120th Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste (ACNW) Meeting, July 26, 2000
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON NUCLEAR WASTE
120TH ACNW MEETING
Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Two White Flint North
11545 Rockville Pike
Wednesday, July 26, 2000
The Commission met in open session, pursuant to
notice, at 8:30 a.m., THE HONORABLE DR. B. JOHN GARRICK,
Chairman of the Committee, presiding.
DR. JOHN B. GARRICK, Chairman
DR. GEORGE W. HORNBERGER, Vice Chairman
DR. RAYMOND G. WYMER
MR. MILTON N. LEVENSON
. ALSO PRESENT:
DR. JOHN T. LARKINS, Executive Director, ACRS/ACNW
MR. HOWARD J. LARSON, Acting Associate Director, ACRS/ACNW
MR. RICHARD K. MAJOR, ACNW Staff
MS. LYNN DEERING, ACNW Staff
MR. AMARJIT SINGH, ACNW Staff
DR. ANDREW C. CAMPBELL, ACNW Staff
LISA GUE, Public Citizen
ERIC SMISTAD, Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Office,
CAROL L. HANLON, Yucca Mt. Site Characterization Ofc., DOE
KING STABLEIN, High-Level Waste Branch, NRC
DAVID BROOKS, High-Level Waste Branch, NRC
JEFFREY POHLE, High-Level Waste Branch, NRC
PHILIP JUSTUS, High-Level Waste Branch, NRC
JOHN BRADBERRY, High-Level Waste Branch, NRC
MERAJ RAHIMI, High-Level Waste Branch, NRC
BRET LESLIE, High-Level Waste Branch, NRC
MYSORE NATARAJA, High-Level Waste Branch, NRC
JAMES FIRTH, High-Level Waste Branch, NRC
JOHN TRAPP, High-Level Waste Branch, NRC
BILL REAMER, High-Level Waste Branch, NRC
MARK SELLARS, U.S. Department of Energy
ERNEST LINDNER, U.S. Department of Energy
ROBERT ANDREWS, U.S. Department of Energy
LARRY HAYES, U.S. Department of Energy
GUSTAVO CRAGNOLINO, Ctr. for Nuclear Waste Regulatory
MARTIN VIRGILIO, Ofc. of Nuclear Material Safety &
RICHARD TURTIL, Ofc. of Nuclear Material Safety & Safeguards. C O N T E N T S
OPENING STATEMENT 51
DOE'S PERFORMANCE CONFIRMATION PROGRAM FOR
THE PROPOSED REPOSITORY AT YUCCA MOUNTAIN 53
SUMMARY OF THE NRC STAFF'S YUCCA MOUNTAIN KEY
TECHNICAL ISSUES RESOLUTION STRATEGY
PREPARE FOR THE PUBLIC MEETING WITH THE COMMISSION 93
MEETING WITH THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF
NUCLEAR ,ATERIALS SAFETY AND SAFEGUARDS 183. P R O C E E D I N G S
DR. GARRICK: Good morning.
The meeting will come to order.
This is the second day of the 120th meeting of the
Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste.
My name is John Garrick, Chairman of the ACNW.
Other members of the committee include George
Hornberg, Ray Wymer, and Milton Levenson.
The entire meeting will open to the public.
Today the committee will hear from the Department
of Energy on the performance confirmation program for the
proposed repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, present an
update on Yucca Mountain Key Technical Issues resolutions
strategy, prepare for the next public meeting with the
Commission, currently scheduled for October 17th, and meet
with Martin Virgilio, Deputy to the Director of the Office
of Nuclear Materials and Safeguards to discuss items of
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 from
members of the public regarding today's session.
Should anyone wish to address the committee,
please make your wishes known to one of the committee's
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
Our first presenter today is going to be Eric
The committee member that's going to lead the
discussion on performance confirmation will be Milt
Milt, do you have any introductory remarks?
MR. LEVENSON: Good morning.
Just a couple of comments.
It's my understanding that the presentation this
morning is for information only, and it's also my
understanding that the general requirements for the
performance confirmation plan are to measure, wherever
practical, any sub-surface condition and changes in those
conditions during construction and waste placement to assure
they're within limits assumed in the licensing review.
Since we don't yet have a licensing application,
we have to make maybe some assumptions as to what DOE will
put in the license application, and also review those things
that might be necessary or assumed to function after
This program goes from the time of starting to
build a repository until it's permanently closed.
There was also a general requirement that any time
during this period in which changes occurred, the Commission
would be notified as to any changed condition that might
lead to a change in design requirements.
I don't know if we're at that stage or not, but
maybe that's another issue to keep in mind as we go through
And with that, Eric, if you're ready.
MR. SMISTAD: Good morning.
My name is Eric Smistad. I am the DOE functional
manager for the performance confirmation plan and program.
Just a couple of words of introduction here.
We have a performance confirmation plan that's on
the street now. It's Rev. 1. It was approved in May, and I
think maybe the committee has copies of that already.
Since this is a Rev. 1, we are early on in the
development of the plan and, indeed, the program. So, a lot
of the details that will eventually be in this plan are not
We anticipate incorporating -- and I'll talk about
this in the pitch here in a minute -- incorporating a lot
more detail next year and in subsequent revisions of the
We also have some folks out west, in Vegas there.
You guys awake?
A couple of the authors of the plan and some other
folks, in case we get into some real detailed questions on
the plan and the input to the plan.
What I want to do today is to walk through a
definition of the performance confirmation as we understand
it, describe the process that we went through in developing
the plan and its relationship to the overall testing program
that we have and will have in the future, describe elements
of the program, and then give a status and path forward.
The definition we're working with, straight out of
There's a lot in this definition. I'll just go
ahead and read it.
Performance confirmation means the program test,
experiments, and analyses as conducted to evaluate the
accuracy and adequacy of the information used to determine
with reasonable assurance that the performance objective
will be met.
Like I say, it is a broad definition, but that is
the definition we're working with.
Further in 63, at section 131, there is some
fleshing out of requirements for the definition itself.
It must focus on items that are important to
post-closure safety, and it must indicate where the
sub-surface conditions and changes during construction and
waste emplacement may affect what has been established in
the license application and whether the natural engineered
barriers are functioning as we anticipate or had predicted,
and as Milt mentioned earlier, it starts during site
characterization and ends at closure.
DR. HORNBERGER: Eric, if I can interrupt just a
second, is there any provision in Draft 63 anywhere for
long-term monitoring following closure? Do you know?
MR. SMISTAD: I believe those words are in there,
so there is a requirement, and we, in fact, intend to do
Aspects of the program here -- don't pay too much
attention to the pie here. It's not a comparison thing,
it's just an illustration.
This is intended to illustrate the entire test and
evaluation program. There is obviously a lot more to it
than I have got on this slide, but the point here is that
the performance confirmation program which is outlined here
in this black outline is part of an overall test and
There are essentially two components to the
performance confirmation program -- inputs, if you will --
the testing of factors important to performance through our
TSPA, one major component, and the other is the regulatory
piece, inputs from the regulatory -- the regulation.
This piece of the pie here represents the
remainder of the test and evaluation program.
I won't go into detail on that program, but it
really involves engineering, design, prototype testing,
start-up testing, that sort of thing.
Some additional aspects of our program:
We will, indeed, comply with the requirements in
Draft 63 or 63, and we will focus on the areas that are
important to post-closure performance, and this is done
through the TSPA, as communicated in the RSS, and I think
you had a presentation on the RSS earlier.
These are factors, principle factors from RSS 3.
There is an RSS 4 coming up. That's going to be published
at the end of August.
And as I said, the basis for these principle
factors are firmly established in the -- from TSPA and
communicated in the RSS.
So, we are focusing on post-closure performance to
set this program up.
A little more on inputs here -- I have a flow
Essentially, two or three classes of inputs here
-- 63, obviously, and regulatory commitments here, as they
are communicated in the KTIs.
Our of 63 comes the regulatory requirements, and
those can feed directly into the performance confirmation
plan, and I have the RSS here.
The strategy or the intent behind the RSS is to
satisfy the regulation, to communicate those areas that are
important to post-closure performance.
TSPA feeds the strategy, and out of this comes the
I've got a box here at the end, detailed test
plans and packages.
We're not there yet. That will be a separate --
separate publications, if you will, of the details of the
Process -- this slide is a little involved, and I
hope I don't myself wrapped around the axle here.
Starting with the repository safety strategy, we
identify the processes that are important to performance,
and again, this is driven by TSPA.
Out of that, we identify the parameters that we
want to measure related to the processes.
If you follow the two arrows shooting diagonally
across the page, we would establish bounds on any given
parameter as part of the process.
Also at this juncture, if we can go ahead and
anticipate maybe unexpected outcome and start outlining
steps we would take early on if we did have something that
was out of bounds, at least, on an example like this.
Following down the page, out of the parameter box,
you would conduct a test, acquire the data, process the
data, and compare that against what you have established as
your predictions, and there are two -- basically two
outcomes from this process.
You have an expected outcome and then you're
finished. You can fold that into a compliance argument. Or
you have a unexpected outcome. In the next slide, I'll talk
The first bullet there is if you do confirm your
predictions, you're complete, and you can move, at least
with that process, that parameter related to the process,
towards the closure evaluation on that.
The measurement is out of bounds, and it is
significant. It's very important. We've got to determine
through the TSPA if falling out of bounds is, indeed,
significant to the dose.
Then there's the four major categories of
corrective actions you could take.
You can go ahead and look at your technical basis,
your models and your codes themselves, look at the tests
themselves, see if they were conducted properly or executed
You can look at the changes to design or
construction or the effect of that on, perhaps, the test, or
finally, you could get to removal of waste, either in a
limited sense or a full-scale sense.
I think I would be remiss if I didn't show
something out of the plan. So, I've got a table of contents
and appendices here.
What I really wanted to -- I won't walk through
each one of these chapters or appendices, but I did want to
point out that, in Appendices G, that is where we -- where
the rubber kind of hits the road in this plan.
There are test descriptions there. They're more
of a -- they're more along the line of scoping descriptions.
They're not, like I mentioned, the detailed test plans as of
yet. That's in the future.
On the next slide, I'll talk about some of the
categories of tests in that appendix.
You might recognize the test types here from the
document, if you've seen it, and what I've done is I tried
to bucket these test types in terms of what they're
complying with or driven by.
The first box here is the RSS or the TSPA, and
these are essentially the principle factors out of RSS 3
rolled into what we're calling testing or monitoring, and
then there's the other main driver, which is regulatory
requirements. You'll recognize some of these out of
sub-part F in 63.
There is some overlap. Some of the regulatory
requirements do drive some of these tests here. So, there
is some overlap, but I wanted to give you an idea of the
drivers that we were working with to come up with some of
these scoping tests or test descriptions.
A little bit on methodology or locale, essentially
three areas we would be testing in. There would be in situ
monitoring within the repository itself, lab testing, and
field testing, and in fact, we are using these methodologies
today in site characterization.
The next few slides I'm going to walk through
examples of each one of those methodologies.
I've listed -- for instance, on this in situ
slide, I've gone ahead and listed tests that you saw on one
of the previous slides on test types. I've just gone ahead
and bucketed these in terms of methodology.
Just as an example, this diagram here, a cartoon,
is depicting the post-closure simulation, and we talk about
that in a little bit of detail in the plan.
This is for the grand-daddy of all tests. It's
going to be getting a couple of processes and looking at
that in an environment as close as we can get to the actual
The idea is to emplace real waste or heaters -- we
haven't gotten to that stage yet -- in one of the first two
drifts to give us the longest time possible to look at these
couple of processes, and the drifts will be instrumented,
and there will also be bore-holes, instrumentation similar
to what we have in the heater tests we've got in the
repository now, or in the ESF.
Field testing -- we've done quite a little bit of
this in the past. We've done a lot of drilling out at the
A couple of examples from the previous slide here
is ground water quality and ground level monitoring and
temperature monitoring of the ground water.
You'll see seals testing here, for instance,
driven by sub-part F in this category, as well.
I won't go through each test unless you have
specific questions on the tests.
MR. LEVENSON: One question.
How are you doing the surface uplift monitoring?
Is that being done by satellite?
MR. SMISTAD: I think it's being done by remote --
Mark Sellars, are you out there?
MR. SELLARS: Yeah, we're here.
MR. SMISTAD: Did you hear the question?
MR. SELLARS: Yeah, we heard the question, and the
concept for that is GPS-driven.
MR. LINDNER: We've been using an extrapolation of
the existing precision level, and it's done across the
country, and we'd hopefully use GPS in the future if it's
MR. SMISTAD: Okay.
The idea at this point, in terms of monitoring and
technology, we are anticipating not going into and
developing new technology or doing R&D based on the
performance confirmation program.
For instance, the post-closure simulation test I
mentioned before will use -- we're anticipating using
similar instrumentation that we're using in the ESF now for
the heater tests.
This would involve long-term materials testing,
waste package and drip shield, waste form included, as well,
in long-term testing.
Currently, we are testing -- you see materials
sample rack here out at Livermore. Currently, we have -- we
are two years into an alloy C-22 testing program out at
Status and path forward:
The PC plan and program will evolve for the
I think I mentioned that earlier.
We have determined the test types that are in the
plan now and I showed on an earlier viewgraph.
Some of the PC testing has occurred during site
characterization. We do have baseline data that we have
gathered and that we will use.
The PC testing will be performed concurrent with
We have -- we're doing this now with our testing
program, and we have a process and a program in place to
look at the effects of construction on testing and vice
versa, and it's a program we've had in place for several
years, and it works fairly well.
The specific tests will be determined prior to
license application, with the details -- will be developed,
obviously, before the testing begins.
We plan to rev the PC plan in August of 2001.
We would like to get some of the bounds and
predictions that I talked about earlier on the process slide
into the document for this iteration, and it may be modified
based on new principle factors emanating from TSPA, and we
will incorporate any updated test defined parameters, as I
We anticipate continuing to rev the plan through
construction and operation.
In other words, we'll have our e on it, because we
think it's obviously a very important thing to do, and we
want to keep it up to date.
Just a short summary:
The PC program will comply with the requirements
The program will focus on factors important to
post-closure performance, as performed in the TSPA, and the
PC program is part of an overall integrated test evaluation
program, as I discussed earlier.
That's all I have.
MR. LEVENSON: John, did you have any questions?
DR. GARRICK: Just a couple.
I'm really curious about what you really are going
to end up testing and how it relates to the regulatory
requirements and the performance assessment results.
Now, you have already indicated that your
over-arching driver will be, of course, Part 63, and then
you identify what the TSPA and the repository safety
strategy have indicate as important things to measure.
One of the things I'm a little curious about -- it
looks like all you've done is take the principle factors,
essentially, and add all of those kinds of tests to the
There has not been -- at least on the surface,
there does not appear to be any merging or analysis that
would indicate that one is a subset of the other or
importance ranking or what have you.
I guess I would like you to comment on that, and
what I'd really like to know is, if you were going to design
a performance confirmation testing program strictly on the
basis of performance, how would you importance-rank the
specific things that you're going to measure, and is there a
chance here that you could end up with a confirmation
testing program ever so much simpler than what this is
beginning to look like?
MR. SMISTAD: Let me put that slide up, and then
I'll try to get to your questions, John.
DR. GARRICK: I'm looking at slide 11.
MR. SMISTAD: We haven't -- I'll kind of start at
the end of your questions here.
We haven't prioritized from the PC program
standpoint these test descriptions here. We haven't gotten
to that stage yet.
I think we have the information to do that from
It would require a little more analysis from the
TSPA group to do that.
Certainly, that's one of the next steps that we
need to get, is to prioritize, because it may be, when the
time comes, we don't -- we just don't have the resources to
do all that, and clearly, we have to prioritize -- even if
we think we're going to get to it all, we have to prioritize
As I mentioned, I think you asked, there are some
of these things here, tests here that are driven by
regulatory requirements, and I didn't choose to rack that
I think any long-term materials testing -- I don't
know if they specifically call for a post-closure
simulation, near-field environment testing from a couple of
standpoints is definitely called for in the regulation
itself, and by the same token, some of these tests, test
types I'll say, driven by regulatory requirements, are not
generated -- would not be generated by our post-closure
analysis themselves, itself.
There's, you know, some of the seal testing and
whatnot is not something that we're producing as a
sensitivity out of our TSPAs.
DR. GARRICK: Now, if the TSPA were the sole
basis, then, of course, all the measurements would be
directed towards improving the long-term performance or at
least verifying, if you wish, the long-term performance of
One of the strategies that this committee tries to
take is to understand what the real requirements are of
things and the real needs are before we start tacking on
conservatisms and safety margins and what have you, and so,
what's behind my question is really, from a purely technical
and purely long-term performance standpoint, what makes
sense to -- where do you get the biggest bang for your buck?
I suspect some of these tests, you're probably not
going to get much out of them, and they may be the most
expensive ones, and so, I'm kind of looking for how are we
going to optimize this, or is there going to be any attempt
to do that?
MR. SMISTAD: There definitely will be an attempt,
and we will optimize this in the future.
We're not there yet. As I said, this is kind of
our first or second put to this plan.
DR. GARRICK: Right.
MR. SMISTAD: The challenge ahead of us is to look
at the type of tests that we are coming up with, the
categories of tests we're coming up with out of the RSS and
the TSPA, and determine, number one, are these testable
areas, can we field a test, and coupled with how much do we
think we'll get out of this test from learning about
post-closure performance, is there a real sensitivity that
we can get at with these tests?
So, that's definitely a challenge we have ahead of
DR. GARRICK: Is there any research going on to --
that would contribute to this optimization process,
particularly in the monitoring area?
The monitoring is a big question-mark in deep
WIPP is having the same problem.
