115th ACNW Meeting U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, December 16, 1999
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON NUCLEAR WASTE
MEETING: 115TH ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON NUCLEAR WASTE (ACNW)
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Two White Flint North
Conference Room 2B3
Thursday, December 16, 1999
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 8:37 a.m.
JOHN GARRICK, Chairman, ACNW
GEORGE HORNBERGER, Vice Chairman, ACNW
RAY WYMER, Member, ACNW
. P R O C E E D I N G S
MR. GARRICK: Good morning. The meeting will now come to
order. This is the third day -- it seems like forever. This is the
third day of the 115th meeting of the Advisory Committee on Nuclear
Waste. The entire meeting will be open to the public. Today the
committee will meet with John Greeves, Director of the Division of Waste
Management, to discuss items of mutual interest, and review a proposed
rule on radiological assessment for clearance of equipment and materials
from nuclear facilities, and will continue our activity of preparing
Richard Major is the designated federal official for the
initial portion of today's meeting. This meeting is being conducted in
accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
We have received no written statements or requests to make
oral statements from members of the public regarding today's session.
Should anyone wish to do so, please make your wishes known to one of the
committee's staff. It is requested that each speaker use one of the
microphones, identify himself or herself and speak with sufficient
clarity and volume so that he or she can be readily heard.
One of the highlights of our meeting is the frequent visit
of the Director of the Division of Waste Management, John, and we are
anxious to have you give us an update on what is going on.
MR. GREEVES: Good morning. I like that, highlights of the
meeting, that is good. Actually, I think it has probably been maybe two
or three meetings since I met with you and that is, in part, a function
of the treadmill that I and Bill, and others, are on, so I think it is
timely that I have been able to get back and meet with you. You met
with Bill Kane last time and he enjoyed that and is looking forward to
coming back, so I think that is a healthy process. So we will try and
work that out, and I think that is a good communication.
This has been a tough week for us also. I don't know
whether you are aware, but we have had two retirements that affect this
arena. First, on Tuesday, John Schumeier, we had a little celebration
for him, and then yesterday Malcolm Knapp had his retirement luncheon.
So it has been a bit of a stretch.
What I would like to do this morning, as we have done in the
past, is kind of go over a series of items that are high on my radar
screen, and they will include the DOE Yucca Mountain Draft Environmental
Impact Statement; some discussion on defense-in-depth multiple barriers;
the development of the Yucca Mountain Review Plan; where we are in Part
63, in terms of our review of comments; a little bit on the siting
guidelines, our interface with DOE on that; the decommissioning area,
including rubblization; some efforts on Savannah River and West Valley.
So it is a pretty full set of topics.
It actually matches up I think quite nicely with most of you
presented yesterday. I will give you some feedback, I was very pleased
with your presentation yesterday. There was just one problem area, and
it was more mine than yours. I will explain when I get there.
But, Dr. Garrick, I think over the past year, we have kind
of come together on focus on these issues. We talked a little bit about
your program plan at the beginning of the year. I was a little bit
concerned about the breadth and, you know, the need to focus on issues.
And my sense is that we are actually ending up focusing on the same set
of issues, so I am really pleased with how things have come together
over the year.
And just kind of example is the set of slides that you
showed at the end of the things that you are actually currently
formulating, your risk communication topic. I have to tell you, I
wasn't too excited about the committee looking into that originally, I
expressed some of those concerns. But I have come around. You guys are
making some good progress on this, and you have gotten some good
feedback from the stakeholders. We are turning up our gain in this
area. I just wasn't sure was this an item for the committee, and I have
got to tell you, I have turned around on that. You guys have done some
good progress. I think it is going to be a good synergistic effect
between what we have to do on risk communication and what you are doing.
So I look forward to that.
MR. GARRICK: Yeah, I just want to comment on that, because
we knew we were moving in the face of some criticism when we undertook
the topic. And, on the other hand, we also made the point that if there
is institutions within the NRC that ought to be looking outside the box,
it ought to be the Advisory Committees.
We have been greatly supported and stimulated in this whole
process by the staff and, in particular, Lynn. The research effort that
was performed on the topic of risk communication was one of the best I
have seen. So we had a lot of help. And we are also encouraged by what
we have seen happen within the staff and the Commission on this topic.
And we are especially pleased that you are on board now.
MR. GREEVES: I think I am on board on risk communication.
The question is how to achieve that and how to focus it. I think the
tension we had earlier in the year was I was alarmed at the number of
areas that you were looking into. I need your help.
MR. GARRICK: Yeah.
MR. GREEVES: And I try and come to these meetings and
portray to you, these are the areas that are on my radar screen. And
risk communication clearly is an issue with us, with you. And I just
early on wasn't of the mind that -- can I afford to have the committee
looking at this issue when I need their help on something else? And, as
I said, I have come around. So I think we have come a lot closer
together in terms of what the focus issues are. And if at all possible,
I will try and give you some real time feedback as you go through your
planning the next time around. Time is an issue with me, but it is
important that we communicate.
So, as I said, it came out, in terms of the topics, I think
right where it needed to.
MR. LARKINS: Can I make a comment?
MR. GARRICK: Sure.
MR. LARKINS: I think one of the reasons it was successful,
because there was a lot of interaction. I think your staff was very
helpful. I think it would be beneficial also that after the committee
develops its report in this area, they get some feedback, your
observations, your thoughts on how we implement, or if not implement,
address some of the observations and recommendations that the committee
is coming up with.
MR. GREEVES: Are you speaking about the risk communication
MR. LARKINS: Yes.
MR. GREEVES: -- or the planning for --
MR. LARKINS: Risk communication.
MR. GREEVES: Yeah. We, in our own right, I think you have
observed this, that Bill Reamer and company have been out there over the
last year aggressively trying to perfect our own techniques. We had Dr.
Covello come in and spend a lot of time with us in terms of training,
and that is one of the things we need to do. We haven't done as good a
job in years past and we should and we are working on. And, as I said,
I got a lot out of your briefing yesterday. I think the Commission did,
too. So, clearly, we will, you know, have some feedback loops with you
on this topic, both in meetings like this and one-on-one, as we have
chances to meet. So it is definitely a topic area.
I am not going read through the other ones, but I would just
-- my comment is that, as I said, I think that the ones you have
targeted for writing your letters, including defense-in-depth, the
rubblization, decommissioning issue, that is where we need our help, so
I am pleased with that focus.
MR. LARKINS: John, I think it would be helpful also, as we
go into the planning phase for the ACNW for the coming year, if you have
some observations or recommendations for anything that may be left off
of the list, or things that you see are revising focus or changing
MR. GREEVES: My natural penchant is not to add things to
your list. But duly noted about feedback. And, frankly, it seems like
a mechanism that worked well in the past. I know Mike Bell was able to
go out with you and sit during your sessions and I felt like there was a
real payoff when I was able to have one of the key branch chiefs sit
with you. Mike is not with us anymore, he has gone on, but I think we
will try and find and a way. Personally, I would like to do it, it is
just the demands on my time are such that it is hard to schedule that.
So we look to see if we can one of the -- you know, maybe Bill, and most
of the work in your arena runs through Bill's shop, potentially sit in
on that planning meeting. So thanks for the invitation and, a minimum,
we will give you feedback on it.
The first topic I mentioned was the DOE Draft Environmental
Impact Statement. The staff did brief the committee in June and then
again in November, so we have had some good ongoing dialogue in this
area. We do welcome the committee comments in this area.
You are quite familiar with the fact that we have to get a
paper up to the Commission and we are drafting a set of comments. And I
think it was actually useful for the staff to make a presentation to you
the last time around, because it gave visibility to what the staff was
thinking. So we have gotten a little bit of feedback on that.
I think some were surprised at the extent of our comments.
I hope they view it as a genuine effort that we want to constructively
improve that product. I think you can look at the number of comments we
had, the nature of the comments, and you might say, well, gee, that is
critical. Well, it is not meant to be critical, it is meant to be
constructive, because, as you know, we are to adopt that EIS to the
extent practicable, and we want to be good. So it is in all our best
interests to give DOE feedback so that they can improve upon that draft
I would invite the committee, if you can find a way to get
to us, even as we are drafting our own comments for the Commission, it
is my understanding that you preparing something. There isn't a lot of
time. The Commission -- Bill, help me out with the dates, but I believe
the Commission owes its comments, is it February?
MR. LARKINS: February.
MR. GREEVES: Right. So there is not a lot of time between
the time they get our comment draft and then they have to sent out
comments. So you and your staff are working with us, and anything we
can do to be efficient about that, I think would help the Commission.
We did make some comments about DOE's efforts in looking at
a number of sites. I think some people were concerned that maybe we
thought they should be looking at all of the reactor sites. There are
more efficient ways to evaluate that environmental impact. We know that
each of these sites had its own environment assessment, so DOE ought to
be able to take advantage of that material. The business about five
hypothetical sites representing all of those was a bit of a concern
item, which the staff brief you on.
And I understand that you, in you own right, had some
concerns about the no action alternative. Whatever your thoughts are on
that subject, as I said, we would appreciate hearing those, and to the
extent we can, -- we are not trying to steal thunder in the process, but
I think we all owe the Commission, as best we can, timely input so they
can make up their own mind for this February date.
One of the things I know you mentioned yesterday was the
transportation issue, and we, too, recognize that that is a significant
issue in terms of many of the other stakeholders, and it is a question
of how to express that and bring the DEIS up to a level that gives that
the attention that it deserves. As you mentioned yesterday, winning
public confidence is an issue and each of these vehicles, the Draft EIS,
our own review plan, et cetera, these are opportunities to show the
public that we are looking at these issues.
So I will just sort of end with we are on track to get our
comments up to the Commission early in January, and we would appreciate
anything you could do to help supplement that process. Unless there is
other dialogue needed on that, I will move on to the next topic.
Defense-in-depth, multiple barriers, Dr. Levenson, I believe
you made a number of comments on this, and I can relate with, in
particular, one of the ones that you made about the need for a different
definition of defense-in-depth for a reactor versus a repository, and we
do need to make that, at least in this business, the repository
business, crystal clear. What do we mean by defense-in-depth?
There is a need to show some quantification of the
performance of individual barriers. We do have responsibility to
provide some guidance. How we expect, coming out of Part 63, DOE would
be demonstrating that, and it is not that easy a task. It is not
something we have done before and we look to the committee to help us in
that process. I think it is going to be a little bit iterative.
We would appreciate any comments you have on the staff
proposal in this area. I know we have briefed you a couple of times on
this topic, and I think that, over time, it needs to play itself out in
our review plan.
We endorse the concept of allowing DOE some flexibility in
demonstrating these multiple barriers, but I think we need to
collectively make it transparent to the other stakeholders.
As we finalize our technical positions in this process, we
will also be responding to comments on Part 63 and providing technical
guidance in the Yucca Mountain Review Plan, so I think a lot of these
issues will be linked to our response to comments on Part 63.
I didn't -- if anybody on the committee has any further
comments on defense-in-depth or multiple barriers, I would be happy to
take them out now. But I was pleased with the presentation that you
provided to the Commission yesterday. I think we are in alignment on
MR. GARRICK: And you are aware that there is a working
group session on defense-in-depth in January, January 13-14th.
MR. GREEVES: Is that the joint meeting?
MR. GARRICK: Yes.
MR. GREEVES: Yes.
MR. GARRICK: And it is jointly with the ACRS. And we are
expecting to get some good outside input in that session as well.
MR. GREEVES: And we will, you know, attend and participate
to the level appropriate. But we are finding that those meetings are
helpful, because you really do have to think about this differently than
a reactor. It is not an active system, as Dr. Levenson said yesterday,
it is a passive system and it is more -- and it is geologic in time.
So it takes a little bit of different thinking and we are
pleased that you are looking at it. As I said, I was appreciative of
the comments, and I think the Commission was yesterday, too. They were
quite pleased with the role you are playing on that topic.
MR. LARSON: Do you have a target date? You said you felt
you had to get guidance DOE and make it transparent to the stakeholders
as to what the staff meant by defense-in-depth. Do you have a target
date for the staff to come up with a position on it, roughly?
