengths of their analysis, but also
the limitations of their analysis so that the designers that
were using that information had a very clear picture of what
the limited use of the limited knowledge was associated with
each of those features and alternatives.
That was the first day or two of the workshop.
The remainder of the workshop was a brainstorming session.
We focused that brainstorming session by having three design
focuses. We had a high-temperature design focus, a
low-temperature design focus, and an enhanced-access focus.
We felt those gave us a diverse view of what we could come
up with as far as a design for the repository so that we
ensured that we had a wide spectrum of alternatives to
Initially we came up with, on the first
brainstorming session, we came with 23 enhanced design
alternatives. We looked at them and thought well, if we
take 23 designs into our licensing process it just doesn't
seem like a good success path. So we stepped back and we
started looking at them and said now how can we break these
down so that they make more sense.
We identified those features that were integral to
the implementation of that goal. Now, for example, we
had -- I'll just talk high and low temperature. On the
low-temperature team they had specific thermal goals that
they tried to meet. Now what we found was there was a whole
series of features that were not integral to meeting that
design goal of low temperature. For example, if we modified
the surface of Yucca Mountain, regraded it, recontoured it,
put a cap on it, something of this nature, which was one of
the features, that was independent of how you design a
low-temperature repository. And so it wasn't really
integral to the design.
So we identified those features that were integral
to the design. And once we did that we found a lot of
similarity from the 23 design alternatives that we had. So
we were able to bring those down to the eight. So we ended
the workshop with eight design alternatives, which was a
more manageable number. Our goal was to have between five
and eight, five and ten. We were still in my mind on the
high side, but we were getting closer.
Now let me talk for just a moment on the
postworkshop activities. Toward the tail end of the
workshop it became apparent to us that we really needed to
have an ability to interface very closely with this process
and make the necessary decisions in a very timely manner.
The schedule that we've got for this activity is very
aggressive. So if we in that process take a protracted
period of time to make a decision, it's not compatible with
our schedule. So toward the tail end of the workshop as we
started seeing these issues coming to the surface we could
anticipate needing to make rapid decisions.
We pulled together a group that we call the
License Application Design Integration Group. It's a
process that we used in the preparation of the viability
assessment itself. What we found is when we were writing
the VA many, many issues came to the surface that we needed
to make decisions on immediately. So we formed a group then
and now consisting of both DOE senior representatives,
senior representatives from the M and O, and senior
representatives from the MTS DOE subcontractor that is in
support of the DOE.
That team meets on an as-needed basis and the
information is brought, principally the issues that come to
those committees are policy-setting issues in nature.
They're significant to the development and direction of the
For example, one of the first features that came
or first issues that came to the committee was that the
Enhanced Access Design Alternatives, of the three categories
I mentioned -- high, low, and enhanced access -- at the end
of workshop we had eight enhanced design alternatives. Two
were low, three were high, and three were enhanced access.
What we decided was is that the enhanced access alternatives
really could be treated as a feature that could be added to
any of the other design concepts. So we converted the
enhanced design -- enhanced access alternatives from an
alternative to a feature. So that was a committee decision
that said listen, what we'll do is all of the designs will
have to have provisions to allow for access to the
repository. Okay? So those are types of decisions that
have been made. If any of you were here or --
DR. HORNBERGER: Richard, excuse me a second.
DR. FAIRHURST: Just a point of clarification.
Enhanced access, is this the idea of going to a 300-year
period or is it just ventilated or being able to go into the
MR. CRAUN: Yes, it's the latter.
DR. FAIRHURST: It's the latter. Thank you.
MR. CRAUN: It's to provide shielding, either
self-shielded or temporary shielding plus a thermal
consideration so you have both shielding and thermal issues
that you have to manage in order to get access.
It would not be unrestricted access. We are still
anticipating somewhere like a 200-millirem field or
something of that nature.
Okay. So we're now down to five EDA's, and I'll
show you here briefly on the next chart, on the thermal
goals associated with those five enhanced design
alternatives. The current five EDA's or enhanced design
alternatives are being assessed now from a performance
assessment cost analysis and a defense-in-depth perspective.
That is under way right now, as we speak.
Now this is kind of like a pie chart. I try not
to have very many busy slides in the presentation, but I had
to put at least one in the presentation.
I don't plan on going through the details. It
gives you the pertinent details associated with the five
EDAs. I am more than willing to answer any questions that
you have on this. They are numbered across the top -- EDA 1
through 5, and here are primarily the integral features
towards the top and some of the bottom features are
non-integral features. They are not germane to the thermal
goals and really the reason I put this slide in here was to
really have you focus on the thermal goals at the bottom, 1
What you will notice is our decision is not as
simple as a hot versus cold, low versus high. There are
several -- this is a range of thermal goals from 1 through 5
starting with a drift wall temperature of about 96 degrees
centigrade working its way up, so that is what we have ended
up with from the Enhanced Design Alternatives that we are
carrying forward, so right now we have five designs that we
are taking forward in the process of evaluating with those
varying thermal goals.
Now those five Enhanced Design Alternatives are
being evaluated using both a screening criteria and an
evaluation criteria. For those who may have seen a recent
NWTRB briefing, a couple of weeks ago I think it was, we had
three screening criteria. They were post-closure
performance, environmental considerations, and
The LAD, or License Application Design Integration
Group that I was mentioning earlier not only made the
decision that we should convert enhanced access to a
feature. What we have also been looking at very carefully
are the screening criteria, so we have come to the
conclusion in that group that in fact those two screening
criteria should be converted over to evaluation criteria,
screening criteria being a criteria that if you don't meet
it that Enhanced Design Alternative is off the table. It's
dropped. An evaluation criteria will be simply that. We
will be gathering information for that and ranking them.
Some of these decisions, environmental
considerations I believe, was in a meeting last week that we
made that decision to go ahead and move that from a
screening criterion to an evaluation criterion.
Now one of the evaluation criteria that I have
mentioned was a defense-in-depth analysis. We have not --
DR. STEINDLER: Could I go back to that last one?
MR. CRAUN: Yes.
DR. STEINDLER: You said screening criteria,
MR. CRAUN: Yes, sir.
DR. STEINDLER: If it doesn't meet it, you won't
continue it. Compared to what? Is there a base case?
MR. CRAUN: Well, we have a VA base case so there
is a base case, but there's a performance standard that we
used for this project of 25 millirem and that is what we
used. That was our criteria, our threshold. If it exceeded
that in the first 10,000 years, then in fact it was a no-go.
Does that answer your question?
DR. STEINDLER: Yes.
MR. CRAUN: I believe we were also looking at 15
millirem, I believe also.
Primarily -- there have been no EDAs that I am
aware of that not successfully completed that screening
criteria. They have all passed it.
We are looking at the defense-in-depth
methodology. We, the DOE, are looking at that now. We have
had meetings last week on that. We have given some
presentations to the TRB and other members on our approach
and methodology that we are looking at. That is not
We know that the defense-in-depth will be very
important relative to assuring safety when the quantitative
analyses include significant uncertainties. We know that
the defense-in-depth methodology will be a significant
element or important element in our post-closure safety
This analysis is expected to identify the
principal barriers, both natural and engineered barriers,
and the relative contribution of those barriers and the
resilience of the overall system.
Now taking a little bit of time, I have put
together a couple more slides on that to give you kind of
how it's done.
First of all, we start off with defining the
system design attributes. As you are probably aware there
are four attributes in our repository safety strategy. The
first attribute is effectively -- I'll use my own words --
keep the waste package dry, make the waste package last a
long time, a slow dissolution rate and a reduction and
concentration after it is released from the waste package,
so are the four basic attributes.
Of those four attributes there are 19 principal
barriers that have been identified for those attributes.
Those principal barriers are in the VA -- Viability
They are discussed extensively in Volume 4. In
there we talk about our confidence in understanding their
performance. We will look at in the defense-in-depth
process the common uncertainties of those barriers and the
common failure modes of those barriers and we will be doing
or conducting a neutralization analysis where we take those
barriers effectively out of the system and look at the
effect on the performance of that overall system and it will
show us the resilience of the design in our mind.
DR. HORNBERGER: So I can infer then that DOE
equates multiple barriers and defense-in-depth?
MR. CRAUN: Yes, they are tied together. Yes,
Now, the methodology that we are looking at, or
using at this point in time is very similar to that which
the NRC staff published some papers on, the importance
measure, and they go through a neutralization process or a
removal of the barrier, similar to the same thing that we
We are looking right now, we are focusing on how
do we present this information at the latest NWTRB meeting.
We basically looked at a dose rate with the barrier removed.
Probably not the most effective way to communicate that, you
get lost in the numbers, and people lose what the focus is.
So we are looking at different ways of presenting that,
different ways to maybe come up with dimensional-less
numbers. I don't -- we have got a couple of ideas on the
table. As of last week, we have not selected a methodology
yet for that.
Currently, the defense-in-depth is being used in
the LADS effort where all of the enhanced design
alternatives are going through that analysis, and it is one
of several tools that we are looking at and evaluating the
enhanced design alternatives.
In order to meet our objective of the April 15th
and the May 28th dates, we will be evaluating each of the
EDA in accordance with the evaluation criteria that I showed
you earlier, and we will not, for the report of April 15th,
be looking at a weighted score, we will be looking at things
individually. And the next slide, I will show you kind of a
format that we expect to be using. The DOE will -- we will
review the data and the raw information associated with the
evaluation and make the decision from there.
Now, on March 8th and 9th, I mentioned it earlier
in the discussion, we will be having a workshop, it is our
second workshop there. We will be looking at the ranking of
each EDA in accordance with the design criteria, or the
Now, this is just an example format, it is not --
it is just simply a ranking, showing a ranking, potential
format, where, really, there's five EDAs, but this, a
typical example, I just used four. Each EDA will be ranked
to the four evaluation criteria.
As I mentioned earlier from the independent team
that we have brought on to look at our process, we expect to
be making a design selection. And my expectation is that we
will keep it at a fairly high level. It may be as simple as
hot versus cold. It may not be. As I showed you already,
there are five EDAs were varying thermal goals, so it may
not be as simple as a hot versus cold.
We will also be carrying a lot of features along
with design for flexibility, to ensure that if we continue,
as we go down the data acquisition on our waste package
materials and other data that we are trying to gather to
prepare ourselves for a license application, if we get
information or data that is not supportive of that, our
current understanding, we need some flexibility in order to
adjust to that information. That's where are in the LADS
process, the License Application Design Selection process,
and with that, I will just open it up for any questions that
you may have.
DR. HORNBERGER: Thank you. Questions? Marty,
want to start?
DR. STEINDLER: I have got several. You opened
your discussion with a comment that the design will continue
to evolve as you go through the licensing process.
MR. CRAUN: Yes.
DR. STEINDLER: A couple of questions. Is the
lack of a fixed design due to uncertainties in costs or
uncertainties in performance, or, you know, what is the
driver for leaving the issue of design open?
MR. CRAUN: Well, I think the basic design concept
will be -- will not be open, but whether or not we have two,
or three, or four levels of defense-in-depth may vary with
time. It is a process, in my mind, of margin of safety --
how much will we need? I don't believe those discussions
are complete. I believe the basic concept will be selected
and we will carry features with that design to provide some
latitude. I guess primarily from the standpoint, as we
continue to gather data, if we find information that is not
supportive of a specific assertion being made now in the
performance of an element, then, as that data comes to
light, we can basically fall back and look at ways to adjust
the design for that.
So I think the basic design focus will be --
concept will be selected, so we will be going forward with a
specific design. But there will be features there that I am
sure will be negotiated through the licensing process
relative to uncertainties associated -- from our
perspective, and also uncertainties associated with the
NRC's perspective on how that might perform, those features
DR. STEINDLER: Have you had a chance to think
about how a licensing board might view a design that is not
fixed and what it is, in fact, they are going to be asked to
MR. CRAUN: Well, I don't really want to present
it as a design that is not fixed. That is -- I wouldn't be
representing the design properly. To me, an alternative
that we may carry forward would be like we might carry --
for example, now we have about four materials in our waste
package material program, or five. We have selected two,
and we will go forward with -- for example, if we go forward
with the base case, the A design, we will go forward with a
516 and an alloy 22. We have in our back pocket other
material information so that if we run into a problem in
licensing the 516 and the allow 22, that we have some
So I don't want to present it as a design that is
totally flexible. We will have a reference design, a base
case design that we will take to licensing. We will also
have some enhancement features that we can bring into that
design, if needed. If, in fact, we don't need them, there
would be no change, there would simply be no change. I
don't want to represent it as a totally flexible design,
that would not be proper.
DR. STEINDLER: Your focus seems to be on issues
like hot versus cold and issues of that general nature.
Yet, the VA certainly shows fairly clearly that the near
field chemistry and what goes on very close in to the EBS
drives to a significant extent what the dose at the
downstream well is. I don't notice much in the way of
attention to that chemistry in the broadest sense in the
options that you look like you are pursuing, except there's
a couple of processes that impinge on it. Is that
MR. CRAUN: Well, the hot versus cold, in my mind,
has to do with the uncertainty associated with the near
field environment. There has been a lot of discussion that
the warmer you are, the more that uncertainty that you have;
the cooler you are, the less -- the more certain you are
relative to what that chemistry is. So they are coupled
together and they are not separable in my mind.
We may have been focusing on different thermal,
but the drivers behind that were the near field, the
corrosion rates, the dissolution rates, all of the other
related issues associated with the overall performance of
the mountain, not separable in my mind.
DR. HORNBERGER: But just to pursue that just a
little further, I think in earlier in earlier versions of
some of the design features, I believe I saw it say getters
considered, and I don't see that on your current list that
you showed us today. Is that deliberate that it was left
MR. CRAUN: Well, there were 22 features that we
have had on the list. I don't know that I have the exact
numbers. We have -- during the LADS effort, we did look at
materials that we could insert underneath the waste package.
Those could be -- those are somewhat non-integral to the
thermal goals. Those could be added to any feature.
Some may assume that the getters have so much
uncertainty as to whether or not they will be there when
they are needed, that, in fact, they should fall off the
list, but they are not intentionally off the list, in my
mind, they simply were not an integral feature in the
implementation of our thermal goals. They may be brought
back in, similar to filler materials that you would put
inside the waste package. But you are right, you did not
see them in that -- those detailed charts.
DR. FAIRHURST: One of the obvious features -- I'm
sorry, the word "features" is not correct, distinguishing
elements between the hot and cold is, of course, your
footprint. So if you stay on a single level repository, you
know, if you have the lower thermal density, obviously, it
has to occupy a larger plant area.
In the various options, has the question of
multiple layer repository been considered?
MR. CRAUN: Absolutely.
DR. FAIRHURST: Okay.
MR. CRAUN: That was one of the objectives. You
can meet your thermal goal in more than just aerial mass
DR. FAIRHURST: I agree.
MR. CRAUN: Okay. Because we did look at
blending, we did look at aging. We did look at ventilation,
other means of -- okay
DR. FAIRHURST: And I see your goal is usually set
at something like 96, that is to keep the stuff from
MR. CRAUN: That's correct. Absolutely.
DR. FAIRHURST: And there's another goal lower
than that to which -- below which most metallurgists would
say you would get no corrosion even with carbon steel.
MR. CRAUN: That's correct.
DR. FAIRHURST: And that's about 80 to 90, I don't
-- I mean that's conservative.
MR. CRAUN: And it varies from expert to expert.
DR. FAIRHURST: Pardon?
MR. CRAUN: It varies from expert to expert.
DR. FAIRHURST: That's right. That's right. But
no lower than 80, I think.
MR. CRAUN: Not that I am aware of.
DR. FAIRHURST: And the driver, it appears, for
the corrosion allowance material is humidity more than
temperature. In other words, given the two, you could keep
the temperature low, but if the humidity gets very high,
then you would get some corrosion of the carbon -- of the --
MR. CRAUN: 516.
DR. FAIRHURST: Yeah.
MR. CRAUN: Yes.
DR. FAIRHURST: Now, some of your alternative
materials, is it titanium and things like that, are they to
substitute for the corrosion allowance material rather than
the C-22, or what?
MR. CRAUN: Yes to both Yes to both. But they --
we are looking at an inside-out, an alloy 22, carbon steel
on the inside. We are looking at titanium and C-22
combinations, and at one time there was a triple combination
of, I believe, a -- I don't remember inner and outer, but
there was a corrosion resistant material inner and outer,
and then a structural member in between.
DR. FAIRHURST: Okay. Now, you mentioned briefly
the surface modification.
MR. CRAUN: Yes.
DR. FAIRHURST: Don't laugh, I think it is a good
MR. CRAUN: No, no, no, no, no. No, I -- they all
DR. FAIRHURST: What are the main objections to
it? As you say, it is something to be done totally
independently of anything you are doing. Not totally, it is
almost -- but are they questions of permanence, erosion?
MR. CRAUN: There is a permanence issue, you are
right. Will it last? There is a little bit of a cost
issue. How much does it cost to prepare the surface like
that? Which one of them was recontouring the whole top of
the mountain, all 1300 acres -- I guess 1300 acres. 1300,
DR. FAIRHURST: It depends.
MR. CRAUN: Yeah, it depends. You're right, it
depends. It depends.
DR. FAIRHURST: I have heard the number, yeah.
MR. CRAUN: And the third was kind of -- I was
just going to say optics, but that is not the right thing to
say, so there would be just those two.
MR. RICKERTSON: Environmental impact.
MR. CRAUN: Environmental impact. Thank you.
Thank you. I knew there was a third and I knew it was more
than optics. Thank you. Thank you.
DR. FAIRHURST: Would the environmental impact of
doing that be more than the environmental impact of putting
a monitored retrievable storage on the surface?
MR. CRAUN: Oh, you just jumped out of my area of
DR. FAIRHURST: Okay. That's all right.
DR. FAIRHURST: I am just trying to see how --
MR. CRAUN: Monitored retrievable storage.
DR. FAIRHURST: There is a notion to put that
there, and I would imagine, to me, you would have to do a
lot of environmental --
MR. CRAUN: I have looked at some of the LAG
storage associated with how a repository is operated, but I
have not really looked at the monitored retrievable storage.
DR. FAIRHURST: Anybody else have any questions?
Or I can go to some others.
DR. WYMER: I have one here. You are using
barrier neutralization to estimate barrier effectiveness.
MR. CRAUN: Yes, sir.
DR. WYMER: Does that mean that you have
determined that the effect of one barrier on the next, with
the coupling of the barriers, is not going to be
MR. CRAUN: Well, I think we are looking at the --
I want to say the coupling, and that is the common modes of
the barriers. If they have same degradation mode, the same
common failure modes, then, in fact, one would have to look
at the neutralization of those together. You may want to
look at them separately, but you may want to look at them
together, combined, also. So that is part of the process in
looking at that, is to assess what are the modes of failure,
how might they fail.
For example, if you had a multi-layer waste
package of the same material, obviously, you would want to
look at those, the failure of that together. If you had a
titanium and an alloy 22, might those be separable so that
you could neutralize one versus the other? And, also, maybe
from a standpoint of just from an information standpoint,
you may want to neutralize them both at the same time, just
to look at the effect of that.
I think when you do that, you get some interesting
input or feedback from the analysis itself. We have had
some really interesting results out of our defense-in-depth
analysis. For quite a while we have had some very strong
supporters of backfill and drip shield combinations that we
would install in the repository toward closure. And when we
went through the neutralization process we found that if you
neutralized the waste package, that, in fact, you may have
some effect, that the drip shield and backfill may have an
effect that wasn't originally anticipated. So I think that
neutralization process of both a single barrier and multiple
barriers, I think it is educational. It will provide us
input on the resilience of the system.
DR. WYMER: All of the neutralizations you talked
about are certainly appropriate. I had a little bit
different spin on it, though.
MR. CRAUN: Okay.
DR. WYMER: I was thinking about the chemistry.
As you move through one barrier into the next, you change
the chemistry of the material that is being transported, and
change the compositions and so on, and this could have a
significant effect on the next -- effect of the next
barrier. And I wondered if those kind of things were
determined to not be important, or whether you are
MR. CRAUN: No, we would be considering those.
DR. WYMER: It would be interesting to see how you
DR. FAIRHURST: Would you like to elaborate a
little on what you said about the backfill and the fact that
-- how the -- I am sort of amused. If you had no
engineering material in there, and there's nothing to
backfill, but what -- you said if you take out the waste
package, you know, the backfill seems to have -- and, in
fact, you didn't anticipate --
MR. CRAUN: Well, the backfill provides an
insulator. It insulates what would be the waste package.
It then changes the thermal cool-off curves associated with
the waste package.
DR. FAIRHURST: Sure. Sure.
MR. CRAUN: The waste package actually stays
warmer, so the warmer it is, you have different dissolution
DR. FAIRHURST: Right.
MR. CRAUN: That is it.
DR. FAIRHURST: I see. But there was nothing --
MR. CRAUN: That is -- it was that simple, but it
was the initial -- the initial look at the curve, it was
somewhat counter-intuitive, like, why would -- then, as you
thought your way through it, it became obvious that with
backfill, it cools down a little bit slower, your
temperatures are higher, your dissolution rates are a little
bit higher due to the warmer temperatures.
DR. FAIRHURST: And the backfill material that you
would use for the low temperature would be quite different
from the high temperature?
MR. CRAUN: They are looking -- they are looking
at different types of material, for different purposes.
DR. FAIRHURST: So you could it at a lower
temperature, you couldn't use it in a high temperature. I
mean you have got to be effected.
MR. CRAUN: Most of the issues we ran into with
the backfill in the -- during the workshop, and a lot of the
discussions were, once you install the backfill, depending
on your closure, whether you are closing the repository 10
years after your last waste package is inserted, or 300
years after it is placed, the backfill really changes your
temperature of your waste package. So if your thermal goal
was to maintain a waste package surface temperature of,
let's say, 100 degree centigrade, then that backfill really
makes that goal much more difficult to obtain. You have to
do more aging.
DR. FAIRHURST: You put it in early, right.
