119th Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste (ACNW) Meeting, June 15, 2000
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON NUCLEAR WASTE
119TH ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON NUCLEAR WASTE (ACNW)
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Two White Flint North
11545 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20852-2738
Thursday, June 15, 2000
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 8:31
B. JOHN GARRICK, Chairman, ACNW
GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Vice Chairman, ACNW
RAYMOND G. WYMER
C O N T E N T S
Regulatory Guides Review 326.
P R O C E E D I N G S
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Good morning. The meeting will
now come to order. This is the third day already of the
119th meeting of the Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste.
The entire meeting will be open to the public.
Today, we will meet with John Greeves, director of
the division of waste management, to discuss items of mutual
interest. We will also review and discuss two draft Reg.
Guides, DG 1067, Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Reactors,
and DG 1071, Standard Format and Content for Post Shutdown
Decommissioning Activities Report. And we will probably be
spending most of our time today continuing our preparation
of ACNW reports.
Richard Major is the designated federal official
for the initial portion of today's meeting.
This meeting is being conducted in accordance with
the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. We
have received no written statements or requests to make oral
statements from members of the public regarding today's
session, and should anyone wish to do so, please contact the
committee's staff. And, also, if you participate, please
use the microphone, identify yourself and speak clearly.
Okay. Well, John, I think we are anxious to get
an update. We know you have had a busy week. We have been
a little bit tied up ourselves, so, we are anxious to talk a
little bit about what is going on what we might do with it.
MR. GREEVES: Good. Okay. Is this working?
Good. All right.
Good morning. I am going to go through the usual
topics that we cover and I think serve both of us well. I
had a couple of administrative ones. One first, we have had
a little bit of a reorganization. I believe the committee
is somewhat familiar with this. We moved one of our
programs, the uranium recovery program, from the division of
waste management to the fuel cycle safety safeguards group.
And, in doing that, we had to make some adjustments in the
staffing level within the three branches within the
division. And, as a result of that, in fact, you should
have a copy in front of you of the impact of that.
As far as the decommissioning branch, the only
change there, of course, Larry Camper is the branch chief
and Robert Nelson is a section leader and both these
individuals have been down to brief you in the past. A new
section chief was selected for a vacant position, Scott
Moore will be coming on a delayed basis. It is going to
take about three months for him to make the transition.
Scott is from the industrial, medical and nuclear safety
division, and he is an experienced section leader. He has
got a lot of experience with materials licensing and we look
forward to adding that level of experience to the
The next branch is the environmental and
performance assessment branch, which Tom Essig is the chief,
and I believe Tom briefed you yesterday. Tom comes to us
from NRR, he has got a strong background in health physics.
He has been with us for a while, and I believe he may have
been down to brief you in a meeting or two. This branch now
has performance assessment and integration, and an
environmental and low level waste project section. And poor
Tom was limping along with two vacant sections, so, we are
pleased to have filled both of those with people you are
well familiar with, Sandra Wastler is the chief of the
performance assessment integration section. You have known
Sandy for a long time, and we are pleased to have her
promoted to a section chief position. And then Charlotte
Abrams, one of your own staff at one point in time, was
chosen as chief of the environmental low level projects.
So, you can look forward to interfacing with both of them.
And then the high level waste branch, the result
of the reorganization moved the performance assessment
activities over into another branch to do a bit of a load
leveling. Obviously, Bill Reamer is the branch chief there,
and King Stablein and Dave Brooks, you are well familiar
with. So, the branch is a little bit smaller and a little
bit more manageable in the process.
This is going to force, and which I see as a good
thing, some integration issues, but, as you know,
performance assessment actually serves all three of the
program areas, high level waste, decommissioning, low level
waste. So, we think this is a bit more efficient and Joe
and I are looking forward to the opportunity to focus on a
few less issues with uranium recovery, moving on.
So, unless you have some questions, I just wanted
to update you on where that was.
MR. LARKINS: This is a bit of matrix now.
MR. GREEVES: We have always operated as a matrix.
Bill Reamer had the advantage of having a lot of the
performance assessment horsepower in his branch and didn't
have the matrix to cross. Decommissioning had the matrix
over to that branch to get the work done for
decommissioning. So, somebody is always matrixing, it is
just a question of efficiency. How can you put these
elements together, but carrying -- we basically have five
programs, or had five programs in the decommissioning
division, including uranium recovery, and each one of them
has its set of minefields associated with it. It is very
difficult to keep your eye on all that.
I think it was a good decision to move uranium
recovery off to fuel cycle, it is a Part 40 licensing
activity. They do a lot of that already. I think it will
help us have more focus and attention on the topics that
remain within the division.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: John, just to give us a sense
of the size of the operations, what is the approximate FTE
or population of each of these branches?
MR. GREEVES: Joe knows the numbers better than I
MR. HOLONICH: Decommissioning has about 30 FTE
associated with it. Environmental performance assessment is
approximately 25 FTE, and high level waste has about 32 FTE
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Thank you.
MR. GREEVES: It is a little deceiving because you
add all that up, you don't get over a hundred, but we have
-- we actually over-hire some of these positions. So, how
many people do we have when you count the number of --
MR. HOLONICH: The division FTE count is at around
90, including six at the director's office, and the division
probably has somewhere about 100-102 in terms of staff on
MR. GREEVES: And then you add to that the center
staff. So, it is a rather large group of people for us to
manage and that is without the uranium recovery program at
this point in time. So, we are looking forward to a little
bit tighter focus in that process. Okay.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Thank you.
MR. GREEVES: The second topic is your recent
letter on your plan and priority issues. We have responded
-- the Commission has responded to it. I just want to
remark that when I read it, I was very pleased with it. It
showed a lot of thought. Again, I was quite pleased with
what I read there. It looks like we are pretty much in
alignment in terms of the goals that we have in our plans
and what you have, and I see that as a good mesh. You got
the letter back from the EDO's office and I just wanted to
comment that --
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, I think one of the things
we are learning is being more timely on getting input from
the division and the office, so that we have a good
information base to work from when we do the planning. I
think we had maybe greater success at doing that this time
around than ever.
MR. GREEVES: We, too, are going through much the
same process in putting these types of plans together, and
you get better at it over time. So, I will just give you
that feedback. So, like I say, I think your plans and ours
are in alignment in terms of relative priorities. Just one
thing, I am going to have to keep my eye on John Larkins
now. He might be getting encouragement to look for more
high level waste resources.
MR. LARKINS: Well, actually, I looked at --
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: We do have to keep our eye on
MR. GREEVES: I have got to put an eye on him.
MR. LEVENSON: We did go through the list in
there. We are going to respond to Carl's letter. But there
are some things on here which were a little lower tier on
our priorities, so, we may not be able to. We wanted to get
some feedback and, so, we thought we should put the effort
on some of the areas. I don't have my list in front of me,
but we are going through all of them.
MR. GREEVES: It may pay. You are here all the
time. We could sit down and go over with you. But, as you
know, there is a tension over the high level waste
resources, they are a fixed set. So, I mean we can sit down
and talk about it.
MR. LARKINS: Well, some of these were not
necessarily in the high level waste area, there were other
MR. GREEVES: I recognize that. The high level
waste one is the arena that, again, we are a bit concerned
about the resources, because there is a fixed set of
resources in that program area.
MR. LARKINS: Well, we assumed we just send you
MR. GREEVES: You can send all the bills you want.
It is paying them that is a problem.
MR. GREEVES: Okay. The next item that I want to
touch is decommissioning, and, you know, we cover it every
time because it is one of your priority areas and one of my
priority areas. We are pretty much at the end of a two-year
run. The Commission put in place the rule on license
termination and asked the staff to go out and develop the
guidance and gave us pretty much a two-year run to put that
together, and we are pretty close to the end of that.
We had the last of a series of workshops on June
7th and 8th, earlier this month, on what we call the
technical basis document. It is the guts of the dose
modeling activities. It is an appendix to the standard
review plan. That workshop focused on dose modeling
activities and, with that, the staff plans to have a
standard review plan pulled together in the July timeframe.