MR. GREEVES: I would ask Bill to help me out, but I think
the ultimate is the review plan. We have got to get information built
into the Yucca Mountain Review Plan. And I am going to go over that
next in terms of time schedule.
But, Bill, do you know that?
MR. REAMER: Well, right, the review plan, but the review
plan has to fit within the regulatory Part 63 structure. So we are
scheduled to do Part 63 cases coming, decisions on defense-in-depth.
And I think in January is kind of the month where we have got a lot to
do. Hopefully, when we have our working group presentation, we will
have progressed a little bit more from where we were in November and we
will make that clear to you.
We really don't have very much time beyond January. January
is our date to get, to get it done.
MR. GREEVES: I will just march into the review plan topic
if that is okay. And the committee has commented to us in the past that
it should be a risk-informed, performance-based approach focusing on DOE
strategy. I think the committee is familiar with the fact that DOE has
a repository safety strategy. In fact, we are meeting with them today,
our quarterly meeting, and we are getting some insights to that
document, that it is under revision and internal review. So I think we
all look forward to seeing that product.
I think in January is the schedule. And so all of these
things are feeding into our Yucca Mountain Review Plan, and I believe
Christiana briefed the committee on this topic. So any comments you
have, either informally or formally, would be appreciated on that. Our
schedule is to make the review plan available to the Commission. I
think it is the end of March, right, Bill?
MR. REAMER: When we submit Draft Final Part 63, that is the
postclosure portion of it.
MR. GREEVES: And with a target of going out for public the
end of September. So we will keep you and your staff informed of this
process and I appreciate any feedback as we move along.
As Part 63 in particular, as you are fully aware and we do
have comments on that. Our gaol is require DOE to provide a performance
assessment with sufficient clarity to determine the relationship of all
of the modules within the repository system. One of the key questions
we are trying to make sure is included in this regulation is the
definition of what constitutes sufficient supporting data, acceptable
modules, abstractions and acceptable expression of parameter
We have been looking at the engineering designs that are
needed by DOE to fulfill those goals, and what the steps are in the
licensing process to lead to this initial submission for a final
repository. All of this needs to be consistent with the Part 63.
I don't know whether you have -- Bill Kane made comments
about this, but he is looking for a consistent evaluation of things like
the preclosure issue, that is another area that we need to provide some
additional emphasis on. And it really makes me look back and want to
get the repository safety strategy that DOE is developing. We have seen
some early pieces of this, and I think the tie between Part 63 and these
efforts is important.
We did make a presentation on our efforts on Part 63 in
November, and this is one of the areas we understand you are writing a
letter on, so we look forward to your comments on that.
I am just about done with high level waste issues. Unless
you have got something you want to take up, I will probably turn to
MR. REAMER: John, do you want to jump to the 963 guideline?
MR. GREEVES: Yeah. In fact, yeah, I wanted Bill to cover
that. Why don't you cover that for me Bill?
MR. REAMER: Okay. I think we have interacted with the
staff on this, but we published their amendments to their siting
guidelines. These are the measures that they would apply at the site
recommendation stage in making the recommendation on the site to the
President, the amendments that they are proposing, that they proposed at
the end of November, or they couched as designed to bring better
alignment between their siting guidelines and the proposed Part 63 and
the EPA proposed Part 197.
The siting guidelines, DOE siting guidelines are out for
public comment. The public comments are due February 14. I may have
misspoke on the DEIS comments, but I think they are due February 9, and
Part 963 comments that are due February 14, that is a very tight public
comment period and it wouldn't surprise me if there were requests to DOE
to extend that due date on the siting guidelines, but I don't know. I
don't want to speculate what requests or what DOE will do.
We are working on providing the Commission staff level
comments in a Commission paper that would be submitted early in January.
The Commission, you may recall, is in a little different role with
respect to these DOE proposals in that, by statute, the Commission is to
concur in the DOE siting guidelines. This was accomplished in 1984 with
the original siting guidelines, but those siting guidelines call for
Commission concurrence in any amendment to the guidelines. So DOE
intends to come to the Commission when they have completed their review
of public comments and have a draft final siting guidelines, they will
ask the Commission's concurrence.
I don't have very good dates to give you on this, but I
would say roughly in the timeframe of perhaps as early as April or May,
we might request Commission concurrence, because the concurrence process
will take some time, perhaps more in the summertime. But as we get more
information and more concrete information, we will make sure that your
staff is aware. The most immediate deadline we face is the requirement
for staff level comments February 14.
MR. GREEVES: Okay. I think that finishes up the high level
waste issues. We will move on to decommissioning unless you have some
Decommissioning, again, I was pleased with the presentation
yesterday. I think you did a good job of covering the full spectrum.
There was one area I wasn't comfortable with, it is really my issue, not
yours, the rubblization topic. We have been working very hard on
putting together a paper to present this to the Commission and we have
been unsuccessful in getting it through the system so far. So I much
would have preferred that the Commission had our paper in advance, but I
was actually -- I think you hit on the issues that you can expect to see
in our paper, and I would invite you to read it once we get it through
the system, and give us some feedback.
Usually, we have a paper up topside by the time you come in
and you have had a chance to review it. So this is an emerging issue in
some ways, and a fast-moving product, so.
MR. HORNBERGER: Is there any chance that you could share it
with us in a pre-decisional phase?
MR. GREEVES: I don't see why not. Yeah. We have done that
before. In fact, Pat, will you take a note to share the draft that we
have now. We have done that with you in the past.
MR. LARKINS: John, you are aware the committee is in the
process of doing a report on rubblization.
MR. GREEVES: Well, then you very much need at least our
MR. LARKINS: I was going to say, it might be even useful if
someone on the staff were around when the committee was working on that,
so that they could provide comments.
MR. GREEVES: Okay.
MR. LARKINS: Okay.
MR. GREEVES: Good. And the comments that you made to the
Commission I think are lining up with what I had. In some ways, I was
probably thinking that we were having connection with you, because I
think you are coming out just about where we are when you see the paper.
It is an emerging issue. I think it is frequently
misunderstood by a lot of people. So, and I am learning, every time I
go to a meeting I learn a little bit of a new element. I think your
bottom line was let's take one of these on and look at it before we make
any precipitous decisions, and that is pretty much where the staff is in
So, other than my frustration in getting the paper up, it
was a good briefing, and I will look forward to, you know, your report
and interacting with you on this. And Pat will give you a copy of the
paper as it exists now. When you get it, you will see that we have had
a number of comments from other stakeholders. We have got an
environmental group set of comments, NEI comments. You already have --
Pat is saying you already have those. And we got a set of EPA comments
early this week, so I believe those have been delivered to you and your
staff. So this is an area that is I think high on both our radar
screens, and I think that is appropriate.
There is a number of issues associated with the license
termination plan that you commented on. One of them was the use of the
DandD code, and I see the staff did make you aware of the six cases that
we worked on recently, which I think were a quite useful test. The use
of the DandD code, I thought I detected yesterday trying to use it on a
complicated site. I won't be surprised that it doesn't work on a
We have actually used it a couple of -- it has limitations.
You can only stretch that code so far. And I would look forward to the
staff coming back and giving you some examples of where you had to go to
a more sophisticated approach, and we can show you some of those
examples in future meetings. So we have pretty well stretched that code
in terms of what it is useful for and defined, I think over time, what
it is not useful for.
MR. LARKINS: I think that would be very useful. Can I go
back to rubblization for a quick second?
MR. GREEVES: Sure.
MR. LARKINS: You had raised -- well, you had mentioned that
EPA had provided some comments. That was an area we saw maybe some
potential conflict again in terms of what type of standard you would
have to clean up to. And I was just wondering if you see a closer level
of coordination here than other areas.
MR. GREEVES: I will share with you that I am working with
EPA in decommissioning in general. I am trying to develop a set of
protocols where, on these sites, we can work together and minimize the
amount of issues associated with it. The standard is above my head, as
you probably recognize, but the mechanics of working on a site is not,
and we really, for good government, ought to work together. And I am
seeing some inroads on that.
The difficulties we may have at individual sites I think can
be worked out. The EPA has a role on these sites in terms of RECRA
issues, and if they come up a reason for not having, you can call it
rubblization, you can call it a burial, a construction demolition
burial, whatever it is, if RECRA or state requirement don't allow that
to happen in your state, that's fine, but that isn't a conflict with our
evaluations. Our evaluations go to the radioactive material in the
license termination rule.
And I think we can work these issues, and EPA has said in a
number of presentations that the vast majority of the sites, they don't
think are going to -- there is a problem with a rule, it is going to
meet their standards as well as ours. There is probably a handful of
them are going to be a challenge for both of us, and I am working at my
level within EPA to try and identify what those sites are and see if we
can even work our way through the difficult sites. So, over time, we
will bring a couple of those back to you and demonstrate them.
I am trying to not have this issue of EPA-NRC difficulty be
a highlight, I would like to show some progress in this area, and I am a
bit optimistic at it. I have attention at senior level over at EPA and
we are going to work on this. And I will bring some of those examples
back to you in future managements. There is a couple of them that are
going to be a test, and we are just going to work our way through them.
MR. LEVENSON: Let me ask a question. Do you have a site
that, after clean-up, meets both your and EPA guidelines for
radioactivity contamination for unrestricted release, et cetera, but
there remain significant amounts of RECRA materials on the site? Would
that interfere with license termination?
MR. GREEVES: It would interfere with NRC's license
termination. In fact, we have a number of sites that have a RECRA
permit and an NRC permit. So I have examples of what you are talking
about. And, no, I think we could terminate the license, as long as the
radioactive portion if cleaned up.
And, Dr. Levenson, we haven't had a chance to visit much,
but I would suggest that, as the other committees know, we have met with
new numbers, and I could probably sit down and show you a couple of
these sites where we currently have a RECRA permitting actio. Sequoyah
Fuels is one, EPA is on that site. They have a RECRA action going on at
Sequoyah Fuels, along with our radiation action. So a clean answer to
your question is I think we could terminate our license and there could
still be an ongoing RECRA action.
I think we both would like to clean them up at the same
time. There is another site, Anafest, down in Erwin, Tennessee, that
you may be seeing the future, where there is also activity with EPA. In
fact, I was down there a week ago, and EPA is looking at the chemicals.
We are looking, and the state. We and the state are looking at the
radioactive materials. And it is one of the more difficult sites that I
may look forward to someday coming back and showing you, for a number of
reasons, one of which is the DandD code may not help us there, it is a
bit more complicated.
So, I hope I have answered your question, but we could
terminate a site as long as the radioactive material was addressed to
satisfy our regulations.
I am looking over my notes here. We have moved around a
little bit. You have some comments in one of our previous meetings
about NEI and EPRI not developing a generic approach. This business, if
you call it rubblization, it has pretty much emerged to all of us pretty
quickly, so that is why, like I say, my preferred approach is to --
let's get a case and walk through it. In fact, frankly we don't have a
case on the table yet.
Maine Yankee has led us to believe that they would be using
this approach, but they literally don't have a license termination plan
in my lap in terms of a licensing action. So I would look forward to
walking through one of those cases.
The committee also asked a question about 20.2002 approvals.
That is a different approach than license termination plan. That is an
approach to address radioactive material, and some of the licensees are
looking at that, but it is a distinctly different licensing action than
the license termination plan.
We met with Big Rock Point last week and they talked about
an approach using a 20.2002, so if you are interested in seeing how that
works as they bring that in, that may be an example we could bring to
One of the tough issues, as you will see in our paper, and
you mentioned yesterday, is how to demonstrate 25 millirem plus ALARA,
that is a challenge. So we would look for the committee's comments on
I am pleased that you are following the research studies on
how to measure volumetric contamination. That is going to be an
important topic for lots of reasons, including materials release.
I did have one question. On your slide on rubblization, you
made a notation that the distinction between restricted and unrestricted
was a big fuzzy. I think the Commission ran out of time yesterday, I
think they would have probably liked to have gone into that a little
further. I wasn't quite sure what was behind that.