They have a requirement for long-term monitoring,
and -- but nobody quite knows how to do it and what to
monitor and what have you, and I sense there's some of the
same kind of problem here, and so, I think this is a major
issue, and it has a lot to do with building public
confidence, and yet, there is an opportunity, because of the
long operating period, to do some in-repository
measurements, in-facility measurements, an opportunity that
usually doesn't exist on facilities.
So, I think this is one of the reasons why this is
of considerable importance to us all.
One other thing I wanted to just pick up on what
George Hornberger said a little while ago, in the Part 63
there's a section called "Permanent Closure," and the
submission of the application to amend the license before
permanent closure includes a requirement for a description
of the program for post-permanent closure monitoring of the
That's another program? Is that somebody else?
MR. SMISTAD: I think that would be a different
Mark Sellars, did you hear John's question?
MR. SELLARS: Yeah. That's actually defined
outside of the performance confirmation program, and that
would have to be a program that's established prior to
This is Mark Sellars.
Let me go back and just comment a little bit on
the prior discussion.
The items that are identified in the repository
safety strategy are one means by which we attempt to comply
with the regulation by identifying those things that are
most important to post-closure safety, which is required by
Just to give you a sense of the focus that we have
established here, we have been looking at the life-cycle
cost of these types of tests, and I can say that the lion's
share of the emphasis is on the items that we've identified
ourselves through the TSPA as being important to
post-closure performance, but in addition to that, we do
meet the specific items called out by the regulation, as
So, that's just a small clarification there.
DR. GARRICK: Yes.
Well, I think that the intent of the regulatory
process, of course, as you know, is to move towards a
risk-informed approach, and so, I would think that there
would be some flexibility, if, in fact, the license was able
to demonstrate in a rather convincing manner on the basis of
risk arguments that a particular confirmation program
embodies or covers the important things and puts you -- and
you could be in a pretty strong position to negotiate, if
you wish, a program that really gives you the best bang for
MR. SMISTAD: We fully anticipate doing that with
these test types or whatever the future listed test types
are going to be, including the regulatory sides, as well.
We'll look at how those really do play into post-closure
performance from the prioritization standpoint.
DR. GARRICK: Okay.
MR. LEVENSON: I have just one short followup on
You mentioned that you are going to be
prioritizing these sometime in the future.
Do you have established the criteria you're going
to use in prioritizing, or is that yet to be developed?
MR. SMISTAD: That's yet to be developed. Just
from a broad sense, you know, what's the biggest bang for
the buck? I mean what really does move the needle on a dose
curve, is what we're after.
I guess I can throw that out west.
Mark, you guys have thought about this a lot more
than I have.
MR. HAYES: This is Larry Hayes. Let me comment
Through our TSPA, of course, we identify those
things that are most important to performance.
One of them is keeping water off the waste,
We have put a lot of effort into seepage
monitoring to try to understand whether or not there is a
seepage threshold and how much water we might expect to
contact the waste.
The other aspect is our waste packages. Right now
our plan is long-lived waste packages.
So, performance of those packages are very
important, and we're putting a lot of effort into the waste
package performance corrosion work, testing to demonstrate
that these waste packages, indeed, will last a very long
time in the environment they're expected to perform in.
So, those are two very important priorities,
frankly, of our program, the amount of water that may
contact the waste packages and then waste package
MR. SELLARS: But the priorities are driven by
TSPA, and we use the RSS as our vehicle to, you know, help
us decide -- make those type of decisions.
MR. LEVENSON: I understand that, but how you use
the TSPA is of some interest in that just because from some
particular run, some parameter gives you bad results, but on
the other hand, the distribution of that particular
parameter over all of the cases might be quite different.
So, will you be taking -- in other words, not just
use the results, but will you be using a weighting process
in setting your priorities?
MR. ANDREWS: This is Bob Andrews out here in Las
Let me try to help elucidate a little bit what
You know, the TSPA -- there are many facets in the
TSPA, including the uncertainty and variability of the
various component piece-parts that go into the total system
and, in fact, the uncertainty of their conceptualizations
and models that are used as the bases for the uncertainty
included in the TSPA, and we're doing, you know, several
different things with these.
We're doing a lot of different regression-type
analyses to understand what drove the total variance or
spread of the outcomes.
The outcome of the TSPA is not simply the expected
or mean dose response as required in Part 63, but it's the
entire spectrum of potential responses for alternative
models and the uncertainties that are incorporated in it.
So, one aspect is simply doing regression to try
to understand the spread of the results and what is driving
the spread of the results.
Another aspect is looking at -- given that the
spread of the results is quite a broad spread over many
orders of magnitude of potential dose response, the other
aspect is trying to understand what drove the extremes of
the dose response, what drove the top 10 percentile, what
drove the top 5 percentile of the dose responses to be the
way they were, and in terms of supporting the performance
confirmation, are there additional tests or monitoring or
evaluations that can be done to confirm that the range of
uncertainty that's presently incorporated in the TSPA, or I
should say will be incorporated in additional TSPAs as we
move closer to licensing, if the site is found suitable,
that those are adequately accounting for the natural
variability and uncertainty in those piece-parts.
In addition to those, we are doing a wide range of
what-if kind of analyses, what-if kinds of analysis with
respect to alternative scenarios, what-if kind of analysis
with respect to different ranges of parameters for the
different component parts of the system, in order to gain
understanding and to elucidate what is driving system
performance, in order so we can do some of the
prioritization, you know, that I think you guys are talking
about back there.
Right now I think it's true to say we don't have a
quantitative basis for prioritizing.
I think what we have is we look at the whole
spectrum of results, including the uncertainty analyses, the
regression analyses, the importance analyses, the barrier
analyses, and in fact, the neutralization analyses to gain
insights into the overall system performance and what is
significant rather than pick any one of those and make a
quantitative basis for prioritizing significance, and I
think the final prioritization, of course, is somewhat
negotiated. It's negotiated based on the cost of doing the
performance confirmation, negotiated with respect to the
significance and the degree of uncertainty of each of those
piece-parts as they affect the total system performance.
MR. LEVENSON: Thank you.
DR. HORNBERGER: Eric, I have a question related
to your mother of all tests, your post-closure --
MR. SMISTAD: Grand-daddy, yeah.
DR. HORNBERGER: You indicated that this is going
to be the first -- in one of the first drifts, I guess.
MR. SMISTAD: Yeah, first couple of drifts, is the
DR. HORNBERGER: Now, to do this, I presume you're
going to seal those off.
MR. SMISTAD: Yes.
DR. HORNBERGER: Okay. And I'm curious, because
of course, you have the experience with your heater tests
and the pluses and minuses with your heater tests, and
assuming a 40-or-50-year operational period, is that the
right time scale to get the performance confirmation on,
let's say, water contacting the waste packages, for example,
which is really what you're after?
MR. SMISTAD: Right. That's why I alluded to
heaters, as well, because with a heater you can speed the
process up and, you know, watch for the re-wetting and the
seepage, if it occurs.
You won't have that -- that part of the cycle --
with real waste. We don't anticipate having that part of
the cycle with real waste.
It may be in the end that we do both. We're not
But certainly, with real waste and real packages,
you're limited from a time scale as to what you're going to
see, but that's part of our considerations in trying to plan
this test out and what we're after in the end.
DR. HORNBERGER: The other half of that, then, is
-- again, as John found the statement in Part 63 that we
hadn't found when I asked you the question -- the
requirement for some kind of post-closure monitoring, and
one of our -- the reason we're curious about this is,
basically, as you answered, it's a separate program, yet to
be determined who's going to do it, and yet it's pretty
clear to us, anyway, that there probably should be some kind
of coordination, and I know the answer would be, well,
that's 50 years from now and we'll know a lot more then, but
just in terms of this mother of all tests, it would strike
me that, even now, it might be wise to do a little planning.
You might, in fact, want to somehow continue
monitoring post-closure those first drifts. If you're going
to instrument the heck out of them, there's no reason that I
can see that you couldn't remotely do that, run some wires
up the shaft.
MR. SMISTAD: I anticipate that we will do that
when that time comes. I cannot imagine the Department not
doing that when the time comes.
MR. LEVENSON: One follow-on question.
If you proceed fairly soon to seal the first drift
or two, the difference between that test and reality of the
rest of the repository is that that drift hasn't dried out
for 30 or 40 years before you seal it, anticipate that
introducing major perturbations into the value of the test?
MR. SMISTAD: The planning on this test, in a
rough sense, is we would ventilate those drifts for a period
of 10 years, is the current thinking, so we're trying to get
at the most realistic situation we can, even though the time
MR. LEVENSON: Okay. So, the sealing is down the
road a ways.
MR. SMISTAD: Yes.
MR. LEVENSON: Ray?
DR. WYMER: I have, I guess, an observation and
then a question that relates to view-graphs number 8 and
On number 8, you point out that there will be
expected and unexpected outcomes.
MR. SMISTAD: Those are two possible --
DR. WYMER: Yeah, sure, those obviously are the
two ways it can go.
And in viewgraph number 10, you have nine chapters
Number four is processes and predictions. Then
you have six, which is daily evaluations. But you don't
have a chapter which I would consider to be the most
important, namely comparing the process predictions with the
outcomes. It seems to me that's worthy of the total chapter
since that's the whole ball game.
MR. SMISTAD: Yeah, I think that's buried, and
Mark, I'm digging for the slide now.
The chapter that we would have talking about the
strategy and the steps for unexpected outcomes --
Mark Sellars, are you --
MR. SELLARS: Yeah, I'm going to have Earnest
MR. SMISTAD: Okay.
MR. LINDNER: This is Earnest Lindner.
When we talk about data evaluation, the process
for performance confirmation goes up to the -- identifying
that something is occurring that we don't expect, whether
it's a trend or the data itself is outside the bounds. At
that point, we identify a process of going back to the NRC
and to the public and recommending action.
At that point, it ceases to be a performance
confirmation activity but it becomes a remedial activity
that the repository has to deal with, and we might have to
re-do the TSPA, we might have to re-building some process
models, or it may be something very significant, and in that
case, we'd have to take the least favored option of
retrieving the waste, but that's to be done outside the
performance confirmation process, where performance
confirmation is limited to gathering of test data and making
recommendations and evaluations on it.
MR. SELLARS: Doing the comparisons.
This is in chapter six, though, right?
MR. LINDNER: It's in chapter six.
MR. SMISTAD: It's buried in six, yeah.
MR. LINDNER: When we talk about data evaluation,
we're talking about reporting requirements and the what-if's
if something doesn't occur the way we expect it, what do we
DR. WYMER: Okay. I guess I didn't read data
evaluation in that sense. I probably would have had a
different title for the chapter.
MR. SMISTAD: It's buried.
DR. WYMER: Thanks.
MR. LINDNER: I have to apologize -- this is
Ernest Lindner again.
The titles here are very abstracted from the
If you had the full title, you would say that, as
So, these are abstractions of the title for
brevity on the slide.
MR. SMISTAD: This is slide dynamics here.
DR. WYMER: Thank you.
DR. HORNBERGER: There seems to be a presumption
here in some of these answers that, if you measure
something, that it's going to be worse than you had
indicated, when in fact what you might find, for example, is
that TSPA has water raining into the drifts, and you go in
there and you make some measurements and find out that the
parameter isn't what you assumed but maybe inverted comma is
better. Do you still go through and have to re-do the TSPA?
MR. SMISTAD: Yes.
We would first determine if that out-of-bounds, so
to speak, in a better sense or in a good direction, does
impact the TSPA or the dose curve if it swings it
appreciably enough, but you have to do the sensitivity
analysis to do that, and at the end of all that, if we
determine that we need to shift our baseline data set based
on that or subsequent values of that same parameter that
more or less confirm that we were off, I fully anticipate
that would be incorporated back into the TSPA as a baseline
parameter or number.
We certainly want to go forward with the best data
we have or the most -- the data that we have the most faith
in or confidence in, and if that's in a better direction, we
certainly would go there.
Somebody out west have a comment on that?
MR. ANDREWS: Eric, this is Bob Andrews.
MR. SMISTAD: Yeah, Bob.
MR. ANDREWS: What I was going to say was, you
know, in areas of significant -- of course, one of the
reasons we're doing the tests is to confirm that we're
within the bounds of the performance assessment to begin
The performance assessment that's done in the year
2000 or the year 2001 or the year 2002 has some uncertainty,
residual uncertainties associated with it, just because we
have not, you know, directly observed some aspects of the
repository or repository block or timeframes of the response
of the system that will be observed over these longer-term
performance confirmation-type tests.
If, in those TSPAs done in 2000 and 2001, in order
to address that complexity and that large uncertainty, if
there were conservative, you know, assumptions made to
minimize, you know, the regulatory -- how should I say? --
exposure, I guess, of that uncertainty, that would be okay,
and we would probably do that in a number of areas, and if
the test confirms that the conservatisms used were adequate
and were appropriate, that would be, I think, a very useful
and sound confirmation.
It may be that, as Eric says, you want to re-do
that aspect of the TSPA to see how much did it move the
needle in the better direction, but you may not re-do the
The one that you used as your basis for the
license application if the site is found suitable would
still be an adequate basis for the decision-makers to make.
MR. LEVENSON: I have sort of a followup to
You're going to have some limits which include
uncertainty, and if the confirmation indicates you're on the
negative side of that, you will make some changes to bring
you back in range.
If I understood what you just said, if, in fact,
you identify that you're way out of range on the
ultra-conservative side, would you undertake to do anything
to reduce the cost and exposure to workers to bring you back
into range, and if not, why not?
MR. SMISTAD: Anybody in the west want to take
that one on?
MR. LINDNER: This is Ernest Lindner.
MR. SMISTAD: Yeah, Ernie.
MR. LINDNER: The last phrase you were referencing
is pre-closure safety.
The safety of the workers in the work-place is a
high priority that is not addressed by the post-closure
plan, concerns of the performance confirmation plan, rather,
so that we would not do anything that would compromise
safety with the performance confirmation program.
We would evaluate if there is a trend or data
variance from the bounds, the bounds being set so that we
have exceeded our abstractions in the TSPA, then we would
have to evaluate what's wrong, take a look.
I mean is the data reliable? Is that data coming
in as it should?
Is there some -- perhaps we should put some
different instrumentation in that area to validate that we
might have a wrong transducer, or there may be something
that wasn't considered in the process models, the models
that model the overall geologic and mechanical processes, or
there may be something a little bit further.
So, your response has to be evaluated at that time
of what's gone wrong or what is wrong, but I mean in no
sense would we compromise the safety of the facility for
MR. LEVENSON: The question I'm asking is really
the reverse of that.
Nothing will come out of the performance
confirmation to increase risk of the staff above ground, but
will you utilize anything that comes out of performance
confirmation that indicates you could reduce the exposure of
the people that are working on the facility, or are these
two completely different things in your mind?
MR. LINDNER: This is Ernest Lindner.
I would see them as two different aspects of the
I mean, obviously, you'd like to see something in
testing that would reduce the exposure to personnel. I
would indicate that's so. But I don't anticipate anything
from the test that would suggest that.
MR. SELLARS: We would get the information from
the performance confirmation program.
This is Mark Sellars.
What you're getting at basically are like
enhancements to the safety case, enhancements to the design
to do even better than what you have in your licensing
basis, and that's not one of the fundamental objectives of
the program. The program is to confirm the basis that you
have when you go up front.
But certainly, the information that you gather
from the program could be used to do that.
But that's not one of the fundamental tenets or
objectives of the program.
MR. SMISTAD: I certainly think that could be an
I mean, you know, that's a possibility, and I
would be remiss by not saying that we would consider safety
first in all the testing that we do.
MR. LEVENSON: If we look at history, which -- not
necessarily what happened, it's what historians say
happened, but nevertheless, we look at it, we see that WIPP,
which is a little farther down the road than you are, is now
recognizing that a major fraction of the exposure to the
people in the program is coming from requirements that, in
fact, have apparently no basis in either safety or legal
reasons, and they have a major program to try to back out.
It's not easy to do, but if the objective is
overall safety, then one has to recognize that you have an
envelope, if you go out either side of it I think it
requires serious assessment as to what it means, because any
action you take has some consequence.
MR. LEVENSON: Ray, more comments?
DR. WYMER: No, nothing more.
MR. LEVENSON: I just have one more question. I
don't really want to hang you on any of your own words, but
you did say it.
You said that the schedule for the plan in detail
would be available prior to license application. Would you
care to estimate the decade or year in which the plan will
be ready for us to look at?
MR. SMISTAD: Let's see. What did I say?
I guess that was a statement that I put into the
presentation to communicate that this plan is evolving; the
details aren't on the table yet for the particular tests.
Those will be detailed at the time of the license
application, obviously, and obviously prior to the time of
So, that was kind of a bullet I threw in to give a
sense that we're not at that stage right now.
MR. LEVENSON: But you say it needs to be done
before license application.
Do you have a target date for completion of the
MR. SMISTAD: We have not established a target
date bond the August date of next year for an iteration, but
we certainly think there will be one. We just haven't
established the date yet.
DR. GARRICK: I want to press my earlier question
just a little bit.
We know that things get done on the basis of
budgets, and then it becomes a problem of allocation from
that budget to certain activities, and in a situation here
where you have some 23 tests or measurements that you're
trying to make -- and we all know that probably three or
four of these are 10 times more important than the other 20,
and in fact, if I were to pick one -- and Bob Andrews may
either verify this or dispute it -- if I had excellent
information on seepage monitoring, I would be very satisfied
with respect to a lot of the driver of performance on the
basis that, if there is an 800-pound gorilla in the
repository design, it's water access to the waste package.
So, what I'm really saying is are you going to
have the kind of flexibility where, when the analysts or the
scientists put forth what they consider to be the truly
important things to know about in terms of monitoring, to
allocate budgets accordingly?
MR. SMISTAD: I'll take it first, and then if Bob
wants to go, he can go.