I would commend that workshop to you, -- it was
transcribed, as all our workshops are, -- as an excellent
reference material. I understand you are pulling together
an October working group to go over dose modeling issues. I
think this workshop that was just completed on the 7th and
the 8th is a very good reference material.
It was well attended. EPA was in attendance, DOE,
Nuclear Energy Institute, EPRI, many of the utilities were
there, because they are focused on their license termination
plan reviews. The fuel cycle community was there with many
members, focused on the problems that they have. A lot of
architect engineers. Corps of Engineers was a part of the
group. Had a healthy contingent from the Agreement States
and the Non-Agreement States, because they are going to be
picking up a lot of the licensing activities over time.
Also, Argonne National Lab, who is responsible for the
development of the RESRAD code and my staff and Research.
So, it was a very good discussion.
There are still some debates, and there will
continue to be, but I see that as healthy. So, I am not
familiar with, you know, how much you were aware of that,
but, to the extent you can, you might want to get that
transcript and take a look at it. It is probably -- it has
got -- I want to go back over it, it has got a number of
topics that are still being debated in some part, and I
think that is healthy. So, I urge you to take advantage of
MR. LARSON: It was the intention to be there, and
we were aware of the meeting and the topics, and had the
agenda, and had several of the papers that were presented by
the staff, but just for various reasons, people were unable
to attend it. You say the transcript is available?
MR. GREEVES: Yes.
MR. LARSON: It is going to be on LICET ADAMS --
MR. GREEVES: As with all our meetings.
MR. LARSON: Or is it going to -- is there another
source, Joe? That's it, it is on ADAMS?
MR. HOLONICH: I don't know.
MR. LARSON: Okay. Nick would know, right?
MR. GREEVES: Yes.
MR. LARSON: Okay.
MR. GREEVES: And Boby Eid is in the audience. Do
you know the answer, Boby?
MR. EID: I have a hard copy of the transcripts
already. I will be glad to provide you a hard copy of that
on loan basis.
MR. LARSON: That will be terrific, and if you can
give us two copies anyway, and Ray and I will study them.
MR. GREEVES: And that will be one FTE per copy,
MR. GREEVES: A tough crowd.
SPEAKER: We can make our own.
MR. GREEVES: You have to get them first. Okay.
Just a little topic associated with that, we did
have the document up on the web by May 15th, so that people
had a chance to look at it and come to the meeting, you
know, armed with their questions.
MR. LARSON: Nick sent that to us.
MR. GREEVES: Okay. So, we asked for comments to
be received by the 18th, because, as I said, our target is
we want this thing pretty much wrapped up in a package in
July, so, we received a number of comments at the meeting
and, you know, we may be getting a few more.
I talked about the large number of participants.
I am really pleased to see that, because these are the
people that are doing the work, and they come and they
contribute, and we learn a lot in these meetings.
The meeting also included a demonstration of
advances we have made with both RESRAD and DandD in the
meeting. It gave people a chance to see that process. And
it ended up in a roundtable discussion, so, as you look at
the transcript, I was able to sit in on the roundtable
discussion and people kind of let their hair down and said,
you know, this is the issues that I have, and a number of
constructive comments about you are going in the right
direction. So, it gives me a sense of feedback. Is this
something that is value to the community? And the answer is
yes, as you will see in the transcript.
Just a little advertising in terms of what we can
expect in terms of the code development. We have worked on
a probabilistic DandD Version 2 that should be available in
August. The same timeframe for the probabilistic update of
RESRAD that Argonne is working on through Research for us.
And, also, the probabilistic RESRAD-BUILD Version 3.0. All
of those should be available in August.
Following that, by October, the RESRAD and the
RESRAD-BUILD user's manual and documentation should be
available. And in December, the probabilistic DandD Version
2, site-specific dose analysis and associated documentation.
So, that is kind of the schedule we are on to have these
tools and their documentation available.
If there are no questions about that? I think the
workshop we just had, the one you had, or will have in
October will be a nice lead into a November 7 and 8 workshop
that we are planning to bring back the community that is
actually working various plans in terms of the license
termination rule. We have got a couple of volunteers,
Rocket Dyne in California and Nuclear Fuel Services down in
Tennessee will come in and kind of give us a rundown and we
are going to look for other volunteers, too, to show exactly
how are these tools being used. So, I just put on your
calendar in terms of your staff participating in the
November 7 and 8 workshop.
Following the development of the standard review
plan, we have had a number of requests to update the NMSS
handbook for decommissioning. This is a handbook that
describes to a project manager how to get his job done. How
do I develop an EA? How do I put notices up about meetings?
And how do I work with very simple cases and the very
complex cases, which are what the standard review plan is
The Agreement States are quite interested in this
document. Actually, the version we have now predates the
license termination rule, so, even some of the terminology
needs to be updated. So, we intend to turn to that, and we
are going to try and engage the states to see if they can
help us. We have a good relationship with the Conference of
Radiation Control Program Directors Decommissioning
Subcommittee, and we are working with them on topics such as
this, so, you can look forward to our development of the
We believe that, as we have developed the standard
review plan over the two years, it has been very useful to
come to the committee and do briefings. We learn things, we
develop a better technique as we make these presentations to
you. Also, you have provided a series of comments to us on
the standard review plan, and we think that the briefings
and the comments have helped us perfect this document. Like
a lot of review plans, we will be revisiting it over time.
But we feel comfortable and we have enjoyed some of the
comments we have gotten back from it.
In April, the staff also finalized NUREG-1700, it
is the standard review plan for evaluating nuclear power
plant license termination plans. We liberally referenced
the standard review plan for decommissioning in that
document. We didn't want to duplicate that text, so, there
is a lot of reference to the standard review plan that we
are completing this summer.
I am just going to keep moving. If you have got
comments or questions, let me know.
As far as decommissioning, let me focus a little
bit on reactor decommissioning. I think, as you are aware,
we have had three reactor license termination plans
submitted, the first of which was Trojan, the second was
Saxton and, mostly recently, Maine Yankee. Each of these
activities included a public meeting and, for context, they
varied in terms of extent of public involvement. I went to
the Trojan meeting and there were like one or two people
that attended that meeting. It was mostly the licensee, the
NRC staff and, you know, we had some discussion, but it was
on that level of interest. I mean we had, you know, EPA,
other federal stakeholders participating.
And then you compare that with the Maine Yankee
public meeting. I was unable to attend that, but it was
well attended, a lot of stakeholders and I think it went to
like midnight. So, there was a lot of interest in that
case. It gives you a flavor of the spectrum of activities
associated with this.
We also expect the Connecticut Yankee application
in here soon, so, we will be busy working on these four
With regard to Maine Yankee, you are probably
aware that the State of Maine recently passed legislation
that does impact criteria associated with that site. The
utility, Maine Yankee has committed to update their license
termination plan with a revision and we are in the process
of sorting that out and understanding what that would be.
So, I just make you aware of that.
We have also been supporting nuclear reactor
regulation in their revision of the Generic Environmental
Impact Statement for reactor decommissioning. This is a
document that was put out, I believe, back in the '88
timeframe, and it needs to be updated. There is a series of
public meetings that have been held around the country,
Chicago, up in Boston the day after the Maine Yankee
meeting, I believe Atlanta and San Francisco. And these
also have been well attended, and we will look forward to
the results of that.
MR. GREEVES: The next point is the SECY
Commission Management Program. Recently we submitted a
Commission paper, SECY 0094, and we've also commend that
that paper to you, and the original comprehensive report on
the status of our decommissioning program. That's pretty
much got everything that we've been working on for the past
couple of years, and I would urge you to look at that in
terms of a reference.
The Staff does plan to remove three sites from the
SD&P program this year. We've already gotten one. That's a
lot, but that's pretty much what I was going to say on
MR. LARKINS: There was a petition that came in,
or letter that came in from NEI a couple of months ago that
asked the Agency to take a look at integrating all of its
rulemaking activities in the area of decommissioning,
together, and to come up with an integrated rule, I guess,
over the next two years.
NMSS was involved with this on the reactor side?
MR. GREEVES: That pretty much is a reactor issue.
It's the fire issue, it's the safeguards, emergency
planning. I am aware of it. I've sat through a briefing or
two on it.