I believe, Dr. Wymer, you presented this. Could you give me
a little more background? What is the issue of the fuzzy between
restricted and unrestricted? I would like to think it is unfuzzy. The
utilities as a group all tell us they are going for unrestricted
release, and I think that is to their credit. But what is the fuzzy
MR. WYMER: It wasn't really obvious how you would
demonstrate that, in fact, you could really release the site for
unrestricted use because of the residual radioactivity that might be in
there. And it sort of gets back to the whole issue of how, in fact, do
you measure the residual radioactivity, and can you determine it
accurately. Do you do it by calculation and inference from the
knowledge of what has happened in the past that might activate the
materials? Or do you do it from core sampling, or do you do it by some
combination of those and an averaging of the contamination across the
bulk volume, as opposed to spot points where the radiation might be
So the whole idea of determining that it is truly
unrestricted in the actual tight definition of what unrestricted means,
as opposed to restricted, it is not clear how you do that, how you
MR. GREEVES: Well, it is pretty clear to me. Maybe we need
to talk some more.
MR. WYMER: We do.
MR. GREEVES: The rules are there. They lay out -- I am not
trying to say that subparty is simple, but in terms of restricted versus
unrestricted, it is pretty straightforward. The rule gave us a measure,
a performance measure, 25 millirem. Of course, you can't measure that
physically, you have to do a calculation. So what we are doing is we
are evaluating a number of sites and the licensee typically will come in
and say, I want to go for unrestricted release and here is how I have
cleaned this site up. This is what is left. I have done these
calculations, I have done the core sampling. Here is how I have done
the averaging or not done the averaging, and I have done a performance
assessment. I have used your code, I have used DandD. And the answer
is less than 25 millirem.
So the licensee says to the Commission, I want an
unrestricted release termination. And that is the process, and I
believe the staff provided you some information on six cases that we did
recently. They pretty much went along that line. There was a certain
amount of contamination left. The staff used the DandD code, among
others, to evaluate those sites, and my understanding is five of the six
ended up, we saw it pretty much the same way that the licensee did.
So, we are -- our experience is that we can make a
determination of license termination with unrestricted release for these
cases. It takes work, you do have to understand, you know, with core
sampling, things like that, what are averaging approaches. But we make
our own independent calculations and if the answer is less than 25
millirem, it is unrestricted release.
MR. GARRICK: I think, John, --
MR. GREEVES: Just a minute, Patty, we will get to you.
MR. GARRICK: -- the issue is not so much the numbers, I
think the numbers are pretty clear and we understand what compliance is,
but the degree of confidence one has in the numbers.
MR. WYMER: That is the point.
MR. GARRICK: And the supporting evidence for that. I think
that is what Ray was --
MR. WYMER: That is the whole point.
MR. GREEVES: This is probably something we should talk
about in more length in a meeting like this, than --
MR. WYMER: I think it is clear that if you can meet the
requirements that are in the regulations, if you can really be confident
that they have met, why, sure, then you can distinguish. But it was the
whole idea of how do you gain that kind of confidence in this kind of a
MR. GREEVES: Well, all I can tell you is we are releasing
sites all the time. So I know we targeted a handful here recently to
work on, as much to demonstrate the use of the DandD code as anything
MR. WYMER: Well, this was in the context of rubblization,
though. I know you are --
MR. GREEVES: Okay. So your concern was in the context of
rubblization. Yeah. Right. Okay.
MR. WYMER: Yeah, this was in that part of the presentation
was where I made that --
MR. GREEVES: And I think together we are going to be able
to walk through one of these. This is a big enough issue that we are
going to come back and brief you. If Maine Yankee comes in with a
proposal, we are going to come back, give you a presentation. I think
we will be able to walk through this together.
MR. WYMER: Yeah, I very much want to. That comment about
"fuzzy" was in the part of the presentation of rubblization.
MR. GREEVES: Okay. Good. Pat, did you want to make a --
MS. SANTIAGO: I just wanted to say that I --
MR. GREEVES: Could you identify yourself, Pat?
MS. SANTIAGO: -- brought copies of those six sites and the
members haven't seen them yet. So, hopefully, in the next month or so,
we will get a chance to look at the evaluations that were done on the
MR. GREEVES: Okay. And if you would identify yourself,
Pat, for the record.
MS. SANTIAGO: Pat Santiago.
MR. GREEVES: Okay. Enough on that. And I think we are
going to --
MR. GARRICK: Enough rubbish.
MR. GREEVES: We are going to work through this one
I will sort of finish up with the Savannah River tank
closure. We have been working on this project. We briefed the
committee in November and I believe that this paper has gone up, I am
told yesterday, so, hopefully, we will get you that paper also. You are
on the normal distribution on these things. But, Pat, would you make
sure they get a copy of that paper?
I think this is one that I would invite you to take a look
at closely. You are familiar with Savannah River, and this is a pretty
big issue down there, the closure of these tanks. We are actually
working in terms of providing recommendations to DOE. It is my
understanding we don't have legal authority over these tanks. I am not
a lawyer or OGC, but I think the comments that we put together and sent
up the Commission likely will apply elsewhere, so I would ask you to
take a look at that and let us know what your views are. Possibly, the
Commission would be interested in that process also.
I will remind you that, in parallel, we have got the West
Valley effort going on, and I know you have followed that. The staff
now is on the hook to present the policy, draft policy statement up at
West Valley on the 5th of January. And I would encourage the committee
to send a member to that meeting. I am sure there will be a transcript,
but if any of you are able to sit through that, or possibly your staff,
it is, again, another site that I think is high on the radar screen. So
I would encourage you to see if you could participate and listen to that
dialogue up there. If one of the four of you --
MR. LARSON: A lovely spot in early January, John.
MR. GREEVES: Well, timing is --
MR. LARSON: Everything.
MR. GREEVES: Staff has to go.
MR. LARSON: What is your date or timing on, -- you know,
you said you wanted the committee perhaps to look at the Savannah River
tank thing. I mean you send it up the Commission, but is there a timing
sequence that goes with that?
MR. GREEVES: We owe the department comments on that. So we
have sent our comments. We have provided a paper for the Commission,
and once the Commission gets back to us, then we would be providing
comments. But I see these as comments that affect a lot of other sites.
There is tanks at Idaho, there is tanks out at Hanford, West Valley, and
any time you make a position in one of these areas, it affects the
others. So I would invite your attention to the topic.
MR. LEVENSON: John, I have a question for you. Because I
chair the academy committee on the cesium tank issue at Savannah River,
is it appropriate for me to recuse myself on this issue if it comes to
the committee, or is that not necessary?
MR. GARRICK: Let's look at it when we get it.
MS. SANTIAGO: Just to note again, this is Pat Santiago,
comments on the draft policy are due February 1, 2000, and I just
recently gave you copies of the Federal Register Notice that announced
MR. GREEVES: Clarify which one you are talking about.
MS. SANTIAGO: West Valley.
MR. GREEVES: Oh, yeah. Okay. Just one more significant
item that has occurred in the decommissioning area, we put out a Federal
Register Notice on December 3rd listing the soil surface values for
clean-up, and the committee has that. The Commission gave us a two year
run to get our guidance in place on these. I would like to have had
these things in place sooner, but they are starting to play out now and
we are getting some real time use of the tools at the six sites we
mentioned earlier. And getting this table in place, I think is a
benefit to a number of licensees.
It is not going to help everybody. These numbers are
conservative. We peeled away some of that conservatism that is built
into the code. But the table I think is going to help a number of
licensees that have a single nuclide and already are cleaned up this
level, it will help them in the termination process. If they want to do
something else, they have the flexibility to use the code on a
site-specific basis or come in with a more sophisticated approach. So I
will just bring that to the committee's attention.
And with that, I think we are pretty much through the topics
that I wanted to present this morning.
MR. GARRICK: Okay. Thanks, John.
As you know, each year we take a look at the issues that are
before us and attempt to prioritize those in some systematic and
deliberate fashion. And when William Kane met with us in November, he
was able to give us some insights as to what the priorities were in the
materials area and identified them at a pretty high level, such as Yucca
Mountain, low level waste, particularly the branch technical position on
performance assessment, site decommissioning, transportation, control of
solid materials. Those were the examples of some of the things that he
Given that we may not have another shot at you before our
planning exercise, anything that you could add to this, provide us with
additional insight, would be greatly appreciated, so that our source
material for planning is as current as possible. We would greatly
appreciate the -- it is obvious that a lot of these issues are very
dynamic, and what is important in January may not be very important in
June, because of the timeliness factor. But that notwithstanding, if
there is any amplification that you could provide of the list and the
topics that we received from Kane, we would welcome that.
MR. GREEVES: Yes, I will do that. I try and use these
sessions to give you my personal views on what they are.
MR. GARRICK: Right.
MR. GREEVES: I will comment, I am very familiar with this
list. We worked on pieces of this list. At a top level, it is the
right list. The one I am a little concerned about is the transportation
issue. I need to get together with Bill Brocken and figure out ways for
us to elevate that in terms of making that more transparent to our
stakeholders. And I would encourage you to think about that one also.
It is not one that we have done a lot with. I personally haven't done a
lot with it. We worry about containers, we worry about handling stuff
on the receiving end, but the actual transportation I think is an area
that certainly isn't my strength. And so I think Bill Kane was right to
put it on the list and invite you to be thinking about that also. And
you mentioned it in a Commission meeting, it is on your list.
So, but as you go through your planning for your priority
meeting, I will revisit with your staff, if I can't be there myself, and
go over about the level of detail that I do in these meetings, because
when I come to these meetings, I really bring to you my worry beads,
what it is I think is significant. What it is that is in the country's
best interest to put its resources onto. And those resources are
The branch technical position in low level was is an
important piece. It is not as important as the others on that list, for
example. It is important. The Commission gave us a challenge to get
that done, but as you know, there isn't much going on in low level waste
in this country at the present time. It is important, however, from a
performance assessment context, because the backbone of how we do
performance assessment, a lot of it lies in that branch technical
position that the committee has looked at over time.
So, yes, I will, over time, give you some more feedback and
we will use the various mechanisms available to us to give you some
sense of priority. Dr. Garrick, as you know, we are not bashful.
MR. GARRICK: Yeah.
MR. GREEVES: We let you know what we think about
priorities. I think that is healthy.
MR. GARRICK: Given that there is not much going on in low
level waste, is that, in itself, a concern?
MR. GREEVES: It is definitely a concern, but I think it is
above my head. I think it is a concern, you know, for Congress, the
states. We had a meeting this week on entombment and there is lots of
interest on entombment. And why is there lots of interest on
entombment? Because people are not confident there is going to be a
repository in their region to take their wastes.
So, yes, it is a concern. My view is it is above my head.
I think you know the GAO did a report for the Hill on this, and you will
hear things about Barnwell just like I do. There is a recommendation
that Barnwell join -- and what are they calling it, the Atlanta Compact?
Guess what that is going to do if that happens, if Barnwell joins with
New Jersey and Connecticut and forms a compact and says nobody else can
go to Barnwell? That will create a bit of a stir.
So, but it seems like weekly I get these things. I just
don't know what direction it is going to go in. So I can take it too
serious until something definitive happens. It is an issue, but it is
just over my head, that is all, and I am not sure there is anything the
committee -- it is your call, but so far I would prefer you to direct
your efforts on Yucca Mountain, the decommissioning program, and new
Control of solid materials is a big issue. To try and go
off and work on the low level waste issue with who knows what impact,
that is not my call. I wouldn't do that, and I am not doing that. I
frequently get asked to come down and talk to groups about where things
are in terms of safety.
As far as safety, we have a safe situation at the present
time. The State of Michigan went some five years without the ability to
dispose of waste. We can safely deal with the issue for a period of
MR. WYMER: John, you haven't mentioned clearance. Where
does that stand?
MR. GREEVES: That is control of solid material.
MR. WYMER: That is control of solid material.
MR. GREEVES: Yeah, in fact, you have got a briefing today
on that, right?
MR. WYMER: Yeah.
MR. GREEVES: That is a hot button, and Bill Kane was right
to have that on his list.
MR. GARRICK: Any other comments, questions from the
MR. GARRICK: We are right on schedule. Thank you very
MR. GREEVES: Thank you for your time. A pleasure.
