115th ACNW Meeting U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, December 14, 1999
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON NUCLEAR WASTE
MEETING: 115TH ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON NUCLEAR WASTE (ACNW)
Conference Room 2B3
Two White Flint North
Tuesday, December 14, 1999
The committee met, pursuant to notice at 9:49 a.m.
JOHN GARRICK, Chairman, ACNW
GEORGE HORNBERGER, Member, ACNW
RAY WYMER, Member, ACNW. P R O C E E D I N G S
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: The meeting will come to order. This is
the first day of the 115th meeting of the Advisory Committee on Nuclear
My name is John Garrick, Chairman of the ACNW. Other
members of the committee include George Hornberger and Ray Wymer. We
have Milt Levenson, serving as an ACNW consultant.
During today's meeting, we will discuss committee activities
and future agenda items, discuss the Yucca Mountain draft environmental
impact statement with representatives from the Department of Energy, and
prepare for tomorrow's meeting with the Commissioners.
Richard Major is the Designated Federal Official for today's
This meeting is being conducted in accordance with the
provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. We have not received
any written statements from members of the public regarding today's
session. Should anyone wish to address the committee, please make your
wishes known to one of the committee's staff.
As usual, it is requested that each speaker use one of the
microphones, identify himself or herself, and speak clearly so we can
Before proceeding with the first agenda item, there are a
couple of items of interest that I would like to note.
First, we all know that Ivan Itkin began his duty December
2, 1999 as Director of the Department of Energy's Office of Radioactive
On Tuesday, November 30, 1999, the Department of Energy
published a proposed rule and request for comments on the Yucca Mountain
site suitability guidelines, 64 Federal Register, page 67054.
The proposed rule, 10 CFR Part 63, conforms DOE's
regulations regarding its nuclear waste repository program to comparable
proposed regulation 10 CFR Part 63 of the NRC.
On Friday, November 19, 1999, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency published a proposed rule and request for comment on
the storage, treatment, transportation and disposal of its waste, also
in the Federal Register, at 63, page 63464.
The proposal aims to reduce dual regulation of waste, which
is subject to both NRC and EPA authority, pursuant to the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act, RCRA, and the Atomic Energy Act.
As proposed, the rule would allow for the storage and
treatment of mixed waste at the site of generation, subject to certain
conditions and limitations. In addition, it would exempt mixed waste
and hazardous naturally occurring and accelerator produced radioactive
material from RCRA requirements for manifesting, transportation and
disposal if certain conditions were met.
Under this conditional exemption, the proposed rule provides
that generators and treaters must still comply with manifest,
transportation and disposal requirements under the NRC or the NRC
agreement state regulations for low level radioactive waste and
naturally occurring radioactive materials.
I'm not sure that has removed the dual responsibility, but I
guess it's clarified it a little bit.
All right. We're now going to turn to the agenda item
entitled Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain Draft Environmental
Impact Statement. The committee member that will take the lead or has
the lead on leading this discussion is George Hornberger.
George, you can introduce our next speaker.
MR. HORNBERGER: Great. We're going to hear from Wendy
today. She has a 100 overheads, at five minutes per overhead, takes us
until three this afternoon.
MS. DIXON: Depends on the questions.
MR. HORNBERGER: Go ahead, Wendy.
MS. DIXON: If I do get to pieces and parts that you would
like to me to skip over, I'd be more than happy to. I am pleased to be
here today to talk about our draft EIS and hopefully address some of the
questions and issues that you have on the document.
The briefing topics that we've set up include the overall
status and schedule, the organization of the documents, the interagency
and other agency interactions, consultations and meetings, the proposed
action with selected areas for discussion, which obviously includes
transportation and long-term performance analyses, and then the no
With respect to status, the document was distributed on
August 6, 1999, published in the Federal Register on August 13. We're
in a 180 day comment period, which ends February 9, and the final
environmental impact statement is currently scheduled for release in
November of 2000.
We distributed the document in hard copy. There were 3,000
hard copies that were sent out on August 6; 1,400 CD-ROMs, per request.
The document is available on the internet on the project web site, as
well as the NEPA web site.
There's also 638 references that have detailed technical
analyses that are tied to this environmental impact statement. They are
publicly available in four reading rooms. The non-copyrighted
references are also in 38 reading rooms. They've been supplied to those
who have requested it. They are on the internet, as well.
Hearings, 17 total, 14 are completed right now. We have
three remaining, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and St. Louis, rounding the
corner here. We also have established a meeting with the Consolidated
Group of Tribal Organizations. We have 17 tribes that have affiliation
to the Yucca Mountain site. We have a meeting that we have established
with them to deal with their comments on this EIS. We're not calling it
a public meeting, because it is for the Native American tribes that we
To date, we have received 270 written documents and hearing
transcripts. This equates to approximately 700 comments. To deal with
the comments, we've established 27 different bins with different
headers, so that different people will be working on the responses to
The heavy-hitting comments so far have been under
alternatives and comments under alternatives include you should have
looked at alternatives to Yucca Mountain, you should have looked at
other alternatives beyond geologic disposal. We like Yucca Mountain,
we don't like Yucca Mountain. There's sort of a broad range under
Transportation comments have included we wish that you would
have had a preferred mode with respect to your rail corridors or a
preferred intermodal transfer facility, which maps would have been
provided. We think that the level of analysis on transportation is
sufficient and reasonable. So, again, you have both ends of the
With respect to NEPA comments, a number of, probably the
majority fall into we wish we had more time to comment, we wish we had
more hearings, we think that there should have been more detail on
design, that's sort of the spectrum there.
And then there's another 24 bins that have miscellaneous
other comments, much smaller hitters, that include the whole gamut of
geology's and other disciplines that we've been evaluating in the EIS.
We will address the comments that come in through the
comment hearing timeframe. We'll make appropriate changes and
incorporate responses or changes in the document, in the document
itself. There will also be a comment response document that will be
part of the final environmental impact statement that people can go to
and see how their comments were addressed, the change that resulted in
the EIS based on those comments. There will be a reference that will
take them back to the section of the EIS where those changes were made.
Agency interactions, we've been doing a number of those.
First off, with respect to cooperating agency status, that is a lead
agency determination. The lead agency can make a request to another
agency as it relates to cooperating status and preparing of the
document. Usually, the agency that one would turn to has jurisdiction
by law or special expertise with respect to an applicable environmental
From our review, there is only one entity that we turned to
and asked if they were interested in being a cooperating agency, and
that was the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, who basically said that that
was not appropriate, in their eyes, and that they elected to be a
commenting agency, not a cooperating agency.
We did receive four requests for cooperating agency status,
U.S. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Navy, Churchill
County, and Nye County.
We reviewed these requests carefully and we denied the
requests and felt that interfaces with these entities could be dealt
with in other ways. There is a rationale for these determinations in
Table C-2 of Appendix C of the document.
With all that said and done, we have had a number of
meetings and interfaces with these various organizations. NRC technical
exchanges, U.S. Navy as it relates to their fuel type, which is included
in our inventory mix for the draft environmental impact statement.
We've had interfaces with the Bureau of Land Management,
tied them into the document, had a number of discussions as it related
to potential follow-on NEPA work that would be tied to specific corridor
analysis, should a particular rail corridor intermodal transfer location
be selected as a result of this particular EIS process.
At that stage of the game, if we do go down that path, there
would perhaps be a cooperating agency status with BLM for the additional
NEPA work that might follow, and I'll talk about that more a little bit
We talked to the National Park Service as it relates to the
Death Valley National Monument, their concern for the Devil's Hole, the
use of water on our program, and they felt comfortable with that
U.S. Air Force, as it relates to crossing -- one of the
proposed corridors crosses the Nellis Air Force Bomb and Gunnery Range,
which is restricted, they have classified work going on there, and
obviously they've had some concern as it relates to that particular
We also dealt with them as it related to other cumulative
impacts out there, a neighbor to the north.
U.S. Corps of Engineers, wetlands dialogue and potential
future NEPA analyses for any follow-on NEPA document that might occur as
a result of the selection of a rail corridor intermodal transfer
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of
Transportation, EPA, CEQ, Fish and Wildlife Service ties to principally
biological assessment and the tortoise, which is a threatened species
right now at the site. And Advisory Council in Historic Preservation,
tied to cultural resources.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Wendy, what were some of the agenda items
of these consultations and meetings? What were you looking for as far
as an end?
MS. DIXON: It really varied depending upon organization.
That's why I was -- like I said, with respect to the National Park
Service, they wanted to make sure that we would continue doing a water
monitoring program as it related to the amount of water that we were
utilizing for our program. We have worked out an agreement as it
relates to that monitoring program for water usage.
There's also been dialogue with them as it relates to the
connection of the aquifers or lack thereof between Yucca Mountain and
the aquifer at the Devil's Hole area.
With respect to the Air Force, again, the dialogue has been
their concern as it relates to the Chalk Mountain and Caliente Route and
us getting information from them on their future plans for activities on
the Nellis Air Force Bombing and Gunnery Range, so we could look at
cumulative impacts, more of an information exchange, plus concern on
So it really, with the Bureau of Land Management, it tied
into information on what we were doing now, where we were heading or
potentially heading as it related to potential Congressional law,
potential withdrawals of right-of-way reservations tied to rail
corridors, the need for their support, for more detailed work, should a
selection be made on a corridor, because you would have to go back and
do a lot of additional detailed work on that particular corridor and
various alignments within that corridor and BLM would be a party to
So it really depended upon which agency we were talking to
as to the nature of that dialogue and what we were looking to get out of
it, if it was more information or if it was concern that people wanted
to vent or positions they wanted us to consider.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: You may have answered this, but was there
any kind of documentation on what you do?
MS. DIXON: Yes, there is documentation. And there is a
matrix in the environmental impact statement also that ties to all the
coordination meetings that we've had and for what purposes. That's
briefly in the documents here.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Thank you.
MS. DIXON: I really talk fast. If you want, tell me to
slow down. The reporter is probably hating me right now.
Presentations to oversight groups, and these are all
presentations that tie to the environmental impact statement, not the
NRC-5, this is our second one for ACNW. Nuclear Waste
Technical Review Board, overall there's been six. Tribal Nation update
meetings, this is back to the 17 tribes we deal with, with affiliations
to Yucca Mountain, seven of those; individual tribes, three. Five
discussions before the National Congress of American Indians.
We went ahead and with respect to the 17 tribes funded them
to prepare a reference document to the environmental impact statement,
that we have, in fact, referenced, and they call themselves the American
Indian Writer Subgroup and there have been three meetings with them
where we have helped set the stage for them going off and preparing
their document, the reference document on their beliefs and concerns
related to this program.
Presentations to state groups, McKay Commission two, Nevada
Legislature one, Nevada state regulators, one of those.
Affected units of local government, as you know, we have ten
affected units of local government and then there is the State of
Nevada. There's been 15 of those. We also mentioned to the affected
units of local government that if they had questions or wanted to set up
meetings with any of our technical experts in any of the disciplines
that we dealt with as part of the preparation of the DEIS, we would set
up such meetings, and there have been several of those, with Clark,
Inyo, Lincoln and Nye.
