118th Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste (ACNW) Meeting, March 28, 2000

                       UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
                              U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
                              11545 Rockville Pike
                                                       Conference Room 2B3
                              White Flint Building 2
                              Rockville, Maryland
                              Tuesday March 28, 2000
               The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 8:32
               B. JOHN GARRICK, Chairman, ACNW
               GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Vice Chairman, ACNW
               RAYMOND G. WYMER, ACNW Member
               MILTON LEVENSON, ACNW Consultant
               HOWARD J. LARSON, Acting Associate Director,
               JOHN RANDALL, ACNW Staff
               JOHN T. LARKINS, Executive Director, ACRS/ACNW
               RICHARD K. MAJOR, ACNW Staff
               AMY SHOLLENBERGER, Public Citizen, Critical Mass
                Energy Project
               CHRISTIANA H. LUI, NMSS
               JAMES R. FIRTH, NC, Division of Waste Management
               MS. DEERING
               STEVEN KRAFT, NEI
               LINDA A. VEBLEN, NRC, RES/DRAA
               DR. BRADY.                            C O N T E N T S
     NUMBER    DESCRIPTION                                   PAGE
     1         Strategy for Developing NRC
               Sufficiency Comments                           110
     2         Industry Perspectives on Yucca Mountain
               Sufficiency                                    137
     3         Yucca Mountain Review Plan Development
               Update                                         162
     4         Characterization of Radioactive
               Slags                                          199
     5         Charts/Graphs                                     .                         P R O C E E D I N G S
                                                      [8:32 a.m.]
               DR. GARRICK:  Good morning.  The meeting will now
     come to order.  This is the second day of the 118th meeting
     of the Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste.
               My name is John Garrick, Chairman of the ACNW. 
     Other members of the Committee included George Hornberger,
     Ray Wymer, and Consultant, Milt Levenson.
               This entire meeting will be open to the public. 
     Today we're going to first review the NRC Staff's plan for
     the development of a strategy to produce site
     characterization sufficiency comments on the Department of
     Energy's Yucca Mountain site recommendation.
               We're going to hear a periodic briefing on the
     development of the NRC's Staff Yucca Mountain Review Plan,
     and we will review two projects by NRC's Office of Nuclear
     Regulatory Research on, first, the radioactive content of
     slag that is produced as byproduct of the manufactured
     metals; and, second, research on uranium plume attenuation.
               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 one request from the Nuclear
     Energy Institute, to comment on the Staff's site sufficiency
     discussion.  Should anyone else wish to address the
     Committee, please make your wishes known to one of the
     Committee 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.
               Unless other Committee members have some opening
     remarks, I think we will move right into the agenda.  The
     Committee Member that's going to lead the discussion on the
     next two agenda items, namely, the strategy for site
     self-sufficiency and the Yucca Mountain review plan is
     George Hornberger, so, George, it's your show.
               MR. HORNBERGER:  Thanks, John.  Our first topic is
     the strategy for site sufficiency, and, James, are you going
     to do this?  Is Bill your assistant, or is he going to
     introduce you?
               MR. FIRTH:  I'm going to be running through the
     presentation.  I basically want to talk to you about our
     broad outlines for our strategy for developing sufficiency
               And right now, we're in the development stages, so
     we'll be preparing this, and I will get to the schedule a
     little bit later.
               The purpose of the review is basically to evaluate
     and comment on DOE's progress related to the sufficiency of
     data analyses and the design for the license application.
               What we're going to be doing is considering both
     what DOE has at the they released the site recommendations
     Considerations Report, as well as their plans for either
     augmenting their documentation or collecting data.
               Our focus is going to be on the foundations for
     DOE's safety case, and their performance estimates.  So
     we're going to be focusing on the data and the conceptual
               So, does DOE have the data and understanding for
     putting into a license application?  The way we're
     structuring the review is to fold this into all of our other
     pre-licensing interactions with the Department of Energy.
               So this review is going to be integrated with all
     of the other work that we're doing along the way.
               And one reason why specifically we're doing a
     sufficiency review is that the Nuclear Waste Policy Act
     requires the Department of Energy, in any recommendation to
     the President of a site, to include preliminary comments of
     the Commission considering the extent of at-depth site
     characterization analyses, and the waste form proposal, and
     to what extent they seem sufficient for inclusion in the
     license application.
               And, again, these are preliminary Commission
               And looking at how this review fits into our
     strategy for licensing, since we're doing a very broad
     review of DOE's data and conceptual models for developing
     our site sufficiency comments, that it's going to provide a
     progress report of where DOE stands on data analyses and
     plans, their understanding of the interactions between the
     geology and the engineered systems, and the status of our
     KTI resolution process.
               And this is something that I will talk to a little
     bit more later, and that we will be trying to come back to
     the Committee after we meet with the Department of Energy in
               And one thing that I wanted to emphasize is, even
     though we're doing a very broad review and we're looking at
     the sufficiency of DOE's data analyses and design, this is
     not a licensing review.  We're not going to be able to go
     into the same depth or scope as we would for a licensing
               So what we're trying to do is give a picture of
     where things stand.  Do we feel that there is enough there
     in terms of understanding and data for developing a license
               And the way that we frame this is, when DOE comes
     in with a license application, they are going to need to
     build an adequate case to support a regulatory decision on
     whether construction can be authorized.
               So this means that the data design analyses,
     quality assurance, all of these together have to build a
     sufficient case for the Commission to grant the construction
               We realize that there is going to be an
     opportunity for DOE to provide additional information; they
     can augment what they have submitted in the initial license
     application, and if a construction authorization were given,
     DOE would have an opportunity to collect data through
     performance confirmation or actual conditions as they build
     the repository.
               And the Staff is going to be using a lot of
     information to review the -- make the decision in terms of
     data and design and analyses.  What's going to focus this is
     that DOE is developing a Site Recommendation Considerations
     Report that they are going to publicly release.
               At this time, they're going to ask for NRC to
     develop its preliminary comments on the adequacy of at-depth
     analyses and the waste form proposal.
               In addition, DOE is going to have a repository
     safety strategy, technical basis documents such as their
     analysis model reports and process model reports.  They will
     have a total system performance assessment supporting the
     site recommendation.
               They are going to have QA audits that are
     underway.  They're going to have a total system performance
     assessment and methods and assumptions report.
               We're going to use all of this technical details
     that are the building blocks of DOE's Considerations Report,
     as well as what is in the Considerations Report itself.
               So we're going to be using a lot of different
     information in terms of developing our assessment.
               What the Considerations Report will do is, it will
     provide a description of the proposed repository, including
     the preliminary engineering specifications, the description
     of the waste form proposal, and packaging.  And this is also
     going to include an explanation of the interactions and the
     relationship between the engineered system and the geology.
               There is going to be a discussion of data obtained
     during site characterization, as well a discussion of the
     analyses related to repository performance.
               Our review objectives are basically to provide
     preliminary comments on where the data analyses appear to be
     sufficient or insufficient, and if any areas that additional
     data or analyses may be needed, what is that information?
               When would that be needed?  Are the conceptual
     models supported?  Because if the conceptual models are not
     supported, that's indicating that either another approach
     may be needed for DOE to take, or additional data may be
               And what is the status of DOE's QA efforts?
               And since we're trying to develop preliminary
     comments on the sufficiency of the site characterization
     analyses and the waste form proposal, we need a yardstick by
     which to measure that.  And the 10 CFR Part 63 sets up a
     risk-informed, performance-based framework, and it
     identifies the information that needs to be included in the
     license application, and it establishes an overall
     performance objective.
               Then we start implementing the regulations with
     the Yucca Mountain Review Plan, which continues the
     implementation of the risk-informed performance-based
               And there the amount of information and support
     that we would be looking for in particular areas will
     reflect the degree of conservatism that DOE is using in
     certain areas, their treatment of uncertainty, the
     importance to the licensing case, as well as the risk
               So we're able to apply a graded scale in terms of
     areas where we want to focus and make sure that we have
     greater assurance in DOE's case that they have laid out.
               Again, I want to get into the scope of what we're
     going to be reviewing.  Again, we're going to be focusing on
     the building blocks of DOE's assessment of repository
     performance, so we're going to evaluate both the at-depth
     site characterization and the engineering design.
               We're going to be taking a very broad view of the
     data that would apply and the analyses that would apply for
     site characterization.  So we'll look at at-depth data,
     analog data, laboratory data, expert elicitation.
               So all of those pieces, we're going to be looking
     at in terms of is there enough information to support DOE's
     safety case?
               Then we'll look at the related analyses that DOE
     has assembled, as well as the conceptual models and plans
     for refinement.
               And although we are going to be looking at DOE's
     screening analyses, throughout the repository system of the
     engineering, the geology and the interactions, what we've
     decided is that we would focus on the interactions between
     the engineering and the geology.
               And this gets back to one of the requirements that
     DOE has under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, and given the
     evolving nature of DOE's design, we felt that by paying a
     little bit of additional attention to the interactions, it
     will give us a good feeling about whether DOE has
     sufficiently understood its current design and how that
     might interact with the geology.
               So this is an area that we're going to be focusing
     a little more on in terms of the analyses of features,
     events, and processes.
               In terms of the performance assessment, we're
     going to be using the performance assessment analyses to
     look at the risk-informed performance-based context for
     evaluating DOE's data and analyses.
               So we're using PA as a way of focusing our
     analyses of the building blocks, the data and the analyses
     that will be going into DOE's assessment, and we'll be
     looking at the relative importance of those building blocks
     to DOE's overall assessment and their possible eventual
     licensing case.
               We will also evaluate DOE's conceptual models that
     they use to describe repository performance, and here, we're
     going to be looking at does the data support the models that
     they're using, and how are they treating uncertainty in the
     models and input?
               And one reason we're looking at the treatment of
     uncertainty in the models and input is, how they treat that
     needs to be considered and evaluating whether they have
     enough data and analyses.
               If they are conservative, and take very
     conservative bounds, then we may need as much information,
     but as DOE takes additional credit for certain areas and
     those are important to DOE's licensing case, we would want
     to focus in on those areas to see whether that is supported.
               In terms of quality assurance, we're going to
     assess DOE's progress towards qualifying data, models, and
     codes.  We'll evaluate DOE's capability of qualifying those
     things that they will rely in the license application. 
               The way we're reviewing this is, we're going to
     have to be looking at DOE's schedule for license
     application.  So we'll look at h how much DOE has qualified
     at the point that they release the Site Recommendation
     Considerations Report, as well as their plans for continuing
     to increase the amount of qualifications.
               DOE has also indicated that they would provide an
     assessment of what has been qualified, the effect of the
     group of the information that has not been qualified in
     terms of how significant that is, as well as what the
     impacts that may have on their Site Recommendations
     Considerations Report.
               And as we review quality assurance, we may notice
     through our technical reviews, that we may want to look at
     little more closely at some of DOE's data and qualification.
               But we would see that this is a limited effort,
     and there will be certain thresholds.  We're not going to
     just go through and try and reconfirm DOE's qualification. 
     If there is something that arises as a question, then we may
     go back and look at that.
               I wanted to highlight a couple of things in terms
     of what the review is not:  And we're not planning on taking
     any position on DOE's dose calculations, so we will be
     looking at their performance assessment and the building
     blocks in terms of the data, the conceptual models, but
     we're not planning on taking a position in terms of whether
     we agree or disagree with DOE's final dose calculation.
               Also, we don't feel that it's NRC's role to be
     evaluating DOE's compliance with 10 CFR 963, so we're not
     going to be getting into that in terms of our review.
               This review is being focused on the adequacy of
     the site characterization, data analyses, and the design in
     terms of does DOE have enough there to develop a license
     application, and so we're not going into looking at all of
     the other things that DOE is pulling into their site
     recommendation process.
               And I want to talk a little bit about our
     schedule.  Basically, since DOE is developing their
     technology documents now, what we want to do is be using all
     of our review activities that are underway now to have them
     focus and lead to developing our site sufficiency comments. 
     So, what we are trying to do is develop a strategy which is
     underway and what I am briefing you about today.  We are
     going to then develop guidance that will implement this
     strategy and give the staff direction in terms of how we
     would use the strategy.  And our objective is to have the
     guidance and the strategy be developed in parallel to the
     extent we can, because we see great benefit in having the
     guidance come early rather than right before DOE's ruling --
     considerations report.
               Then we are dependent on DOE's schedule.  We will
     then move from our preliminary activities into a review of
     the site recommendation considerations report, which the
     current schedule has being released in mid-November.  Our
     goal is to develop the staff comments on sufficiency by the
     9th of April and we would transmit that in terms of a paper
     to the Commission.  DOE's current schedule would call for
     NRC comments being provided to DOE by the 25th of May.
               And one thing I will emphasize here is that there
     is going to be an opportunity for ACNW and the staff to
     interact throughout this process, and I will talk a little
     bit more later in terms of how we see that happening, but
     there is opportunities from now until we basically prepare
     our paper and provide that to the Commission to really have
     substantive input.
               If the committee is going to want to have input in
     terms of providing input to the Commission, given that the
     comments have to go to DOE at the end of May, you may want
     to look at having your comments to the Commission by the end
     of April to allow that to be considered before we send
     anything to DOE.
               And, again, as I said earlier, we are basically
     doing the pre-licensing activities now.  Our plan is to
     provide DOE early review -- feedback on the reviews that we
     conduct now.  And what this will do is it will establish the
     basis for, where do we feel that the information appears to
     be sufficient?  Where do feel there is additional that is
     needed?  And this would allow DOE to have some opportunity
     to consider that in developing their future plans for
     collecting additional information, augmenting their analyses
     and so forth.
               We are observing their QA audits, and what this
     does is it gives us a view in terms of how the information
     is developing, and also on their quality assurance efforts. 
     Also, we are trying to make sure that all of the issues
     within the KTIs are resolved at the time that DOE comes in
     with their license application.
               So what we have underway and that we hope to brief
     the committee on in the summer of this year is our KTI issue
     resolution process.  And this is a process where we are
     trying to work with DOE to identify what information is
     needed and to resolve the open items that we have before DOE
     submits a license application.  And we have plans to meet
     with DOE in late April to discuss this process.
               And the interactions that we are proposing to have
     with ACNW is today's briefing on the strategy.  And from the
     strategy, we are going to be developing the details by the
     end of June.  So there is opportunity for you to provide us
     input in terms of the scope and how we are structuring the
     review.  Then we will develop the staff guidance.  We would
     hope to come back to the committee after the guidance is
     completed.  And given its current schedule of being
     completed in the end of September, we would look at coming
     back to the committee in October, and this would allow us to
     brief you on the guidance before DOE releases the
     considerations report.  So this will help us so that we are
     not focusing on briefing you at the same time we are trying
     to pull everything together in terms of our site sufficiency
               Then we are looking at having a similar construct
     to what we used with the viability assessment, that as time
     goes on we would allow one-on-one interactions with the
     committee members on areas within their technical expertise. 
     So this would allow you to stay well informed in terms of
     how our review is progressing, as well as to provide early
     input to the staff.  And we have this starting, in essence,
     in November and ending in April.  If you want to meet
     earlier to talk about our preliminary interactions and
     review efforts, we can do that as well.
               Then we would look at briefing you in mid-April,
     which, again, if you want to have input to the Commission,
     you would want to have your comments submitted to the
     Commission at the end of April, so you may want to look at
     that timing.
               We are also looking at trying to look at how we
     are going to involve stakeholders in this review.  What we
     are planning on doing as part of our KTI issue resolution
     process is to hold public interactions in Nevada.  And so we
     will meet with DOE on various topics and we will try and
     have those out in Nevada.
               Then we are looking at holding at least one public
     meeting that will address our rule and approach to the
     sufficiency review and, currently, we are looking at
     attaching that to another previously planned public meeting
     out in Nevada in the summer of this year.
               Then in terms of how we are going to document our
     results, we are going to develop preliminary statements on
     the sufficiency of DOE data and analyses for license
     application.  Again, we are going to be looking at the data
     that is in hand, as well as DOE's plans.  So, we are going
     to be considering how DOE is going to go from where they are
     at the time they release the considerations report, as well
     as to when they will submit the license application.
               And while there is going to be -- while we want to
     provide a balanced view of where DOE stands in terms of
     where things are sufficient, or where things may
     additionally be needed, we are going to provide less
     documentation on the areas where we feel that there appears
     to be enough.  So, even though we want to give a balanced
     view of where DOE stands, we are going to be spending more
     time documenting where we feel additional information is
     needed, because we feel that that is our burden, that we
     have to give some indication of why we feel additional
     information is needed.  Where there appears to be sufficient
     information, we are going to acknowledge that, but we are
     not going to spend the effort documenting why we feel that
     there is enough.
               We are going to be documenting the details in
     terms of where things are enough in the IRSRs, so we are
     still going to be working on establishing the basis and
     preparing for an eventual review of the license application
     by looking at how DOE's case is progressing, as well as
     documenting where we feel additional information is needed
     or where things appear to be adequate.
               And we will comment on any significant open
     issues.  And to be a significant open issue, basically, the
     benchmark is that those would be open items that would
     prevent the license application from being docketed
     potentially.  So, we will comment on those and raise those
     at the time we do our sufficiency comments.
               And, again, to summarize the things that I have
     gone through, this is not going to be a licensing review. 
     We are not going to have the time or resources to go into
     the same level of depth or to cover everything that we would
     in a licensing review.  We are going to be focusing on DOE's
     data analyses.  Okay.  So what we are going to do is be
     focusing on DOE's data, design analyses.  We are going to be
     evaluating sufficiency in the context of our
     performance-based, risk-informed approach to licensing.  The
     review of models is going to be primarily limited to the
     upstream pieces of it.  We are not going to be emphasizing
     how DOE is going to get to their final dose calculation, but
     we want to make sure that they have enough data and
     information to get their.
               The review is going to be fully integrated into
     our licensing strategy and KTI issue resolution process. 
     And since this is going to be a broad look at DOE's program,
     it is going to be a progress report on their progress
     towards preparing a license application.  And that concludes
     my presentation, and we will welcome any questions that you
     may have.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Thanks very much, James.
               It strikes me, from, well, a fairly casual
     observation, and I think it did come through to me fairly
     strongly, even in your presentation, that the sufficiency
     review in some ways could be considered a natural extension
     of the issue resolution status process.  Is that a fair
               MR. FIRTH:  Yeah.  What we are doing is we are
     having it take place, basically, within the issue resolution
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Right.
               MR. FIRTH:  Because the process is going to
     identify what information is needed.  What do we feel about
     the case that DOE is assembling?  And that is going to
     naturally lead into our sufficiency comments.  It will be an
     extension because we will be able to look a little bit more
     broadly at the interactions with our sufficiency review. 
     But, in essence, they are very well integrated, and the
     sufficiency review is just one point in time where we are
     going to assemble all of the information in one place in
     terms of where we feel things are sufficient or
               DR. HORNBERGER:  So, in one sense, it is a
     synthesis, which, of course, the individual IRSRs don't
     necessarily see the integration.  So I understand that. 
     Now, the other side of it, the question that I would have
     is, is it also, do you also envision then providing, say,
     more detail?  That is, if one looks at the issue revolution
     status reports and you see, well, all right, what needs to
     be delivered, and you have statements in there, well, the
     data and the conceptual models need to be sufficient.  Are
     you now going to go in and, say, pick out examples where
     your conceptual model for flow and fractured tuff is
               MR. FIRTH:  Yes, we would want to get into that
     level of detail in terms of identify those areas where we
     feel something more is needed.  And it could be because the
     documentation process has not fully assembled the case that
     DOE will have at the time of licensing.  It some cases it
     may be that we feel that there is not enough basis to
     support a conceptual model.  Also, if there is limited data,
     DOE would want to look at alternate conceptual models to
     look at the range of performance.  So, we will be looking
     at, and trying to say in our sufficiency comments, these are
     the areas where we feel that something more is needed, and
     try and characterize that in terms of whether it is going to
     be data that is needed, a new approach, or what-have-you.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Do you have any sense, James, on
     when -- you outlined a process where you are going to focus
     in on some key points, rather than -- you are going to come
     to some decision relatively early on that there are some
     areas that are relatively sufficient, and you are going to
     pay less attention.  Do you have a sense as to the timing of
     identifying the issues that you really want to hammer on?