MR. CRAUN: That's right. Blending those sorts of
DR. HORNBERGER: But the backfill, per se, is
crush-tough, is that correct?
MR. CRAUN: That is one of the alternatives.
DR. HORNBERGER: What are some of the other
MR. CRAUN: Well, there was a fine sand material.
There's -- let's see, those are two that I can think of.
MR. RICKERTSON: Those are the two.
MR. CRAUN: Those are the two. Thank you. That's
all there is. Those are the two.
DR. HORNBERGER: You mentioned that, clearly, some
of the things have been identified as features that are not
an integral part of the design, and so they can be
considered in any. I was wondering about such things as
tunnel design and tunnel liners, materials for inverts. Are
you considering any of these kind of design options? Are
they off the table?
MR. CRAUN: Absolutely. Absolutely. We have
looked a multiple layer design. We have looked at designs
that would include both the principal area, the primary
footprint area, about 1300 acres, I believe it is 1300
acres, and the lower repository design, depending on how we
orient and our drift spacing, and whether we should use a
line load or a point load in the waste packages. We have
looked at tunnel diameter. We have some smaller diameter, I
believe some 4.5 versus the 5.5 meter diameter. We have
looked at carbon steel, steel set liner -- steel liner. We
have looked at the concrete liner. We have looked at
different types of inverts.
Orientations, how we would support that, and I
believe we even looked at using some getter material in the
invert, so, yes, there was -- a whole series of those
options have been looked at.
DR. FAIRHURST: How about rock bolts and wire
MR. CRAUN: To some extent, yeah, we're
appropriate. It's a function of safety. I think if you go
with a -- personnel safety. If you go with a ground control
system, then you -- if you want to go with rock bolts and
wire mesh, you would have to have some ground controls
designs that would go beyond just rock bolts and wire mesh.
For example, in the ESF, as you go down the ESF,
you will see different areas of different levels of ground
control, from the simplest five bolt rock bolt pattern and a
little bit of wire mesh, to some steel straps, some steel
sets, and steel sets with full lagging, and that's just
simply due to the different ground conditions we've got.
DR. HORNBERGER: How about apart from tunnel size
diameter? How about tunnel shape?
MR. CRAUN: Round is -- yeah, round --
DR. HORNBERGER: Round is beautiful.
MR. CRAUN: Round is by far the nicest to build.
TBMs come better when they're round.
MR. CRAUN: I'm not trying to joke there.
DR. HORNBERGER: No, no, no. I think the issue is
one of if rock fall is a concern, whether you could --
MR. CRAUN: Well, we did -- let me go back and say
we did look at different ways. In fact, we looked at some
of the alternate configurations which were two parallel
drifts with some interconnecting drifts, and those
interconnecting drifts -- the layout of those might have
been -- might not have been TBM style construction, it might
have been a road header type style construction, so in all
reality there's -- we did look at some of that.
DR. GARRICK: Let me first compliment you because
we don't often get this much time to ask questions, and this
MR. CRAUN: What, was my presentation too short?
DR. HORNBERGER: No, no, just the opposite.
DR. GARRICK: Just right.
MR. CRAUN: Yes, sir.
DR. HORNBERGER: One of the things that I like to
do is to work from a reference position on consideration of
issues, and if we take the VA as our reference, I guess what
I would like you to do is to summarize what's different
between now, between the VA. You talk about a change in
criteria and the division of it between screening and
evaluation. Of course, the whole issue of enhanced design
alternative evaluations appears to be at least emphasized
more, and I guess I'd like to know if that's what is
different and what is the driver for that.
I know the technical review board has been pushing
the issue of the consideration of alternatives. Is that
what this is primarily in response to?
MR. CRAUN: Well, I think you asked several
DR. HORNBERGER: Yes.
MR. CRAUN: So let me kind of --
DR. HORNBERGER: I'm really trying to know what
the delta is.
MR. CRAUN: That's fine. Let me try to break it
into little pieces, and if I miss one, please remind me.
The driver is not just the NWTRB. They have been
-- they have indicated that they wanted us to look at
alternatives, and they really were wanting us to look at
alternatives because they were concerned with the what if.
What if you're wrong? What if you've missed something?
What if you can't analyze it? If you read the four TSPA
peer review reports, they infer that we may have more
difficulty analyzing the reference case, the high aerial
mass loading, the 85 MTU per acre, than what we are
currently expecting. They may or may not be right. But the
NWTRB basically has been, I think, on record in saying what
if they are right? What if you do have more difficulty? So
they have been asking the question are you certain you can
analyze that? So they have been wanting us to look at
alternatives that may be simpler from an analysis
standpoint, where you don't have as many coupled processes
and that sort of issue.
So, yes, they have been asking us to look at it.
The DOE themselves has been -- it's a natural part of the
process of design, so as we go through the selection of our
design that we take forward into the site recommendation and
license application, we took want to look for the most
resilient design. So it's a natural part of the process.
So if the TRB hadn't been writing us letters and talking to
us, we probably would have done it, anyhow; maybe a little
bit differently, but we still would have done something
similar to it.
Now has the criterion changed? And the answer to
that is yes. And it will continue to mature as we go
through this process. And you also ask how does the VA
differ? Let me take you back to the eye chart. I apologize
for doing that, but I will take you back to this very busy
chart, and let me see if I can kind of -- if somebody could
do a little bit with the lights, that would be great.
Okay. The reference case -- I'll just kind of
take it one line at a time. If I get to a line that I don't
remember the base case, I'll tell you that.
The reference case for the VA design is 85 MTU per
acre. You will notice that we have gone below that, down to
50 MTU per acre, and as high as 150 MTU per acre. We really
wanted to push the thermal boundaries of the reference case.
We wanted to look at the sensitivity of the design to that
The acreage -- well, it's important, but let me
say that it's not a significant issue to me. Obviously the
lower MTU per acre, the more acreage would be required. The
upper level is 1300 acres, so the 1260 fits within the upper
block, with a little bit of room left over.
Point versus line. You notice that predominantly
we have selected a line load. The VA reference case is a
point load. What we are wanting to do is to, in the VA base
case, as you look down an emplacement drift, you see a --
and if you were to look at a temperature profile of an
emplacement drift, you'll see a fairly substantial variation
in temperature as you go down that drift.
we'll couple them thermally so that we will levelize that.
If we blend in age, it will also have a tendency to levelize
that. If we right now in the VA base case -- somewhere on
here should be power. Right now. The VA base case I
believe ranges from about 2 kW to about 18 kW on the power
loading of waste packages, the 21 PWR waste packages, and
here you see us wanting to meet specific goals on the power
of the waste packages.
Again, the purpose of that was to levelize down
the emplacement drifts, levelize the power, to minimize that
We did look at rod consolidation. I believe in
the process of evaluating, that has now shifted over to a
We looked at -- I'm jumping around here a little
bit, I apologize -- waste package size; we looked at a 12
PWR, 21 PWR, and somebody in the audience help me, I think
we looked at a 42 PWR -- yeah, 42, it's on the slide, 42 PWR
waste package, and that was with rod consolidation. We were
wanting to make that as hot as possible, put as much power
in there as we could.
And diameter, some variation, base case, 5.5.
Looked at 4.5, smaller. We haven't had any indication that
larger is necessarily better for the emplacement drift, so
we have had indication that smaller is better from a
stability standpoint. In fact, we have had a workshop on
tunnel stability on that very issue.
And then the drift spacing, I believe this is the
VA base case, which is 56 meter spacing -- no, that's not
right. VA base case is 28 meters. 28. Who said 28? Thank
you. Thank you very much. It is 28 meters.
This is 56 because we went from a point load to a
line load, that's why that changed.
So I think I have answered all four kind of
questions. If I think I -- yeah.
DR. GARRICK: And it would have helped if one of
your cases would have been the VA base case.
MR. CRAUN: Well, it's pretty close here. I mean
this is pretty close. But we really did not want to
constrain the license application design selection process,
so there was no mandate to have a case called a base case.
We basically looked at it from the standpoint of take it as
a natural evolving process, these two I would select 3 and 4
as being those that are closest to the VA. Remember, the VA
design was supposed to be a snapshot, supposed to just look
at it to identify how it was supposed to perform, what it's
supposed to cost, how you get it to licensing, and so now
that we are looking at how that works relative to the --
assessment relative to criteria on performance,
defense-in-depth, margin of safety, those sorts of
arguments, I think it is a natural process for the VA base
case to evolve to the next generation.
DR. GARRICK: Yes. One of the back room
criticisms of the design has often been that maybe it's more
complex than it needs to be, especially in the international
community, one hears this from time to time. And I noticed
-- and you used the word earlier, simpler, but I notice in
your criteria that simplicity is not an explicit part of the
criteria. How much effort is being made to move in the
direction of the design being simpler and the consideration
of such things as a combined corrosion-resistant material
and structural material as the same material? Just as an
example, a simpler invert design, a simpler approach to
water diversion, et cetera.
One impression is that the design is quite
complex, and the combinations and permutations are quite
large, and so I think there is this continuing anxiety about
the lack of stability with respect to the design, and based
on your presentation today, one can't get a particularly
comfortable feeling that that process is moving in the
direction of stability.
In fact, it seems to be more in the direction of
more alternatives and more combinations and permutations.
MR. CRAUN: Well, I hope we didn't leave you with
the impression that we are going with more combinations,
permutations, and -- from my standpoint, this is a process
where we are looking at the design on how to carry it
Now in the criteria, which I had in the slide
here, it had a screening criteria and evaluation criteria.
For example, the safety licensing probability and
environmental consideration, that first bullet underneath
the evaluation criteria, is composed of several elements,
sub-elements, that address specifically this issue of
simplicity. And since my memory is not as good as it used
to be, I'll just read some of it to you.
We are looking at the function of each element and
how simple and easy it is to define the function of that
element and the analysis associated with that. The
post-closure function, can it be simply -- can it be
demonstrated simply, straightforwardly? So we are looking
at simplicity. Are there regulatory or engineering
precedents associated with that feature? Has it been in a
licensing design before? Have people relied on it before?
Is there a track record associated with that? So we are
looking at simplicity, licensability, so in that first
category there are a whole series of subcategory elements
that are addressing specifically the issue of simplicity and
Now -- and again I want to come back to to me this
is a natural process of design, of the evolution. We have
to narrow it down. This is the narrowing process. A fairly
formal process. We are looking very carefully at
defense-in-depth, we are looking at licensability, we are
looking at cost, schedule, maintenance, et cetera,
flexibility. Flexibility is also another important term,
and that's not intended to broaden it, it's a reality. What
if we have to receive more than 70,000 metric tons? What if
we need to receive more than 105,000 metric tons?
I think those are good questions to be asking now
as we are focusing in on that final design that we'll carry
forward. And even when we carry that design forward into a
site recommendation and the license application process, I
suspect that design to continue, I would hope it would
continue to mature even in some cases into construction as
we go into the process of building and operating the
repository. At least from the commercial background that I
had, our plant learned a tremendous amount when we went from
zero power to 5 percent on out to 100 percent power. We
learned quite a bit about how our plant does and doesn't
work. So I would expect that design not to shift in a broad
conceptual basis from one thermal goal to another thermal
goal. I wouldn't expect to see that. But I would expect to
see some subtleties in some of the features change, and I
think that's healthy, and I think that's good.
DR. GARRICK: One of the things that you
introduced into the process was something called an
independent review panel.
MR. CRAUN: Yes, sir.
DR. GARRICK: Can you tell us a little bit about
this panel, how it works, who's on it --
MR. CRAUN: Certainly.
DR. GARRICK: Not necessarily by individual, but
by discipline or where they came from. Are they all
internal to DOE? And also, maybe against this LADS process,
where you show various steps, can you help us as to the
independent review panel and how it fits into that process?
MR. CRAUN: Well, relative to each step we wanted
them to look -- in the beginning we had them there to look
at the preworkshop activities. Now let me kind of go
through again, since my memory is not as good as it used to
be, a listing of who's on that. And they are really not DOE
personnel. Mr. Angelo Giambusso. He's a retired Stone &
Webster, many, many, many years in the licensing and
engineering nuclear power. That's his background. Dr. Saul
Levy. He is another engineer involved for quite a while in
nuclear power. Dr. Peter Morris, decision analyst, do we
have the right decision analysis approach? Dr. Joseph
Payer, materials behavior. Dr. Terry Surles, risk
management. Dr. Wendell Weart, performance assessment. And
Dr. Chris Whipple, risk management. That was the team that
we pulled together to have them look at our process. We
thought that would give us a diversified background of
personnel to look at it.
They gave us a lot of input. They gave us some --
we presented a lot of information to them, and they gave us
some really -- I think some valuable feedback. We wanted to
have them view all steps of the process.
Now because of their schedules they're not all
going to be able to be there at the same time, but we did
get them all together prior to the first January 4-15
workshop, we had them there during the workshop. I think
most of them were there at least a day or so. And then they
will be -- some will be there during the March 8 and 9
workshop. And then they will also probably -- we haven't
decided this yet -- but I would imagine that we'll also
involve them as we come toward a conclusion in the April
time line. As the reports are starting to come together,
we'll involve them again.
DR. FAIRHURST: You have not brought anybody from
other programs in other countries.
MR. CRAUN: No, sir.
DR. FAIRHURST: Who have been, you know, working
MR. CRAUN: No, sir; we did not.
DR. FAIRHURST: Similar problems for a long time?
MR. CRAUN: No. Wendell Weart would be the only
other -- from WIPP --
DR. FAIRHURST: He comes from the South.
DR. GARRICK: From New Mexico.
MR. CRAUN: But, no, not any other foreign
countries. No. No, not any foreign countries, not other
DR. FAIRHURST: I notice you've got after --
MR. CRAUN: Let me, if I can, interrupt you for
just a second. On the tunnel stability workshop, if I
recall right, we did have other participants from other --
DR. FAIRHURST: The Italian fellow --
MR. CRAUN: Yes.
DR. FAIRHURST: The head of ITA.
MR. CRAUN: Yes. Yes. Yes. So we have had --
but that's all.
MR. NATARAJ: One from Canada, also. Canada.
DR. FAIRHURST: Neil Chandler. Torbreki's a
Norwegian, too. He's been here a while, like me.
But I noticed that your aging and preclosure
ventilation, that in all of them you have a minimum of 25
years of preclosure ventilation. Now this implies then that
every package that's put in -- are they all being ventilated
for the entire time? In other words, you're not going to
backfill anything until the entire repository's full, until
25 or 50 years has passed?
MR. CRAUN: Backfill is a closure process. You're
right. So backfill --
DR. FAIRHURST: So it's a remote process too.
MR. CRAUN: It would be remote if in fact we
have -- if we have not embraced enhanced access fully.
DR. FAIRHURST: Right.
MR. CRAUN: But assuming -- with an assumption
that it is not accessible then it would be remote; that's
correct. And the 25 years is a combination of either aging
and/or ventilation preclosure. And if you choose to
ventilate the repository, preclosure ventilation, the entire
repository would be ventilated. So it wouldn't be just this
drift versus this drift. They would all be ventilated.
Now we've looked at a variety of different
ventilation rates during this process, everything from about
one cubic meter a second to ten cubic meters per second.
The higher the ventilation rate obviously the more --
DR. FAIRHURST: Heat.
MR. CRAUN: Massive the whole system becomes, the
more -- somewhat the more heat you remove. But we are
looking at both -- a combination of either aging or
Now as we're going through -- as you saw those
five EDAs, individually they're continuing to mature, so
some of them may -- you know, some of the ventilation issues
as we -- what we found when we were developing those EDA --
enhanced design alternatives -- is that because we were
different than the base case for the viability assessment,
we didn't have all the necessary analysis performed in order
to help us fully understand where we were in a
low-temperature repository. So we had to make some
assumptions during the initial brainstorming sessions.
So now that we're in the process of evaluating
them, we're finding that some of our assumptions were really
good, and some of them were close to good. So we're having
to make some little adjustments to those also. So they are
continuing to mature through this analysis process, but at
this point in time, yes, the ventilation and/or aging
combination, and that's because we're wanting to go with a
line load and we're wanting to distribute that load in the
DR. FAIRHURST: If I can just pick up on John
Garrick's question about complexity, by what date was it
that the M&O contract is going to pass over to DOE, the --
MR. CRAUN: April 15.
DR. FAIRHURST: April 15. That's when -- with the
preferred design; right?
MR. CRAUN: That'll be --
DR. FAIRHURST: At that stage.
MR. CRAUN: That'll be his ranking of the designs
to the criteria, and they may identify their preference. I
would assume they would.
DR. FAIRHURST: April 15, right?
MR. CRAUN: Yes. That's the current --
DR. FAIRHURST: Same day they put the taxes in.
MR. CRAUN: I beg your pardon?
DR. FAIRHURST: Same day your taxes are due.
MR. CRAUN: Oh.
DR. FAIRHURST: But, secondly, I'm not sure how
justified sometimes complexity argument is, because is it
true that a significant part of your design includes a
serious look at retrieving damaged packages? In other
words, retrievability if necessary is an integral part of
your design; right?
MR. CRAUN: It is an integral part of the design;
DR. FAIRHURST: All right.
MR. CRAUN: That's correct, sir.
DR. FAIRHURST: And you have a definite plan of
how you can get stuff out if necessary.
MR. CRAUN: The plan -- and I'll use the VA
reference design; that's kind of the most appropriate thing
for me to select to use as a discussion point -- is simply a
reversal of the installation process.
DR. FAIRHURST: Right.
MR. CRAUN: So to that extent yes, we do have a
plan, and considered to be a reasonable plan. We also have
anticipated periodic rockfalls and how to recover from that,
and so we've looked at the tracks and the gantry systems
associated with emplacement on the durability and resilience
of those to rockfall and that sort of issue. So to that
extent, yes, we have a retrieval portion of our design. I
don't know that it's controlling the design from a
DR. FAIRHURST: No, but if you put -- and many
countries are moving to this -- all of your packages down
the center of the tunnels rather than in the floor, sides,
you know, it's a little more complicated to get to the one
that is malfunctioning or whatever, and retrieve it.
MR. CRAUN: Yes, most --
DR. FAIRHURST: Because if you --
MR. CRAUN: Most of the concepts that we're
looking at now would just simply start at the outer edge and
work their way in.
DR. FAIRHURST: Right.
MR. CRAUN: And it's accessible from either end,
so you've got upwards of --
DR. FAIRHURST: Yes.
DR. GARRICK: I just want to make sure I
understand what you mean by one off analysis. I gather that
what you're talking about there is primarily changing the
material or changing the configuration to perform a
particular function. You're not talking about
neutralization. Is that correct?
MR. CRAUN: That's correct. The neutralization
process is something that we're considering in the
evaluation of the Enhanced Design Alternatives. The one off
analyses that we did on the design features and design
alternatives was to simply, for example -- a good example
would be the addition of a ceramic coating.
We only added ceramic coating, even though to
optimize its performance you would reverse the waste package
material so that you'd have carbon steel on the inside,
Alloy 22 on the outside, and then apply your ceramic
coating. Its durability, its life expectancy would greatly
The analysis we did for the design feature on
ceramic coating showed that it had I think a lifetime of
about 600 or 700 years because of spalling underneath the
ceramic coating. So even though we knew that there were
some synergistic -- excuse me, there were other features
that if we combined multiple features together, we would get
maybe a ceramic coating that would perform better, we made
the decision to have simply a one off analysis. We would
only vary one parameter at a time, so we only added ceramic
coating, even though in combination the addition of other
features would have helped that analysis.
Does that answer your question?
DR. GARRICK: Yes. I think so. Go ahead.
DR. STEINDLER: But that process, as I understand
it at least, ignored any coupled effects and so I guess I am
trying to figure out what true information you can extract
out of a one-off process.
MR. CRAUN: What do you mean by ignored coupled
DR. STEINDLER: Well --
MR. CRAUN: Thermal-hydrologic?
DR. STEINDLER: Well, if you add -- I'll go back
to my chemistry. If you add a ceramic surely there are
effects, chemical effects, that it brings, like it or not.
MR. CRAUN: Oh, I see what you are saying.
DR. STEINDLER: And if you take away something or
you change an alloy or reverse the two, for example, you do
change the chemistry but --
MR. CRAUN: Yes, you are right.
DR. STEINDLER: Am I not correct? You just simply
MR. CRAUN: You're right, and I am trying to think
whether or not the analysis of the ceramic coating included
a change in the chemistry, in the local near-field
environment chemistry, and I am not -- yes, Larry? Do you
know the answer? Larry Rickertson. He may be able to
answer this question.
MR. RICKERTSON: I am Larry Rickertson from DOE's
The one-off analyses were really initial analyses,
the first cut to look at the features. Those analyses were
done as if you had a base case and you added something to it
or took something away from it and then you did a broader
evaluation in a qualitative sense of what chemical effects
might come into play in a synergistic way and for a
different conceptual design.
After you finished that stage of evaluation, you
looked -- you developed these Enhanced Design Alternatives
that are completely evaluated.
MR. CRAUN: That's right.
MR. RICKERTSON: All the chemistry, all of the
interactions and so on would be evaluated for that design
with all the features in place, so there are six or five
EDAs that are being evaluated that way.
DR. GARRICK: So it sounds like some one-off
analyses are indeed the same as neutralization analyses.
MR. RICKERTSON: Well, the one-offs that he was
talking about was this initial phase. The Enhanced Design
Alternatives that are being evaluated now are being
evaluated fully in terms of all performance aspects,
functional aspects, and for the design defense-in-depth
evaluation in addition there is a neutralization that is
done of the principal barriers of that system, to see how it
works in that case, so there is a broad range of analyses
that are now underway and that will be evaluated in this
DR. STEINDLER: Did you make any decisions on the
basis of the one-off results?