I think that's something that probably somebody
like Stew Richards or John Zwolinski would be best to fill
you in on. In fact, I think Phil Ray is with you after
this, and you might ask him.
I'm not sure he's the right person, but we worked
very closely with NRR, mostly on the license termination
plan review. As far as operational issues, they're pretty
much NRR's issues.
MR. LARKINS: Okay. One other thing you may not
be aware of: We are in the process of -- well, we've better
defined the separation of responsibilities between the ACRS
and the ACNW in the area of decommissioning and putting
together a package that will probably go the Commission.
I might want to ask you to take a look at it and
make sure we have everything correct.
MR. GREEVES: We'd enjoy doing that. Joe, let's
make sure we follow up with John on that.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Just to follow up on that a
little bit, John, are you suggesting that maybe the
consolidation of decommissioning activities into a
decommissioning regulation or rule is applicable for
reactors, but not necessarily applicable for non-reactor
MR. GREEVES: I'd almost like to think about that
and talk to you another time. Just off the top of my head,
I think the consolidation is a Part 50 issue.
You would look into Part 50 and in various places
you will see the decommissioning topic discussed, and I
think the hitch was, is there a way to either separate that
into a separate part, or put it within all one spot within
So that's my understanding of what that was
supposed to be. But I'm not quite sure that was -- I think
you were on to a different question.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. GREEVES: You know, decommissioning affects
all parts, and that's why you will see decommissioning
language in Part 40, 30, 70, in fact, the timeliness
requirement, which is -- a decommissioning artifact, is in
all those parts.
We want to make sure that all the licensees know
that if they have an outdoor area that is contaminated, you
just can't leave it that way. Even if they're going to
operate for another 15 or 20 years, they need to get on that
and clean it up within about a two-year timeframe.
So, what I'd like to do is think about it and
maybe talk to you separately, if you've got some ideas on
that, but there is no notion on our part to try and
consolidate and come up with a new Part for decommissioning
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay.
MR. GREEVES: But maybe we could talk a little bit
about it. I'm just not ready to do much more on it today.
Is that fair?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. LARSON: One other question, John. You know,
when you started, you indicated that you were aware that the
Committee had talked about having a working group on
decommissioning-related things in October.
And now you've been through a litany of various
things that are in progress. Does that seem like a
meaningful to time to do that, or would it be better a month
or two later?
I know it's always evolving, so --
MR. GREEVES: I learned about it yesterday, and my
staff briefs me on what's going on. When I looked at it, I
said, that sounds great to me.
MR. LARSON: Okay.
MR. GREEVES: As I said, I think you have a nice
resource document in the June 7 and 8 meeting that we had.
Collectively, we have a nice resource.
And we are planning a meeting in November with our
licensees to, you know -- where are you? How are you
working these issues?
So, I would benefit from the results of an October
venue by the Committee, and I think our stakeholders would,
too. So, it struck me as a good timeframe.
The only thing I'll add -- and it really doesn't
mean a lot -- is that there is already a lot of stuff in
October. It's a popular month.
Tom LaGuardia is having his usual thing. There is
an IAEA activity, and there are like three things that I'm
signed up for in October already. I don't have anything in
September, but October, I've got three things on my calendar
Have you picked a date? Maybe we could avoid some
of these dates that -- basically they're going to attract
your stakeholders away from your meeting, so I'll let you
know of a couple of competing events in October. We can
talk about dates.
No, the timing is good for me. As soon as I saw
it, I said, that's good. I think it will help our November
Now, we'll move on to low- level waste. Staff was
down to brief you, Tom Essig and Jim Kennedy, Mr. Low-Level
Waste, was the last resource we have on low-level waste
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: How does that make you feel,
MR. GREEVES: Tom's a Branch Chief. He's got more
than low-level waste issues, but he's finding ways to steal
some additional resources to apply to the low level waste
As you know, we owe the Commission our performance
assessment document, and you were briefed on that, so we
would plan on forwarding that, and if you see some hard
spots in that, we need to know what they are, and talk about
that soon because that document is scheduled to be completed
I'm sure that Tom and Jim told you, you know,
about the status of what's going on in the states, which I
think you're very well aware of. We help where we can and
when asked, but, frankly, we don't get asked very often by
the states anymore.
In years past, two or three special things were
going on and they asked for the staff support on it, and
we're not getting a lot of requests recently. They're in
and out, but not significant requests that require a lot of
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: But, John, isn't this because
there's not much going on?
MR. GREEVES: Well, there's things going on, but
certainly the track record is that there are no new compact
disposal facilities. The big thing that's going on, I
guess, is the EnviroCare issue.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. GREEVES: Will there be a license out there
that passed one hurdle? And I think we talked about that
the last time.
And the next one is can they take B and C waste
and, you know, the country is watching that process. And if
the State of Utah wants our help on it, they'll ask, but so
far it's been discussion but no substantive request for us
I think we all recognize that the low level waste
program isn't so much about Part 61 anymore; there are a lot
of cross-cutting issues that I'm sure Tom and Jim mentioned
to you, the concept of rubbelization is being looked at in
Entombment is a topic, and there is a fair amount
of interest in this, and I think we, collectively, are going
to have to do something on this topic. I invite you to keep
that on your radar screen.
There is a stream of questions coming in about
what we call low-end source material, TENORM, topics like
that. The assured isolation proposal keeps cropping up, so
that may get onto our plate later in the year.
I don't have anything definite on that. So, we
would look forward to your views on topics such as this.
The mixed waste topic from time to time comes up, and
particularly I expect that entombment will be a topic that
either we're going to recommend we come back and talk to you
about, or you'll pick it up yourself, depending on how that
I just will say a postscript. The National
Research Council asked us to participate in their study on
low-level rad waste, the disposal challenge and
opportunities ahead, and we are going to -- we have
responded positively to that, and the Committee, I'm sure,
is aware of that, so that's something we can keep our eye
I think it's a nice leverage over our resources,
too, for the Board on Radioactive Waste Management to delve
into that, and I'm sure we'll be down briefing them from our
MR. LARKINS: Quick question: I see your staff is
doing some things with EPA on the mixed waste issue. Do you
see a role or do you see any value in having the Committee
involved in those?
MR. GREEVES: There are two pieces, and one's just
about done. That's the piece at the utilities, and
everybody's -- that's a win/win for everybody, and I think
you're aware of that one.
The other piece is a RCRA facility, and it fell on
a little bit of hard ground here recently, but it is the one
that you should -- in fact, I'll be back when it warms back
up, and discuss it with you, because it is a concept that
basically is going to be a modeling approach and something
that I think we could benefit from the Committee's view on
Unfortunately, I think it's on hold right now.
The EPA has resource issues associated with that. They're
working all their other topics, so as that comes back on the
burner, I think it is something that I will be giving you a
heads-up on in terms of a timeframe of my expectations, and
we probably want to engage you on it. It is an important
topic and we would look forward to making some progress on
MR. LARSON: You mentioned a couple of other
topics that Tom and Jim Kennedy mentioned yesterday, and one
was assured isolation. Do you have any sense as to when
that would come up and be ripe for the Committee too look
MR. GREEVES: I think that what that's going to
take is a state coming in and saying we're serious, would
you look at this and help us? So far, we have contractors,
we have people coming in the door, and I think it's going to
take a state with a we're serious, we're looking at it,
would you please -- and the Commission, I believe, in
letters in the past said that if somebody is serious about
this, please come in and talk to us and show us the
I know that it's being considered in states like
Texas. It's being discussed in California, but there's no
piece of paper coming in from either of those states, asking
either the Staff or the Commission to look at it.
MR. LARSON: You're right, the contractors have
written things, but we haven't got any --
MR. GREEVES: Lots of visitors on that topic, but
I think it takes a real stakeholder walking in the door,
saying I've got one, and I want your assistance or you view
When that happens, we'll all know and we'll do the
MR. LARSON: And another topic they mentioned
yesterday was the entombment thing, as you said.
MR. GREEVES: Yes. I fully expect that to be an
MR. LARSON: Do you have an idea on timing?