               MR. FIRTH:  Okay.  What we are doing now is
     looking at DOE's repository safety strategy, the TSPA-SR
     methods and assumptions report.  We are going to be meeting
     with DOE in early June about their TSPA-SR.  So, at that
     point in time, we will probably really start to get a good
     look at the information that DOE has in terms of their
     numerical analyses in terms of what appears to be more
     important for their case.  So we will be using all of those
     pieces of information, but it probably won't be until early
     June that we will start really getting a full picture.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  John.
               DR. GARRICK:  James, I appreciate that a
     sufficiency review is not a licensing review.  The one thing
     I am struggling a little bit with is, in the context of
     taking a risk-informed approach, a performance-based
     approach, it is very difficult for me to imagine how you can
     reach closure on the sufficiency of data, analysis and plans
     without doing some of the things you say you are not going
     to do, particularly with regard to decomposing the bottom
     line results, which would be the dose calculations, into the
     contributors, such that one could see more clearly where the
     uncertainties are, where they are coming from, and,
     therefore, reach a more supportive conclusion relative to
     the sufficiency of data, design and analyses.
               MR. FIRTH:  Yeah.  It is a difficult point in
     terms of how far you go.  The one thing that we do want to
     stay away from is taking a position on DOE's dose
     calculation itself.  So, what we also want to do is make
     sure that we can inform our review, so we are going to be
     looking at DOE's TSPA, what the results are of that in terms
     of the contribution of the different components.  So we will
     be doing some of the decomposition.  But we are not going to
     be pulling apart DOE's actual calculation to the extent that
     we would do in a licensing review.
               So, our hope is that we would be able to give our
     preliminary comments at the point of the sufficiency review,
     but it is only -- and it is starting the process of pulling
     apart DOE's whole safety case.  It is not going to be until
     licensing that we will pull everything together for the
     review to definitively say this is what really is needed and
     this is actually adequate.  So we are going to, at that
     point in time we are going to have to have everything
               We are going to be trying to move towards that
     during our sufficiency review, however, we are not going to,
     again, pull apart everything and disassemble DOE's whole
     performance assessment.  But we will be looking at it.  We
     will be considering that, the results of that, in terms of
     prioritizing those conceptual models in terms of what is
               DR. GARRICK:  Yeah.
               MR. FIRTH:  And generally look at how much leeway
     is there.
               DR. GARRICK:  Yeah.  Now, the point simply being
     that this will be an opportunity to test the genuineness, if
     you wish, of the NRC really invoking or adopting a
     risk-informed strategy.
               The other thing I wanted to mention, just maybe an
     extension of what George was just getting to, obviously,
     through the technology exchange meetings that have been
     taking place, and the issue resolution reports and studies,
     there has been a lot of processing, if you wish, already of
     information and what has been going on in these areas of
     data, design and analysis.  And all of these things are not
     going to be equally important.  So I suspect that the
     attendees of these exchange meetings are pretty savvy right
     now on what the most important issues are, for example,
     something like QA, which seems to have been kind of a
     chronic issue and problem for a long time.
               Is there feedback being developed and will the
     sufficiency review contribute to this, that allows the
     licensee to get a running start on the issues somewhat in
     terms of their importance, even though it is not a licensing
     review and you don't have that application yet or
               MR. FIRTH:  Yeah.  Basically, as we are moving
     through the interactions now, we can help DOE understand
     areas we feel are important.  And they also see things from
     their own performance assessment in terms of what they feel
     is important.  But one thing that we wrestle with is, as DOE
     changes what they want to emphasize in their safety case,
     that also changes what is important.  As the design gets
     modified, that also may change what is important and to what
     degree.  So, we can give them information, and the
     sufficiency review will be a concrete example of things that
     we feel are most important, and for DOE to emphasize, to the
     extent they feel that they need to, but it is also subject
     to the changes that DOE makes in their own program.
               DR. GARRICK:  Thank you.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Raymond.
               DR. WYMER:  I realize that you are well along on a
     long and arduous path of Issue Resolution Status Reports and
     discussions of Key Technical Issues, and there has been a
     lot of input and lot of meetings held.  So things have been
     talked about and considered at great length But, usually,
     where you get into trouble is about the things that nobody
     thought of.  Despite the fact that a lot of thinking has
     gone on, it has been by a fairly circumscribed group of
     people for the most part, who have particular points of
     view, particular backgrounds and knowledge.
               And now you are considering things in the
     aggregate, sort of putting the whole package together.  And
     while it is fairly easy to comment on what is in front of
     you, what is much harder is to come up with what is
     important that is not in front of you, as I am sure you
     know.  And, so, what I am getting to ultimately here is, to
     what extent in this review will you bring in outside people,
     maybe even people from overseas, who are considering the
     same kinds of problems, just to make sure that the whole
     thing is really covered, now that you are getting down to
     sort of the nitty-gritty of this pre-licensing activity?
               MR. FIRTH:  Yeah.  In terms of developing the
     strategy, we have not specifically identified a mechanism
     for doing that.  That is something we can consider as we
     develop the strategy more fully and the guidance.
               One thing that the staff is doing is evaluating
     DOE's analyses of their -- the features, events and
     processes that they wish to exclude from the performance
     assessment, and there is your review, what is being screened
     out.  A question that you have to ask is, is the initial
     list complete?  And one thing that we did in the near-field
     environment is to audit what DOE has done in terms of their
     database of features, events and processes, identifying that
     there are some things that DOE may want to also consider.
               So, we are trying to put into our process, is that
     initial list that DOE has complete or is it not?
               DR. WYMER:  Yeah.  A particular area that has been
     a concern to me is this business of coupled processes, as
     you know, and that is a very complex area and requires a lot
     of good people doing a lot of good hard thinking, I think,
     in order to be sure that it is adequately covered.
               MR. REAMER:  In my profession, process is
     important, and this going to be a public process.  This is
     going to be built on interactions with DOE that we hope will
     stimulate feedback, not only from the potential applicant
     here, but also from the state, and potentially anyone who is
     interested in this project and wants to see it done safely.
               So that would be one way that I would hope that we
     would be enlightened and hear more from others.  Hopefully
     you'll be able to attend our technical exchange later this
     month on issue resolution, and continue to make the
     suggestions that you're making.
               So in any event, in addition, we know that
     parallel to our review -- and our review is focused on
     sufficiency for a license application.  We're not, under the
     statute, asked to take a position on this site
     recommendation, one way or another.
               We're out of that.  We have a potential licensing
     proceeding in front of us, and objectivity that we need to
     be sure that we bring to that.     
               So, the process doesn't ask us to take a position
     on the site recommendation, and we're not going to do that. 
     But parallel, DOE will be running a public process as well
     on their site recommendation document.  And I think it
     behooves us to be aware of what is coming out in that in the
     way of technical feedback, as well, and make sure that gets
     factored into our thinking.
               DR. WYMER:  Thank you.  Milt?
               MR. LEVENSON:  I have a question that may just be
     for clarification.  On your slide where you list the
     technical basis for DOE's recommendation, one of the bullets
     is description of the waste form or packaging proposal.
               Is it really intended to be "or," or is it "and." 
     And the context of my question, of course, is that the waste
     form is not singular.  There are at least four major
     different waste forms.  I wondered what part of that
     diversity gets into this picture?
               MR. FIRTH:  I mean, this gets back to a little bit
     in terms of what the Nuclear Waste Policy Act puts in place. 
     So that was done well before the point where we are now in
     terms of what would go into a potential Yucca Mountain
     repository, so it's focused on that.
               We would expect that DOE would include both the
     waste form in terms of the different waste forms, as well as
     the packaging that they would use.  This is the minimum, but
     we expect that there will be actually more than that.
               MR. LEVENSON:  You will be looking for multiple
     waste forms?
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Yes, I mean, that would be what
     would be needed in the license application.
               James, I have just one other question:  In one of
     your slides, you had mentioned the treatment of uncertainty,
     and that you're going to be looking at that. And you
     mentioned the degree of conservatism in the same breath.
               And I'm just curious, because one of the things
     that has always concerned me is having a treatment of
     uncertainty doesn't lead me inexorably to say, well, if
     you're uncertain, then you have to be exceedingly
     conservative in assumptions and models.
               Did you mean that?
               MR. FIRTH:  Basically what we would consider is
     DOE's model and they way they've implemented that,
     conservative?  If it's very conservative, even if there's a
     large number of uncertainties, we would not need to spend as
     much attention on that.
               If it's very uncertain, then DOE isn't obligated
     to take the most conservative route, but we would look at
     how they have treated the uncertainty.
               To the extent that DOE appears to be taking a
     non-conservative approach or to be taking additional credit
     for beneficial aspects, we would want to sharpen our pencil
     in terms of the review to see is there a basis for what DOE
     is doing, or are they being overly optimistic.
               So while DOE is not driven to the most
     conservative, if they do take a bounding approach, even if
     it's uncertain, we won't have to pay as much attention to
     it, because it will be easier to say that it is
     conservative, so we're not going to have to spend a lot of
     time evaluating all of the details in terms of the process.
               If that's only going to make it show how
     conservative it is, we don't need that to evaluate the
     conservatism that DOE is taking in terms of whether -- the
     approach that DOE has taken is conservative or not.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  So, a hypothetical portion of a
     question and then a followup:  In my best of all possible
     worlds, DOE wouldn't use any bounding or conservative,
     overly conservative or conservative assumptions; they would
     simply take the uncertainty as they understand it into
     account, and do their analyses and present the results.
               If my definition of the best of all possible
     worlds came to be, would the NRC have a problem with that?
               MR. FIRTH:  What we would do is, we would focus on
     areas that are most important to DOE's licensing case.  So
     it's -- and evaluate, does DOE have enough basis in terms of
     is their description of the uncertainty appropriate?
               There is the treatment of the uncertainty, but
     there is also getting down to the effective annual dose
     calculation in terms of would that be significantly changed
     by how DOE has treated uncertainty or developed their
               That's the main issue in terms of looking at
     compliance with our regulations, so is it resulting in a
     significant change that we would need to evaluate the
     regulatory compliance?
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Good.  Thank you very much, James
     and Bill.
               MR. FIRTH:  Thank you.
               DR. GARRICK:  We're going to hear from NEI.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Okay, Steve from NEI has some
     comments.  Is Steve here?
               DR. GARRICK:  Yes.
               MR. KRAFT:  Thank you.  I'm going to use the low
     tech apparatus here.  I have some additional copies.
               With all the preliminaries out of the way, thanks
     very much for the opportunity to speak to you all today.  I
     am fascinated and interested in and pleased to hear what Mr.
     Firth had to say about the NRC's views on sufficiency.
               I have some commentary on that.  As we moved
     through it, I was jotting down in my notes here, that at the
     appropriate point I'll make some comments.
               The Nuclear Energy Institute, of course, takes
     great interest in this project.  As you know, we've appeared
     twice before this group in recent memory, and have found
     that they have been very useful exchanges.  We learn a great
     deal from watching this body deliberate, and ourselves, and
     we greatly appreciate your interest in this topic and the
     work that you are doing.
               I think that the country has gone to a very
     interesting location in this program.  This program has
     become extraordinarily public in its debates, and that has
     only helped.  And NRC has had a lot to do that.
               We appreciate that.  There is an early warning
     system in place now in terms of what the issue are, how they
     are going to affect the program, how they are going to
     affect the nation, and I think that's all very, very
     positive, and NRC and this body are to be complimented for
     being a part of that and bringing that about.
               Why is sufficiency important?  Why is such a
     decision important?
               A decision on Yucca Mountain is urgent. 
     Competition is reshaping the nuclear industry.  Nuclear has
     proven that it can compete, and environmental energy supply
     stakes are high.
               Five years ago, internal to our offices, and even
     to some extent, in public, we were making several statements
     about why we needed to solve the, quote, nuclear waste
     problem, unquote.
               Nuclear power plants would start shutting down for
     lack of storage space.  We couldn't pursue the economic life
     of our companies, we could not buy and sell nuclear plants,
     we could not seek license extension.
               Well, maybe we've solved the problem, because all
     those things are happening.  The only thing on the list that
     hasn't happened is the purchase of a new plant, and I
     suspect that will happen overseas in some few years.
               So what has happened in the environment?  What has
     happened in the broader environment?
               It's not that we've solved the problem.  I think
     what has happened is that the good news is that our industry
     has done an extraordinarily good job of managing its nuclear
     waste, high level and low level.
               The bad news is that we have done an
     extraordinarily good job of managing our nuclear waste.  Our
     country is at its best in times of crisis, and we have
     proven that over the centuries, time and again.
               There is no nuclear waste crisis, but there is a
     need to move forward with solving the problem.  In our
     discussions with the individuals on Wall Street, with the
     individuals in the regulatory community, with the
     individuals in our member companies who are pursuing what
     appears to be a renaissance in the use of nuclear energy in
     this country, and ask them about, well, how do you make
     these decisions in the face of the nuclear waste "problem"?
               The answer is not, oh, forget it; it doesn't
     matter; the answer is, there is an expectation and a
     confidence that the nation will make the right decisions and
     move forward and solve the problem.  The problem still
     exists, but it's not preventing us from going forward in
     ways that we want to go forward.
               It will eventually work against the nation and the
     use of nuclear energy.  That is a very, very important
               As scientists and policymakers debate whether or
     not we ought to have an allowable dose in the vicinity of
     Yucca Mountain, plus or minus some percentage of background,
     that argument could delay this program and result in energy
     choices that have far-ranging, far more profound health
     impacts than the decision being made at Yucca Mountain.
               That's an important point that policymakers need
     to keep in mind.  And when we talk about sufficiency, we
     talk about suitability, what we are talking about is how
     policymakers will deal with this issue, and what information
     and advice they need in order to do so.
               That is why NRC's view, and, by extension, the
     views of this body, is so very important.  NRC is a source
     of objective expertise.
               And what does NRC think of DOE plans is an
     extremely important question.  I was pleased to see that Mr.
     Firth focused on the issue of their plans.
               So, what is science telling us at this point?  At
     face value, the case for going forward is very compelling.
               Potential radiologic consequences are projected to
     be so low that they're almost hard to find.  This is
     documented in the EIS.
               Part of the problem with the EIS and part of the
     problem with the NRC letter on the EIS, as distinct from the
     viability assessment and NRC's review of the viability
     assessment, is that the EIS materials were darn near
               The conclusion I just read to you is buried in
     Appendix Q on page 435 or something like that. 
     Decisionmakers, policymakers, can't deal with information in
     that way.  They can deal with information in ways that bring
     to their attention, the important factors and put them into
               NRC, DOE, and the industry analysis through EPRI,
     all confirm that that is, in fact, the case.  Even the EPA,
     while they didn't talk about radiological consequences, they
     did give the EIS a very high rating, and I think that
     whatever infirmities different agencies found in that EIS,
     are easily correctable as they prepare the final.
               Uncertainties will remain.  They always will, and
     the issue here is not elimination of uncertainty, but
     understanding of uncertainty.  What do decisionmakers need
     to have in their hands in order to react to a decision, make
     a decision?
               The first thing they need to know is, they need to
     know the nature of the decision.  Think about what decisions
     are.  A personal story, and I have used this before, so
     forgive me if you've heard it.  I'm just a proud parent.
               If the decision that my wife and I faced two years
     ago to allow our son to participate in Maryland Youth Hockey
     was based solely on NHL head injury rates, he'd never lace
     up the skates.  But that's not how you make the decision,
     and that's not how you make the decision in your personal
               And I don't mean to say that making a decision
     such as Yucca Mountain is a matter equivalent to whether my
     son plays ice hockey, it is an example of how decisions are
               Decisions, by their very nature, are holistic.  If
     the entire decision on Yucca Mountain was the result of a
     model, we'd eliminate the policymakers, run the models, and
     turn the switch one way or the other.
               Decisions, by their very nature, bring in every
     bit of evidence that the decisionmaker wants to bring into
     it, whether that evidence is presented to the decisionmaker
     in some formal way, whether it's a gut feel the
     decisionmaker has, whatever it is; that's how decisions are
               But in order to do that, the decisionmakers must
     have concisely summarized and clearly communicated science. 
     That is largely the role of the DOE; it is the role of NRC
     in its reviews; it is the role of this body; it is the role
     of the Board on Radioactive Waste Management, the Nuclear
     Waste Technical Review Board, the industry, and anyone else
     you can name who has a scientific credential, who might have
     something -- the state, didn't want to leave them out.  They
     have very valid views -- and the counties -- on the merits
     of the science.
               They also have to have confidence that the
     regulatory components are there to move forward, which is
     part of what the sufficiency decision is all about.    
               And they need a sense of perspective.  Think about
     it; think who the decisionmakers are.
               When we wrote the Nuclear Waste Policy Act in
     1982, when we wrote it as a nation in Congress, I doubt very
     much that Congress had in mind that the President, at the
     time this decision went forward, was a geoscientist -- I
     doubt it.  At the time, he was an actor.
               Now, he's a former governor.  I don't know what it
     is when this decision comes up.  Maybe he'll be an oil man. 
     Maybe he will be a former member of the Senate.
               There was never a determination as to who that was
     going to be, so the information that comes forward has to
     have a sense of perspective for decisionmakers and the
     nation to understand, is this risk bigger than a bread box? 
     Is it smaller than a bread box?  What is its significance? 
     Not whether it's 10-6 versus 10-7, whatever in the Vadose
     Zone.  You know all the details far better than I.
               That kind of information doesn't help
     decisionmakers make decisions.
               Unfortunately, two bullets were left off of here. 
     Also what is needed is an understanding of the future
     ongoing R&D, because there will be future ongoing R&D. 
     There will be a confirmatory R&D program following the
     license application, following emplacement, if we ever get
               And what that will be -- and there also needs to
     be an understanding of future technology development.  We're
     not going to turn off the scientists and the National Labs
     and anyone else who has an idea about what to do in the
     future about nuclear waste.
               I think the decision makers can take great comfort
     in knowing that there are all these things in place,
     especially a future R&D program to answer the question of,
     well, did we make a mistake?  And secondly, that there is
     the potential for future technological development that
     might make it easier to deal with these materials in the
               It is important to keep in mind, getting to the
     point of what this decision is, is that it is a four step
     process going forward.  There have been prior steps, but
     going forward is a four step process.  What is the site
               The site recommendation is in fact from the
     technical side a relatively limited decision.  It is an
     important decision.  It will be a difficult decision.  It is
     going to be made at the highest policy levels.  It is a
     politically-charged decision. But on a technical basis it is
     a relatively limited decision.  It is not saying we are
     going to put nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain forever and a
     day and walk away from it.  It is merely saying it is okay
     to go forward and ask the NRC to review the license
     application.  That's all this decision is.
               There are protections in the process beyond that
     point.  There are protections in the site recommendation
     process, as you know, but there are also protections in the
     NRC process beyond that point that will allow anyone who
     still thinks the project ought not go forward to challenge
     it, be a part of the NRC process, et cetera, et cetera.
               Of course the political process is always
     available, even though Congress will have acted to allow it
     to go forward, and I have just laid out here the four
     steps -- the license to construct and the license to
     operate.  The most important decision will be the license to
     close.  The earliest that will happen is 2060.  It may
     happen as late as 2300, so what we are seeing here is a
     step-wide process, probably with greater requirements for
     additional certainty in the data going forward which will be
     developed by the confirmatory R&D program beyond what is
     known, now what is known at license application.
               What is needed to be known now -- is the site
     suitable and is the site sufficient but sufficient to begin
     the licensing process.  I won't belabor suitability because
     it is not what NRC is doing but it is important for the
     record to understand.  This is the sole language out of 180
     some odd pages what suitability is, and from that we have to
     discern what is an appropriate suitability recommendation
     that DOE has to make.
               Remember though what I said about decisions. 
     Suitability, while a major component and a major input to
     the Presidential decision, is not the sole determiner.  It
     is part of it.  It is a major part.  It is not the sole
     determiner.  I can only guess what the President will have
     in mind when he sits there with his pen in his hand to
     decide to approve or disapprove going forward on the
     project, and only the President will be able to determine
     what this decision is really all about, subject to review by
     Congress and review by the state, et cetera.
               It is a conclusion based on science, not merely a
     compilation of scientific information.  It must be clearly
     communicated, as I just mentioned, and the uncertainty --
     this is the key point.