MR. CRAUN: No, we really used the one-off
analyses to help us identify those features that we should
combine together and recognizing also in the one-off
analysis we identified the limitations of that analysis and
said now, listen, we are ignoring the synergistic effects
that would be associated with changing the base material, we
are ignoring the effects of chemistry, so that those
discussions were there to provide information to the design
teams that were trying to formulate or pull together the
features necessary to pull together the Enhanced Design
As Larry pointed out, it's the EDAs that are going
through a more complete evaluation. It was the preparation
for the workshop where we were looking at individual
features and individual items to identify as much
information as we could for the designers, and that is where
the one-off analysis was conducted.
EDAs are getting a complete evaluation.
MR. CRAUN: Hopefully that clarified that. Thank
DR. FAIRHURST: Go ahead, John.
DR. GARRICK: Well, I was just going to say,
Charles, that one of the advantages of being Chairman is
that you can put the other members on the spot once in
awhile and you have been doing a lot of thinking about this
whole issue of design, design alternatives. Is there
anything that you could add to the discussion that would put
some of the questions and commentary here in context and
DR. FAIRHURST: No, I have a couple of specific
DR. GARRICK: All right.
DR. FAIRHURST: I will answer yours but then --
no, frankly I think what DOE is doing is very laudable
considering that you were, if you like, not quite put on the
spot but the TRB about 18 months, two years ago said take a
good look at alternatives. I think your response to that to
me has been a very good one.
They have assembled people and tried in a very
short period of time to come up with a lot of credible
scenarios or alternatives and I think that come April 15th
it will be interesting to see what you have come up with.
I have a couple of sort of personal biases -- that
initially being an advocate of a high temperature
repository, I see a great deal of merit seeing the
complexities as they are introduced into the whole
performance analysis process of the high temperature
repository from some effects that have not been given a
great deal of mention.
For example, if you have very dense loading you
have a very high thermal stress regime around the tunnel,
and you create a lot of problems for tunnel support that you
wouldn't need to have in the low one. On the other hand, it
isn't all bad in a sense, for awhile at any rate, because if
you have a highly stressed tunnel region than the tunnel is
more stable with response to a seismic loading than if you
have the current -- in the extensional field you've got a
greater potential for roof fallout for example in a low
temperature, but given everything around and the fact my
question about international participation was that
virtually everybody else in the world is thinking about a
low temperature repository and they have done an awful lot
of thinking about typical appropriate backfill materials, et
cetera, et cetera.
Of course, they are not in the unsaturated zone,
but nevertheless I suspect there is a fair amount of that
technology transfer that is valuable, and actually I was
with Paul Harrington at a meeting in France recently where
the whole question of retrievability was considered and
public perception of it, and I think Paul would agree it was
very valuable to see how publics in different countries are
looking at ways to isolation and what questions they are
To me it would be important and not very costly in
looking at various alternatives to put some in with the idea
of yes, we may never use them -- we'll take them out without
a great deal of cost. This came to another questions that
In your ranking format example that you gave, you
gave A, B, C, D. Cost and schedule is in there. Will that
kind of data be available for somebody to look at --
MR. CRAUN: Absolutely.
DR. FAIRHURST: -- around that time?
MR. CRAUN: Absolutely.
DR. FAIRHURST: It would be very interesting to
see what -- particularly with costs there are certain
perceptions about, in one country, about how costly it is to
do something, whereas another country has been doing that
kind of thing for years and they have a very different
section of the cost and the technical capability to do it.
So no, I am very fascinated by what is going on
and I do, as I say, give you a fair amount of credit for
pulling a tough thing together fairly quickly.
MR. CRAUN: Well -- and I think also just from a
positive standpoint, the January 4th through the 15th, when
I gave a presentation to the TRB, I indicated that I was
very, from a DOE perspective I was very pleased in that
process because the people that were on the individual teams
became sponsors for their either high or low and they were
really -- and I monitored a team all the way through the
process that I personally was in favor of that one winning,
but anyhow -- and I didn't vote, but in seeing that team and
watching that team they really were advocates for their
concept and they really, the people on the high temperature
really felt from many perspectives theirs were the best, and
the low temperatures theirs were the best, and so that I
think was a very good interaction.
A lot of information came to the table and for
those who were able to observe or watch that process go --
watch the teams go through that process a lot of valuable
discussion, a lot of good debate took place on some of the
technical issues, so that was very, very productive in my
mind, whether we end up with hot versus cold or whichever
thermal goal we end up with. I will eventually cast my vote
at the end.
DR. HORNBERGER: Ray? Oh -- go ahead, Charles.
DR. FAIRHURST: I will throw one other out.
You mentioned ventilated repositories and of
course there's been quite a bit of talk about a naturally
MR. CRAUN: Yes, sir. We looked at those.
DR. FAIRHURST: Yes. Presumably the answer is
yes -- you have looked at the ability, the relative merits
of aging and the ability of ventilated humid air to take
heat out over 50 to 100 years?
MR. CRAUN: Yes. Yes.
DR. FAIRHURST: Because I may want some more
details about that later.
MR. CRAUN: Actually, there is quite a bit. We
have done quite a bit of analysis in that area, so if you
are interested --
DR. FAIRHURST: No, I am very interested.
MR. CRAUN: -- we could get you more detail.
Any of these, if you look at each of the features
or each of the alternatives each of the presentations were
about an hour or so in length and now we have been, since
January, working diligently on these issues so we have quite
a bit of information available.
As Larry pointed out -- thank you again, Larry --
we have continued with that analysis so we are starting to
get more and more detail, but it is still again at a broad
conceptual level. We want to make sure that we don't -- I
think if we find ourselves driving down to make all of the
decisions in that April 15th report, I think we will have
trouble and we need to hold them to a broad conceptual level
and make those decisions that we need to. Those that can
from a scheduler's standpoint be delayed, let them be
Any other questions?
DR. HORNBERGER: Ray?
DR. WYMER: Yes. I want to see if I understand
what I have heard, which I probably don't.
First, you are looking at the effects of
individual barriers by neutralization and we talked about,
both Marty and I, about some of the difficulties with
ignoring coupling because of those things -- all kinds of
coupling and our emphasis was on chemical coupling, but then
I thought I heard here a few minutes ago that then you are
taking a series or number of integrated systems based on
various things you want to incorporate differently from one
system to the next, and you have looked at those and seen
what the net effect of those integrated systems were, but
between those two I still don't get a way to cleanly
separate out the contributions of individual barriers to the
defense-in-depth concept. Now what am I missing?
MR. CRAUN: Well, let's how to handle this one.
If I understood your question right, the integrated -- each
EDA has a complete integrated evaluation, okay? So we would
be looking at all of the couple processes. So as we are
neutralizing each individual barrier, we would be
identifying those associated effects of neutralizing that
barrier, taking that barrier out, and looking at how that
changes the performance of the system. So that integrated
perspective on the individual barrier neutralization is
DR. WYMER: It seems to me there is not quite a
coincidence there, unless I don't understand it, and maybe
MR. CRAUN: Okay, did you --
DR. FAIRHURST: If you don't do a full TSPA
analysis with one thing in and one thing out.
MR. CRAUN: Yes, I do.
DR. HORNBERGER: The defense-in-depth computation
of neutralization is done for each EDA. It's not a
comparison across EDAs.
MR. CRAUN: No, it's not a comparison across EDAs,
no. Oh, I missed that, if that was the point. No, it's not
from EDA to EDA. It's within an EDA.
MR. RICKERTSON: This is Larry Rickertson again
from the M&O. When we talk about this neutralization
analysis, what we are trying to do is it's a stylized
calculation, of course, because what we do is we don't
really remove the barrier, per se, the barrier is still
there, but a particular function of it is assumed to not be
effective. So, for example, if there is a thermal effect,
that thermal effect could still be in place. If the barrier
was an insulator, it would still be insulating, producing
those kinds of effects. But, for example, we would assume
that its permeability is much higher for one reason or
another, it's fractured or it's cracked, so water could go
through it more readily. So we look at it only from that
change. So when we say neutralization, we don't really mean
it in the sense of removal. I guess you -- I didn't know if
you caught that, but it's clear that you understood that
part. So barrier interaction still exists of various types.
DR. WYMER: Only in a limited sense.
MR. RICKERTSON: In a limited sense.
DR. WYMER: And it seems to me -- and again, my
emphasis is on the chemistry of the process, is if you
remove a barrier, then you will change what chemically goes
from one barrier to the next. With the barrier in there,
you have some chemical changes that take place. If you
remove that barrier, then you have removed those chemical
changes and what goes into the next barrier downstream does
not see the effect of the chemistry changes.
MR. RICKERTSON: Let me give you an example. We
have a drift invert. When we neutralize that invert, we
just assume the water goes through it more rapidly and that
the sorption is less effective. All other aspects of the
chemistry are still there. Whatever it's doing, it still
does; it's just that the retardation effects that we have a
wide range on, we assume that they are minimal or zero, zero
effect. So a retardation factor of one. But in other
respects -- so there is an impact on the chemistry there,
but other aspects, for example, the fact that degradation
products are now carried forward and were carried forward
more rapidly, that is fully calculated in the neutralization
analysis. So we are not quite capturing -- obviously it's a
simplification in approximation to what happens, but we're
trying to see the effect of that barrier and the role it's
playing and, of course, because it is an approximation, it's
only an approximate effect, it's only an indication of the
importance. And the kind of effect that you are talking
about, that there may be important things that you have to
consider in that, is the most important part of that
analysis. Before you conduct that analysis, you look into
those aspects very carefully to make sure you are not being
nonphysical in what you're doing, that there is some
meaningfulness to the particular analysis. But the points
you are looking at are those that have concerned all the
analysts who were working on this problem. It would be good
at some point to possibly show you a detailed analysis so it
can be clarified.
DR. WYMER: That's what I asked earlier, whether
or not you had actually made a determination that these
effects were not significant, and you're saying now that you
do on sort of offstream, you make that determination.
MR. RICKERTSON: Yes. In the process that he
showed you, one of the steps or the second step in that is
something called assess barriers, and it had something about
common mode sources of uncertainty and failure. But that is
actually a complete assessment of all of those aspects of
the things that you are worried about with regard to the
role that barrier plays. When you want to neutralize its
effect as a barrier, there are all kinds of other effects
that you have to take into account. So that is, in my
opinion, the most significant step that you take in that
process. The actual calculation itself is relatively
simple, once you have made that decision.
DR. WYMER: I can tell you are qualitatively doing
it, but quantitatively, I think you are not.
MR. RICKERTSON: I can say that is a very serious
interaction that goes on. You are exactly right. That
consideration is a very serious -- we take it very
seriously. We will never get it quite right, but the fact
that we have looked at it and will have documented that for
each of those neutralizations will be --
DR. GARRICK: So it sounds like what you are
really doing is just impacting the rate of degradation of
MR. RICKERTSON: For example.
DR. GARRICK: Yes, for example.
MR. RICKERTSON: There are other things. For
DR. GARRICK: So that really doesn't get to the
question of the true impact of that barrier, because you are
sustaining considerations of chemical effects, geochemical
reactions, et cetera, of the barrier, even though the rate
of degradation may be greater.
MR. RICKERTSON: It's a case-by-case basis for
each barrier. For example, one of the barriers is the
barrier that keeps water from coming down and raining on the
waste, so it's the overlying rock units. We assume in the
neutralization of that that water can come down more readily
and the flux could be equivalent to the precipitation at the
Well, that could just mean that it's a leaky
system, the fractures communicate, but there's a whole
impact of how that assumption affects the temperature, it
affects the chemistry and all, and that thought process goes
into evaluating just how you do a neutralization. And other
barriers get treated other ways.
Again, the point you are making is you just have
to see the example, whether it's meaningful or not. That
evaluation is the most important part.
DR. FAIRHURST: The one that -- the neutralization
that caused the most concern -- not concern, but most
eyebrows to be raised was taken out of the waste package.
MR. RICKERTSON: Yes.
DR. FAIRHURST: The three orders of magnitude
change in the dose, and then people were arguing, well, but
that was because we were very conservative on some of the
other components. If you were to -- it still gave a very
dramatic indication of the significance of the waste
package, even if you didn't take the numbers too seriously.
But how much of a change, you know, to say how realistic is
that factor of 1000, did you attempt to say let's take a
more conservative view of the unsaturated zone? That is a
more -- give it a bigger role to play to see how much that
1000 would change to?
MR. CRAUN: Yes, that is being done, and you are
right, as you establish your base case, depending on how
much performance is allocated to the individual barriers,
based on that base case, as you look at neutralization of
the individual barriers, it will change the dominance of
that element. For example, if you have a single waste
package with a single corrosion-resistant, if you then have
multiple corrosion-resistance, that's a different base case,
so you have to start from a different basis and then look at
the one-offs from that.
DR. HORNBERGER: You can see that we are quite
interested in important measures and defense-in-depth and
MR. CRAUN: I know that. That's why Dennis and
DR. HORNBERGER: I have a question, one more
question, though, related back to the design business that
you did your presentation on.
You have mentioned that you see changes in design
features as you go. I think this is probably in accordance
with Board of Radioactive Waste Management rethinking high
level waste. Document design as you go philosophy was
On the other hand, you have heard Marty ask you a
question, how the heck are you going to get past the
licensing board without having every last detail of design
nailed down? And there -- I'm overpainting it, the
extremes, of course, but there is this, it seems to me, an
essential tension, and one of the things that the BRWM
document suggested was that DOE and NRC were going to have
to be able to work this out to allow, if you will, some
aspects of a design as you go philosophy.
Do you anticipate this being a problem as you move
MR. CRAUN: Actually, no. I think from the
standpoint of our focus on our development for our license
application, I believe we will be focusing on those features
that are important to post-closure performance, which we
have been focusing on, a lot of discussion here today on.
Those features that are associated with some of the surface
facility construction is still part of the safety case,
licensing case, that are more tried-and-true engineering
principles that have been demonstrated at a variety of
different locations in the United States, those will
probably receive less focus in our license application. So
I think, one, the license application will be focused in a
specific direction of post-closure performance; and as we go
down the -- down through that process, I would imagine there
will be negotiation taking place and discussion taking
place, not only now but throughout the entire process.
DR. STEINDLER: Let me just make a comment. I
would have been happy if you had said yes.
MR. CRAUN: Can I say yes? I'll say yes.
DR. STEINDLER: Well, I mean the issue is that if
DOE persists in its approach, whatever the rationale and
however sound it is, unless there is some change in what has
been the past practice of licensing boards, they are going
to hold your feet to the fire on a particular design.
Now you can get the change notices and reopening
of the hearings, but I would caution you that any one of
those reopenings opens up the world, your world, to an
enormous amount of mischief every time. If you think you've
got a schedule that you want to follow, you've got to nail
that down earlier. And so I think George is exactly
correct, there's got to be some kind of an early agreement
on what that licensing process is going to look like. It
isn't going to be DOE that dictates that. I would think
that the Commission will be sought out on how that is going
to work, and you need to attack that issue early.
MR. CRAUN: Okay. Thank you.
DR. FAIRHURST: That's a good point.
MR. CRAUN: Thank you.
DR. FAIRHURST: It's interesting, in the WIPP
situation, there's a process of recertification every five
years and there's negotiation that certain things which
right now you need operating experience to really improve
your reliability or your confidence, that's built into the
whole process, and I don't know how well that's been worked
out with NRC, but --
DR. STEINDLER: Well, I mean there are tech spec
changes in the reactor domain, as you well know.
MR. CRAUN: That's right.
DR. STEINDLER: It's not impossible and there are
mechanisms that just haven't been applied, I think, to this
MR. CRAUN: Good feedback. Thank you.
DR. HORNBERGER: Any questions? Staff? John?
MR. CRAUN: I'm done?
DR. HORNBERGER: Andy.
MR. CRAUN: Almost.
DR. CAMPBELL: We heard in December about -- the
committee heard in December about the prioritization process
and the selection of work as the program goes into the site
recommendation and license application. How does the LADS
process interact, how does it fit with this prioritization?
Obviously if you go with a very different design than say in
the base case or modification to the base case, that is
going to have a major impact on, one, the uncertainties for
different features and elements of that design and, two,
then that will impact how you prioritize your work.
MR. CRAUN: The LADS effort is part of the
integrated schedule that we have for now to 2001, 2002, so
it's part of our integrated schedule. So as the LADS effort
comes to closure, and there is a design selected, if it
represents a change in work scope, then that will be
factored in, we will have a change control process that we
go through on our schedules, and that will be factored in.
If there's specific work that needs to be identified in one
area or activated in certain areas, that will then come to
the table, and we will process that. So it is part of our
integrated schedule system, and actually those two dates I
had up on the board, the April 15th and the May 28th, are
part of our integrated schedule. So it's all integrated
If we make a substantial change, or depending on
how extensive the change is, might it have some effects on
other schedule or dates? It may. It may. And we'll work
that out as we get to that point. But at this point we are
DR. CAMPBELL: One other follow-on question to
that is to what extent, if at all, does the program plan on
some sort of pre-licensing interactions with the NRC Staff
on this LADS process, particularly with respect to some of
the features and stuff?
MR. CRAUN: I know we are interacting quite
frequently with the NRC Staff, but I don't know that we have
been involved much with the NRC Staff on the LADS process.
I would love to do that. If we haven't already -- has there
been some interaction?
MR. RICHARDSON: There were some NRC
representatives at our last workshop.
MR. CRAUN: That's right. Thank you, Dennis.
MR. RICHARDSON: We also have --
DR. GARRICK: Could you go to the mike?
MR. CRAUN: Yes. Dennis Richardson.
MR. RICHARDSON: Dennis Richard, M&O. Yeah, we
have reps from NRC at our workshops. We also have a number
of ongoing Appendix 7 meetings with the NRC where we talk
about some of the details along the LADS, but more in
pre-closure, but I suspect that we will have -- we will get
going on post-closure and how we are doing the
defense-in-depth. We have had conversations with the NRC in
terms of our DID methodology, comparing to their
methodology, the type of assumptions we are using, so we can
come closer in terms of recognition of what is important,
and how that will be used, and also when we had the major
TRB presentations, we had NRC people there and we had
discussions with them, and we met offline with them also.
So we do have ongoing discussions, and I think this will
greatly increase in the future.
MR. CRAUN: And I think also your point being that
maybe we should look at enhancing those discussions with the
Staff relative to the details of the LADS effort. Excellent
idea. I agree with you. Good idea.
DR. CAMPBELL: Well, and the follow-on to that is,
of course, the Staff has their issue resolution status
report, and what happens in the LADS process then feeds back
into the acceptance criteria that ultimately become part of
the Yucca Mountain review plan.
MR. CRAUN: Absolutely. They are related. Thank
DR. HORNBERGER: Thank you. We look forward to
hearing next time from the license application site
suitability investigation, evaluation and simulation team,
because if we have LADS, we will surely have LASSIES.
DR. HORNBERGER: John?
DR. GARRICK: Thank you. And, Richard, the
committee again appreciates your excellent skills at time
management and giving us an opportunity to get better
educated. Thank you.
I think what we will do now is take our break, a
15-minute break. We will be back here at about 10:31.
DR. GARRICK: The meeting will come to order.
One of the highlights of our committee meetings is
to get an update from John Greeves, who is the NRC's
Director, Division of Waste Management, Office of Nuclear
Materials Safety and Safeguards, and also have the
opportunity to quiz John a little bit on his observations
and comments. We are pleased to see you here today, John,
and look forward to hearing from you.
MR. GREEVES: It's good to be here, and thank you
for being able to accommodate my schedule in moving from
this afternoon to this morning, so I appreciate that.
I have got, you know, a list of topics that I
think are timely and we seem to have enjoyed going over in
this format in past meetings, so I will run through those,
and if you have got a question on, you know, as I go through
a comment, let's address it then. We have developed a kind
of informal atmosphere on this part of the agenda, so just
jump in and we will address the questions.
Just a little update. My deputy position, as you
all know, Mike Webber went up to the Chairman's Office, and
Joe Holonich has been named as my deputy, so congratulations
to Joe, or condolences, I'm not sure which, but Joe can't be
with us today or he'd be up here with me also answering the
questions. So I'll take notes on the hard ones and pass
them on to him.
So with that, I think I will launch into the
topics that I thought were good to mention this time. A
little comment. I see you just had a meeting on the design
selection process, and I'm glad you had a chance to put that
on your agenda. Dr. Fairhurst and some of your staff and I
sat through a much more lengthy version of this at the TRB
meeting which I found very useful, so I commend your efforts
to get this in front of you and the whole set of slides was
on CD that Dr. Fairhurst saw out there at the TRB meeting.
So I -- he was making a lot of progress, but there's also a
lot that needs to be done between now and the license
application, and one of my fears is I don't want to see
eight different designs in the license application, so
between now and then we've got to narrow that thing down,
and I'd be happy to talk to y'all about that.
DR. GARRICK: We talked about that.
MR. GREEVES: We can't have eight; in fact, I'd
like to see one. We'll go from there.
The topics I want to go into, the first of which
is the clearance rule, and I know you are aware of the Staff
efforts on this process. The Commission made it real clear
to us that this was to be one of our top priorities, and
asked the Staff to march off and take the lead and go out
and work on the so-called clearance rule. The status of
this clearance rulemaking was delivered to the Commission
January 27th, SECY 99-028. I commend that to you for
reading. It's a good place to catch up with what the
current status is, and I think you all are on pretty much
the distribution of that document.
The -- what you will learn is that the preliminary
technical basis report -- this is a report developed by a
contractor which addresses dose factors to individuals on
specific cleared items will be published either later this
month or early in March. I think a lot of people will be
looking for that. EPA actually had done some work also, and
I think the results compare favorably. It will identify
work associated with scrap steel, copper, aluminum, concrete
rubble, as well as tools for reuse. These were the things
we were actually working on before the Commission formally
asked us to go forward on this process. So you can look
forward to seeing that particular report.
Another part of that process is that we need some
help contractually. We are going to go out and develop an
Environmental Impact Statement associated with this
rulemaking, a regulatory analysis. There's going to be a
whole series of public meetings, and we need some help
externally on putting some of that together, so we will go
out with some statements of work that we expect to be out
and awarded by the summertime.