MR. GREEVES: Could be late this summer. I can
maybe visit with you separately.
MR. LARSON: Okay.
MR. GREEVES: I don't want to speculate in this
meeting. I can actually do better with you separately, and
I need to talk to Research about that, too. But it should
be a planning wedge in terms of a topic.
Okay, I have pretty much finished my low-level
waste issues. I think the Committee is aware that I need to
be upstairs at 9:15. What I'd like to do at this point is
to ask Bill Reamer to run through the high-level waste
issues, and I'll apologize if I get up and leave during the
middle of it, if that would be acceptable.
MR. REAMER: Okay, I'm Bill Reamer, NRC Staff. I
think there are about a half a dozen items I can touch on
for you in the high-level waste area.
As to Part 63 and defense-in-depth, there's not
really any change to report to you on that. The Staff's
paper was given to the Commission on April 12th. Of course,
the Commission also has the Committee's letter.
And we're really basically awaiting Commission
action on that paper. In addition, publicly, EPA has said
that they hope to issue their final Yucca Mountain standards
sometime this summer. That's really the best information I
have on the standard, the EPA standard.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Later this summer?
MR. REAMER: Later this summer.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: They don't talk about weeks or
even months. They now talk about seasons.
MR. LARKINS: Yes, but it's this year.
MR. REAMER: Right. Yucca Mountain Review Plan,
the Rev O post-closure only version was given to the
Commission at the same time as the Part 63 paper in April.
We, the Staff, are now devoting our efforts to Rev 1, which
would be a complete review plan, that is, pre-closure,
post-closure, administrative, and general information items.
Of course, there is Commission direction to the
Staff to work with the Committee on Rev 1 in terms of
assuring that the review plan is risk-informed and
performance-based. And so we will be interacting with you
on that quite a lot. That's good for us.
MR. LARKINS: Bill, that's on a pretty tight
MR. REAMER: Yes, it is.
MR. LARKINS: You're talking about September, as I
recall. So once we get into it, we'll have to sort of see
if we're going to be able to keep pace.
MR. REAMER: Yes. Rev 1, remember, is a version
to publish for public comment; it's not like the last, the
final, the end-all/be-all, so we're on a tight time schedule
for this phase. But I think there's also a time after this
phase to continue to interact with you and the other
stakeholders who are interested in that document.
I'd move on to the Department of Energy site
recommendation and the NRC requirement to provide comments
on the sufficiency of certain information for inclusion in a
possible license application.
The Staff is close to completing its preliminary
strategy document. We're building on the briefing and the
structure that we presented in March to the Committee.
We're putting it into words.
Our plan is to have a preliminary strategy
document complete and to the Commission by the end of this
month. We also have a milestone of completing our final
guidance, which would be a further elaboration of the
strategy, how we would plan to review and prepare, review
the technical basis documents, the technical documents that
support the Department of Energy's site recommendation
documents that we're all getting right now.
Our review guidance, our plan is to complete that
by the end of September, and provide it to the Commission at
I think we have a meeting with you in October, if
I remember correctly, on that guidance -- September, okay,
The Department of Energy's siting guidelines were
provided in draft final form to the Commission in May, May
4. The Staff's milestone is to complete its review of the
draft final guidelines and provide the Commission with the
Staff's recommendation by the end of June. We will meet
There are two requests to the Commission, one from
Robert Lux of the State of Nevada, Agency for Nuclear
Projects; another from Mr. Bradshaw on Nye County,
requesting that the Commission have a concurrence process
analogous to the concurrence process that was used in 1984
for the original siting guidelines. That involved public
comment, as well as, I think, a couple of public meetings.
I believe the Commission is planning to respond to
those letters in the near future. I don't have any
information on what the response will be.
The key technical issue, closure, closing key
technical issues as a goal before any license application.
We had the technical exchange that you received the report
on in April 25 and 26. We're scheduled to brief you in July
on that topic. I'd be very interested in any guidance that
you would like to give us as to what you'd like to hear in
And so we would be very interested in that. Also,
we recently completed a technical exchange with the
Department of Energy on a particular KTI, the total system
performance assessment. That was earlier this month.
The next item would be pre-closure. We're very
interested in working on our capability in this area, which
is not quite up to where we are in post-closure.
Of course, the Department of Energy's focus right
now is on site recommendation, and we need to be consistent
with their emphasis, so we are providing more resources
internally to work on our capability in this area.
We did have a meeting with the Department of
Energy on May 31 on their pre-closure design, and, of
course, you had your briefing on that earlier in this
And that pretty much covers the status of things
in the high-level waste area. Any questions?
MR. LARKINS: Bill, I think that at some point,
the Committee would be interested in taking a look at the
performance confirmation work that the Department is doing.
Do you right now have any plans to do anything, or
comment on what the Department is doing in the near-term?
MR. REAMER: Not immediate plans. We're -- I
think at various times, we've had tentative plans to meet on
that topic. But it's not one of our priority items.
On the other hand, we understand the Committee's
interest, so we'd do what we could to support that. Your
December meeting, is that right, is where you're --
MR. LARKINS: Well, actually we were thinking
about having the Department in in July.
MR. REAMER: In July, okay. Were you also looking
for something from us in December? Do I have that right?
MR. LARKINS: Not that I recall.
MR. REAMER: Okay. Well, maybe the July meeting
can give a little more orientation to the Committee's
interests, and we can adapt to that.
MR. LARKINS: The other thing is that we're trying
to sort through this mass of documents that are starting to
come in, the PMRs, the AMRs, and everything else, and
establish some priorities for reviewing and actually
developing a framework for or strategy for reviewing some of
At some point we'd probably like to get some
feedback on your agreement or disagreement on some of the
MR. REAMER: I think that would be a good idea.
That's clearly part of our working on the site
recommendation and the sufficiency comment process. We'd be
happy to engage in that. That would be good for us.
MR. LARKINS: Especially since we're all limited
MR. REAMER: Absolutely.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Bill, is there anything coming
out of the DOE siting guidelines that would constitute
bigger issues than anticipated, or surprises or what have
MR. REAMER: Basically at this point, I'd say, no,
not to my knowledge. We're at the beginning of the process,
however. There are requests pending before the Commission
that relate to important procedural issues to stakeholders.
You know, a number of comments were received by
the Department of Energy on the guidelines, but with respect
to your specific question, do I see issues, no, subject to
what I said about the procedural questions.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Are there questions from the
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay, I think we appreciate the
update. If there are no further questions, we will move to
the next item, if they're here. You're going to -- the next
item on our agenda, if the people are here, is to review
Draft Regulatory Guides DG1067 and DG1071, et cetera.
I guess Philip Ray was going to do that
presentation. Is he here?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay, all right.
MR. LEVENSON: If we've got a couple of minutes,
I'd like to propose --
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Microphone.
MR. LEVENSON: -- next year's meeting --
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Oh, that's a good idea. It has
been suggested, because some of the Committee members have
to do two-year planning with respect to some of their
activities, that we look at least into half of next year as
far as ACNW's schedule is concerned. Is that a possibility?
Can we do that?
You've got to give me two minutes to get my
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Ray Wymer, I'd like you to lead
the discussion on the Draft Regulatory Guides.
DR. WYMER: Well, we are very interested, at least
I am, in particular, in this topic, and especially the
decommissioning of nuclear power reactors, since that's one
of my assigned areas of responsibility.
So I will be very interested to hear what you have
to say. So without any further ado, let's commence.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: We would encourage you to
introduce yourselves, et cetera, so that it gets on the
MR. RAY: All right. Good morning. My name is
Philip Ray. I'm a Project Manager with the Decommissioning
Section in the Division of Licensing, Project Management in
NRR. To my right is the Decommissioning Section Chief, Dr.
For my presentation this morning, I'd like to
discuss the decommissioning process as described in the
final Regulatory Guide entitled Decommissioning of Nuclear
Power Reactors, and then after questions, I'd like to
discuss the post-shutdown decommissioning activity report as
described in the final Regulatory Guide entitled Standard
Format and Content for Post-Shutdown Decommissioning
On July 29th, 1996, a final rule amending the
regulations on decommissioning procedures was published in
the Federal Register. This rule clarifies the regulations
for decommissioning nuclear power facilities.