               It is an understanding of uncertainty, not an
     elimination of uncertainty.  How important are the different
     uncertain matters?  I particularly appreciated the questions
     posed to Mr. Firth on how getting into the numbers a little
     more deeply at sufficiency to understand where the
     uncertainties are, but I also completely agree with his
     answer, that we will do that to the extent we can, as I
     believe he said, but we will not comment on the final
     answer, and that is the right thing, because commenting on
     the final answer is inappropriate to a stage where there was
     no requirement to produce a final answer.  If there was, we
     would be licensing, not making a site recommendation.
               Of course, suitability has to be documented and it
     is a comparison against the criteria that DOE currently has
     out in draft and will probably publish before the SRCR is
               Well, NRC is in better shape than DOE.  They have
     got about twice as many words to tell them what sufficiency
     is and they are right when they say it is preliminary in
     nature and that it is in fact something that they, too, have
     to discern as to what this decision is.  It is by its very
     nature, the fact that it says preliminary comments
     concerning the extent to which at depth site
     characterization analysis and the wasteform seem to be
     sufficient for inclusion in any application to be submitted.
               Those are all future words, what happens in the
     future, so I think to a large extent NRC has got it right,
     and that is a forward-looking decision about DOE's ability
     to file a license application, not the licencability of the
     project.  If it was about licensability of the project, the
     law would have said give us a license application, and it
     does not say that.  It is an interim step.  It is, as I said
     before, a much less technically challenging decision.
               But let's talk for a minute about some of the
     things, one or two of the things that I heard Mr. Firth say
     that I think are somewhat confusing to me, although I
     suspect their heart's in the right place.  He indicated that
     it is not a licensing review because we don't have the time
     and resources.  Well, excuse me, if it was a licensing
     review and you are not doing it because you haven't time and
     resources, that is an unacceptably weak answer.
               You are not doing a license review, NRC, because
     it is not a licensing review.  It is in fact a sufficiency
     review and it is not a sufficiency review in the nature of a
     Part 50 sufficiency review for a license application.  It is
     a completely different animal, okay?  Frankly, it is wrong
     to say that it is not part of site recommendation.  Yes, I
     agree with what Mr. Reamer said when he says they are not
     commenting on the site recommendation, they are not
     commenting on suitability, but it is an important part of
     the site recommendation decision that the President has to
     make, which is in fact is DOE going to, if they follow the
     plans they have, going to get from wherever they are at the
     point of the site recommendation to filing an adequate
     license application.  Are those plans in place?
               I think that that confusion as to how the
     sufficiency determination fits into the greater scheme of
     things as part of informing a policy determination needs to
     be kept in mind, because it is very different than any other
     thing that NRC is used to doing, and they need to be very
     careful that they don't err on the wrong side of that line.
               They ought to in their review close out questions
     if they can that they raised in the VA review, defining the
     path forward if there are any new or remaining questions and
     determine whether they think they will get there by LA and
     of course it is an opportunity for them to explain how the
     licensing process will address the uncertainties going
     forward.  It is separate and distinct from suitability,
     which is a point that I just made, and it needs to be
               Let's talk about balance.  When we were
     contemplating NRC making a statement on the viability
     assessment, which was not something they were required to do
     by law but something that they knew as a responsible agency
     they had to do, we had several public meetings with NRC
     about that.  Bill will remember that.  The point we made,
     which I think they took to heart, was that if you go back
     over the decades that you have been working with DOE think
     about how many things you have asked DOE to do that they
     have done versus the number of things they have said to you
     we are not going to do those, and I guarantee you that the
     ones they are not going to do or haven't done are in the
     vast minority, but as a regulatory agency and as people in
     general there is a tendency to focus on the negative rather
     than the positive.
               We suggested to them that what they do is they
     point out all the things that the DOE still has to do to get
     it right, but don't be afraid to point out all the things
     that DOE has done that they are getting right.
               They took that advice to hear and the VA letter
     was extremely helpful to policymakers to allowing the
     project to then go forward beyond that point.
               The EIS letter, however, was a disappointment in
     that regard.  I heard the EIS presentation to this body and
     I was, frankly, shocked to hear the kind of negativity that
     was presented, and by the time that letter came out it still
     focused on here are the five or six things we don't like,
     and left to the reader to figure out what they did like.
               If you read that letter between the lines, it is
     pretty clear they liked a lot about the EIS.  One simple
     example -- in transportation what they are critical of was
     not radiological impact.  Well, that must mean that they
     thought the radiological impact analysis was just fine. 
     They never said that, but that is a conclusion you can draw.
               I would just encourage NRC to take a balanced
     picture, a balanced view to what they are going to say about
     the SR, and of course it is a legally flexible approach, and
     I think that Mr. Reamer's profession is very adequate at
     doing things that are flexible and making sure that all the
     bases are touched in ways that the agency itself is not
     hamstrung in future licensing decisions because it said "x"
     or "y" at an earlier stage.   
               In conclusion, it is our view that this is an
     extremely important time.  Sufficiency is one of the
     elements that will lay the groundwork for a decision on
     going forward on Yucca Mountain.  It was important to inform
     that decision.  NRC should not shy away from the role they
     are playing in informing that site recommendation decision.
               We need to keep this decisionmaking process on
     track.  We need to encourage the agencies to keep their
     meeting schedules and keep their interactions going and
     things like that, and then, most importantly, we need to
     prepare to implement the decision, whatever that decision
     is.  Remember, the law allows that decision to go both ways,
     as it should.
               Now it has got one sentence in it about what
     happens if the President makes a decision saying not to go
     forward, but we need to prepare to implement that decision
     however it comes out.
               Those are my prepared remarks.  Thank you very
               MR. HORNBERGER:  Thank you, Steve.
               Are there questions from the committee?  No?
               DR. GARRICK:  I would just like to make one
     comment.  One of the criticisms levelled at industry in the
     waste field is that industry has not exhibited the same
     level of interest in waste, if you wish, as they have in
     doing what they have to do to keep their licenses in place
     and operate their facilities. 
               Part of the reason that sometimes I hear given is
     that when the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 came about
     the industry relaxed a little bit because that was supposed
     to be the solution -- for DOE to take the waste off their
     hands and dispose of it.
               I am sort of one of those that has been a little
     critical at the absence of industry on this issue, and the
     absence of visibility of the industry on this issue.  Do you
     see that changing?  Do you see -- for example, we seldom
     hear from a utility executive on their concerns and
     interests and activities associated with trying to make a
     contribution to solving the waste problem.  We do see NEI.
               I have talked to a few utility executives and have
     sensed that they probably made a mistake, at least from some
     of them, of relaxing, if you wish, if I can call it that, on
     the waste issue in the mid-'80s when they should have
     continued to be very visible, very active, and proactive.
               What is your thought on that?
               MR. KRAFT:  Well, Dr. Garrick, in the spirit of
     sufficiency as a forward-looking decision, let's look
     forward.  Any views I would express on the past are purely
     my own and I would not want them to be taken as NEI's views
     or the industry's views of the past.
               I will say this on behalf of my industry, that
     when we deal with industry problems that affect everybody
     there is a tendency in the industry to look to the central
     organizations to deal with it in a more concise, consistent
     and to some extent cost-effective fashion, and we see that
     in Part 50 as well.
               I see the -- the only answer I can give you is
     that you have had your personal conversations with the
     executives of my industry and I have sat in their meetings
     and I can only tell you if you sat in their meetings I think
     you might have a somewhat different impression of their
     interest in the topic and their interest in helping DOE be
     successful, and I do see that there is more being put on the
     table in that regard, if I can use that term.
               We have a group now in NEI of senior executives
     who form the committee who are working with DOE.  We have a
     group of senior management people who are meeting with DOE
     every now and again about how they are -- DOE and TRW --
     about how they are managing projects.  The most recent of
     those meetings occurred about a month ago.  We are going to
     be taking certain individuals within the agency and exposing
     them to practices at the best nuclear plants to help them
     understand how they operate.
               We work tirelessly in Congress to obtain the
     needed appropriations -- it is that time of year so we are
     working on that now for this agency as well as for DOE.
               I think it is instructive that there are two
     groups in the industry that have pursued their own interim
     storage projects, one in Utah and one in Wyoming, the Utah
     one being several years ahead of the Wyoming one, both of
     which are on a path for success, and I think those are
     really very quiet activities as many of the industry
     activities are in trying to help out DOE.
               If what you are hinting at, and let's just put it
     out in the open, is that we have focused primarily on the
     legislation that might or may not become enacted as opposed
     to helping the program, I would say that the legislative
     activities by their very nature are simply more visible. 
     The other activities are not.
               I suspect that what happens in the industry in
     this waste program is that it tends to be a rather esoteric
     exercise not normally within the day to day activities of
     the typical utility senior nuclear officer and they would
     defer to competent and expert staff in the central
     organizations to deal with it.
               We certainly hear a lot from them about helping
     DOE be successful, so maybe it is just more of a visibility
     question, Dr. Garrick, and I think we will have to correct
               DR. GARRICK:  Okay, thank you.
               MR. HORNBERGER:  Thanks very much, Steve.
               MR. KRAFT:  Thank you.
               MR. HORNBERGER:  Amy Shollenberger has asked for
     time to comment and this would be a good time.  Amy?
               MS. SHOLLENBERGER:  Thanks, Dr. Hornberger, for
     allowing me to speak.  My name is Amy Shollenberger and I am
     here representing Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy
     Group.  In the spirit of Mr. Kraft's suggestion to start
     with the positive, I will say there is one thing that I
     agree with him on and that is that there is no crisis that
     needs to push Yucca Mountain project forward.  I was really
     happy to hear him say that.
               It seems that a lot of the policy-makers maybe
     need to be told that a little more loudly.  And I think it
     is especially true in light of yesterday's presentation
     showing the new planned ISFSIs around the country to store
     waste on-site, so I just wanted to start with that comment.
               DR. GARRICK:  I think there is a very important
     distinction.  I think what he said, there is no nuclear
     waste crisis.  I don't think he said there was no crisis
     relative to the need for Yucca Mountain.
               MS. SHOLLENBERGER:  Well, a lot of lawmakers on
     the Senate and House floors have claimed that there is a
     nuclear waste crisis and that is why we need Yucca Mountain,
     and I would just like to point out that NEI is saying that
     that is not the case.
               On to my other comments, first of all, I think it
     is just really interesting that it is the industry actually
     here telling you all what the decision-makers need to make
     their decisions.  And I think it is important to note that
     the decision-makers, at least those in Congress, supposedly
     represent their constituents and not necessarily only the
     industry, although it is very clear that the industry makes
     it a lot easier for them to get elected.
               I think that I would like to add that what
     decision-makers need to make decisions is they need to know
     how the decisions affect their constituents and, also, the
     taxpayers who are also their constituents.  I think the
     hockey-helmet thing was a good example, because it is true,
     you need to have all the pieces of the puzzle to make the
     good decision.  You need to know how likely it is that your
     child is going to crack his skull open before you decide
     whether or not he can play hockey, and you don't only need
     to be told that there is padding on the walls, so if he runs
     into the wall, it is not going to crack his head open.  You
     have to have the whole picture.
               Also, I would just like to mention on the record
     that, in regards to suitability, there is a petition that
     was sent to the DOE signed by over 200 groups asking them to
     disqualify Yucca Mountain, and that petition was based on
     the guidelines in 10 CFR 960, which right now there is a
     proposal to change, as you all know.  But both 10 CFR 960
     and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act had -- well, the Nuclear
     Waste Policy Act called for individual disqualifiers for
     Yucca Mountain and those disqualifiers were listed in 960,
     and the petition was based on those disqualifiers.
               The petition was, of course, denied by DOE, but it
     is important to know that part of the response was a
     proposed rule change to eliminate disqualifiers in 963,
     individual disqualifiers.
               So I think it is just really important to keep
     that sort of in the forefront as you move forward and look
     at sufficiency and suitability, that there is a large group
     of Americans who believe that the information that is being
     put forward is not sufficient to make a decision and that
     Yucca Mountain is not a suitable place to store radioactive
               Also, I would just like to thank the NRC for its
     EIS comments.  I think that, for once, it showed that the
     NRC was willing to stand up and say what was right instead
     of sugar-coating the comments to make DOE feel good.  And,
     for one, was really glad to see those comments.  I saw you
     all struggling with how they were going to be worded, and I
     would have liked to see them a little stronger.  I heard
     some things in the meetings that actually were more strong
     than what you put in your letter, but I was really happy
     with the letter, and I would just like to thank you for the
     work that you did on that.  Thanks.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Thank you, Amy.
               DR. GARRICK:  I wanted to just comment on
     something that Amy said that I think is very important, and
     I will give my spin on it, and I will do it in the context
     of Steven Kraft's exhibit that he showed us, what
     decision-makers need in order to act.
               I think the thing that is needed more than any
     other single thing, and that supersedes everything on the
     list, is the will of the people to want to solve the
     problem.  I think the reason nuclear waste lingers on
     without a long-term solution is there is not a will out
     there to solve it.  There is no a sense of urgency.
               Steven points out that maybe one of the reasons
     for that is the good job that industry is doing in managing
     the nuclear waste, and I think, in general, that is so,
     particularly in the civilian side of the business.  But I do
     think that the underlying and overarching problem that
     exists with respect to making a decision here is the lack of
     a public will to do so, and that we just can't escape that. 
     If the public really wanted to do something, be it store it,
     dispose of it, Yucca Mountain or what-have-you, clearly, it
     could be done.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Any other comments?
               [No response.]
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Discussion?  The last item on the
     agenda here is to discuss elements of a possible ACNW report
     on this topic.  My own view is that that may be premature. 
     It may be premature to have such a discussion.  If there is
     no objection to that statement?
               DR. GARRICK:  Yeah.  Unless the committee, some --
     any of the members feel that there is an issue that has come
     up that would warrant some remarks at this time.  Ray.
               DR. WYMER:  I doubt personally there is anything
     that warrants a report, probably some additional discussions
     with the staff, but not a report.
               DR. GARRICK:  Yeah.  I think some additional
     discussion on this issue, that we got into a little bit of
     conservatism versus uncertainty, and the clarification of
     what all that means in the context of a risk-informed
     approach.  I think there clearly needs to be more discussion
     about that, because I am still not convinced that the NRC
     has their heart in a risk-informed approach, because a lot
     of the process and a lot of the regulations continue to be
     incompatible with a genuine risk-informed approach.  But,
     nevertheless, progress is being made.  The steps are smaller
     than some would like, but at least they are in the right
     direction.  But I do think some more discussion on that
     would be very constructive.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  I am sure that surprised you,
     Ray, that John raised that.
               DR. WYMER:  Right out of the blue.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Other comments?
               MR. LEVENSON:  I suppose since we are making
     expected comments, I need to make mine on conservatism, and
     that is we have to recognize that large uncertainties are
     not, in any case, automatically a reason for conservatism. 
     If the consequences of the uncertainty, even at the limits,
     are all fully acceptable, you don't need to add more
     conservatism.  Uncertainty, by itself, is not necessarily a
               DR. GARRICK:  That is exactly correct, and that --
     I am impressed that you have moved along so --
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Okay.  I think we are caught up
     with this topic for now.
               DR. GARRICK:  Okay.  I think we will take a break
     now and come back in 15 minutes.
               DR. GARRICK:  We would like to come to order now. 
     The next item on the agenda is the Yucca Mountain Review
     Plan.  George Hornberger will continue as the member leading
     the discussion.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Okay.  As John said, we have the
     YMRP on our agenda for attention this year, and Christiana
     Lui is going to give us a briefing.  Christiana.
               MS. LUI:  Thank you, Dr. Hornberger.
               I guess I am not going to have my branch chief
     here supporting me, I am flying solo today.
               DR. GARRICK:  He is here.
               MS. LUI:  Okay.  I am Christiana Lui, I work for
     Bill Reamer in the High Level Waste Branch in the Division
     of Waste Management, and today we are giving you an update
     of the Yucca Mountain Review Plan development effort.
               We last briefed the committee on November 18th,
     1999 and, basically, during that particularly briefing, we
     gave you the approach that the staff is using to develop the
     YMRP.  And, also, during that particular briefing, we laid
     out what are the major components of the YMRP.  Here I am
     just reiterating that framework that we have adopted for
               On the next page you will see a chart, a schematic
     for the framework of the major components in the YMRP.  As
     we go through this particular presentation, I am going to
     come back to this diagram from time to time.  Basically, the
     YMRP is divided into introduction, where we lay out the
     purpose and scope of the RP, of the review plan and the
     review strategy.
               And the next chapter is acceptance review.  What
     is where we will evaluate whether DOE has submitted a
     complete license application, and the basis for that
     particular chapter will be a comparison to paragraph 63.21,
     that is where we lay out the content of license application.
               And the next chapter is the general -- is the
     review plan for general information, which is basically laid
     out in 63.21(b), and there are five components to it,
     general description, schedule for construction, receipt and
     emplacement of waste, physical protection plan, material
     control and accounting, and a brief description of the site
     characterization work DOE has conducted.
               And the real main focus of the review plan will be
     the chapter on safety analysis report review.  And in that
     particular chapter, we have divided the review plan into
     three major sections, preclosure safety evaluation,
     postclosure safety evaluation, and evaluation of the
     administrative and programmatic requirements.
               Before we go any further, I would just like to
     tell you where we are, the current status, and we will come
     back to a schedule at the end of this presentation.  The
     staff is currently completing the Revision 0 postclosure
     sections, and we intend to have this particular postclosure
     portion of the review plan accompany the Draft Final Rule to
     the Commission by the middle of April this year.  So
     approximately two weeks from now, it is going to accompany
     the rule to the Commission.
               And we are working on the preclosure sections and
     all the other chapters of the review plan, and Draft
     Revision 0 of the preclosure sections is coming to us from
     the Center in the middle of April, and we will provide a
     quick review, and the Revision 0 of the preclosure sections,
     we believe, will be done by the end of May.  And all the
     other sections of the review plan, such as QA, such as
     material control and accounting, the general information
     portion, we are looking at completing the Draft Revision 0
     by the end of April and have a Revision 0 by the middle of
     June this year.
               We intend to basically make the YMRP Revision 0,
     all the sections, publicly available after management
     approval.  We are contemplating about transmitting the
     Revision 0 to DOE as information copy, and we want to put
     the Revision 0 on the web site.  I will come back at the end
     of the presentation and talk about the public comment and
     the other revisions that we are planning to give you a more
     complete picture.  Right now I just wanted to let you know
     where are in the process.
               Just to reiterate, the principles that we have
     adopted for development of the Yucca Mountain Review Plan,
     most importantly that NRC is responsible for defending the
     license decision and DOE is responsible to ensure the
     adequacy of its license application and safety case.  They
     are the ones with all the resources to carry out all the
     site characterization and experimental work, and they, in
     their license application, need to provide a sufficient
     safety case.
               And 10 CFR Part 63 is a risk-informed,
     performance-based rule, and we fully intend to make the
     Yucca Mountain Review Plan a risk-informed and
     performance-based review plan.  And what we are doing right
     now is using the total system approach and an integrated
     approach to formulate the review plan.
               I will talk about the postclosure part, but it
     will be later, in great detail and give you a sense of how
     we are carrying out this particular process.  And at the
     same time, we are incorporated all the experiences and
     knowledge that we have accumulated during the prelicensing
     consultation period and using a risk insight to help us
     formulate this review plan.
               The purpose of the review plan is to provide
     guidance to the NRC staff, our methods for conducting and
     documenting the license review.  This is not the equivalent
     of regulation.  In other words, it does not have the force
     of law.  In the review plan we present at least one approach
     for compliance demonstration, or, basically, how the staff
     is going to conduct the license application review.  And
     other approaches are definitely acceptable if DOE can
     demonstrate the appropriateness of the alternative
               And for each section of the review plan, for each
     of the topics that we are evaluating, there will be five
     subsections.  Areas of review that will provide the scope,
     basically, what is going to be reviewed in that particular
     section of the review plan.  We lay out the review methods
     that tells how the staff is going to conduct the review. 
     And acceptance criteria, what the staff will find acceptable
     and the acceptance criteria are based on the regulatory
     requirements in the rule.  We will present the general
     conclusions and findings in the evaluation findings portion
     to echo the areas of review that we have identified at the
     beginning of each of the review sections.  And we, of
     course, will provide all the references that we have cited
     in that particular section.
               Now, I'm going to turn the attention to the
     preclosure, which will be on the left-hand side of these
               As I have mentioned before the Draft Revision 0 of
     the preclosure sections will be coming from the center in
     middle of April, and we fully intend to provide a quick
     review and have a version out by the end of May.