Also associated with this is an issues paper
trying to frame the questions for these public meetings, and
that paper is being reviewed by our steering group at the
present time, and we expect to publish that in the Federal
Register in the March timeframe. And all this is sort of
heading towards a series of public meetings this summer
planned for August, where this early technical basis report
out there and people had a chance to look at it, and the
issues paper trying to frame some of the questions. We did
a similar process on the Enhanced Participatory Rulemaking
for the decommissioning rule, and it always good to, you
know, have some resource documents out there.
I would expect that the Committee and some of your
staff with be sitting in on these various meetings that we
have around the country, and we would, you know, ask for
your support in that process. So that is the update on the
clearance rule, if there's any questions.
DR. GARRICK: What is the target date?
MR. GREEVES: For?
DR. GARRICK: March, for a draft rule.
MR. GREEVES: Well, this is all really background
headed for a rulemaking process. I think if you recall, on
the decommissioning rule, and I think it was like 1994,
something like that, we did a whole series of meetings, met
with the public and developed background information, and
all of that led towards the more formal process of producing
the proposed rule and then the final rule. So we are at the
front end where we are taking information, trying to contact
So this whole series of meetings in this calendar
year will help us develop the input for that rulemaking
process, so it is off beyond 2000, 2001, and it normally
takes a year or two anyhow to get through a rulemaking, and
this one is going to be a particularly interesting
rulemaking. There is going to be a lot of comment on this
one. So I would sense that it would probably take a few
years. If there is somebody in the rooms that knows the
schedule better than I, please speak up. But this is the
front end work, trying to make sure we listen to what the
stakeholders have to say before we start putting pen to
paper on what the actual rule is.
There is a lot of interest in this. I know the
utilities will be interested in it for the materials.
There's a lot of reactors going into a decommissioning phase
and very much need this kind of information, so I expect
they will be part of the stakeholder group. And what I will
do is just take a note and try and get back to you with an
estimated schedule on what the rulemaking, actual rulemaking
process would be.
Moving on to low level waste, it seems like about
once every couple of weeks I get a question of -- well,
where is Barnwell now? And it is interesting, we don't have
any actually licensing actions in low level waste anymore.
Those actually reverted to the agreement states. But I
still have a program, I still have questions coming in, but
we actually don't have a licensee.
And I am sure you have -- your staff has kept you
up to date on a number of these issues, but the latest is
the new governor in South Carolina, Jim Hodges, announced in
his state address in January that they would be exploring
rejoining the Southeast Compact. The state was a member of
that compact up until '95. The then governor, David
Beasley, withdrew from the compact and opened the facility
to all states expect North Carolina, and imposed this $235
per cubic foot tax that was on top of that.
So the country has enjoyed the time that
everybody, just about virtually about could send their waste
to Barnwell, and that is the way it has been for a number of
years. However, things have a way of changing. We
understand there's two bills that have been introduced
within the state legislative session. One would implement a
policy where the state would go back into the Southeast
Compact, and another would exclude all out-of-state waste
from the facility, so it would just take waste within the
state, at least that is the understanding that I have. It
is not clear whether either would pass, but those are the
topics under discussion.
For the legislation to rejoin the Southeast
Compact, I understand the member would be conditional upon
other member states coming up with some kind of an agreement
in terms of compliance. It is like the Low Level Waste
Amendments Act, it had conditions that you had to meet to
stay in the process. So people at looking at that. Is
there any method to come up with enforcing penalties or
sanctions? And it doesn't take a lot to figure out what
this is about, the question is, can North Carolina, which
had the lead for developing the site, come along and do that
without additional delays? So, it is, as we all know, very
difficult to push these things through, so we will stay
tuned as to how that plays out.
On the operating front, Chem Nuclear, the operator
down there, I understand has abandoned their Barnwell
initiative. This was a long-term financing plan for the
disposal facility. Maybe somebody had briefed you on this.
Under that initiative, generators would enter into a
contract with Chem Nuclear to provide disposal capacity for
the next 25 years. The state was to receive about $75
million and a trust fund of $1 billion would end up at the
end of 25 years.
Chem Nuclear, I think was looking for something
like 4 million cubic feet from the generators in terms of a
package for futures. They only received a commitment for
about 1.2 million, and generators were concerned about the
length of time and the commitment of tying themselves up,
especially with the disposal costs in the range of $300 per
cubic foot. So I think we are all seeing various attempts
here to try and sort out ways to make low level waste
disposal viable for, you know, the decades to come, it is
just a difficult process. So, apparently, that approach did
not work, and I think we are all sort watching what goes on
in South Carolina.
I am going to move on to the General Accounting
Study that was asked for unless you have got some specific
questions about what I mentioned about Barnwell. Moving on,
I think you are familiar with the fact that Senator
Murkowski, in September, -- Senator Murkowski, who chairs
the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
requested GAO to conduct a study of the national system for
commercial low level waste.
Senator Murkowski raised a question about recent
developments that I think we have all been watching about
whether the policies of the Amendments Act can be
implemented in an acceptable timeframe. These included the
things that I think we have talked about some in the past,
the delays with the Ward Valley site, the reduction in
volumes showing up at the Barnwell disposal facility, the
ability of Chem Nuclear to meet the continued financial
requirements assessed there, increased amount of low level
waste going to the Envirocare facility, the suspension or
termination of siting efforts by a number of states and
compacts. I think you have heard what happened in the State
of Texas and Nebraska. So I think all these things went
into the thinking behind the Committee's request to GAO.
Specifically, what they requested GAO to do was
review and report on the status of how the country is
addressing the Low Level Waste Amendments Act, review and
report on the timing of state and compact efforts to
establish new facilities, keeping in mind we started this
business back in 1980 and the Amendments Act came along in
'85, and here we are almost to the millennium. They also
asked to identify potential orphan waste that may exist out
there. And specifically, they were asked to identify and
analyze any potential alternatives, including reliance on
the private sector, possibly similar to what happens with
RECRO wastes in this country, or possibly transferring
disposal responsibility to the Department of Energy.
GAO has been going around meeting with the
generators, the disposal site operators. I understand they
visited Barnwell and Washington State, and Envirocare. They
are meeting with the various state stakeholders in this
process, the compact officials. They have been meeting with
others since October. We have had some limited discussion
with GAO. Their current schedule on this, as I understand
it, is a report by the end of April.
In the first part of this month, February 3rd,
Senator Murkowski sent another letter to GAO asking them to
augment what it was that they were looking at, to look at
what the costs for DOE compared to disposal in the private
sector. They want to analyze those costs for DOE disposal
of low level waste, and what efforts DOE may have to utilize
private disposal facilities, I think is -- a number of you
know that DOE does utilize the Envirocare facility, for
The second part of the report is expected to be
issued late this year or early next year.
DR. GARRICK: Has NRC had any role in this
MR. GREEVES: To me NRC's role is public health
and safety. As I said, we don't have a single licensee in
this category. Most of the work that I'm involved with is
consultation with the agreement States that do have this
responsibility. We frequently are asked -- for example,
several times we were asked to comment on the sampling plan
out at Ward Valley, both by the State and by the Department
of Interior. So that's a role we fulfill, as you all are
familiar with. We put out a standard review plan years ago
DR. GARRICK: But I would think that one of the
most important inputs into trying to find answers would be
expertise and knowledge of the low-level waste program, and
that the NRC would be one of the best sources for that.
MR. GREEVES: Dwayne Wygal is the person that is
in charge of this at GAO, and we've met with him several
times. In fact, I talked to him earlier this week. I've
invited him to come to one of our ISCORS meeting --
Interagency Steering Committee on Radiation Standards. So
we're trying to maintain the dialogue with him. I'm just
not sure of what NRC's role in that process is, and we
should be, I think, a resource entity to answer all of his
questions, and he contacts us frequently.
Jim Kennedy, who's our point in this area, talks
to him regularly. And I think it's difficult to picture
what role would we have in terms of influencing this thing.
I think we need to be transparent, tell them everything that
we know, and as I said, I spoke to Mr. Wygal earlier this
week, and there will be followup discussions.
If you've got any ideas on what kind of input NRC
could have other than making our knowledge transparent to
him, the question of how you proceed on this thing is
clearly a policy issue. It's a policy of the States, and
DOE's involved, you know, for example, the question of cost.
DOE doesn't have a licensing cost per se. They're
self-regulated. So as they go through this process, what I
pointed out to Mr. Wygal was that I don't know how you
compare apples and oranges when you compare the cost of a
commercial program with the cost of a Department of Energy
DR. GARRICK: Yes.
MR. GREEVES: These are the kinds of things we are
talking to him about.
DR. GARRICK: Well, I would guess that the reason
that Congress is asking these questions there is a sense out
there that the agreement-State process or the compact States
is not working, it's not getting the job done, or else
there's no job to do. Maybe the job that was to be done is
not as big as was believed at the time these agreements were
developed. Also, this committee has thought about this
quite a bit, and as you know --
MR. GREEVES: Um-hum.
DR. GARRICK: John, we wrote a letter a few years
ago that was specific to what constitutes an adequate
program for NRC in low-level waste. I don't know if -- you
know, you say it's a policy question. Are any of the
recommendations or any of the thoughts that were presented
in that letter being implemented, or do you know?
MR. GREEVES: Well, that letter's been a while
DR. GARRICK: Yes, it has been.
MR. GREEVES: Marty, back in your time frame.
DR. GARRICK: Right. That's --
MR. GREEVES: So the best I can do is revisit --
DR. GARRICK: Um-hum.
MR. GREEVES: The letter and I don't think I
DR. GARRICK: Yes. Right.
MR. GREEVES: It may be that we provide a copy of
that to the GAO. And in fact the next time that we sit down
and talk with them, I'll send word down to you and your
staff, if one of you are available to sit in on our next
discussion with them, I think that would be useful.
DR. GARRICK: Yes.
DR. STEINDLER: I'm not going to comment on the
letter, because I think you can easily dig it out of the
files somewhere. But I wonder whether or not your group
wouldn't be one of the better ones to point a GAO study to
the -- one of the issues that we covered at least in the
deep, dark past here, namely, what is the impact of not
having available to universities and research institutions
and hospitals, et cetera, et cetera. It's not obvious that
that's part of their charter, but it is obvious that it
should be part of their charter. If the question is, you
know, so the compact process is shut down because it isn't
functioning. But there are still problems out there. They
simply ought to be alerted. I would think that you folks
are probably in as good a position in an oversight, overview
position as any to at least alert the GAO study to that
DR. GARRICK: Yes.
MR. GREEVES: And there's got to be data on that,
because Michigan was without disposal --
DR. STEINDLER: Exactly.
MR. GREEVES: Capacity for a long time. So it
shows a State can go without disposal -- and North Carolina.
DR. STEINDLER: Massachusetts had the same
MR. GREEVES: There's data.
DR. STEINDLER: National Institute has come before
us here and provided presentations on the difficulties, et
MR. GREEVES: And we get cards and letters from
California regularly on this very topic, so although they
have availability, they're not, you know, excluded. The
price is what causes a problem also. You can get rid of the
bulk waste at Envirocare, but I think some of the biotech
communities and the hospitals have a more difficult time,
and $300 a cubic foot for that kind of waste comes high for
a research facility. So I'll mention this to them, and as I
said, next time we get together with them, I'll check in
with you and see if you've got somebody available.
DR. GARRICK: Thank you.
MR. GREEVES: I'll move on. We brief you
regularly on the Standard Review Plan development process
for decommissioning, and as you know, we have held a number
of workshops. We have a separate but runs in parallel dose
modelling effort going on.
We are addressing how to do surveys, how to
address ALARA, and the question of restricted use and
I have sat in on two of the workshops. We had one
in December, one in January, and I believe Dr. Wymer sat in
on the one in January and we got some good feedback from
you. Thank you very much for the feedback.
I am finding these are quite useful. We are
getting good input from the various stakeholders. People
are bringing things to the table that save us work. We have
got data. We have got real live situations that we can
factor into our guidance documents.
We have another four meetings scheduled so we
would appreciate any attendance that the committee and your
staff could provide in terms of helping us with that
process. We have a website up and operating. We are taking
comments on the draft guide that is already out there.
We want to post modules from the Standard Review
Plan on the website. I think that will be a good tool and
people can comment specifically on portions of the Standard
Review Plan that they have a need to address.
We have briefed on our milestones in the past. As
you know, we formed these working groups late summer. We
also did develop the default table for the Reg Guide 1.86
values, updated to 25 millirem.
We have put together the Dose Modelling Group and
we expect to have some material available in June of this
year and the comment period for the draft Reg Guide 4006
closes in August and people have been commenting on that all
along though, so we would be able to update it based on
The schedule calls for a draft Standard Review
Plan to be in final review in June of next year and to be
published out as a Standard Review Plan in July of next
Just to give you a bit of a status, as with all
things you think you can do a little more than you planned
for. We have also had some attrition in the Staff ranks.
Dave Fauver has moved on. Dave has been here, briefed you
on a number of topics and he was one of our key Staff. He's
moved on so we'll have to make up for that loss.
We have had some Staff reassignments, so the dose
modelling component is not working out as efficiently as I
would have like it go, so I will probably be talking to you
some about that and maybe coming to you looking for some
donations of staff time, help us with the Dose Modelling
Group, so I'll talk to you about that on the side.
So we are going to have to re-evaluate the dose
It's really kind of the backbone of the process
and I think Dr. Wymer probably got a good visibility of how
that was working at the last meeting.
We will probably need to retool that a little bit
and I'll try to find a way to talk to you about our plans on
We will be back briefing you next month on some of
the details on the Standard Review Plan, but this is one
that bears watching so I appreciate the input we have been
getting from you and your Staff. Unless there's questions,
I will move on.
I mention West Valley periodically when I come and
visit you. At one point in time I sort of had a thought
that maybe we could engage you on this topic. It's a
fast-moving train. The fact is that there was a Commission
paper that went up the end of October and we have received
numerous comments on this paper. There's a large number of
stakeholders and public who have commented on it.
There was a briefing the second week in January
and I am finding that I learn things each time I touch this
issue, so even in the Commission briefing things came out.
I don't know whether any of you were there or your Staff,
but it is a very significant case that the Commission is
The stakeholder groups participated in this
meeting. I think there were like four different panels that
participated and as a result of the meeting the Commission
asked the Staff to supplement the West Valley paper and we
are just about to the point where we are working that issue,
and you should see that very shortly.
It would address things like precisely what is the
NRC's authority at West Valley? It is this unique case
where it formerly was, the licensee was NFS and the State of
New York. It reverted to DOE for the demonstration act and
it ultimately will go back to the State of New York, which
sets up a number of questions.
So the implications associated with this
particular decommissioning site are broad and I just would
invite you follow it. At one point in time I would have
hoped that maybe we could have had more active involvement,
but at this point I think the thing is moving rapidly and if
you have got some comments on either of the papers I would
individually like to find out what they are and visit with
you, but this one is pretty much in front of the Commission.
If there are no questions, then I will move on to
another topic that has been in front of both of us, which is
10 CFR, Part 63. I am pleased to note that it was published
in the Federal Register yesterday and there is a public
comment period that we were looking for a 75-day public
comment period. I think we may have to renote the date
because when you do these Federal Register notices, you are
not quite sure what day they are going to get published on,
so you put down 75 days, so I think our expectation was that
the comment period would go until May 10th and I didn't
think it quite worked out that way in the Federal Register
notice, but that would be corrected.
The point is this sort of kicks off a process in
terms of comments on this regulation. We need to go out and
make sure stakeholders have good visibility on this. One
step we took was to participate in the TRB meeting that Dr.
Fairhurst participated in in January. That gave us a chance
to kind of tell people what was in Part 63. It wasn't out
yet but Tim McCartin did an excellent job of portraying what
was there and also a chance for us to identify the follow-up
in terms of a public outreach program.
We have a plan to be out in Las Vegas and Amagorsa
Valley. The dates are March 23rd and the 25th and we will
hold two meetings to get some feedback and comment on Part
63 -- it is obviously out there for comment and people would
have had a chance to review it -- and engage the Staff as
part of that process, so I would encourage the members and
your Staff to the extent you can to attend one or more of
these meetings to help us kind of field the comments that
are coming in from the stakeholders. I know if you are
available, the members do like to get out to these important
Follow-on to that -- we will be developing a
review plan for Yucca Mountain. We will have an exchange
with the Department of Energy on that review plan in April
and we will be back briefing your committee on the issues
that are raised in this open comment period, and we expect
probably in the July-August timeframe we would like to be
back talking to you about what were the comments and where
do we see it going from here.
The final package should be to the Commission late
this year, so I think we can look for some additional
exchanges on part 63 with the Committee. I hope that fits
DR. FAIRHURST: On 10 CFR 63?
MR. GREEVES: Yes, 63.
DR. FAIRHURST: The VA indicates that the dose is
likely to be increasing beyond 10,000 years, and the TYMS
committee, as you know, recommended one should at least look
at the regulation to peak dose. You've chosen to use the
10,000 year. It would seem to be it wouldn't be surprising
if the public comment was somewhat negative about that, and
have you got any ideas of how to address that issue?
MR. GREEVES: I think we would expect to get some
comments on the 10,000-year time frame. That's one of the
ones, you know, I think we want to hear some things about.
We've -- the Committee, the staff -- have all been
involved in these issues for a period of time, and my sense
is the staff is comfortable with 10,000 years as a
compliance time frame. Not only the staff, but the
Commission. And in a minute I'll give you some of the
information that the Chairman testified for down on the
Hill. And the sense that I have is that for compliance
calculations you need to have a target, okay, let's look at
this, what is compliance. And, you know, there's pros to
con, is it 10,000 years, is it 100 -- in fact, the Committee
wrote a report on this.
DR. GARRICK: Yes. It's not only the staff and
the Commission, it's the ACNW recommended.
MR. GREEVES: Correct. You wrote a paper on this.
DR. GARRICK: Right.
DR. HORNBERGER: Charles didn't recommend it.
MR. GREEVES: Everybody's entitled to an opinion.
But the point is, ultimately the system needs a
compliance time, and the staff and the Commission were
comfortable with the 10,000-year figure, and we're going to
get comments on this in the rulemaking process.
DR. FAIRHURST: Perhaps I understand exactly why
when we make a calculation at a specific time and set
some -- but I'm more interested in how one deals with the
notion of the fact that that is showing it's the start of a
rising dose. And it's a significant increase beyond that.
MR. GREEVES: Well, and I think we're going to get
some comment, and we'll listen to those comments, but one
way that phenomenon will be addressed is in the NEPA
process. You not only do this calculation, whether it be
low-level waste, decommissioning rule, high-level waste, at
this time horizon, 10,000 years, but you separately have a
NEPA responsibility to look at, okay, what does it look like
for NEPA purposes. So that full range of the curve will
exist and will be looked at.
DR. FAIRHURST: Sure.
MR. GREEVES: So it's going to be transparent.
We've got some questions out at the Technical Review Board,
well, you know, you've got this much in the rule. Will
these issues be transparent? The answer is yes, between the
two, between the technical review and the EIS process, the
full spectrum of those results are going to have to be
shown. And when I talk to some of the people that do the
TSPA, what everybody seems to recognize is the uncertainties
as you go beyond 10,000 years, as you go beyond 100,000
years, get very large. So I'm not sure what people really
believe is going on beyond 100,000 years, you know, what's
going on with mankind, what's going on with geology,
glaciation, all those issues. And that's why I think some
segment of the group is comfortable with a compliance period
of 10,000 and look at the rest of it under an EIS-type
Is Mike Bell here? If I've said anything wrong,
Mike, help me out. But that's what's out there on the
street, and I expect comments on this. And part of the
response is we will be looking at all of it.
DR. GARRICK: Yes. Marty?
DR. STEINDLER: Yes, a couple questions that that
First off, the implication is that the NEPA
process is going to be at the time very large, therefore,
will include the peak dose as a consideration in whatever
conclusions one draws from the NEPA analysis. Is that what
you currently envision? And if so, how does the NRC intend
to deal with a peak dose that is significantly greater than
what's currently in either Part 20 or any other regulation
that I've seen?
MR. GREEVES: That was about five questions,
DR. STEINDLER: Well --
DR. GARRICK: He's sneaky that way.
DR. STEINDLER: I can break it down. Let me just,
you know. But I'm sure you can follow it just as well as I
Do you think that the NEPA process basically has
an open-ended time schedule?
MR. GREEVES: Well, I think the NEPA process will
call for disclosure of what this thing looks like through
time. I mean, these curves --
DR. STEINDLER: It's not disclosure that concerns
me, it's the action that you take as a result of whatever
conclusions you draw. This is not a visibility issue, this
is what kind of, you know, decisions or actions --
MR. GREEVES: Well, I think we would probably be
well to have OGC join us in this dialogue, but the
regulation Part 63 is going to be set up, the staff is going
to have to write an SER. Do you meet this standard at that
time frame? The staff will have to write that document.
And if the time frame is 10,000 years, that's what the staff
Now the Commission is -- you know, has to be aware
of the EIS process and make a decision based on did it meet
the regulation and with the rest of the information. The
question I think is when the decision makers make a
decision, how are they going to weigh the additional
information? And, you know, the question could be turned
back to any one of us.
Bob Bernero, somebody we're all familiar with,
used to talk to us about if it -- the answer was 20 millirem
in a decommissioning case, do you think this Commission is
going to turn it down if this case, whatever it is, is 26
DR. STEINDLER: That's not the issue. The issue
is that 700,000 years if the dose is 3 r per year, what's
the, you know, what's the Commission response at that point
in time, and does the NEPA process play any role in this?
And has the staff thought about this issue to be able to
formulate some kind of a we hope logical response?
MR. GREEVES: Well, if you're expecting a crisp
answer today, you're not going to get it.
DR. STEINDLER: Okay.
MR. GREEVES: Good question.
DR. STEINDLER: I already got a crisp answer then.
MR. GREEVES: I think, you know, maybe the
Committee can think about this. What would the Committee do
with a 3 r answer or, you know --
DR. STEINDLER: I'm just a consultant.
MR. GREEVES: Well, consultants are allowed to
raise questions. That's a beauty, Marty.