Yes, there's no question about it, that the
process will work in that way, and in fact, this is not a
foreign process to us.
We've enumerated many tests through the years and
through all the budget cycles, and we have managed to
Especially in recent years, I think we've done a
real good job of that, probably over the last five years, of
using the results from the TSPA, and with input from the
PI's, as well, to determine what tests are really important,
and you've mentioned the seepage test.
In fact, we have fielded seepage tests, and we are
currently fielding seepage tests, and we will continue to
field seepage tests in the repository.
So, the point is this is not a foreign process to
us, prioritizing testing based on importance, and it will be
MR. HAYES: This is Larry Hayes from back west.
Obviously, an indication of how important one
thinks something is how much mon they put into it.
Let me talk about what we perhaps think are two of
our most important tests.
Seepage, absolutely right, how much water may
contact the waste.
I believe, from what I see in the budget process,
seepage is very well-funded, perhaps more so than most other
natural science testing. Seepage is our priority.
Over on the engineering side, waste package
performance is very highly funded, because that's perhaps
equal to seepage in importance.
So, indeed, if you look at where we're putting
some of our mon in testing, those two areas, relatively
speaking, are fairly well funded.
MR. LINDNER: This is Ernest Lindner.
I'd also like to clarify that, even though
something may be very important to performance, in the PC
plan, performance confirmation plan, we evaluate if we can
measure something that's significant to reduce the
uncertainty of that item.
In other words, we don't do a measurement of
something just because it's there.
We do the measurements because we will, indeed, if
we do measure it, have some effect or can have some effect
on the modeling of that process or the evaluation of that
So, just to gather data is not the intent of the
performance confirmation plan.
DR. GARRICK: Thank you.
MR. LEVENSON: Tim?
MR. McCARTIN: Tim McCartin, NRC staff.
Just one quick comment that the amendment for
closure does require DOE to update the TSPA based on the
performance confirmation program.
So, all the -- both plus and negative things that
they find along the way, when you get to closure, they do
have to update the TSPA.
So, it is wrapped all together at the end there.
MR. LEVENSON: Any comments from ACNW staff?
DR. GARRICK: Okay.
We've received a request from a member of the
public citizen group to make a comment, and I think now is
the time to do that.
I think it's Lisa Gue.
MS. GUE: Thank you very much.
Lisa Gue from Public Citizen.
In response to one of the questions that was asked
earlier, I think it was said that, in the event of an
unexpected outcome, a process would have to be identified
for informing the public and the NRC, and I'd just like to
know -- and certainly, I'd advocate for a process to be
built into the plan for regular and complete reporting
available to the public on the results of the performance
confirmation tests and what actions were being recommended.
DR. GARRICK: Thank you.
MR. SMISTAD: If I could just comment on that --
DR. GARRICK: Yes, go ahead.
MR. SMISTAD: That's certainly something that we
have in mind.
In fact, we discuss it a little bit in the PC
plan. We haven't got the details of exactly how we're going
to do that yet, but it's certainly something the Department
has in mind to do.
DR. GARRICK: Okay.
MR. LINDNER: This is Ernest Lindner, out west.
I'd like to add to what Eric said.
In the PC plan, we have identified the process of
getting the data from down-under, so to speak, and from
sub-surface to the public, so that eventually we hope to
have the data in a real mode, a real-time format, rather,
available perhaps in reports or on the web, if possible.
We would like to get to that point, so that the
data can be viewed by the public, so they can actually see
the data as it comes out from the sub-surface and get
assurance that, indeed, things are behaving as expected in a
In other words, within a week or so, we would have
the data posted or available to the public, so that you can
compare it against the published bounds.
To add to the -- what Eric said about the test
descriptions for the LA, as required by the license, we will
have to describe the tests in some detail, but the detailed
test plan will follow separate plans, which will specify the
actual measurement frequencies, the instrument types, their
accuracy and reliability, etcetera, but the LA will contain
a description of the tests that we consider necessary and
adequate for the license.
MR. McCARTIN: Tim McCartin, NRC staff.
NRC licensees are held to a very strict
requirement of notification, if they learn something that's
going to change anything that we made our decision on, and I
don't have the -- off the top of my head, I can't recite the
requirement, but I'll be happy to find it and get that
information, but there's very strict requirements on
notification, if you learn something that was different than
what you told us.
MR. LEVENSON: But that does not apply prior to
MR. McCARTIN: No, once they're a licensee.
DR. GARRICK: All right.
Any other comments or questions from anybody on
Eric, we want to thank you for honoring the
requirement to allow us plenty of time to have an exchange
and ask questions.
Are there any final comments from the people out
west on this topic?
DR. GARRICK: All right.
MR. SMISTAD: I want to thank you for giving us
the opportunity to come talk about the plan, and I wanted to
thank the guys out west for getting up at the crack of dawn
MR. LEVENSON: Some of us are on the same time
schedule they are.
DR. GARRICK: All right.
Then I think what we'll do is move directly into
our next topic, which is a summary of Key Technical Issues,
strategy, etcetera, and the committee member that has the
lead on this topic is George Hornberger.
DR. HORNBERGER: Thanks, John.
We're going to have a discussion on Key Technical
Issues and their resolution and how this process is going.
Some of the interest has been stimulated by how
the NRC and DOE put their different lists into conjunction,
so that the NRC has Key Technical Issues and the DOE has k
program principle factors -- well, at any rate, something
else, and furthermore, the DOE has issued process model
reports, and the NRC staff and DOE are interacting on these,
and we heard just a little bit yesterday that the NRC and
DOE have revised their strategy for how they're going to
treat these PMRs and the analysis.
So, before break -- we'll come back after break
and have the NRC staff in this discussion, but before break,
I'm going to ask Carol Hanlon if she would do her
presentation on the revised approach that DOE and NRC are
MS. HANLON: Thanks for the opportunity to talk to
you about our evolving and revised approach to presenting
information that's going to assist, hopefully, the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission staff in doing their considerations of
sufficiency, and perhaps I could shed just a little bit of
clarifying light on the three things that Dr. Hornberger
mentioned, especially the principle factors in the process
model reports, as compared with the Key Technical Issues.
You will recall that, in earlier repository safety
strategies and, indeed, in the viability assessment, we
identified items that we believe to be important --
principle factors that were important to post-closure
performance and, therefore, were used to prioritize the work
that we were planning to take from the phase on into license
So, we have used iterations of those principle
I think you remember that there were 19 in the
As we've gone through the evolution of the
performance assessments and we've looked through the
principle -- or excuse me -- the repository safety strategy
again, we've winnowed that down to, I believe, seven or
eight, and we're evaluating those to see where the real
principle factors are and if there are other issues that are
important to performance.
So, we've done a little bit of modifying there,
but it's, I think, essentially the same set, with the same
emphases that you're familiar with, and that process has led
us to look at process models, which feed into the Total
System Performance Assessment and helps us evaluate our
total system, repository system, the natural and engineered
barriers, to again see how that system is functioning and
consider that we still do have the same principle factors,
and that is in comparison with the Key Technical Issues.
I'm a little bit out of bounds here. Probably it
would be better for the NRC staff to explain this, but I'm
sure they won't be shy about correcting me.
The Key Technical Issues are those nine or 10
areas which they feel are very important areas to overall
repository performance and areas that they have concerns on,
they want to share their concerns, they want us to be aware
of those concerns, and they want us to take those into
account as we're moving forward to resolve open items.
So, hopefully that helps a little.
I was going to say that, due to the excellent
presentation that the NRC staff has made on their
sufficiency process, I will use that as a basis to
discussing with you some updated input on how we are hoping
to conduct meetings that support that process of doing
sufficiency considerations and giving us their comment and a
little bit of history that probably by now you all could
recite better than many of us.
As a component of any site recommendation that's
given, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act requires the NRC to
provide comments on certain aspects of our repository
information leading to license of that repository.
So, that's a requirement out of section 114. I'll
let you read it; I won't.
Last year, we developed and put forward an initial
-- we proposed an initial approach to the Commission to
assist them in preparing for their comments.
That was in Dr. Brocoum's November 24th letter to
John Greeves where he proposed this approach. Parts of that
approach were we proposed to conduct meetings on various
aspects, including the process model reports and the Total
System Performance Assessment, to provide information to the
We also identified types of information and
documents which we intended to provide to assist the staff
in their evaluation, so that they would fully understand the
technical basis leading to any site recommendation, and we
wanted to include an evaluation of the Key Technical Issue,
the status as we saw it in our own self-assessment of where
our status might be against those.
Recently, April 25th and 26th, in Las Vegas, we
had a technical exchange.
This meeting focused on two aspects.
It focused on the staff's discussion of their
sufficiency strategy, and additionally, it focused on a
discussion of the status of the key technical item open
NRC's management made it very, very clear that
their intent was to evaluate the status of closing KTI open
items as an important part of the sufficiency
considerations, and in the two days of meetings that
followed, NRC and DOE staffs presented their respective
assessment of where we with regard to those Key Technical
The NRC staff perspective, I believe, was
basically from their development of the issue resolution
status report, their revisions of those, and where they
found the status to be, as well as their progress in moving
toward -- forward for developing the Yucca Mountain review
plan, and DOE status was based on not only an evaluation of
the issue resolution status reports and what we saw in there
but also the information that we were getting then from the
process model reports and the analysis and modeling reports
which were well underway by April, and many were
So, with this technical exchange in April as a
foundation and a departure point, we developed a set of
planned interactions on process model reports.
We originally developed a set of nine process
model reports, and again, those were basically model --
excuse me -- process model report meetings.
They were basically those which we had promised in
our November 24th letter, and we wanted to allow the
opportunity to go through those.
The meetings would have, as envisioned, had two
main purposes, both to discuss the process model report
itself and to evaluate progress against the KTIs.
In discussing the process model report, we wanted
to present the purpose of that particular report and
conclusions that it might have reached and the basis from
Analysis and Modeling Reports that substantiated those
conclusions, so walk through the process model reports and
see why we were reaching the conclusions we were reaching,
in addition take the next step into taking that forward into
Total System Performance Assessment implications, what it
meant for the performance assessment and a correlation with
the repository safety strategy principle factors where they
A second very important part of that meeting and
really the heart of the meeting was to discuss again those
conclusions and that information and the evolving
information from the Analysis and Modeling Reports against
the KTI status and how that moved the ball forward on the
open issues, and one of the tools we used and we began to
develop we're now referring to as our delta analysis.
We had called it a gap analysis, and the purpose
of that was to evaluate the -- to compare the process that
the Commission staff was beginning to develop against these
KTI open issues with our own self-assessment of where the
status was and how we could show the basis for it.
So, with that in mind, we moved forward to the
first technical exchange on Total System Performance
Assessment, June 6th and 7th in San Antonio.
That focused on the status of the TSPA, SR, and
assumptions that had gone into it, the various components,
and it also focused on related issues from the Key Technical
Issue on Total System Performance Assessment and
It was an ambitious agenda, and it was an agenda
that was developed through extensive interactions between
DOE and NRC.
Much work was done and much planning was done on
that agenda, and I think both sides did a lot of effort, and
from that meeting, I think we had a number of positive
We exchanged a lot of new and important
information, understood opinions.
We laid the ground work for future meetings which
would address specific areas of the Key Technical Issues and
the particular concerns of performance modeling reports,
process model reports, and throughout the meeting, we
identified -- at the end of the meeting, we identified ways
that we could improve the effectiveness of these future
interactions that we had laid out.
However, we didn't -- we were not able to close
any additional items, and there remained no status really --
no change in the issue status, and therefore, NRC and DOE
management sought ways to improve our ability to reach
resolution on these issues.
So, based on that, we re-focused our interaction
DOE and NRC management agreed to focus on those
subset of interactions which were believed to have the most
potential for resolving KTI open items and fully resolving,
So, we came up with a set of five meetings that
we'll have in the next four months.
Unsaturated zone flow and saturated zone flow are
really a pair that address one KTI, unsaturated zone and the
saturated zone, and I can never get the acronym for USFICI.
I just don't do acronyms.
USFIC, igneous activity and structural
deformation, again are a pair which address the KTI and
structural deformation and seismicity.
Container life and source term stands on its own.
And the dates for those are August 16th and 17th
in Berkeley for the unsaturated zone flow meeting; August
29th, 30th, and 31st for the igneous activity meeting --
that's a change; September 12th and 13th, container life and
source term -- again, both that and igneous activity are in
Las Vegas, as well as structural deformation and seismicity,
which will be October 3rd through 5th, and they include a
November 1st and 2nd, we'll have saturated zone
flow. That will be held in Albuquerque.
So, one of the considerations we've used in these
meetings is carefully considering and developing the agenda
nd making sure that we have adequate time for sufficient
discussions, and I think that's shown right here where we've
extended that for an additional day to make sure that we
have the time.
We would invite you to participate or attend these
meetings. You or your staff representatives would be most
The one in Berkeley -- we'll have to travel to
Berkeley to participate in that meeting. We've decided not
to have details, telecons for these meetings. We believe
it's much more effective to have the participants working
face to face in the same room. We think that promotes
dialogue, promotes discussion, and may help us to expedite
and facilitate closure of issues.
So, we're not going to V-tel these. We hope that
So, please join us.
Just for your information, the ones that remain to
be scheduled, thermal effects, repository design, thermal
mechanical effects, radio-nuclide transport, evolution of
the near-field environment, and total system performance
assessment integration -- so, we have not forgotten those.
In preparing for these meetings, we've kept a
number of things in mind, and we're going to continue the
technique that we used in San Antonio of having an
issue-oriented agenda that's organized by sub-issues, so
that we can have categories to close out the issue and the
criteria and the open items issue by issue or sub-issue by
We're going to continue developing our delta
analysis so that we can use that as a tool to facilitate
these meetings, and what we're doing with that delta
analysis is, for the various criteria, acceptance criteria,
we're attempting to identify where in AMRs we have
information that addresses that, we are identifying where
there are differences, and we're attempting to focus on a
path forward to resolution.
So, we hope that that delta analysis will prove to
be a very useful tool for both parties, and it has certainly
been effective for us, and we're working on the one for UZ
right now and hope to have it to NRC very soon.
The staff, in its turn, has agreed to review the
AMRs carefully and to identify questions that they may have
for discussion in technical exchange, in those areas where
they'd like additional information or they'd like
clarification, how we might facilitate that, and at this
point, I think they may have more than they wished. I think
they have 115 or so AMRs, Analysis and Modeling Reports, to
So, hopefully you're enjoying those.
In addition, at all these meetings, we've agreed
that we're going to -- and we would have anyway -- discuss
the performance assessment implications, make sure that
there are people there that are prepared to discuss
performance assessment, and also features, events, and
processes will be addressed.
I think that you have perhaps seen this analysis.
We changed the name to delta analysis. We change names
every week or so.
But the main components that it will have is the
acceptance criteria, what the NRC staff analysis is, and as
you see, it's sub-issue by sub-issue, what DOE's view of the
status is based on what we believe is in the AMRs or in
other documents, so our view, and a proposed path forward,
and we are also going to add columns that we can fill out,
hopefully as we go through the meeting, that will indicate
at least a preview of what agreements we've reached in terms
of the status as we evolve.
You had seen the sample from the June TSP meeting.
Do you all have copies of that?
So, just see how it's evolving just a little bit.
It's basically not much different.
And where it is for the unsaturated zone flow
We have a copy of this draft delta analysis. If
you would be interest in having copies, just let us know and
we can get it to you. We have them here today.
So, just to summarize, DOE and NRC management have
established an approach which we hope will facilitate issue
resolution, fully close open items, as focused on the Key
Technical Issues more specifically. Five interactions are
scheduled over the next four months for those Key Technical
Issues which are believed to have the most potential for
complete issue resolution.
The objective is to support NRC's preparation of
their sufficient comments by closing as many open items as
possible and, where they're not fully closed, by agreeing on
the path forward to resolution of the open items for the
So, that's basically where we are.
May I answer any questions for you?
DR. HORNBERGER: Thanks very much, Carol.
Questions for Carol?
DR. HORNBERGER: Carol, as you know, I teleconned
to San Antonio.
MS. HANLON: A remarkable experience.
DR. HORNBERGER: I think both Lynn and I approve
of your not teleconning anymore.
No, actually, it was still worthwhile. I was glad
to have an opportunity to sit in.
Clearly, you say you did learn from that. You
have a better sense of how to move forward efficiently.
It did strike me that a lot of the issues that
were raised at the TSPA meeting really got down into the
details that would be contained in the PMR, the PMRs
themselves, and I guess the question that I have is, is
there any plan farther in the future to come back and
revisit the TSPA itself after these other issues are -- that
kept coming up at the TSPA are resolved?
MS. HANLON: Well, yeah, I'm sure -- yeah, and I
don't know if Bob is still there. He could probably say
more if he is.
But one of the things about this meeting was it
was a bit early in the process, not really all that early in
the process, but the results were not in yet.
So, we were talking about some things where the
TSPA was not completely finished, the results were not in,
and the package hadn't been wrapped up.
So, we realize, you know, that it was in some ways
early and in some ways late. That's why I mentioned the
fact that it set the tone for future meetings where we would
go into the specific process model as we'd previously
envisioned and go into the Analysis and Modeling Reports
that provided the specific data that fed the process model,
again that fed the TSPA.
So, that was the plan we envisioned.
Now we're focusing on the Key Technical Issues.
We'll do somewhat the same, but with the assistance of the
staff, who are reading the AMRs and identifying questions,
then we will interact to define the agendas and again find
those spots where we may want to look at the TSPA, we might
want to look at the results, what the results are telling
us, and understand those or identify sensitivities or feed
them back into the meeting.
I think that we were both thinking about it
anyway. I'm sure that NRC was intending to have a
performance assessment component. I know DOE was. At that
meeting, we both assured each other that there would be that
TSPA component in all the future meetings.