We also have a three-day transportation modeling session.
We have a number of models that we utilize in the EIS to deal with
impact analyses and our transportation calculations, inter-line highway,
We had a transportation workshop that ran three days long
and members of the affected units of local government, the State of
Nevada and the Indian tribes showed up for that workshop. They could
understand how the models worked and how we did the calculations in the
environmental impact statement.
And then Russ Dyer showed up at three update meetings.
These were public update meetings.
MR. HORNBERGER: On the workshop, the transportation
workshop, these were presentations.
MR. DIXON: These were hands-on computer -- yes.
MR. HORNBERGER: Hands-on, so people got in there and saw
how things worked.
MS. DIXON: Exactly, and could work it themselves.
MR. HORNBERGER: Could work it themselves.
MS. DIXON: Yes.
MR. HORNBERGER: Did they have an opportunity to look at the
effects of changing the route or anything like that?
MS. DIXON: Steve?
MR. MAHARIS: This is Steve Maharis. Yes, they were given
the opportunity to change whatever they wanted to change in the
MS. DIXON: And then we had three public update meetings
that were advertised in papers and so forth where the public came in and
there were two major agenda items. One was an overall status of the
project and the other one was the environmental impact statement, its
overall scope and content, and how to become involved.
This definitely is a complex document, considering its size.
It's for a 10,000 year period. It covers an awful lot of disciplines.
What we tried to do in its organization was prepare the document for a
fleet of audiences, for a variety of audiences.
So there is a summary document which is a very high level
synthesis and integration document, and then there's volume one, which
has in it a fleet of chapters that have a more detailed presentation of
information. For those people who are more interested, there is a
volume two, which is a fleet of appendices tied to volume one, with even
more detail, and then obviously there's references, if someone is really
interested in how the technical analyses were conducted.
We tried to make the document user-friendly to the extent
that we do have a number of text boxes, tables, summary analyses and
comparisons with important information that do identify potential
If you turn to Table F-1, it compares an impact between the
proposed action and the no action alternative. If you turn to Table
2-H, it compares the national impact, with the mostly legal weight truck
scenario, with the mostly rail scenario. And if you look at Tables2-9
and 2-10, it compares the impacts in Nevada between the various
So there are tables there for people who are interested in a
comparison to go take a look at them and understand what those are
MR. HORNBERGER: From the public comments you've gotten, are
people satisfied that these are clearly spelled out, they understand all
of these comparisons?
MS. DIXON: From a number of the comments that we have
received, it might be difficult to ascertain how much of the document
may actually have been read. The comments that we've gotten overall
have not been at the level of detail that would allow one to discern
that. These are very -- so far, the comments have been principally very
high level, overarching, generic kinds of comments, and they're hard to
get a good feel for, from that perspective.
Again, this ties to what I just said. There's a summary
document, 15 different chapters in volume one. If you want to
understand the proposed action and no action, you go to chapter two. If
you want to understand the impacts of the first 100 years, we have those
in the chapter four, environmental consequences of repository
construction, operation, monitoring and closure, with one exception, and
that is transportation.
And we specifically made a decision to pull transportation
out of chapter four and have a stand-alone chapter in chapter six,
because we felt that this was a part of this DEIS that was perhaps more
nationalized. It related to interests and for people outside of Nevada,
they could turn immediately to chapter six and get a feel and an
understanding for what was actually there, and if they were interested
in more detail, as I mentioned, there are a fleet of appendices and
Appendix J has the next tier detail in it with respect to transportation
analyses, just using that one as an example.
The proposed action. The proposed action is to construct,
operate and monitor and eventually close the geologic repository for the
disposal of spent fuel and high level radioactive waste. It is tied to
the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which basically says that for the
repository, one cannot receive a license for more than 70,000 metric
tons in such time as it affects repository and operation.
The split between the commercial side of the house and the
DOE side of the house is 90 commercial, ten Department of Energy spent
nuclear fuel and high level radioactive waste.
We also, based on comments that we received from certain
counties and from scoping, did look at two modules that were tied to
From the cumulative impact point of view, we looked at the
entire commercial inventory of spent nuclear fuel and high level waste,
assuming that the commercial reactors had extensions on their licenses
for an additional ten years, and that ended up being a total of 119,000
We also had another module, module two, that looked at
everything in module one, as well as potential impacts from storing
other material that requires geologic disposal, and that included
greater than Class C waste and DOE's equivalent of that, which there is
a special performance assessment required with.
Again, those two modules, though, are under cumulative
impacts, not under proposed actions.
As it related to the commercial spent nuclear fuel
inventory, waste is located at 72 commercial nuclear power sites. That
includes 118 operating proposed reactors in 32 different states.
It also assumes that 32 metric tons of surplus weapons
useable plutonium will be converted to mixed oxide, nuclear fuel, and is
included in that total as Mox fuel.
With respect to the DOE inventory, one-third is spent
nuclear fuel, two-thirds is high level radioactive waste. The spent
nuclear fuel includes all fuel covered in the spent fuel programmatic
environmental impact statement. Fuel is located at Hanford, Idaho,
Savannah River and Fort St. Vrain, and the high level radioactive waste
includes the 18 metric tons of surplus weapons useable plutonium which
is immobilized with high level radioactive waste with the high level
waste, and high level waste, Hanford, Idaho, Savannah River, West Valley
are the locations.
We end up with 77 locations overall between the DOE and
commercial side of the house.
The Nuclear Waste Policy Act does modify this environmental
impact statement to the extent that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act
addresses requirements under NEPA for the repository and says, in
particular, that the Act -- that this particular EIS need not consider
the need for a repository, alternatives to geologic disposal, or
alternative sites to Yucca Mountain.
It is important to note that there was a programmatic EIS
that was done back in 1980 that did look at alternatives to geologic
disposal or alternatives to the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high
level waste, and the preferred alternative was geologic disposal, which
led to the Nuclear Policy Act.
Because of the construct set up by Congress in the Nuclear
Waste Policy Act, there really is only two principal alternatives that
the EIS analyzes, and that's proposed action and the no action
alternative, under which there would be no development of a geologic
repository at Yucca Mountain.
MR. HORNBERGER: Do you have a legal requirement to analyze
the no action alternative?
MS. DIXON: We had a lot of dialogue on whether or not,
based on the construct of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, it was even
required, and we never really took it down the entire path of making
that decision, basically because there had been so many comments when we
went out for scoping with people that really wanted a detailed no action
analysis included, that we decided to go ahead and do it.
But definitely that was an argument that was put on the
These are some of the topics that I thought I'd step on just
really briefly, as it relates to our discussions under the proposed
action. The major emphasis of this presentation is long-term repository
performance and transportation.
On data sources for socioeconomics, I'm not going to go
through the list, but there were many. Analytical approach, we used a
four-step process in developing the baseline for the repository and
transportation socioeconomic analyses.
We did start out with 1990 Census-based data, because it was
a consistent database on a national basis and with respect to the
counties within the State of Nevada. We did improve the 1990
Census-based data. There is a 1998 report that has in it 1996
population information and we've turned to that 1996 information as it
related to Census Bureau updates.
We used the REMI model, which is Regional Economic Model,
Inc., to project data for the year 2000 as the baseline, because doing
impact analyses with 2000 as our baseline, we're looking at impacts at
2000 and then present and past from a human perspective.
We used REMI to project out to 2035 for the proposed action
and 2046 for module one and module two, tied to cumulative impacts. We
also used the Nevada State Demographer data for some of the historical
population information, and then the analysis evaluated changes to
employment, to economic measures, to population, housing and public
services, that could result from the proposed action and transportation
mode and corridor.
What we found as it relates to impacts at a summary level is
that the changes were less than one percent for all of the above
parameters in all of Nevada counties, with the exception of Lincoln
County, which ranged from less than one percent to six percent, if one
picked up the Lincoln County, Caliente, Chalk Mountain intermodal
transfer facility option. So from that perspective, it had the highest
impact as it relates to the 60 percent, and it was for one specific
We did not analyze impacts for which there were no
established causal relationships. That is an area you've heard people
comment on; your socioeconomic analyses were not complete because you
did not look at the egress or impacts of tourism of property values. We
did not look at those things that did not have an established causal
relationship, nor does one normally in a NEPA document.
Cultural resources. We identified project activities that
could directly or indirectly affect archeological, historic and
traditional Native American resources. We did identify the known or
likely eligible resources in the areas of potential impacts and we did
determine if a project activity would be likely to have an adverse
effect or not.
We've had a real extensive cultural resource program going on at Yucca
Mountain now for many, many years and this cultural resource program has
two components. One is the Native American component and the other one
is the archeologic component. What we've tried to do is marry these two
very closely together.
So we have done extensive pre-activity surveys at the Yucca
Mountain site. We will collect some information. Our first desire is
if there is an activity, that we have located on an area that has
cultural resources, to, if at all possible, move the activity somewhere
If that doesn't work and that is the location we need to go,
we do have a recovery program process that's been set up and we do not
deal with recovery unless we involve the Native American consolidated
group. They have two representatives that are on-site when we do a
recovery program and they're involved in providing guidance and
assistance in that regard.
We also turn to the consolidated group of tribes as it
relates to potential indirect effects from our activities, and by that I
mean if there is a location, a site that's been established, and in the
vicinity of that site there is also cultural resources and it's a
toss-up as to whether or not you need to build or leave it in place,
that decision lies in the Native American, the tribal representatives
that we deal with.
That type of activity and that interface would continue and
it is a mitigation that we talk to, as part of the environmental impact
statement. Through our analyses, we have found and identified 826
archeological locations near proposed surface facilities; 150 of these
are potentially eligible for inclusion in the National Register of
Historic Places and overall we're talking about very and similar what
you would find typical to the whole general area.
Now, that kind of detailed analysis that I just described,
the site-specific surveys, has not been done on the five rail corridors,
for example. We recognize that there would have to be more detailed
work done at certain points in the future, but that would occur after an
overall rail corridor was selected and we were looking at various
alignments between the rail corridors.
What we did in the DEIS is look at -- we did a literature
review of what we've known to be in the area for purposes of dealing
with the selection.
With respect to providing detailed information in the DEIS,
maps where archeological resources have been found, we did not do that,
we will not do that. This is not appropriate, in our eyes, as it
relates to the National Historic Preservation Act and most importantly,
we have an agreement with the 17 tribes that we deal with not to
publicize that information.
The concern is obviously if you start publicizing where
cultural resources are, you're going to have a lot of people out there
doing their own collection. So that is not included in the draft and,
like I said, would not be included.
Impacts. With mitigation, the document says that there
would be minimal adverse impact. We do recognize that that is not the
viewpoint of the Native American individuals that we deal with, the 17
tribes, and their reference document very strongly recognizes that and
the fact that they have a different viewpoint is also recognized in the
environmental impact statement.
Environmental justice. Environmental justice, environmental
quality in NRC guidance. The executive order does not have a criterion
as it relates to environmental justice overall. NRC guidance uses ten
percent, if the minority population in a certain area is over ten
percent, with the averages for the state or for the region, you'd
designate it as a minority population.