MR. BELL: John? Mike Bell. I think what happens
in the NEPA process is you look at the, you know, proposed
or the preferred alternative, geologic disposal, in the
context of other alternatives, and are there any
environmentally superior ones. And if someone has an
alternative that would keep doses well below 3 r, then you
would question whether the geologic disposal is the
preferred alternative at that stage.
DR. STEINDLER: I mean, Mike, not geologic
disposal, but Yucca Mountain.
MR. BELL: Well --
DR. STEINDLER: Some very special characteristics
of that site --
MR. BELL: Whether the recommended option is
DR. STEINDLER: Right.
MR. BELL: The correct one at that stage, but --
DR. STEINDLER: But, Mike, you know perfectly well
that the NEPA -- a NEPA analysis has extreme shortcomings as
being very narrowly focused. It doesn't address issues of
costs or social policy or all the other things that in fact
play some at the moment still reasonably important role in
the use of geologic disposal.
So what I guess I'm driving at is as long as the
issue has been raised, so what have the staff -- what kind
of activities have the staff looked at to either try and
make some recommendations to the Commission or at least
think about it internally, and I think John gave me the
answer. If I expected a crisp answer, the answer is yes,
I'm not going to get it. I just wanted to raise the issue.
MR. BELL: Well, we'll look forward to seeing your
comments on the proposed rule.
DR. STEINDLER: I'm not sure I'm going to give you
MR. GREEVES: Well, keep in mind, you know, that
this is going to be a question that plays out, and there
will be a bunch of people commenting on it, but what did the
Health Physics Society say about the impacts of 5 rem? I
mean, you can go back and look at that issue also. So
there's going to be a whole range of views on this topic.
DR. STEINDLER: Another issue there is I gather
you're going to talk about defense in depth someplace in
Part 63, and if so, have you found it either necessary or
desirable to define what you mean by that?
MR. GREEVES: How much time do you all give Marty?
Mike, I'm sorry. Mike, could you help me out on
MR. GREEVES: I'll withdraw the question if the
Chair so rules.
MR. BELL: This is Mike Bell again. In the
proposed rule there is a requirement that the repository be
the combination of natural and engineered barriers, but
there is no quantitative specification on how much either of
those should contribute. Rather, it's up to the Department
of Energy in the application to say how he's designed the
system and what the relative contribution of each component
of the system is, and then the NRC will review it.
DR. STEINDLER: And you then assume that the
licensing board -- assuming that the normal process is
followed -- the licensing board will take Part 63, read what
you have, and also not require any quantitative distinctions
among the various barriers. Is that your anticipation?
MR. BELL: Well, I mean, they would not have a
basis in the regulation to require anything like that
whether -- I really can't speak for what the Board --
DR. STEINDLER: I know that. I just wondered what
your anticipation was.
MR. GREEVES: But, Mike, there was no intention in
the regulation to require that, so I think Mike's answer was
he doesn't see a basis in the regulation.
DR. GARRICK: Of course, the underlying dilemma in
this whole issue is the matter that the better the
containment is, the worse the results are in terms of peak
dose, in that as you improve the containment of the waste
package, you push out in time further the occurrence of the
peak dose, and uncertainty seems to be a function of time.
So it grows also.
So it is a dilemma that was recognized by many,
and is one of the reasons why, when the ACNW wrote their
letter on time of compliance, they also recommended that
while there should be a time of compliance, there should
also be visibility, if you wish, on what the peak doses are
and when they occur. So it is going to have to be a part of
the evaluation process, I would think, one way or another.
One of the other -- I guess it was the National
Academy report that said that one of the other
justifications for doing a peak dose analysis was to give
one a sense of the robustness of the site against human
intrusion. So there's a whole list of issues here that,
when it comes to Atomic Safety and Licensing Boards, and
actual processing of this license application, we are going
to be on new turf, and it is going to be interesting to see
how it plays out.
MR. GREEVES: Yeah, there was some discussion of
this in the TRB meeting where DOE made presentations of some
of these alternatives between engineering and the natural
features, and we would like to get together with DOE and
show them what we have done in this area, some of the work
that Norm and Booty have worked on showing the variations
when you remove barriers. So that is a topic that needs
some additional time to address it, so -- and I know the
Committee is quite interested in that, and commented on the
reports that we put together. So we will be talking about
this in future meetings.
Let me move on. The -- just kind of a
completeness. One might ask, where is the EPA standard?
There is a provision in Part 63 that --
DR. GARRICK: You notice, we have stopped asking
MR. GREEVES: Well, it is on my list.
MR. GREEVES: You are familiar with the history on
it. As of my best information, it is not to OMB yet. The
system administrator, Robert Perciasepe, in the hearing a
week ago, testified that it would be forwarded to OMB soon,
so I am sure we will hear more about that.
At the same hearing, the Chairman testified, and,
actually, the full Commission was a panel, and they were
commenting on H.R. 1270 -- excuse me, this is -- the bill
that is H.R. 45 is very similar to 1270, which the House
passed last year.
The Commission testimony, generally, was
supportive of the approach in H.R. 45. It, you know, has
the basic elements of an integrated system for management
and disposal. The Commission agrees, with a 10,000 year
timeframe, it would be sufficient for demonstrating
isolation capability. The Commission agreed with a 100
millirem dose to the average member of the population,
consistent with the public health and safety limit.
However, the Commission believes that, to provide reasonable
assurance, that the 100 millirem limit should have within
the flexibility for an average member of the critical group
to receive 25 millirem, basically what you find in Part 63,
and that was pretty much played out in the hearing
So that is sort of the wrap-up on where the
regulation and the EPA standard sits for the moment.
The last thing I wanted to go over was kind of
some things that we are doing in the high level waste
program. I know the Committee is interested in how the
staff is working issues and what role the center has in
these processes. We did receive some of your questions
about, quote, research efforts. We are going to try and
weave answers to those in these presentations. What we
don't address, we will have to get back to you on.
And, also, last year's questions. It seems like I
answered those, but they just haven't quite gotten back to
you all yet, right. So I am not quite sure how that works,
but -- I don't know, something is in the mail.
In any event, back to --
DR. HORNBERGER: They got lost.
MR. GREEVES: Back to some changes we have made
recently. As, you know, your questions in the past have
asked, the program is evolving, and in order for us to try
and keep up with the direction DOE is moving in, we have
increased the emphasis in the engineering and design area.
I know the Committee is quite concerned with that. The
funding for the three key technical issues that address
engineering and design now represent about 26 percent of our
technical program, so we have moved our energy in that
We are also finding that there are things that
either we or the center just -- there is not enough of us to
go around, and we have come up with what we called augmented
work. The High Level Waste Board came up with 19 additional
tasks to help with the key technical issues, and we are
trying to work our way through that list, and getting some
outside experts to help us through the center. We have
approved 14 of these tasks. The total funding for that is a
little in excess of $600,000. Most -- five of these tasks
are directed towards the waste package and repository design
Virtually all of this work is being augmented by
consultants that the center has available to it. There's
more than 40 consultants and subcontractors regularly
engaged in work for the center and a number of these are
experts with international reputations. This was one of the
things you mentioned in last year's report. We are paying
attention to that comment and think that we are responsive
That is pretty much the issues that I put
together, in fact, the staff put together for me, and I
think worked out quite well for my perspectives.
Separately, you have submitted your Action Plan,
and we are looking at that, and I would like to sit down and
talk to you about a few of the items in there. I haven't
looked at it close enough to do that today. Maybe a
follow-up session with one or two of you would be in order,
and, obviously, we will respond also to the formal written
letter. But we do have some comments on your Action Plan, I
just don't think today is the time to address them.
So that is the end of my prepared remarks. I
would be happy to answer any other questions on those topics
or anything else.
DR. GARRICK: Excellent timing. Questions?
DR. STEINDLER: I get the sense that the NRC is --
let me choose the words carefully, chronically unhappy with
DOE's QA approach, and, presumably, it is focused to a
significant extent on the quality assurance attributes of
the evidentiary base used to fuel the models that are
currently being exercised. Is that reasonable -- reasonably
MR. GREEVES: I am not sure I would have used the
exact same words, but, yeah, DOE themselves --
DR. STEINDLER: Are you concerned about it?
MR. GREEVES: Oh, we are concerned about it.
DR. STEINDLER: It is a concern issue.
MR. GREEVES: You are going to hear about it in
our viability assessment comments that -- I think, Mike, you
are on tomorrow morning. You are going to hear more about
that tomorrow morning.
MR. BELL: Tomorrow afternoon.
MR. GREEVES: Okay. Tomorrow afternoon. QA is a
vital organ. You know, once you get into license
application, you have to have it right. Those of us sitting
around the table that lived through Marble Hills and some of
the other cases in reactor-land, you cannot afford to have
that problem. And, so, you are going to hear about it from
DR. STEINDLER: Okay. Well, if I am going to hear
about it, let me simply wait.
MR. GREEVES: And, also, DOE recognizes the
problem. Lake Barrett came in on February 8th and he
devoted a significant amount of his presentation to the
Commission on that topic, recognizing the problem,
recognizing the need to address it in a timely way.
I, in conjunction with the TRB meeting, had a
meeting with DOE on quality assurance, sat down with all the
key players, and went through the litany of the issues. And
my sense is it is headed for probably a meeting in April
where they have done their diagnostic, their root cause
analysis, and would be able to explain how they get to where
they need to be from where they are now. And my sense is it
really has to come together to fit in the site
recommendation process, because the Commission is going to
be commenting on the site recommendation, and the Commission
comments on that, they are going to want to know that the QA
program is supportive of whatever the data is saying.
And, Marty, yes, a lot of it does go to the
modeling approaches. And if you want, I could down and show
you some of the data that we have where things were not
where they need to be. It is pretty -- pretty clear. So,
hopefully, you will hear more about that. And, hopefully, I
have partially answered your question.
DR. STEINDLER: Well, let me just make a comment
for 30 seconds. It is reasonably clear that, following the
QA program that NRC has asked for, and DOE has, in its
wisdom, put together, does not assure you that the data that
you are using for your models is any good. And somewhere
along the line, the time schedule between now and the time a
licensing application has got to be assembled and laid in
front of the Commission, that time is now so short that it
seemed to me that it would be much more worthwhile to look
at the quality of the output than to focus heavily on those
details of the quality assurance program that is the mandate
That does not, obviously, result in an increased
chance that the data are going to be good, or good enough.
That is a comment more than anything else, and I will -- you
know, when you talk about it, or whoever is talking about, I
think it is Mike who is going to talk about it, let me talk
a little further on this thing.
MR. GREEVES: Are you suggesting we focus on the
output from the models and not look at the front end?
DR. STEINDLER: I am suggesting that those aspects
of the QA program that are both bureaucratic and
paper-shuffling do not contribute one bit to the quality of
the output, and, in fact, they mask quality criteria so
severely that you can't tell whether or not the data are any
good, just based on whether or not the QA program has been
followed religiously, and that is easily demonstrated.
DR. HORNBERGER: The distinction between quality
and quality assurance.
DR. STEINDLER: Yes.
MR. GREEVES: I understand that -- that comment.
MR. BELL: This is Mike Bell again. For more than
a year now, we have changed the way we are looking at the
DOE QA program to do what we call performance-based audits,
and we essentially don't pay any attention to the audits
that are just the paperwork, with all the "i's" dotted and
"t's" crossed and the right things in the files.
The audits that we pay attention to are the audits
of the technical work and the complaints or the chronic
problems that we have problems with are the fact that they
can't show that they calibrated their instruments. They
don't have traceability of the data they are using, where
they got it from. They don't have a documented basis for
the assumptions that the models are based on.
We don't think that these are just paperwork
issues. We think they are really fundamental to are the
models any good and are the outputs reliable? You know,
there is a very, very old expression in the computing
business -- "Garbage in, garbage out." We have got to be
enough interested in and knowledgeable of the data that goes
into the models to be able to make a judgment about the
quality of the output.
DR. STEINDLER: It sounds encouraging.
MR. BELL: That is where we are trying to focus.
DR. STEINDLER: Sounds encouraging, okay.
DR. GARRICK: Any other questions from the
DR. GARRICK: I think we are going to talk some
time tomorrow, John.
MR. GREEVES: It's on my schedule, yes.
DR. GARRICK: Yes, so we have got some other
things we can bring up at that time.
All right, then I thank you. It was a very
interesting report, and we are especially interested in the
progress of 10 CFR 63. We think that is a very important
piece of work that is going on. We are anxious to hear what
the response is as a result of your public outreach
meetings, which we had a glimpse into when we were out
there, so we will be following that very closely.
Thank you very much.
I think we will now adjourn until 12:30.
[Whereupon, at 11:35 a.m., the hearing was
recessed, to reconvene at 12:30 p.m., this same day.]
A F T E R N O O N S E S S I O N
DR. GARRICK: Our meeting should come to order.
We are now going to turn our attention to waste-related
research activities in the NRC, which is very important to
us because we have to contribute to a report to the
Commission on this subject and we are, I am told, on a very
short time schedule.
The committee member that has had the lead in this
activity is George Hornberger. I'll let him lead the
DR. HORNBERGER: And I am going to just turn it
over to you, Bill, to start.
MR. OTT: All right. Thank you, George. I am
going to start with this package that doesn't have any logo
on the front and which says General Topics of Interest,
because there are some things going on in the Agency --
well, in the Office of Research that I thought you might
find of interest, so without spending a lot more time than
that discussing it, we are reorganizing. You have probably
heard that that is happening. It is going to happen right
around the end of March. When that happens the current
Waste Management Branch and the Radiation Protection and
Health Effects Branch will merge. They will become a single
branch with Cheryl Trottier as the Branch Chief.
The new title of the branch will be, "Radiation
Protection, Environmental Risk, and Waste Management."
DR. GARRICK: There are fewer branches with longer
MR. OTT: Precisely. The new Division Director --
we will be in a new division. In addition to merging us,
they are going to move us into another part of the
organization and the new division will be called Risk
Analysis and Application Division" and the Director will be
Tom King -- Tom is over here on the right-hand side.
This will be one of his first glimpses of probably
our entire program. So much for the reorganization.
The second thing that you may have heard rumblings
about is self-assessment. Self-assessment is being actively
pursued by the major Offices in the Commission. NRR has
taken the lead. Research is following fairly vigorously and
NMSS has begun work in self-assessment themselves.
The self-assessment is led at first by an
executive team, which is our Division Directors and above,
so it is the three current Division Directors and the Office
Director and the Deputy Office Director and their two
Assistants and they are being assisted by Arthur Andersen.
Arthur Andersen essentially assisted NRR in its
self-assessment and there was significant -- it was received
favorably by the Administration and so we have involved
Arthur Andersen in ours as well.
This self-assessment will establish goals and
objectives of the Office by establishing statements that
characterize a successful research program for the agency
and the factors important to that success. This rather long
statement essentially says the executive team has defined
success statements for the Office. For each success
statement, they are defining success factors -- what do we
have to do to achieve success for the Office? So you can
see that this approach is starting from the very objectives
of the Office. It's a very fundamental approach.
Eventually the self-assessment process is going to
prioritize issues and activities for the Office.
DR. HORNBERGER: How does this tie in with the
MR. OTT: It is unrelated.
DR. HORNBERGER: So the reorganization, you are
going to take RES and just call it by a different name?
MR. OTT: No. RES is still going to be called
DR. HORNBERGER: Okay.
MR. OTT: Okay -- but the divisions and branches
within RES are being reorganized to meet management-to-staff
ratios imposed by agencies external to the agency.
DR. HORNBERGER: Got you.
MR. OTT: Okay.
DR. HORNBERGER: I am with you now.
MR. OTT: John was exactly right in terms of
putting them together and making them larger -- essentially
to change the ratio of management to staff.
A topic dear to your heart is prioritization and
prioritization is being addressed at the Office level. This
makes it fairly difficult when you consider how broad the
programs of the Office are as well as our own programs and
they all have to be put into the same bucket and compete for
the same pile of resources which is given to the Office.
As a part of self-assessment there was a separate
team established even prior to self-assessment which was put
together back in August and took output from a retreat of
all the SES managers in the Office, which tried to come up
with goals and objectives for the Office, and then this
prioritization team was established to try and develop a
structure that could use these goals to prioritize
activities in the Office of Research.
The prioritization team examined processes
employed by six other Federal agencies. We met with FAA.
We met with NIST. We met with USGS. We reviewed
documentation from NIH, from DOE and from EPA.
The one thing that strikes you when you look at
these processes, no matter how much people try to put into
them quantitatively they are substantially based on expert
judgment. Professional experience and expert judgment --
it's almost impossible to eliminate that from the process.
Various groups had tried different ways of
quantifying prioritization processes. The only one that was
really successful that was doing it from the top and trying
to prioritize dissimilar activities and using criteria which
weren't necessarily all quantifiable -- some are extremely
judgmental -- was NIST, and that was a fortuitous
circumstance because the people at NIST happen to be
involved with their economic research operation where there
were some people that were very familiar with prioritization
What they did was they applied AHP -- same process
our Office tried to apply probably several times in the
past, most recently about a year ago -- and got fairly
The difference is that I think NIST did a rigorous
and very convincing application of the Analytical Hierarchy
There are other things that have evolved -- well,
NIST was the only one that had done this successfully. FAA
is now looking at using the Analytical Hierarchy Process.
My understanding is that several other Federal agencies are
also doing it now, because everybody is experiencing the
same kind of pressure to do quantification in some kind of a
systematic prioritization effort.
RES has tentatively decided that they will employ
AHP and prioritization of research in the Office -- i.e.,
they are going to try and use it to come up with a 1 to end
ranking of all research activities. I say it is tentative
because we haven't done it yet and it's not complete.
DR. GARRICK: Bill, when they say quantitative,
what do they mean?
MR. OTT: In terms of AHP?
DR. GARRICK: Yes.
MR. OTT: Well essentially they mean that in the
final analysis they are going to use ratio-scaled variables.
If you look at decision theory there are ways of rating and
ranking things. A lot of these ways of rating and ranking
things don't allow you to do an arithmetic manipulation of
the results, so a lot of times when you see prioritization
processes, people have done things which are not allowed
mathematically because they haven't properly established the
We are going to attempt to use AHP in the correct
fashion, which allows us in the final rating stage to use
ratio scales variables which will allow quantification of
different types of objectives and sub-objectives and compare
it and add it to give a one to end ranking -- so there will
be an attempt to quantify at the lowest level and translate
that into a score for each project.
I am certain that later on both ACRS and ACNW will
receive a detailed briefing on what the end-result of
self-assessment and the 1 to end ranking process is. Right
now I don't want to go into any more detail, but that is
where we are right now.
DR. GARRICK: It's really more of an analytical
process than necessarily quantitative. To an old risk
analyst, quantitative is almost synonymous with
MR. OTT: Exactly. It's what the social sciences
have done to try and quantify things which are normally not
quantifiable or additive.
DR. GARRICK: Yes.
MR. OTT: But there is a fairly large body of
knowledge out in support of "the proper use of AHP."
We have tentatively decided to go -- use
commercially available software called Expert Choice, which
was developed by Dr. Saady at I believe the University of
Pennsylvania, who is one of the originators of AHP.
There's Dr. Foreman downtown, at George Washington
University, I believe it is, who is the co-developer of the
software package with Dr. Saadi. We were getting ready to
place a consulting contract with them for support during the
application process, so if the tentative decision is
confirmed and we go with that, we will also be bringing in,
to say ACRS or ACNW people extremely expert in the theory
and practice of the rating process.
DR. GARRICK: Okay.
MR. OTT: So much for matters and topics of
general information. I thought you might appreciate having
some update on sort of some of the general things that are
driving us today.
We have -- I'm going to apologize for one thing.
Apparently when you asked us to come down, you were looking
at our operating plans and saw a whole bunch of topics and
said come up and talk to us about those. One of those, dry
cask storage, isn't in our division, and I don't think Sher
made any -- excuse me?
MS. THOMAS: Is that still under Sher's budget?
MR. OTT: Sher -- it's under Sher's name in the
budget, but the actual work is being done in Annie Murphy's
branch upstairs, and I don't think Sher, before he got sick
and left, contacted Annie Murphy, and I didn't have time.
So we are not going to talk about dry cask storage today.
I am going to talk to you about two programs, and
the approach is going to be slightly different for the two
programs. We did a fairly major debrief or briefing of you
last year on the waste management program, and we are just
going to give you an update. I am going to go through
basically the same structure that we used then and say this
is what we have done over the last year or the significant
accomplishments in each of those areas. It's just going to
be an update. I did not bring the one-page summaries with
me. We have done a first cut at updating them, but they
need to be edited and we will try and get those down to your
staff within a week or so, okay, so that will give you a
detailed statement, but there won't be a whole lot more
information there than I present today.
The second piece is for Cheryl's program in the
Radiation Protection and Health Effects Branch, and what I
have done there is I have separated out four programs which
are -- I think will be of significant interest to you, and
we are going to try and go through the contract support, the
objectives, and the status of these procurements to support
those activities in Cheryl's branch.
I guess I will start with Cheryl's branch because
I'm not certain how much you have seen of that before. This
is the one that's entitled Radiation Protection and Health
Effects Program. That's this one. Okay. They both look
the same because it's the same slide with different words on
The first program I am going to talk about a
little bit, and I don't know if Shlomo came in or not -- I
don't see him. Okay. This is a program with the University
of Pittsburgh. The principal investigators are listed
there. It's also jointly with the Russian Biophysics
Institute of the Russian Federation.
The objective of the project is to test and
improve deterministic health effects models by using some of
the data from rather extensive exposures to workers at some
of the production facilities in the former Soviet Union over
a good number of years.
Essentially what we are looking at is data bases
from the Mayak Production Association; production
association because it was involved in reactors and the
production of plutonium. Are you looking at the footnote?