MR. GARRICK: Our agenda calls for a short break now, and
then we will enter into the topic of discussion, clearance rules.
MR. GARRICK: Let's come to order. We are now going to hear
about the radiological assessment for clearance of equipment and
materials from nuclear facilities. I would ask the team to introduce
themselves, and also the committee member that will lead the discussion
on this topic will be Dr. Wymer.
MR. WYMER: Maybe we should start.
MR. CARDILE: Okay. Thank you very much. My name is Frank
Cardile. I will be leading the briefing. Let me just mention that we
brief you earlier this year. Can you hear me, folks? Okay. We just
got back from the public meeting in Chicago where we had to speak very
clearly, but I am not sure what the right way to do it here is.
We briefed you earlier this year on our efforts and I wanted
to come back again now to give you an update on where we stand and the
status of our efforts. We wanted to provide you an opportunity to give
us your comments and suggestions on the issues paper, particularly with
regard to the alternatives that we are thinking about and the method of
analysis that we are using to support these alternatives.
We want to give you some specific details on NUREG-1640,
which is an important part of the technical basis for this effort. And
we also want to provide you a summary of the comments that we received
from the four public meetings that we just held.
As I mentioned, I am Frank Cardile, I am the chair of the
working group on this effort. I have with me Tony Huffert, on my left.
I am -- by the way, I am in the Office of Industrial and Medical Nuclear
Safety in the Regulations Guidance Branch. We are the branch that
develops these various regulations. Tony Huffert is also in NMSS in the
Division of Waste Management and he has the lead on the coordination of
technical basis development, including soil analysis, and also has the
lead on coordination of Regulatory Guide.
To my right, we have Giorgio Gnugnoli, also from NMSS, in
the Division of Waste Management. He is the lead on the Environmental
Impact Statement and regulatory analysis development.
We also have Robert Meck, who should be joining us
momentarily. He is the project manager on NUREG-1640 and also is PM on
further development of cost analysis to support -- cost and dose
analysis to support the Environmental Impact Statement.
This working group that we have to work on this, as you can
see, is made up of two divisions at NMSS and also Research. We also
have representatives from the state programs, from NRR, and from OGC.
Well, getting to the point of what we are here about today,
I will go on to the next slide. And I might mention that we are talking
about today, what we are presenting today is some of what we have gone
out and told people in the four public meetings, and presented to them
and heard their comments about, although it is a somewhat abbreviated
version, to be more direct and to the point of getting your comments.
The rationale, as we went out and talked to people about why
NRC is examining its approach for controlling solid materials with small
amounts of radioactivity is that there are materials, solid materials at
licensed facilities that will need some form of disposition. These
materials range from having large amounts of radioactivity to no
activity at all. All of this material will ultimately need to be
disposed of by some safe means.
The principal question that we are asking in this effort is
whether all material, in particular, material with small amounts of
radioactivity should be buried in a licensed low level waste disposal
site, or, alternatively, is there a safe way to reuse or recycle some of
these materials if the radioactivity levels are low enough?
Although there are standards for disposing of material with
large amounts of radioactivity at licensed burial sites, there are
currently no generally applicable NRC regulations for control of most of
these materials with small amounts of radioactivity. Nonetheless,
licensees are still coming in to NRC to seek release of materials when
they are obsolete or when the equipment that they are in is obsolete or
no longer usable, or when the facility is being shut down or
In the absence of standard on acceptable levels, NRC has
developed guidance as to acceptable levels that can be used by both NRC
staff and licensees in looking at this material. And, therefore,
currently decisions are being made on a case-by-case basis with regard
to these materials.
Although this guidance that we use is considered safe, the
lack of criteria creates inconsistent release levels and, therefore,
non-uniform levels of protection. In order to try to address these
limitations, NRC is considering all the issues in an open public forum
and is looking at a full analysis of health and environmental impacts,
evaluating related cost benefit impacts and also looking at the
capability of instruments to detect levels -- the levels being
To address these issues that I have just mentioned, and this
is to kind of bring you up to date as to where we are today, in June of
1998 the Commission issued direction to the staff to develop a
dose-based regulation on control of solid materials using an enhanced
participatory rulemaking process. In June of 1999, which was I think
shortly after we briefed you, I think it was April of this year, the
Commission approved publication of an issues paper that lays out several
alternative courses of action, and announces a scoping process for
As part of that directive, or as part of that process, NRC
held a series of public meetings this past fall to solicit early impact
input from various interested parties. And recently, in September of
1999, the Commission issued further direction to the staff to proceed
with the enhanced process as currently scheduled, and then prepare a
paper and a briefing to the Commission in March of 2000, and this is our
next major milestone.
To get to that point, the staff, the working group that you
see here today will be preparing a paper to present to the Commission in
March. It will be holding, obviously, several working group meetings to
discuss that paper. It is planned that some of these working group
meetings will be open to the public and also drafts of documents that we
prepare will be put on our web site and available for public review.
The Commission also -- well, let me just back up. The
content of this paper that we are to deliver to the Commission in March,
the Commission directed us that the content would include the results of
the public meetings that we have just gone through, the status of the
technical basis supporting this effort, and our recommendations on
whether to proceed with rulemaking or to take some other action.
The Commission directive, for your information, also
directed the staff that if the Commission, in March, based on their
review of our paper, decided to go ahead with the rule, the staff would
prepare a preliminary Generic Environmental Impact Statement and hold
additional public meetings on that preliminary EIS. And this would be
an added step in addition to that normally conducted where you would
prepare a Draft EIS for public comment.
On the -- I just want to give you a little bit of
information. The issues paper, as I mentioned, was issued for public
comment in June, on June 30th of 1999. It was on the Federal Register
Notice, and we have also placed it on the NRC web site. The web site
address is listed up here. We also have access by list server, so that
we can put out information to the public where they can get updated
information about where we stand.
The web site address will give information and has
information right now on the meeting agendas, on the transcripts of the
meetings we have just held, on the summaries of the meetings that we
have held. There are, I think right now three summaries for the first
three meetings. They are about five or six page abbreviated versions of
the transcripts, giving you the highlights of the meetings.
The web site also has the list of public comments, written
and e-mailed public comments that we have received on the efforts so
far. The web site also has a full version of NUREG-1640 and it is
planned that other documents that we develop in the months ahead will
also be placed on the web site for public review.
I have mentioned that we have held four public meetings.
They are listed up on the slide. And I will get into what we learned
and what we heard at those meetings in a few moments.
Getting to the issues paper itself, and developing some of
the information about what we would like to talk with you about today,
basically, the issues paper outlines several possible alternatives that
the Commission could take. One of those alternatives is to not conduct
a rulemaking at all, but to -- underneath that, we could continue with
this, our current case-by-case approach.
NRC uses various approaches for that. Specifically, we use
Regulatory Guide 1.86 and NRR also uses what they refer to as their "no
detectable" policy. Alternatively, we could establish -- or we could do
a more formalized Regulatory Guide to update Regulatory Guide 1.86. Or,
alternatively to that, we could do a rulemaking.
Specifically, we could do several things. One possibility
is to not permit release of materials from radioactive areas. Or we
could establish restrictions limiting release of solid materials to
certain authorized users. Or we could set acceptable dose levels which
must be met before materials can be cleared for unrestricted use.
If we can move on to the next slide, and what I am going to
ask Tony to do here is let me kind of get at this flow sheet a little
bit, and see if you can hear me.
The best way to perhaps talk about the -- let me see if I
can slide this without turning the thing off. We used this approach at
the public meeting we just held in Chicago, and that is to just kind of
use the pointer a little bit to talk about what we are talking about
Of course, the solid materials that we are talking about,
let me see if we can -- that's fine. The solid materials that w are
talking about are generated at the variety of NRC licensed facilities,
everything from nuclear power plants, university reactors, hospital
laboratories, industrial laboratories, fuel cycle facilities. This
material can either be in areas that are -- where material is handled
and processed in radioactive areas, or the material can be in unaffected
clean areas, for example, ventilation ducts in the control building of a
power plant, or fencing in a power plant, chairs and furniture and other
familiar in administrative offices at hospital laboratories. So there
are two basic areas which we can identify.
None of this material, of course, leaves an NRC facility
without some form of survey, either it is monitored with instrumentation
to detect the radioactivity levels, or, based on administrative or
historical knowledge of the material, it can be released based on that
The three possible alternatives that NRC has sort of laid
out, and that it has laid out in its issues paper are shown here. One
would be for the material in radioactive areas, based on the knowledge
of where it is located, namely, administrative knowledge of historical
location, and have that material go directly to low level waste. For
example, tanks or pipes in the auxiliary building of the power reactor,
based on that, based on the fact of its location, could be sent to low
level waste without a consideration of what possible radiation level it
The rationale, and the rationale that has been presented to
us by various commenters is that this allows for isolation of this
material and reduces public concerns over possible use of this material
in non-licensed uses, or in consumer uses.
This option is what we have referred to as prohibition and
that, obviously, from some of the comments we received has been fairly
A question open for discussion is, how much of the material,
if any, from the unaffected areas should also follow this path? And I
will get into that, some of the comments we received on that from
various parties, including the nuclear industry.
A second alternative would be to set a dose limit in the
regulation by which the material was surveyed and if it met an
acceptable level, it would be cleared for unrestricted use and then
could be used in either a recycle process or it could be used directly,
for example, with trucks or tanks -- or not tanks, but trucks or
equipment or tools that can be used directly in some further use. Or
the material, if it is cleared for unrestricted use, could just find its
way directly to a landfill. Of course, material below this level would
go to -- or, I'm sorry, material above any dose level that we set would
go directly to low level waste.
Of course, many of the people -- the licensed control would
end at the survey points, so none of the people, none of the people
using the material in any of these uses would be licensed by NRC,
including scrap dealers, steel manufacturers, concrete manufacturers,
and, of course, general members of the public who use that, use the
The compromise between these two approaches is to restrict
the use of the material to some authorized use. In this alternative,
material would be monitored and would wind up in a restricted use. The
questions that have been raised to the public meetings is that they
could -- the material could either wind up in a licensed restricted use,
namely, that the material could be used in shielded casks or in shipping
casks or in shield blocks which are a part of the licensed community.
The material could also wind up in an unlicensed restricted use. For
example, if there was some way for the material to get from the facility
into bridge girders, and that, obviously, the advantage of that type of
restricted use is that it would be -- make some productive use of this
material, but it would be in a usage that was less apt to be more --
where public exposure would be direct.
A major issue -- or an issue raised in the meetings is
whether the people who are involved in building or in processing the
material to get these unlicensed use should somehow be licensed. For
example, should the people -- should the scrap dealers who receive the
material be licensed? Should the steel manufacturers be licensed?
Because there has to be some way to assure that the material that is
going to this restricted use does not somehow wind up in an unrestricted
Let me go ahead and turn this back over to you.
In considering these different alternatives, the NRC has
various decision-making factors that it will be using in the months
ahead. These include human health and environmental impacts.
Obviously, primary to us is what is the potential dose to an individual.
Another item in our decision-making process will be potential cumulative
or aggregate doses to an individual from the material. That is, if we
set a dose to an individual, but there is a potential that that
individual can be exposed to multiple sources of products that have been
made from this material, do these doses add up to greater than the
individual dose that we have set?
In addition, we would be looking at potential aggregate or
cumulative doses to different population groups. We would also look at
non-radiological impacts. This would include, for example, the impacts
on mining and processing of -- the impacts that mining -- I'm sorry --
the impacts that mining and processing of new metals to replace metals
that are sent to low level waste, what impacts would they have?
We would also be doing a cost benefit analysis. We will be
looking at the ability to measure radioactivity at low dose levels, and
we will considering international, national and state standards in these
To help us with this decision-making, NRC is already moving,
or the staff is already moving in the development of contract support to
help us with the analyses needed to support these decision-making
processes. These include, as I just mentioned, the evaluation of
environmental impacts, the inventory of material that are the different
facilities. This is something that is currently not that well
established in our database and we need to know that to know more about
what are possible aggregate doses.
We will be looking at collective doses, we are looking at
the potential for multiple exposures to individuals to more than one
product. And we will be looking at the costs and benefits of the
alternatives. And, as I mentioned, we also have contract support to
look at the ability to survey at low dose levels.