So we identified minority and low income populations in
Nevada using U.S. Census block groups. The U.S. Census data from 1990
gets you down to the lower geographical areas, so you can deal with
block groups analyses.
We analyzed technical disciplines, focused on consequences
for human populations, separate evaluations in environmental justice
were done for the repository, transportation and no action. It was a
two-stage approach. First, we determined if impacts are either high and
adverse. We compared impacts of existing standards or limits, we
compared them to baseline values, and then we obviously used
professional judgment if no standards or limits existed.
Then we considered whether any segment of the population,
including minority or low income populations, would be affected
disproportionately. Using comparison of impacts to standards as
applicable, baseline values and professional judgment, DOE determined
that there were no high and adverse impacts. It's hard to have a high
and adverse impact on your minority or low income populations if you
didn't have the lower adverse impacts in general to begin with.
Further, DOE concluded that no segment of the population
would be disproportionately affected. Therefore, they said there would
be no disproportionately high and adverse environmental justice related
impacts, recognized the opposing view from the consolidated group of
The one area that we actually did reference potential
environmental justice issues was tied to the no action scenario two, and
that's principally from the point of view that if there -- this is a
scenario where you don't take credit for institutional controls. There
was a concern that if such a scenario ever happened, the people that
fell into the low income, poverty category would have trouble having
resources to move away from those various sites.
Potential cumulative impacts, defined as the incremental
impacts of the proposed action, when added to other past, present and
reasonably foreseeable future actions. The description of baseline
conditions and the effect of environmental generally includes impacts of
past, present and future actions.
Examples. Land use and ownership, if you take that one, and
how we would analyze it in the EIS, which doesn't necessarily mean that
there aren't other parties out there that would prefer we analyze it in
a different fashion.
But starting out with the baseline year, and the baseline
year in the EIS is 2000, and like I said earlier, we project that with
population numbers in 2000 and worked off of that and future. Taking
the baseline year, one would look at the land ownership issue and with
respect to the Yucca Mountain site, you have -- NTS has as piece of
that. You have Nellis, which is tied to our right-of-way, and our
right-of-way on Nellis, and then we have an overall right-of-way
But however you look at it, it's all Federal property.
We're assuming that if the program moves forward, it would be a
Congressional land withdrawal, to, in the future, if this program
happened, it would be Federal property.
In the past, if I look back, it's been Federal property,
about 90 percent, I believe, of Nye County is Federal property. So from
a land ownership point of view, there is no change and we did not look
at it as an impact.
Certainly, Nye County wishes that we would look at it
differently and from their perspective, if we weren't there, perhaps the
land would revert to Nye County and they would be able to use it for
other economic purposes.
The same kind of scenario exists with respect to ground
water, as an example.
Environmental justice was looked at, socioeconomic was
looked at as it relates to in-migration of workers for this program and
potential impacts as it relates to additional workers.
MR. LEVENSON: Excuse me. I have a question about the slide
before this one. On your no action alternative two, you said that if
there is no effective institutional control after a 100 years, there's
an impact because people might not have the resources to move away from
the area. I don't understand that at all, because what does that have
to do with institutional control?
If it's safe to live there with an institutional control,
how do you jump to the conclusion that if there isn't an institutional
control, all of a sudden people have to move away? I don't find that
MS. DIXON: Under scenario two, no action scenario two, our
analyses allowed basically the facility to deteriorate. So over time,
the facility, the concrete casks deteriorates, the storage containers
deteriorate, the fuel is now exposed, and the area is severely
So it is not an area under no action scenario two that
people, if they knew what they were living next to, would want to live
MR. LEVENSON: What does institutional control have to do
with deterioration of containers?
MS. DIXON: Under scenario one and no action, the scenario is that for
all 10,000 years, there is institutional control that continues to
maintain the facility and every 100 years, we actually replace the
facility. So it stays intact and nothing is degraded.
In scenario two, after the first 100 years is over, we
looked at what would happen if we stepped aside and just let it
MR. LEVENSON: What do you replace every 100 years, the
MS. DIXON: And the -- well, the facility that the
containers are in is replaced. It's all dry storage. It's dry cask
storage and the dry cask storage containers are in a facility that has a
roof on it.
MR. LEVENSON: Okay.
MS. DIXON: Potential cumulative impacts. We did gather
information on Federal, non-Federal and private actions to identify
reasonably foreseeable future actions. Again, I'm not going through
this entire list, but there's a number of things out there that we did
look at, we did analyze as it related to the potential for cumulative
Mitigation actions. They are discussed in chapters in which
specific impacts are identified and then they are summarized in chapter
nine. If you turn to the CEQ regulations, mitigations may include the
avoidance of the impact all together by not taking a certain action. It
may include minimizing the impacts by limiting the degree you make the
action, repair, rehabilitation, restoration, reclamation, all those
things fall into potential mitigation.
Reducing or eliminating impacts over time by preservation or
maintenance operations. Compensation for the impact by replacing or
substituting resources or environments, replace one with another. I
mean, there's other ways to deal with mitigation.
It does not include, and this is specifically mentioned in
chapter nine of the environmental impact statement, it does not include
financial compensation that is covered in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act
under 116(c). We did mention this is in several places in the
environmental impact and some of the comments that we have gotten from
the public really tie to the desire to have financial compensation as it
relates to the program, equity concerns and issues, and those are
important issues. There is a place for them if they're outside of the
realm of NEPA in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and the state and affected
local governments do have the opportunity to prepare an impact
assistance report where considerations appropriate under 116 will be
This viewgraph just goes through a list of examples on
different types of mitigations that are addressed in the environmental
impact statement. Control programs, water recycling, ground water
monitoring, programs to protect cultural resources, programs to protect
desert tortoises, preventative maintenance, energy conservation.
Hazardous materials management program. Nuclear Waste
Policy Act Section 180(c) is mentioned and 180(c) is the provisions
under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act that are tied to emergency response.
It's looked at as it relates to potential mitigation. We
don't take credit for it in our transportation impact analyses and it's
not sufficiently done on the DOE EIS's. We do our impact analyses in
the upper ranges, so it's not there, but it is a potential mitigation.
But it's also recognized in the EIS that the detail tied to emergency
response will be dealt with as it relates to the provisions under 180(c)
at the appropriate time, which I believe is four years prior to the
shipment. You take in your training and funding for various dates to
get appropriate time to deal with emergency response, the concern being
that right now it's premature because whoever is there today that you
would bring on board and train may not be there in the year 2010 for
But again, those things are covered under a different part
of the Act.
Also, under mitigation, as we mentioned, potential design
enhancement, we did the analyses under proposed action with three
different thermal loads; one tied to the 25 metric tons per acre, one at
50 metric tons per acre, and one at the 85 metric tons per acre. It was
basically the VA design at the time, but we recognized that there were
other design alternatives that were out there being evaluated.
In the calculations, we didn't take credit for any of the
features that were there, but we did discuss in the EIS what kind of
differences might happen as it related to environmental impacts, if
things such as drip shields or backfill were added as part of the design
for the future.
Long-term repository performance. Long-term repository
performance calculations for radiological releases were, as you know,
based on total system performance assessment, viability assessment
output. The estimates are in concentration. The draft EIS calculated
potential impacts and the outputs were dealt with as it related to
collective dose and latent cancer fatalities.
To arrive at the latent cancer fatality numbers, we used
ICRP-60, which uses 2000 person rem equals one LCF for the public, 2500
person rem yields one LCF for workers, a difference really tied to the
fact that in the public domain, there are children, which is not the
case in the worker domain, assuming that the workers are at least 18
years of age or older.
We used best available information. We recognize that this
is early on in the design process. The EIS's don't go out with final
designs. EIS's normally happen very early in the process to look at
potential environmental impacts that might occur should the project go
forward, and what we did was recognize that as time progresses, the
department is going to continually be looking for ways to either improve
performance of the repository or to reduce stress, and those searches
will continue and analysis will continue and design modifications will
probably continue for some period of time into the future.
We did deal with extrapolations from the VA design for the
three thermal load designs that I mentioned, low, intermediate and high,
and as I also said, we did recognize the various enhanced design
alternative features that were described as part of our process. Those
are also in the EIS, and there is a discussion on changes of impacts
should those features be incorporated.
MR. HORNBERGER: Why was collective dose used?
MS. DIXON: I'll get to that and show you some of the
impacts in a few minutes, if you don't mind.
Three thermal loads, two inventories. We did the analyses
and the TSPA runs both for the base case, and well as the KIMs. We did
a sensitivity run for module two, which had a greater than Class C
waste, and it showed no difference in impact and we did not do full runs
for module two.
The VA case included credit for cladding, but the draft
environmental impact statement also has the sensitivity runs that were
done without cladding. Analyses were done for 10,000 years. Unlike the
VA, we did look at a maximum exposed individual at four different
distances, five kilometers, 20 kilometers, 30 kilometers, and 80
We did collective dose and related latent cancer fatalities,
and then we also looked at the chemical concentrations in the ground
water, which had not been done before, and I'll get to those impacts in
a minute, too.
We did, for the one million year timeframe, provide peak
This is just an example of the impacts, and I picked 20
kilometers, because that seems to be the distance of greatest interest,
and when you see ranges like this, this is the maximum exposed
individual at 20 kilometers, these are all done in mean values, but we
also did the 25th percentile and the 100 stochastic runs.
The range is normally between, of the millirems per year,
run from the low thermal load, .059 would be from low thermal load, to
high thermal load at .22.
From our perspective, the differences in impact as it
related to the three thermal loads at 10,000 years is pretty
indistinguishable. I mean, those are such small numbers, that, from an
impact point of view, there is no real difference.
The real differences that occurred between the three thermal
loads were all post-closure or pre-closure, excuse, the first 100 years,
and a lot of that was related to just the size of the facility and the
differences in sizes.
MR. HORNBERGER: Was any of it reflected in increased
handling, the surface facilities needed for low temperature?
MS. DIXON: It shows up as it relates to -- not as much
increased handling from -- we had a special scenario for handling the
fuel and what we did was bounded on both ends of the spectrum and we
varied the size of the waste handling facility, the number of workers
and the dose received based on that.
One of the scenarios was, whenever possible, we pushed all
the fuel to be uncannistered and hence requiring handling, and the other
end of the spectrum we pushed all the fuel, whenever possible, to be
canistered and obviously from that end of the bounding calculation, the
impacts are lesser. The handling goes down, the size of the facility
goes down, the worker dose goes down. So we do have both ends there.
Population doses, impacts during 10,000 years. Population
for the ground water is an issue obviously in long-term performance. In
Amargosa Valley, we used 1150 persons, that the population dose was
between .13 to .27 person rem, and then as it relates to doing the
latent cancer fatality calculation, less than less than less than one.
It doesn't matter if you're doing a full thermal load or high thermal
load, from a NEPA impact point of view, these are really small numbers.
The peak year dose number at 20 kilometers, 160 to 260
millirems per year.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: At what point in time does that occur?
MS. DIXON: As I recall, for this scenario, at 20
kilometers, it is roughly 200,000 years. But if you go to the EIS, it
has all three thermal loads and modules and distances, it's all broken
down and you can see the variations that occur.