               Basically in the preclosure sections, we establish
     a set of criteria and review methods based on whether the
     preclosure performance objectives can be met.  The
     preclosure performance objectives are identified in Section
     63.111 of the rule, and 63.12 lays out the technical
     criteria for an acceptable preclosure safety analysis.
               More importantly, we want to emphasize that DOE
     has the flexibility in selecting design details and methods
     for compliance demonstration.  In the rule, we did not
     prescribe any of the design criteria in the review plan, and
     we will not be doing that either.
               I note that that was one of the major concerns
     when we first developed Part 63 that people were asking, if
     you're going to have a risk-informed performance-based rule,
     are you going to be dropping all the prescriptive detail in
     the review plan?
               We don't intend to do that; we want to provide DOE
     with the flexibility in defending and constructing its own
     safety case.
               However, where appropriate, we fully intend to
     rely on existing guidance documents, and we are in the
     process of working with the Spent Fuel Project Office and
     Fuel Cycle Facility folks to help us identify what are the
     major components that we need to pay attention to in the
     preclosure portion.
               And the evaluation will include the adequacy of
     site characterization, repository design, construction,
     operation, monitoring, and closure.     
               And also in the preclosure performance objectives,
     we have identified that DOE needs to provide a plan for
     retrievability, and they also need to -- and the design also
     needs to accommodate the implementation of a performance
     confirmation program and in the preclosure part, we will be
     looking for those pieces that DOE is required to address.
               Now, I'm going to talk about the postclosure
     portion of the review plan.  And this is where we have the
     most detail that I can discuss with the Committee today.
               Like in the preclosure case, in the rule, we have
     postclosure performance objectives established for
     postclosure safety.
               We are developing the acceptance criteria and
     review methods, based on whether these post-closure
     performance objectives can be met.  And the evaluation will
     include the adequacy of ODOE's work such as site
     characterization, field testing, laboratory testing, and
     natural analog investigation.
               Multiple barrier analysis, that is also another
     performance objective that we have laid out.
               Demonstration of repository resilience to human
     intrusion events and also -- performance confirmation
               I now want to turn your attention to the
     performance assessment portion of the review plan. 
     Basically let me go back to the diagram again.  I'm looking
     at these particular blocks where we have all these detailed
     components supporting the evaluation of performance
               We have divided up the review of performance
     assessment into four major pieces:  System demonstration,
     system description and demonstration of multiple barriers;
     scenario analysis; model extraction, and lastly,
     demonstration of the overall performance objectives.
               There are many different ways we can sequence the
     review.  But the logic that we have come up with sequence
     our review in these particular order is that DOE has
     already, by the time of license application, DOE has already
     completed all the iterations and the required analyses.
               Therefore, right up front, we want them to tell us
     what they are relying on, i.e., the barriers, in meeting the
     postclosure performance objectives on individual protection
               And that will help the staff to focus our review
     in the subsequent portion of the performance assessment. 
     And in the scenario analysis portion, we want DOE to tell us
     what they have included or excluded from the consideration,
     and the probability of the scenarios.   
               Like Dr. Garrick's paper, in Dr. Garrick's paper,
     the risk triples, has scenarios, probability, and
     consequences.  Here in this particular part, we want DOE to
     identify what are the scenarios that they are considering
     and what are the associated probabilities of those
               And once we have a good handle on what DOE is
     considering in their compliance demonstration calculation,
     we will be going into detail, looking at the model
     abstractions portion.  That's where DOE would conduct its
     consequence analysis.
               And at the end, we want DOE to put together the
     scenario, probability, and the associated consequences to
     give us the risk estimate.
               That's going to be evaluated in the last portion
     of the performance assessment review.
               Now let me go into more detail for each of those
     four subsections.  Multiple barriers:  We have formulated
     acceptance criteria and review methods that focus on whether
     DOE has identified all the barriers that they are taking
     credit for in the compliance demonstration.
               Also, DOE is required to describe and quantify the
     capabilities of the barriers, using the information coming
     from the total system performance assessment.  They can use
     intermediate outputs, or they can use sensitivity analysis
     results.  Basically they need to quantitatively describe how
     the barrier is going to contribute to the performance of the
     repository over the compliance period.
               And DOE needs to include technical basis to
     support the assertion of all the barriers' capabilities.
               During the public comment period, we did receive a
     fair amount of comments on the clarity of the multiple
     barriers requirement.  And in the final rule, the staff is
     doing -- is clarifying the requirements on the final rule in
     this particular area.
               Therefore, we will develop additional criteria and
     review methods that are consistent with what is going to be
     included in the final rule, understanding that the
     Commission will have to make a decision on what options they
     want to go with, and based on that particular decision, the
     staff will carry the work in this area further.
               The next piece is scenario analysis.  In this
     particular portion, we are focusing on a methodology for
     inclusion or exclusion of features, events, and processes in
     the compliance demonstration, the informational scenarios.
               There are five steps that DOE needs to carry out: 
     The first part is DOE needs to identify a comprehensive list
     of facts that are applicable to the Yucca Mountain site.
               Understanding that the subsequent steps here --
     DOE does not require to carry out any of these subsequent
     steps, once they have identified the initial list of facts,
     but there are thousands of facts that are applicable to the
     Yucca Mountain site.
               By doing the grouping and applying the screening
     criteria, that will basically streamline the performance
     assessment process and make the analysis more transparent at
     the end.
               However, if DOE likes not to carry out any of the
     subsequent steps, they can certainly incorporate all the
     facts applicable to Yucca Mountain into their performance
               And our understanding is that DOE will be
     characterizing or grouping the FEPs together to basically
     form FEP groups.  And DOE can perform the screening of these
     categories, based on two separate criteria:
               One, it has been laid out in the rule that if the
     probability is below 10-4, then DOE can screen that
     particular event out.  Or DOE can perform a consequence
     analysis.  It does not have to be a very detailed PA,
     however, if they can perform a bounding analysis to
     demonstrate that the exclusion of a particular FEP is not
     going to impact the timing or the magnitude of the dose, and
     based on that particular rationale, they can exclude the FEP
     from consideration.
               Once DOE has a reduced set of FEPs, then we want
     them to start putting all these FEPs into scenarios.  And
     again, they can screen, they can perform the screening based
     on the scenario classes, using the two criteria I have just
     mentioned before.
               And also in this part, we want to examine DOE's
     assertion or their technical support on the probability of
     disruptive events.
               The first thing is that DOE needs to provide a
     very defendable definition for what is being included,
     whether it's in a single event or a particular event group,
     to make sure that the characterization or the slicing up is
     technically defendable.
               And we will be looking at the data, models and
     uncertainty in the probability estimates, based on how DOE
     has formatted its FEB Division, how DOE has come up with
     this definition.
               So we're giving DOE tremendous amount of
     flexibility in coming up with a defendable FEP case going
     into the performance assessment.
               The next piece I want to talk about is model
     abstraction.  I'm sure that you have seen this diagram many,
     many times, and I probably don't need to spend a whole lot
     of time on this now.
               But I just want to give you an idea that the model
     abstractions portion is being divided up based on the lowest
     tier of this flow-down diagram.  This is basically where
     staff has utilized the experience and knowledge form
     reviewing DOE's analysis, doing our own analysis, and
     finding out what are potentially important to the repository
               And we want DOE to address all these different
     pieces.  However, the level of the detail of these 14 topics
     is going to be different, because we want to incorporate the
     risk insight in terms of how much we go into basically
     specify what DOE needs to do.
               And that level of detail will be commensurate with
     their impact on the performance.
               Again, the model abstractions portion is based on
     the integrated subissues, the lowest tier of the flowdown
     diagram.  We use five general technical criteria that focus
     on data and model justification, data uncertainty, model
     uncertainty, model support, and integration.
               In data model justification, basically we're
     looking at whether DOE has conducted sufficient site
     characterization, analog investigation, field and laboratory
     testing, to basically define the models and the associated
     parameters that go into the performance assessment.
               And in data uncertainty, we are looking at whether
     the parameter ranges in the performance assessment have
     captured the uncertainty existent in the database.
               And in model uncertainty portion, we are looking
     at whether DOE has considered alternative conceptual models
     that can be explained, based on the existing information.
               And in model support, we are looking at the
     evidence that the DOE has to support the models that they
     eventually used in the PA.
               And in integration, we are basically looking at
     whether DOE has properly handled the interface between the
     various components of the TSPA.  If you look at the 14
     pieces here, none of them is a stand-alone piece that does
     not have any relationship with the prior piece.
               For example, if you look at the quantity and
     chemistry of water contacting waste package and waste forms,
     and the model of radionuclide release coming out from the
     waste packages, those two are definitely related because the
     solubility and the release rate will depend on how much
     water actually gets into the failed waste package.
               Therefore, the integration piece is looking at the
     interfaces between the 14 pieces.
               And the approach that we have taken in formulating
     the model abstractions portion is to extract the review
     methods acceptance criteria from the issue resolution status
     report to strengthen the five generic technical criteria
     that we have chosen.
               If you flip to the last page in your handout
     package, you will see a chart that will require a decoder. 
     And you can find the decoding information on the flowdown
               The top line, you see ENG-1, 2, 3, 4.  Here we
     have labeled ENG-1, ENG-2, ENG-3, and ENG-4.  That's a
     shorthand for the 14 ISIs or integrated subissues that we're
     looking at.
               And on the left-hand side, we see all the KTI
     abbreviations, and the three pages preceding to the last
     page, I have given you what these KTI subissues stand for. 
     So by using these particular charts, staff basically is
     integrating the information from the various IRSRs, going to
     the particular KTI subissues, and integrate the information
     from the KTI IRSRs, based on the total system approach.
               I know that is probably a lot of information to
     digest, and that's why I provided you with the detailed info
     there to give you an idea and a sense of the commitment that
     we have in terms of looking at the issues from the total
     system standpoint, incorporating the risk insight and
     integrated amount of various technical discipline.
               Moving on to the last piece under performance
     assessment -- by the way, before I start here, I just want
     to mention that information in the cross reference -- in the
     cross -- flow chart, and the subissue definition has all
     been attached at the end of the TSPA Issue Resolution Status
     Report Revision 2, which was released the end of January, so
     that has been in the public domain for about two months now.
               Okay, moving on to the last piece, overall
     performance objective, here we're looking at the compliance
     to the individual protection standard.  This is where we
     will come together and make a determination of whether
     consistent assumptions, data, and models have been used in
     DOE's compliance demonstration calculation.
               And this is also where the probability, scenarios,
     and consequences all come together to form the risk
     estimates over the compliance period.
               In this part, we are also looking at the human
     intrusion analysis.  Basically we are looking at whether DOE
     has used consistent approach compared to its PA for doing
     the human intrusion calculation.
               The only exceptions on the deviation from what DOE
     has used in the PA calculation is where it will be
     appropriate to modify because of the intrusion scenario.
               And again, this is also an area where we have
     received public comments during the Part 63 comment period,
     and the staff is working on clarifying the human intrusion
     analysis requirement.  Once the Commission has made its
     final decision on what issue will be put into a final rule,
     we will further develop this piece to make sure that we have
     a consistent review approach compared to the final rule.
               Now I want to talk about the last piece of the
     safety analysis report evaluation.  The difference in this
     piece is that we do not have performance objectives for
     administrative and programmatic requirements as in the
     preclosure and postclosure case.  In this particular section
     we are looking at mainly the procedural matters and there
     are numerous existing acceptable programs in the agency, and
     we are planning on using those existing programs modified to
     the extent necessary, so that they will be suitable for the
     high level waste repository at Yucca Mountain.
               Also, I want to mention that a lot of the
     information contained in this section is going to directly
     impact the preclosure safety evaluation, therefore there is
     going to be a lot of looking back and forth between the
     preclosure part and the administrative requirements to make
     sure that during operation the preclosure performance
     objectives will be met.
               In the evaluation in this particular section we
     include QA, training, recordkeeping, normal operation,
     emergency planning, and physical security.  Those are the
     big topics in this particular section.
               As I mentioned previously, the draft Revision Zero
     for this particular section will be coming to us from the
     Center by the end of April and we are hoping to have the
     Revision Zero done by the middle of June.
               Scheduled activities -- I have mentioned that we
     are in the process of establishing coordination with other
     NMSS divisions and program offices for review of the
     preclosure safety and the administrative and programmatic
     procedures.  We are consulting with NRR in terms of the
     emergency planning procedures and working with SFPO in the
     fuel cycle, the Part 72 and Part 70 folks, on the preclosure
     safety analysis portion.
               We have assigned technical leads to integrate the
     multidisciplinary teams and build consensus for each of our
     review sections.
               We will continue to work on the level of detail,
     integration and incorporation of risk insights.
               In the future revision of the Yucca Mountain
     Review Plans will be modified as necessary so that you will
     be consistently implementing the final Part 63 because now
     we are on this schedule that we don't really know when the
     Commission is going to be making its final decision on Part
     63.  Therefore, we will be keeping an eye on that particular
     progress and make sure our future revisions capture the
     final position in Part 63.
               I would like to bring your attention to a third
     bullet -- continue working on level of detail integration
     and incorporation of risk insights.  As I have stated at the
     beginning of this presentation, we fully intend to make the
     Yucca Mountain Review Plan risk-informed and
     performance-based.  However, we also need to give sufficient
     guidance to the Staff and indirectly to DOE on what is
               We don't want to be prescriptive but we also don't
     want to get into a situation where it is bringing another
     rock situation.
               Compounding with the fact that the design is still
     evolving, the knowledge base is still evolving, and there is
     an inherent uncertainty for a 10,000 year repository, I
     believe this is where this particular committee can provide
     the most recommendations and guidance to the Staff on
     helping us achieve the goal of having a risk-informed and
     performance-based review plan, without being overly
     prescriptive providing sufficient guidance so that it will
     be clear to everybody what is necessary to demonstrate
     compliance and at the same time there is an appropriate
     level of flexibility for DOE.
               I just want to conclude this particular
     presentation by giving you the schedule.  Looking ahead, the
     Revision Zero of the Yucca Mountain Review Plan -- here I am
     talking about the postclosure sections only -- will be going
     to the Commission with the draft final Part 63 by the middle
     of April and we are planning on holding meetings with DOE,
     these are public meetings.
               Right now on the book there will be a PA technical
     exchange in early June and we are also planning on an
     Appendix Y meeting on YMRP and the license application in
     the middle of June.
               In Revision 1 of the Yucca Mountain Review Plan,
     that's where we have all the sections together.  We are
     planning on having that particular version out by the end of
     FY 2000 and we will formally invite public comments on that
     particular version, so anything we release prior to the
     Revision 1 is going to be for information only, and then
     after we release Revision 1 we will be holding public
     meetings and also meeting with DOE to explain the approach
     that we have taken in the Review Plan and also to solicit
               In Revision 2 of the Yucca Mountain Review Plan we
     will address the comments that we have received and
     incorporate any information, whether it is going to be on
     design or site characterization, into consideration.
               MR. HORNBERGER:  What is the date for that one,
               MS. LUI:  Revision 2 is September 30th, 2001 --
     sorry, that is a typo.
               MR. HORNBERGER:  Otherwise you would do it very
               MS. LUI:  That's okay.  That is an obvious mistake
     so that you won't notice anything else.
               MS. LUI:  That's it.  That is the end of my
     prepared presentation.  I will be happy to entertain any
     questions you may have.
               MR. HORNBERGER:  Thank you, Christiana.
               MS. LUI:  You're welcome.
               MR. HORNBERGER:  The first question that I have is
     that you were probably in the audience earlier this morning
     and you heard James give a presentation on the site
     suitability report, and there is obviously or it is obvious
     to me that there's an awful lot of overlap.
               MS. LUI:  Yes.
               MR. HORNBERGER:  I understand the different
     objectives, but there has to be an awful lot of overlap.
               Can you just give us some insight on how you are
               MS. LUI:  Okay.  I believe a while ago that we
     have sent a letter up to -- I have to remember who was the
     recipient of that particular letter.  I think it was a
     letter back to the Commission saying that we intend to use
     the Yucca Mountain Review Plan to formulate our sufficiency
     comments.  If you remember that -- of course, I lost that
     particular page -- but the five technical acceptance
     criteria that we are using for model abstraction evaluation
     includes data and model justification, data uncertainty, and
     model uncertainty and model support and integration.
               That is going to be the emphasis of how we are
     looking at the -- or to formulate our sufficiency comments. 
     we are not going to carry everything to the last piece. 
     That is where we are going to be looking at the overall
     performance objective but we want to look at the report and
     make a judgment whether we can proceed with the review that
     we have in mind when the license application comes in.x
               MR. HORNBERGER:  Okay, so the teams are clearly
     working together then?
               MS. LUI:  Yes.
               MR. HORNBERGER:  I have one other question, sort
     of a clarification for myself.
               On one of your slides you mentioned that you were
     going to be looking at postclosure performance confirmation. 
     Do you have ideas on what postclosure performance
     confirmation would look like?  Are there any requirements or
     is there any guidance or could you just give us your
     preliminary thoughts on what would be required?
               MS. LUI:  Okay.  Remember that DOE's responsible
     to define its safety case.  Therefore, let me just look at
     this chart here, we have these two pieces in the postclosure
     review.  One part is that there is going to be we require
     DOE to establish a program and schedule for closing any of
     the open issues, and that is clearly linked to the
     performance confirmation program that they are going to be
               In the performance confirmation we certainly
     expect them to focus on those areas that they will need to
     further clarify or have more information in order to support
     a defendable safety case such as the heater test is still
     ongoing and the results are now going to be available by
     license application time.  Therefore, that would be one area
     we are going to be carrying into the license application and
     when the information becomes available to us, well, to DOE,
     we certainly will expect DOE to utilize that information to
     update its performance assessment.
               MR. HORNBERGER:  Okay.  Perhaps it is a
     misunderstanding on my part then.  When I think of
     postclosure, I think of physically after the repository has
     been closed.  That is not what you are talking about when
     you talk about postclosure performance confirmation?
               MS. LUI:  No, that is not what we are talking
     about at all.  No, no, that is not.
               Even though in Part 63 we do require DOE to
     establish permanent oversight --
               MR. HORNBERGER:  Right.
               MS. LUI:  -- but the performance confirmation
     program we are talking about here is not after closure.  It
     is more to strengthen its safety case for postclosure.
               MR. HORNBERGER:  Okay, got you.  Questions from
     the committee?  John.
               DR. GARRICK:  We have talked quite a bit at this
     meeting about the positive aspects of the public review
     process associated with draft Part 63 and I assume that that
     has spun off as far as the Review Plan is concerned, and
     also you note in your presentation that there will be public
     comments on the revisions to the Review Plan.
               Are there any other activities between Part 63 and
     the Rev. 1 for example where there has been deliberate
     effort to get public involvement and participation in the
     creation of the Review Plan?
               MS. LUI:  We did not have -- I mean up until this
     point we have not conducted any public meetings outside from
     the public meetings that we had with DOE, so in terms of the
     framework of the Review Plan pretty much we looked at how
     our Part 63 is structured --
               DR. GARRICK:  Yes.
               MS. LUI:  -- and also our conversation with you,
     from time to time, in terms of helping us focus on what we
     need to look at, so the structure portion, no, we have not
     gone out explicitly to ask for public comments, but that
     does not mean that during the Revision 1 public comment
     period that they will not be commenting on the structure of
     the Review Plan.
               DR. GARRICK:  Yes.
               MS. LUI:  But between Revision Zero and Revision
     1, because Revision Zero is going to be for information
     only, we do not anticipate that we will be actively seeking
     public comments.
               DR. GARRICK:  Okay.
               MS. LUI:  However, if management decides that we
     can go ahead and put the Revision Zero on the website,
     whatever informational comments that we receive on Revision
     Zero we will take that into consideration when we address
     the comments together when we address the comments on
     Revision 1.
               I think Bill has something else to add.
               MR. REAMER:  Bill Reamer, NRC Staff.  I would just
     add one more point, kind of to build on something that
     Christiana mentioned during her presentation.  That is, our
     plan to use the Review Plan in the sufficiency comments as
     well as issue resolution and both of those processes,
     sufficiency comments and issue resolution, are public
     processes that involve technical exchanges, meetings with
     DOE that are public, so we hope that they will also produce
     feedback on the way in which we are following up and
     implementing this draft review plan and could lead to
     improvements or changes in the review plan as well.