DR. HORNBERGER: Okay. Thanks.
Questions or comments from the staff?
MR. FIRTH: James Firth, NRC.
In the letter from Steve Brocoum that initially
proposed the interactions, there were TSPA interactions
scheduled for basically the spring/summer, before DOE had
completed their TSPA, then one in November, and then there
was one in April of 2001.
So, there are opportunities, depending on how
things shake out, for doing the AMRs and PMRs and the
changes to those, what comes out of the results of DOE's
TSPA, that there are opportunities through the process to
continue to revisit and to continue to make progress on
resolving the issues, and I would reiterate what Carol had
said in terms of -- that given that the DOE documents,
either the TSPA/SR model report or the technical document,
neither one of those were available to the NRC staff in
advance of the meeting.
So, for us to be able to really make progress on
moving issues from open to closed or closed pending, we need
a little bit more in terms of detail that's in-hand, as well
as more detailed commitments.
So, it was a little bit premature in June, given
the status of DOE's TSPA, the documentation, and the
information that was available to the NRC staff to move
things from the open status at this point.
DR. HORNBERGER: Thanks, James.
Don't take my comment as a criticism of the June
meeting. I think it was, as you say, very valuable.
"Premature" is perhaps too strong a word.
MS. HANLON: We just noticed those things, and
that's why we've taken some actions, in fact, getting the
delta analysis to the staff early so that they can see where
we think the things are.
I think they have almost all of the AMRs now.
There are just four remaining that are probably coming very
soon. In draft, I think they have almost all of the PMRs,
if not all, and they have formal copies of two, and
hopefully, the relevant AMRs and PMR will be available.
They're available now and will be to them for the meeting in
August. So, hopefully we're moving forward on those.
DR. HORNBERGER: Good.
Thanks again, Carol.
MS. HANLON: You're welcome.
DR. GARRICK: I think what we'll do is take a
15-minute break and then continue with our next item on our
As I understand it, the people that are going to
make the presentations are here. So, rather than 10:30 or
whatever it was, we will have that presentation in 15
We'll break for now.
DR. GARRICK: George, do you want to carry on?
DR. HORNBERGER: Okay.
We're reconvening on our discussion of Key
Technical Issues, and King Stablein said that Carol Hanlon
stole everything that he was going to say and so his
presentation was going to be short.
And I don't say that to have you make it even
shorter, King, but go ahead.
MR. STABLEIN: Thank you very much, Dr.
I had intended this to be short and informal and
kind of a concise status report on issue resolution anyway,
and Carol did touch on a lot of the things that I was going
It gives you a chance to kind of contrast and
compare and make sure that we're being consistent in what we
put out before you, and although my own presentation will be
relatively short, I have with me representatives of all of
the key technical issues, all nine of them, in the audience
and near microphones, so that if any of the members is
interested in a particular Key Technical Issue or sub-issue
and its status or how we view it in terms of issue
resolution, I would encourage you to ask these staff
members, because they're the experts in those individual
areas, and I wanted to have them all available.
They were all at the issue closure meeting on
April 25th and 26th, so they are well up to date on what
transpired there, and they're all actively involved in this
issue resolution process.
So, to indicate to you the importance that the NRC
is putting on this area of issue resolution, we have, in
fact, installed a new senior project manager who is in
charge of issue closure, Jim Anderson.
He can't be with us today, but in the future, you
will be hearing from Jim as to how we will proceed to work
on the issue closure meetings that Carol talked about.
So, let's turn to the first slide, background for
Key Technical Issue resolution.
This is material that you're familiar with, but
just quickly to remind us that we refocused the high-level
waste program in FY '96 to pay attention to those issues
that we viewed in the post-closure as most important to
performance, and we have nine of those issues.
They are listed there for you. We don't have to
read them off.
You have performance assessment, you have the site
issues, and you have the design issues.
On the next slide, we have the objective of Key
Technical Issue resolution, and the goal for the NRC is to
complete resolution of all of the Key Technical Issues and
the 38 associated sub-issues before DOE submits the license
And the rationale for this is that Congress has
given us a mandate to review DOE's license application
within three years, and for us to be able to do that, DOE
needs to prepare a license application that's sufficiently
complete and high-quality such that we can accomplish our
goal of docketing the application, reviewing it, and writing
the SER in that three-year period.
So, this issue resolution process is very
important to us to meet that mandate.
We have established a basis for issue resolution.
We had an agreed-upon definition in the regulations on the
pre-licensing process and our 1992 agreement with DOE. It
involves staff-level resolution being able to be achieved
during the pre-licensing process.
These issues can be reopened as new information
becomes available, and very important for all parties to
understand is that these are non-binding resolutions and
they're non-binding on any party to the licensing process.
These issues can be raised and discussed in licensing. They
are not closed by virtue of what happens in the
pre-licensing consultation phase.
Now, the April 25th and 26th meeting was, in my
thinking, a real watershed.
We've been working on issue resolution in this
program, actually, for more than 10 years, but we had never
come together with as much focus as we did at this meeting
with a real intensity in terms of finding the paths to issue
resolution, and there was just a changed attitude and focus
on the parties involved in this meeting.
We've been looking at the technical information
over the more than 10 years.
We have been documenting the status of issue
resolution in our issue resolution status reports for the
last three or four years, and in those reports, we've been
indicating the status of the sub-issues and what is needed
to close those issues.
So, the information has been there. DOE has read
those, and they've provided us, in fact, with feedback on
some of those issue resolution status reports.
Now, the April 25th and 26th meeting represented
this attempt to take a quantum leap forward in the
resolution process, and what we promised to do and we think
we did was to summarize the current resolution status of the
Key Technical Issues, the associated sub-issues, and most
importantly to state specifically what is needed from DOE to
close these issues and sub-issues, and for its part, as
Carol told you in greater detail, DOE staff would discuss
its plans and schedule for providing the needed information
and also would give their views on how close they were to
actually having some issues resolved or providing the
information that we were asking for, and I might say that
the format that DOE provided that information in we found
very useful and are still working with.
It's important to understand what we mean by our
various categories of issue resolution.
We now have three categories open.
DOE has not yet acceptably addressed staff
questions regarding the model, data, or other information
pertaining to an issue or its subordinate sub-issues, and
what this means is that, in the staff's view, additional
information is required to provide an adequate basis for
regulatory decision-making at the time that we're reviewing
the license application, and in fact, the failure to provide
the needed information could even result in the LA not
managing to be docketed.
Closed is when the staff has no further questions
regarding the model data or other information.
The DOE approach and the supporting information
acceptably addresses our questions and our comments, and no
information beyond what is currently available will likely
be required for staff regulatory decision-making when we are
writing that SER and when we are reviewing the license
The third category is one that we more recently
added, and it's closed pending the license application or
construction authorization review, and this closed pending
means that, right now, the staff has no further questions
regarding the model data or other supporting information
pertaining to an issue or the subordinate sub-issue, but the
staff is awaiting additional information from DOE.
The staff feels that it needs more information to
gain confidence that that information, combined with what is
already available, if provided by the time we're doing our
licensing review, will be enough to enable us to proceed
with regulatory decision-making.
And the last point is very important. If the
additional information has not been provided before the
license application, the LA itself will include the
remaining required information sufficient for staff to make
Now, the commitments we're looking for, where DOE
has not yet done the data gathering or the analyses that
we're looking for, these commitments need to be documented,
they need to be specific in terms of what will be done and
when it will be done.
At the KTI resolution meeting, the staff presented
the current status of each sub-issue and the overall Key
Technical Issue and specifically what DOE needs to provide
or consider to close the sub-issue.
There were three categories of information. The
DOE needed to provide additional analyses or initial data
and analyses or, in rare instances, one or more additional
aspects of the sub-issue need to be addressed, something
that DOE simply had not yet even looked at.
At this stage in the program, there weren't too
many of those situations.
The outcomes of the April meeting -- in
preparation for that meeting and/or at that meeting, seven
sub-issues were able to be called closed or closed pending,
four in the container life and source term Key Technical
Issue and three under repository design and thermal
mechanical effects, and those are listed there for you, and
you see my note indicating that, on the next page, it gives
you a summary status for all of the nine KTIs and the 38
sub-issues. Right now, 14 sub-issues are considered closed
or closed pending and 24 are considered open.
Two other outcomes of the April meeting -- there
was a much better understanding of DOE plans and schedules
for providing the information to close issues, and the bases
were established for NRC staff to develop more detailed
schedules by the end of September for implementation of the
paths toward resolution, and in fact, all nine Key Technical
Issue teams are currently engaged in working out detailed
schedules and plans that can lead to resolution of their Key
Technical Issue and the associated sub-issues.
This is the chart showing the underlying
sub-issues are the ones that are open and the others are
closed or closed pending.
If you have questions about any of the individual
KTIs, as I mentioned, the staff members are here who can
discuss those for you.
You can see that, in most of the -- well, I don't
want to exaggerate, but in many of the Key Technical Issues,
there is at least one sub-issue which is closed or closed
There are a couple of Key Technical Issues where
everything is open at the present time.
And finally, the path forward, the next steps --
NRC staff will continue development of the plans that I just
discussed to reach closure of the sub-issues and the issues,
especially incorporating review of the transmittals that
Carol mentioned, the AMRs, the PMRs, and the proposed
near-term meetings to attempt to achieve closure of the
first four KTIs that DOE identified.
I want to point out in my chart that I didn't mean
to unilaterally move the saturated zone meeting from -- to
Berkeley from Albuquerque.
That's a little flaw in my slide for the November
That should be Albuquerque.
And for the SDS meeting, I've got a TBD, where
Carol had October 3 through 5, because it appears that,
right now, ongoing discussions may cause a slight change in
those dates, and of course, you all will be informed as soon
as those dates get re-established.
The dates being considered are a week or two from
the October 3rd through 5th date.
The issue resolution status reports for the for
KTIs involved in these meetings will be deferred until after
the meetings take place so that the staff has an opportunity
to include the results of the meeting in those issue
resolution status reports, document any further closures or
at least the path toward closure, and as Carol mentioned,
meetings on the other five Key Technical Issues have not yet
been scheduled, and the staff will go forward and issue
those issue resolution status reports by the end of October
of this year, and then we will proceed to schedule those
meetings as soon as possible based on both parties'
So, that's pretty much the status of issue
resolution from the NRC point of view, and certainly, what
Carol talked about in terms of sufficiency is important. We
are looking at the available information in terms of what we
would write about the sufficiency of the data available for
DOE to prepare a license application.
NRC, in issue resolution, has the long-term view
of the license application and whether the information that
will be provided will be enough for a complete high-quality
At this point, I will stop and let you ask
questions of me or the leads for the Key Technical Issues.
DR. HORNBERGER: Thanks, King.
Let me ask a first quick question.
On your last slide and what Carol showed us, it
does look -- or it's obvious that these meetings are focused
on KTIs, and the question I have -- do you have any
gut-level feeling as to how many PMRs and AMRs feed into
each one of these KTIs?
That is, they're no longer strictly PMR meetings.
MR. STABLEIN: That's correct.
DR. HORNBERGER: Could you give me some feel for
MR. STABLEIN: I know that there are a lot of AMRs
that feed into the PMRs for these, but why don't we pick
one, because the KTI leads are --
DR. HORNBERGER: -- are here.
MR. STABLEIN: -- on top of this.
How about, for example, the USFIC?
Latif, would you like to address that?
Introduce yourself first.
MR. HAMDAN: Yeah. I'm Latif Hamdan.
I can deal with the saturated zone exactly. We
have one saturated zone flow and transport PMR, and it is
supported by 13 AMRs.
DR. HORNBERGER: So, it clearly, then, is either
one PMR associated with each of these meetings or no more
MR. STABLEIN: Gustavo?
MR. CRAGNOLINO: Gustavo Cragnolino, Center for
Nuclear Waste Regulatory Analysis.
In the case of the CLST KTI, there are two PMR,
one for waste form and another one for waste package.
MR. STABLEIN: James?
MR. FIRTH: James Firth, NRC.
In the case of Total System Performance Assessment
and Integration we sort of capture elements of all of the
PMRs, like primarily the abstraction AMRs and the FEP AMRs.
We also have some documents that are not in the set of PMRs.
We have the TSPA SR documents, which is the model document
in the technical report.
So, we have some things beyond just the PMRs that
we have to look at, as well.
DR. HORNBERGER: Thanks.
Milt, do you have questions?
MR. LEVENSON: I have one sort of general question
that I suppose I should ask you and Carol independently, but
do you feel there is general agreement on these open issues
where more information is needed? Do you think the two
sides are pretty much talking about the same thing as to
what's needed, etcetera?
MR. STABLEIN: I think that the April meeting
brought us a lot closer in assuring that we are focused on
the same needs for data and analyses.
I wasn't at the meeting.
David, would you want to comment on that from your
experience at the meeting?
MR. BROOKS: Yeah. Dave Brooks.
I would agree with King. I think the meeting
indicated that the DOE and the NRC are focusing on the same
kinds of information needs.
An example would be, for example, in the
unsaturated/saturated flow, it would be the flow paths and
the data needed to define flow paths in the saturated zone.
You know, I don't think there's any disagreement
with -- among the staff on the need for that information,
for doing the total systems performance, and I think you
could probably come up with examples for all of the KTIs.
MR. LEVENSON: I was really thinking more about
detailed information at the meeting where there are very
many or any responses where when you said, well, we need
more on this, were the responses, well, we thought we gave
you what was wanted.
That's a fairly normal problem in this kind of
Do you feel there is a good understanding?
MR. BROOKS: Yes, I do.
I can't remember any areas where there was extreme
We always have discussions about igneous activity.
I think we've come very close together on that one. That
one's a priority issue to meet with DOE on, and we'll be
doing that in August.
MS. HANLON: Yeah, I just want to note that we
worked very carefully together to make sure that we minimize
areas of discrepancy such as that.
It was very helpful to have the April meeting and
to clearly identify where NRC thought we were with regard to
the status and where we thought we were.
In addition, we've provided -- at NRC's request,
we've provided copies of all the analysis in modeling
reports in draft phases, and they will get them in final
phases. So, they have the actual documents to look at the
information and see if, in fact, the information that we
think makes a point does make that point, or if they have
any additional questions on that, and one thing we did in
San Antonio was to agree that, as we prepare for these
meetings, it's very important that we've digested the
Analysis and Modeling Report, we've gone through the gap
analysis, and we've looked where we are and tried to define
points where we need to further clarify in order to have
meaningful understanding and to reach resolution.
So, we may not be perfectly there yet, but we
certainly are focusing on getting there.
DR. HORNBERGER: Ray?
DR. WYMER: I have a question that's probably a
little more specific than is appropriate for this meeting,
but I want to ask it anyway.
I noticed under your Key Technical Issues and
sub-issues on viewgraph number nine, the evolution of the
near-field environment has a lot of underlining.
DR. WYMER: And it's basically chemistry.
And I wondered if -- two things: one, if there's
any feeling for whether or not DOE is really addressing
these things at the level of effort that will get to the
answers in a timely way and, secondly, whether or not there
is adequate support at the center and elsewhere in NRC to
evaluate what DOE turns in.
MR. STABLEIN: Well, Bret Leslie is the lead on
that, and I think he can respond.
MR. LESLIE: Bret Leslie, NRC staff.
Ray, I think one reason why you see those things
underlined is that, in terms of bringing in geo-chemistry
into performance assessment, it's been rather a late-comer.
DR. WYMER: Yeah.
MR. LESLIE: I think the TSPA VA was the first
real attempt by DOE to really try to bring in the
complexity, and they made very good progress.
We feel that, after our review of the AMRs, that
-- I wouldn't say that everything's open. We're definitely
focusing on major -- on the things that are most important
to risk, and I think they understand that, that, for
instance, you don't need to know everything about the
geo-chemistry, but you need to know certain particular
things, and I think we've focused at that April meeting what
it is that we're looking for.
So, I don't -- I think we have the resources
necessary to do it, and I think DOE -- you know, we're in
the process of reviewing the AMRs.
We still see that there are some things that
aren't being focused on by DOE and the AMRs in terms of the
DR. WYMER: But you do think you have the
resources necessary to evaluate what you see?
MR. LESLIE: If not, we'll make noise.
DR. WYMER: Okay. Thanks.
DR. HORNBERGER: Bret, could you perhaps give us a
specific example of something that you want to focus on and
perhaps you're not quite sure that -- how DOE is going to
MR. LESLIE: We'll give you the example.
Primarily, as you well know, the near-field is
really looking at how it impacts performance, and so, we
rely on the container life and source term folks to tell us,
okay, well, for the drip shield, we need to know what the
fluoride chemistry is.
Well, if you look at the AMRs on evaporates and
salt analysis, they don't evaluate fluoride, yet we know
that fluoride concentration could be critical to one type of
corrosion mechanism in the drip shield, and so, that's one
of them where it would be fairly easy to do, but they
haven't addressed it to date, and so, this is likely to be
something that we'll be bringing up in our interactions with
DOE sooner rather than later.
DR. HORNBERGER: Okay.
So, you don't have like major issues in inadequacy
of the thermo-dynamic database or something really
DR. WYMER: I wouldn't say that.
MR. LESLIE: In some ways we're a little fortunate
that the geo-chemical parameters for both the waste package
and drip shield are things that tend to behave
conservatively, like chloride and fluoride.
So, we're not really relying on exotic things, and
it just happens that the engineered barriers are not
necessarily reliant on things that don't -- there isn't a
good thermo-dynamic database.
Sure, if you wanted to model the mountain in a
scientific sense, that's -- you know, there are some gaps,
but when you focus on what things are important to risk, the
chemistry is rather simple or the breadth that you need is
DR. HORNBERGER: Ray?
DR. WYMER: I'm done.