I mentioned that we also looked at the analysis of long-term
impacts from chemical toxicity. To do this, the analytical approach
that we used was to identify all materials by element, and this was in
the SNF, in the high level waste, in the makeup of the waste package
itself, the makeup of the repository itself.
We screened the materials by total quantity, by toxicity, by
solubility, and based on the quantity and characteristics in our
analysis, we identified three potential chemicals that could have an
impact, chromium, molybdenum, and uranium for further analysis.
We used the TSPA transport model to estimate concentrations
and then we looked at what those concentrations were related to maximum
contaminant levels, and they were not exceeded in the 10,000 year
period, and we documented the information in the draft environmental
I'm ready to move to transportation, unless there's any
other questions or comments tied to --
MR. HORNBERGER: I'd just like to follow up just a little
bit. I can see that it didn't make an iode of difference.
Nevertheless, philosophically, does NEPA require you to use collective
dose? If not, why did you choose to use collective dose?
MS. DIXON: Joe, would you like to address that?
MR. ZIEGLER: This is Joe Ziegler, I'm a consultant to DOE,
Booze Allen Hamilton.
DOE guidelines for doing NEPA documents requires us to look
at impacts from radiological forces and to do those impacts, they look
at it in terms of latent cancer fatality. There is a direct conversion
from collective dose to latent cancer fatalities and we do assign linear
no threshold in those calculations.
We got in some uncertainty discussions about whether it's
real or not as far as the linear no threshold on small doses, but we do
use it anyway.
MR. LEVENSON: Let me just follow-up on that question. I
understand your answer that there is not a legal requirement to do so,
but it's a DOE self-imposed requirement.
MS. DIXON: But overall what you're looking at is impacts
and impacts are dealt with as it relates to -- and that's kind of a
program, the impact would be --
MR. LEVENSON: You're telling me why DOE interprets it that
way, but this is a DOE requirement or interpretation.
MR. ZIEGLER: I believe that's correct.
MS. DIXON: The NEPA guidelines and the CEQ regs are fairly
general in nature.
Which brings me to transportation, and the very first bullet
under transportation ties, in part, to the question that you just asked.
In developing our environmental impact statement, we used a document
that we fondly call the DOE green book, which is the Department of
Energy's guidelines to preparing a NEPA document.
The reason why I put that reference under transportation is
that with the guidance dealing with accident analyses from the DOE,
we're directed to do an accident analysis, if there is a probability of
an accident happening in one-times-ten-to-the-minus-seven or one in two
This is for DOE. If you turn to NRC guidelines, I think
theirs is one-times-ten-to-the-minus-six.
So again, these kind of accidents are really low
probability, high consequence kinds of events that are included in this
draft environmental impact statement.
The approach that we used for transportation is not new or
revolutionary. It is the same transportation impact analyses approach
that has been done on many other Department of Energy EIS's, including
the programmatic spent nuclear fuel EIS, foreign fuels EIS, Navy
container system EIS, WIPP EIS, and the waste management programmatic
environmental impact statement.
Areas evaluated, and I will provide the impacts as we go
through the presentation, include incident-free and accident, which is
basically rad and non-rad; impact to maximum exposed individual or
population, and accident consequences.
To do the transportation analyses, we analyzed one highway
route and one rail route from each generator site. We used Department
of Transportation regulations to plug in the routes or to deal with the
routes in our modeling, and DOT regulations for highway basically say
that you use interstates, beltways, bypasses around cities, and reduce
time in transit.
We also used the 1990 Census data for population densities.
This is a consistent resource to provide population down at the
geographical area that we were looking at as it related to
We used state level accident rate data. The EIS updated the
state accident rate to a three-year average between '94 and '96 using
U.S. Department of Transportation information, and then we sent out a
letter to all of the states and we basically told them what we were
using and if you have any more current information than what we're
using, provide it to us for purposes in our calculation.
We did receive information from five states, California,
Illinois, Nebraska, Nevada, and South Carolina. Each state gave us a
slightly different set of information. There was no real information
submitted by any of them. We did take the information provided and did
a sensitivity analysis with that information. That is supplies in
Appendix J, for those people who are interested, but the differences in
impacts or analyses were pretty invisible.
Computer codes use. Highway, interline, RADTRAN, RISKIND,
for different purposes, and I think that is fairly self-explanatory. I
did mention the fact that we did have a three-day session on these codes
in May for affected units of local government, the state, and Native
American tribes, who were interested in how all of this worked.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Before you get on the routes. I'm trying
to understand where you actually analyze mechanistically the impacts of
accidents on the containment systems. Is that in RISKIND?
MS. DIXON: Steve, would you please address that? This is
Steve Maharis, who is party to our transportation analyses.
MR. MAHARIS: This is Steve. We got at the releases through
the mechanism of a release fraction applied to the inventory contained
in the cask.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: So it sounds like you didn't really do
any containment mechanistic analysis.
MR. MAHARIS: No. We relied on NRC's containment analysis
that had been done in the modal study for the release fractions derived
from those sorts of calculations.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Thank you.
MS. DIXON: I mentioned how the truck routes were utilized,
and that was using Department of Transportation regulations for spent
fuel and high level waste. We also recognized in the modeling that
there were a number of states, I believe ten total, that do have
preferred Department of Transportation alternate routes, and we included
their preferred routes in there.
We recognized that between now and the first shipment, other
states might end up coming up with preferred alternative routes in
accordance with Department of Transportation regulations, but that's a
state responsibility and we obviously analyze conditions as they
currently are today.
Railroad routes, we recognize, are not regulated. The
routes collected for analysis using algorithm that maximizes distance on
mainline tracks, it minimizes overall distance, and interchanges between
railroads. INTERLINE computer code was used to simulate the rail
With respect to level of detail, we have had some complaints
that there weren't detailed maps provided in the EIS, and that is a true
statement. We did not put that information in the document. We did
explain how the analyses were done and how the Department of
Transportation routes -- you know, the highway route was reflected in
INTERLINE and all the computer codes.
If you turn to the reference document to the EIS, one of
them for transportation is in that national transportation and
environmental baseline file, which has additional information in it, and
recently we added on the internet the data files that are associated
with the environmental baseline file.
And if you pull the data file, it actually has the
interstate exits and you could use those data files to drive the route
if you wanted to.
There is another CD that we don't have on the internet that
several people have asked for. It's a compact disc that has in it all
of the dose assessments and computer runs that were done as part of the
modeling process and a copy has been provided to the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, the State of Nevada, the ten affected units of local
government, and the Nuclear Information Resource Service. It's
available on request. Again, it's not loaded on the internet. Pretty
With respect to Nevada transportation, Nevada is one of the
many states that does not have a state preferred alternative route.
Certainly between now and the first shipment, they could come up with
one, but the analysis that we use is the DOT route. And if you follow
the DOT regulations, all of the shipments would come into the State of
Nevada from Arizona or from California on I-15, go up through the
beltway, and then travel up 95 to the potential repository site.
There is an issue with respect to Clark County that they
have raised and that concerns they are questioning whether or not we can
actually use the beltway or can't use the beltway, and that's an issue
that counsel at some other time can deal with. We did do a sensitivity
analysis and looked at what the differences in impacts would be if you
use a spaghetti bowl versus the beltway, and it's like a tenth of a
fatality over 24 years. That's not in the draft EIS, but we'll include
it in the final environmental impact statement.
MR. LEVENSON: Is this route the one currently used for low
level waste going to NTS?
MS. DIXON: I think they use several different routes for
low level waste going to NTS. The regs for low level waste are not the
same as they are for spent fuel and high level waste.
MR. LEVENSON: I just wondered if it happened to be.
MS. DIXON: It would be a route used, but I think that
they've looked at others, too, and it's not the only one. Steve?
MR. MAHARIS: Yes, that's true, what you just said
MS. DIXON: Okay. The analyses, as it related to rail as a
potential mode, we looked on the national side as a mostly rail, mostly
legal weight truck bounding analysis, recognizing, over time, it would
be a combination of the two.
In Nevada, there is a lot more detail as it relates to the
rail scenario because there is no rail line that goes to the potential
So we looked at the impact from actually constructing and
operating a new ground rail line in Nevada, as well as the potential
impact from constructing and operating an intermodal transfer facility,
and then heavy hauling the material the rest of the way to the potential
Under rail, the spent nuclear fuel and high level waste
would arrive at Carlin, Caliente, Jean or Apex on the Union Pacific
Railroad. We looked at five potential one-quarter-mile-wide rail
corridors for a branch line. This analysis really started out some
We originally had looked at seven different alternate
potential rail corridors. We evaluated them based on engineering
feasibility, where mountain ranges are and valleys and how long and land
use conflicts and environmental issues, winnowed the list down to, over
a fairly long process, four.
We went out to scope and we had comments from several
parties to add back in a route that we had dropped, which was the
Caliente-Chalk Mountain route, look at it one more time. We added it
back in, which equated to the five routes that we analyzed in the draft
environmental impact statement.
With the analyses, we looked at impacts from 12 resource
areas, and that includes the cultural and biological and noise and
aesthetics and the analyses that we've done for other parts of the
program, as well.
We stated very clearly in the environmental impact statement
that DOE does not have a preferred corridor. We don't have a preferred
corridor and if you don't have a preferred corridor, you can't say you
have a preferred corridor.
What we want is input from the public. We're looking for
them to let us know what their preferences are, for whatever those
reasons might be. So it is definitely true that we have had some
criticism from the public that we did not tell them what our preferred
corridor was. We don't have one, and we'd like to have their input and
we very much are interested in what they have to say about it.
The draft environmental impact statement does include
sufficient information to make a decision on transportation mode and
corridor. However, we recognize that the specific alignment of a
transportation route within a corridor will require additional NEPA
analyses, and I think that might become more apparent when I throw the
map up from the corridors analyzed.
For example, this gives you a picture of the five different
rail corridors and you can see what we looked at, and basically you're
looking at differences from going from point A to point B, and this is
the long Caliente route that goes around and then goes into the site.
This is the Chalk Mountain route that goes through the Nellis Air Force
Bombing and Gunnery Range, Jean corridor, modified corridor, major
differences in length.
But you have a couple of routes there that are running
around 300 miles long and you have a couple of them, a number of them
that have the potentiality for a number of different alignments, or at
least a couple of different alignments.
A real good one to point to is the one that's coming off
from Carlin. The lighter colors that you see on that map are other
potential alignments that might be considered.
So for example, if, out of this EIS, there is a decision
document that came up with a selection of hypothetically the Carlin
route, you would, at a later point in time, prepare an additional NEPA
document, with additional information on site information, site specific
information on variations, and there are a lot of variations in
alignment that might be reasonable to look at for a detailed analysis
that would come up with a specific alignment for construction at a later
point in time.
But this is, in broad terms, sort of the programmatic look
at five different options that would hopefully or could hopefully end up
with a selection which would lead to another NEPA analysis that has a
greater level of detail tied to that.