The final rule reflects the experience and
knowledge gained during the actual facility decommissioning,
industry and government-sponsored workshops, and conferences
The rule clarifies ambiguities in the previous
regulations; reduces unnecessary requirements; provides
additional flexibility; and codifies procedures and
terminologies that have been used on a case-by-case basis.
I would now like to quickly go through the
decommissioning process, and describe the steps: The
beginning of the process is when the licensee determines to
permanently cease power operation.
In accordance with the regulations, a licensee who
has determined to permanently cease operations is required
to submit written certification to the NRC within 30 days of
the decision or requirement to permanently cease operations.
Once the fuel has been permanently removed from
the reactor vessel to a spent fuel pool, in conformance with
the facility's technical specification, and a certification
of this event has been received and docketed by the NRC, the
Part 50 license will no longer authorize operation of the
reactor or allow the movement of fuel within the reactor
This certification entitles the licensee to a feed
reduction, and eliminates the obligation to adhere to
certain regulatory requirements needed only during reactor
Examples include monitoring the vessel for
pressure and temperature shock, and containment leak rate
testing. The power reactor license -- for power reactor
licensees, the regulation states that decommissioning must
be completed within 60 years of permanent cessation of
In accordance with the regulations, prior to or
within two years following permanent cessation of
operations, the licensee is required to submit a
post-shutdown decommissioning activities report known as the
PSDAR. The PSDAR will include a description of a licensee's
planned decommissioning activities, with a schedule for the
accomplishment of significant milestones and an assessment
of the expected costs.
Although these activities in support of
decommissioning may occur within the two years prior to
submission of the PSDAR, no major decommissioning
activities, per the regulations, may be performed within 90
days after the NRC receives the PSDAR.
The purpose of the 90-day period is to allow
sufficient time for the NRC Staff to examine the PSDAR, to
publish notification of receipt of the PSDAR in the Federal
Register, to hold a public meeting in the vicinity of the
facility to discuss the licensee's plan for decommissioning,
and to conduct any necessary safety inspections prior to the
initiation of major decommissioning activities.
I will discuss the PSDAR in more detail when
addressing the second Regulatory Guide. Major
decommissioning activities, as defined by the regulations,
any activity that results in permanent removal of major
radioactive components, permanently modifies the structure
of the containment, or results in dismantling components for
shipment containing greater than Class C waste.
The regulation states that the licensee shall not
perform any decommissioning activities that 1) forecloses
release of the site for possible unrestricted use; 2)
results in any significant environmental impact not
previously reviewed; or, 3) results in there no longer being
reasonable assurance that adequate funds will be available
This point in the decommissioning process is where
the guidance of this Regulatory Guide ends. I will spend a
few minutes going through the remainder of the
No later than two years into decommissioning, the
regulation requires the licensee to submit a detailed
site-specific cost estimate. There are a number of cost
estimates required by the regulations related to plant
There is a requirement under 50.75(f)(2) for the
licensee to submit a preliminary cost estimate, five years
prior to permanent shutdown. In addition, there is a
requirement for the licensee to submit an estimate under
50.82(a)(4)(i() of expected costs that is contained in the
Also, there is a requirement under
50.82(a)(8)(iii) for the licensee to submit a site-specific
cost estimate. And finally, there is the requirement in
50.82(a)(ii)(f) for the licensee to submit an updated
site-specific estimate for the remaining decommissioning
activities to be submitted in the license termination plan.
Draft guidance for these various estimates have
been prepared and is in the concurrence chain. You should
have the opportunity to review these draft guides in the
next several months.
The licensee is also required under 10 CFR
50.54(b)(b), to submit a program describing how the licensee
intends to manage and provide funding for the management of
all irradiated fuel at the reactor site following permanent
cessation of operation until title and possession of the
fuel is transferred to the Secretary of Energy.
The licensee must submit this program for staff
review and approval, two years following permanent cessation
Licensees must apply for a termination of their
license. An application for termination of the Part 50
license must include a license termination plan known as an
LTP. The LTP must be a supplement to the final safety
analysis report or equivalent, and must be submitted at
least two years prior to the expected termination of the
license as scheduled in the PSDAR.
This LTP will be reviewed and approved as an
amendment to the license. The NMSS staff has published both
a final Standard Review Plan and a standard format and
content guide for the LTP.
This concludes the presentation on this
Regulatory Guide, and I'll now take any questions.
DR. WYMER: Did you say that there was a 60-year
MR. RAY: Yes, that is correct; you have 60 years
from the time you shut down permanently to decommission the
DR. WYMER: That seems like an incredibly long
MR. RAY: It does seem that way.
MR. MASNIK: There are, of course, some reasons
for that. One of the options that the licensee has is to
put the plant in long-term storage. What that gains, of
course, is, you take advantage or radioactive decay.
If you compare that to the rest of the world, in
Europe, they typically are talking about a 100-year period
of time. They seem to have a little bit more confidence
about things being around for longer periods of time than we
So, 60 years is a somewhat arbitrary number, but
interestingly enough, it has not been questioned, either by
the industry or the public over the years.
DR. WYMER: That is interesting, yes.
MR. LEVENSON: The 60 years is to complete it all.
Are there any requirements for what needs to be done in an
interim period? Once they've completely de-fueled it, can
they just close the door and let it sit there for 60 years,
or are there some interim levels of cleanup or what have
you, that have to be done?
MR. MASNIK: There are requirements. They would
maintain a license. There are requirements for monitoring,
maintaining a safe, stable condition at the facility.
Once you get past the two-year mark, and they
comply with the PSDAR and the cost estimates, the licensees
can then place this plant in a safe, stable condition, and
essentially do almost nothing for 60 years.
Now, there's always routine maintenance, there's
infiltration of water, there is processing. We have several
facilities in that condition. LaCrosse is one of them,
TMI-2 is another.
DR. WYMER: The requirements for the spent fuel
that you've taken out of the reactor --
MR. MASNIK: The interesting thing is that when
these regulations were being developed in the 80s, there was
no consideration of spent fuel because spent fuel was not
going to be a problem. And that was because it was all
going to be taken from the facility.
So as a result, these regulations don't reflect
storage of the spent fuel, but spent fuel storage, of
course, is found in a different part of the regulations, and
what we're finding the licensees are doing is that they're
building ISFSIs and transferring the spent fuel into dry
And some of them are doing it under a general
license, some of them are doing it under a site-specific
license. It really is not a problem, in that there is
typically a five-year period after the plant shuts down
before we could even put the fuel, or the licensee could put
the fuel into dry storage.
In that time, there's a lot of other activities
that occur during the decommissioning process, and it
doesn't cause problems from the standpoint of the
DR. WYMER: And there are no problems because of
having to plan five years in advance, and then two years in
advance. The shutdown people don't find that a problem?
MR. MASNIK: Well, you know, we haven't had much
experience in this because all of the plants that we have,
have prematurely shut down.
So, the five-year, the preliminary cost estimate
that's supposed to be submitted five years in advance, we
have actually never received one because the plants have
shut down and we've actually gone to site-specific.
Most utilities have -- I would venture to say that
all utilities have some sort of a site-specific cost
estimate for decommissioning, even though they're not
required to submit it until two years after they permanently
And that's primarily because of the energy
regulatory bodies within the states within which they reside
have required it.
DR. WYMER: Do you have a pretty good sense of
what reactors are queuing up to come in to you for
MR. MASNIK: You mean plants that are anticipating
DR. WYMER: Yes.
MR. MASNIK: We thought we used to, and we were
actually pretty good at predicting them about three or four
years ago. But recently, we've kind of -- our experience
has indicated that we're not quite as good as we thought we
were at predicting.
We have not had a plant shut down for a couple of
years now, and the general consensus is that we probably
won't see a plant shutting down for a couple of years, at
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: A lot of this is being brought
about by the consolidation of ownership of the plants, and a
change in the whole infrastructure, if you will, of the
operations companies, operating companies.