There are three major facilities involved; the
reactors that are producing the plutonium, a chemical
facility which essentially separated the plutonium out, and
then a third facility which used the plutonium for various
There is extensive data, apparently aerosol
exposures from people in the chemical facility, doing the
chemical separation of plutonium from fuel elements. There
is also potential major exposures from people in the
production facility, the reactors. The data is -- how would
I say this? There are problems with the consistency of the
collection of the data with the consistency -- with the way
data would be collected in this country in terms of how they
actually measured doses, how they calculate doses, and so
there are a lot of things that have to be resolved in the
actual use of this data, and there are some questions as to
whether in the final analysis it will be usable. That is
going to be assessed in the course of the project.
The general scope is to analyze the data bases for
the worker population, examine the evidence in the data
bases for deterministic health effects, acute and chronic,
long term exposure to internal and external radiation, and
the intent is to validate or modify the existing morbidity
and mortality models such as those presented in NUREG 4214.
The project manager is Shlomo Yaniv. He's not
here today. I expect that at some time later you will
probably get a more direct and complete briefing on the
content of the project.
The status for the project. There is a data
access agreement that had to be negotiated with the Russian
Federation, and there are two different entities in the
Russian Federation that have to agree. There's the
administrative control of the Mayak Production Association,
and there's the Biophysics Institute, and there has been
some difficulty in getting both of them to agree that there
will be access, and the final agreement has been signed by
the Russians and is in transport between various points in
the U.S. to get University of Pittsburgh signatures and
DR. HORNBERGER: Am I correct in interpreting that
they just had to buy it from two people, buy the data from
MR. OTT: Both, yeah. Essentially the Biophysics
Institute is very interested in working with the data, and
the Mayak Production Facility views it as a resource. They
are reluctant to give up title to the resource, so there are
problems with getting agreement for the final release of all
the data that's necessary. Sometimes there are parts of the
data, not all of the data, but you can't do anything unless
you get all of the data.
DR. GARRICK: Bill, we heard this morning how
difficult it is to accept information and results of field
work and research work in the absence of a quality assurance
MR. OTT: Yes.
DR. GARRICK: Sounds like this is even one level
worse than that.
MR. OTT: There is a potential for that.
DR. GARRICK: Now how does this result in being
used in fact to improve the health effects models given this
skepticism of the quality of the data?
MR. OTT: Well, it's highly dependent on what
happens. Right now we don't have a guarantee of success.
If you had to look at this project and compare it to other
projects and rate it by likelihood of success, I would say
that there is considerable question whether this would get a
high rating or fairly low rating. But it is unique in the
amount of exposure.
DR. GARRICK: Yes. You certainly can't ignore it.
MR. OTT: Okay. So there is tremendous potential.
The only question is whether we can realize the potential,
and essentially we are taking a gamble at this particular
MR. LARSON: How long is the project, Bill? And,
you know, what is the dollar value of it?
MR. OTT: I think it's presently planned for two
years. It was budgeted this year at around 300,000.
Because of constraints in the way we budget things, it's
probably only going to get about 150. What the actual total
dollar value is, I'm not sure. That may still be
negotiable. We are still waiting on the second year
proposal from the University of Pittsburgh. That hasn't
come in yet.
MR. LARSON: Suppose you found somehow, you know,
that the data was really good and you are going to modify
the NUREG. Now is that going to be a basis for changing
Part 20, or do you feed that into NCRP, or -- you know, how
long is it before the results of this would be of benefit to
anybody, assuming that the input is any good?
MR. OTT: How long?
MR. LARSON: Yeah. I mean what's the process?
MR. OTT: I couldn't tell you. Ask me the same
question next year; I might have a better answer for you.
MR. LARSON: We might write the report this year.
DR. GARRICK: Yes, we will.
MR. OTT: Actually, the next time you ask that
question, I'll probably have Cheryl sitting here instead of
me, and so she could probably answer it right away. I have
been acting for Cheryl for about the last month while she
has been at FEI, so I've got a reasonable familiarity with
much of this stuff, but you get into deep questions like
that in terms of plan and how much, I'm not going to be able
to satisfy your answers.
DR. GARRICK: I guess kind of in anticipation of
the research report and the issue that you introduced in
your earlier presentation having to do with prioritization,
did this program result from any kind of systematic process,
such as a prioritization program for deciding what research
would result in the greatest benefit?
MR. OTT: I think this research program resulted
from an opportunity being presented to take advantage of a
data base which we formerly didn't have access to.
DR. GARRICK: Okay. So there's nothing wrong with
that. We certainly want to position ourselves to be
opportunistic, but I was just curious if this --
MR. OTT: I have no idea also whether this is
under the umbrella of any of the IP initiatives or State
Department initiatives. Certainly they would be trying to
expedite projects like this which have some potential for
assisting the former Soviet Union. So there are political
aspects to it that are probably involved as well. I
couldn't say for sure.
DR. STEINDLER: Do you have anything else of this
kind in the mill for the area surrounding Chernobyl?
MR. OTT: Not like this; not at the moment, I
I will turn to the subject now. I understand that
you're scheduled in March, get a briefing on the development
of the Clearance Rule. This is a portion of that process.
Essentially we've been asked to develop the technical bases
to support for clearance of materials and equipment. The
contract is being put out for bid this month or next month.
So all projections or dates with regard to when anything is
going to come in is going to be subject to the procurement
process and negotiation with the contractor.
There is going to be a tendency to hold very
tightly to schedules because it's tied into the Clearance
Rule schedule. The objective is to provide a technical
basis for both individual and collective dose assessments
and the respective costs of potential alternatives for the
clearance of materials and equipment. That's essentially
allowing their recycle or reuse without any further
reduction in content of radioactive material. Sufficient
quantity -- quality, defensibility, and quantity support in
NRC clearance rulemaking. Soles are excluded from this
contract at the present time.
Is Bob here? Ah, you are there. Okay. You'll
correct me if I say anything dumb, right?
MR. MECK: Yes.
MR. OTT: The project manager for this project is
here. Shlomo wasn't here on the previous one.
DR. HORNBERGER: Bill, just a quick question.
John Greeves was here this morning and mentioned something
about a technical basis document for clearance to be
published in March.
MR. OTT: There is a report that Bob is working
on. Is that going to come out in March?
MR. MECK: I think that it will be on the street
For the record, my name is Robert Meck, and I'm
project manager on this report that you're referring to. It
will be published as a draft NUREG-1640. It's currently in
the final stages of getting down to publication. I think
it'll have a February date on it and be available physically
in March of this year. And in that it evaluates 79
scenarios for the 85 radionuclides that are most commonly
expected to be in materials that would be potentially
eligible for clearance, and the materials that are analyzed
in that report are ferrous metals, copper, aluminum, and
concrete. The report is limited to scenarios for
individuals and does not include collective doses, and the
contract that Bill is talking about now is the follow-on
contract to that report.
DR. HORNBERGER: Thank you.
MR. OTT: So there are three major parts of the
contract, essentially inventorying the kinds and amounts of
scrap and equipment that can be cleared, and at the same
time assessing the amounts of radioactivity associated with
the potentially cleared materials, evaluating the collective
doses for the various scenarios, whether we clear to this
level or clear to that level, if we have to send it to
disposal, if we send it for cleanup. So there are a number
of different scenarios that have to be considered, and then
they have to estimate the costs associated with both the
occupational and public health impacts and the relevant
financial considerations for the different alternative
The status as I said is we've just put the
contract out for proposal. This whole rulemaking is being
overseen by a steering group and a working group, and the
SOW's -- this is not the only SOW involved. There's also an
SOW for -- I'm not going to go into that. There are other
contracts involved in this process which will be covered
when you have your detailed briefing in March, I'm fairly
The products are going to -- there are going to be
a large number of letter reports. Letter reports and NUREG
reports are going to be coordinated with the publication of
the GEIS for the clearance rule to make certain that
everything comes out in a reasonably consistent time frame
and comments can be received and incorporated in a rational
and organized manner.
That's all for clearance.
This is an update on a contract --
DR. STEINDLER: Before you leave that, is the
rationale for this whole exercise basically to back into the
de minimus question?
MR. OTT: Can I take the fifth?
DR. STEINDLER: Yes.
MR. OTT: I'll let Bob answer that question.
MR. MECK: In Bill's defense, he is really new to
this, and I've been in it for about six years, so I'll try
to field some questions for him.
The concept of clearance on the international
level, the foundation of it is basically the adoption of the
internationally accepted trivial dose for individuals and
collective dose. And that's seen in IAEA safety series 89.
And so that's the underlying principle that clearance is
looking at. And so given a trivial dose then that's widely
accepted and internationally, then that's the basis and the
rationale for no further controls from the radiological
properties -- of the radiological properties. Clearance
does not speak to hazardous chemical properties or other
kinds of properties.
MR. LARSON: Wasn't the SRM, though, the
initiating thing -- wasn't there a Commission SRM that all
the staff were given the schedule?
MR. MECK: That's correct. That's correct. The
history of it as far as I got into it was somewhat after the
de minimus idea, but it was in the below regulatory concern
arena. At that time the Commission told us to, you know,
wanted us to make some rules covering amongst other things
license termination and what's called clearance now, and we
informed the Commission that we did not have the staff
resources to tackle both at once. And so after the license
termination rule was completed we had a plan to go ahead
with clearance, and with the completion of the license
termination rule, we sent up a Commission paper -- it was
98-028 -- and subsequent to that, the Commission gave us an
SRM of June 30 of last year and told us to proceed.
DR. GARRICK: If it's based on the adoption of the
international trivial dose, why wouldn't we just adopt that?
MR. MECK: The Commission has not established the
dose, and they've made it very clear to us that that's their
prerogative, and we understand that. What I said was that
the concepts arising out of the IAEA and also the European
Community is the acceptance of that internationally
agreed-upon trivial dose level. But the Commission has yet
to establish that, and we've been very careful not to
prejudice their choice.
And so the NUREG that I was talking about earlier,
the 1640, is actually normalized. And so you could fit any
dose into that. You get how many micro sieverts per year.
You get from this many becquerels per gram of scrap, foe
example. And so those are the kinds of dose factors that
you should expect to see in NUREG-1640. But it's the
Commission's prerogative to establish that.
DR. GARRICK: Thank you.
MR. OTT: Radiological criteria for
decommissioning. This is a project that's ending. It was
to develop a technical basis supporting a dose model to
calculate dose to the average member of the critical group.
Essentially this produced D and D, the model
that's used for clearance -- version 1 of D and D, to
clarify that. And the contract is ending, and the next page
is the one that's really of interest, because there are a
number of products that were supposed to come out of this
project, and they are listed here in terms of when they're
going to be available.
You know this 5512, volume 2, is due in March of
'99. The description of parameter distributions is due in
March of '99. There's a comparison of D and D and RESRAD
due in March of '99. So there are three major reports,
three volumes of NUREG-5512, that are due next month.
D and D version 1 was published and available in August of
'98. So last year in August D and D actually became
available. All those documentations are becoming available
There is a new phase going into D and D. I
believe you were made aware of this previously, you
commented on your last letter and said you recommended -- or
you were in concert with our intention to put a Monte Carlo
around D and D and make it more site-specific, make access
to the parameter distributions so that you could do
site-specific calculations. That is what is being done in
this particular version.
Again, this project has just started. We have --
well, it hasn't started yet. We have sent the appropriate
contracting work out to Sandia and we are waiting for their
response back, but it should be starting, you know, within
weeks in terms of the actual work getting done. It will
also be at Sandia.
This one will produce Version 2 of D and D. It
will support probabilistic calculations. There will be
online access to all predefined parameter distributions.
The distributions can be modified or replaced based on
site-specific information, and we feel this will provide a
tool for moving from the very gross screening that is
capable -- that is possible with D and D, to something which
is more representative of the parameters that are
appropriate for a specific site. The models remain the
same, it is only the parameters that are being given any
more site-specific basis in this new version. Okay.
The next page gives you a list of the products
that are going to come out of this. We anticipate the beta
testing version of D and D this fall, in September. We
anticipate a public version in December of this year. We
expect to finalize the software documentation in July of
2000, and a final NUREG on all aspects of the project in
September of 2000.
Chris is here in the back if anybody has any
specific questions about any parts of this project. But,
basically, this is implementation of what was discussed with
the ACNW before.
Is Tim here, Tim Mo? Yes. Okay.
As a result of the process, the direction setting
issues process, there was an evaluation of work in other
offices that should come to research and work in research
that should go to other offices. As a result of that, this
project came to us from NMSS. They were doing an effort
which is looking at RESRAD, which is what has been touted as
the DOE equivalent, or the DOE superior version of D and D.
It has its own particular problems and NMSS was planning to
put out a contract to essentially bring RESRAD into a
situation where everything -- where RESRAD could do what
needed to be done for NRC licensing decisions, and it would
also be more comparable to D and D, the final version, when
that comes out.
This is the project that is going to be modifying
RESRAd. It is being placed with Argonne, which is the
developer of RESRAD and the laboratory that maintains
RESRAD. The objective is to modify and revise RESRAD and
RESRAD-Build for eventual NRC licensee staff use -- NRC and
licensee staff use, okay. I don't think there is a lot more
They are going to start out with a parameter
analysis of RESRAD, identify the appropriate parameters in
RESRAD and RESRAD-Build codes and define distributions for
those parameters. They are going to use the methodology
developed by Sandia for the D and D code to calculate
default parameters. Then they are going to revise RESRAD
and RESRAD-Build to have the capabilities to perform
site-specific probabilistic dose assessments. So, from our
perspective, this will be a much more licensing oriented
code when this development is completed. We are currently
awaiting Argonne's response to our contract proposal.
DR. FAIRHURST: Can you explain that -- I'm sorry,
DR. STEINDLER: Well, I was going to go back to
that D and D. You indicated that the framework in that
D and D is not going to get revisited, you know, the
fundamental model, but rather that the --
MR. OTT: We are not going to change the models in
D and D.
DR. STEINDLER: In 1997, this group heard a
discussion on that, and the conclusion from that seems to
have been that that model was completely untested, and as
far as I know, it remains untested. So, my question is, why
do you go with an untested model that produced Version 2?
MR. OTT: In terms of untested, are you talked
about D and D as a collection?
DR. STEINDLER: Yes, the code. As a code.
MR. OTT: Okay. So you are not talking about the
component health effects models or the groundwater model.
DR. STEINDLER: Right. Right.
MR. OTT: It has been beta tested. Do you want to
offer a response to this one, Chris? You have more
experience with the background on D and D than I do. This
is Chris Daily from the --
MS. DAILY: This is Chris Daily. It has not been
tested to the same extent as some other codes. All of the
components have been tested and were actually taken from
standard calculational approaches. It was designed -- the
pathways are all calculated with standardized approaches.
So there is nothing terribly unusual or new in the way that
the code itself is constructed. But as part of this testing
period, we are testing it at real sites now and trying to
get funding to do more extensive testing of the code.
DR. FAIRHURST: Could you --
MR. OTT: You will also note that Volume 3, or
Volume 4, is a detailed comparison of RESRAD and D and D.
MS. DAILY: It is Volume 4.
MR. OTT: And a very extensive comparison of the
one model to the other model. So there is a lot of that
going on as well.
DR. STEINDLER: That is not the focus, at least
that wasn't the focus at the time. You are talking about D
and D versus PRA, or PRA applied to D and D, and the focus
at the time was, where is the test to reality, and comparing
two models doesn't do that. And that was my reference, but,
MR. OTT: Yeah. I don't want to go too far out on
a limb, but there is some question as to how close to
reality you are trying to get with D and D. It is, after
all, a screening model. It is supposed to be something that
allows you to dismiss the trivial. And from that point of
view, you know, a departure from reality, as long as that
departure is predictable in its direction is, I guess,
warranted -- or desired.
DR. FAIRHURST: Do we now have sort of a situation
where RESRAD and D and D are sort of competing for prime
time, or what is it?
MR. OTT: This is -- it is actually an apropos
question, because if you look at it, you wonder what we have
when we are done with both of these codes. RESRAD was
developed by DOE for a different purpose. DOE has its own
regulatory structure for evaluating the performance of its
laboratories, it is not necessarily the same as what we use
for -- in our decommissioning rule. The kinds of things
that we calculate, the basis for the calculation,
evaluations are not necessarily the same.
So, RESRAD is not designed to do NRC's job. It
would have to be -- it has to be modified, which is what is
being done here, to make the kind of calculations to make it
useful for a DOE licensee.
In terms of D and D, it is designed specifically
around NRC's regulation. Okay. So we have got a code here
that is designed to do the job. It was designed as a very
-- as a fairly coarse screening tool. There is a desire
that it be made more useful by making it site-specific,
i.e., can we reduce some of the conservatism by going from
parameters which are intended to be conservative nationally
to parameters that are conservative on a site-specific or on
a regional basis?
So, there were different purposes in developing
these two. If you look at the way they are going, in the
end you may have two products that are very, very similar.
There is a question over -- on RESRAD, it is a DOE code,
although we make some modifications to it and produce it, we
still don't have the right -- we would still not be
responsible for maintaining it. We still don't have actual
control over further development or modification to the
And there has been some desire, that if we are
going to have a code to support our licensing office, we
ought to have at least control of its development and
modification, the quality.
DR. FAIRHURST: So, what are you going to do?
MR. OTT: Well, right now we are pursuing these
two tracks to at least have a comparison of these two codes
at the end of that period, and at the end of that period, we
are going to make a decision whether we stay with D and D or
whether we go to RESRAD, or whether we do something else.
MR. LARSON: Are there criteria, Bill, for
acceptance or rejection when you finish going down this
parallel path and these --
MR. OTT: No. It will --
MR. LARSON: I know it is the subject of these
workshops that have been going on. But there is no criteria
for acceptance as to, well, this is the one the industry
should use or not?
MR. OTT: Well, I would expect that both of these
codes are going to be able to do the same thing at the end
of this period.
MS. DEERING: So how can you choose one over the
other? Or why would you?
MR. OTT: I am not going to do that. I would --
MS. DEERING: They are the same.
MR. OTT: There is going to be a financial
decision that has to be made. Do we try and maintain one
code, or do we rely on another code that is going to be
maintained by DOE? And I --
DR. HORNBERGER: I don't understand why the code
would have to be maintained by DOE. I mean Argonne surely
isn't just going to give you an executable. They will give
you source code if you want it.
MR. OTT: They haven't so far.
DR. HORNBERGER: You are going to pay them to do
this job, and you are not going to get the source code?
MR. OTT: I would hope that we will get the source
DR. HORNBERGER: That's amazing.
MR. OTT: But that is something that is under
negotiation. It is something that hasn't been resolved yet.
There are different parts of DOE which are -- how do I put
this? The degree of cooperation you get from different
people varies from one point -- one part of the country to
the other, and it also happens with regard to laboratories.
I mean --
DR. HORNBERGER: But we know there are no
difficult people ever associated with Argonne.
DR. GARRICK: I was going to say that, but --
MR. OTT: Nor with Advisory Committees. Again,
the RESRAD contract came to us from NMSS as part of this
DR. HORNBERGER: I know.
MR. OTT: The program we were following was to
revise and correct D and D. NMSS, because there are so many
people out there using RESRAD, wanted a version of RESRAD
which essentially does the kind of calculations that our
licensing staff need. So that is why NMSS wanted to do a
revision to RESRAD.
Let me look at -- put up the slide on the
products. They are going through a parameter analysis.
They are going to have a publication. There is a long list
of deliverables in this contract. I just pulled three that
I think are supposed to be NUREG CRs out. The revised
RESRAD-Build and RESRAD software will be available in August
of 2000, and the final NUREG on the project will be
available in October of 2000. Financially, this project is
actually running -- is slightly more costly than the D and D
DR. GARRICK: Bill, all these projects that you
have described seem to be addressing either methods, that is
to say, computer codes or information or databases.
MR. OTT: Yeah.
DR. GARRICK: Does that mean we don't have any
more questions about biological uptake phenomena, health
MR. OTT: No, it doesn't mean that at all.
DR. GARRICK: Isn't that where there is the
greatest need for research in this area? And is the NRC not
interested in that, or are there other programs that they
are engaged in where that is being addressed? Because some
of those --
MR. OTT: I hate to say I am glad you asked that
question, but I am glad you asked that question. As part of
self-assessment, the large thing that is being undertaken by
the office, there are groups which are identifying issues
which fall under the category of areas where there are
uncertainties that would be appropriate for the office to
continue to do research. One of the areas that I know has
been identified is this issue of, say, soil plant uptake
There is a separate group that is addressing
materials issues. I don't know all of them, I am not on the
group. All I know is that we specifically contacted
somebody on the group and said, let's make sure at least
that one gets considered. But there are probably others on
the list. I can't tell you right now what the totality of
the list is, nor can I tell you right now how the office's
prioritization scheme is going to rank those issues. I wish
I could, but I can't.
But, yes, we are aware that there is a problem
there. We would like to do some work in the area. We have
brought it to the attention of the issues identification
group that is working in the materials area. Where that
eventually winds up being prioritized is something I can't
-- it is premature to discuss it right now.
DR. GARRICK: Is possibly one of the problems that
in the reactor side of the business, they don't really
emphasize any longer the risk of health effects, that they
use surrogates of such risks, such as the frequency of large
early releases and other source term descriptors and, of
course, core damage frequency, et cetera? Is that maybe a
reason why the agency is not really pushing better health
effects models, which haven't basically been changed in
forever? And I suspect a lot of the uncertainty in the
analyses, in the dose calculations are rooted in those kinds
of fundamental issues.
MR. OTT: I don't think that that is the problem.
I don't think there is a problem from the reactor side. I
think what you are seeing is inertia from, say, the early
days, people worked on it, and they thought at one time,
say, in the early '80s, that they had what they needed, and
only now are we coming back and revisiting and looking at
the data and saying, well, I think -- we think that we can
do better now. And so I think you are looking at the
initiation of a new phase in concern and consideration, at
least, for this kind of issue.
I don't know if there is anybody out there that
would like to say more. I probably can't because I am too
new at this particular aspect of the job. I do know that we
are specifically trying to get into those kinds of things
Hopefully, that isn't the view -- we aren't being
hampered by a reactor bias in that direction, and,
hopefully, if there is a reactor bias in that area, it won't
affect the actual prioritization process.