Likewise, if there is no decision to construct a rail
corridor and the decision comes out to construct an intermodal transfer
facility, the EIS identifies three potential locations in Nevada for an
intermodal transfer facility, and then there are five resultant heavy
haul routes that come from that. Again, same story applies here. We
had no preference for an intermodal transfer facility. We did not say
so in the draft input. We really want the public's input on this, and
hopefully we'll get a number of comments toward that end.
MR. LEVENSON: Don't have an opinion to which is preferred.
Is there enough information in the EIS to estimate the difference in
cost between the various alternatives?
MS. DIXON: There is a difference in cost and that
principally ties to distance. The longer routes are obviously more
costly, they disturb more land, take longer to build, require more
MR. LEVENSON: My question was, is there information, even
summary, in the EIS about that.
MS. DIXON: yes, there is. And the various categories that
we've looked at are discussed in that EIS, so that you can compare the
differences between the routes in the document.
Again, for information purposes, this chart provides you
with the three intermodal transfer locations, Jean, Apex, Dry Lake,
Caliente, and then five heavy haul routes that would come off those
three intermodal transfer stations.
It is also recognized in the document that the heavy haul
route would require special permits. There could be a requirement for
permitting each individual heavy haul vehicle. Because of low travel
speeds and daylight only operations, routes that would originate at
Caliente would require a mid-route overnight stopover.
Route upgrades could include adding turnout lanes or grades,
reconstructing frost-restricted highways, widening travel and emergency
lanes, and removing sharp curves and other obstacles to these vehicles.
It also has to upgrade the heavy haul route at least three times during
the course of the 24-year transportation timeframe.
Assessment. Impacts may be incident-free or due to
accidents. Impacts may be radiological or non-radiological.
Radiological impacts obviously depend on the nature of the cargo and
non-radiological impacts do not.
From an incident-free impact point of view, the draft EIS
presents both individual and population doses and latent cancer
fatalities. Exposure groups include the drivers of the vehicles,
escorts and inspectors, the people sharing the road, people at stops,
people living along the road.
Non-radiological impacts were looked at and they include
vehicle pollutants. They were quantified in terms of fatalities and
they range from .6 for trucks to .3 for rail over the 24-year period.
Dose rates used for incident-free transportation analyses were the DOT,
Department of Transportation maximum allowable values. So in cases, we
used the upper range of the regulations to do our impact calculations.
MR. HORNBERGER: The .6 or .3, that's the total over the
24-year operation period?
MS. DIXON: Yes, very small numbers.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Is there any distinction in those numbers
made? You mentioned it's pretty much a matter of distance. Is there
any distinction made relative to rain? Because some of those routes are
much more mountainous than other routes.
MS. DIXON: Relative to rain?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Relative to rain, yes.
MS. DIXON: Steve?
MR. MAHARIS: The cost analyses would consider cut-and-fill
and the amount of dirt that had to be moved and things like that.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I'm thinking also about the accident
rate, because it's been a while, but when I looked at accident rate, you
could see a marked difference between the frequency of occurrence in
mountain terrain versus flatter terrain. Some of these routes are quite
a different -- it's much more than distance is what I'm saying.
MR. MAHARIS: Yes, true. True.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Did you look at those kinds of
distinctions? They don't make much difference apparently in the dose.
MR. MAHARIS: They don't make much difference in the
accident calculations that we did based on the state-specific data that
we got from the State of Nevada versus the state data that we obtained
from the DOT either.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I came out of the mining and timber business and I
know that the trucking incidents in the mountain regions were much
greater than in the flat regions, and the Caliente to the site does
involve considerable mileage of mountain driving.
MR. MAHARIS: That's a heavy haul truck, though, and that
thing is 220-feet long. So it's not really the same as a standard 80.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I understand. But I drove rigs that
weren't 20 -- we did haul 30 tons of lumber and I've had some firsthand
experience with the difference between driving in the mountains and
driving in the flatland, and to a trucking company, how they look at it
and how they get insurance and what have you, there is a big difference.
I just was curious if any of those differences were
accounted for here. Apparently not. Okay.
MS. DIXON: For the potential accident impacts, we used
typical pressurized water reactor spent nuclear fuel to calculate
accident impacts. Accident assessment used state-specific accident
data. Non-rad impacts were dealt with as it related to traffic
fatalities. Rad impacts were dealt with as it related to potential
latent cancer fatalities. Radiological accident risks were calculated,
which was probability times consequence, which were summed over the
complete spectrum of accidents.
I mentioned the fact that we looked at both high
probability-low consequence to low probability-high consequence events,
and that our maximum reasonably foreseeable accident looked at any kind
of accident that could occur in one in ten million per year probability.
We dealt with accident consequences in both a rural
environment, which was defined as 120,000 people or less in a
80-kilomter radius, and urbanized areas, which were defined as five
million people or more in an 80-kilometer radius.
We used two sets of atmospheric conditions, neutral and
stable. The dose assessment, as I said, did not take credit for
emergency response or remedial actions in our calculations, although
they obviously are a potential mitigation which would be dealt with.
The typical approach that we used or the approach that we
used is very typical to that used in other DOE environmental impact
statement transportation analyses.
We did recognize 180(c) and how it applies, but it was not,
like I said, incorporated in the evaluations we did for accidents. And
we did use the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission modal study for
release for accident conditional probability.
MR. LEVENSON: Does Section 180(c) give DOE the
responsibility for assuring that training, et cetera, really happens or
only that they provide the technical assistance and funding for those
local units that want to do it?
MS. DIXON: It provides money and equipment for training to
the various states. It's up to the states to make a determination as to
what their needs for that particular state best are.
Mostly trucks, this is an overview of potential impacts. In
the mostly truck case, we estimated the potential for 29 latent cancer
fatalities and 11 traffic fatalities over 24 years. The 11 traffic
fatalities include four which specifically are related to transporting
of spent nuclear fuel and high level waste and the remainder of those 11
are tied to commuting back and forth to work, bringing materials back
and forth to work over that 24-year timeframe.
The 11 latent cancer fatalities that are up here on the
graph, exposure of workers includes six, which are related strictly to
the load-out operations that would occur at the generator facilities,
for preparing the material for transport. Eighteen latent cancer
fatalities from exposure of the public.
The majority of those really tie to layovers at truck stops over the
24-year period of time. The radiological accident risk over the full
spectrum of accidents, including the maximum reasonably foreseeable
accident, ends up being .07 LCF, and if you had an assumption of one
that the maximally reasonable foreseeable accident would happen, it
would result in five latent cancer fatalities, with a probability of 1.9
in ten million per year.
On the mostly rail case, we calculated about six latent
cancer fatalities and 16 traffic fatalities over 24 years. Of the 16
traffic fatalities, four are tied to actually transporting the spent
nuclear fuel and high level radioactive waste. The remainder are tied
to people commuting back and forth to work and movement of construction
materials during that 24-year timeframe.
Three latent cancer fatalities occur from exposure of
workers, two of which happen at the load-out timeframe, and a
potentiality for three latent cancer fatalities from exposure of the
Radiological accident risk, .02 latent cancer fatalities.
If you assume that the reasonably maximum foreseeable accident equation
shows 31 latent cancer fatalities, with a probability of 1.4 in ten
million per year of occurring.
MR. HORNBERGER: The exposure of the public is mostly of
layover of trucks.
MS. DIXON: Which has a potential mitigation that we did not
incorporate, which is keeping the truck away from being in close
proximity of very other truck that's sitting there. But we did not put
in that potential measure as a mitigation for our analysis. I think 15
of the 18 fall in that category.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: And that probably essentially all comes
from invoking the linear dose to the public.
MS. DIXON: Yes, all of it does.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: These are artifacts of that process.
MR. HORNBERGER: And the decreased worker exposure in the
rail case or the truck case was a smaller number of canisters and less
handling at the loading out.
MS. DIXON: Yes. You have considerably less shipment.
MR. HORNBERGER: But fewer shipments wouldn't necessarily
lead to lower exposure, right?
MS. DIXON: No.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Not per shipment.
MR. LEVENSON: But, George, if you look at their assumptions
for radiation leakage from the cask, the driver exposure is not zero,
and that does not occur in train shipments.
MS. DIXON: That's true. It's two millirems per hour for
the truck driver.
We had a number of comments when we went out for scoping
tied to you really need to look at potential impacts from sabotage in
your draft environmental impact statement. There had been a study done
by Sandia back in 1983 that looked at potential impacts from sabotage,
but based on comments from scoping, we did update the analyses, had
Sandia do another report looking at the potential impacts from today's
modern truck and spent nuclear fuel casks.
In doing the analyses, we did look at two different devices.
They were tied to the potentiality of actually damaging the cask. The
impacts came out in a range from two for rail and 15 for legal weight
truck potential latent cancer fatalities. These impacts are bounded by
the analyses that we did do for the maximum reasonably foreseeable rail
accident and that, as I mentioned, is the 31 potential latent cancer
Is there any other questions on transportation before I move
into no action?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Except for the accident calculations, all
these doses are just chronic doses.
MS. DIXON: Very, very small doses.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I mean, they're not perturbed by other
accidents or what have you. It's just routine exposure, the ones that
MS. DIXON: The incident-free are all just being in the
proximity of the cask.
MR. LEVENSON: I have kind of a generic question on
transportation, the background for which there is some concern to the
surface to the WIPP shipment. Exactly what is DOE's responsibility
compared to, say, DOT and the states and NRC?
The public perception is that DOE ought to be responsible
for all of it. I think that's really the case. Does the EIS make very
clear what the limited responsibility of DOE is and what is it?
MS. DIXON: Are you talking about liability?
MR. LEVENSON: No. Who is responsible for deciding where it
gets shipped, whether the drivers work nights, whether they're escorted
by police cars, whether there's emergency, whether they're monitored,
everything that goes into transportation that concerns the public?
MS. DIXON: The document, draft environmental impact
statement does specify what responsibilities are those of the Department
of Transportation related to their requirements for shipping and the
doses that could be received or can't be received by workers and the
It does recognize NRC's responsibility as it relates to
safeguards and security and the casks. It does recognize Department of
Transportation responsibility as it relates to following the regulations
and meeting the appropriate requirements.
It does recognize that states have the ability to impose
some of their own requirements during shipment as it relates to their
inspectors and if they want to track the route all the way -- the
shipment on the way through or not, it does recognize that we will
provide TRANSCOM, a satellite tracking system for the state, and it's up
to the state to deal with that, it's provided to them.
So it does spell out different responsibilities by different
Federal agencies and responsibilities by the state that could change or
be different from state to state. It is very confusing, I certainly
don't argue that point, and it has been confusing for the public.
MR. LEVENSON: What about the emergency response aspect?
Does the document make it clear, the DOE responsibility until level
three or something?
MS. DIXON: The document makes it clear, I believe,
although, quite frankly, there has been a reaction from the public that
the document could have spent a lot more time saying specifically what
we're going to do for emergency response.
The document does not do that. The document backs off and
says that's covered in another part of the Act, it is premature at this
point in time to get into those kind of procedural details, and that
will happen later.
So it certainly hasn't satisfied the public's interest in
that regard, but from an EIS perspective, I think it's done what it
needs to do, but it doesn't necessarily make people happy.