I haven't mentioned it, but the issues paper talked about
possible dose levels around a millirem, and also the European community
and the IAEA has been looking at doses in the range of about a millirem.
So, that being one alternative that we could look at, we need to look at
the ability to survey at those levels, or above or below.
We have also issued draft NUREG-1640 for public comment, and
that document looks at, as Bob Meck will get into a minute, that looks
at metals and concrete. To supplement that information, we are also
looking at potential soil reuse or recycle, and at the moment we have
got a contract with USDA to help us with soil use characterization.
With that, or at this point, I will turn it over to Bob Meck
who will give you some more information about NUREG-1640.
MR. MECK: Good morning, I'm Bob Meck and I am in the Office
of Nuclear Regulatory Research. And the first point, let's go ahead and
just step through these quickly.
NUREG-1640 is, of course, not a rule. Some people in the
public have been confused about that, but rather it is a calculational
tool to convert doses from various regulatory alternatives to
concentrations of radionuclides, and those concentrations are expressed
both in becquerels per gram and becquerels per square centimeter.
Go to the next two bullets -- okay, to the next bullet. All
right, keep going. All right. The design of the report is to identify
the dose conversion factor for the critical group and, of course, the
next question is, what is the critical group? And we didn't know at the
outset of this exercise what the critical group was, and so the answer
is, what is the critical group? It depends. And it depends on the
radionuclide, it depends on the material that is involved, and it
depends on the behavior of people in the processes that are associated
with those materials.
So what we did is we surveyed the most abundant materials
that we thought might come out of nuclear power plants and selected
steel, both carbon steel and stainless steel are lumped together in our
analysis, aluminum, copper and concrete.
The next bullet. And in terms of the scenarios, we looked
at a total -- over these four materials, a total of 79 scenarios. We
encompassed not only the initial fate of these materials out of a
licensed facility, but also the byproducts that may occur. Of course,
with melting, for example, of metal there is not only the metal product,
but there is slag, back house dust, there is air effluents, and we
followed those out in those 79 scenarios, too. And also included,
alternately, disposal in a landfill.
Next. We looked at 85, examined on a case-by-case or
nuclide-by-nuclide basis, 85 radionuclides, and these were taken, these
were chosen from a survey of manifests from low level waste and then
supplemented from those radionuclides that the Environmental Protection
Agency analyzed, and also those from the European Commission, so that we
had an ability to compare all of the radionuclides, at least initially,
from those three sources.
Next slide. To identify the critical group, and to come up
with these conversion factors, we used a probabilistic approach, it is
the Monte Carlo method, because, you know, in each of these processes,
it is unrealistic to say that a scrap truck driver, for example, has a
definite number of hours to -- in which they transport. And so we used
distributions for virtually all of the parameters, and used the paradigm
that the average of the conversion parameter would be representative of
the average member of the critical group. There is a subtle difference
between the average member of the critical group and the average dose to
the critical group, but I think we can defend that.
For cobalt-60 and steel, this is the result of a 500 sample
run on this conversion factor, and they are presented in microsieverts
per year per becquerel per square centimeter. And, basically, this
turned out to be the critical group for steel and cobalt-60, and it is
the person who transports the scrap from the licensee to the scrap yard.
You can see on this that we also displayed the 5 percent, 50
percent and 95 percent values for the dose conversion factors -- or they
are not dose conversion factors, but rather conversion concentration,
dose to concentration factors. And when I looked at this, I asked the
contractor to run it with 10,000 samples to see, because this looks like
it is really spread out. And we ran it with 10,000 samples, it came out
to be a normal like distribution, and the mean that came out that larger
sampling only differed in the third decimal place. And, so, preliminary
studies and other studies lead us to believe that the 500 sampling
determinations of the mean of the factors is adequate.
MR. GARRICK: Now, where did you get the means, or where did
you get the samples?
MR. MECK: All right. The sample, what we did was we laid
out equations for the scenarios, on a normalized basis. We would say we
will have, for example, one becquerel on a square centimeter of a
surface of scrap. And then we said, well, how much of that scrap then
could reasonably be in a load of scrap? And so there is a range of
that, so that is a distribution.
For the amount of time that it took that driver to get from
the generator to the scrap yard and get -- that was also a variable
parameter. And so there was a range of that. And, for example, those
-- and so on throughout the equations. And, so, basically, the
equations were using Monte Carlo techniques, randomly picked from the
distributions of the parameters.
Now, on those parameters, this is where to some extent
judgment comes into play in terms of these kinds of calculations, and we
are quite careful in the report to document how we came -- what the
basis of those parameters were. For example, the truck driver
occupation time was derived from information we got from the Bureau of
Labor Statistics. And, you know, if it turned out that we needed
personal communication for somebody in a steel mill, those were formally
documented in a quality control program.
Not only was the nature and rationale for the distributions,
and the ranges on those distributions, but there was an evaluation of
the quality of the data in the report, and there were six levels of
quality. And so one could go through the report and say, well, this is
how confident we are of how good -- what the quality of the input is.
And so even though judgment is involved in laying out these equations,
we tried to be as transparent as possible and to justify why those were
If we could go to the next one, the next five are the top
five radionuclides for this clearance of steel with cobalt-60. The next
one we looked at was inside an automobile. This we thought of something
like maybe perhaps a truck at a mining operation was contaminated on the
-- well, it wouldn't actually be a mining operation for cobalt-60, but
for this radionuclide, it was contaminated, we assumed it was
contaminated with cobalt-60.
Go on to the next one, please. A small mass close to the
body, this would be a metal consumer product.
Go to the next one. Reuse of equipment, a large piece of
equipment that -- you know, a pump or something, or a large industrial
piece of equipment, contaminated with cobalt-60. And at the scrap yard,
this was what the scrap handler would get cutting and manipulating the
And, so, in this particular case, the critical group was
clearly distinct from the next four highest.
Go on to the next slide, if there is one. One of the things
that we did in the report, it is in Chapter 2 of the first volume, is to
say, if we were to, for purposes of comparison, compare the results of
these conversion factors with the European communion -- community or the
International Atomic Energy Agency, and we also have comparison figures
with Reg. Guide 1.86 and the Environment Protection Agency results, what
would we get?
So I picked a few radionuclides that are generally of
interest to group like these and made a comparison. And in these
ratios, in the second or the third and fourth columns, rather, it is
important simply to look at the exponents, and when you see a negative
exponent, it means that the values that NUREG-1640 came up with are more
restrictive than the comparison value, for example, the EC or the IAEA.
And, so, although we are more restrictive, in most of the cases there,
it is usually within a factor of 10. And given that there is markedly
different approaches in arriving at the values from the European
Commission and the IAEA, a factor of 10 is probably remarkable
There are a few notable exceptions where it is more than a
factor of 10, cobalt-60 and the EC value, and cesium-137. Recently I
was at the IAEA and, as a consultant to them, and working together with
two people who are actually putting together the EC numbers. And it
became apparent to me that the reasons for this kind of a difference is,
one, that they did not add pathways in their derivation of numbers and
to compensate for that, they imposed judgment calls in determining their
parameters. And then there was an indication that there was a -- the
overall, I am trying to think of a diplomatic way of putting this, the
group -- 31 groups, when they saw the numbers, provided some expert
judgment and readjusted some of those numbers from the calculations. So
I think this was -- those two factors would account for why there was
more than a factor of 10 between them.
Shall we go on to the next slide? Is that it? Okay.
I have brought a poster that basically presents the same
kinds of information and I will be happy to answer questions, either
one-on-one after the session or now.
MR. CARDILE: Okay. Thanks, Bob. We just want to turn now
for a few minutes --
MR. LEVENSON: Excuse me. Let me ask one question. I
understand how you convert from material to dos for something like
cobalt and steel, but how did you do it for those isotopes where it
includes inhalation and ingestion? What kind of assumptions did you
make, and how consistent were they in overestimating?
MR. MECK: Okay. We did account for ingestion and
inhalation pathways, and the -- I am trying to think of how to get to
the crux of your question.
MR. LEVENSON: Let me give you the context of my question.
MR. MECK: Yeah.
MR. LEVENSON: I was recently involved in a review of
something where that was done and it turned out that, when you looked at
what was buried in the model, the assumption had been made that the
average ingestion of milk was about 50 times the national average for
drinking milk, et cetera. And so you can get the wrong isotopes being
important. I just wondered --
MR. MECK: Right. Right. One of the design objectives was
to be realistic. And so when we were picking parameters, and realistic,
the standard for realistic was American life and industry as it exists
today. And so we tried to go out and represent from whatever data
sources that we could find that were appropriate, that are in existence
today. Certainly, the parameters are all listed in one of the
appendices and we, you know, made a diligent effort, if we saw some
numbers or some surprises that we didn't expect, to go back and
reexamine and say, was there conservatism that we didn't intend?
One of the nuclides that we examined three times, and still
became -- and still was outstanding in terms of a surprisingly high
conversion factor, was neptunium-237. And I would be pleased if
somebody could point out where the flaws were that -- but our results
have it that, you know, the combination of some strong gamma emitters,
and also the internal doses, in combination, make it a fairly radiotoxic
MR. LEVENSON: That doesn't surprise me. Neptunium-237
quite often comes out the high one.
MR. MECK: Yeah.
MR. LEVENSON: I have one other question and that is, in
this whole program, have you determined the background? That is
probably most important for concrete, but it is not inconsequential for
the metals. I know that, for instance, in the '50s, this was a serious
problem for anybody wanting to build low level radiation measuring
equipment, because the airplanes scrapped at the end of World War II,
nobody removed radium dials, and they all went into the scrap channels.
I know that some years ago when I was responsible for
building some counting rooms in Idaho, we discovered we had to ship
aggregate in from out of state because the thorium in all of the natural
rocks and sands in the state are very high. And it seems to me this
could be fairly important if you are talking about low levels. How are
you going to differentiate between natural activities and what might be
man-made? Has that been looked into as a basic question?
MR. MECK: Yes. Yes, indeed. In a follow-on contract, one
of the tasks is to establish or to provide as much information as we can
get on the background levels of each of these metals and concrete in
industry as it exists today. To give somewhat of a jump start to that
effort, we have been able to get some data from the steel industry as
personal communication and also Japan. I have got some data from Japan
which I am very pleased to have gotten, about background levels.
But, as it turns out, it is very difficult to find those
data in existence, and there is a limited provision in the present
contract to investigate what those background levels are. But to take a
real survey is going to be a daunting task. As you said, the experience
of the Navy at Mayer Island was they could determine different pours of
concrete for different buildings because of the background of naturally
occurring radionuclides differed depending on the source of the cement
and the aggregate.
MR. HORNBERGER: I have a follow-on question to the one that
John Garrick posed to you. So I understand that you have your list of
parameters, and some of them, as you described, for example, driving
statistics for time for truck drivers, you have a pretty good actuarial
basis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For some others I suspect
you don't have a very strong actuarial basis at all.
MR. MECK: Right.
MR. HORNBERGER: I am curious, just your gut level feeling,
what proportion of the parameters sort of all into the category of not
having a very good actuarial or theoretical basis, and how did you
handle those in terms of the uncertainties in the parameters?
MR. MECK: Right. The quality of the data that we had
ranged from, gee, you know, we have a direct source and it is
unimpeachable, you know, like, I don't know, the speed of light or
something in a vacuum, down to, gee, we have no idea. And I think there
were six categories of data, one being the most solid and six being we
have no idea. And I would say that -- this is off the top of my head,
that most of them came out at about a four. A lot of them came out
around four. And at one extreme, where we had the no idea, we tried to
establish a realistic, but not overly conservative range to control
uncertainty, but the distribution was uniform, because we had no -- you
know, we really had no idea, well, what would be a most probable value.
MR. GARRICK: So all you did was establish the end
MR. MECK: Yeah. And then sample from that range uniformly.