               DR. GARRICK:  Okay, thank you.  A little more on
     the technical side -- when you talked about the scenario
     analysis with respect to postclosure safety evaluation, you
     indicated that you have a screening criteria or a cutoff for
     scenarios of 10 to the minus 4, I believe it was, that you
     mentioned, the number?
               MS. LUI:  The probability, but the bottom line is
     that the frequency is less than 10 to the minus 8 per year.
               DR. GARRICK:  Yes.
               MS. LUI:  So over the compliance period it would
     be 10,000 years, so I converted that to 10 to the minus 4
               DR. GARRICK:  And of course these I assume are
     mean values that you are talking about?
               MS. LUI:  No, we are looking at -- DOE needs to
     look at the full range.
               DR. GARRICK:  But I know you are looking at a
     range, but the specific number is a central tendency
               MS. LUI:  I don't want to commit ourselves to just
     looking at mean value at this point because there is a large
     uncertainty associated with any of the geologic processes
     and we really need to look at the supporting evidence DOE
     has before we will all be able to say whether it is a
     legitimate exclusion or DOE is basically dicing up its cases
     to the point that everything is going to be below 10 to the
     minus 8 per year.
               DR. GARRICK:  Yes, okay.  I think that is a good
     answer, because among other things if you have an Epsilon
     amount on the proper side of the screening number, then one
     of the things you really want to look at of course is the
     variation in uncertainty between the scenarios.
               MS. LUI:  Right.
               DR. GARRICK:  The other thing I wanted to just get
     your early comment on is one of the elements that you are
     going to be looking at when you start looking at uncertainty
     of course is modeling uncertainty, and I think that was on
     one of your exhibits.
               Can you give us a very abbreviated glimpse of how
     you are going to do that?
               MS. LUI:  Okay.  I think doing a couple of public
     meetings we have with DOE -- I mean we have had with DOE, we
     definitely are not advocating assigning probability to the
     alternative conceptual models.  What we want DOE to do is
     that for the alternative conceptual models that would
     actually lead to pretty significant differences in the
     consequence estimation, we want them to incorporate the
     results of those alternative conceptual models and we want
     to look at all the results rather than have them assign
     probability to alternative conceptual models and combine
     everything together, because to us that is not transparent
     and we will not -- what we really want to do is to
     understand what are the bases and if the current information
     cannot lead us to basically discriminate one from the other,
     then we definitely want to see the results of all credible
     alternative conceptual models represented individually.
               DR. GARRICK:  And you think this will give you
     some insight?
               MS. LUI:  Right.
               DR. GARRICK:  Yes.
               MS. LUI:  Right.
               DR. GARRICK:  One of the things that could be a
     major issue here is this issue of quality assurance. 
     Quality assurance I notice was on your list of
     administrative and programmatic rather than technical, and
     of course many of us are much more inclined to think of
     quality assurance as an important issue from a technical
     standpoint more than an issue from a documentation and
     creating a record standpoint.
               I guess the question that I have is that being an
     issue that is well-known and that has existed for quite some
     time, I assume that there has really been a great deal of
     exchange already on just what the NRC is looking for in
     terms of an acceptable quality assurance activity.
               Is that correct?
               MS. LUI:  Okay -- I think, Dr. Garrick, you are
     probably leading to graded QA?
               DR. GARRICK:  Yes.
               MS. LUI:  Okay.  Well, we had a meeting with DOE I
     think two weeks ago talking about a graded QA effort. 
     Basically what we will be looking for is that there will be
     a set of minimum requirements DOE will have to meet no
     matter what.  However, DOE can use the graded QA approach in
     terms of identifying what are the important structures,
     systems and components for the safety case, and the level of
     rigor for those that are important to the safety case we
     will certainly be paying a whole lot more attention to
     compared to the ones that have been identified to have
     minimal impact on any of the bottom lines.
               Even though the QA is in the administrative and
     programmatic requirements area, it indicates that a lot of
     the pieces in that particular section are the underpinnings
     for the pre-closure and post-closure.  So the level of rigor
     that we're going to be looking at is going to be dependent
     on how these supporting pieces feed into that preclosure
     safety case and postclosure safety case.
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Okay; thank you.
               DR. WYMER:  Yes; as usual, your presentation was
     very well-organized and presented.
               MS. LUI:  Thank you.
               DR. WYMER:  I particularly appreciate -- it will
     be useful to me -- the presentation on the KTIs and how they
     tie together.  Having said all that, let me get to a
               MS. LUI:  Okay.
               DR. WYMER:  Could you say just a bit more -- this
     isn't a question, exactly, but could you say just a bit more
     about the acceptance criteria?  I think that there will be a
     great many people who will be interested in those, and
     particularly, the Department of Energy will be interested in
     those.  And I wonder what you can say about the degree of
     detail that will be presented a little bit more.
               MS. LUI:  Okay; let me pick an area where you will
     be interested, so it will have to be one of a couple
     processes.  Let me pick ENG3, the quality and chemistry or
     water compacting and packaging waste forms.  Basically, if
     you look at the chart here, if you just count the number of
     dark boxes, ENG3 is probably one of the most complex
     integrated sub-issues that we have.  So what we do is we go
     into each of these IRSRs and look at the acceptance criteria
     and review methods that have been documented in those IRSRs
     and organize them based on the five generic technical
     criteria in terms of model and data justification, data
     uncertainty, model uncertainty, model support and
     integration with other portions of the integrated
               DR. WYMER:  So from that, I would assume that
     there will be quite a bit of detail of --
               MS. LUI:  There's a lot of detail.
               DR. WYMER:  -- the acceptance criteria.
               MS. LUI:  And because also, according to our own
     sensitivity studies, these particular ISIs happen to be
     probably one of the very top ISIs, meaning that from both
     the uncertainty perspective and also how you could influence
     the dose -- I mean, how you could influence the risk
     computation, this is definitely on top of the list, so we
     would have a lot of detail associated with these particular
     integrated sub-issues.
               DR. WYMER:  Thank you.
               MS. LUI:  Okay?
               MR. LEVENSON:  I guess one of the advantages and
     disadvantages of being last is most everything has been
     said, both in challenging you and how good the presentation
     was, but I do have two left-over questions.
               MS. LUI:  Sure.
               MR. LEVENSON:  One, under administrative and
     programmatic requirements, you list physical security. 
     Exactly what is the scope of that?  Physical security for
     the property?  Safeguards?  What's intended there?
               MS. LUI:  Unfortunately, you asked a question that
     I really don't have a whole lot of background in, but I will
     try my best to answer your question.  The physical security
     here is looking at during the operational period, the OE's
     program in terms of maintaining access to the site, and I
     believe that we do have existing programs in the agency.
               MR. LEVENSON:  Well, let me give you the context
     of my question.
               MS. LUI:  Okay.
               MR. LEVENSON:  There is a possibility that Yucca
     Mountain may be used to dispose of excess weapons-grade
     plutonium, and that could potentially, if you're thinking of
     safeguards, make a significant difference compared to
     defense-vitrified logs coming from Savannah River.  So, I
     just wondered how -- what this issue is and how it might
     expand for what might be going to Yucca Mountain.
               MS. LUI:  Okay; the level of detail that we
     currently have, I understand, in the review plan is that
     based -- because earlier on, we do ask DOE to identify what
     kind of waste DOE is going to be receiving at the Yucca
     Mountain site, and based on the content of what's coming in,
     the DOE needs to develop a program that's consistent with
     the level of security necessary in order to have confidence
     that there is going to have a sufficient amount of safety
     and safeguard oversight.
               MR. LEVENSON:  Okay; so, in essence, it's DOE's
     responsibility to define the physical security program --
               MS. LUI:  Yes.
               MR. LEVENSON:  -- based on materials, and they
     would like to expand it if, indeed, they add weapons
               MS. LUI:  Right; but however, there are certain
     minimal requirements DOE will still have to meet based on
     the existing agency's programs.
               MR. LEVENSON:  Yes; okay.
               The second question I have has to do somewhat with
     the question John asked, and that is how much, how far you
     get into checking what's really in the models, and the
     context of that question is two and a half years ago, when I
     was doing a study for the National Academy in connection
     with the research reactor fuel disposal, I discovered that
     at that time, the Yucca Mountain PA did not have either
     conservation of mass or conservation of energy in any of
     their models.  And as a result, they were overestimating
     consequences by huge amounts, and I presume by now they've
     put that back in.  But will your review be in enough depth
     to catch things like that?
               MS. LUI:  I think so, because in our review plan,
     we have stated in our review method where appropriate, staff
     is going to use our TPA code to do our other calculation,
     because if there are -- for example, during the VA review
     process, we have looked at some of the graphs and charts,
     and trying to understand how has DOE come to those
     quantitative numbers, and in those cases, we use our TPA
     code to come by all of the calculations.  So if there is
     something that is really obviously inconsistent about one
     module to another, basically wanting to intermediate -- once
     that will be open to intermediate to another, then, staff is
     going to go into more detail in looking at how DOE has
     conducted its analysis.
               MR. LEVENSON:  So you're confident that your TPA
     code does conserve mass and energy?
               MS. LUI:  I think so.  I would say that Tim has
     worked really hard, and also, the other PA staff was working
     really hard to make sure that our code is going to be
     suitable to the license application review.
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  The next thing, Milt will be
     asking about the continuity equation.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Questions from staff?  John?
               Others?  Carol?
               MS. HANLON:  Dr. Hornberger, committee,
     Christiana, I just wanted to thank you for your
     presentations.  I think it will be very helpful.  And I
     wanted to thank you for mentioning the upcoming interaction
     in June, where we will be working with Christiana to look at
     the Yucca Mountain review plan in the context of the license
     application to make sure that it's consistent.
               And also, I wanted to mention that we have
     forwarded eight letters culminating on the IRSR.  Each of
     the IRSRs that we have, we forwarded them to Bill Reamer
     last week, and that was at the invitation of the NRC to
     comment on those IRSRs.  We regret that they're late in the
     process.  We realize that they are late.  We worked very
     hard to make sure that our comments were integrated, and it
     provided an integrated approach to you.  So, some of the
     areas where we have commented were for questions or for
     simple clarification.  Other places where we may have
     commented were where we thought perhaps the techniques
     discussed were more prescriptive than you may have meant,
     and in some other areas, there were some other areas where
     we felt that the performance-based aspects may have been
               So we provided you with those.  We hope they will
     be helpful in financing the Yucca Mountain review plan and
     being part of the acceptance criteria.  So, thanks for
     looking at those as you move forward, and again, we're sorry
     they're late.
               MS. LUI:  That's okay.  I just wanted to emphasize
     that for revision zero, what we are trying to do is to
     basically synthesize and integrate what all of the work that
     has been done has done up to this point, and the two
     revisions that were -- and on revision one, we do intend to
     look at the level of detail, whether they are appropriate
     for the particular topic we are looking at using the
     risk-informed and performance based approach, and that's
     also where we're going to be interacting with the ACNW to
     also get their recommendation.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Great; thank you very much,
     Christiana, and thanks to your silent assistant over here
     for his comments.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Back to you, John.
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  All right; I think what we
     would like to do, as many of you know, we're in the middle
     of writing several letters, and there's some word processing
     that I'd like to do on one of those letters.  I think what
     I'm going to do now is essentially recess the meeting until
     our appointed time of 1:00, where we will talk about
     radionuclide content of slag and prepare ourselves better
     for the -- take advantage of this time to prepare ourselves
     better for the 3:15 session on the continued preparation of
     ACNW reports.
               So with that, I think we'll adjourn.
               [Whereupon, at 11:14 a.m., the meeting was
     recessed, to reconvene at 1:07 p.m., this same day.].                   A F T E R N O O N  S E S S I O N
                                                      [1:07 p.m.]
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Let's see if we can come to
     order here.
               Leading our discussion this afternoon on
     radionuclide content of slag and uranium plume attenuation
     is committee member Dr. Ray Wymer.
               DR. WYMER:  The next presentation starting this
     afternoon off is the status report on the characterization
     of radioactive slag, and we're going to hear about leach
     rater of uranium and thorium from slag, and I was a little
     surprised that it was limited to those until I looked at the
     list of the site decommissioning management plan items. 
     It's something like two-thirds of those are, in fact,
     uranium and thorium slag, which explains why you're focusing
     on those.  I would expect that in the future, as the
     clearance rule comes along, there will be other types of
     slags that will rise to the top in importance, but for right
     now, these are the two front-runners.
               MS. VEBLEN:  That's right.
               DR. WYMER:  This is Linda Veblen.  Please give us
     your report.
               MS. VEBLEN:  Well, thank you, and I'm happy to
     have the opportunity to speak to you.  I did bring some
     samples here of slags that are not radioactive, but we have
     one -- just I thought you can pass them around and look at
     them -- this is slag from Maryland that's about 100 years
     old.  It's from Ashland, and this slag is from Sudbury,
     which we will see in one of the next slides just to give
     you --
               DR. WYMER:  From where?
               MS. VEBLEN:  Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.
               Okay; so, I'd like to acknowledge my colleagues. 
     Dori Farthing is a Ph.D. student at Johns Hopkins
     University.  Dr. O'Donnell has been looking at this, and
     Professor Veblen at Hopkins has provided a lot of input and
     also the facility and people from the department.
               Well, as Dr. Wymer mentioned, there are a lot of
     mountains of waste slag being produced in the United States,
     and these contain toxic metals and, in some cases,
     radioactive waste or radioactive elements.  And so, one of
     the concerns is how stable is this waste?  And we know from
     areas around the world where there are large slag piles that
     some of these toxic elements are leaching into the
     groundwater and contaminating groundwater and land areas.
               So the NRC has several decommissioning sites that
     contain slags.  There are about 17 of them, and they contain
     uranium and thorium in quantities that exceed the old
     regulatory limits, so -- and the owners of these sites would
     like to have the site material license released from the
     NRC, so the NRC, then, needs to try to understand or to
     determine what the long-term stability of these slags are
     and how uranium and thorium will then leach from the slags.
               Well, so what?  And how difficult is that to
     determine uranium and thorium leaching rates?  Well, there
     are three different standard leach tests that are currently
     being used.  One is ANSI, which -- 16.1, which is use for
     leachability of solidified low-level waste, and in this
     case, a cylindrical plug or an intact piece of slag or
     low-level waste is placed in deionized water and leached for
     a period of time, and then, the leachate is decanted off and
     determined how much has come out of the slag, and generally,
     in these cases, we see that not much has come out:  10-12 to
     10-10.5 for a thorium leach rate.
               And these studies were done by the center.  They
     were also studying the slags and trying to determine which
     of these methods might be the best for characterizing the
     uranium and thorium loss from the slag.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  What are the units on that rate,
               MS. VEBLEN:  I believe it's grams per meter
     squared per day.  The EPA method, the TCLP, is the second
     one.  In this case, the sample is crushed to a fine grain
     size and leached in acetic acid at a very low pH.  The third
     type of test is also using crushed material and with a
     slightly than higher closer to neutral pH.  And as we see,
     there is a range of leach rates, anywhere from 10-8 up to
     10-12.  That's four orders of magnitude, which makes it kind
     of difficult when you're running performance calculations to
     determine which one to use.
               So, why are we doing this?  What's the bottom
     line?  Well, we didn't know what was in a slag.  What is a
     slag in the first place?  Three years ago when we -- four
     years ago, we were starting this, people said, well, it's
     glass, or it's this and that.  Well, is it?  We don't know. 
     What's in a slag?  What are the phases?  Where is the
     uranium and thorium?  And even the licensees didn't know
     where these were.
               So where is the uranium and thorium?  Is it evenly
     distributed?  These are some of the questions that we're
     trying to find out.  What's the leach rate for a slag, and
     how does it change with time?  Or does it change with time? 
     And what standard tests should we use, if any?  And, as I
     mentioned before, there are 17 of these SDMP sites.  Are
     they all the same?  Is it the same slag?  The same phases
     that are in them?  And if they're not, can we use the same
     licensing criteria, then, for all of the different slag
               And so, ultimately, we really wanted to identify
     or understand how a slag weathers.  With that in mind, we
     come to the objectives of this study, and that's to identify
     the solid phases in the slag, both radioactive and
     nonradioactive and get an idea of the weathering mechanisms
     in the slag, try to determine that, and also estimate what I
     call in situ leach rates or instantaneous leach rates from
     the slag for input into the RESRAD code for performance
     calculations.  And these are not actually leach rates, but
     what we would be determining is the mass loss over distance
     for a period of time, and I'll show you later how we might
     be able to calculate a leach rate from that.
               I'd like to run through some of the sites, what
     they look like.  This is an example of one of the SDMP
     sites.  They were smelting tin slags that had been brought
     over from Malaysia and were extracting niobium and tantalum
     from these slags.  That's done by crushing up the tin slags,
     adding fluxes and heating it to 1,500 to 1,700 degrees
     centigrade.  That forms essentially a lava.  It's poured
     off; allowed to cool, and while it's still in its molten
     state, of course, the niobium, the tantalum and the heavy
     metals drop to the bottom.
               They then go in and break up the slag with
     sledgehammers; take off the metal separate, which is also
     known as the blooms, and then throw the waste slag away. 
     This is the site, one of the sites we're studying, and you
     can see the slag pile right along the edge of this major
               These are pictures from 1967.  This is an example
     of a slag pile being built, and these are what the loughy
     slags look like.  This is the slag that's been -- the pour
     that's finally been cooled and broken up into about 10
     kilogram-sized blocks.  There are railroad tracks right down
     here, and the river is just beyond that.
               And then, this was a picture taken three years ago
     by the center.  We were up there investigating the site, and
     you can see that we're parked on top of the slag pile
     roughly about where that is, so it's changed a lot.  There
     is a lot of vegetation that's grown up on it.
               What do slags look like?  Well, I just passed
     around some samples.  These are two of the samples from the
     SDMP site.  Notice that they're blocky, glassy.  There's an
     upper weathered portion in both of these.  These slags
     resemble the salts, quickly-cooled igneous rock.
               We have another site that has what I'm calling
     reprocessed slag, where you start with that blocky slag. 
     They crush it up in a bow mill; leach it, then, with
     hydrofluoric or hydrochloric acid to extract the last
     remnants of niobium and tantalum and then throw the waste
     back into a settling pond, and it settles out along with the
     leachate.  And so, what we end up with here actually are
     sedimentary rocks, but they're made up of slag components. 
     The grains are glass or slag phases.  And you see, it looks
     just like a very nice crossbedded, layered sedimentary rock. 
     It even has a nice weathering line that's about a centimeter
     to two centimeters thick on the surface.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Is it all glass or amorphous, or
     do you have some crystalline stuff?
               MS. VEBLEN:  There is a lot of crystalline stuff
     in both of them.
               Okay; so, we set out then to determine, identify
     the phases, and these were the research methods that we
     used.  We're looking for elemental variation and the
     distribution in the slag.  We did that using a light
     microscope; x-rayed the fraction to determine the
     crystalline phases that are in that slag.  We used an
     electron microprobe, both SEM and wavelength dispersal of
     the EDS analyses to get quantitative chemical analyses on
     about a micron spot size, so we can do very detailed
     chemical analyses as we go across these samples.
               And finally, to understand really the weathering
     mechanism, we've gone to using the TEM, which can analyze
     the slag on an angstrom level, and we can look at here
     elemental variation on a very small scale.  We can also look
     and determine the species of an element, for instance,
     uranium, whether it's in a +4 or +6 state, which I think
     would be a powerful tool to use in this weathering study. 
     We haven't gotten to that point yet, but hopefully, we will.
               So, these are the different tools, the Hans scale,
     the light microscope, and with the light microscope, we're
     looking at very thin slices of the rock, and they're about
     20 millimeters by 40 millimeters and 30 microns thick.  We
     use that same thin section on the electron microprobe, but
     then, finally, when we go to the TEM scale, we have a copper
     grid that's about 3 millimeters in diameter and glue that
     onto the thin section and then bore a hole in the center of
     the copper grid with an iron beam and thin it down to
     electron transparency; so, several angstrom-thin layers.