MR. LEVENSON: I wasn't talking about the detail so much as
whether it makes it clear that it isn't necessarily up to DOE later to
do it. It isn't the DOE responsibility, is it?
MS. DIXON: DOE does have a responsibility to implement the
requirements that are defined under 180(c) and provide funding to the
states to --
MR. LEVENSON: They're responsible for providing the
funding, but they're not responsible for the states doing it.
MS. DIXON: That's true. Ultimately, emergency response is
a big responsibility. We're there to help and assist and we have our
expertise and our drivers will have their emergency response plans and
all that will be in place, but the state has responsibility in this
MR. MAHARIS: And there is a discussion of transportation
emergencies in chapter six, on page 30 of chapter six.
MR. HORNBERGER: Wendy, just one quick one. Is there any
analysis of what happens in -- maybe this is a maximum credible accident
or whatever you called it -- of a canister, a shipping canister, say,
going off the road into one of these deep mountain ravines and how one
MS. DIXON: Dave, on the retrievability situation, can you
touch on that?
MR. MAHARIS: There's no calculation on the retrieval of the
cask, but there are dose calculations from accidents that would have
those kinds of forces involved.
MR. HORNBERGER: Okay.
MS. DIXON: No action. Much discussed. We recognize in the
environmental impact statement that if the development of the Yucca
Mountain repository does not proceed, future actions by DOE and
commercial utilities are certainly uncertain.
With that said and the discussion we had up front as it
relates to do you really need to do no action or not and our decision to
proceed forward irrespective, if you turn to the CEQ 40 most asked
questions, which have a lot of dialogue included as it relates to no
action, it says, as it relates to no action alternatives, no change from
current management direction or level of management intensity, and it
also defines no action as this analysis provides a benchmark enabling
decision-makers to compare the magnitude of the environmental effects of
the action alternatives.
So we use these guidelines to help develop our construct for
the no action alternative, also keeping in mind the Nuclear Waste Policy
The definition of the no action alternative in our DEIS says
that from a Yucca Mountain perspective, we would close the exploratory
tunnel, would reclaim any existing Yucca Mountain facilities from the
two scenarios that were done that would cause no action.
One was to continue on-site storage of spent nuclear fuel
and high level waste with the current level of management control for a
period of 10,000 years, to be commensurate with the proposed repository
analyses, and the second scenario was to continue on-site storage of
spent nuclear fuel and high level waste for 10,000 years, again, to be
commensurate with proposed action; however, not to take institutional
controls after the first 100 years.
Both scenario one and scenario two have a 100-year timeframe
that is broken out in them. The repository program has a 100-year
timeframe that is broken out in it.
So if anyone is only interested in what happens in the first
100 years, you can compare the no action scenario with the proposed
action scenario for 100 years or you can do them both for the 10,000
Under the Yucca Mountain no action alternative scenarios, we
developed -- tried to develop these scenarios to reasonable deal with
bounding. We tried to develop the scenarios to provide a baseline for
comparison. We do recognize that both scenarios are unlikely.
But when you look at how many intermediate scenarios could
be, if 100 years is right, do you want 200 years, we had some people
say, you know, well, you wouldn't lose institutional control in 100, and
is say, well, if we put it five, that's too long. We don't want to go
there. We did the best job we could and we do recognize that there are
a million intermediate scenarios that you could probably pick from.
We also did recognize that other things have been looked at,
such as interim storage facilities, and if you turn to the draft EIS,
you will find in there a matrix that looks at all the various
environmental documents that have been performed looking at interim
storage or at-reactor storage or MRS storage.
We recognize the Goshute Indian Reservation ER that had been
done at the time that this went forward. So there is a recognition
And if one is interested in any of those environmental
analyses, there is a reference and you can go pull that document and get
We were concerned about the no action analyses, because we
were concerned that it was possible that people could perceive that we
had tried to stack the deck against the no action analysis in favor of
So unlike the bounding calculations that we did for the
repository, where we tried to, for the most part, bound the impacts on
the higher end, for the no action analyses, when there was a choice in
assumptions, we usually took the assumptions that would actually
decrease the impact in order to make sure that it didn't appear as if we
had stacked the deck in favor of the repository, so to speak.
We were concerned about the assumptions that were used and
we did want to have additional expertise to review and look and provide
input to us on that. So we turned to what we call our senior technical
panel members and brought them in to look at and provide recommendations
and guidance to us on our analytical approach, our assumptions, and our
uncertainties, and there was a lot of good dialogue that occurred on all
of the analyses and assumptions that were used for the no action
alternative, and we had some really good inputs from the individuals
that are depicted on the visual.
Potential impacts evaluated. We did quantitative analysis
that focused on human health impacts, latent cancer fatalities from
radiation exposure, we looked at traffic fatalities again to and from
work, industrial accident fatalities, radiological accident fatalities,
socioeconomic as it relates to number of employees, waste management,
and we used the NEPA guidelines tied to the sliding scale approach as it
relates to importance.
You want to focus the details of your analysis on those
things that are truly important. Our focus is really principally on the
radiological issues tied to safety and health.
For DOE sites, we assume that the materials are stored
indefinitely at the five sites mentioned previously. For commercial
sites, we assume that the spent nuclear fuel is stored at the 72 reactor
site. We assumed, when we started the analysis, that all of the
material is in dry storage, basically in dry storage, that no
transportation to storage locations is necessary, that's already been
done, and no additional processing is required for long-term storage.
Scenario one. In scenario one, they are monitored,
maintained and inspected for 10,000 years. Environmental workers and
off-site population impacts were extrapolated from existing operational
We used the information in the Calvert Cliffs EA as our
basis for a typical IPSE or long-term storage site. We also got
information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. DOE has a computerized
accident incident system database that reports number of incidents,
accidents per worker and we turn to that for some of our data.
Oak Ridge National Transportation Survey has commuter
fatalities per mile that we used as it relates to fatalities. We also
looked at continuing over the 10,000 years to maintain the facility and
actually replacing the facility every 100 years. So the impacts from
that are included in the analysis, as well as the cost.
Scenario two, impacts for the first 100 years are
essentially the same. After the first 100 years, we assume maintenance
and surveillance stops. Facilities, canisters and cladding gradually
degrade, and contaminants are eventually released into the environment,
and that process begins in about 1,100 years.
Long-term impacts focused on radiological impacts, as I
said, a lot of the other disciplines were more qualitative in nature.
We also spent quite a bit of time under no action talking about the
large uncertainties associated with analyses that we did.
We did a reasonable approach for scenario two. What we were
focusing on wasn't the differences in impact between individuals amongst
77 sites. That wasn't important to us. What was important to us was
the difference in the impacts for the total of 70,000 metric tons left
at 77 sites and the total of 70,000 metric tons left at the proposed
So that was our focus. It was the comparison on impacts
tied to the fuel inventory, leaving it where it was or moving it to the
The impact analysis performed did use site-specific
information from climatology, meteorology, hydrogeology, population,
demographics, and radionuclide inventory. However, the information was
utilized and weighted appropriately and tied to hypothetical sites that
were developed for each region, which are in mathematical construct, and
one could argue that those regions are right and if one wanted to change
them, you could change them and still get the same answer if you did the
calculation appropriately based on the information that we plugged into
I mentioned that appropriate weighting factors were used to
assure analysis would provide results comparable to site specific
MR. LEVENSON: I have a question on the impact analysis for
site specific, climatology, meteorology, hydrology, et cetera.
It sounds like a lot of work. What was the relative cost of
the no or insignificant figure of the no action option as opposed to the
other? Is it a significant part of the cost?
MS. DIXON: I will tell you that probably spent more money
on this no action analysis than we have -- this is speculation, but I
feel comfortable in saying it -- as has probably been done in any other
no action analysis and any other DOE EIS.
MR. LEVENSON: That wasn't my question. What percent of the
total cost of this EIS was spent on the no action?
MS. DIXON: Ten percent.
MR. LEVENSON: To do 72 sites, all of this information, as
opposed to one site, and it only comes out ten percent. I find that a
little hard to believe.
MS. DIXON: What we did for the 77 sites was to go to the
NRC reference libraries and we didn't go out and do site specific
analysis at 77 sites. We went to the NRC libraries and pulled from the
information that was in the library, the data that they use in the
environmental report. So it was work that had already been done that we
basically utilized in doing our calculation, whereas at Yucca Mountain,
there were a few differences that needed to be dealt with.
This is an overview of the five regions that we analyzed as
far as indicating commercial nuclear sites, dots are the DOE sites. It
vaguely looks familiar as it relates to the old NRC.
MEPAS was used to perform the analyses. That's the
multi-media environmental pollution assessment system. This is a code
that was developed by Pacific Northwest Laboratories, principally to
deal with remediation to deal with, and it's been used for a number of
other applications as time progressed, including the WIPP EIS for no
action, as well.
It is a deterministic model. It does look at all the
pathways, ground, air and surface water. Regional environmental
parameters were used to estimate over land and ground water transport.
Actual stream flow rates for downstream populations were used to
estimate selected impacts based on 1990 data.
Atmospheric transport was determined to be pretty
unimportant. The main pathway was surface water in the no action
This chart shows the potentially affected ground water
systems and, again, what was done was the analyses were weighted.
Analysts looked at populations downstream, dilution downstream,
contaminants downstream, and did the calculation.
With respect to an overview of potential impacts from the
repository or a site characterization perspective, but there was an
evaluation as it related to the potential loss of jobs.
In scenario one, where we take credit for institutional
control for a 10,000 year timeframe, we looked at the potential of 31
latent cancer fatalities.
Interestingly enough, about 16 of those latent cancer
fatalities happened during the first 100 years and that's tied to the
fact that the fuel is younger and you have an IPSE located next to an
operating reactor in our analysis and you're constructing one while
you're operating another. The numbers go down, obviously, after the
first 100 years.
And over the 10,000 year period, there's approximately 1,100
community and worker accident fatalities.
Under the scenario two, which does not take credit for
institutional control after 100 years, the first 100 years are exactly
the same, obviously. You have seven community and industrial accident
fatalities during the first 100 years and you have the same 16 latent
cancer fatalities from operating the IPSE.
Over the 10,000 year period, we calculated 2,200 latent
cancer fatalities. The potential contamination at all 77 sites and
surrounding resources, and we did do a maximum reasonable foreseeable
accident for both of these, which was an airplane crash, but the
airplane crash would not end up with an impact under the maintenance of
institutional control scenario. It did under the loss of institutional
control scenario and it resulted in between three and 13 latent cancer
And you can argue why we did an airplane crash and there was
a lot of discussion on that one, too.
MR. LEVENSON: Let me ask a question. You include the loss
of jobs at the repository under this no action, but it seems to me if
every 100 years you're going to completely rebuild everything in all of
these, maybe you should have an addition of jobs, not a loss of jobs.
MS. DIXON: We did look at the workforce for no action that
would be at the 77 operating sites. From a socioeconomic perspective,
that was there on the other side. You're absolutely correct, that's a
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Was there much debate about the reality
of the two scenarios? To me, scenario two was totally -- lacks
credibility because it's just not the way it would happen. There is no
way that scenario two would ever come about.