And so, certainly, you know, some of the scenarios and some
of the radionuclides had very large uncertainties, and, not
surprisingly, those were the ones with the most parameters and the most
complex pathways. And so we did -- you know, we did, I think what we
could in terms of, okay, we have -- we quantified that and, you know,
said this is how well we know this, and, you know, this is the paradigm
MR. GARRICK: Yeah. The problem with that is that sometimes
experience indicates, for the category of "no idea," people tend to
incorporate tighter bounds in the analysis than for the cases where they
do have data. And that, how you establish these bounds is very
critical, because if you have no idea, then that is the whole ball game.
MR. MECK: Right. We put the basis for the range, you know,
establishing those ranges in the report, and the report is published as
a draft for comment. And we are actively soliciting those kinds of
comments, and eager to get them.
MR. CARDILE: Okay. Let me just give you a couple of
minutes to give you a little bit of a summary of what we have heard over
the past three or four months at the public meetings. We held, as I
mentioned, four meetings, one here in the NRC auditorium on November 1st
and 2nd, and the other three, in San Francisco, Atlanta and about a week
ago in Chicago.
We had pretty good attendance at the meeting for a variety
of representations. We had licensee and licensee organizations. We had
the Health Physics Society and the medical community reps at a couple of
the meetings. We had literally EPA, DOE, and state NRC representation
at all the meetings. We had travel government representation I believe
at two of the meetings.
We had at pretty much all the meetings very active and vocal
and interesting representation by the scrap and recycling companies, and
the steel manufacturers, who had some definite views on the subject. I
will get into that in a moment.
We had representation also from sanitary waste facilities.
The citizens group representation, what we had invited, did
not attend the San Francisco or Atlanta meetings, although they did
deliver statements to the meeting, and in writing, explaining why they
did not attend. However, we did have some citizens group representation
at the Rockville meeting and also at the Chicago meeting.
What we heard, the next, I guess three slides talk a little
bit about what we heard at these meetings. From a broad standpoint,
with regard to the rulemaking, we pretty much heard that it would
useful, primarily from the license community, but it would be useful to
have a national standard that was technically defensible and readily
implemented, or could be readily implemented, and that this would
provide a consistent approach. This was seen as a good thing.
We heard at several of the meetings, or most of the
meetings, that we -- as Bob mentioned, as Bob has just mentioned, we
have looked at steel, aluminum, copper and concrete, and NUREG-1640, and
we also have an analysis ongoing for soil. We also heard in these
meetings that we should be looking at the various other materials that
go in and out of licensed facilities on a day-to-day basis, including
trash, other metals. At the Chicago meeting we talked about lead and
There was, at several of the meetings, remarks that because
DOE generally adopts NRC standards eventually, that we should also
consider DOE materials in our rulemaking at this time.
We also talked about reusable items that should be used --
should be addressed in the analysis and in the rulemaking.
Going on the next slide, with regard to alternatives for
control of solid materials, we mentioned, as you recall, that the issues
paper lays out three broad rulemaking alternatives, prohibition, a
restricted use and an unrestricted use, where the material is cleared.
The steel industry and the scrap representatives, as I
mentioned, had some pretty consistent, strong opposition to unrestricted
use where the material could wind up in consumer products. Their
indication is that there is a pretty strong potential economic impact on
them if there is a perceived problem amongst their consumers, and this
perceived problem then turns around on them as to not being able to sell
their products. So they were basically concerned that the problem of
what to do with this material should not be shifted from the licensed
generators to them.
They indicated to us that they have installed detectors at
the steel mill facilities. These detectors were installed to deal with
the orphan source problem, but they indicate that these detectors are
very sensitive and getting more sensitive, that they can detect levels
like the millirem or so that we may be talking about here, and that
they, in fact, without getting into the specifics, there would be
potential likelihood, if NRC did put out a rule, that they -- that the
steel facilities would reject loads of material coming from a licensed
The citizens groups who did attend also opposed release of
the solid materials. They had -- the concerns that they expressed were
with regard to health effects from unnecessary risks of this material in
consumer products. And they indicated that they felt that the material
should be isolated from the public use.
There was some concern about how, by these groups, that the
process had been prejudged, that we had already made up our mind.
Nuclear industry groups and licensees who attended, we had
various licensees, not only power reactor licensees, but we had medical
community licensees, and, most recently, in Chicago, a university
licensee who also handles not only the university reactor, but the
medical research aspects at the university. They primarily felt that it
was reasonable and rationale to proceed with a dose-based standard, that
doses and the risks from any standard that we are talking about in the
area of about a millirem are low and that NCRP, ICRP, and EPA have
indicated that risks at one millirem level are trivial and could be
These groups also pointed out that disposing of very low
dose material would be very -- could be very costly if you dispose of
them at low level waste. This could have a big impact on some of the
smaller licensees, like I mentioned the medical licensees, and that this
made no sense from a cost benefit standpoint.
We also heard some other suggestions about these
alternatives. In particular, with regard to restricted use, while it
seemed like a good idea, and initially in a couple of the earlier
meetings, I think one -- it was noted that, gee, this seems like a good
idea, put all this stuff in bridge girders. But we ended up, perhaps it
was discussed, the more it was clear that there might be issues or
problems with regard to whether, as I mentioned on that flow diagram
earlier, whether you could -- the institutional controls in non-licensed
restricted uses could be established well enough to assure that they
didn't wind up in an unrestricted or cleared use, and, therefore, at the
most recent Chicago meeting, it was mentioned that perhaps restricted
use should take the form of only -- or of limiting the material to
staying the nuclear community.
Other alternatives that were suggested in the meetings, over
the course of the four meetings, included retaining Regulatory Guide
1.86, or, as I mentioned earlier, modifying it, adopting the ANSI
Standard N13.12, which I believe was issued, and I can check, we can
talk about this some more, it was issued earlier this fall. This
standard has criteria for clearance of materials and the NRC is bound by
the 1996 law or act that requires federal agencies to take into account
and to use consensus standards where they are appropriate.
Another suggestion for alternatives suggested was to
recapture the material that has already been released under our existing
We also heard some other alternatives, possibly segregating
the requirements that we establish by material type. I mentioned that
there is a variety of materials that we are talking about, and perhaps
there is a way to do this on a material-by-material basis. And there
was also a suggestion that perhaps, this is along the lines of
restricted use, that there be a dedicated smelter or manufacturer for
handling this material.
And, of course, we talked quite a bit in all the meetings
about the different measurement and instrumentation methods and the
issues and problems associated with establishing methods that are going
to ensure that the materials meet the standard.
That concludes our slides. We invite your comments about
the different alternatives, further comments about Bob's and about
NUREG-1640, or about the other approaches we are planning on using.
MR. WYMER: This is clearly a very complicated issue, a very
difficult issue. It is like a lot of these issues where there is at
least as strong a perception, a component by the public, as there is a
true technical basis for trying to make decisions.
One of the things that comes to mind is that if 25 millirem
per year is truly a safe standard to protect human health and the
environment, then why drop down to 1 millirem per year in this case, if
this is to be a dose regulated standard? I can think of a number of
reasons myself, but I would like to hear your comments on that.
MR. CARDILE: Well, it is certainly something that we are
having to deal with. If you recall, the statement of considerations to
the license termination rule that establish a 25 millirem, it talked
about -- one of the principal aspects of establishing that value at that
level was the fact that, from a potential for multiple exposure or where
people could potentially be exposed, 25 millirem seemed like an
appropriate fraction of the overall 100 millirem criteria.
We also supported that with a cost benefit analysis, et
cetera. But a large component of that analysis -- of that evaluation
had to do with that this was the appropriate fraction of 100, that that
particular path and potential opportunity for exposure should be set at.
The issues associated with releasing metal and recycling
metal and various materials and having them go out into a variety of
different sources, unlike a license termination rule where you have one
site, or a site, now you have a different potential for exposure. And
that is certainly, and I think the issues paper mentions it, that is a
point of consideration. But we have to -- you know, we have to go
beyond that, I guess, in this effort, and determine, well, what are
appropriate levels for this type of consideration?
MR. MECK: If I can add to what Frank said, the sites and
buildings are a situation where you are there and you can't be at
another site and building at the same time. On the other hand, in the
cases of materials, one can accumulate multiple sources of it, so that
is one consideration.
Another consideration which I think is worthy to keep in the
fore, is that from the international trade point of view, the EC has
already recommended and required its member states to put into their
legislation by the end of May 2000 this trivial dose level, 10
microsieverts per year, one millirem year, and consistency for
trans-boundary shipments and import-export considerations is a factor
also I think.
MR. WYMER: John, do you have any --
MR. GARRICK: Well, you are right, Ray, it is an interesting
problem and it precipitates a lot of questions. And I think the
question that was asked earlier about background is an extremely
Do you have good information, for example, on the difference
between radiation levels of products that result from recycling versus
products that come from raw material? I would guess that a lot of very
low levels of radioactive material have found their way into the recycle
MR. MECK: There is some experience, but it is usually not
the direct kind of experience that we are looking for. There are those
two pieces of data that we have been able to dig out, one from the
Japanese and one from the steel industry. But the variation, I think,
in terms of background that one might expect in metal products, or in
slag, or in back house dust could be quite great. And I think you have
to go up, you know, several orders of magnitude, say, to get an idea of
what the variation might be.
I did hear an anecdote about the Mexican steel that was
former into table legs and that those concentrations were not uniform
because there was a continuous dilution in the process that goes on so
that the -- when the source went through and the first legs that were
molded, or the steel that came out, you know, close to that time, had a
higher concentration than that that came out later in the process. And
so we could expect some sort of, you know, outright variation, even if
we knew that there was radioactivity in the material, depending upon the
dilution. And so it certainly does add to the uncertainty of the whole
MR. CARDILE: If I can just add to that, one example that
you brought up earlier was concrete. It is my understanding that the
EPA encourages the recycling of coal ash into that product, and that
boosts the dose up to about 10 millirem.
MR. GARRICK: Right.
MR. CARDILE: As compared to what you would be getting from
the natural variability.
MR. WYMER: Specifically exempted.
MR. GARRICK: Yes.
MR. CARDILE: Yes.
MR. LEVENSON: John, as a follow-on to your question, it
isn't clear to me that recycled stuff is necessarily higher because of
the high uranium-thorium content of some coals.
MR. GARRICK: Right.
MR. LEVENSON: There are some small foundries that use coke
as a reducing agent and might well have fairly high natural
radioactivity in new virgin steel. So, it seems to me the whole
question of background, particularly concrete with the coal ash being an
acceptable -- I mean how are you going to measure whether the concrete
is 1 MR if the background is 10, from the constituents? You have to
have the background, it seems to me.
MR. GARRICK: Yes. Yes. I think that is --
MR. MECK: One of the things that would be welcome input is
recognizing that background is an important factor to consider. What is
the quantity and quality of data the NRC needs to establish this? This
could, you know, at one extreme be a very expensive enterprise. And, on
the other hand, keeping the objectives in mind, you know, what does the
NRC need in terms of the quantity and quality of data and over what
range of radionuclides? So, I think, we could appreciate some feedback
MR. GARRICK: One of the things --
MR. LEVENSON: Before we leave that point, we did have a
concrete representative at the Chicago meeting, and we pointed out this
about the coal -- fly ash in the concrete, and I believe he wasn't
really aware of it, or hadn't really focused on that. And so that --
that just is background to this discussion, is that --
MR. GARRICK: Well, one of the problems that exists here is
that, on the one hand, radiation is one of the easiest things to measure
on the planet at low levels. On the other hand, you are not able to
take advantage of that, in that, I doubt if the public that you
interacted with had an appreciation of the difference between the levels
that you were talking about and the levels at which medical history has
indicated that there is detectable damage.
One of the unfortunate things is that the way this is
presented sometimes, it is almost as if it is damaging at any level, and
that comes about because of the LNP hypothesis. When, in fact, if you
attempted to do the same thing to other toxic and hazardous materials,
you would find the difference between these levels to be profoundly
different. That is between the level at which you have detectable
damage or environmental impact, and the level at which -- the levels
that you can measure.
So, I think that -- and the NRC is always up against the
problem because if they present a lot of information on what experience
indicates to be damaging and what these measurements are -- the levels
at which these measurements are made, they can be accused of promotion
and developing, trying to develop an interest in something.