               This is just a pretty slide that's an example of
     one of the SDMP slags.  These are aluminum, chromium,
     titanium spinels, almost similar to a ruby, which is mostly
     an aluminum spinel basically.  We see perovskites, which are
     opaques, in here.  The white is glass, and we also have
     magnesium iron spinels, and I'll show you electron
     microprobe back-scattered image of this a little bit later
     and show you what's happening with the weathering here of
               This is an example of one of the other slags;
     slightly different chemistry.  The white is glass.  These
     dark, opaque areas are perovskite, and we have a gehlenite,
     which is a calcium aluminosilicate, and basically, just
     using two techniques of a light microscope, plain polarized
     light and cross-polarized, we can identify the glass phases
     and the crystalline phases, which is very helpful, because
     you can't do that with an electron microprobe.  You can do
     that with a TEM, but you're on a much finer scale.
               So this is the same area that we're observing. 
     Here's a scale bar of 100 microns, and this is what the thin
     section looks like; the slag looks like under a plain
     polarized light microscope.  There's lots of glass, this
     white area.  We see beautiful uhedral crystals of this brown
     uhedral crystal, which turns out to be a clonopirixine, but
     it's a rare clonopirixine that contains zirconium titanium
     and is similar to pirixines that are seen in meteorites.
               The long, black dendritic crystals are the
     perovskites, just an image in cross-polarized light, again,
     to give you an idea of what's glass versus what are the
     crystalline phases.  Then, we go to a back-scattered
     electron image.  This was taken on the microprobe, electron
     microprobe, and the electron microprobe basically shoots an
     electron beam down on the sample, and the electrons are
     back-scattered, and the heavier elements the electrons much
     more easily, so we end up with a much higher intensity.
               So what this tells you is that when you look at a
     back-scattered image, the very bright phases, then, are
     those that have the heaviest elements in them.  So we know
     right away that this long dendrite contains heavy elements,
     and it turns out that it contains uranium and thorium.  This
     is one of the perovskites.  We can also tell from this that
     this phase that I've labeled -- well, I didn't label it;
     sorry, it's gehlenite -- doesn't have many uranium and
     thorium.  And the glass, which is the medium gray area in
     here, does contain uranium and thorium.
               So from here, we can go down, then, and actually
     obtain quantitative analyses, elemental analyses, on little
     points.  In fact, that's a point that we analyzed right
     there, that little tiny dot, and there's a little tiny dot.
               MR. LEVENSON:  Are all of these on one particular
               MS. VEBLEN:  This slide are all on one slag.  This
     is all the same image at the same scale.  But we've done
     this; we have multiple slag samples, so we've looked at
     quite a few.
               The bottom right is a high-resolution TEM image,
     and we're essentially looking at angstrom scale here.  These
     little tiny white blebs in here represent silica tetrahedra
     that are strung together in a chain, and this is a
     clonopirixine.  This, actually, is the old TEM that's at
     Hopkins.  The new TEM that went in has essentially -- can
     resolve about an atom, so we could be looking at uranium
     atoms on that scale.  But the real beauty of the TEM for
     this particular -- one of the beauties for this particular
     study is that we really didn't know what this clonopirixine
     was, what kind of phase it was.
               We knew its elemental chemistry, but we didn't
     know any structural information about it.  So, you go to the
     TEM; you can do electron defraction there on very small
     crystals, and this is actually an electron defraction
     pattern from that very crystal right there, and that's what
     showed us that it was in fact a clonopirixine but just one
     that has very rare chemistry, and I think, Dori, that this
     actually has some thorium in it, very small amounts.  Dori
     is the graduate student working on this.
               This is another thing that we have done is looked
     at a back-scattered electron images and x-ray mapping.  You
     can go in with a certain area and set up wavelength
     dispersive and energy dispersive analyses to determine
     silica, calcium, all these different phases.  And then, you
     just basically plot up that particular element on a map, so
     let's go over to this bottom right image, which I've labeled
     thorium, and what this shows, then, the bright areas show
     that those phases contain thorium.  The relative intensity
     corresponds to the relative amount of thorium that's in a
     particular phase, so right here, from this map, we can see,
     yes, thorium is in the perovskites; thorium is in the glass;
     it's not in this, you know, there's not much in some of
     these other phases.
               One thing I would like to point out in this
     particular slide is if you go up to the back-scattered
     image, we notice that this light gray area is glass.  Coming
     off there are some crystals, and there are also some holes,
     and there are some very bright spots.  And what's happening
     here is the glass is devitrifying.  As it devitrifies, the
     volume changes.  It decreases, so it's opening up a little
     bit of porosity.  Now, the uranium and thorium is in the
     glass, but what looks like is happening here is that as the
     glass devitrifies or dissolves, whatever it's doing, the
     uranium and thorium and in this case cerium tend to go into
     a silicate phase, so they're held in that phase, it seems. 
     So that's a nice thing.
               All right; these are the phases, then, that we've
     identified, and I don't expect you to -- you know, we're not
     going to go through this.  It's just -- I wanted to show you
     the number of phases that are in these things.  In some of
     the slags, there are 20 individual phases.  So it really is
     a mess when you try to characterize an x-ray defraction or
     something else.
               But one of the things that we noticed right away
     was that the phases are kind of interesting.  We have
     calzirtite, zirconolite, perovskite, spinel, and this is the
     chemical formula for them over here; barium aluminate, which
     is like a barium, well, okay, barium aluminate and glass. 
     And these phases are all found in SYNROC.  Now, SYNROC is a
     synthetic rock, hence its name, but it's a ceramic waste
     form that's being considered for high-level waste, perhaps
     the Hanford waste tanks and also for excess plutonium.
               So we thought that actually, the study of these
     slags might be a nice analog to the study of SYNROC.  There
     is a lot of data on SYNROC that's been done in the
     laboratory, but SYNROC has only been in existence for the
     last 30 years.  So this might be a way that people could
     look at long-term leaching of SYNROC.  Vice-versa, it's a
     way that we can use -- determine leach rates for the slags,
     because they are so similar to SYNROC.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Just a clarification.
               MS. VEBLEN:  Yes.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  On the previous slide, Ce,
               MS. VEBLEN:  Ce is cerium.  There is a lot of
               DR. HORNBERGER:  A lot of cerium?
               MS. VEBLEN:  One thing I didn't -- I didn't show
     you the analyses we did, but we analyzed for 29 elements,
     and these are -- the slags are all very heavy in light rare
     earths.  I mean, in some of these, there's 18 weight percent
     cerium -- not in the bulk slag but in the slag phase.
               DR. WYMER:  The slags must come from a very
     peculiar and specific kind of refining.
               MS. VEBLEN:  Well, actually, a lot of them come
     from carbonotites, which are, you know, fairly unusual rocks
     that are very high in rare earths.  The slags were
     originally smelted for tin.  They extracted the tin from
     them.  But there was so much rare earth and everything else,
     that that went into the waste, and they figured, well, they
     can certainly turn around and use that.  So that's why we
     ended up with these.
               DR. WYMER:  Okay.
               MS. VEBLEN:  Okay; so, then, our ultimate goal
     here is to determine a leach rate, and we do that by
     measuring the elemental variation in weathered SDMP slags
     with a microprobe and the TEM.  Also, we have looked at the
     elemental variation in slags, these SDMP slags that were
     leached by one of our research contractors at Pacific
     Northwest National Lab, and I'll show you some examples of
     those, so we looked at solid phases there and also looked
     for alteration.
               And finally, we can get an idea of what long-term
     leach rates might be by analogy to archaeological slags, and
     we've collected tons, it seems, of archaeological slags.  We
     also can get an idea of leach rates based on what leach
     rates might be for SYNROC.  And finally, we can look at
     leach rates or study leach rates of slags by looking at
     natural minerals such as hibonite, and Dori will be doing
     some of that for her Ph.D.
               This is an example of a weathered SDMP slag, and
     I'd just like to show you this back-scattered image, and
     what I'd like you to notice is that, of course, we have a
     hole there but some large crystals.  These are those red
     spinels that I showed you in one of the first thin sections,
     and these long areas that used to be dendrites, which are
     now -- these are actually holes -- this was the area where
     the magnesium iron spinel was, and in this outer edge of the
     thin section, it's been leached out preferentially, I would
               We can look at the interior, and you see these
     light or gray areas.  These are the spinels that are intact
     that have not yet been leached.  But up in the upper slide,
     which is at the weathered edge, they're weathered out.  So,
     there's evidence of weathering along the grain boundary.
               This slide just shows the transition from where
     these -- well, here's a nice one where the magnesium iron
     spinels are still intact, and here's the same grain, the
     same crystal, but it's finally been leached out here.  So,
     what happens with this?  Well, if there is preferential
     leaching of a particular phase, the fluids move along the
     grain boundaries, and within the grains, it can open up
     fluid access to the interior of the slag.
               Some examples of microprobe data that we have: 
     this is variation, elemental variation in glass, and I've
     kind of flipped this slide around; I'm sorry, but the right
     side of each graph is the outer edge of the slag, so that's
     the weathered edge.  The left edge of the chart is 40
     millimeters, and what we're looking at is the variation of
     aluminum, titanium, zirconium, all of these elements: 
     silicon, calcium, thorium and uranium as you go from a
     weathered edge into an unweathered area of the rock, the
               And what we notice is that in the outer 10
     millimeters, silica is depleted compared to what is seen in
     the interior, the same as calcium, thorium is depleted, and
     uranium is slightly depleted.  And from that, I've measured
     -- and do I have it here?  I didn't plot it up.  We have
     measured the difference in mass between uranium and thorium
     over that distance.  You can use that, then, and this -- I'm
     sorry; this graph is wrong.  It should be concentration over
     distance.  We get a plot.  We can put a point there.  We
     know that what the concentration for a certain distance is
     at a particular period.
               If we go to the next slag that's 100 years old or
     50 years old, we can plot its concentration loss or its
     elemental loss over a certain distance and likewise do that
     for numerous slags.  We may find a line, but this is
     hypothetical data.  We haven't gotten to this point yet, but
     we're moving in that direction.
               Another way of looking at the leach rate is to
     determine kind of a bulk leach rate, and these are measured
     modal abundance of one of the particular slags.  There are
     about 40 weight percent gehlenite, 36 weight percent glass. 
     Notice the calcium and thorium bearing phases; perovskite,
     calzirtite and pyrochlore are all total less than about 18
     weight percent.  They do contain most of the uranium and
     thorium.  So, if we were to weather out one particular phase
     or leach out one particular phase, this much of 25 percent
     of the uranium and thorium would be released of that phase
     were gone.  If you weathered out all of the glass, 25
     percent of it would be gone.  If you weathered out all of
     the perovskite, that would be gone.
               So, this is data that might be used also in RESRAD
     to give us an idea of how things might change with time.
               Just real quickly, some examples of the slags that
     were leached at PNL.  These are slags that have hibonite in
     them.  These are these big brown crystals, and they're not
     brown, they're gray, dark gray.  There's lots of glass;
     again, zirconolite, perovskite and rutile in here.  And what
     we're looking at, this was a crushed.  The slag was crushed. 
     You can see the size of the particular grain here is maybe
     500 microns across, and it sat in water for a period of
     time, and what we're doing is looking at the -- seeing if
     there is any depletion of elements along this outer edge, so
     we do traverse this across here to see if there has been
               Also, PNL did some leaching experiments at pH,
     leach where the pH ranged from 0.05 up to 12, and these are
     SEM images of the surface of these slags, what happened to
     them after they'd been leached.  The top -- yes, SEM image
     is glass that's been leached at a pH of 2, and this shows
     classic hydration and corrosion of the glass, where you get
     these cracks.  There's dissolution going on.  We actually
     see precipitation of some secondary phases on the surface of
     the glass.
               We move down to the bottom image, and this is --
     was leached at a pH of 6, and again, it doesn't seem like
     there's a lot of damage to the glass here, but there are a
     lot of secondary phases that have grown on the surface.  And
     finally, at a pH of 12, again, the glass looks to be very
     corroded, and we're left with these rutile perovskite
     needles sticking up in the air.
               Just some more images.  This is what the slag
     looks like unleached.  There's pH of 5.  That's been leached
     in deionized water on the glasses, dissolving a little bit,
     leaving zirconolites.
               And so, finally, we can compare this data -- glass
     that has been unleached and glass that has been leached. 
     Now, this is a little confusing.  The two graphs on the left
     are weight percent oxide versus distance across a thin
     section, and they had two graphs on the right.  I plotted
     weight percent oxide versus pH, okay?  So, on the first one,
     really, the unleached, I'm just showing this to show that
     there is not a whole lot of variation between -- of any one
     particular element:  silica, aluminum, calcium, cerium. 
     Thorium varies all over the place.  Uranium is fairly
               But you get to the leached glass, I mean, that is
     that -- at the middle pHs, it's fairly constant, but at a pH
     of 4 or below, calcium decreases; silica actually increases. 
     Aluminum decreases as well.  But the key thing here is that
     at about a pH of 4 and below, thorium decreases rapidly, and
     uranium -- we lose uranium as well.
               MR. LEVENSON:  Is there any explanation for the
     spiked behavior of the zirconium?
               MS. VEBLEN:  Zirconium?  I think to some extent,
     it depends where you are, how far away from a crystal, a
     crystalline, the crystal you are in the slag, that what
     happens if a gehlenite was growing in the slag, it doesn't
     take the zirconium; it doesn't take uranium or thorium.  So
     it tends to exclude those as it crystallizes, and you get
     this huge chemical profile building up in front.
               So if I were a couple of microns like right next
     to the grain boundary, there might be a lot of zirconium in
     that particular glass, whereas, if I was further out in the
     glass away from the crystal, it may be slightly less, so
     it's just --
               MR. LEVENSON:  And it doesn't happen to any of
     these other elements?
               MS. VEBLEN:  Well --
               MR. LEVENSON:  Zirconium seems to be unusual in
     its behavior there.
               MS. VEBLEN:  What does?
               MR. LEVENSON:  Zirconium.
               MS. VEBLEN:  I'm sorry; zirconium.
               MR. LEVENSON:  Yes.
               MS. VEBLEN:  Yes; I don't know; I can't really
     say.  I mean, this is my guess about what's going on with
     it, but I think it's essentially exclusion of these elements
     from crystals as the crystal is growing.
               DR. WYMER:  It seems to be pH dependent.
               MS. VEBLEN:  It's definitely pH dependent.
               DR. WYMER:  Which would argue against it being an
     exclusion mechanism, don't you think?
               MS. VEBLEN:  Yes; okay.
               So, moving on from there, then, onto
     archaeological slags, we've decided to look at these because
     they've been smelting tin for 2,000 to 3,000 years, ever
     since the onset of the bronze age.  So it gives us a good
     time scale of interest.  For SDMP sites, we're interested in
     a 1,000 year period of time, and how did we identify
     analogous slags?  We looked at bulk chemistry.  We do have
     tin slags at one of the sites, and so, tin slags were an
     obvious thing to look for.  We also looked for similarity in
     crystalline phase, such as spinel zirolovines, and we looked
     for similarity in glass chemistry, because we know from the
     literature that glass is not glass is not glass; that cerium
     glasses corrode or weather more readily than calcium and
     much more readily than titanium glasses, so that if we look
     at a particular chemistry, if we find a glass that has a
     chemistry similar to these slags, we could use that as an
               Then, okay, so, that's how we've selected sites. 
     We're in the process of identifying the phases in these
     archaeological slags.  They weren't all that easy to find in
     the first place, and we're identifying alteration; and then,
     finally, we go on to quantification of the alteration.
               These are two of the slag sites that we studied. 
     The first one is a tin slag in Cornwall that's roughly 1,000
     years old.  This is the site of an archaeological dig that
     was being studied by Bradford University in the UK, and they
     happened to come across slags, and they went and dated it
     with some carbon dating, so they have a pretty good idea of
     what the date is.  Hard to find here, because this area is
     highly vegetated.  It's very damp, and any slag piles that
     are there were there 1,000 years ago most likely are in
     somebody's back yard right now.
               The second area we went was to Pribram in the
     Czech Republic, and it's a site of lead and silver mining
     and smelting.  They have huge piles there.  They've been
     doing this for on the order of 500 years, and the piles are
     very well dated.  There's a student at Charles University
     who is studying the slags over there, the mineralogy, so we
     thought that would be a good jumping off point.  It turns
     out those slags aren't quite as similar as we thought they
     would be, so we're not looking at those in much detail.
               We are looking at Malaysian tin slags.  They're at
     least 50 years old; have the same phases as the slags we're
     looking at.  We're also looking at numerous Cornish tin
     slags, and they vary in age, as I said, from 50 to 1,000
     years.  This is just an example of the type of alteration
     that we look for.  This is a copper slag from Cyprus that's
     approximately 1,000 years old, and what you see are these
     beautiful uhedral crystals of olivine and black in between,
     and the black is where the glass would have been.  However,
     in this sample, it's no longer glass, but it's
     oxyhydroxides; it's devitrified glass, and that's due to
     oxidation and devitrification.
               We also ran an XRD analysis of this particular
     slag, and there is no glass, typical glass hunk that you
     would see in an XRD spectrum.
               Other types of evidence of alteration, we see
     evidence of oxidation and alteration around fractures.  This
     is a nice wide fracture going down through this particular
     slag.  Glass away from the fracture is clear, but as you get
     closer to the fracture, we see this bright oxidation zone,
     and then, finally, perhaps, some alteration and leaching
     occurring in this area.
               Another thing we look for is secondary minerals. 
     I showed you some growing on the surface of the other slags. 
     This is an example of secondary minerals growing in a
     vesicle in a basalt.  We also look for fluid pathways that
     are provided by cooling cracks or fractures, and we do see a
     lot of alteration, in some cases, along these.  This is
     actually -- the lower example is one of the SDMP slags, and
     we see alteration along this fracture, indicating that there
     is fluid movement or some type of movement through the
               And the archaeological slags aren't perfect.  We
     certainly have numerous uncertainties.  We don't know what
     the original composition of the slag was, and we don't know
     the original uranium and thorium content.  We have found
     slags that are still radioactive, and we have found a lot
     that aren't, so we're in the process of doing that.
               As I mentioned, one of the problems with tin
     slags, if you try to look for really ancient ones, we
     haven't found them.  We've talked to archeometallurgists,
     and for the most part, they find only very small soil size
     fragments.  The question I have is, well, is that because
     the slag has all weathered, and we're left with these
     resistant phases, or is it because the Cornish and the Turks
     were so smart that they knew there was more that they could
     get out of it, and they ground it up and reused it?
               And the archaeologists think one thing, and I
     don't know.  So, that's where we are on that.
               Okay; just an example of SYNROCK.  This is taken
     from Smith, et al. and a scientific basis for nuclear waste
     management.  It's an example of SYNROCK, which is, as I
     mentioned before, a synthetic ceramic waste form that's
     being considered for high-level waste in other countries and
     for the Hanford tank wastes and weapons plutonium here. 
     Notice the phases P is perovskite; we've seen that in our
     SDMP slags.  R is rutile, which is a titanium oxide that
     actually can be a weathering product of perovskite, and Z is
     zirconolite.  We've seen that also.  H is a hollandite,
     which is a barium aluminate in this case, and M stands for
     metallic leads, pieces of metal also known as pearls.
               These investigators leached this particular SYNROC
     for several days at 90 degrees centigrade and found a leach
     rate of 4 x 10-3 grams per meter squared per day, which they
     found, then, to be the same leach rate or very similar to
     the leach rate of flow-through perovskite, so that told them
     that what was happening here is the perovskite is weathering
               We know that perovskite is not stable at near
     surface conditions.  All of these phases are phases that
     have formed at high temperature, and they tend to weather
     when they're in oxidized conditions and also at low
     temperature.  Perovskite is one mineral that goes from a
     calcium-titanium oxide to the calcium weathers out, and it
     forms -- releases calcium and forms anatase or rutile, which
     is a titanium oxide.
               One of the other things I didn't mention is that
     these slags were produced under extremely reducing
     conditions, and we notice that as soon as we cut them up,
     they begin to oxidize. So, that may be good, or that may be
     bad.  We may find that initial oxidation will release
     uranium, for instance, or certain elements, but since there
     are enough reducing materials, then, they have precipitated
     out or remained behind in stable phases.
               All right; so, conclusions:  the characterization: 
     we've used many different techniques.  I would also mention
     that we've done, on one and several of the slags, BET
     analyses to determine surface area and permeability of these
     slags, but I haven't done them on all of them so that was
     another thing I'd like to do.  And we found that the slag in
     some of these cases, whether it's by dissolution of the
     glass, and there's also preferred dissolution of spinels and
     perovskites along grain boundaries.