So when you're talking alternatives, it seems to me that in
order to build public confidence, one of the first rules you want to
realize is reality. Scenario two, when you have stewardship and
maintenance, that's the way we do things. There is no way that a
society would not convert scenario two to scenario one.
MS. DIXON: That's why we put in a choice. One of the
reasons that we looked at scenario two, and, yes, the answer to your
question is there was a considerable amount of debate. It went on for
quite some period of time, at all different kinds of levels. This was a
tough scenario to grapple with and we've spent a real long time trying
to go with it.
There's a couple of thoughts that went into scenario two,
for your information. One was that the NAS and NRC and EPA and various
regs and guidelines have indicated that it's inappropriate to take
credit for -- that's not the right terminology -- but institutional
control for beyond a 100 year timeframe.
We looked at that and applied it to the repository as well,
so there were real words mentioned by important entities that had us
looking in that direction.
The repository really doesn't take credit for institutional
controls after 100 years, so it was another point of comparison, and
then we decided if no one liked it, scenario one is there. So we gave
some option in doing the analysis.
But we've also had a lot of people say that you can't count
on institutional control for -- and, again, we had arguments all over
the map on how long can you count on institutional control.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, history doesn't prove that.
History proves just the opposite, that as long as there is something
hazardous there, societies figure out a way to deal with it.
MS. DIXON: I'm not sure, looking at how many -- I mean, we
had those conversations, we went through how many civilizations have
come and gone and how many times has society taken a few steps back
before they moved forward again, and there are other examples that
indicate that we haven't always been responsible shareholders of our
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, when it comes to preservation of
life, we seem to have responded pretty well. Anyway, I just wanted to
make the point that scenario two, if indeed the idea here is to address
realistic alternatives or options, scenario two doesn't meet that
MS. DIXON: And I think on that point, you're absolutely
right, and we say in the EIS that we don't really predict either one of
these. They are done for a purpose of comparison. They are a baseline
to compare to. We don't know what's going to happen and we're sure that
society and DOE and Congress and the utilities will do something
responsible and there will be another piece of legislation or another
site to evaluate. We just don't know what it would be. It's
speculative at this time.
But you're right. We're not saying this is what would
happen if we don't go forward with the proposed action.
MR. LEVENSON: John, if I may add a comment. In this day
and age, when we're trying to move toward a risk-informed world, at
least it would have been helpful to identify that the two scenarios are
not of equal probability. As it is now, the average reader comes across
that DOE thinks these two scenarios are equally probable.
MS. DIXON: If it comes across that way to the reader, we
need to work in the final on making sure that that is clarified as not
the case, because we really, quite frankly, don't hold much stock in
either one of them being the decision for the future.
MR. LEVENSON: I think it's kind of a generic comment that
while you need to include a lot of different things, I think that I'd
like to see DOE accept the responsibility for indicating relative
Not fancy probabilistic analysis, but just indicate --
MS. DIXON: Qualitatively.
MR. HORNBERGER: You've lost me, Milt. I'm not sure which
one is more probable.
MR. LEVENSON: Ten thousand years is a long time.
MS. DIXON: Which I think -- let's see. I was going to say
this leads in perfectly to my last slide, but I need to finish this one
Accidents that breach barriers we talked about. There's
qualitative discussions on things like sabotage and a recognition that
if you have 77 sites that you're dealing with around the country, that
you're probably more vulnerable from a control perspective with no
action than you are with one site. So there's some discussion there,
and it obviously gets worse without institutional controls.
That leads, like I said, to the very detailed discussion we
had in no action on uncertainties. We agreed that there is scenario
uncertainty and we will not argue that point, very true, and your points
are all well taken.
We agree that uncertainties are associated with future
changes in the nature of society, with its institutions, its values, the
nature of our lifestyle, changes in population levels and distributions
over long timeframes. We have an ice age that will happen probably
within that timeframe, and this is a long timeframe.
Uncertainties concerning future changes in the physical
environment and technology. Uncertainties associated with the
mathematical representation of the physical processes in the computer
models. Uncertainties associated with the mathematical representation
in the biological processes. A lot of these uncertainties, as you
probably have noted, are also tied to uncertainties for the proposed
action that deals with 10,000 years, too, and they're discussed in the
proposed action long-term performance calculations, as well.
I guess I'd close, before I open this up to additional
comment, with the point that we are very much looking forward to the
comments from the public and we have received some so far. We've had a
number of people provide us with really broad overarching general
comments, with the commitment that at the close of the comment period,
the details would be following, and we will review all these comments
very seriously and consider them for changes in the final.
MR. HORNBERGER: Just to finish up, could you give me some
indication, you said that the final EIS, you're shooting for November of
2000, is that right?
MS. DIXON: Yes.
MR. HORNBERGER: So your time schedule, the comments close
MS. DIXON: February 9.
MR. HORNBERGER: February 9.
MS. DIXON: We're going to be busy campers between now and
November, because we have to deal with the preparation of the comment
and response documents, the changes in the FEIS, changes -- bringing in
new data to the draft that was developed, that would also go into the
final EIS, getting to an arduous concurrence process. Yes.
MR. HORNBERGER: Do you anticipate including any analyses on
the enhanced design alternative, too?
MS. DIXON: We anticipate including what is right to
include. So we'll use best available data at the time that our data
calls go out and recognize whatever is still under consideration, again.
We don't want to ever put ourselves in the position where we're saying
that the DEIS will be dealing with actual final design, because we want
to keep the flexibility of the program open for changes.
MR. HORNBERGER: And there is no intermediate product
between February 9 and November 2000.
MS. DIXON: No.
MR. HORNBERGER: No.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: One of the things that we're a little bit
tuned in to right now because of a recent forum, public forum meeting
that we were involved in, is the reaction of the public, at least some
parts of the public, to the DEIS.
I guess one of the things I was looking for as we progressed
through this presentation were opportunities for the public to do the
one thing that they seem to be most concerned about, and that is to be
able to participate in the process rather than just review the process
as a result of the process.
I guess I'd like to -- you mentioned several places where
you've reached out, so to speak, for public participation. You
commented about you went out for scoping of some of the tasks. You
worked with the Native Americans and their viewpoint was solicited on
the transportation risks. You had a strategy of no preferred corridor
and was hopeful that what this might do would be to stimulate interest
in public offerings of preferred corridors and so forth.
But I guess my question to you, Wendy, is obviously DOE is
aware of this issue of participation as opposed to review. Can you tell
us a little bit more of how you did that in preparation of the DEIS, or
is the DOE procedure -- does it accommodate public participation in the
manner that the public seems to be speaking?
MS. DIXON: It's never, I think, going to satisfy the public
as a whole, because everybody wants to help write something and they
want to have things how they vision an analysis should be conducted and
it's going to be different. Lincoln County would envision it using
their Lincoln County socioeconomic model and Nye would envision it --
you're going to always have, I think, the struggle with the fact that
the public isn't one united body.
The public is a number of people who have different
interests and different drivers and what we're trying to do is somehow
weigh all of the interaction that we have and the input that we receive
into producing an impact analysis that we think meets the requirements
of the law and is fair and appropriate and considers public input, but
it can't deal with and say yes to all public inputs.
There has to be that process where DOE takes the
information; i.e., you start out with scoping. The whole NEPA process
is really public. You can list that information from the public.
We did a number of changes in this document based on the
input that we got, for example, from Nye County. Nye County had on the
table a desire for us to look at the potential impacts on
retrievability. We looked at potential impacts on retrievability.
Nye County had on the table, as an example, I'm not meaning
to pick on Nye County, but it's probably a good example, Nye County had
on the table a desire for us to look at inventories beyond 70,000 metric
tons. We looked at inventories beyond 70,000 metric tons.
Nye County had on the table the desire for us to look at
things beyond spent nuclear fuel and high level waste in the repository.
We looked at things beyond spent nuclear fuel and high level waste.
Nye County had on there table the desire to go into
sub-county analysis for socioeconomics. We went into sub-county
analysis for socioeconomics.
I can sit here and list every entity almost, go through a
list of things we did, but I can also go through a list of things that
we probably didn't do. You know what I'm saying.
So I guess the question is we're -- there will continue to
be dialogue, but with respect to absolute preparing the document, that's
a DOE responsibility, with the consideration of that input.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: But I guess all I'm trying to do is draw
a distinction between public participation in the review sense and
public participation in a scoping sense, if you wish, or the kinds of
things that we should do, and challenging you, and you commented on that
probably enough as to what DOE's approach was in preparation of this
One of the things that really bothers me about the whole
environmental impact statement process is that somehow it's used to
enhance the public decision-making process, and yet it's not material,
particularly useful for decision-making, and that's because it focuses
only essentially on the negative.
It only focuses on the impacts and the environmental impacts
in particular. It seems that that the community that's trying to solve
these kinds of problems would be ever so much better off if they could
address the environmental impacts in the context of what are we getting
for making -- accepting these impacts.
MS. DIXON: I think your point is well taken and that's
something that I think you've seen the counties, in particular, put on
the table; that, you know, we have done more than our share.
I'm going to be the county for a second. We've done low
level waste twice, we've done nuclear weapons testing, here comes your
program. There needs to be some -- I don't know if that's where you're
heading, but some financial assistance tied to this.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I'm thinking even higher than that. I
think that if nuclear power has any ability to serve mankind, what we're
really talking about here is taking actions to enable that event to
occur, and somehow that's never really addressed effectively.
Does the planet need nuclear power and somehow we keep
backing away from it, and that's the underlying driver here. What do we
get by enabling societies to use this resource that we won't get if we
don't? And that's not addressed.
And it's regrettable, because a lot of the public asks that
question, what am I getting in return, and I'm not thinking of equity,
but I know what you're -- that's, to me, a different issue.
I think that the waste community has done a very poor job of
explaining the issue here, explaining why we have waste problem, why we
want to responsible managers of the waste, so that we can enable
societies to have that option if we're convinced that that option
enhances the planet's ability to provide us with a high quality of life.
And yet we just keep seem to be burrowing in on the
minuscule issues, 100,000 years from now, a few millirem, without really
explaining to the public what it's all about and it fosters these
notions of zero risk, which are nonsense.
We don't have that option as a society. We don't have the
option of zero risk. We have the option of alternatives and we don't
even do a very good job of dealing with -- you made a very interesting
point, and that was that the land ownership, there is basically no
change. It's just different agencies involved here.
But the truth is the different agencies utilize the land for
different purposes and there's different impacts and the possibility
exists that the impact that is being imposed as a result of your
proposal for Yucca Mountain, is that a greater or a lesser impact than
the so-called business as usual use of the land by the government.
There's probably little or no appreciation for that. We
know that Air Force bases like Nellis leave a legacy of a tremendous
amount of contaminated land and problems and what have you.
So maybe -- so it isn't just a case of there's no change,
because the land is still owned by the same institution, but the use of
the land is very different and there is a possibility that this is a
much better use in the global scheme of things.
So a lot of the things that I hear people ask about and talk
about is to what this is doing for us and why should we accept any
additional risk, it's just simply not answered and I know you're
following the law and you have to, but -- and in addition to that,
you're very often answering it with very complicated language.