MR. McCARTIN: John?
DR. GARRICK: Sort of continuing a discussion of
viewgraph number nine, I was struck at first -- and as the
discussion proceeded, I was less -- it was less of a
mystery, but at first I look at number three, which is
container life and source term, for which there has been
considerable progress in resolution of sub-issues for a part
of the repository that the design is still reasonably
dynamic, and then I look at -- and yet, there's closure on a
lot of the sub-issues, and then I look at KTI 4, which for
the -- on first look, is basically the mountain, which is
pretty well-designed, and there is nothing resolved, and it
was kind of a curious thing to me that we had made so much
progress on a part of the repository where the design is in
a high state of dynamics and very little progress on a part
of a design where things are reasonably stable, but part of
the problem is the coupled process issue.
I was just wondering if anybody wanted to comment
And the other thing, I would like to have somebody
just spend a few minutes taking us through one of these
issues to get a little better feel for, at the technical
level, what constitutes closure, and I don't care which one
we take, although maybe, because there's been so much
discussion of it, we could use as our example igneous
So, there's two kinds of things. One is how come
we've made so much progress on the container life and source
term KTI and so little progress on the natural setting,
given that we've been dealing with the natural setting for
many, many, many years?
Is this an artifact of scheduling? Is it because
of the complexity of the issue? What are some of the
MR. LESLIE: Dr. Garrick, this is Bret Leslie, NRC
staff. I'll answer that.
I think I touched a little bit about it, but
basically it's been a lack of an analysis. While they may
have collected a lot of data, the drip shield heater test is
a relatively new program. The EBS testing at DOE is
The state of knowledge in terms of applying it to
risk is new, and so, when we're focusing on closure, we're
focusing on those things that aren't necessarily just the
description but how that information is applied in a
performance assessment to evaluate the risk.
And the other thing is that the issue resolution
is, really, when we write these things, it's a snapshot. If
the design were to change, container life and source term,
if they introduced a new exotic thing, one of the sub-issues
would open up again.
I think I'll let CLST explain why they can close
and we're not.
MR. CRAGNOLINO: I will take a different example
that is in some ways related. This is what we consider
sub-issue number three, the rate at which radio-nuclides are
For us, this issue is closed but pending
additional information, and I think that the way that it has
been underlined, this is a little different and it's very
Closed pending additional information doesn't mean
that it's closed.
Maybe there's critical information there that is
not essentially relevant to the nature of the problem but
will impact in the uncertainties, and let me make example.
I don't know if I have enough time, but DOE is
dealing very well with the rate of dissolution of the spent
fuel. They use a good model and database. There are some
minor problems, but we agree, essentially. There are some
problems later on regarding the solubility of neptunium, but
I will leave this aside.
Now, if the cladding is very important in their
performance demonstration, we have a problem, and this is
related in some way with some aspect of the impact of
If fluoride, coming back to the example, is not
tied up, fluoride can impact the zircalloy cladding, and the
zircalloy cladding will corrode right away. On the other
side, if fluoride is tied up with silicone or something else
from the fuel or from the environment inside, you don't have
the same problem.
I mean the problem is well-defined, but DOE needs
to provide additional information, and here is a problem
that is not thermal-dynamic in nature, but it has to do with
the problem of concentrated solution.
There is no good way with EQ326 to deal with
Well, they have to conclude the solution are
diluted or are concentrated.
This is the root of the problem.
However, the approach is sound, they have good
models, enough databases, but they need additional
information before we can close the issue.
We consider the issue is closed pending this
additional information, but it's not closed. It all depends
upon how the impact of the failure of the cladding will
I think that this clarifies the issue for us.
DR. GARRICK: So, a lot of these closures are
MR. CRAGNOLINO: Conditional. And if you want, I
can amplify on the others.
To take another simple example, second one,
sub-issue related to mechanical failure, with the change in
design, thermal embrittlement of carbon steel is moot, and
for the temperatures we are talking about, we don't
anticipate problems with embrittlement or the regulation of
mechanical failure for alloy-22.
Therefore, it's very much information that we need
there, and mostly, it is related with initial failures, how
they handle initial failure, with a lack of information in
the fabrication of component of alloy-22.
For stainless steel, they have a lot of components
over there, but it's different to weld, stainless steel to
It's closed pending additional information, but we
can capture this information very soon, we believe.
DR. GARRICK: Is this kind of strategy,
conditional closure, consistently applied, reasonably
consistently applied throughout all the sub-issues?
MR. STABLEIN: I can tell you that, in preparation
for the meeting, we worked very hard, staff and management,
on each sub-issue, looking at the information, looking at
how the criteria were applied, and it is my belief that it
is reasonably consistently applied.
DR. GARRICK: Now, is there close interaction or
strong interaction in the effort to develop the technical
case for closure, the preparation of the issue status
resolution reports or issue resolution status reports?
Is there close tie between that activity and the
NRC experts on the TPA such that there is that element of
consistency, namely the attempt to bring the risk-informed
aspect to the resolution process?
MR. STABLEIN: Very much so, and if Gordon or
James want to give us a little --
DR. GARRICK: I was kind of looking for that
connection as we cite an example of just walking us through
how a sub-issue is actually resolved.
We are reading the IRSRs, and we do see that kind
of information, but again, at a time when the agency is
preaching the gospel of risk-informed, are they, indeed,
practicing it? Here is an opportunity to turn up the
microscope on an activity and see if, in fact, that's taking
place, and we're kind of interested in doing that.
MR. FIRTH: James Firth, NRC staff.
To get to the point about the external review that
we had of the TPA code, that activity has been done. We are
still in the process of trying to pull in the comments of
the experts into our TPA code, which will then filter
through the entire process.
We have not been able to complete all of their
recommendations or to evaluate them all in terms of pulling
them into the TPA code and then informing what's going on in
the issue resolution process.
All of the KTI leads do have a copy of the report
and the recommendations. We have pulled them out into an
action plan that we're working on developing exactly where
and how we are going to be addressing that.
That process is still underway.
We are going to be doing a lot more as we work on
updating the TPA code for version 5.0, and we are also
looking at pulling that into all of our activities beyond
the TPA code, because some of the comments that they're
making do apply to the other areas.
So, we are looking at in a comprehensive way. We
have not completed that effort, however.
DR. GARRICK: One of the things I was half
expecting to hear was we know from the TPA presentations
that there has been quite a bit of effort in modeling the
waste package and what might happen over long periods of
time, and I was very curious to see if that would manifest
itself as one of the contributing factors to closure of
those items, because you were more advanced in your TPA
modeling with respect to the waste package than you, say,
might be with respect to some of the other things, but I
didn't quite hear that.
MR. FIRTH: In terms of the comments on our waste
package modeling, I mean just to take -- we had some very
positive comments in terms of the approach that was buried
into our EBSPAC model and incorporated into our TPA model in
terms of the chemistry and the degradation of the waste
So, that was seen as very positive, as a
significant advance in terms of how you would look at the
long-term performance of metals.
We also are in the situation for the TPA code of
trying to keep up with DOE's design, which includes adding
the drip shield, changing the dimensions and the structure
of the waste package over time.
So, we're still end up having to try and play
So, while we're relatively current, there are some
degradation modes that we are still looking at trying to
pull into the TPA code and making sure that we do have the
full coverage, because the waste package is very significant
when it has a very long life that cascades through the
entire process of what's important and how you would
evaluate the repository system and DOE's safety case.
DR. GARRICK: Thank you.
MR. STABLEIN: Dr. Garrick?
DR. GARRICK: Yes.
MR. STABLEIN: I think John Trapp is willing to
address your igneous activity question, if you'd like.
DR. GARRICK: Yes.
MR. TRAPP: If you take a look at where we're
sitting in igneous activity and if I go under the
consequence sub-issue, there's a whole series of things that
we can talk about, and I can go into as much detail as you
For instance, one of the things that we have got
under the igneous consequence sub-issue is the need to put
together models which accurately transport ash through the
Now, there have been a series of questions with
DOE as to which models they were using and this type of
thing, and they are presently using the ash plume model
which was developed on the center.
We've had that looked by experts on our side, and
everybody agrees that the model itself, while it's got a few
warts and this type of thing, is probably about the best
that we've presently got in the field of volcanology.
The question that still remains on this right now
is that, now that DOE has got the model, they are going to
have to actually go through the validation and verification.
We have seen a little bit of stuff, but there is
nothing formal, and we understand that what they've done --
well, we've seen what they've done, which is compare it to
the 1995 Cierra Negro eruption and show that they're getting
a good match, but this has not been run through the QA
process, etcetera, this kind of thing, and documented.
So, one of the things to be done there is really
go through this documentation, get it QA'd, and then there's
one point that's taken care of.
As mentioned in some of the other discussions that
we've had, one of the big things we've got to worry about is
We've done quite a bit of modeling on it in both
mathematical and analog, and the DOE now is doing a series
of modeling where they are also going through this.
The problem that we've got with the DOE modeling
so far -- and they recognize it -- is they were using the
assumption of a backfilled repository.
They are presently doing some work on this, and
actually, the person that could tell you more about it is
sitting right here, is Eric Smistad. He could tell you
exactly what the status is of the modification there, but we
know that it's being done, and hopefully, this is something
during the August technical exchange that we can come much
Dropping back to the previous one, in addition to
the technical exchange, the week prior to that, there is a
week-long QA audit on the disruptive processes, and this,
hopefully, will get, also, some of these models and QA
questions and documentation taken care of.
MR. SMISTAD: Eric Smistad, DOE.
The ICNs or the analysis for the no-backfill case
has been completed, and those -- that analysis has been
incorporated into our TSBA runs.
The documentation for that should be out within a
week or so, so we should have that prior to the technical
exchange that we've been talking about today for igneous
DR. GARRICK: Good.
MR. TRAPP: So, anyway, in that area, the question
of closure is going to require us to, you know, take a look
at it, see where we're sitting, and based on what we saw on
the non-backfilled case, it's probable that this one can --
this specific issue, once we have time to review it, can be
taken care of.
If you go through some of the other concerns --
for instance, interaction of the waste package and all these
other kind of things -- we had a lot of problems back in the
VA stage because of the assumption that was gone through on
survivability of the waste package.
We did not believe it and we did not believe that
the data was there to support it.
In simplest form, DOE, at present, has decided not
to take credit for the waste package during a volcanic
eruption, therefore we don't have to worry about the data
case, all we need is just one piece of paper or a formal
commitment that says they're not -- we got this informally.
If they'd just say it formally, then that part of the issue
We break off into stuff dealing with the
biosphere, and this is a case where we're going to have to
deal slightly with two of the different PMRs, and I am not
sure how many AMRs are dealing with biosphere, but a big
question deals with re-distribution.
This is something that we -- well, previously,
when we were looking at standard or not, it was really
looking at peak dose.
We looked at expected dose, then we had to start
evaluating a few other things, and through time, the
redistribution factor really started becoming important or
appears important, because no matter where the stuff is
going to be deposited from a volcanic eruption, 40-mile wash
is going to basically be taking it up, picking it up,
rolling it, and transporting it down to the area of the
The effect of this is something we recognize can
be important, but very honestly, at the NRC, we are only in
the very juvenile stages of evaluating it.
Now, we've talked to DOE. They recognize the
importance, and in the meeting coming up in August, they are
going to present, if I understand it correctly, a scheme or
a methodology by which this can be probably bounded.
I'm not sure if we can get very much closer
without a tremendous amount of expenditure of money, which
I'm not sure is necessary.
We haven't heard exactly how they are going to do
So, once we get the presentation, take a look at
it, etcetera, then hopefully this can be closed.
I can go into a whole bunch of other examples, but
this is basically where we're sitting.
DR. HORNBERGER: Can I just ask about one example,
The probability of igneous activity -- it seems
the NRC has been standing very firm on 10 to the minus 7th
and DOE has been standing firm on their expert elicitation
that they say includes 10 to the minus 7th.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you're
going to take that underline away?
MR. TRAPP: Yes.
In simplest form, we realize that we've still got
some very, very deep differences.
During the meeting in August, we are planning on
covering all these different points to find out if we still
have the same amount of difference or not. If we do, then I
guess the best way to say it is we're going to try to
DOE -- and this has been discussed at the NRC/DOE
management level -- would be coming in with something like a
licensing case using exactly the numbers that they want to
use, with no variant as to 10 to the minus 7th or anything
like this, and this would be presented as the licensing
However, there would be a reference case someplace
else, and not necessarily in the licensing document, but it
would be in a document that is readily referenced and
available, which would do an analysis at 10 to the minus
We may have the technical differences, but if they
can show under both those cases that the site's safe, who
cares what the probability is? And that's really the way
that we're trying to get around it.
DR. WYMER: I had sort of a general question with
respect to the design of the facility and how it affects the
resolution of the KTIs.
We've seen a lot of flip-flopping by DOE, and they
steadfastly maintain they have not frozen a design, although
they have a design, at the moment, but we've seen C-22
inside the waste package, we've seen C-22 outside the waste
package, we've seen backfill and we've seen no backfill, and
we've seen drip shields and no drip shields and drip shields
again, and we've seen above boiling and below boiling
repositories, and the question I had is, are the technical
inputs into the KTIs flexible enough and broad enough that,
if we have another flip-flop or something -- dramatic change
in design -- they can be encompassed in what has already
been agreed upon, or will this throw a bunch of the KTIs
back onto the drawing board for re-resolution?
MR. STABLEIN: Well, let me start the discussion
and then bring up the experts to comment on either the
repository design or the container design.
In general, we mentioned that these sub-issues can
be closed on the basis of current information but can be
re-opened, and I would say, for design issues, this is one
of the weaknesses, if you will, with the closure process, is
if the design changes, we have to revisit.
MR. TRAPP: Could I give a couple of examples just
to kind of fill in there? Because one of the things in
igneous activity that has made an effect -- well, two things
-- are the presence or absence of backfill and the actual
orientation of the drifts.
We have -- well, basically, like I stated, DOE has
done the analysis under the backfilled case, and what
happens there is, because of the backfill, the possibility
of magma getting into the drifts and migrating far down the
drifts is quite limited.
Therefore, the effects are much less, especially
from an intrusive standpoint, than they would be from an
In a no-backfill case, there's an awful lot more
canisters from an intrusive case which would be affected.
Our code basically goes through and allows us to
vary the number of canisters, etcetera, put this in, do
these things, and find out the effects, and from what I've
seen, DOE's code also does.
In addition, there has been some talk lately about
the change in design where they change the actual angle of
While it does an awful lot of good for rock fall
and all this other kind of thing, one of the things it does
is, if you start talking about bringing an igneous intrusion
through there and bringing the cone to the surface, the
actual layout of the repository now would end up with an
elongated cone, therefore increasing the number of waste
packages that could actually be in the eruption and brought
to the surface.
Again, we've taken a look at the mathematics,
changed it in the code, found out the differences, and yes,
we are able to factor them in.
DR. GARRICK: Being a bit of an opportunist and
recalling, King, that you said that all your experts were
here representing each of the nine Key Technical Issues and
having heard something from experts on at least three of
them, namely the container life and the near-field
environment and igneous activity, I think the committee
would appreciate a five-minute summary from the expert of
each of the remaining technical issues on the status of the
KTI from their perspective. Is that a reasonable request?
MR. STABLEIN: That's reasonable, and we've come
prepared for that kind of discussion. So, we can take them
in whatever order you'd like and provide you with kind of a
quick status, sure.
DR. GARRICK: Sure. I think that would be very
So, you can take whatever order you wish. I'll
let you make that decision.
MR. STABLEIN: Okay.
Raj is standing up.
Go ahead, Raj.
MR. NATARAJA: This is Nataraja from the staff.
We have four sub-issues. As you can see, there's
only one underlined.
This is repository design and thermal-mechanical
The design control process issue is something that
has been monitored for quite some time.
We had a number of problems with the design of the
exploratory storage facility for quite some time, and if you
remember, we had an objection based on that particular issue
that was raised during the site characterization plan, and
we have been monitoring that for quite some time, and we had
a number of issues related to their document hierarchy and
documentation of design changes and so forth, and based on
the number of audits and surveillances and observation of
design reviews, we concluded that they had made significant
progress in the area of design control process, and although
we continue to monitor that for the global design, based on
our work so far, we have concluded that most of the serious
issues that we have raised have been addressed adequately by
the Department of Energy, and that's the first one, design
And the second issue is related to the design of
the repository with respect to seismic vibratory motion and
fault displacement, and this was handled by the NRC staff
when DOE agreed for a topical report process.
DOE agreed to write three topical reports -- TR1,
TR2, and TR3.
TR1 comes under SDS. Perhaps Phil might talk
about it later.
That's the one that deals with the probabilistic
hazard assessment methodology, and that has been reviewed
and accepted by the staff.
The second one is the design methodology itself
for the -- both surface and underground facilities --
seismic design methodology, that is -- and we have reviewed
that and we have accepted that, and that's all documented.
There is one final, TR3, that is supposed to come
It has been postponed a number of times. We
understand that it's now slated for 2001.
We have encouraged DOE to complete that as quickly
as possible, and that's the one which talks about the design
inputs that will be used for the surface and sub-surface
facilities, and that's the reason why we have closed it
Once the information from TR3 is submitted, we
understand the information is already available, it's only a
question of putting it in the format of a topical report,
and we have a procedure to review the topical report, and we
expect that should be a reasonably straightforward exercise,
and that's the reason that's also closed, but that's closed
pending submission of TR3.
And I'll take the fourth one first, the repository
The reason why that was closed was because of a
change in the rule.
Part 60 had a specific requirement for the design
of the seals.
Now that it's handled slightly differently, it's
not directly connected to -- you know, they don't have to
show that the design of the seal is done in such a way that
a failed seal will not become a preferential pathway.