               Chlorine is found in these slides and glass. 
     Perovskite storianite, which is a thorium oxide, thorium
     dioxide, and pyrachlora, which is a calzertite; it's a
     thorium, well, anyway, you've got it in there, in your list
     of minerals.
               MS. VEBLEN:  And as I mentioned before, glass and
     perovskite are not stable under near surface conditions, so
     we'd expect those to be some of the first to weather out,
     and I've said here that although thorium is present in
     several stable phases, such as thorianite, it is also
     present in glass and these unstable phases, and as that
     dissolves, there is a question as to what happens to the
     thorium.  We don't know yet.  But we do know that the
     dissolution of the glass and other unstable phases provides
     fluid pathways for water or different fluids to get deep
     within a slag.
               Okay; uranium, then, is found in calzertite,
     pyrochlore, perovskite and glass, and it does appear to be
     leaching from the glass at a rate of -- and I've got a
     question mark.  We don't really know what that rate is just
     yet.  We haven't finished tackling it yet.  We have done
     characterization of the solid phases of the PNL leach tests,
     and one of the things that PNL found was that they saw
     calcium and aluminum coming out at rates that they --
     calcium, specifically, they said it's not a calcium
     carbonate; what is it?
               Well, it turns out it's the hibonite, which is a
     calcium aluminate.  The calcium is leaching from that.  So,
     by studying the solid phases, we can help to identify
     controlling phases for solubility calculations, calculations
     that might be done, an EQ36 type of calculation, where we
     look at solubility-controlled leaching or
     solubility-controlled uranium and thorium release.  So, we
     know, for instance, we could calculate the solubility of
     these different ones:  perovskite, calzortite, pyrochlore,
     we put them into a code like RESRAD or a code like EQ36.
               So, we're back to so what?  What's the bottom
     line?  Well, what is a slag?  Well, I think we've taken a
     look at these tin slags, and we have an idea of what they
     are now, and we've looked at the slags; we see that they're,
     you know, a certain number of phases that are in there. 
     They're not just glass, and they're not just crystalline,
     but it's a mixture of both.
               What's in the slag?  Multiple phases.  Where is
     the uranium and thorium?  Well, it's not evenly distributed. 
     It's in discrete phases:  perovskite, calzertite, glass,
     pyrochlore, thorianite.  So, the release of that will be
     determined by the rate at which those minerals degrade. 
     What's the leach rate for a slag, and does it change with
     time?  Well, we're beginning to determine that for
     archaeological slags.  My guess is sure, it changes with
     time, but I don't really have an answer for that.
               What standard tests should we use, if any?  And I
     think that this research will help us discuss this with NMSS
     and the center at PNL, all groups that have been involved in
     the study, and hopefully, we'll be able to provide NMSS with
     some useful information on that.
               There are 17 SDMP sites.  Are they all the same? 
     No, they're not all the same, but we have managed to
     characterize the slags by their bulk chemical analysis. 
     Now, this is very similar to what a petrologist does, when
     they go collect a rock, crush it, get a bulk chemical
     analysis, and because they've studied so much about a
     particular rock like a basalt and know what phases are in
     it, and based on the chemistry from many, many previous
     studies can then go in and characterize an unknown rock
     based on its chemical analysis, and I think we're beginning
     to see that with these slags.
               For instance, I took the bulk chemical analyses
     that we did; XRF data, plotted them up on a ternary diagram
     with the calcium aluminum, and a thalmycie within certain
     areas.  So, from the numerous slags, we can say well, it
     looks like we've got two or three different types, and if
     someone else were to come in with a chemical analysis, we
     could put it on a plat and say oh, well, it's probably a tin
     slag, or it's probably this kind of slag or whatever, and
     these are the phases that might be in it.  So that's kind of
     where we're heading with that.
               And how does the slag weather?  You've seen a
     grain boundary diffusion, glass to solution and preferential
     leaching of certain phases.  Future work?  There is still a
     lot to be done.  I don't think we've answered any of the
     questions, all of them to my satisfaction.  Let's see:  we
     still have to calculate some estimated leach rates, and
     that, I will be doing.  We'll be applying those leach rates
     to RESRAD, and I've been running the RESRAD codes for some
     of these sites, and we'll continue with the microprobe
     analyses on the elemental variation of the slags, both
     weathered and the archaeological slags, and yes, then, Dori
     will be continuing this study on archaeological slags for
     her Ph.D. dissertation at Johns Hopkins University, which,
     yes, she'll be doing on her own.
               And then, finally, we can determine long-term
     alteration mechanisms, and this is a very interesting area
     of research, I think, applicable not only to the slags but
     to any soils or other solids that contain uranium or thorium
     or elements of concern.  So, I think that's all I have to
     say.  I'd be glad to entertain questions.
               DR. WYMER:  Well, thank you very much for that
     presentation.  There's some nice research that you're
     carrying on or you and other people.
               MS. VEBLEN:  Thank you.
               DR. WYMER:  I have two observations.  I don't
     expect you to be able to respond to them necessarily, but I
     want to say them anyway.  One is while I think it is very
     unlikely that SYNROC will be used to fix the Hanford tank
     waste site, they won't vitrify it, and I think some of your
     results lead to results in some of these phases would be
     directly applicable to leaching of some of the vitrified
     waste from the Hanford tanks, because I recognize a number
     of the phases as being similar to those that are found in
     the vitrified waste.  So that's one thing.
               The second point is that this slag is in amount,
     while it may be in an absolute amount like the large, it's
     trivial compared, of course, to the flash from coal fire and
     steam plants which also have uranium and thorium in their
     decay products, and, of course, there is no mandate to do
     anything about --
               MS. VEBLEN:  Right.
               DR. WYMER:  -- those, and it's sort of like
     sticking a Band-Aid on when what you need is a tourniquet,
     so that was my second observation.
               Let me ask if there are any comments.
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  The last time you were here,
     and you were talking about future research, you did mention
     microbial action and a great deal of interest in knowing
     what the impact would be on degradation and stability.  Have
     you anything to report on that?
               MS. VEBLEN:  No, other than we see evidence of it,
     but we haven't identified what it might be.
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Do you expect -- has there been
     any analysis that would indicate what the expectations might
               MS. VEBLEN:  For the slags?
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Yes.
               MS. VEBLEN:  I just could go from literature, you
     know, what we might be seeing, but I really don't -- can't
     say.  I would love to get further into that, but we really
     are at the point where we have to get moving further on the
     TEM stuff, and that's where we could start analyzing that a
     little more.
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Okay.
               MS. VEBLEN:  It's taken a long time.  As I
     mentioned, the phases were fairly unusual, and we analyzed
     for a lot of elements, so the analysis, the microprobe
     analysis, has been very difficult.  I thought oh, when I
     first, you know, started working on this problem, I thought
     oh, they're like basalts; it'll be easy, you know.  We'll
     have some beans, this, that, no; they're really different,
     and it's been quite a learning experience for me, certainly.
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Yes; you had mentioned the last
     time trying to get some indication of whether microbial
     action would precipitate out some of the --
               MS. VEBLEN:  Yes, it might.
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  -- toxic substances.
               MS. VEBLEN:  There is a nice volume of the
     material research, not material research, the mineralogical
     society of America just did a short course on uranium
     minerals, and they had several papers in there on uranium
     and thorium microbes that tend to -- in some cases, they
     actually help to precipitate out the uranium, thorium, and
     other cases.  They mobilize it.  So it really depends on
     which bug is present.
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Thank you.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  You say you did see some evidence
     of --
               MS. VEBLEN:  Yes.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  -- microbially mediated -- these
     are what?  Weathering etches?
               MS. VEBLEN:  Well, what we're seeing are very
     small precipitates.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Precipitates?
               MS. VEBLEN:  On the surface; we had someone at
     Hopkins about a year ago that was a microbial geochemist,
     and she took a look at them and said yes, it looks like, you
     know, it could be microbial activity, but I haven't honestly
     done any more.  I'm sorry; I'm just --
               DR. HORNBERGER:  No, I was just curious.  Just
     curious.  So, you don't know what it is, then, going after? 
     I mean, typically, I mean, what little I've read of Jill
     Banfield's work and stuff --
               MS. VEBLEN:  Right.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  -- it appears that the microbes
     are going after something in particular phases that are of
     interest to them.
               MS. VEBLEN:  Right; they certainly like elements
     that have multivalence states, because they use that.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  They use that as an energy.
               MS. VEBLEN:  Exactly, so, you know, certainly,
     they could be going after the uranium.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Right.
               MS. VEBLEN:  And it's in the glass where we, you
     know, we find these precipitating on the glass.  The glass
     would be certainly much easier to extract the uranium from
     than, for instance, a calzertite, most likely.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  I assume that all of the leach
     tests that are done are done abiotically; is that right?
               MS. VEBLEN:  I would think so.  I would hope that
     they were autoclaved or something.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Right.
               MS. VEBLEN:  But I really don't know.
               Brett, do you know with the Setter which tests --
     I saw him in here.  Put him on the spot.
               John, do you know?
               Nobody knows.
               Do you know?
               DR. WYMER:  Milt?
               MR. LEVENSON:  One question out of ignorance base. 
     Are these slags principally from tantalum and tin mining and
     so forth, are they typical of what exists at the sites that
     have licenses, NRC licenses?
               MS. VEBLEN:  Well, I think of the 17 sites that
     have slags, a good half of them have niobium and tantium
     slags there.
               MR. LEVENSON:  But that's not the basis of the
     license, right?  The license was for something else at the
     same site.
               MS. VEBLEN:  Well, no, the license was because
     their ore material that they used for the smelting contained
     uranium and thorium, and it contained uranium and thorium in
     levels that exceeded what was allowed at the time.  So, 30
     years ago, they had to obtain a nuclear materials license.
               DR. WYMER:  Any other questions?  John?
               DR. RANDALL:  Yes; I know that you've got samples
     from some SDMP sites, and you weren't able to get some from
     other sites.
               MS. VEBLEN:  Right.
               DR. RANDALL:  How does that, not being able to get
     some of those other samples, limit your research results?
               MS. VEBLEN:  Well, I think it would be useful for
     NMSS if we had samples of most of the sites, but I know that
     there is one site in particular that we can't get a sample
     from, but they've described it, and it sounds very much like
     the sedimentary reprocessed slag that we found.  So, you
     know, my guess is that we could perhaps apply that, but
     without knowing a chemical composition, you really can't say
     a whole lot.  You have to have some information on this.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  It strikes me that you're going
     to have a tough time with your archaeological reconstruction
     of leach rates, primarily because of the problems that you
     already pointed out.  You know, if you don't know what you
     started with --
               MS. VEBLEN:  Yes.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  -- it's hard to say the path that
     you've gone on.
               Now, I suppose what -- I assume that what you're
     going to do is make some assumptions of what you started
     with by looking at more recent samples and then
     reconstructing that way.
               MS. VEBLEN:  Yes; there are two ways that we're
     thinking of going.  We actually have started trying to smelt
     some of these things ourselves in the lab, not with a lot of
     success, because I've had it up to about 1,550 degrees
     centigrade, and it's not melting it yet, so we -- you know,
     that's a little bit of an experimentation.  But we did
     collect ore from the sites in Cornwall, so we can go and
     smelt those and see what, you know, if you start with an
     original composition like this, what ends up in the slag.
               The other thing we can do is get an idea of the
     isotopic composition of the original ores that were being
     used and make an assumption of how much of that original
     uranium and thorium in the ore went into the slag, and that
     would be, you know, basically just based on partitioning,
     melt versus solid.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  It also strikes me that you'd
     have to make well, I think for example, Michael Velbel's
     work on weathering, sort of a whole history in terms of what
     leaches out when, and it's, as you know, a very complicated
     geochemical problem.
               MS. VEBLEN:  Yes, that is.
               DR. WYMER:  If that's all, thank you very much for
     an interesting presentation.
               MS. VEBLEN:  Thank you.
               DR. WYMER:  Our next presentation is on historical
     case analysis of uranium plume attenuation of uranium plumes
     from ore bodies and from contaminated sites, and considering
     the wide diversity in the geology and hydrology and in the
     types of sources of uranium, the results that you're going
     to hear are a little bit remarkable, I think.  This
     presentation will be given by Dr. Patrick Brady from Sandia.
               DR. WYMER:  For those of you I've forgotten, Dr.
     Patrick Brady will make this presentation, I think.
               DR. BRADY:  Yes.
               DR. BRADY:  I'm part of a large group that's
     working at Sandia on the prediction of metal sorption in
     soils.  This is a project that's been funded through the
     Nuclear Regulatory Commission for several years.  There's a
     whole host of people on it, some whose names are written;
     some people just recently, because I realized I left them
               The important names to remember here or the
     important name to remember is Carols Colon.  He's my postdoc
     who's done a lot of the difficult work here going through
     the data.  Now, the overall objective of our work is to
     follow a semi-classical approach to understanding how plumes
     move in the subsurface.
               DR. WYMER:  Why don't we put the mobile mike on
               DR. BRADY:  I'd rather stand.
               DR. BRADY:  We follow a semi-classical approach,
     where we presume that if we understand what happens between
     radionuclides and mineral surfaces, we might be able to
     predict sorption better in the field.  Now, sorption is
     critically important because for a lot of the radionuclides
     we care about, it's the primary sink.  So, in theory, if we
     can understand sorption, we can understand a lot of other
     things, like how big plumes get and what's the relative risk
     they might present.
               Now, in the process of looking at the mechanistic
     controls on sorption, we also gain clues as to what types of
     characterization are needed and what types of remediation
     are possible and what kind are not.  Now, tomorrow, I'm
     going to talk about the mechanistic work we've done with
     spectroscopy, with molecular modeling and with performance
     assessment code SEDSS to try to take a crack at what are the
     possible variations in the parameters that go in one end of
     a reaction transport calculation.
               What I'm going to do for about the next 30 minutes
     here is to focus instead on what nature tells us the answers
     have to be in the case of uranium, and the tool I'm going to
     use is a historical case analysis.  It's one we've found
     very useful for doing a couple of things:  one, identifying
     mechanisms that control transport in the subsurface, and
     two, I think you'll find that this looks to be a singularly
     compelling way to communicate risk posed by plumes to
     stakeholders without presuming a great deal of technical
               So, that being said, I've got to point out that
     the historical case analysis approach is not original. 
     We've taken it from Dave Rice at Lawrence Livermore.  This
     is a top-down approach that looks at plumes and worries
     about the mechanisms later, and what the Livermore group did
     -- some of you may be familiar with it -- they were funded
     by the State of California and a number of other agencies to
     look at the benzene plumes that emanated from leaking
     underground fuel tanks where no remediation had been done.
               Now, several underground plumes were examined, and
     the only question that was really asked was how big do the
     plumes get, followed by a secondary question, which was are
     these plumes stable or not?  Now, what they found was
     somewhat surprising.  They found that the plumes moved --
     and I should point out this was after the fuel tank was
     removed, and there was no fluid product left.  It was just a
     dissolved plume.  The dissolved plumes tended to move out to
     about 200 feet maximum.  They would become static, and then,
     they would collapse.
               Now, as scientists, we look at this and say that
     makes perfect sense, because fuel hydrocarbon components are
     quite biogradeable.  Indigenous microorganisms are very
     effective at breaking them down, ultimately, to CO2.  What
     was striking, though, was how much these plume lengths
     tended to cluster, despite the wide variation in hydrologic,
     geochemical and microbiological parameters that were
     inherent in the data set.
               Now, biodegradation was ultimately ascribed to the
     plume stasis.  I'm going to, in the case of uranium, I'm
     going to lump all four of these together under the umbrella
     of natural attenuation.  These are the processes which tend
     to decrease the bioavailable concentrations of a particular
     contaminant in the subsurface.  Biodegradation seems to do
     it for a lot of the fuel hydrocarbons.  When I refer to
     natural attenuation for uranium, though, I'm referring
     primarily to sorption, dilution and formation of mineral
     phases, which I forgot to leave in.
               All right; the other thing that was striking about
     the Livermore study was the impact that it had on
     regulators.  Almost immediately, the State of California
     ceased all active treatment at dissolve phase leaking
     underground fuel tanks.  That's a $2 billion market.  It
     just basically vanished in the space of about 6 months.  A
     majority of the states in the U.S. have followed suit.  The
     last time I counted, nine months ago, I think it was around
     37 states that had monitored natural attenuation as a de
     factor presumptive remedy for fuel hydrocarbon plumes.
               EPA has subsequently issued monitored natural
     attenuation guidelines for contaminants other than fuel
     hydrocarbons, well, fuel hydrocarbons, coordinated solvents,
     metals and radionuclides as well, and a lot of it all came
     from this historical case analysis approach.
               Keeping in mind the mechanistic differences
     between attenuation mechanisms, biodegradation versus
     sorption plus mineral growth, we proceeded on the hypothesis
     that we could apply the same approach to the inorganic
     contaminants, and this is a hypothetical graph of what we
     thought plumes would look like.  This was possibly a year
     ago.  We said, well, lead is a priority pollutant; lead has
     very high KDs and is a high solid sorption coefficients that
     typically goes very short distances in the environment.  We
     guessed that if you looked at all of the plumes that one
     could find good data for and plot up the number of sites
     that were a given length, lead would plot here.
               Things which sorbed less effectively, such as
     uranium, would spread out.  There would be sort of a
     chromatographic separation, and we'd see slow movers here;
     fast movers out there.  One of the upshots of this talk is
     going to be that this conceptual model needs some
     modification to make it actually explain the data, but this
     is what we thought we'd see, and this encapsulates the focus
     of our study:  uranium, strontium and cesium.  The uranium
     results, I have today.
               What we did was we tried to --
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Actually, for lead, I mean, that
     conceptual model obviously doesn't work as an example,
     because as long as you have water movement, you don't have
     stability in the sense of being frozen in time.
               DR. BRADY:  So you're saying that ultimately, this
     thing will just start moving along.  We don't see many
     examples of that, and you'll see for uranium here that we've
     got cases where there have been, well, I'm going to come
     back to this.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Unless you're talking about
     precipitating out stable phases, if you're talking -- I
     mean, you're talking as if this were just sorption.
               DR. BRADY:  Yes; let me just -- for lead, lead
     tends to form hydroxycarbonates, but as you say, that would
     keep on going.  Reversible sorption, you would still have an
     advancing plume.  Irreversible sorption is one of the
     largest factors that affects lead.  In other words, lead
     sticks to the surface; becomes overcoated and stays there. 
     In effect, it's an insoluble phase that no longer sees the
     groundwater that's therefore entered.
               Now, I'm not going to talk a whole lot later on
     unless people keep asking questions, but irreversible uptake
     actually applies to a lot of these things.  Uranium is one
     of the -- irreversible uptake effects these three more than
     uranium, but that does give the otherwise seemingly
     incorrect assumption of anchoring plumes.  That's what
     happens when you have irreversible sorption.
               All right; so, what we did was we looked for every
     single uranium plume that we could find data on.  The data
     we looked for was groundwater concentrations, and we
     typically found these at the UNTRA sites and at natural
     analogue sites, uranium ore bodies, the Oakland natural
     reactor and what have you.
               I'm going to hit this stuff towards the end, so
     I'll come back.
               Now, let me give you a little bit of chemical
     background on uranium.  This is important to look at here,
     because it's almost illegible on the handouts that I've
     given you because of the printer size.  The upshot here is
     that oxidized uranium, the most mobile forms of uranium,
     tend to sorb right around pH 5 to 8, 5 to 7.  Above that pH,
     uranium forms carbonate complexes, and it becomes anionic. 
     Since most of the mineral surfaces are anionic to begin
     with, there is an electrostatic repulsion.  Hence, there is
     manual retardation that occurs that way.
               Down here, below pH 5, preuraneal, which is
     positively charged; it sees positively charged mineral
     surfaces at the low pHs, and there's a repulsion as well. 
     In other words, the only place where uranium tends to drop
     out of oxidizing solutions is right around in here.  Under
     reducing conditions, uranium forms lots of insoluble phases.
               Okay; this came out of the most-recently published
     EPA guidelines for Kds for inorganic contaminates, from
     King, Krupka, et al. at PNL.  This shows the pH.  PH is
     where Kds are measured from 3 to 10.  There's a minimum and
     a maximum.  Essentially, these folks look at every measured
     Kd they could find for uranium, and what they see kind of
     follows out, drops out of the speciation diagram I showed in
     the previous slide.