And do you -- I think most of us were quite
confident a few years ago that there were would be very few
license renewals, whereas now that picture has changed quite
So, that's going to have, I guess, an impact at
least on the level of your activity.
What if de facto dry storage becomes the preferred
option for high-level waste storage for the next 100 years?
How does that change things? How would that change things?
MR. MASNIK: It certainly would not affect the
process, because the process that we have here is for the
balance of the plant, and that's what our focus is on, the
radiological decontamination of the facility.
What we're finding is that licensees are building
ISFSIs on the site. We're going from a 1,000 acres to 8,000
acre sites that the licensee has ownership. If they pursue
decommissioning and they decommission the facility, they can
release lot of that property and ultimately, you know, we're
talking about maybe 10 or 15 acres of area that would have
to remain under a license for the 100-year period.
But there is no conflict between dry storage and
decommissioning activities. The licensees have
de-conflicted that reasonably well.
DR. WYMER: Some of these sites have a couple of
reactors on them. You might shut one reactor down and leave
another one running, and then actually decommission one.
But there are things that are in common between
the reactors. Does the -- do the regulations specifically
address this, or is it just sort of handled as it comes
MR. MASNIK: We've had that experience at several
facilities. San Onofre Nuclear-1 is one; TMI is an example,
and Millstone, also.
During the period of time after the licensee
declares permanent cessation of operations, there is
generally -- well, there's not generally; there is a
top-down review of the facility, and an effort on the part
of the licensee to identify shared systems, and then to
Typically what happens is, they're isolated from
the shutdown reactor, and they could go so far as to build
redundant systems at the other two facilities so that they
can take the facilities related to the shut-down reactor out
DR. WYMER: But this situation is not specifically
addressed, and you don't think it needs to be addressed?
MR. MASNIK: No, it's not, no.
DR. WYMER: Are you going on to the rest of the
MR. MASNIK: Yes.
MR. LARSON: Is there any -- I know that EPA every
now and then says they're interested in being involved in
decommissioning, but that's more in the license termination
process than in the process you're talking about here, and
the same with the states; is that correct?
MR. RAY: They are interested in, and we do keep
in contact with them during the decommissioning process, but
as far as being involved in a regulatory sense, they haven't
been; they have just been very cooperative, and we let them
know what's going on.
MR. LARSON: The Committee has heard about the
Maine Yankee situation and the 25 and the 15 and the 4, and
the state and the law.
MR. RAY: That's license termination.
MR. LARSON: That's the part that's beyond.
MR. MASNIK: One thing that we are doing is we're
updating the generic environmental impact statement for
decommissioning, which looks at the entire process from
start to finish, and we've been working very closely with
EPA on that.
They have been attending our meetings, our scoping
meetings, and we've had several meetings with them, so we're
trying to get their input into the process.
MR. CAMPBELL: Just a point of information, the
Committee was in the UK and France a month ago, and we got a
presentation on it from EDF on what they're doing in France.
They were thinking about 25-50 years storage for
-- I think they have nine reactors in shutdown and
undergoing decommissioning. Now they're looking at
decommissioning all nine of them in the next 25 years. So
rather than long-term storage, they're actually going to
green-fields, or the plan is at this point to go to
green-field in that period of time. By 2026, they'll have
all nine in third stage decommissioning.
MR. MASNIK: I know. I've toured a number of
facilities in England and Wales that have been put into
MR. CAMPBELL: Yes, England is still using and
still considering long-term storage.
DR. WYMER: Please continue.
MR. RAY: I'd like to continue with the next final
Regulatory Guide entitled Standard Format and Content for
Post-Shutdown Decommissioning Activities Report. According
to the regulation, the licensee is prohibited from
performing any major decommissioning activities until 90
days after the NRC has received the licensee's PSDAR
submission, and until the certifications of permanent
cessation of operation and permanent removal of fuel from
the reactor vessel has been submitted.
For a quick overview, the purpose of the PSDAR is
1) Inform the public of the licensee's planned
2) Assist in the scheduling of NRC resources
necessary for the appropriate oversight activities;
3) Ensure the licensee has considered the cost of
the planned decommissioning activities and considered the
funding for the decommissioning process; and,
4) Ensure the environmental impacts of the planned
decommissioning activities are bounded by those considered
and existing environmental impact statements.
A PSDAR should include a description of the
licensee's planned activities for decommissioning. The
purpose of the description is to inform the NRC and the
public of the planned decommissioning by providing a general
overview of the proposed decommissioning activities, and
identifying specific activities to be accomplished or
The licensee should describe in general terms, the
method or combination of methods selected for
decommissioning. For example, long-term storage followed by
decontamination and dismantlement known as safe-store, or
prompt decontamination and dismantlement known as decon, or
partial decontamination and dismantlement followed by
long-term storage and then final decontamination and
The purpose of the schedule is to provide
information to the NRC and the public on the anticipated
timing of decommissioning events, as well as to allow the
NRC to scheduled resources necessary for appropriate
oversight activities described in the Planned Activities
section of the PSDAR, so that the reader understands the
sequence of events, as well as the timing of the events.
The level of detail of the schedule will depend
upon the timing of the activities and will assist NRC in
determining the degree of necessary oversight required.
The schedule for major activities in the near-term
should be given to the nearest month and year. The
activities that will follow a storage period of at least
five years may be scheduled to the closest year.
The PSDAR should include an updated estimate of
the expected decommissioning costs. The updated cost
estimate required by 10 CFR 50.82(a)(4)(i) may be one of the
The amount of decommissioning funds estimated to
be required pursuant to the regulations as currently
reported on a calendar year basis at least once every two
years to the NRC;
A site-specific cost estimate that is based on the
activities and schedules discussed in the first two sections
of the PSDAR;
And an estimate based on actual costs at similar
facilities that have undergone similar decommissioning
Or a generic cost estimate.
The PSDAR should include a discussion of the
reasons for concluding that the environmental impacts
associated with the site-specific decommissioning activities
will be bounded by previously issued environmental impact
Prior to preparing the PSDAR, the licensee should
evaluate the potential environmental impacts associated with
the site-specific decommissioning activities, including
those activities listed in the Planned Decommissioning
Activities section of the PSDAR.
The potential environmental impacts associated
with the decommissioning should be compared with similar
impacts given in the final environmental impact statement
known as FES, for the plant, or as supplemented in the GEIS
on decommissioning, the site-specific environmental
assessment, and the GEIS on radiological criteria for
If significant environmental impacts are
identified that have not been considered in the
plant-specific FES, or in the GEIS on decommissioning, and
on radiological criteria for license termination, the
licensee is prohibited by regulations form undertaking the
activity that will result in such an impact, without first
complying with 10 CFR Part 51.
The licensee must submit a supplement to its
environmental report that relates to the additional impacts
covered under this regulation.
MR. RAY: Upon receipt of the PSDAR, the NRC will
docket the PSDAR and place a notice regarding its receipt in
the Federal Register to solicit comments on the PSDAR from
the public, pursuant to the regulations. A copy of the
PSDAR will be made available to the public at the public
document room and other electronic medium.
The NRC will schedule a public meeting in the
vicinity of the site to discuss planned activities and to
hear public comment.
A number of factors could cause the NRC to find
the PSDAR deficient. These factors are directly related to
the topics included in the PSDAR, as discussed. The NRC
could find the PSDAR deficient in the following
The licensee's plan for decommissioning could not
be completed as described.
The schedule included in the decommissioning
process, that could not be completed within 60 years of the
permanent cessation of operation, as required.
The licensee's decommissioning plan, as presented
in the PSDAR, included a decommissioning process that could
not be completed for the estimated cost using the generic
guidelines and the GEIS, and using previously facility
decommissioning costs, or if the estimated costs were less
than the amount estimated by the method in the regulations.
The PSDAR included activities that would endanger
the health and safety of the public by proposing activities
that do not comply with the NRC's health and safety
regulations, or would result in a significant detrimental
impact to the environment that would not be bounded by the
current Environmental Impact Statements.