Your risk language is not even contemporary. You come up
with these horrible labels, like maximally credible. I mean, labels
that we tried to get away from in the 1950s, and now DOE seems to be
bringing them back.
If you're talking about risk, we can define what we mean by
it and use that as our parameter of the model, and somehow DOE just
refuses to do that, and substitute a very complicated language base that
Some people argue that the risk language is not very well
understood, but I argue that it's much better understood than what I've
read in the DEIS.
These are just a few random issues that bother me about this
whole business, and in the meantime, the DOE and laboratories and
consultants and advisory committees piggy-back on this industry to the
extent that chances are we're moving down a path where we're not going
to enable society to benefit in a way that, if we were more aware of the
implications of what we were doing, maybe we could.
I don't know. I just think we're making it awfully
complicated and very incomplete as a basis for decision-making. And
there's other things, like, for example, there's something going on
right now, very quietly, that's going to change this industry in a major
That is, we now may have 50 or so utilities involved in the
nuclear power business and maybe as soon as ten years from now, there
will only be five owners of all the nuclear power plants, or even less.
In fact, there's one conglomerate that's now up to 20 percent ownership
of all the plants, and they're talking very different about waste
management and talking alternatives and approaches and solutions that I
never hear discussed with DOE.
Part of it is, of course, a growing impatience with the
inability of the government to take this problem, to use it to spend
more money. So I don't know. I don't see a lot about this story and
it's almost as if we're afraid to talk about nuclear power in the
government arena, but that's what we are talking about.
I don't see enough about the underlying drivers for this
industry as a part of that you deploy to make the case for -- or not
make the case. You're following the law and you're writing -- it's a
wonderful piece of work, but I don't -- I think it has a terrible time
and I think this is part of our obligation and duty in teaching the
public about this industry and what we're trying to do with it to manage
it, so that we can employ it effectively for our well being.
End of speech.
MR. WYMER: I had an observation. I hesitate to make it
now. It'll drop at least an order of magnitude in philosophical impact
from where John was, and talk a little bit more specifically about the
DEIS and what you've presented.
I read through the DEIS. I didn't read all the backup
material, and most people won't, I think. My reaction is that I feel a
lot better about the draft environmental statement having heard your
presentation than I did in actually having read the draft environmental
Somehow or other, the breadth and depth that has been gone
into you made very clear and your discussion hasn't really been --
didn't really come out at me that way from reading your written word.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Especially in transportation.
MR. WYMER: Yes, but the whole thing, too. It seems -- I'm
not advocating a total rewrite of the thing, needless to say. But
somehow or other, I think to take what's here and fashion the FEIS, the
final EIS around that a little better, you might convey your message a
little more positively.
MR. HORNBERGER: You've had some practice. This is, what,
the second time you've given this?
MS. DIXON: No, this one was just for ACNW.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Milt?
MR. LEVENSON: I have two questions. One is really a
super-detailed one. Your terminology maximum reasonably foreseeable
MS. DIXON: That's NEPA lingo.
MR. LEVENSON: But how do you -- to me, that means that's an
accident with a very high probability of occurrence.
MS. DIXON: Low probability of occurring.
MR. LEVENSON: If it's reasonably foreseeable, it's
something that could really happen. You're ruling out anything that
might be incredible. It doesn't seem to have been that way.
MR. HORNBERGER: No. Meteors hit the earth, large meteors
hit the earth. It's a very low probability event, but it's certainly
foreseeable. It will happen.
MR. LEVENSON: But the consequences that come out of that, I
think -- it's not the probability of the event itself. It's
consequences of that event.
What's included in the maximum reasonably foreseeable
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: It's a number. It's a number.
MS. DIXON: It's whatever -- if there is an accident that
has a probability of occurring one chance in ten million, we'll
calculate it and the highest one is the maximum reasonably foreseeable
MR. LEVENSON: But where do you get the consequences to put
MS. DIXON: Well, it's going to vary depending on --
MR. LEVENSON: If the arithmetic for consequences has two or
three orders of magnitude of conservatism in it, then this is not done,
being done appropriately.
I mean, this number was arrived at and derived at for best
estimate and if you're comparing a bunch of events with different levels
of uncertainties or levels of conservatism, how do you handle that?
MS. DIXON: There's a different accident that's constructed
for -- depending upon what you're looking at. For transportation, what
we did was look at -- if we end up with something that could actually
reach that container, it has to be an incredibly severe accident, and to
get there from here, we had to look at a combination of items. We
started out with, I don't know, there were 30-some different constructs
that we looked at and we started winnowing down things that weren't
reasonable, and you had to end up with a situation where to end up with
that many latent cancer fatalities, you were in an urban environment,
you had a resulting fire, you had an impact that was so severe that it
went through the container.
We're talking about things that are very, very unlikely;
i.e., the 1.4 per ten million per year probability, but it still fell
within that range, so we did the analysis.
With respect to the impact analysis that we did for the
surface facilities at the repository, you had to look at -- what we did
was look at the probability of an earthquake happening within that range
so severe that it could actually knock down the surface facility.
That's how we came to maximum reasonably foreseeable accident for the
It's a different situation that could cause a major impact
that would happen within that range of our DOE guidance. I don't know
if that's answering your question or not.
MR. LEVENSON: The other question is a completely different
one. You had a lot of interactions and solicited input, et cetera,
before you did the EIS, and met with all of these groups and all of
I know you haven't reviewed all of the comments you've
received to date and they're pouring in, but do you have the feeling
that based on the input you got before you did the DEIS, and comparing
that with the comments, did the EIS answer a significant fraction of the
concerns expressed to you before you started?
MS. DIXON: I think the answer to that is yes. There are
additional comments that are coming in that are quite good and we will
incorporate for changes in the final.
MR. LEVENSON: But basically did most of the concerns
expressed to you beforehand -- the comments now, did they address only a
significant fraction of the concerns expressed before the EIS or did
people give you a comment before and now that it's issued come back with
the same comment, meaning you're not satisfying it?
MS. DIXON: There are a couple that are reoccurring and
probably will stay reoccurring, such as dealing with perceived risk,
property values. There are some that we're not going to end up being
able to satisfy. There's a whole bunch that we're not going to be able
to satisfy that are tied to delay.
I mean, I -- you're making this really hard on me here. We
haven't gotten that many real specific comments yet, so I'm struggling a
little bit. From a general sense, though, a number of the comments are
in the kind of an arena that I'm talking about. In a specific sense,
there are a few that have come in that I know that we can and will
incorporate, but so far, the majority of comments that we've received, I
think, fall more into the general category of liking, you are not liking
MR. HORNBERGER: John?
MR. LARKINS: Just a quick question. You have a list of
uncertainties at the end of your package here, between now and the
update, do you plan on doing anything to better quantify the
MS. DIXON: There's currently no plan to go into the
discussion of uncertainties in anymore detail than what we have, but it
sounds like a good comment that we might want to make.
MR. LARKINS: The NRC is in the process of updating that
modal study. Do you plan on using that or is that in any way linked to
what you're doing?
MS. DIXON: We'll use best available information when we do
our calculation. If the NRC update was completed at the time we did our
analysis, we certainly would use it, but I don't believe that NRC plans
on having that updated and publicized for a couple of years from now.
So it's not likely.
What we will do and what we have to do under NEPA is as time
progresses and things change and things will change, design issues may
change in the future, the modal study may change in the future, and
something else could happen, there's a whole suite of things that could
change in the future.
What we will continue to do as time progresses, there are
environmental analyses to look at whether or not there is a change that
warrants a supplement of any kind and if there is, we'll have to go with
a supplemental analysis as it ties to the EIS. So we're going to have
to continue watching that forever, for a long time.
MR. LARKINS: Last month we heard from the NRC staff on
their comments on the draft environmental impact statement. Are any of
those issues particularly sticky or do you think you'll be able to
address most of those issues?
MS. DIXON: We are very much looking forward to NRC
providing us with a better understanding about what some of their
MR. HORNBERGER: You have had a technical exchange with the
MS. DIXON: Pardon?
MR. HORNBERGER: You have had a technical exchange with the
staff, is that right?
MS. DIXON: We have not had one since the comments were made
MR. LARSON: At our public meetings, the public and the
stakeholders is we make comments, we never know how they're resolved.
In your comment response document that you're going to prepare, do you
plan to answer each and every comment from each and everything you got
and then group them into, as you said, three or four major things? How
do you plan to handle those? Because that's been a concern expressed to
MS. DIXON: People will be able to find out how their
comments were answered, and that doesn't mean that we'll have 40
different names and after 40 different names, it will say I vote for no
action 40 different times.
We've had situations like that, but it doesn't mean that
there will be a commentary that says 40 people said no action and then
you can find a way to reference back who those 40 people were. So we'll
make sure that people will be able to find out how their comments were
dealt with. That doesn't preclude is from lumping a number of comments
that are exactly the same in our comment response document, because it's
going to be a fairly large document, and we have to figure out a way.
It depends on how many comments that come in and how many
are like versus aren't, how to make it as user-friendly as possible,
because it will be part of the FEIS.
The other thing that we plan on doing which is not always
done is tying back the changes that we made based on those comments to
where they are in the EIS, where somebody doesn't have to believe we
took them, they can go back and actually read where their comments were
MR. LARSON: One other comment was that we can't identify
our comment, because it's lumped in with everybody else or you say you
MS. DIXON: Right.
MR. LARSON: Or we just don't see it.
MS. DIXON: We're going to do our best to make sure that
they won't have that as a complaint on our final.
MR. HORNBERGER: Jim?
MR. SINGH: I have one question. You mentioned about --
MR. HORNBERGER: You better use the microphone.
MR. SINGH: You mentioned something with the public on the
transportation. Have you received any specific corridor views from the
MS. DIXON: I'm not cognizant of us actually receiving any
preferences for routes yet. We have received comments that have said
that they prefer rail over intermodal or truck, and that has come in.
I'm hoping that we start getting comments on the various corridors.
MR. SINGH: One more thing. You used the Calvert Cliffs.
MS. DIXON: yes.
MR. SINGH: How come you picked that? Because there are
some other sites that also have done that self-assessment?
MS. DIXON: I have one of our principal analysts here for no
action. Gene Rollins.
MR. ROLLINS: I'm Gene Rollins. I'm a consultant to DOE,
with Day, Ball & Associates. We chose the Calvert Cliffs EA because NRC
specifically referred to that particular document as a typical facility
in their generic EIS for license renewal. So we felt very comfortable
using the very detailed time and motion studies that went into that
document that gave us basically dose versus different activities
associated with loading and unloading and constructing infrastructure.
MR. SINGH: Thank you.
MR. HORNBERGER: Other questions? Okay. Well, thank you
very much. It was very informative.
MS. DIXON: Thank you.
MR. HORNBERGER: We look forward to hearing more about the
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: All right. I guess this is a good time
to adjourn for lunch.
[Whereupon, at 12:06 p.m., the recorded portion of the
meeting was recessed, to reconvene at 8:35 a.m., on Thursday, December
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