               Basically, there is maximum sorption about pH 6
     and 7.  And it drops off at low pH and at high pH.  I'm
     going to come back to this, but I should emphasize:  uranium
     is one of the more mobile of the inorganic contaminants. 
     The anionic contaminates protechnitate and iodide are much
     more mobile, but of the cations, uranium tends to move a lot
     further and a lot further than things like lead, cadmium or
     cesium or strontium.
               I just want to briefly point out what the phases
     are that uranium shows up as in subsurface.  Urananite, the
     reduced form, the reduced form of uranium typically goes in
     urananite.  Pitchblende shows up in some of the ore phases. 
     Schoepite is a hydrated uraneal oxyhydroxide.  It's
     theorized that this might limit transport of some uranium at
     some of the ore bodies.  Let's see; other important ones
     here:  uranophane, uranium silicate and soddyite are
     probably two of the most important of the other solid
               All right; our objective at this point was, again,
     to see how big the plumes got, and there were a number of
     problems that we had to deal with that added uncertainties
     to what we measured.  First of all, there's little long-term
     monitoring.  We'd like to have had -- if we could have had a
     time series monitoring such that we could look at a plume as
     the source as it emanated from the source; dilution occurred
     at the edges; the thing spread out, became static and then
     stayed there, collapsed, this whole story would be a lot
     clearer.  There is not enough data to do that at any single
     site that we are aware of.
               At every single site, you end up with spotty
     monitoring oil locations.  The DOE well, it seems like
     there's almost a three-strike rule.  They analyze three
     times, and then, they either yank the well or lose the
     location.  So we never have the perfect site to say how the
     typical plume goes.  So when we tried to determine what the
     life cycle of a uranium plume is, we're limited.
               Another one of our big problems is rivers.  A lot
     of the data set comes from the UMTER sites.  Most of the
     UMTER sites are very close to rivers.  Sometimes, this
     truncates our plumes.  Our ultimate objective is to be able
     to give some idea as to how far dissolved uranium is going
     to move from a point source.  Well, if a river truncates
     your plumes, you really don't get a whole lot of useful
     information.  But it turns out that there are only a couple
     of sites where this is a problem, and our primary friend
     here was the fact that in the west, where most of the UMTER
     sites are, not all of the streams are gaining.  Some are
     losing; in other words, the plumes don't always, by default,
     go right into the rivers that are adjacent to them.  Quite
     often, they go parallel; sometimes they go away.
               So, some of our data, it's an annoyance rather
     than an obstacle.  This is something we knew going in.  The
     geologies, the hydrologic parameters, permeabilities,
     hydraulic gradients are all going to be vastly different for
     all of the sites.  We're using both the milltailing sites,
     DOE plumes as well as the natural analogue sites.  These
     things are geologically quite different.  Their ages vary by
     several orders of magnitude.
               Now, keeping that in mind, we wanted to see if
     there were some general features that described all of them. 
     And the way we measured them was we looked at the 10 to 20
     part per billion contour, and where we found a plume, we
     assumed this was the plume, and the source was somewhere in
     here.  The maximum axial difference was the plume length if
     the border is defined by the 10 to 20 part per billion
               We tried to err on the side of greater plume
     length.  Now, the last thing -- this assumption, we assumed
     that the plumes were at steady state.  This assumption is a
     tough one.  We only had one site where we had 15 years of
     sufficient monitoring data that indicated that the 10 to 20
     part per billion contour was not moving.  Now, so, when I go
     forward, keep in mind this has an asterisk on it, and if
     anyone can think of a better way that we can independently
     verify that this is true, I'd like to know it.
               Let me show you three or four of our sites.  This
     is typically how it was done.  This is a view of the city. 
     We take the UMTRA report, their contours.  That right there
     is the -- it's the 10 to the 20 part per billion contour. 
     The big point to get from this slide is that we're just
     taking the maximum value.
               I mentioned river truncation being a problem. 
     Riverton, Wyoming was one of those places that gives us an
     anomalously small plume.  Note, though, that there is a fair
     bit of spreading away from the river, so, you know, it's not
     a completely gaining stream.
               This is one of the better sites.  This is Slick
     Rock, Colorado.  It was a two-fer.  We had two plumes there. 
     Note that the plumes spread parallel to the river.
               All right; in each of these cases, we take that
     measurement and then consider them all as a group.  I
     forgot.  I've got to show at least one of the natural
     analogue sites.  This is from the Alligator Rivers project.
     We've -- there is -- this has been funded by NRC for several
     years, so there is a great deal of data.  There is basically
     an ore bodies being weathered; there is a plume that extends
     out this way.  The maximum axial plume length is on a -- I
     don't have it shown here, because it's better seen in plaid.
               All right; these are all of the data plotted up in
     the histogram fashion.  The red ones -- this is the number
     of sites.  The red ones are the natural analogues.  There
     are a couple of natural reactors here.  We have Pacos de
     Caldas, Cigar Lake, Condara.  At Pocas de Caldas, those are
     all down on this side.  Now, over here are all of the UMTRA
     sites, and these are the ones that are neither UMTRA sites
     or natural analogue sites.  These are typically DOE sites: 
     Weldon Springs, Lawrence Livermore; many others.  Fernald
     and Hanford are incorrectly put up here.  They should be
     down here.
               I put on a leach from Konigstein, Germany.  This
     is where sulfuric acid was used to leach out the uranium
     inside the aquifer, not on top of the milltailings.  Now,
     there are bound to be sites that there is good data for that
     we have missed.  When I spoke to the EPA this morning, they
     had a couple of sites that they didn't provide data for.  We
     expect to get some more data from Savannah River sometime in
     the near future.  We don't expect this picture to change. 
     There are a couple of important features about this.  First
     of all, we don't see that bell-shaped curve like Rice, et
     al. at Livermore saw for benzene and the fuel tanks.
               Now, part of that is due to the fact that there is
     some skewing, really small sites, well, the increment of
     measurement is almost half a kilometer here, so if you had a
     site that was -- things -- since the increment of
     measurement is about half a kilometer, then, if it was a
     plume that was 10 meters long, it would get buried in here. 
     The upshot is we can't see incredibly short plumes.
               Let's see; what else is there that's --
               DR. WYMER:  In each of these cases, the source
     stays put.
               DR. BRADY:  Yes.
               DR. WYMER:  And in the case of the petroleum
     tanks, you took the source away.
               DR. BRADY:  Yes; but the source has been taken out
     of most of the UMTRA sites, too.  So, they have shipped away
     the milltailings, and we've got fresh recharge going
     through, and it's --
               DR. WYMER:  Well, it's time-dependent.
               DR. BRADY:  Well, the -- I think part of it is the
     semantics of how one defines the source.  We would like to
     have plumes that came out of single spots and moved, but the
     plumes for the UMTRA sites, these are sometimes -- sorry,
     the sources, the milltailings piles are sometimes hundreds
     of meters across.  Now, there are a couple of points about
     that.  One, it means that these maximum plume lengths often
     include the imprint of a factory, and so, again, if we're
     searching to find how far is uranium going to move from a
     single point source release, it would be a lot less than
               All right; going back to, I think, the third or
     fourth slide, all of these sites differ greatly in their
     hydrologic parameters and the time and extent of source
     loading.  The natural reactors in Gabon were over a billion
     years old.  Most of the UMTRA sites, a couple or two or
     three decades.  The DOE sites were typically 10 to 15 years
     old.  The hydrologic conductivities, we haven't looked at
     the measurements.  My guess is they're all over the board. 
     The fluid chemistry where we can find data, we might be able
     to put together a clear picture.
               The point here is that although a lot of the input
     parameters that go into a classical transport model would
     vary by several orders of magnitude, it looks like the plume
     lengths seem to cluster.  Now, this is -- we think this is
     more than fortuitous.  I think it suggests that basically,
     the uranium chemistry is the more important control.  The --
     so, at this point, we're basically looking to find any more
     data we can to add to this.  But in the meantime, it
     suggests that plumes for uranium tend to go out to about two
     kilometers top and then stop.
               The small amounts of data we do have that look at
     the temporal movement of the plumes suggests that these
     things reach data states in about 5 to 10 years.  That comes
     from the UMTRA sites.  And this suggests that if we are to
     consider long-term transport of the uranium, I would argue
     for all of the other inorganics as well, we've got to change
     the way we model or rather change the way we think of the
     inorganic plumes.
               This is a classic, the classical approach.  A
     plume starts at the source.  Groundwater flow in that
     direction moves it off; dispersion spreads it in a couple of
     different directions.  From what we can see, for uranium, it
     looks more like an ore body case.  And sure, the data set
     included ore bodies, but if it had just included UMTRA
     sites, we would have gotten about the same results.
               So, we think that in fact, what these contaminant
     plumes are, they're more like ore bodies.  There's a
     concentrated source; there's a halo that seems to be stable
     over time.  Again, that's the weak point.  We'd like to know
     what happens over 10 to 100 to 1,000 years.  The gap between
     the UMTRA sites and the natural analogues makes this
     somewhat difficult to bridge.
               All right; lastly, what we're doing right now is
     trying to again expand the uranium plume database.  We
     honestly don't think we're going to find any 10-kilometer
     long uranium plumes, and we don't think that's an accident. 
     Although uranium moves faster and further than a lot of the
     other radionuclides, there are substantial chemical
     processes that cause its retardation, and I mean retardation
     in the biggest sense:  the formation of ore minerals,
     irreversible reversible sorption, what have you.
               We are about neck-deep into doing the same thing
     for the strontium and cesium plumes.  Now, the time factor
     becomes less of an obstacle here, because all of our plumes
     occurred in the last 40 to 50 years.  I was promised a view
     graph for this talk by Dr. Colon, but I never got it.  I can
     tell you what we've seen so far.  It's probably better that
     I tell you what we've looked at so far first.  We looked at
     strontium data from Chalk River and the Canadian program. 
     We looked at strontium coming out of various low-level waste
               There is a strontium plume at Brookhaven that
     we've got data for, and there's about 10 other ones.  The
     data is not nearly as good looking as it is for the uranium. 
     The cesium, we're getting a lot of those analyses from the
     Hanford tank farm leaks.  And I will quote the folks who do
     the monitoring at Hanford and who spotted the, I guess, it
     was the last spring or the spring before with I think it was
     the cesium that got so much press.
               We described what we were doing, and we asked
     them, well, how long do you think the plumes get?  They said
     the strontium, it probably goes 40 meters, the cesium maybe
     20.  That begs a couple of questions; I've pointed to here
     the exceptions.  There are exceptions to small plumes for
     cesium, and cesium is transported as a colloid quite
     frequently.  Strontium is not.  A lot of the attention has
     been paid to the colloids.  I think if we look at the great
     mass of the cesium data, once we get that done, in 3 months'
     time, we're going to see something like this, and then,
     we're going to see a bunch of outliers showing colloidal
               But otherwise, I think we're going to see a much
     more compressed plume trajectories for cesium and strontium,
     and that's going to be a direct outgrowth of the fact that
     both soared much more strongly than uranium; both are taken
     up irreversibly much more readily than uranium.
               All right; lastly, the references -- the two
     Livermore reports, the idea on which this was based, are
     listed there in your packet.  This is our Webpage.  Since
     some of the things are illegible on the stuff I handed out,
     that will all get posted on our Webpage as soon as I get
               In conclusion, if we can confirm that this is all,
     in fact, the way uranium plumes work, we think we'll have a
     useful tool for considering the potential transport and
     potential remediation of uranium.  We'd say uranium, the
     maximum movement, oh, it's on the order of about 2
     kilometers.  It's very easy to explain to somebody who lives
     4 kilometers away and is worried about the uranium plume
     about the level of risk they're exposed to.  It's also very
     easy to tell somebody he's inside of two kilometers, too,
     without a whole lot of extra modeling.
               The other aspect of this approach that we think
     will be useful is that we believe it drives these
     discussions towards the technical realm.  If this were the
     Hanford plume, and I lived here, I think the argument would
     be couched in terms of not DOE's polluting my water, but it
     would be more one of what makes my site different than all
     of the others?  In other words, if we can provide a broad
     picture of the natural life cycle of plumes, this might
     couch what is and is not a risk somewhat more simply for
               And that's all I have to say.
               DR. WYMER:  Thank you very much.  It's an
     encouraging presentation.
               DR. BRADY:  Yes.
               DR. WYMER:  I presume with respect to cesium,
     since it doesn't form colloids, you're talking about
     pseudocolloid transfer.
               DR. BRADY:  Yes; getting stuck on the sites, yes.
               DR. WYMER:  Yes.
               DR. BRADY:  Yes; I'm sorry, but when I mean that,
     yes, it's going on the silicate lattice with its --
               DR. WYMER:  Okay.
               DR. BRADY:  I suspect that's what happened at
               DR. WYMER:  That's reasonable.
               Are there any questions?  John?
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Well, I was just curious.  Has
     your work had any impact on the more recent performance
     assessment modeling, particularly with respect to waste
     package degradation rates, the corrosion model?
               DR. BRADY:  No, because we've -- this was -- our
     deadline was the end of February; correct me if I'm wrong,
     Ed, but this has all been done in the last 5 weeks, in
     getting the NUREG report done.  If the question you're
     asking is what does this mean for Yucca Mountain, we haven't
     had enough time to think about it.  I can sketch what one
     would do.  You'd go back and compare what were the absolute
     masses of uranium and planned for one, observed in the
     other, and make some assessment of whether the same process
     has prevailed for this suite is likely to occur at Yucca
     Mountain, but I haven't done that, because that wasn't part
     of our charge.
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Yes; well, I was just curious,
     because when we had our working session on engineered
     barriers, we got a considerable amount of information on the
     importance of secondary phases with respect to the
     solubility of uranium and some of the fission products, and
     it sounds like at least with respect to uranium and what it
     does in the reducing environment, even though the mountain
     is an oxidizing environment, the mechanisms at the
     mechanistic level, it's not clear that that couldn't be a
     substantially reducing environment, and some of the data
     that you have could be kind of interesting in terms of
     addressing some of the uncertainties of the effects of these
     secondary phases.
               DR. BRADY:  Yes; I should point out that most of
     the -- well, you're right.  Typically, uranium is -- it is
     more retarded and is rather less mobile in reducing
     conditions --
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Yes.
               DR. BRADY:  -- and more mobile in oxidizing
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Right.
               DR. BRADY:  And you're also right; if you look at
     our knowledge of the thermodynamics of the various uranium
     phases, it's just not where it needs to be.  Most if not all
     of those sites that I showed are in oxidizing environments. 
     So one could develop a story from there.  I think Cigar Lake
     is fairly reducing.
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Maybe an opportunity.
               DR. BRADY:  Yes.
               DR. WYMER:  George?
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Just, first of all, a comment.  I
     think that your cartoon where you compared plumes and ore
     bodies is a bit misleading.
               DR. BRADY:  Oh.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Because if you think about the
     way you defined the plumes, it was with a fixed
     concentration, and so, on your top schematic, it's
     impossible that that would continue to grow.  You don't --
     you wouldn't -- you'd be violating conservation of mass.  It
     might grow for a short while, but then, it has to shrink to
               DR. BRADY:  Right.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  Just because of dispersion. 
     That's number one.
               DR. BRADY:  Right.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  The second thing is that at these
     UMTRA sites, as you pointed out early on, you have dilution,
     and if you take dilution into account, then surely, your
     upper cartoon doesn't hold.
               DR. BRADY:  Yes; yes; I'll apologize right now for
     that being anatomically incorrect.
               DR. BRADY:  Yes; I could have put in all of the
     isopacks, but I don't know if I'm addressing your question
     there but --
               DR. HORNBERGER:  It wasn't a question; it was a
               DR. BRADY:  Okay; yes, you're right.  But the big
     point that I wanted to make out of this slide there is that
     these plumes tend to get out and stop fairly quickly.  When
     I think of a plume, I think of something that is -- its
     potential for movement is almost unlimited.
               Now, these things don't seem to be all that
     mobile, national the's the upshot here, and if you use a
     straight Kd model like the world uses right now, you will in
     fact predict that the remaining concentrations, albeit
     lowered, can leave off, and it will be a chromatographic
     front.  You don't see that.
               DR. WYMER:  Which makes your analogy with an ore
     body pretty sound.
               DR. BRADY:  Yes, again, keeping in mind that
     that's wrong there.
               DR. HORNBERGER:  And the other, well, partly
     comment, partly question, because of that, what you just
     said, it strikes me that you have to distinguish here
     between dilution on one hand and some form of however you
     want to characterize of what you called irreversible
     sorption, because you simply need processes that you either
     form an insoluble phase, or you sequester a soluble phase
     behind an armoring that prevents it from being dissolved. 
     And you have to distinguish, then, between those two
     mechanisms, because I still think that even if you took a Kd
     model with dilution, and you defined your plume by a fixed
     concentration that you would not predict it going off
     forever and ever.
               Your prediction would be that as long as you had
     the source there, it would be relatively stable, and when
     you took the source away, it would just all go away.
               DR. BRADY:  Yes; well, I guess presumably, you'd
     fix the concentration by, say, the presence of schoepite or
     uranophane or something like that, okay?  In response to the
     other part that it would go away, maybe we haven't waited
     long enough for the UMTRA sites to go away, because -- and I
     kind of alluded to it, you know.  We'd really like to know
     what's going to happen in 250 years.  All accounts right now
     say it's not going.
               Now, as for determining mechanisms, this came up
     with the VA this morning.  One could not use a graph like
     the one I showed to make site decisions.  One could use it
     to say this is what we typically expect.  And as a property
     owner, what I would say is prove it to me.  Prove to me that
     those mechanisms that you've seen there apply here, whether
     it's irreversible sorption measures or a leach test or XRD
     at a spot schoepite formation or what have you.  So I
     absolutely agree with you.
               DR. WYMER:  Anyone else?
               [No response.]
               DR. WYMER:  Well, thank you very much.  I think
     that's -- although there's a lot of science yet to be done,
     it's an encouraging sort of gross result.
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  We've got a question over here.
               MR. LESLIE:  Oh, Dr. Wymer, I wanted to actually
     address Dr. Garrick's comment.  DOE is looking at the Nopaul
     I site in terms of using it as a qualitative information for
     their license application.  They are planning to drill that
     site within the next 6 weeks looking for a plume from Pina
               DR. BRADY:  Very good.
               MR. LESLIE:  Brett Leslie from the NRC staff.
               DR. WYMER:  Actually, some of the stuff I've seen
     sort of looks like maybe there is some plume information
     already available out there.  I don't know whether he has
     that or not.
               DR. BRADY:  I can't remember if we had the Nopaul
     stuff.  If it's not on that graph, we don't have it, but I
     know that we looked.  Let's see; if I can find the graph --
               DR. CAMPBELL:  I'll provide you the information.
               DR. BRADY:  Okay; thanks.
               DR. WYMER:  Anybody else I missed?  Did you want
     to say anything?
               DR. CAMPBELL:  I think going back to Linda's
     presentation, the ability to characterize this stuff going
     from this macro scale, very large macro scale approach, down
     to the microscopic approach, where you can actually identify
     particular mineral phases which are taking up uranium or
     thorium or whatever you're interested in is potentially a
     very powerful tool for establishing a mechanism for the
     phenomena that Pat's data to this point seems to be
     indicating.  I would say that Pat's got to have more
     information about ore bodies and other stuff to kind of fill
     in the details about uranium and for example, how far do
     uranium deposits move with time?  Now, I don't have a handle
     on that, but they may actually move further than a couple of
     kilometers, or maybe all of the uranium is coming from a
     halo of within a few kilometers of the ore pocket.  That's a
     question you might address.
               DR. WYMER:  I want to support one other thing you
     said.  I certainly, too, believe that there is a great lack
     of good thermodynamic information; that you simply don't
     have data that we need to have in order to do the kind of
     analysis that we would like to do.
               DR. BRADY:  I agree.
               DR. WYMER:  Well, if that's all the questions,
     thank you very much.
               That's the end of this.
               CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  All right; the committee has a
     great deal of letter work and report work to do, so I think
     we're going to take advantage of that time, since there are
     no comments or questions, and we will move into a report
     writing phase, but before that, we'll declare a break.
               [Whereupon, at 2:44 p.m., the meeting was
     recessed, to reconvene at 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 29,


Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, October 02, 2017