Okay. Let's go on to the other package. That was
my filling in for Cheryl task for the radiation effects and
DR. WYMER: Let me ask one question before we do.
I want to return to this RESRAD versus D and D for a minute.
I attended a meeting in January where industry
representatives were present, and the question of what do we
use, RESRAD or D and D, came up. And the industry people
were saying, basically, we are familiar with RESRAD, we have
got people trained in its use, we understand it, we want to
And the answer that I think came back, at least
from -- on the spot, was, without going back and consulting
with anybody, was, sure, go ahead and use it and it will be
okay. Now, if you want to use that, okay. And that is not
the same as saying we are going to make a decision someplace
down the line. Which one are you going to use? So that
results in a question, to my mind, first, is that right?
And, second, are there any criteria, or any guidelines that
will be prepared that will tell you which of those two you
MR. OTT: I think these are questions that are
probably better asked a little down the line. I don't think
someone is going to -- if we evaluate, if we do development
work on RESRAD and D and D and come out with two codes that
essentially make the same dose predictions within, you know,
a few percentage points, or, you know, a factor of 20
percent or something like that, I don't think anybody is
going to say either one of them is better or worse than the
If there is a consistent over-prediction by one in
a situation where we know the result, if there is a
demonstrable advantage to one, then I can see somebody
making that kind of conclusion. I think the conclusion you
are going to wind up having is going to be based on where
the Commission feels that it is more efficient for it to
place its resources in terms of maintaining support for the
regulatory structure. If they feel that it is better for
them to maintain D and D, make certain that if new platforms
come out, the code is modified so it runs on those
platforms, and that kind of thing, as opposed to depending
on RESRAD, or depending on the goodwill of DOE and the
modification of RESRAD to do things like that.
I think it is a question -- it is something that
going to be -- a question that is going to be answered down
the line, not right now. And I don't -- I can't say right
now what all the criteria will be employed.
MR. LARSON: I think one thing we will be
interested in, Dr. Wymer, is maybe next month when we hear
the SRP presentation, whether there is an intention in there
for the staff to say that, you know, for reviewing,
decommissioning, you should use one code or the other.
DR. WYMER: Of course, that is not what we heard
MR. LARSON: No, no, I know. But I mean we are
supposed to have a presentation next month on the SRP, so
maybe we will get some sense and proceed.
MR. OTT: Do you want to make a contribution,
MR. EISENBERG: Yeah. This is Norman Eisenberg
from NMSS. One thing that has been a constant in the
regulatory environment is that the licensees can always use
whatever tools they want to use to prove their point, and
the staff will evaluate it. However, we always say, if you
use a way that is not our standard way, this is what we say
in all the Reg. Guides, it will take us longer.
DR. WYMER: I see.
MR. EISENBERG: So, I think it is not possible,
certainly, it is not traditional for the staff to come out
and say you have to use this particular code. Now, in some
cases, we can greatly accelerate things by agreeing either
unilaterally or with industry participation on a particular
approach. Some of the thermal-hydraulic codes, that is the
approach that was taken. So that is the kind of thing we
are looking forward to doing.
But I don't think we will ever say you have to use
one or the other. A licensee is always free to choose
whatever method of analysis they want to to demonstrate
compliance with the regulation.
DR. WYMER: Okay. Well, that's what I thought I
heard at the meeting.
MR. OTT: I mean the decision that has to be made
is, you know, essentially what we will maintain and do for
We are now into the other branch. First, this
stuff is just -- you have seen all this before and it merely
speaks to how we organize the program. And I have divided
all this stuff up into the same piles that we divided it up
into before, engineered barriers, source term, transport,
infiltration and flow, and performance assessment. And I
will just throw up a little diagram for each one of them and
show you which part of the pile we are in.
This one says we are in Engineered Barriers. In
Engineered Barriers we have a very small program. One part
of it is essentially ending. That is the work that was out
at Beltsville on covers. ers.
We ran this program for a number of years on
demonstrations of covers. The program has been relatively
successful. There is now a demonstration cover at West
Valley, full-scale, full-scaled cover. When you look at a
picture of West Valley you see this green line down the area
that they've got all this waste disposed of, and that is the
single trench that's got the junipers and the engineered
cover on it.
We maintained it for a little while with the
Agricultural Research Service out at Beltsville. We have
now stopped funding even that amount so there will be no
more data collected after this year. This is the last year
of data collection. It's too bad. It would have been nice
to have long-term data on the covers, but we did demonstrate
the relative performance of them and the feasibility of the
DR. STEINDLER: How much money did you save by
closing it up in April rather than letting it go for another
MR. OTT: We have been maintaining it for about
$20,000 a year.
It has been a low maintenance activity but it has
been a high visibility activity from the point of view of
the Licensing Office. They are no longer doing low level
waste. They are no longer supporting any low level waste
research in terms of supporting our program -- low level
waste research -- so the project always draws a lot of
attention and a lot of criticism. Because of that reason
it's essentially being terminated.
We also lost one of the trenches, one of the more
interesting trenches, which was the capillary break cover.
When we went to a low maintenance phase with the
Agricultural Research Service, they went from six trenches
down to four or three -- I forget which the number is -- but
one of the trenches that was taken out was the capillary
break cover, which would have been one of the better ones to
maintain. Enough said.
The first one up there we also tended to draw
fire, on concrete, from the Licensing Office, because we are
no longer doing low level waste research directly, but
concrete is going to be used in a lot of places. It could
be used in a remediation application. It is going to be
used in Yucca Mountain.
Long-term performance of concrete is not well
documented. We have got to develop a model that was
developed a NIST, primarily theoretical, but we didn't have
any data to support it, so we have gone into a phase of
supporting that model by collecting field data.
We have gone out and they have been collecting
samples from dams out in Colorado and from other structures
that have been in the environment for extended periods of
time. I think there's some intent of actually getting some
archeological concrete samples to get datapoint to calibrate
the model. That is what is being done at NIST.
They are also adding some models to the NIST -- to
the Forsythe computer code that will deal with hardened
This is a fairly low cost project. It runs at
about $100,000 a year and it is also being supported by one
of the Staff members working 20 percent of his time up at
That's the status of it. Basically we went out
this year and made a couple of field trips Is another one
MR. MECK: Yes.
MR. OTT: There is another field trip coming up
when they are going to go out and collect environmental
samples of concrete for the validation program.
That is the sum total of the work we have got
going on in Engineered Structures.
Next we are going to move on to source term, where
we have a somewhat larger amount of activity.
One of the activities that we have been working
on, and it comes up first because we have got three
different components in this program. There is a component
being conducted down in San Antonio at the Center for
Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analysis for NMSS. There is a
component being conducted for us at PNL which will be on the
next page, and there is -- you know, this work, which is
Linda Veblen's work at Johns Hopkins University -- and they
have gone out and collected slags from a number of different
decommissioning sites. They have taken them back to
characterize them mineralogically. The common phases found
in all these slags were the ones listed here -- glass,
Perovskite, Zirconolite, Hibonite and Pyrochlor.
We have collected archeological slags. Linda made
a trip over to Europe last year some time. She went to the
Czech Republic, she went to UK. They collected slags from
very old smelting operations in both those countries and
they have gotten additional slags from both Turkey and from
Malaysia. We hope to use those to essentially create a
timeline for degradation of these slag phases -- which is
the last bullet. We hope to use the alteration studies from
both the ST&B and archeological slags to provide leach rates
as a function of time.
A side benefit is that many of the phases that are
being seen in the slags are phases that you would also see
in glass, synrock or ceramic wasteforms being considered for
parts of the high level waste process, so there is a side
benefit here, even though we are no longer directly doing
high level waste work. There is a side benefit to --
MR. LARSON: How long have the studies been going
on for, though, Bill, and by now you must have some results.
Have they been factored into anything?
MR. OTT: They have been going on for about a year
and a half.
MR. LARSON: That's all? On some of these?
MR. OTT: Yes -- I think two years. About two
years, I guess, and the work on the domestic slags is
nearing completion. There is a draft report that Linda told
me today she expects to have in fairly good shape by the end
of his week.
The archeological slags were just collected last
fall so we are still in the phase of identifying and
characterizing the slagss, the archeological slags. We
expect to complete the project by this September, at least
this particular phase of the project.
There is another project that is related to this
that's looking at solubilities and degradation rates for the
slags and doing the conventional kinds of leaching studies.
This is being connected at PNL. And the basic status of
this one is that we've collected and made laboratory
measurements on samples from five sites. The analytical
work is proceeding, and we anticipate looking at two more
sites for this particular project.
One of those has actually been identified, but the
final arrangements haven't been made, and until that
happens, they don't want to make it -- they don't actually
say what the site is going to be. Oh, wait a minute.
Forgot the rest of that page.
There are some projects we've talked to you from
time to time back when it was decided to terminate the
low-level-waste research program a pot of money was found to
forward-fund a lot of that work. Much of that is coming to
final reports now, the actual period of performance for some
of those contracts has actually ended, and we had to give
them no-cost extensions to let them finish up final reports.
Some of those that are listed here, there are some
reports that came out this year or are going to come out.
There's a NUREG on low-level radioactive waste
classification and assessment of waste streams,
neutron-activated metals, that's supposed to come out in
June. That was from the activated metals project,
essentially looking at radionuclides that weren't listed in
the Part 61 tables in terms of perhaps making potential
contributions to the dose that weren't previously
The lycimeter studies that were run at three
different sites -- Oak Ridge, Argonne, and INEL for a number
of years -- that was terminated. All the lycimeters have
been dug up and have gone away. But the final reports and
publications are coming out. NUREG/CR-6569 was published.
There was a peer-reviewed journal article. One of the
significant results was that they were showing upward
migration of both strontium-90 and cesium, and they were
showing the presence of colloidal forms of both of those in
the lycimeters. So those were results that they actually
hadn't anticipated, neither the upward migration nor the
presence of the colloidal forms.
Now we're moving on to the transport area, and in
terms of transport, what I'm talking about is processes
other than flow, infiltration flow processes, essentially
the chemical processes that affect the transport of
We have two ongoing activities here. I'll mention
one activity that isn't listed here, because it ended last
year, which was the international project at Alligator
Rivers. Our final report on that project is going to come
out within the next month to 2 months, and currently
negotiating with publications on things like whether they're
going to have two columns or one column and that kind of
stuff. So that report will be out and will be a summation
of five years' worth of work on that particular
international project. Should be a fairly major NUREG.
The follow-on to that was the demonstration
project at Naturita, Colorado, which was done as a result of
a meeting that we had out in Menlo Park challenging a bunch
of people as to whether they were getting anywhere on doing
mechanistic modeling absorption, because we've been funding
work on it for a number of years, and a number of people at
the meeting said if we can't soon make a demonstration that
this particular approach is going to be feasible in a PA
context, we probably shouldn't fund much more work in the
area. And the USGS people at that meeting said we think
it's possible based on the Alligator Rivers work on uranium
to do that at a uranium site.
So we initiated this demonstration project. We
deliberately had a site-selection phase to look for sites
where there were varying chemical conditions such that we
thought the KD would not do well. And the question is
whether we can do better with mechanistic modeling. If it
turns out as a result of this demonstration project that we
can't do anything any better either in terms of uncertainty
or in terms of actual prediction of migration, then it'll be
a fairly strong blow to the group that wants to do
mechanistic modeling. But USGS feels that they can
effectively do mechanistic modeling absorption, and they can
do it in the PA context.
Two of our staff, Ralph Cady and Linda Veblen,
will be working on them when they get to the modeling phase
to actually apply these concepts within an NRC-type PA
DR. STEINDLER: I thought the reason you dropped
out of the Alligator River was because you didn't think you
were getting very far.
MR. OTT: No, no, no. We didn't drop out of it.
We completed it. Alligator Rivers project is done.
DR. STEINDLER: It's done?
MR. OTT: It's done. We didn't drop out of that.
DR. STEINDLER: That was an international project.
MR. OTT: International project; yes. It was --
DR. STEINDLER: I thought the rest of the world
was still going at it.
MR. OTT: Not at Alligator Rivers, they're not.
The participants met last -- a year ago February in Korea,
and one of the things that was considered was whether there
was follow-on work to do at Alligator Rivers. There was
consensus that there was follow-on work to be done in the
area, general area absorption modeling, but it would not be
profitable at Alligator Rivers at this time. If they ever
mine Alligator Rivers, it would be an opportunity to go in
while they're doing it. It would be a pit mine. They could
extract a tremendous amount of data over a short length of
If they do that, I suspect that ANSTO, the
Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization, will
probably go in and institute an investigation program. But
the way things go in Australia, when the Government gives
authorization to mine, they mine very quickly, and they
essentially mine over a 12 to 18-month period, and then
start reclaiming. They pile all the ore someplace and then
process the ore over a period of years. But because the
ability to mine changes with the party in power in the
Parliament, when you get permission to mine, you go out and
you mine right away. There wouldn't be time for the
Australians to organize an international project in such an
instance, because it usually takes a year to a year and a
half just to get the international approvals to start
something like that.
Anyway, there is that aspect of it that would be
very interesting and profitable, but if it happens, it'll
probably be a data-collection effort by ANSTO with perhaps a
follow-on analytical effort.
So anyway, after the site-selection phrase we've
picked a site at Naturita, Colorado. We've begun
characterization. They've collected soil samples. They've
installed monitoring wells, and they've begun laboratory
measurements on the collected samples.
The other component of this program is a much more
theoretical approach that's being taken at Sandia National
Laboratory where they're looking at the process from the
point of view of atomistic modeling using quantum mechanical
equations and quantum mechanical modeling techniques to try
and look very fundamentally at this. They're also doing
laboratory work on cesium, strontium, and barium. But
that's soil-forming minerals.
DR. HORNBERGER: But that's certainly not what
you're talking about putting into a PA model.
MR. OTT: Not at that level. No. What you expect
to get is the basis for what goes into the PA model. In the
final analysis what you're probably going to wind up for
calculational simplicity is something that changes KD from a
constant into a variable that is calculated. And the
question is can we get a more fundamental understanding of
how that should be calculated.
And actually as a result -- and the top element on
this, which I haven't mentioned yet, we have a program
review at Sandia to which we invited your staff in December,
and Andy didn't come to the meeting. Andy Campbell attended
for your staff. We made it a public meeting. We invited
EPRI, we invited NEI, we invited DOE, EPA. We had a fairly
good turnout for the fact that we didn't give the people a
lot of lead time. We even had somebody come from the German
Republic, from the GRS. We had EPRI attend. Carol
Hornebook, who appeared before you last year, attended our
program review, was very favorably impressed with the work
that we were doing. DOE sent people from both Nevada and
from Idaho. We didn't have any participation from EPA. We
did invite appropriate people from there.
I can't think of anybody else right now.
DR. GARRICK: Now what was the driver for this one
again? I am always curious as to whether these evolve from
logical planning and technology needs development --
MR. OTT: There are several drivers --
DR. GARRICK: -- program or opportunistic or
MR. OTT: One of the drivers was criticism that
the Office has received with regard to involving
stakeholders in the -- not only the initiation but the
development and the follow-on review of programs and we look
in our division an initiative to open program reviews of
projects to the public and to try and invite portions of the
public or other stakeholders that might have a very specific
interest in it.
We invited the Center for Nuclear Waste Regulatory
Analyses to send some people but unfortunately they were all
committed to supporting another meeting at that time.
DR. HORNBERGER: I don't think that was the focus
of John's question. John's question has to do with this
research project. How was this particular research chosen?
MR. OTT: Oh, how was it chosen?
DR. HORNBERGER: Right, John?
DR. GARRICK: Yes. That's right.
MR. OTT: Meaning either project.
If you go back to the overall conceptual model of
performance assessment that we are looking at, we
essentially have tried to look at areas where we think there
are weaknesses in the PA process and one of the areas which
has been criticized and criticized fairly heavily for a
number of years is KD as a constant parameter.
Almost nobody is willing to stand up and say KD is
an accurate representation of what happens in reality. It
is essentially a parameter which varies from site to site,
from radionuclide to radionuclide, from geologic substrate
to geologic substrate, and unless you have perfect
information you don't really know what is going on with KD.
What we are hoping to do with this particular
approach is establish a method for assessing KD which is
based on the fundamental properties of what happens when a
radionuclide is sorbed -- what is the sorbing substrate,
what are the chemical conditions, is it pH that has a
substantial effect on it, what effect does pH have on it?
We know for instance from some of the work on the
uranium that KD, if you measure a KD it varies as a function
of pH. It will peak around a certain value and it will be
low for both low values and high values of pH.
We also know the presence of carbonate complexes
can shift the position of that peak. If you go in and
measure a KD and then rely on that for predictions of
performance of a facility and the chemical conditions at
that particular site can vary, then your prediction of the
sorption capacity of that material can vary by orders of
magnitude as well, so we felt we needed something that we
could use to address variable conditions and do it in a
calculationally not simple but calculationally friendly
What we were attempting to do with these two
programs is, one, USGS contends that they can do it for
uranium. We are going to try and go out there and see if
that is true in a demonstration project. We have been
working at Sandia on radionuclides much much lower z than
uranium, the assumption being and I think provable that they
have different sorption characteristics.
If we are proved to be correct in that we can do
it for uranium, then we should be able to extend it to other
radionuclides. Then it becomes a case of what data do you
collect on a site-specific basis.
You collect chemical information and mineral
substrate information, as opposed to grinding up rocks and
measuring how much radionuclide comes through and goes out
one end or the other end.
DR. FAIRHURST: But I think again wasn't the
question how did this come to be the top of this list?
Would this work have been done if NRC had participated or
MR. OTT: No, I -- in terms of how this came to be
at the top of the list or I mean it's not at the top of the
list. It's just two components.
We looked at the parameters and we just felt that
this was important. This was done based on professional
judgment -- Staff recommendations -- international opinion.
When we had the Menlo Park meeting a year ago,
that Menlo Park meeting included PA modelers as well as
geochemists from five different countries as well as people
from three different DOE national laboratories.
We essentially took a look at this whole process
and the recommendation coming out of that was that we should
continue to follow on doing this, so there is a lot of
expert judgment involved, but it is not just the Staff's
judgment. It is the judgment of other experts in the area.
There is also an International Sorption Forum
which was funded by the NEA, which should be coming out with
a report very soon. I haven't seen the final report yet.
They tried to take an international perspective -- I think
there were 15 or 16 nations involved. Everybody provided
experts to a forum to discuss the future of PA modelling and
mechanistic sorption modelling within the context of
performance assessment to make recommendations on how people
Preliminary indications are that the Sorption
Forum of the NEA is also recommending continuing work so
this kind of work is also responsive to the general opinion
being reflected in the international scene right now as
DR. STEINDLER: I've got a serious problem
convincing myself that a quantum mechanical calculation that
is derived from who knows what, presumably to be broadly
applicable to feeding into a model is likely to be the kind
of approach that you are looking for.
Do I paint an unfavorable picture?
MR. OTT: You present a picture which is -- I
would think it is an uncommon picture. I mean if you --
DR. STEINDLER: It's not a question of
commonality. It is a question of whether it is correct.
MR. OTT: I don't think it is correct.
DR. STEINDLER: Well, then you tell me how quantum
mechanics is going to be funneled into a -- particularly
since it is broadly applicable, not presumably restricted to
a particular nuclide or a particular substrate.x
MR. OTT: In this particular instance they are
doing a particular mineral with its electronic structure and
a particular radionuclide.
DR. STEINDLER: Well, how is this going to --
MR. OTT: And they are looking at the way the
radionuclide moves with regard to the charge distribution on
DR. STEINDLER: And you have also then presumably
fixed the environment, such as the EH and pH and the
chemical content of the solution?
MR. OTT: Those are reflected in the calculation
DR. STEINDLER: And how is this then going to be
applicable to a model that is moderately broadly applicable
to the real world?
MR. OTT: The question arose at the Menlo Park
meeting as well --
DR. STEINDLER: I would imagine.
MR. OTT: In fact, I was the one that really sort
of pounced on somebody about it. The thing that worries me
about all these models -- you start with models up here.
You ask a modeler to model a situation and you give him some
data and he comes back in and he's got this model and it
goes through all the datapoints and you say, oh, that's
great -- how many degrees of freedom do you have left or how
many adjustable parameters did you use to do this
Unfortunately with KDs and with almost all the
models, there are a tremendous amount of adjustable
parameters. The question that I raised, which is not quite
the same question as you raised, is how do I go from
molecular modeling with a very strong physical basis.
I mean you can't argue that we are not being
extremely physical when we do this, to applying this in a PA
context, which is going to be in terms of a KD, if I have to
do from this process to this process and the number of
adjustable parameters I have to use is greater than that is
being used by somebody doing an empirical calculation with a
KD, I haven't done anybody any favors. I have lost all the
value of the information in the process.
I don't have any question about the theoretical
validity of the calculations that we've made. My only
question -- from microscopic structure to macroscopic
structure. And I think it can be done, and I think the
contractor has demonstrated that he can.
What I would actually like at some time in the
future to actually bring these people in and let's just see
what they're actually doing. I had actually hoped that I
could have gotten somebody from the Committee to go out in
December, but that didn't happen. It's probably a risk to
point out this atomistic modeling here, but basically we're
DR. STEINDLER: Well, now that you've done it, you
MR. OTT: Well, I think there's a good deal of --
DR. STEINDLER: Pandora's box is open.
MR. OTT: Pandora's box is open, but the
contractor I think has a very good basis for what he's
doing. I believe the connection is there. He's actually
asked for the opportunity to demonstrate what he's doing
with radium values that are being seen at Naturita. So as a
result of the program review that we had out in December,
we've made a connection between the Sandia project and the
field demonstration project that USGS is using.