Right now, we are going to look at it as any other
part of the design of the repository. We'll look at the
tests and the specifications, but we are not going to insist
on linking the Total System Performance Assessment as was
done in Part 60.
So, because of the change requirement in the rule,
that has been closed.
The one that's still open is the design of the
repository to withstand the thermal-mechanical effects, and
that's the one which deals with issues like change of the
rock properties as a function of temperature and time and
the change of material properties as well as change of
permeability which might have an impact on the amount of
water that seeps into the repository as a function of time.
We have some differences.
We have reviewed a number of AMRs that the
Department has given us, and they have concluded that the
thermal effects on the permeability changes are quite
negligible, but we think that there are some significant
changes that might happen. But what is not clear at this
stage is whether that change has a significant impact on the
We are looking at that, and that's a matter for
discussion that's going on between NRC and DOE, continuing.
Perhaps in the next revision of the IRSR, we might be able
to close that aspect of it.
And the other thing that comes under this
particular sub-issue is the rock-fall.
Here is an example where the change of design
might have an impact.
If they have, for instance, backfill, the
rock-fall issue will not become a significant issue, whereas
if the do not have the backfill, then we have to look at the
impact of rock-fall and the performance of the drip shield
as well as the waste package.
We have some modeling being done at the center to
analyze the impacts of falling rocks both on the drip shield
as well as the waste package, and that's an activity that we
will be spending a lot of time on during the upcoming months
and perhaps a couple of years.
DR. GARRICK: Thank you.
MR. STABLEIN: Phil, do you want to talk about
Phil Justus is our KTI lead for the structural
deformation and seismicity.
MR. JUSTUS: I am Phil Justus. Raj always
provides a nice segue for our structural deformation and
seismicity because the facts of the matter are that it is
recognized that there will be earthquakes during the
lifetime of the repository. There's likely to be false
slippage occurring. When these things happen, fractures
will also open or close.
The structural deformation and seismicity KTI
deals with the natural system as it works to change
discontinuities, in particular, is our interest. This is a
matter for preclosure analysis where the waste handling
building facility and pad and other surface facilities
during operations require appropriate seismic design and
similarly, of course, for postclosure seismic hazard and
fault displacement hazard analysis. We interact with DOE to
try to resolve what those hazards are.
The fault displacement and seismicity subissues
are both the subject of a probabilistic seismic hazard
analysis that DOE performed. We have no major issues with
that PSHA. The result of our interacting with DOE over the
years to see that faulting and seismic characterization of a
site has proceeded to an adequate level has essentially been
moving along lines that have led to the current state of
closed pending for these two subissues.
In the area of fault displacement, we do believe
that faults, active faults in particular, which we call Type
1 faults, have been adequately characterized. What we are
waiting for to close the issue is to see how DOE has taken
the characteristics of the faults and actually utilized them
in their consideration of that hazard of fault slippage for
DOE has indicated it will do this. At our meeting
to be scheduled some time in October we expect to see the
benefits of DOE's activities in that area and presumably
close or keep the issue closed in the sense or tighter
closed than it is now.
In the area of seismicity DOE is doing more work
to characterize the effects of the seismic hazard that its
experts have developed. They are taking the hazard
translated to accelerations under a certain probability of
occurrence or excedence of occurrence into actual designs.
To do that they need to know the way in which the seismic
waves will be attenuated or interact with the soils and the
other foundation and so forth, and they are proceeding to do
work to get that information for finalizing their seismic
We can't close the issue until we see DOE's final
seismic designs and the basis for it, but we expect that we
will be able to close that issue when we do get the
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: You are talking about
translation of this what I will call a seismic risk curve
into the actual design of the facility and hardware and what
have you. How about the seismic hazard curve itself? Is
there reasonable agreement between the NRC and DOE on what
that is for the site?
MR. JUSTUS: Yes, there is.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Including the uncertainty?
MR. JUSTUS: Yes. We are in general agreement
with the range that the experts considered relevant models
for input, that the uncertainty was generally appropriately
defined and propagated through the final hazard curves.
With regard to fractures, that is an open matter
right now. While we in general don't take issue with the
characterization of fractures that has occurred, and in the
last several years underground, much fracture mapping and
analysis has been done. We found though that we are not
clear on whether the fracture information that has been
developed or derived by the fracture mappers have been
utilized consistently or within the range of uncertainties
of the data.
This is coming to light as we see and look and
review, for example, rock fall and flow models where
fractures are involved. At different scales the fracture
modelers make different assumptions and generalizations
about the very detailed database. We are now engaging DOE
in interdisciplinary meetings where we follow through, seek
to follow through the use of the actual data and how they
have been abstracted into the models.
What is pending is our review of the PMRs that
utilize fracture information.
To go on to tectonic framework, the major portion
of tectonic framework is the array of tectonic models that
exist to describe the tectonism in Southern Nevada including
Yucca Mountain, of course. There is no unique model. This
is because of the state of the art of geological
understanding of that part of the world.
However, tectonic models have been included in
PSHA. In a generally satisfactory way, prior to PSHA in
fact we had reached some agreement with DOE on what the
viable models are. There were some dozen of them some years
ago. We agreed that five actually described the
uncertainties involved and DOE agreed to utilize those in
their calculations or as background for hazard analysis.
The experts brought in their own tectonic models
or variations on them. That was perfectly acceptable.
What concern remains is not so much what models
are there -- we agree what they are -- it is that, for
example, the igneous activity group utilized some aspect of
tectonic models that we felt was incompatible or at least
inconsistent I should say with the aspect of hazard analysis
that the seismic -- seismotectonic experts used, and we are
looking to resolve this apparent inconsistency.
Our aim really is to ensure that one group or the
other, although we think we are focusing on the use for
igneous activity source term development, it hasn't picked
the model or emphasized tectonic models that might
underestimate their use for determining the igneous source
terms. We have no indication that this will not be resolved
at the igneous activity technical exchange coming up in
That is the detailed analysis -- we can go into
more detail if you would like.
MR. STABLEIN: Thanks, Phil. That's very good.
Dr. Garrick, should we continue on?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. STABLEIN: Okay. Is Jeff Pohle out there? I
would like him to talk about thermal effects on flow.
DR. HORNBERGER: Jeff, if I could make a
suggestion, rather than go through each individual subissue,
perhaps if you could just give us the flavor. We can't
digest everything in detail -- if you could give us a flavor
of the issue and perhaps highlighting where you see
potential difficulties in reaching resolution and why.
MR. POHLE: Okay. Jeff Pohle, NRC Staff.
Let me compose my thoughts to that question. I
was ready to go item by item. I had a little table all
DR. HORNBERGER: I knew you were quick on your
feet and so I could do that to you.
MR. POHLE: Well, actually I am in the process of
working on the next provision of the IRSR, trying to forget
about Part 63 and the review plan for a minute.
As I recall, what we are interested in in this KTI
is it relates to one of DOE's safety strategy factors,
basically seepage into the drift -- that is one aspect and
the other aspects will be temperature, humidity -- those
aspects of the waste package environment given the
importance of the waste package.
So we kind of look at DOE's program from that
perspective and we have to interact closely with USFIC, so
these topics are covered in a number of PMRs. There is not
necessarily a thermal effects on flow PMR so we are spread
across a lot of documents.
One thing we have been following over the years is
their thermal testing program and as you know our IRSRs will
be structured such that the acceptance criteria in the
review plan will be laid out there and we will evaluate
those subissues in that context without going through this
long list of criteria. Based on our last Rev., we really
only have one open regarding the thermal testing program,
and that was the amount of heat and mass lost through the
bulkhead, how that affects the modeling you do and your
interpretation of the results of that test.
Certainly the status at this point is I don't
think there's been any change in our view or DOE's view,
that I don't think they intend actually to do a physical
Some DOE technical support people think it can be
handling through modeling and some do not think so, think it
is circular logic when you are trying to attack the problem
My perspective is that I am trying to look at it
from the point of view does it make any difference,
understanding that there is another test plan for the
crossdrift where they are trying to evaluate this concept of
draining through the pillars directly, and that wasn't
necessarily in the draft objective of the driftscale thermal
tests, so it may be that while we disagree on that aspect of
the driftscale test it may not matter. We may be actually
monitoring our attention to this other test and seeing how
relevant that is to supporting this design concept of DOE's
on trying to enhance any drainage through the pillars to
reduce seepage into the drift.
Then we take it from there and try and look how
that is propagated through the various levels of modeling,
and, one, what are the estimates they are going to use in
the performance assessment for how much water seeps in the
drift? Are those estimates or the approach used in the PA
consistent with detailed, multidimensional process level
models? Is it capturing and consistent with what is in the
results of those analyses, and further is that consistent
with what is observed in the field, whether it is previous
or current experiments being done?
In terms of the modeling, I think in the RSR we
have laid out some typical questions on how they are dealing
with heterogeneity perhaps and looking more closely at the
estimates of seepage into the drift.
Now we are kind of in time box here where we are
getting in the preliminary and the drafts of the AMRs and
PMRs but we can't use -- unless the document is final and
approved by DOE we can't close an issue.
We have started to read them but they came in in a
timeframe when we developed the next draft of the IRSR --
those reviews were not complete and aren't necessarily all
laid out in there, so we are kind of in an in-between
We did do some level of review of the preliminary
drafts and may have made some comments on here, but that
can't be the basis for saying "closed" or like that.
In fact, my support at the Center is also working
closely with the USFIC KTI. There is a lot of overlap here,
dealing with the seepage issue, but within the context of
thermal effects we are just trying to deal with what the
super position of the effects of the heat from the emplaced
waste would have on those estimates and how they are going
to accounted for or if they are accounted for in DOE's PA.
I think in terms of the subissues that we are
dealing with in modeling that I just can't see anything
there that should not be readily resolvable, because they
are just modeling questions or they are questions related to
you estimate this amount of seepage in your model; is it
consistent with this; is it consistent with your
observations or is it just a guess? That would be the type
of issues we would be dealing with.
One thing, as new documents come in from DOE they
may well address some of the older questions we had with,
such as a lot of the models fundamentally didn't deal with
the ventilation during this time period. There's a lot of
heat and mass can be moved through that system and your
results certainly in temperature and humidity and estimates
of seepage, it would be radically affected by ventilation,
so we haven't reviewed in detail models that would include
ventilation, so that is something that needs to be done that
could be a source of comment beyond the comment we are
already making that ventilation needs to be dealt with in
That is kind of in a nutshell where we are. If
you have anything more specific --
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Have the opinions of the NRC
reviewers and Staff changed at all in the last few months,
years regarding the impact of thermal effects on flow, given
all of the debate and discussion of the cold versus hot
MR. POHLE: Conceptually -- from our point of view
we didn't enter into the debate whether it should be hot or
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. POHLE: But to some extent I would think a
cooler repository simplifies the problem. We always had
probably -- perhaps we had a differing view that it was our
perspective that there was always potential for a large
amount of water influx in a very hot repository, that this
assumption that it was just going to dry out and this water
was going to go somewhere, we didn't necessarily buy it.
That is probably less of a concern with the lower
temperatures, although there could be some increased amount
of seepage, whether that would pass through any threshold
that would matter to performance or not is primarily a waste
package and corrosion issue.
We are trying to feed into that issue in terms of
are the temperatures and humidities predicted within this
range they assume in the corrosion models, and is that
technically supported and defensible.
MR. STABLEIN: Thanks, Jeff. Latif Hamdan,
representing the USFIC KTI.
MR. HAMDAN: Latif Hamdan, NRC staff. Speaking of
flavor, I would like to offer two very transparent examples
in answer to Ray's earlier questions as to how things change
that may result in reopening otherwise closed issues.
In our KTI, we include the issue of shallow
infiltration based on an infiltration rate of 7.7
millimeters per year in the VA, and after the VA, and my
understanding that in the UZ unsaturated zone PMR, that we
received recently this infiltration rate was changed to 4.7
millimeters per year.
So when something like this has come, we need to
follow up with DOE and see if we have to reopen otherwise
Another example, very transparent and direct, is
in the VA, DOE took the position that they are not going to
take credit for dilution due to -- so we closed that item.
Now, in the saturated zone BMR and the other BMRs,
DOE decided to take credit for dilution due to -- which is
fine, except that we need to review what they did and make
sure that it's okay, and so this issue may have to be
So this is the kind of examples, Ray, that go
directly to your question. It's not like design. It's very
direct and very transparent.
Now, in the USFIC, we have, as -- handout shows,
we have open items in deep percolation, in the saturated
zone flow, and in methods diffusion.
Let me just go in the same order that -- put them.
In deep percolation, and after the technical exchange with
the Center in April, the issues that are -- we are concerned
about in deep percolation go to the percolation above -- how
much seepage goes into drift, and how much -- what goes into
drift, and also --
So, how much water seeps into drift and how much
of that water actually contacts the waste packages, and also
there are issues, and we have on that, some questions about
some of the -- but more importantly about the model that DOE
And on that regard, it seems that there is
basically -- we are very close to closure on the high range
of the -- how much of infiltration is in contact with waste
packages, something like 50 or 60 percent.
But on the lower values, it seems DOE has a
threshold where below which there is no seepage would occur
and no water, and it seems that -- technical staff and our
staff are -- had agreement with DOE in that.
Below the repository, we have questions about
basically two issues, the zeolitic and vitric distribution
to the extent that affix the attenuation of contaminants in
the unsaturated zone.
And there's also another issue that keeps coming
back, and that's the pairs water zone and how it will impact
flow from the repository from the drift to the water table.
So, these issues are on the table, and these are
items that are to be closed.
On the saturated zone flow, really this is a
fairly -- we feel there are many weaknesses of the nine
items in the saturated zone in the IRSR. We have seven or
now eight because of dilution due to -- that are still open.
So this -- most of the items or the majority of
the items in the -- are still open, and the reason for that
-- I mean, to give you a flavor of that, we have concerns
about the alternative conceptual models for the saturated
And it's not that only NRC is concerned about
that. I was in an audit in June of the saturated zone PMR,
and even the contractor staff for DOE are recognizing that
there are alternative conceptual models for saturated zone
flow, and alternative conceptual models for delineating the
potential -- heads in the saturated zone, but they stop
short of identifying any alternative models, and, of course,
if you don't find any, you don't analyze any.
Just on the positive side, in the TSPA, they do
look at alternatives that go and touch upon some of the
concerns that we have in the USFIC KTI. But at the KTI
level, at the saturated zone level, there seems to be no
identification or any alternative conceptual models, and, of
course, therefore, there is no analysis.
On the actual modeling of the saturated zone, we
have a concern that they have a site scale model and a
regional scale model, and the calibration of the site scale
model is dependent, in part, on the regional model.
Now, the regional model has -- is virtually
obsolete, because they -- illustration in '97, '98, where
basically indicated that the regional model is not
acceptable, so much so that DOE contracted with the USGS to
redo the regional model.
And now the saturated zone model has been updated
or advanced some, but still using the old regional model for
calibration, among other things. So we are concerned about
that, that the site scale model should either not use the
old regional model at all to the calibration, or wait until
the new model comes in May of next year, and then calibrate
the site model according to that.
Another weakness in the saturated zone that we see
is that these models, the site scale model and the regional
model, have been reviewed by outside reviewers, including
the technical peer review that DOE asked to review. And
they reviewed every word, and they gave comments on these
models, and many of them are -- comments.
You have the comments by the Nuclear Waste
Technical Review Board, and there are comments also by NRC,
And when you look at the saturated zone BMR that
came out just last month, this aspect of the models are not
handled very well because essentially either in the PRM they
have this appendix that addresses all these comments by
The problem is that if you go to the appendix and
look at them, either the comments they made there are
non-responsive at all to these comments by the outside
reviewers, or in our discussions with the contractors, they
said their budget and instructions from DOE that we are not
going to address many of these concerns that were raised in
Then one perhaps last item on the unsaturated zone
that keeps coming up, it's more of a concept, and that's the
geothermal intrusion, you know, in the repository, and this
is an issue that I'm not going to dwell on because you know
about it from Mr. Szmanski and what have you. It keeps
The failed -- diffusion issue, basically, it
addresses more the -- diffusion, the diffusion of -- but it
is also, of course, the alluvium because now the alluvium is
a major involvement for attenuating radionuclides, and
there, basically at least for the alluvium, we need the
data, and DOE is going to get the data from proposed -- and
-- as for the -- , the basic question, as far as I can tell
from our reading on our side is that basically the
assumption that diffusion goes from the fractures to the
metrics and not the other way around, is something that we
need to follow up with DOE.
So, basically, this is the flavor.
MR. STABLEIN: Thank you, Latif. John Bradberry,
do you want to bring us up on radionuclide transport?
John's the KTI lead for this one.
MR. BRADBERRY: I am John Bradberry. For
radionuclide transport, we're divided into four subissues.
With regard to porous rock the thought was in
terms of developing acceptance criteria the Staff had to
come up with a best guess as to what types of conceptual
models would be used by DOE and it was concluded that we
guess that the constant KD approach would be used.
Consequently, the parameters needed for that would be KDs,
porosities and bulk densities.
We were prescriptive in saying that we thought
batch sorption experiments along with flow through column
tests would be adequate, and also along these lines,
however, we identified the assumptions that are required for
appropriate application of this conceptual model including
linear sorption, isotherm, fast sorption reactions and
constant bulk chemistry of the groundwater.
Furthermore, the parts of the flow path that are
considered to be applicable would have to be homogeneous.
These models have been developed by chemical engineers using
modeling flow through porous media, and so this would be the
situation that would be appropriate when these models, when
this model is applied.
However, if material is fractured, fractures
actually can act as features that bypass the sorptive
capabilities and isolation capabilities of the solid, so
with regard to fractured rock our main acceptance criteria
had to do with DOE's capability to demonstrate its -- let me
say this again -- capability to predict a breakthrough of
both nonreactive and reactive transfers.