But the problem here is education, it is not promotion in
most cases, it is simply education. And I am curious about whether in
your public meetings there was an appreciation of what these levels
really mean in terms of consequences, number one. And, number two, I am
also very curious if, in your public meetings, the information --
whatever information you presented on cost benefit, and whether there
was any appreciation of that.
MR. CARDILE: Yeah, as a matter of fact, we did make a real
conscious effort, we prepared several slides. The slides that we
brought here today were all the material we presented. Some of it was
for the purpose exactly of what you are just talking about. We had the
slides that had a chart or a bar chart indicating the level of this
material compared to, you know, background, compared to the fly -- coal
ash, compared to what you might get just traveling back and forth on a
airline flight from east to west.
One of the medical representatives at the Rockville meeting
went into a fairly -- two of them actually went into fairly lengthy
discussions about, you know, these are the levels where, you know, these
high levels of dose are where you get radiation effects and we see no
radiation effects at the lower levels that we are talking about, you
know, none of them we are talking about here.
We presented the information and heard this comment at all
the meetings. We noted the comparison to the NCRP standard -- or
finding that these levels around a millirem are negligible. So we did
do that. However, the public reaction that we got was nevertheless
negative, and the steel industry reaction that we got was also negative
in the sense that they said -- I don't think they listened, you know, to
the presentation of the information, that I think we did a fairly good
job of going up to the point that you are talking about, presenting the
information, indicating these are the levels, this is the comparison to
And nevertheless, the conversation -- and I think the
license community would, you know, as part of their discussion, mention
that these are levels that are, you know, very low, very low risk. But
the response that we generally got was, yes, but the public conception
is that -- or public perception, that word was used a lot, the
perception is that this is radiation. And with the steel industry it
was very -- it was kind of an economic discussion. It was that people
won't buy these products.
MR. GARRICK: Yes.
MR. CARDILE: And this is going to have a big economic
impact on us. And so that is -- that was -- so, in answer your
question, yes, we did make that effort, and it is difficult to --
MR. GARRICK: Well, let me try to be a little --
MR. MECK: Could I add to that a little bit?
MR. GARRICK: Yes.
MR. MECK: You know, certainly that was our experience. And
I think we need to go a little further in terms of education than simply
presenting a comparison of risks, because I, for example, understand the
small risk, but I, too, am unwilling to take even the smallest of risk
unless I perceive a potential, at least a potential for a benefit. Why
should I take a risk if there is no potential for benefit? We need to
talk about that, but yet the NRC as a regulator is not in a good
position to promote the uses for its licensees. On the other hand, it
is, as I understand it, our responsibility to enable licensees to
perform their businesses so that society as a whole can reap a benefit
from that. So that is somewhat of a dilemma when we are presenting to
Another aspect to that, to the benefit, there was some
attempt to present benefits, but I think we in, at the decommissioning
area, for example, it may be somewhat likened to asking people at an
amusement park to pay upon exiting. And so it is not that appealing
once you have had your benefit.
MR. CARDILE: I might only add to that is that the
licensees, in particular at the last Chicago meeting, that
representatives from the licensed community did make a fairly strong
discussion of, both from the nuclear power industry and from the
university medical community, that the benefit is the power that is
being generated and also the medical research that is being done, and et
cetera, et cetera. So it was a fairly good, or a fairly lengthy
discussion of what the benefits that people are getting, and that this
is part of that product that is being provided. And to some degree, the
response from the steel industry was, as Bob just mentioned, yes, we
hear you, we appreciate those benefits, but now it is time to take these
products and put them in low level waste.
MR. GARRICK: Yeah. Well, all I am really getting at is the
quality of the information is presented with respect to things like
risk, costs and benefits. And if that quality is there, and the
citizens vote accordingly, then that is the way it is. But I have
observed that too often in these kind of issues, because of restrictions
on scope of activities and responsibility, the full case is not very
well presented. And I was curious about that.
Now, a couple of things I just wanted to say. As far as
making decisions about the various alternatives that you have, it seems
to me that you have two or three important takeoff points for doing
that. You have, for example, the experience with liquids and gases, and
the standards of Part 20 relative to them, and that is a substantial
experience base and at least gives you some sort of a risk baseline in
terms of what is already considered acceptable.
The other thing that you have that seems to me to be a very
information base if it is analyzed and systematically considered is the
experience you have on the case-by-case licensing evaluations. You have
done a lot of work in that area. And then, of course, a third, given
that Part 20 does apply to non-solids, and given that you have these
case-by-case analyses, it is clear that you have a substantial amount of
experience in achieving a certain end state with respect to the disposal
of solids, and that gives you some sort of a basis for doing a
risk-informed analysis and making comparisons. So at least you, it
seems to me, you would be able to establish some bounds or some limits
within which precedents already exist.
I don't know how much you consider what you have done as
having done that, but it seems that, in the three scenarios that you
have, that one could do a pretty comprehensive job of evaluating those
against a pretty strong experience base, because radiation doesn't care
whether it is in liquid form or gas form, or what-have-you. And this
agency's principal concern has to do with radiological threats. So I
was just curious how much of the existing experience base has really
been employed in developing the case for evaluating each of these, say,
MR. CARDILE: Well, I will answer that in two ways. One is
to, I guess, to some degree back up and remind everyone where we are in
this process and that is that we are not even in rulemaking yet. The
effort that we have just gone through to hold these public meetings is
part of pre-rulemaking effort to solicit early public input. We have
held those meetings. We have a public comment period on the issues
paper and the issues in the issues paper, it ends on December 22nd.
From there, we are preparing a Commission paper in March of
2000 and have the Commission briefing in March of 2000, at which time we
will give them somewhat of a discussion like we have had here today,
talk about what we heard at the public meetings, what we heard in the
written comments. I think we have already received over a hundred
letters and e-mails on this, on the issues paper. Talk to them about
where we stand on our technical database development and make some broad
recommendations on how to proceed, rulemaking or not.
So, I guess to get to your question, we haven't got perhaps
as far as really honing in on which -- or how to narrow these down.
Obviously, the things you mentioned are things that we will be
considering as we prepare this March paper, and then as we move beyond
the March paper.
MR. GARRICK: Yeah, my point is I like the way you have
approached this with the public, because, too often, the way we deal
with the public is we say this is the way we are going to solve this
problem, we hope you like it. You are offering alternatives. And now
the question is, what is the analysis -- what analysis, what form is the
analysis for those various alternatives?
One of the things that strikes me that is needed is a body
that is not restricted by a regulatory requirement or what-have-you,
that really is only focused on generating information for the public
that is comprehensible on the costs, risks and benefits of different
alternatives of solving these kinds of problems. And every time we
start burrowing in on this, we find that the analysis is restricted, not
because it is not known how to do it, but because of the authority or
the fear of promotion, or some other reason.
But what causes me some pain is that the public does not
seem to be getting an uninhibited, unrestricted consideration of
different alternatives against a set of attributes that they can
associate with an accept. And so we end up trying to make decisions on
the basis of what our authorities are and on very limited -- limited
applications of the sciences that are available to us to do a good job
of these things.
And I don't know what the answer is there, but it sounds
like here we go again.
MR. GNUGNOLI: I guess this is a light answer to that. One
of the comments from our last meeting, an individual held up an old
NUREG document and said, hey, this kind of stuff was done before, and
you could look at the equations and read through the document and
understand it. Well, that was because it was a purely deterministic
calculation. He lambasted the 1640 report and said, you can't
understand a damn thing about this. That is because he didn't
understand what Monte Carlo sampling analysis was.
The minute we introduced this, in effect, black box of
probabilistic operations and calculations, they immediately said, ah,
this is the government hiding something and making it darker for people
to understand. This document is horrible to read, you can't understand
a thing about it.
And the problem is that your average person walking down the
street may understand multiplication, division, subtraction and addition
and such, but the minute you start bringing in these kinds of
distribution analyses, they say, ah, this is basically mirrors and wires
and strings again.
So we got a fairly negative response, and it was, in effect,
an accusation of the quality of the document, which was I thought
somewhat ill-informed. But we couldn't explain to that individual,
there was no common language to explain to that individual what was
going on there. We would have needed that individual to take a few
probability courses before we could even start talking. And I think
this is a very common feeling on the part of the public.
MR. GARRICK: Well, the first thing you would explain is
that Monte Carlo is not magic, it is just a method of doing
probabilistic arithmetic, that the basic knowledge, -- and Monte Carlo
doesn't generate basic knowledge, the input has to come from the
experience base. And sometimes I feel that we technical people keep
shooting ourselves in the foot because we use these terms as if they are
the source of our probabilities. They are not. They are the mechanisms
by which we manipulate information to get our probabilities, but the
important thing here is the information, and that is what the emphasis
should be on.
MR. CARDILE: Maybe, as you say, here we go again. It may
be that a more broad approach needs to be taken by a group like NAS,
NCRP, even the licensees or the agency, --
MR. GARRICK: Oh, I agree. Yes.
MR. CARDILE: -- in that if the public already knew in some
format, that, all right, here is a dose -- here is what dose level risks
are. One millirem is very low, you know, a hundred millirem -- what
these different things meant. That when a group like us went out to the
public meetings and said, all right, we are talking about a clearance
rule at about a millirem, they wouldn't be, you know, --
MR. GARRICK: Yeah. You are talking about this piece of the
MR. CARDILE: Yeah. We are talking about this piece of the
problem. And we have all been -- we would be walking into an
environment where people said, oh, okay, where do we understand that
already. We know where you fit in and this is probably okay. This
format, this clearance format shouldn't be the format of educating the
public about the health effects of radiation, that should be taken up by
perhaps larger groups, so that when this effort goes forward, people
say, okay, we see where that fits into the overall aspect of this.
MR. GARRICK: Yeah, I understand and I appreciate what the
limitations are, but I also occasionally put on my citizen's hat and
say, if I were in their position, would I vote differently than what I
am hearing they are voting? And probably I wouldn't. And the reason I
wouldn't is because I am not hearing the rest of the story. And if I
heard the rest of the story, I might vote differently, and that is kind
of my point.
MR. HORNBERGER: I have a question related to your
alternatives. The third alternative listed says, "Does not permit
release of materials that had been in an area where radioactive material
was used or stored." On the face of that, that sounds like a very
extreme kind of statement to me. And does it mean exactly what it says?
Would this have the kind of impact that I could envision on hospitals
and university laboratories?
MR. CARDILE: That was exactly the comment we got in the
public meetings. What --
MR. GARRICK: Good public citizen.
MR. CARDILE: From some of the -- especially the smaller
licensees who handle hospitals or work in hospitals, et cetera. When we
prepared the issues paper earlier this year, we were thinking in terms
of -- well, in terms of, for example, an auxiliary building in a power
plant where you might say, all right, the tanks, the pipes, the pumps in
the auxiliary building, because of the fact of their location, they
handle, they process radioactive fluids, would go to low level waste.
You wouldn't check the level against some value.
The same principle would hold for the smaller licensees
perhaps in that if you had rooms that were specifically -- or could
hold, if you had rooms that were specifically working with material
versus other rooms where, you know, weighing rooms or non-rad labs, that
might be the differentiation. But --
MR. HORNBERGER: Everything that ever was in a scintillation
counting lab would go to low level waste, is that what that means?
MR. CARDILE: That is what it could potentially mean.
Because it could have a level, it had been exposed to radioactive
material and it would be, all right, if it is in this area where it was
exposed to radioactivity, it would go there.
MR. HORNBERGER: My concern about -- to me, that strikes me
as an extraordinarily severe, extreme position, right. And the concern
that I would have in putting forth such options, perhaps to use the
amusement park analogy, if you set out zero, 10 cents or one dollar for
exit fees, with the full knowledge that if it is zero, then all of the
amusement park, even parts of the amusement park that the general public
doesn't want to see closed, would be severely affected. It doesn't seem
to me to be reasonable to hold up such an extreme position as a
possibility when it strikes me that it isn't a possibility.
MR. CARDILE: Well, I think we were thinking in terms of
perhaps narrowing down what segment of a facility that you are talking
about would really be affected. I mean this wasn't a rulemaking course.