One of the species, one of the metal ions that
Sandia is looking at, is barium as a radium analog. They're
actually going to continue that work. They're going to
focus on it. They're going to go down and do some
confirming experiments with radium to confirm the analogous
behavior. And then they're going to try and use this to
connect up to the barium -- the measured radium
concentrations at Naturita and include that in the
demonstration project. So I'm hoping that over the next
year to two years we'll have a demonstration which very
strongly connects us to the theoretical work at Sandia as
well as the work that was done at Alligator Rivers.
We're getting very close to my being way behind
schedule. I think I've got five minutes left.
I'm going to skip this, because it's an old
project. This is the PNL work on organic complexions. You
can look at the update. The final report on that should be
out soon, and I presume that you guys generally get most of
MS. DEERING: Yes.
DR. WYMER: Is there a number on that report yet?
MR. OTT: I don't think there's a number on that
one. Not yet? Okay.
DR. WYMER: Will it be out in April?
MR. EISENBERG: Hopefully, yes.
DR. WYMER: Okay.
MR. OTT: We've been doing a lot of work on flow
In view of time, I'm trying to figure out exactly
how much detail I should go to.
Maricopa, we had a field study looking at
monitoring strategies. We did two major technology-transfer
kinds of activities during the year. The office -- well,
our program has been trying to become much more active in
transferring the results of our work to the licensing office
and to other potential users out there. So we had this
hands-on technology transfer at the Maricopa Agricultural
Center for NMSS and RES staff. They went out in the field
with the principal investigators and actually did a bunch of
work. We then convened a public workshop on lessons learned
back here in Washington, and here we had DOE, DOE national
laboratories, EPA agreement States, industry
representatives, a very large meeting in terms of doing
technology transfer on the monitoring strategies.
These are just the reports that are coming out of
the Maricopa study. The one on the bottom -- I believe this
is the -- okay, this is the new project, project we started
last year at the University of Arizona to look at conceptual
A related thing I want to mention to you is coming
up this next month, and I meant to bring a schedule of it
down. There's a meeting of the National Academy of
Sciences, one of their subcommittees, they're having a
meeting on conceptual models out at their research center in
California. We think that's going to be a fairly important
meeting. It's one that we helped initiate and fund. This
is a contract that we have let with the University of
Arizona, particularly Shlomo Newman, to look at the question
of how do we choose, how do we select conceptual models for
processes, and what's the uncertainty associated with that
If you want to go back to the coarsest example
possible, you can think of the early days of the Yucca
Mountain project when the original DOE assertion was that
you only had to worry about matrix flow, you didn't have to
worry about fracture flow. The question of how much error
there would be from modeling only matrix flow or only
fracture flow, you know, is the kind of question you would
have to address in determining the uncertainty associated
with fracture models, or the type of fracture models. Do
you use a dual continuum model? Do you use the discrete
fracture model? How much uncertainty is associated with
those different approaches to quantifying your
conceptualization of the site?
We think the work on conceptual models -- within
the Office of Research, we think it is a fairly fundamental
and a fairly important piece of work to complete.
At PNL we're doing some work to specifically
assess parameter uncertainty in some of those codes like
RESRAD, and D and D, and MEPAS. There are a lot of
parameters that have been thrown into those codes without a
great deal of thought in terms of, you know, are those the
right parameters to use. So at PNL they're looking at
There's going to be a letter report, D and D,
MEPAS, and RESRAD on the review of default parameters used,
particularly in the flow models. The PNL is only looking at
the flow models. Most of the work on default values of the
dose models is being done either in the RESRAD contract or
the D&D contract.
Essentially another program review that is going
to be open to the public. You are invited to attend or send
one of your staff or come yourselves if you are so inclined.
DR. STEINDLER: Are you doing instrument
MR. OTT: No, we are looking at instruments and
testing various types of instruments with regard to that.
DR. STEINDLER: Existing instruments?
MR. OTT: Yes. Years ago we did some instrument
development, but not for a long time.
DR. STEINDLER: Should you be doing instrument
development? Especially non-invasive.
MR. OTT: That's a good question, I don't have an
answer for you. I don't know, it would depend on how good
the instrumentation that is available is at getting the
answers you need, and I am not an instrumentation expert, I
leave that to the staff. Nobody has come to me saying that
they think that there is a specific kind of instrumentation
that ought to be developed.
There was work at one time -- we did work at NIST
on development of microprobes for measuring PH that would
have been very, very useful if you were going in and trying
to look at a microscopic level at things like changes in
chemical conditions affecting sorption.
That was actually done for the high level waste
program to examine microscopic conditions around pits in
metal, okay, the problem being that when you got very, very
small probes, there was a lot of drift in the electronics
and you didn't necessarily have predictable measurement
That kind of thing hasn't been proposed to us, at
least in terms of instrumentation development for the
program that we are in right now. Nobody on the staff has
identified it as a particular problem.
This meeting will be held at the Agricultural
Research Service facility in order to get people away from
the building and make certain that there aren't any
interruptions to the day to day operation. We are trying to
hold these program reviews at the location of one of our
contractors. In this case, the Agricultural Research
Service volunteered their facilities. So we will be meeting
here in Washington, but it will be off at the ARS meeting
PA. This is the diagram everybody likes to take
all the boxes off.
DR. STEINDLER: You see, John, I told you.
DR. HORNBERGER: My comment was perfectly clear.
We asked for transparency in PA but that is not what we
MR. OTT: I went to Ralph, I said, by the way, I
want to put in a lead-in page for performance assessment.
Do I just include everything and just repeat the first
diagram that we used that talks about the PA process? He
said, no, what I am really about is connections. How do we
make all these things interact together? So we took off all
the boxes and left in all the lines. These red ones, by the
way, over here, relate to some of those questions that you
talked about earlier. Do we know -- do we have some
question about the, say, soil to transfer factors? We had
indicated some interest in that even before we got
associated with Cheryl's branch, but the red indicated it
was an area we weren't doing any work in. So, anyway.
The last thing on the board is our performance
assessment work at Sandia, which is the development of the
Sandia environmental decision support system. We have just
gone through -- we reviewed that when we were out at Sandia.
It is part of that program review in December. This
particular year both NRC and EPA are contributing to it, but
because of some problems we had in previous years because of
the interconnected nature of some of our products with a
dependence on EPA funding, when EPA didn't fund, all of a
sudden, our deliverables started being delayed by six and 12
months. So we have essentially disconnected any dependence
on EPA funding. We are -- this project is no longer what
you would call a coordinated and interdependent effort.
EPA still has some goals for SEDSS in mind. They
are doing some testing of it, but I don't know that there is
going to be any significant further development by them. We
have made some fairly major changes in the way we want do so
some of the work. The SOW has been revised and we are
proceeding, but we have disconnected from our dependence on
In terms of what happened, we put out an
MS-Windows version in March, essentially it did drinking
water contaminated by single source multiple radionuclides,
decay chains and a 1-D groundwater pathway. In this next
year we will complete a modification to SEDSS that
incorporates all the pathways, not just a drinking water
pathway, but all the pathways there in the 5512, and we will
incorporate a fairly simplistic groundwater alarm, much more
simple than the one we have in there right now, so that you
could some fairly simple calculations with SEDSS.
I don't see anything else in there to focus on. I
am seven minutes over.
DR. HORNBERGER: Are there any further questions
DR. GARRICK: Just a global question, and maybe
while I was daydreaming you answered it. Can you give us,
in a capsule, the magnitude of the research program for
MR. OTT: The total budget for '99 -- and I
apologize, I actually didn't look at that before I came
here, I should have -- is around $1.8 million, I believe, it
might be as high as $2. I haven't looked at the actual
bottom line recently, I have been worried about all the
little lines in between. That is for the radionuclide
transport program that I just went over.
The work that I went over here with Cheryl's
branch is about 13 -- about another $1.3 million, so $1.3
and about $1.8, we are talking about around $3 million
between the two programs.
Now, and as I said before, I apologize, but I
didn't get a chance to get the people from the dry cash
storage business down here.
There are some other small programs in Cheryl's
branch which I didn't bring in, some contracts that haven't
started yet. The total adds up to another maybe half a
million dollars. Two of those, a couple of hundred thousand
dollars, are going to be in direct support of the clearance
rule, in addition to Bob Meck's project.
There is a major program on -- well, there is a
major effort going on right now on an exemptions report that
came in, it was developed over the last eight years. Major
problems were found with the report and it is having to be
rewritten, primarily being done by staff, but there is also
a small contractor effort, about a hundred thousand dollars
in support of that.
There are some small grants to some people like
NCRP. Actually, there is a major grant to NCRP that
supports a meeting that comes out annually, too.
MS. THOMAS: This is Mary Thomas. NCRP's funding
had been on the level of 200,000 per year, and it has slowly
dwindled down and the last I had funded them was for 100K.
And a lot of that money goes to fund their annual meeting
MR. OTT: That's one of the other things --
MS. THOMAS: It's their core grant. ICRP gets
25K, and there's a effort with NEA for information system on
occupational exposure. That gets about 20K a year.
MR. OTT: So there are small things that add up to
make another couple hundred dollars. But you're talking --
Cheryl's program then probably totals around 2 million,
total around 2 million.
DR. GARRICK: Thank you.
DR. HORNBERGER: One of the things that I think
has to strike one when even going through a very quick
summary like this, Bill, is that you do a tremendously wide
range of stuff, everything from, you know, ginning up a
generic code, as John said, sort of putting together bits
and pieces of things to do a very applied kind of
calculation all the way down to doing quantum mechanics
calculations on sorption. Now that's a pretty broad range,
and I guess it's difficult for us in a short time to come to
grips with how one decides whether you don't spend 20,000
bucks to collect another year's data on caps out at
MR. OTT: I appreciate your problem. I mean, we
have the same problem. And there are times when decisions
are made on a political basis as opposed to a rational
basis. You know, I could look -- if I had the opportunity
today to maintain the Beltsville full six trenches and fund
it for 30 years because it would give me information on how
really well constructed trench caps work, I think that would
be an extremely valuable thing to have. But unfortunately
it was focused on low-level waste.
DR. HORNBERGER: It went away.
MR. OTT: And it went away.
DR. HORNBERGER: Yes.
MR. OTT: We did -- don't get me wrong, we
achieved our major objective. We tested four different cap
designs. We had a couple of controls. We essentially
demonstrated that the bioengineered concept worked. We also
demonstrated that the capillary break covers work. There
had been work done at Sheffield which indicated that it
didn't work. The principal investigator, Bob Schultz,
essentially said it didn't work because they didn't build it
right. There was a really interesting demonstration in that
project of the importance of quality assurance in
construction, because if you get fines into the capillary
break, it breaks down.
DR. HORNBERGER: It's gone. Right.
MR. OTT: So we did achieve the objectives of that
project. Don't get me wrong about that.
DR. HORNBERGER: No, I understand.
MR. OTT: It's almost nostalgic to say boy, I'd
really like to have that data over 30 years. We're doing
other things. We're looking at archeological samples of
slags to try and get that time constant. There are so few
things that we do that allow us to demonstrate time
dependence over a long period of time, and when we find one,
such as natural analogs, say Alligator River is looking at
an ore body that's evolved over time, those snapshots when
you're available to get time dependence in for a program
that is essentially concerned with long-term performance,
that's really a thing that's very desirable.
DR. HORNBERGER: For the record, I just wanted to
say one last thing, and then I'll ask for questions. But I
don't know -- obviously I don't know all of the research
that's going on, but I do know the people with the USGS
involved in your work in Colorado and the people in Sandia
involved in some of the fundamental geochemistry and
sorption stuff, and I know the Arizona group very well. And
these are all very good people, so I'm sure that you're
sponsoring some very good work.
MR. OTT: Actually the program at Sandia, Ed -- is
Ed still here? Wasn't there a national or an award given to
that group this last year?
MR. O'DONNELL: They got one of the -- this is Ed
O'Donnell of the Office of Research. They did get one of
the laboratory quality awards for the work, and the group is
linked with many others in the community. The group is
working on natural attenuation, geochem, and everything
I'd also like to just make a note to Dr. Steindler
again, the viewgraph gave you a distortion. If I understood
you, you were really disturbed about the first sentence of
that thing with the atomistic modeling. And that's only --
this is one of those geochemical projects -- and that was
only a small part of the project, you know, the
characterization of the soil-forming minerals, the clays and
everything else was part of it, sorption and everything
else. And it was an integrated whole series of things in
that project. And I'll try and get maybe a statement of
work to Howard or something so you get a bigger view of the
DR. STEINDLER: But on the other issue that George
just raised, an agency that doesn't understand long-term
programs and the importance of long-term programs ought not
to be in the business of doing long-term regulations.
DR. HORNBERGER: Right.
MR. OTT: No comment.
DR. STEINDLER: I mean, I made the same comment
that the Department of Energy when they decided they were
going to close down long-term corrosion testing of things
like metals and glass.
DR. HORNBERGER: Right.
DR. STEINDLER: And it turned out that for one
reason or another we managed to keep some programs going,
and it was a good thing, because it turns out that the
models don't necessarily allow linear extrapolations
forever. You can pass on the rest of it.
MR. OTT: As I said, you know, you go into a
project with certain objectives that you have to meet, and
we met those at Beltsville. There are others that it would
be nice to meet that we partially achieved. We got 10 to 12
years worth of performance --
DR. HORNBERGER: And, you know, we do understand
that. It's just as -- we share some of the frustration that
you expressed in that long-term data sets, as we know, are
very difficult to come by, and it's always a crime when we
see something that's relatively inexpensive terminated
because of -- well, at any rate, we're just expressing our
frustration as well.
Other questions? Charles?
DR. FAIRHURST: No.
DR. GARRICK: I just would like to make a comment
or two. I guess what I'm -- one of the things that I'm
looking for is what the underlying drivers are for the
research program, and I'm having trouble with that one.
As I understand it, basically what happens is NMSS
decides what they want to do research on, and farms that out
to RES to do it. But I guess to give an example of why I'm
not clear on what the process is, given the challenges that
the Commission has ahead of it in the area of nuclear
wastes, I guess I would have expected to see a more
systematic process of identifying research projects, and I
would have also expected to have seen some of the things
that are really important and fundamental issues in for
example the Yucca Mountain project that are facing us, such
as simple things like the temperature effects on Alloy-22,
the issue of seepage, the issue of chemical processes that
drive the releases of radionuclides from the EBS or from the
fuel itself, the issue of dilution factors, which is
something that is talked about a lot. You did have
something on flow and transport, but it wasn't clear that it
was focusing on some of the areas of greatest uncertainties
such as in the saturated zone.
And so on. And I'm having trouble coming to grips
with what the structure is for decision-making with respect
to research projects, and I have to apologize, I just
finished chairing a meeting or committee for the National
Academy of Sciences that was taking a hard look at DOE, and
their underlying bases for identifying technology needs in
research and development, and have been engulfed in a sea of
research projects there, and trying to understand their
rational basis and origin, and I am having the same problem
I don't expect an answer, but I think that's one
of -- and if you take away the bookkeeping part and the data
collection part and the methods development part of your
program, except for this last stuff you have shown where
there were some laboratory measurements and what-have-you,
very little of it really seems to be what I would really
call research. And so it's a very small program, it doesn't
seem to have an underlying mechanism for its evolution, or
at least I haven't seen it, and it makes it very difficult
to write about it which we have to do.
MR. OTT: Let me make a couple of observations.
asks us to do, we haven't received a comprehensive user need
from NMSS in probably more than four years. The last one
occurred when there was still a low level waste program.
We have had since that time a couple of small user
needs on in situ uranium mining which we have responded to
with an in-house task force which is doing the work on that,
so it doesn't show up in the briefings because it's a
In terms of temperature dependence and high level
waste, we have no high level waste dollars. There is
nothing in our budget, and as soon as we'd start doing work
on elevated temperatures, it automatically becomes high
level waste work, because nothing else involves elevated
temperatures. So we can't, the way the operation works
right now, we cannot do any work on things with elevated
I agree that, for instance, sorption, when we
first started working on it, one of the real critical
questions was there's data below 100 degrees C, but there's
very little data on geochemical effects above 100 degrees C.
We ran a fairly large program at LBL for a number of years
on elevated temperature geochemistry, but that doesn't mean
we finished the job. But there were certainly -- but
certainly elevated temperatures are an important thing for
the high level waste program. Without high level waste
money, we cannot do any high level waste research.
DR. GARRICK: It's a strange situation you find
yourself in. We have one presenter telling us that we are
pretty much out of the low level waste business, that that's
handled by the states, but that seems to be the arena in
which you are doing some research.
On the other hand, your -- the agency is faced
with licensing a facility unlike it's ever licensed before
that is totally dependent upon understanding long term
phenomena and what-have-you and essentially it's a hands-off
situation. One of these days I would like somebody to
explain how all this works.
MR. OTT: Our staff has -- all our staff has been
previously involved at least in the nuclear transport
program, or previously involved in doing high level waste
research as well. They try to stay up with the program, we
try to remain conversant. We talk to them. We try and let
them know of things that we are doing in the generic program
that would be of value.
For instance, this mechanistic sorption modeling
work we think would be of value to the far field, not
necessarily to the heated region, because we aren't doing
anything in the heated region. But certainly in the far
One thing we are not looking at right now at least
is fracture coatings and sorption on the fracture coatings
and how that might differ from the mechanistic modeling of
just doing matrix flow.
In terms of the structure and in terms of doing
what's important, everything that I have looked at -- I'm
part of that prioritization team for the office. When I
looked at NIH, when I looked at DOE, when I looked at EPA,
everything I saw there had an extremely strong component of
expert judgment. I reviewed the prioritization of research
for the mouse genomics research program which is about the
same size as the Office of Research in the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission, about $40 million, but focused only
on mouse genomics research. They brought in an expert
review panel of something like 200 experts from around the
world. They sat them down in Bethesda for a week, they
divided them up into committees, they closed the doors, and
at the end of the week they came out with a list of
prioritized programs. Three of them. One for about $13
million; one for about $18 million; and one for whatever the
There was nothing in that process that spoke to me
of a systematic, organized method of evaluating research.
NIH is one of the most respected research organizations in
We do as much as we can with the experts and the
Staff. We do as much as we can with the contractors on the
Staff. We bring in outside experts as much as we can. We
don't have the resources to convene a 200-person expert
panel from around the world. We take targets of
opportunity. When we hosted the Alligator Rivers meeting in
Menlo Park a year ago, what I did was I said I've got
experts from five countries here. I'm going to hold a
workshop on the day after the Alligator Rivers meeting and
I'm going to invite them to attend, and they all attended.
Usually what happens is the day after the meeting, we all go
off and we visit a national forest or we take a laboratory
tour or something else. I cheated. I tried to get the
international experts to come in. We had a good discussion.
As a result of that, we had a reason for doing the work at
USGS and for refocusing some of the work at Sandia. So that
part of the program we brought them in.
Tom Nicholson is probably one of the most
aggressive people I know of in terms of going out and
getting the National Academy involved in looking at our
programs. We have a grant with the National Academy where
Jake Phillip will take down his work on concrete, and we
will take down the work on covers, Tom will take down the
work on hydrology and ask them for informal reviews. If we
are asking for a formal review, we have to give them money,
you know, additional money so they can farm it out. He goes
down and he asks for an informal review, and he gets people
to give him comments back.
We are factoring in professional judgment wherever
we can. The work that we are doing on conceptual models,
the workshop that we have sponsored out in California next
-- in a couple of weeks from now, I think is some of the
most fundamental and some of the most important work in the
area of PA modeling and hydrology modeling that has been
done in the last 10 years, because it is addressing a
fundamental question that nobody has addressed before. I am
real interested in that. I'd like to go to the meeting.
Unfortunately, I can't, because I have to do a peer review
of a bunch of DOE projects.
In other areas, PA, we have got one project, we
have got one contractor. We are trying to pull together a
systematic tool for NMSS. NMSS wants that tool. We don't
have a user need for SEDSS, but they sure as heck want it.
They want a usable tool that they can use for a large
variety of sites, particularly for the difficult sites.
That's what SEDSS is determined -- is designed to use. We
are responding to a want in the absence of a specific user
The slag work, NMSS wants the slag work. They
need help on those slag projects. Where they want help and
they need help, we are trying to respond. Where they have
expressed a specific interest, we are trying to gather the
national and international experts in the fields, get their
opinions and reflect them in our program. With the
resources we have, I don't know what more we can do.
DR. GARRICK: Well, I didn't mean to drag it out.
I was just trying to express some of the concerns I have
about trying to establish a logical basis for identifying
research projects and prioritizing them. And I would agree
with George that it is obvious that the people you have
working on the projects, that's not the problem; they seem
to be extremely competent. But I do have some concern about
the logical basis of the research program, of the size of
the research program, given the challenges that the NRC has
and so on.
MR. OTT: I guess one thing I could say is that if
we go forward with AHP in the office, there will be pressure
to apply AHP to individual programs as well, and
unfortunately AHP is not a process which is based solely on
risk or solely on -- it considers a lot of factors. The
feasibility. Is it -- for this particular research project,
what is the likelihood that you are going to succeed? I
mean you do need to consider things like that, but it's not
the kind of thing like I'm going to do this because it's --
this contribution -- it is only going to be one factor. How
important it is with regard to the risk calculation. So --
DR. HORNBERGER: Don't misread some of these
comments too much. We have all, I think all of us here have
been involved in research for our careers, and we know that
expert judgment or whatever you want to -- professional
judgment has to enter into a lot of these choices. We are
not arguing that, okay. In fact, I would be aghast if you
came in and told me that you had a formula where you just
plugged in a couple numbers and out came what you should do.
That isn't the point at all.
Questions from anyone else? The Staff? Anyone
else? Okay. Well, thanks very much, Bill. I appreciate
MR. OTT: Thank you.
DR. HORNBERGER: Mr. Chairman.
DR. GARRICK: Okay. I think that what I would
like to suggest, given that this is a break point between
being on the record and off the record, I would like to
declare a short recess of five or 10 minutes, and then we
will come back and address our Commission meeting, et
[Whereupon, at 2:30 p.m., the recorded portion of
the meeting was adjourned, to reconvene at 8:30 a.m.,
Wednesday, February 24, 1999.]
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