The seawell complex is the only transport
experiment done in the saturated zone presently, so we
consider it is a very important set of experiments, the
experiments in the Prow Pass, in the Bullfrog.
These experiments are done on the scale of 30
meters, however the size of the blocks used in the modeling,
the TPA modeling, are 500 meters on a side. It is unclear
to us how one gets from one scale -- from the smallscale to
the largescale, and this is definitely open, an open issue.
We are trying to figure this one out.
With regard to the alluvium, the model, the TPA
code assumes a sandbox type situation and tests in the
alluvium are currently going on and it remains to be seen
whether that is an appropriate simplification of the
With regard to criticality, that is closed
pending, and the acceptance criteria that were dealing with
that had to do with the probability -- were divided into the
probability and the consequences. The thought was
criticalities near the repository were more probable that
they most likely have lower consequences and the reverse
might be the case farther out, closer to the biosphere,
where probabilities drop off, but the consequences would
increase if such an occurrence happened. That's it.
MR. STABLEIN: Thank you, John. Go ahead.
MR. LEVENSON: One quick question. On the issue
of criticality, what is the -- in your current thinking the
relative probability of the criticality being a plutonium
concern as opposed to an enriched uranium concern?
MR. BRADBERRY: I don't think I can go into detail
on that right now.
MR. STABLEIN: We have Meraj here --
MR. BRADBERRY: Because I am the transport guy.
MR. RAHIMI: Meraj Rahim, NRC Staff. I have the
lead on criticality.
Right now, actually we just finished putting out
the safety evaluation report on a topical report that the
DOE had submitted on the postclosure criticality on what
they had proposed, an approach, a methodology how to analyze
the in-package near-field and far-field criticality.
Among other things they are going to look at the
concept of Bowman-Veneri, what they propose in the far-field
criticality or ex-package criticality, and right now the
status of it is that DOE has developed an approach to
identify the scenarios and configuration, what possible
scenarios and configuration you could have that you could
have critical conditions.
With regard to external criticality they are going
to look at their radionuclide transport and the possible
reconcentration of fissile isotopes and they are going to
look at the dissolution rate of plutonium and uranium
exiting the waste package and the different mechanisms of
reconcentration in the drift and further out in the
DR. HORNBERGER: Is it more likely to be plutonium
or enriched uranium though?
MR. RAHIMI: Well, for the uranium, you know,
dissolution rate is higher. It is probably going to be
uranium. The plutonium is going to be -- it has a lower
dissolution rate and again the concept or theory that the
Bowman-Veneri had presented, that concentration of the
plutonium, what they were talking about, more of the weapons
grade plutonium which are going to be disposed of in the
high level waste glass logs migrating outside of the waste
package and being reconcentrated and being reflected by 100
percent silicon dioxide in the tuff, so that theory has been
rejected due to various reasons, but DOE has as part of
their approach to analyze criticality they are going to look
at all the possible mechanisms of the fissile isotope
MR. BRADBERRY: I have a pet scenario that I like.
It has to do with, probably has to do with plutonium, has to
do with the generation of colloids, colloids transported
through the Topapah Spring, the fractures at Topapah Spring,
down to the porous media, the Calico Hills, at which point
they stop and they are filtered out and the process
continues until a critical mass is accumulated and the
question is could that happen, but it is one scenario that I
like to keep on thinking about
MR. LESLIE: Just to complete the criticality,
Meraj was talking about -- this is Bret Leslie of the NRC
Staff -- he leads the effort in the CLS team. He was really
looking at in-package, but I lead, I have a subissue on
criticality as well, and to put it in risk perspective the
DOE has indicated that criticality in postclosure would be
screened out, so less than 10 to the minus 8th probability,
so that is the bottom line, I think.
MR. STABLEIN: Thank you, John. We could finish
up with a brief statement on the performance assessment.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: That would be great.
MR. STABLEIN: Okay. Would you like to hear more
on CLST as well?
Jim, go ahead and talk about performance
assessment. We will get to Gustavo right after that.
MR. FIRTH: Okay. James Firth, NRC Staff.
I want to give you the highlights in terms of
generally where we are for performance assessment subissues
and here there's a couple things that get wrapped up into
that in terms of that we will rely on a lot of what is going
on in the specific process KTIs so as the information is
available in the models that are being developed.
That feeds into our model abstraction subissue.
So various things remain open in areas such as container
life and source term, the near field, igneous activity and
so forth. We still will have model abstractions still open
and there is also the integration component and some of the
things that are more specific to how DOE does the TSPA
Currently we do not have a performance assessment
that reflects the current design that we have seen the
results and have had a chance to analyze. We are evaluating
the abstraction model reports that talk about the model
abstractions, so we are continuing our review for the
current design, but we are awaiting the TSPA model document
and technical document. With those, we will have more
information for evaluating how DOE is doing multiple
On the overall performance objective for multiple
barriers we did have some questions relating to what we saw
on how DOE is deciding to degrade their barriers in terms of
using 5th and 95th percentiles for parameter values or sets
of parameter values to reflect the degraded performance of a
barrier. We may be hoping to see some additional
documentation in terms of DOE's basis for that, but this is
DOE's first opportunity in the TSPA SR to show us some of
these analyses and we will be using those to continue to
move forward on resolving the issue, but the things we are
seeing in multiple barriers are generally very favorable so
we are hoping that things will be continuing to move
For scenario analysis as all of the process KTIs
are evaluating their subissues they are identifying whether
there are concerns or not with how DOE has evaluated the
features, events and processes, and the screening of those
features, events and processes in their area.
In general, we have identified that there are some
features, events and processes that have not been included
in the initial round of AMRs and PMRs. There are some
issues related to the basis that DOE is using to screen out
particular features, events and processes and I think that
is a natural evolution. It is iterative in terms of whether
initial try is going to be enough for establishing the
technical basis for probability or consequences for
screening something out.
We are looking for additional information from DOE
on why they believe their initial list of features, events
and processes is comprehensive. This is something we are
expecting to see in the TSPA model report when that comes
The overall performance objective, again this is
something that is a methodology issue along with multiple
barriers to a large extent and there we are hoping to see
things on how DOE is addressing it in their TSPA reports,
and they are coming in later this year.
One aspect of multiple barriers that I did not
touch on earlier is the subset, which is transparency and
traceability. What we have been seeing in terms of DOE's
model that has been developed using the GOLDSIM code is that
there is some positive attributes for that code for showing
how the data gets carried forward through the analysis, so
we are interested in looking at that further to see how that
would change what we might want to see in other documents
that would reflect transparency and traceability, so the
initial indications are that that is going to go a good way
for improving the transparency and traceability of DOE's
documentation of their TSPA.
We are excited about seeing how well that is
working and to take a look at it in a little bit more
If you have any further questions on TSPA, I can
answer them or David Esh, who has been pulling together the
current version of the issue resolution status report may be
able to answer them.
DR. WYMER: I have a comment or question. I am
not sure which it is. It has to do with model abstraction.
The committee has always expressed considerable interest in
the model abstraction process and in particular how well it
carries over to the coupled processes which are sometimes
Can you comment a little bit on that?
MR. FIRTH: One of the areas that we are looking
at is the -- in terms of the way we are evaluating the model
abstraction is integrated subissues, and those are designed
to capture the coupling and allow us to focus on the issues
that are most important within the coupling, so it is
embedded with how we are evaluating model abstraction, that
there is the part within the specific process KTIs but we
also do a look, which is the integration piece, where we do
look outside of just the KTI to is there integration within
the integrated subissue and then from the integrated
subissues to the other parts of the model, so it is
something we are looking at.
DR. WYMER: That's beyond the KTIs. It's
MR. FIRTH: Yes, it's something that falls under
the umbrella of model abstraction and total system
DR. WYMER: Thanks.
MR. FIRTH: And it is also within some of the KTIs
I don't want to give the impression that the KTIs
are not looking at coupled processes.
DR. WYMER: But it is not constantly recognized in
MR. FIRTH: Some of the coupled processes cross
KTIs, so the TSPA role is to help facilitate how the KTIs
look at those and in terms of answering the question for the
integrated pieces of the model that we want to come to some
decision on that, and that will rely on what is coming out
of the KTIs as well.
DR. WYMER: Thanks.
MR. FIRTH: And I also want to take this
opportunity to add onto my answer to the question Dr.
Garrick asked earlier regarding the external reviewer
comments and how that is being reflected in resolving the
I wanted to make sure the committee was aware that
when we resolve the issues we are primarily looking at what
DOE's models, data and total performance assessment are
doing so we can reflect the external reviewer comments in
our TSPA, which will give us risk insights, but we will also
gain risk insights from evaluating DOE's TSPA and all of
their other analyses, so the emphasis in terms of resolving
issues is on what DOE is providing.
We can use what the external reviewers give us to
inform our own decisions, but it is still up to DOE and our
analysis of DOE's to close issues.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Isn't it almost by definition
that the performance assessment KTI will be the last one
MR. FIRTH: For model abstraction it will be.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. FIRTH: The overall performance objective and
multiple barriers are a lot more in terms of methodology so
the methodology issues can be closed before we get to
reviewing the license application.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right.
MR. STABLEIN: Thank you, Jim. Gustavo, do you
want to finish up on CLST?
I will try to summarize for you and give you a
flavor of Issue 1 in CLST KTI, because it's one of the ones
that remains open, and I will try to in some way summarize
what we provide as an input for the IRSR Issue 3 that we
gave it to the NRC about a month ago.
For us, this issue is still open because there are
models, data, and analysis provided by the DOE that we
consider not acceptable for several reasons:
For instance, we think that the -- data -- for the
case of evaluating the susceptibility of Alloy 22 to
localized corrosion and to microbial corrosion, that this
really form of localized corrosion -- mediated by the
metabolic activity of bacteria.
I mean that we, in our work, called -- with this
problem in a common basis with - -- but we need additional
data an quantification from the DOE, from the work at
Another important issue is the additional data and
analysis in this case required for the long-term corrosion
rates of Alloy 22 regarding the range of values and
Here we have a very important point -- the
methodologies that they are using for evaluating corrosion
rate, and we believe that they have what you can call a
systematic error in the measurements, that they are not able
to handle pretty well.
This is an issue, but separate from this issue is
the very long-term prediction of corrosion rate. That is an
important -- in corrosion -- .
And nobody has deal with that at the time we are
dealing now. We are trying to make it separate for doing
some fundamental work in this area, but in order to resolve
the issue, DOE has to come with a clear response, trying to
bound the type of value that they get in these short-term
measurements, because we have to recognize that in the last
five years, they have had a significant effort in terms of
increasing the modeling capability for waste package
degradation and increasing the capability to obtain data in
the laboratory. There are many questions that are open.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Do you have any sense of what
kind of short-term experiments or analysis would be
convincing for long-term performance?
MR. CRAGNOLINO: Well, you know, this is the issue
of performance confirmation into the picture. That is an
issue that has been brewing in some way and the discussion
was partially this morning. I think that we have to make a
very close connection in between the result of ongoing test,
what is going to be the performance confirmation.
And I -- but my concern when I talking about
performance confirmation is somebody has to start thinking
about -- or monitor the -- for times that are far more
longer than the ones that are used in the chemical
industrial and many other applications, and this takes time.
But I leave this aside. Susceptibility to stress
corrosion from cracking, this has been an issue that was
brought by the DOE for -- Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory, and has not been clarified.
We found that the -- they were using for these
tests was not acceptable, and they have to improve the
technique, and they have to get very sensitive methods to
measure slow crack growth rate.
And they are moving in the right direction. They
secured other laboratories to do additional testing. But
stress corrosion cracking is probably one of the most
difficult problems to tackle in corrosion from the
experimental point of view and from the mechanistic point of
There are models, mechanistic models that have
been in the literature for many years, but there is not
clear consensus. What is different for localized corrosion
or -- corrosion that are clear, well defined models, just a
matter of using the right value in your experimental
measurement, and you can input in this type of model.
But it's not the case for a stress corrosion
The DOE has covered -- has done a significant
effort for the first time because they -- from their own
experimental work, to include in their -- in the waste
package degradation code, a stress corrosion cracking as a
What they used is two approaches: One, empirical,
that we proposed several years ago as a way to get rid with
this problem with indetermination in the mechanistic model.
And the other one, there is basically a model that
was done by General Electric or by people at General
Electric, not by General Electric, was developed in order to
-- of cracking in boiling water reactors.
The model is very successful, but there is no data
equivalent to the data that was acquired through many
failures involving reactors for the present application.
Now, this is a problem.
It's a model that even though it appeared to be
mechanistic in nature, is essentially based in an important
database to -- the data and therefore -- data. But we don't
have a repository yet.
We are trying to deal with this issue of modeling,
but, again, this is an important thing, and I think that
this is an important contribution that we can do in order to
improve the -- TPA code.
Finally, one issue that has been floating around
and we'd like to see more action from the part of the DOE is
in terms of the issue of welding and fabrication of
I think that they should move ahead in terms of
the -- and doing specific testing, because the fabrication
of these large containers is not easy, especially for the
final closure well. And this can have a significant impact,
not only localized corrosion but in the stress corrosion
They have an approach. We have reviewed their PMR
and approximately -- AMR plus -- information in order to
produce the information that I summarized for you, but I
think there is a long way to go, and I think that this is
something that has importance in terms of the uncertainty
regarding initial failures.
Issue 2 is the reason that that -- is not
completely closed. It's closed, pending issuing
This is a -- that gives you a flavor of the
current status, and if you have any additional questions,
you can ask them.
DR. WYMER: Is DOE doing, in your judgment, enough
fundamental to enable you to have -- in the results that
they're going to present you in a little while?
MR. CRAGNOLINO: You know, the problem is really
the uncertainty, in particular. I have to make a very clear
Alloy 22 is probably one of the best choices in
terms of alloy for container material in this application
due to the uncertainty of the repository and the unsaturated
-- this put all this together.
Now, if -- to localized corrosion could be
extremely resistant to microbial corrosion, even though
there are sensitivity data at Lawrence Livermore that we
don't have yet, a complete conclusion.
But if it is resistant to this mode of failure,
and you can -- stress corrosion cracking by reducing --
stress, is -- we are dealing now with calculation of --
beyond the performance periods.
It goes beyond the 10,000 years. These are
calculations on the basis of relatively short-term results.
Could we predict if corrosion -- or, by the way, in any
other discipline, there are not the geoscientists -- time
beyond 100 years or less than that? No.
Total -- have been said now. We have good reason
to believe, by -- analysis, by comparing for other material
that we have analogs, that these are valid conceptions, the
material metal can resist many thousands of years.
But this particular alloys that are complex
alloys, could have a problem of what is called selective
dissolution or preferential dissolution of one alloy and
element in respect to the other in a very slow pace, but
change the internal composition of the alloy in localized
areas or in the interfaces and so on.
And this is a subject of interest in corrosion
science, but it's not in a complete secure answer at the
present time, and we are trying to model this, as many other
In particular -- this has nothing to do with this
meeting, but my manager is attending the Gordon's
Conference, and really chairing a panel discussing precisely
this issue, long-term prediction of corrosion rate for
materials of this nature and in repository applications, in
which people from the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board
like -- are involved.
It's a tough issue. Nobody has a complete answer,
but we look forward to provide information.
DR. WYMER: Thank you.
DR. HORNBERGER: Okay, we have once again
confirmed Parkinson's law, King, and had the discussion
expand to fill the available time.
MR. REAMER: Bill Reamer from the NRC Staff. If I
could just say one final thing: We're in the closing
stretch, and I understand that, but this has given the
Committee to get a glimpse of the KTIs, particularly at the
technical level to see where the Staff and the DOE have
And I want to take the opportunity to reiterate
the point that King made. KTI closure, issue resolution, is
an expectation or a goal that the Staff has for the license
application, for license application which is in what we've
heard that is in the 2002 context.
The focus of the Department of Energy right now,
and certainly a focus of our efforts as well is site
recommendation, a nearer-term milestone, a 2001 milestone.
The Staff's role with respect to site recommendation is
narrower, more limited than it is in a license application
It is to, as the law says, to provide preliminary
comments with respect to a subset of what we've talked about
today, at-depth characterization and waste form proposal.
And so our expectations, I think we should be
clear on that -- are not to state them in the negative.
We're not saying that key technical issues need to be closed
or need to be resolved before site recommendation, rather,
in a positive sense, our focus, our first priority for site
recommendation is that subset that's identified in the law
that we should focus on, and specifically the DOE progress
in that area, at-depth site characterization and analysis,
waste form proposal, preliminary comments with respect to
DOE progress in that area.
DR. HORNBERGER: Thanks for that clarification,
Bill. I think we have a lunchtime special meeting, so I
think we should move on.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes, I think so. And we want
to thank you for having an excellent support staff here.
This is something that I think the Committee is very
appreciative of getting this update, and we look forward to
progress reports down the road.
And I think at least for now, we'll adjourn this
meeting and move into our other meeting.
[Whereupon, at 12:23 p.m., the meeting was
recessed for luncheon, to be reconvened this same day at
2:30 p.m.]. AFTERNOON SESSION
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Come to order. We are pleased
to have Marty Virgilio here to give us an update on the
activities of the Division of Waste Management and the
Office of Nuclear Materials Safety and Safeguards.
A lot of things are happening, I understand, so we
would like to hear about them.
MR. VIRGILIO: Good. Let me just go ahead and
start right into the presentation then, John. It is a
pleasure to be here with you all today.
What I want to do is structure my remarks today
around your ACNW action plan and priority list. We agree
with the areas you have identified and we believe they are
important and timely and we believe that your planned
activities in conjunction with ours will contribute
significantly to the overall agency efforts and our goals in
the waste and materials area.