According to the regulations, the licensee must
notify the NRC in writing, with a copy to the affected
states, before performing any significant decommissioning
activities that could be considered to be inconsistent with
or a significant schedule change from the list of planned
decommissioning activities or schedules described in the
PSDAR. Changes to the PSDAR may be in the form of a written
letter to the NRC, or may be an actual revision to the
PSDAR. Changes that result in any type of environmental
impact not bounded by previous issued Environmental Impact
Statements would need a supplement to the environmental
This concludes my presentation for today and we
will take any further questions.
DR. WYMER: Are there any questions? John.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, one of the priorities of
this committee is to look at things, look at regulatory
activities from the point of view of implementing
risk-informed, performance-based practices. How do you see
RIPB entering into the decommissioning process?
MR. MASNIK: Well, first of all, what we are
describing here is a process, and it is primarily a
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. MASNIK: And where we see, of course, the risk
base would be perhaps in the inspection program or in that
area. There also are a number of rulemakings that are going
to be coming forth over the next couple of years. We are
going to reevaluate the regulations that govern the
different types of decommissioning.
For example, in the area of emergency
preparedness, how the regulations would be relaxed over
time. And we are attempting to do this in a risk-informed
manner. These particular Reg. Guides, though, talk about
the process, which is really just outlining the steps for
the paper, and it is primarily a notification process.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yeah, I was looking at the
PSDAR descriptors you have here. They are mostly discuss,
describe, schedule, cost estimates, et cetera, and trying to
envision what is changing here, if anything, as a result of
this transition in regulatory philosophy. And I think that,
you know, until we see some of the documentation, of course,
we can't speak to it very specifically.
But, at the same time, one of the places where
this usually gets started is in the guidance, is in the
guidance documentation. A lot of the guidance documents,
further activities, other licensing activities do include
specific reference to methods, techniques of implementing a
form of risk-informed analysis. And I was just curious, I
was looking for your expertise to tell me where are the
opportunities in decommissioning.
MR. RICHARDS: I am Stu Richards, I am the branch
chief in NRR for this area. Just to get in my two cents on
it, one area I think we can pursue to address your question
is, if you go back in time, I think previously, before 1996,
utilities had to come in with a decommissioning plan on the
front end, and we asked for a lot of detail, and then we had
to approve it. And then in 1996, the Commission elected to
go to what appears to me to be a performance-based approach
where we said, in order to terminate the license, here is
the criteria, the 25 millirem all pathways in ALARA, and how
you get there is largely up to you.
The PSDAR is not a document that the staff reviews
and approves, it is a fairly small document, I guess it runs
12 to 25 pages. It provides an informational outline of how
a utility intends to proceed. It is used to inform the
staff of their intentions. It is also used to inform the
local public of what they intend to do. But they are free
to change their approach. They can go from SAFSTOR into
decommissioning and dismantlement if they want to. So,
actually, the process is fairly performance-based because
they have a lot of latitude, as long as they can get to that
25 millirem ALARA.
So, I think, from where we were probably five, six
years ago, we have gone a long ways towards being
performance-based in decommissioning.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yeah. You could interpret that
change in the PSDAR as being driven by adopting a
performance-based perspective, and a direction in making the
process a little simpler.
What is done now in the way of safety analysis
with respect to decommissioning? Have there been any
MR. MASNIK: One of the -- well, first of all, the
'96 regulations require an updating of the FSAR, and they
maintain what they call a DSAR.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. MASNIK: Or decommissioning safety analysis
report. We also process a number of amendments to the
license once a plant shuts down. Probably the most
significant is top to bottom review and approval of their
technical specifications. So, there is a significant safety
review at that time.
There are also other amendments for operator
licensing, for example, is another one. There is probably
between seven and ten that come in during the first two
years that relax some of the requirements, and those, of
course, have an associated safety analysis with them.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: From the utilities'
perspective, it seems that one of the biggest question marks
that they are facing is, of course, what to do with the low
level waste, and rubbleization is an option that is under
some consideration, and could be greatly affected by changes
in the standard such as the Maine Yankee example. So, when
you talk to the reactor operators, they identify this as the
big pain in the neck in terms of being able to control costs
and being able to have -- being able to fix schedules.
From the perspective of regulation, what do you
see as the gorillas in the process?
MR. MASNIK: Well, clearly, disposal of the low
level waste is going to be a problem in the next couple of
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Same problem.
MR. MASNIK: And maybe even after that. With the
agreement down at Barnwell, that is going to have some
effect. And what we are seeing now is a state by state
position on disposal of low level waste, and we find that
that clearly is going to affect the total cost of the
Rubbleization, you know, is an option that was
proposed by Maine Yankee. We, NMSS, prepared a Commission
paper on that and, basically, have said that we would
consider this on a case-by-case basis. I think it is going
to be probably, without a clearance rule, it is going to be
one of the most significant issues that the industry has to
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yeah, I think this is a real
problem. Do you have any evidence at all to indicate that
other states may follow the lead of Maine, for example, of
taking the NRC requirements and just adding additional
safety margin to those requirements? Because that could
really ratchet this into a nightmare.
MR. MASNIK: I see that in some states and others,
not. We are at a point now where we have several license
termination plans in-house for review in NMSS, and we are
seeing a slightly different approach on each of them,
depending on where they are located. We have some
indication that we will continue to see that for some time.
I don't know, Robert, if you wanted to add to
DR. WYMER: Identify yourself.
MR. NELSON: Bob Nelson, chief of the facilities
decommissioning section, NMSS. We have three license
termination plans in-house now, Trojan, Maine Yankee,
Saxton. We are expecting Connecticut Yankee very shortly.
They all have, as has been stated, a different approach, and
all are at various stages in the process, actually, of
cleaning up. And to some degree, the question on low level
waste not only depends on the state that they are in, but,
also, where they are at the present time.
For example, Trojan, most everything has been
cleaned up at this point, and, of course, they have access
to the Northwest Compact. So, low level waste doesn't
appear to be a real problem there. And they are going to
repower the site, a portion of it, so, they are leaving a
lot of buildings standing.
Saxton, on a case, is going to basically tear
everything down, but they prefer to do that after the
license is terminated. Maine Yankee, we are going to see a
revision to their license termination plan in the near
future, but their plan is to leave some concrete on-site.
So, there is a mixed bag of approaches. And I think we will
continue to see that, depending on where the state is --
where the utility is located, what state it is in, and
whether there are other state regulations that exist or that
the utility voluntarily decides to try to meet.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Thank you.
DR. WYMER: George, any questions, comments?
I have one that maybe is a little bit off the
wall. The goal is to decommission down to 25 MR per year or
less, with an override of ALARA on top of that. It is not
inconceivable, to me at least, that some of the reactor
sites won't make that, in which case you get into some
license termination considerations. How do you handle this
interface, if you can't get down to -- if they find out they
really can't get down to those levels?
MR. RICHARDS: This is Stu Richards. As far as I
know, I think we anticipate all the reactor sites making 25
ALARA. There might be some question on materials sites, I
have heard that from NMSS. But as far as reactor sites go,
we don't think that is going to be a problem.
MR. MASNIK: And the industry doesn't either. I
mean they are reasonably confident that they can get down to
DR. WYMER: They are sanguine and that comes from
the word "blood."
Okay. Any other staff questions?
MR. LARSON: The Reg. Guide talks about, you know,
DECON, SAFSTOR and ENTOMB and says entombment really doesn't
look good for too many people. And, yet, John Greeves just
finished talking to the committee saying that, well, we are
MR. RAY: Right.
MR. LARSON: And yesterday we heard that maybe --
actually, throw concrete and other things in here.
Although, if I look at entombment definition in here, it
says "involves encasing radioactive structures in long-lived
substance such as concrete," but that doesn't sound like
what they are talking. I guess you are really in the
process of reevaluating entombment and what it means, and
the definition. Yeah. And that would address one of John
Garrick's comments on low level waste disposal, et cetera.
And there is no -- is there a timeframe on that?
MR. MASNIK: Well, the Generic Environmental
Impact Statement which we are working on, which we are
hoping to get out by the end of this year, at least the
draft form, will address entombment options. And I am sure,
as you know, that it is not just encasing it in concrete.
MR. LARSON: No, I mean that --
MR. MASNIK: There are a lot of other options that
are being considered.