MR. HORNBERGER: I know.
MR. CARDILE: This was just venting our ideas. And we were
looking for people to say, well, no, that is not going to work at that
level, maybe it would work at a smaller level, or smaller area, and this
is, you know, the ideas and we have certainly got them.
MR. HORNBERGER: I understand where you are going. My
concern is setting, or the potential for setting expectations that can't
be fulfilled. I think that we make a mistake, for example, if we ever
talk about zero risk waste disposal facilities.
MR. GNUGNOLI: One of the even more severe suggestions that
have been made at a number of these meetings, that not only should we
prohibit materials from going anywhere except a low level waste site,
was to actually go back and recapture all the materials that have been
released using the non-detection policy or the Reg. Guide 1.86. So, in
effect, that wasn't something we proposed, but actually had been
proposed a number of times in the meetings.
Again, public meetings being what they are, we had to put
that down on the list. But, you know, one would hope that we get into
the cost benefit analysis, that that would -- that, let's say the more
severe suggestions could possibly fall by the wayside. But it wasn't
necessarily anything that we tried to suggest. They have topped us on
that one actually.
MR. LEVENSON: If I might follow up on George's question for
a minute, if I interpret the way it is written, that every time a
security guard walks through any of these buildings, he can't take his
gun out with him, it has to go to a low level waste burial site. And
any visitor and any employee can't talk out his clothes or his watch.
MR. GNUGNOLI: Or we would have to reprocess all the taxis
that come and deliver people to the front door.
MR. HORNBERGER: That's right. I am not going into my
scintillation counting lab anymore.
MR. WYMER: Any further?
MR. LEVENSON: Yeah, I have a couple. The example you gave
for cobalt and steel, you converted from a surface dose to an effect, et
cetera, and that is okay for -- in relatively reasonable, not too
difficult to do for things like metal. But what do you do about
concrete? Surface, do you think that -- would you go from just surface
dose on concrete, or it isn't so clear? Because you might have beta
emitters soaked into the concrete that it is so clear how accurately a
surface dose. Has that been looked at?
And the second half of the question is, on concrete, would
you differentiate between unrestricted unrestricted reuse and
rubblization material that might be buried on site?
MR. MECK: The report addresses both surface and volumetric
radioactivity distributed in concrete. And, of course, there have to be
some assumptions about what does surface mean. I don't recall actually
off the top of my head what we -- you know, whether it was a centimeter
or a millimeter that we talked about that.
MR. LEVENSON: Oh, I don't want to get into the detail.
Basically, my question is --
MR. MECK: But we did analyze both cases. And in the case
of concrete, most of the scenarios had to do with it actually being
crushed and rubblized and then used, for example, in a roadbed or
actually going directly to a landfill or being used for fill, that sort
of thing. The scenarios weren't as complex as they were for, say,
melting where you have byproducts and partitioning of radionuclides
going to, you know, the byproducts or the metal product. So --
MR. HORNBERGER: I had a question just for clarification, my
own edification. I mean I understand the market for steel and aluminum
and copper recycling. Is there a big market for concrete recycling?
MR. MECK: There is a market there. It is used as
MR. HORNBERGER: For roadbed.
MR. MECK: For, you know, for kind of subsequent concrete.
MR. GARRICK: Used for concrete.
MR. MECK: And it is used for fill. Yeah, it is used for
fill. That is about it.
MR. LEVENSON: George, in the U.K., when they DandD'd their
big gaseous diffusion plant, the original estimate was a huge number for
disposal of the concrete, till they changed the ground rules and set it
up that any contractor could come, and if he loaded it, he could have it
for free, and it all disappeared, a huge amount of concrete.
MR. HORNBERGER: But, I guess, I mean I can understand fill
and things like that, because I know it is used for that. But is that
MR. LEVENSON: It is used as aggregate in roadbeds.
MR. HORNBERGER: So it is for aggregate in roadbeds.
MR. HUFFERT: In the Chicago meeting, we had a
representative from Prone Cement Company and he provided us some general
numbers on what it is worth. The bottom line was that it did not have a
national worth, it just had a local worth, because it wasn't worth
transporting it beyond several miles for its use because it could be
made very cheaply.
MR. LEVENSON: I have one other question. I think that, you
know, whether it is 1 MR per year, or 2 or 5, health effect is going to
be zero in any case, but there is potentially a non-health effect. I
wondered whether you had had representatives from the photographic
industry help you determine at what level of contamination the cameras
start giving you fogged pictures or holders for X-ray film introduce
problems, that sort of thing. Has that been explored?
MR. WYMER: And is that a concern of the NRC?
MR. GNUGNOLI: That is one of our examples we give in the
cost benefit analysis, that there are sort of, you know, victims of this
process who really had no investment, or wouldn't normally be considered
stakeholders. So, film-makers, camera makers and folks who have
electronic equipment that might also be affected, that will be one of
the things investigated in the cost benefit analysis. And, you know, we
would have to get an handle on the amount of retooling that would have
to go on in those kinds of industries should the dose limits be
sufficiently high to cause that kind of effect. Although we haven't had
anybody show up at the meetings to represent that sector of society,
MR. LEVENSON: Do they know that the meetings are going on?
MR. MECK: If I could add to that, the Environmental
Protection Agency, when it investigated sensitive industries, found that
those industries have already established specifications for their feed
stocks and sources for materials, and they are all, you know, certainly
already aware that they do have a sensitive industry and have
accommodated for that already.
MR. WYMER: It does seem though some consideration, if you
go into a rulemaking, ought to be given to -- I am sure you have thought
about it, too, the half-life of these materials. There is a big
difference between cobalt and thorium and uranium, for example.
Cobalt-60 will be gone after a while and drops quite rapidly in about
five years, a half-life. And you have got thousands, or millions of
years with thorium and uranium.
MR. HUFFERT: We explored that at the workshops with a
restricted use scenario. We actually asked people if they should have a
table of radionuclides put together based on half-life. Can we have
restricted use based on half-life? Could it be on some other physical
property, for example, maybe all the alpha emitters and beta emitters
segregated from the gamma emitters?
So we brought this to the attention of the participants and
we got comments.
MR. WYMER: Okay. You don't have any opinions?
MR. HUFFERT: They had opinions, we are just gathering them
right now. That is the stage that we are at right now.
MR. WYMER: Okay. Any other questions? We have a little
time if anybody wants to philosophize.
MR. GNUGNOLI: I might make one comments about, let's say,
some of the opposition. Where we might have thought that the argument
would have been whether one millirem or 10 millirems would be safe or
not, a number of environmentalist groups pointed out the fact that if we
could trust you to implement a system that would keep the material at
that level, that would be great. So then they recited the situations at
Paducah and on and on. They said this is what we are really talking
about, that the only way we can really control you and the government is
to basically have a prohibition so you can't do this kind of thing,
because we can't trust you, we can't trust that you are going to do the
So that was, that is kind of hard to fight with education
because past history may actually support their position more than one
that might be more enlightened.
MR. WYMER: They don't believe in the Second Law of
MR. GNUGNOLI: Exactly. That's right.
MR. GARRICK: They don't believe in laws it sounds like.
MR. LEVENSON: Was part of your answer that Paducah wasn't a
MR. WYMER: Somehow that doesn't strike --
MR. GNUGNOLI: It wasn't always logically based, so it --
but, you know, the point was it was hard to fault them on the fact that
the government hasn't behaved well in the past in some of these areas,
MR. GARRICK: But it sounds like the only information that
they really considered, at least a lot of the public, was the radiation
levels, that the cost benefit information was not a significant factor
in their opinions. And I can partly understand that because the cost
benefit analysis is extremely limited. It is not really cost benefit.
MR. WYMER: Who does it benefit?
MR. GARRICK: Yeah.
MR. GNUGNOLI: The point is in order to do the cost benefit,
you have to start by characterizing the amount of harm versus the amount
of benefit. Well, they are just -- they are already mistrusting us in
terms of our capability of assessing the harm.
MR. GARRICK: Yes.
MR. GNUGNOLI: They are saying you will say it is this, but
it really may be higher. So the first step in the cost benefit has
already, you know, been compromised in their eyes.
MR. GARRICK: Yeah.
MR. HORNBERGER: And just for the record, I would point out
to you also, I mean my colleagues here have talked about these low level
doses as being zero, absolutely zero risk, as being a foregone -- a done
deal. And I think we wall know that that is -- we don't have universal
acceptance on that view.
MR. GARRICK: Well, that is true, as long as the LNT is in
MR. HORNBERGER: But we don't have universal acceptance that
the LNT is inappropriate.
MR. GARRICK: Yes. Right.
MR. CARDILE: Which makes the comment, we can point out the
levels of exposure that we are talking about and how they compare to
other things like flying across country, but the comment in response to
that is, that is all interesting, but we don't want, as Bob Meck
mentioned, we don't want this additional risk. I will take the extra
dose of a medical X-ray or flying across country, but I don't want this
MR. GNUGNOLI: In effect, that is the volunteerism aspect
that comes in. I can choose whether to get on a plane or not, but if
you determine ahead of time that all the cooking materials I will be
using and the tools I will be using, against my will, won't be labeled,
I won't know, that is unacceptable. So, in effect, the volunteerism is
always going to play a role in this one, especially hard.
MR. GARRICK: Yeah, and everything points to an irrational
MR. WYMER: Everything points to education.
MR. LARSON: In the past you had some Congressional interest
in similar activities. I assume there has been some on this issue.
MR. HUFFERT: We have had two inquiries from Congress, one
in August and one in October. We received 45 questions from Mr. Dingel,
Markey and Klink, and there has been a very large effort on the staff's
part to respond to those in a timely fashion. The Office of State
Programs is heading that up with representatives from OGC and NMSS, and
we are not only responding to those questions, but we are also trying to
put the doses in perspective, and we have been working on that.
MR. LARSON: There is no timeframe for submission?
MR. HUFFERT: I thought we were going to try to reply to
that this week, but please don't take my word on it since I am not
responsible for it.
MR. CARDILE: I just want to mention that, I will just add
to that, is that the letter that we got from Congressman Dingel and
Markey and Klink were focused on the agreement state licensing issue
with Tennessee and MSC Corporation, and only -- not only, but
peripherally on this effort. So there wasn't Congressional questions
specifically sent in on this, on the work we are doing here.
MR. HUFFERT: That is true, but, also, we had an ABC News
interview with Dr. Knapp as a result of that. There was an article in
some fairly major publications on this whole subject. So the
Congressional interest has, in Tennessee, has spawned into other areas.
MR. WYMER: Are there any other questions or comments?
MR. GARRICK: You have a tough job and I hope we can be
helpful. It is not easy, what you are trying to do, especially when --
MR. WYMER: But it is very important.
MR. GARRICK: Yeah. Especially when you can't tell the
MR. CARDILE: I will just add that this web site that we put
up there, that you have a copy of the address, it is pretty good, and we
try to keep it pretty much up to date. And, for example, the highlights
from the Chicago meeting, or a full discussion, will probably get posted
this week. But there are highlights on there from the previous
meetings, and any future documents that we prepare will also be placed
on that web site, as well as, like I say, right now, about 80 of the
public comment letters.
There is also a list server which you can subscribe to and I
don't have the directions on here, but I think they are pretty -- I can
get them to the staff as to how to subscribe to the list server.
So far I haven't seen any other inputs from anyone else,
other than myself, on the list server, and all I -- what I have done so
far is direct people to the web site, saying this information, you know,
this new piece of information is on the web site, the agenda is on the
web site, the meeting highlights are on the web site. But it is
intended to be a discussion tool, but so far it hasn't been used
greatly. But this web site is kept up to date and has quite a bit of
information on it.
MR. WYMER: Well, if there is nothing else, I am sure we can
use whatever time we can pick up here this morning. We certainly
appreciate your presentations. We are going to be following this with a
great deal of interest. And I, in particular, am going to be following
it, since that is my assignment on the committee. And thank you very
much and good luck.
MR. HORNBERGER: I will point out to you that we picked up
MR. WYMER: Three. Four.
[Whereupon, at 11:28 a.m., the meeting was concluded.]
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, September 29, 2017