MR. LARSON: And, you know, we realize that NEI
has come into the -- has written a letter and asked that the
process be expedited. I guess there has not been an
official response from the agency on that yet. Or has
MR. MASNIK: You know, we are kind of shared on
MR. LARSON: Right.
MR. MASNIK: And I am not aware of it, but I don't
know, Robert, do you know anything about it?
MR. NELSON: No, I don't.
MR. MASNIK: Okay.
DR. WYMER: Well, if there are no further
questions, we thank you for the presentation.
MR. RAY: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay. Unless there are --
well, do you want to talk a little bit about whether there
is a basis for a letter here, or a report?
DR. WYMER: It doesn't seem like it to me, just
off the top, without giving it a lot of thought.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: What is the feeling of the
staff here? Are they --
MR. MAJOR: The EDO, just stating you have no
objection to these Reg. Guides going forth. They are fairly
procedural in nature.
DR. WYMER: Yeah, that is that reason I say I
don't see a letter.
MR. MAJOR: There is nothing in the notebook that
has these margins. I think it is the near the end of the
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right. So what you are
suggesting here is we do something similar to what we are
doing on sufficiency?
DR. WYMER: Where is the Larkins?
MR. LARSON: It is three pages from the end of the
DR. WYMER: Three pages from the end.
MR. LARSON: And, of course, as Rich's description
and the summary point out, you know, it has already come to
the committee years ago, and you said you didn't have any
objection for sending it out for draft comments. And the
comments that have been received back from industry and
everybody has said, you know, we really don't have any
problems with what has been issued. So, if you wrote a
letter now saying you have got some problems with this, --
DR. WYMER: It looks like the letter is already
written, it is just in draft. You might as well send it on,
it seems to me, since these are procedural and we don't
really get into this.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: There is very little technical.
MR. LEVENSON: One suggestion I might offer is, in
order to try to reaffirm the fact that this committee is
principally technical, is to include some wording which says
that these guides are principally procedural and not
technical in content and, therefore, the committee has no
objection, et cetera.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: To their issuance.
MR. LARSON: But you don't want -- I mean I guess
the only thing in making that comment is, are you sending a
message to the staff that we don't want to look at anything
that is not technical?
MR. LEVENSON: No.
MR. LARSON: Because, you know, this is -- as you
know, in some other things, they have come in to the
committee on things before that have been purely procedural
and, yet, it is a process on the reactor side that almost
everything that has to do with the reactors or Reg. Guides
or anything should come and be reviewed.
DR. WYMER: I would be inclined to go with just
what is written here.
MR. LARSON: And I am not disagreeing with you, I
am just saying that that is -- that is a question you have
got to get back from.
DR. WYMER: Yeah.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: All right. So, let's put
closure on it and say we accept his proposed letter. But I
know what you are saying, Milt.
DR. WYMER: And that is our philosophy, all right.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: It is our practice to want to
address the technical issues.
MR. LARSON: Another thing that the ACRS has
decided at the last couple of meetings is that, because of
just what I described, there is a practice on the reactor
side that almost everything since 1954 that is related to
reactors has come to the ACRS. But they are saying, you
know, we have got a lot of things going on now. There is a
lot of reactors that are asking for license extensions. And
they see like eight of these coming up and they are actually
going to form two subcommittees to look at license
extensions for next year, are in the process of doing that.
So, 25 or 30 percent of their time is just going
to be involved in only license extensions for 20 years or
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Keep them out of mischief.
MR. LARSON: The chairman has said, well, maybe we
want to be more selective in where we spend our time. Maybe
we don't even have the luxury to spend an hour or two just
looking at Reg. Guides that are purely procedural. So, I am
only bringing that up as a question to look at as these
things come to you, because you are going to see more and
more and more of them over the next --
MR. HORNBERGER: Yeah. I mean I suppose my
reaction to Milt's suggestion was, yeah, we should do that
and, if, in fact, we are asked whether we wanted to look at
purely procedural things, I would argue that we would want
to be very selective, that, in fact, spending 45 minutes or
an hour takes 45 minutes or an hour that we could be doing
MR. LARSON: Well, the process is they come to the
staff and we should look at them and make a recommendation
as to whether we think it is worth your time. In this
particular one, since decommissioning is a major thing, it
probably was worth some time.
MR. HORNBERGER: Fair enough. No, that is fine.
That's right. And that is fine. So, if staff makes that,
you know, if you have made that decision, that is fine.
MR. LARSON: Well, we don't make any decision.
DR. WYMER: I thought it was worthwhile to hear
this, even though it was purely procedural. I am glad I
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay.
MR. LARSON: You want technical or not?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: No, no. We are going to -- we
are accepting the letter as written.
And with that, I would like to declare a recess
for 15 minutes, and we will come back and plan our letter
writing session. As a matter of fact, I think what I would
like to say about that is that we have a meeting of a couple
of the members that starts at 10:45 and runs through lunch.
The other members, I would encourage to review, study the
letters that have been written and to continue the work on
the reports that they are working on such that we can get a
pretty good running start at 1:00.
So, we will take a 15 minute break, reconvene.
MR. LARKINS: Before you break, I just had a call
from SECY about potential dates for Commission meetings.
And the only open dates they have right now are like --
well, not open dates, dates when everybody is going to be
here, all the commissioners would be. October 24th or 25th,
which is the week right now after our meeting, and November
17th, which is the time you are scheduled to be in San
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, 24-25, there is a meeting
here that I just got a letter on regarding WASH-1400.
MR. LARKINS: The water reactor safety meeting.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yeah, the water reactor safety.
MR. LARKINS: Right. Yeah.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: And some activities related to
WASH-1400, 25th anniversary, that I am involved in. But I
think my involvement is the 23rd, so it would work out fine
to have it either the 24th or 25th, for me.
DR. WYMER: Between those two, the 24th would be
preferable for me because I have --
MR. HORNBERGER: So, this would be like a day that
we would come in in addition to. For me, it would have to
be the 24th. I cannot schedule any Mondays, Wednesdays or
Fridays other than those I am already committed to.
MR. LARKINS: Okay.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: So let's see if we can pull it
MR. LARKINS: See if we can lock it in on the
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. LARKINS: I don't think you want to do
anything with changing the San Antonio meeting.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: No. No. No, you know, --
MR. HORNBERGER: But if we don't change the San
Antonio meeting, I am not going to be there.
MR. LARKINS: Oh, that's right. Yeah, we were
exploring it. What did you --
MR. HORNBERGER: Well, we were going to check to
see, I think it hinged on whether that was when they were
having their management review down there. And if they
were, then we had to do it at that time. But, again, I just
wanted to reiterate my warning that, depending upon what
happens at GSA, I simply will not be able to make that.
MR. LARKINS: Is it a necessity that we have it
during the management review at San Antonio?
MR. LARSON: No, the only reason it was scheduled
then was it was thought that they were going to be nice to
the staff. They wouldn't have to have separate
presentations of ACNW. And they were already preparing
presentations, we would there, and it wouldn't take up any
more additional time, other than just separate meetings that
you wanted to have.
MR. LARKINS: But there emphasis may be different
than the committee's emphasis. So, I mean, I don't think it
MR. CAMPBELL: In terms of preparation, they are
going to have a similar preparation, so, they will have
viewgraphs, for example,, that would do double duty. But
the management reviews that I have seen tend to me -- oh,
here are the projects the center is proposing to do the next
year. They don't necessarily represent the projects they
are actually working on or have the same level of focus.
For example, you get a tech exchange.
MR. LARSON: Yeah, it is just NMSS staff time.
MR. CAMPBELL: Right. They will all be down there
in that same time.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: What happened, what are you
saying, what is in your notes about what we decided on this?
We have already had this discussion.
MR. HORNBERGER: It is fine. We don't need to
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yeah.
MR. HORNBERGER: That's fine, I agree.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay. So, we are shooting for
October 24th for the Commission meeting. Okay. Let's
MR. LARKINS: Go back and call them right now.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes. Let's take a 15 minute
[Whereupon, at 10:21 a.m., the recorded portion of
the meeting was concluded.]
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, October 02, 2017