Basically you know what your priorities are, but
for those members of the audience that might not have had
the benefit of reviewing that this slide here lays out what
you have identified as your priorities in both the first
tier and the second tier.
What I want to do in this presentation is not
repeat to you what your priorities are, because clearly you
know what they are, but help you understand from our
perspective where we see your interactions being most
beneficial to us -- where do we think we can engage in a way
that would be most helpful to us and support us in our
The first tier priority was site suitability and
license application associated with the repository for Yucca
Mountain, and I have listed there bullets on the slide of
some areas where I think that we can have productive
interactions that would contribute to our success.
On the sufficiency comments on the DOE site
recommendation, we have completed development of a strategy
that we are going to use to do the site suitability review
and we are developing guidance to implement that strategy.
We have given that strategy to the Commission and we are
awaiting some feedback now on how best to proceed.
Our milestone is to complete the guidance for
implementing that strategy in the September timeframe.
DOE's current schedule appears to be to issue the
site recommendation consideration report for our review and
comment in the December timeframe. We are thinking that
about six months would be the time period it would take us
to complete our comments on that and we would therefore
submit our comments sometime in the June timeframe, and I
will speak more specifically in each of these areas to where
and how I think we could interact the best through that
six-month time period.
On preclosure, we have met with DOE. We are
continuing to meet with DOE on design process issues and
continuing to work aggressively on completing the preclosure
portions of the Yucca Mountain Review Plan.
On DOE's siting guidance, Part 963, we prepared an
analysis of the proposed final draft in June and provided
that to the Commission. The Commission has that under
review today and the KTIs, you've been meeting with our
Staff throughout this week discussing the KTIs and we will
have a series of meetings between now and November. We
intend to achieve closure for KTIs during that time period.
Container life and source term, unsaturated and
saturated flow, igneous activity, and seismic and structural
deformation are the four that we will be focusing on.
As far as how we propose to interact with you, and
where we think this would be most effective, we are looking
at the wintertime. I think I said earlier that DOE's
proposal now is to submit their site suitability report in
the December timeframe, so we see in the late winter, mostly
in the early spring, opportunities for us to interact and to
have meetings on sufficiency comments. We would look
forward to your review and comments in that area.
In addition, and maybe even going back further a
step, looking at having the Yucca Mountain Review Plan and
our proposal, our strategy for conducting the review of the
site suitability completed sometime in the September-October
timeframe, what we would like to do is interact with you on
that strategy to make sure that we are all in agreement that
that is the right approach for site sufficiency, which is
different than what we are going to have to do in terms of
our review of the license application.
There has been a lot of concern from the
stakeholders that we are not acknowledging that difference,
so I think it is important to make sure that we agree on the
strategy and the approach before we start into do the site
sufficiency review and so I see that coming sometime in the
October or November timeframe, getting an agreement with you
all on that approach, and then actually conducting our
review starting in December when we get the site sufficiency
report and continuing through the spring, so that's our
As far as the Part 63, it will require or does
require DOE to perform a risk assessment for preclosure. We
would be interacting with you particularly on that in the
preclosure area, and of course we will continue to interact
with you on the resolution and closure of the KTIs.
Our goal, what we would like to have, is as many
resolved as we can as early as we can. Bill Kane has set --
put the gauntlet down before the Staff to say I would like
these closed before the license application is submitted.
I think Bill would like to see them closed before
we got to site sufficiency review. We see a tremendous
advantage in having the KTIs closed early. We are putting a
lot more management attention and focus on KTI closure, and
that is where we are headed in the near term, but Bill's
direction to the Staff is before the application is
submitted we want all the KTIs resolved, so that is just to
kind of give you some insight there.
On risk informing and our regulatory framework, we
have had a number of interactions with the stakeholders.
Right now our focus is to finalize screening criteria that
we developed and presented to you back in May and develop an
approach for safety goals for the NMSS scope activities.
We had a stakeholder meeting back in the April
timeframe. From that stakeholder meeting I think we got
good feedback on how to approach safety goal development.
Stakeholders suggested and we adopted an approach where we
are going to do some case studies. The case studies will do
a number of things for us. They will help us inform the
criteria we developed for what is it you want to risk
inform, and I think that will give us some insights as to
how to go about developing safety goals in the materials
If we can through these case studies, I think we
will have draft safety goals in a number of areas.
We will have a meeting in September. We are
trying to set that up for the second or third week in
September to roll out the approach that we are going to use,
to roll out these case studies, to give you a sense of what
areas that we are going to be focusing on for conducting the
case studies and to give you a sense of how we would go
about doing the case studies.
We would invite you to participate in that
meeting. That will be not only your only opportunity to
help share where we are going in terms of safety goals. I
suspect over the next several years as we proceed to safety
goal development in this area we will have many interactions
with you on this topic.
Again the plan will be published and the meeting
will be held in September and I think we will have lots of
opportunity for interaction.
On the ongoing activities we briefed you on a
couple of these back in May, particularly on the dry cask
PRA. You have had briefings from Research staff on that.
They are going to be doing the PRA of the Holtec
International High Storm 100 System. We believe that the
draft project scope and schedules have been established at
this point in time, and screening and preliminary
consequence analysis should be completed in about a year,
maybe 18 months from now, so we are working through that
process, but I do believe in the stakeholders' belief at
this point in time that there is a lot of advantage into
doing this PRA. They see it to help shaping our guidance
documents, to help shaping our reviews, to identify areas
where we may have large uncertainties, identify areas where
we have large conservatisms to help us focus down and focus
our review efforts.
On the byproduct risk review study, right now --
and the Commission paper that provided that study to the
Commission recognized that we didn't do a very good job on
uncertainty analysis, and that is an area where we are
focusing on today to help upgrade the quality of that study
by looking at the uncertainty analysis and the quality of
the data that was used in that study.
What we want to do is utilize that study today in
going back and looking at some of our materials licensees.
As you know, we have various categories and classes of
materials licensees. Some are general licensees. Some are
specific licensees. That drives a lot of what we do in
terms of license renewals, frequencies of reviews,
frequencies of inspection activities, and we want to try to
use that study, actually focus on how to improve that study
and then use that study to shape our licensing and
inspection program in the materials world to make it more
The other issue I would mention is the ISAs for
Part 70. The Commission affirmed Part 70, the rule, on
Tuesday, and gave us an SRM directing us to move forward. I
would like to continue to have dialogues with you on that
Backing up to continue interaction, we are going
to have public meetings the week of September 18th that we
would like you to participate in on finalizing the screening
criteria and the safety goal development. We will also be
developing a training program. We will have the first of
our pilot training program for the NMSS and Region staff
starting the week of September 11th.
We have developed, as I told you back in May, we
developed a three-tier approach to training. The first tier
is the management level, second tier being the general Staff
here in Headquarters and Regional staff, and then the third
tier being our specialized experts that are using risk
assessment and risk management techniques in the materials
and waste arena, so that is the week of September 11th. It
will be a four-day pilot and we invite either you or the
Staff to participate in those participate in those pilots on
training to give us some critical feedback as to whether we
are hitting the right topics.
I know when we met with you back in the May
timeframe -- actually it wasn't you all, it was the
subcommittee -- you gave us some very good feedback on what
we ought to have included in that training program,
specifically with regard to the framework and some of the
issues that why are we trying to risk inform our activities,
sort of the "why" as well as the "how" -- and I believe we
have incorporated some of these ideas and thoughts into the
program activity and I hope that you can participate or that
the Staff can participate and give us some feedback in that
DR. LARKINS: Marty, a quick question. The
specialist -- is this sort of going to be like the RAs in
the reactor side?
MR. VIRGILIO: Yes.
DR. LARKINS: Risk Analysts?
MR. VIRGILIO: Yes, that is sort of what we are
thinking about, and not necessarily consolidate it in
That is one level of specialists, but I also see
that there is problem more specialized training for people
that will be using the risk assessment and risk management
techniques in a very focused area, for example in Part 70
for the ISAs. I imagine we would want to have somebody
there that really has the capability to do and to analyze an
ISA properly, which is a lot more than I see as the base
training that we would give to all the Staff in NMSS and the
Let's see if I have covered everything on that
slide. I think that's pretty much it.
On the next area, on decommissioning issues, we
have got decommissioning guidance. We have had feedback on
the License Termination Plan, and decommissioning plan
We have developed an SRP for License Termination
Plan reviews, and we issued that back in May. We have an
SRP for decommissioning plan reviews, and we expect to issue
that document later this summer.
The Staff is currently getting feedback from use
of the LTP reviews, the License Termination Reviews, and
assessing whether we have got it right, assessing the
effectiveness of that document, and we will be soliciting
feedback from licensees and stakeholders on the
decommissioning process in a workshop that we are planning
to have in the November timeframe.
In terms of future actions, we will be evaluating
guidance, decommissioning guidance as part of what we are
going to be doing in 2001 and 2002.
We are going to look at how we can risk-inform in
performance and make those guidance documents more
performance-based. So it's sort of a two-pronged approach
in 01 and 02 time periods.
And with respect to institutional controls and
long-term stewardship, we realize that there are a number of
sites that we have today that may require long-term
stewardship, including institutional controls, once we
terminate the license.
We've started some dialogue with DOE over this,
and we may wind up going back and utilizing provisions of
the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, specifically Section 151(b)
that would provide for DOE oversight and long-term
stewardship of these sites, if DOE agrees.
So we've started some dialogue with DOE, we're
looking to possibly re-institute some work we had started in
the 1997-1998 timeframe to have an MOU established with DOE
in this area.
And in West Valley decommissioning criteria, we're
evaluating public comments that we received on the
decommissioning criteria. We'll be providing a paper to the
Commission on this, and interacting with the Commission on
closure of this issue.
Back to where and how we believe that we can
interact most effectively on the decommissioning SRP, we'll
be involving and interacting with you to do updates and
revisions to make it more risk-informed and
I understand that tomorrow the staff is actually
going to be presenting to you, and overview of the
decommissioning program, so here's an opportunity for us to
start interacting now.
And we really do welcome your input. On West
Valley, the staff is still awaiting some Commission guidance
on how to sequence our review, and completion of that
effort. In that guidance, we would hope that we get some
further instruction of how best to interact with you over
DR. LARKINS: That's a question that I think the
Committee is deliberating on, as to how they could provide
some value in the area of the West Valley. Hopefully there
will be some specificity in terms of particulars that the
ACNW would look at.
I know there are some discussions going on right
MR. VIRGILIO: There are some ongoing discussions.
You know, there are issues like incidental waste that I
think are going to be significant issues that we're going to
have to deal with, and I think that's going to be an area
where we could use some interaction.
DR. LARKINS: It would be good if there were some
specifics, because, you know, it's a rather large program,
and I don't think we want to try to bite off more than we
MR. VIRGILIO: Okay.
MR. LARSON: Both of the last two on that
viewgraph are tentatively now on the October schedule.
MR. VIRGILIO: Good.
MR. LARSON: There is some question as to the
breadth of the institutional control, and as John says, what
Committee should really look at West Valley, because they
have only heard little bits here and there.
MR. VIRGILIO: Okay, we'll try to be as specific
as we can in terms of requesting support.
MR. LARSON: It's such a complex issue that it
isn't easy to sort out what is appropriate for us to worry
about and what we shouldn't bother with.
MR. VIRGILIO: Maybe there are areas that we can
then focus your attention on, to say we could really use
your insights and assistance in these particular areas, if
the scope is, from your perspective, large, and, I sense, a
little daunting, as it is to us. Okay, good.
On Part 71, we've got rulemaking underway to
incorporate international ST-1 guidance, and other issues
directed by the Commission.
Did I jump ahead one? Oh, good. Risk-informing,
okay, good, I'm sorry. Risk-informing the economic review
Revision 0 went forward to the Commission, and
they asked us to make it more risk-informed and
performance-based. I think they had a lot of concern that
it was not, and we stepped back and looked at it critically
and said, yes, we could do quite a bit more in this area.
So we're currently working on Revision 1, based on
the feedback that we received from the Commission. We
intend to transmit a revised version of that Yucca Mountain
Review Plan to the Commission in the early September
Consistent with the direction that we got from the
Commission, we have been interacting with you as we have
developed that risk-informed document. We really do
appreciate the comments and feedback we've gotten already
from your staff and individual members.
We just continue to foresee additional
interactions as we move forward, but we're on a fairly tight
schedule. We want to get it completed and get it out into
the public domain.
I appreciate what you've done so far, and look
forward to continued interaction in this area.
DR. LARKINS: Mary, we are going to have a public
workshop on that on September 21st?
MR. LARSON: 19th.
DR. LARKINS: I assume that we have plenty of
staff to support that. It will be in Las Vegas.
DR. HORNBERGER: A public workshop on YMRP?
DR. LARKINS: Yes, that's the first one that the
Rev 1 will be publicly available.
DR. HORNBERGER: Oh, right.
DR. LARKINS: Yes.
DR. HORNBERGER: When John says we, I think of the
DR. LARKINS: Right, so actually the ACNW will be
the first to provide the forum for the Agency's disclosure
of the Yucca Mountain Review Plan.
MR. VIRGILIO: And I know that you have been
interacting with the Staff, but I see this as the Staff
actually taking what we've gotten in terms of insights from
the performance assessment, and bringing it back into the
review plan in a way that will guide a reviewer, focus a
reviewer, not only on what's important, but also to give a
sense of where you want to go in terms of scope and depth of
review. Where do you want to focus your attention?
We've only got a certain amount of resources
available to us, and shouldn't we be doing this on a
risk-informed basis? So I'm pleased with the way that has
developed, and look forward to continued improvements in the
Going ahead now to Part 71, we are revising Part
71, consistent with the Commission directions to incorporate
the IAEA ST-1 standard and additional items that the
Commission has asked us to look at. We published an issues
paper on the 17th of July, and plan to hold three public
meetings to solicit comments in August in Rockville, in
September in Atlanta, and September in Oakland, California,
We're on a schedule to get a proposed rule to the
Commission in the March timeframe, March 1 timeframe. We
also have a package performance study that we're working on.
The purpose is to investigate the performance of
spent nuclear fuel transportation casks during severe
accident conditions. We've held two public workshops so
far, and two public meetings, and we intend to hold
additional public meetings in the August timeframe, and
workshops in August and September as well.
Regarding the package performance study, the ACNW
and Staff members are invited to participate in the public
meetings and workshops that we're going to be having in
August and September.
We really do look forward to interactions with you
on how we can improve our risk communications in this area.
You've spoken to us before on this matter, and particularly
on how we best communicate risk in this area. I think we
would like to continue that dialogue and understand from
you, insights and how best to do this. I think it's a
significant issue that you can help us on.
Your next item in the priority scheme was on
research, and I really have no comments there. I know
you're interacting with Research.
Second-Tier Priority Issue 2 is low-level
radioactive waste in the Agreement State Programs. We're
working on mixed waste in two ways:
We've got two separate rulemaking efforts
underway. Rulemaking 1, if you will, is allowing disposal
of low-hazard mixed waste in a Part 61 facility. And on
that, we've got public comment period that ended in February
of this past year, and this is an EPA-led initiative, and
they're currently resolving the public comments that they
have in that area, and they expect to issue a final rule
sometime in the Spring of 01.
We've had no major comments on that rulemaking.
On Rulemaking 2, this is the rulemaking that would allow for
disposal of low-level activity mixed waste in Subtitle C
It requires that NRC develop a rule to allow for
such a proposal, and we provided comments earlier this year.
The outstanding issue between us and EPA continues to be
dose issues, and, you know, surrounding 15 millirem, 25
millirem groundwater issues, some of the same issues that we
deal with with EPA on license termination for reactors, as
well as Yucca Mountain.
Another issue that we're working on is with the
National Academy of Sciences. NRC is going to be providing
support to the Academy on a civilian low-level waste
disposal study. I think it's called Challenges and
Opportunities Ahead, and we'll be working with them on that
The last item, the NUREG on performance
assessment, we've got a Commission paper under development
that will provide the NUREG, and that's currently under
In terms of opportunities to interact with the
ACNW, we see opportunities on that NUREG on the performance
assessment. We understand that comments are coming, that
you're developing comments based on presentations you've
received, and we would look forward to those comments.
On the NAS study, we also see some potential
opportunities for informational briefings and interactions
on that issue as well.
On the rulemakings that we're working with EPA on
low-level waste disposal, we also see opportunities for
interaction, if you want to engage on that issue, and we
would be scheduling meetings with you, if you would like to
discuss those actions with us.
DR. LARKINS: What's the timeframe for that
MR. VIRGILIO: EPA expects to issue the final
first rule in the Spring of 01, and with regard to the
second rulemaking, John, I'd have to get back with you on
that, on the timing for that.
On the second-tier Priority Issue 3 on risk
harmonization, I have already spoken on what we're doing in
terms of developing safety goals for the NMSS activities,
and there are lots of opportunities, I think, to interact
with you there.
I see this as a significant project, and we're
going to be looking for a lot of your input on this
activity, in particular, so it's a big issue for us in terms
of risk-informing our programs, and I see the Subcommittee
that you've established as a great opportunity, a great
sounding board for us to get some good feedback and
direction on how to proceed in this area.
Those are my prepared remarks, and I'm ready to
answer questions that you have on this or other issues that
you've got underway.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Good. By the way this is very
helpful and very timely. We usually don't get this until
the week before our planning session for establishing
priorities, and this gives us an opportunity to really
evaluate what you have identified as ways in which we could
provide useful advice to NMSS. So we appreciate this.
Can you elaborate a little bit on what you're
actually doing in the arena of developing safety goals, and,
in particular, as you know, in the Subcommittee meetings
we've had considerable discussion about it's quite possible
that the best strategy for safety goals for nuclear
materials is to do it by category of activity.
Is that the direction you see that you're going?
MR. VIRGILIO: Yes, and we'll roll this out in the
September meeting, but I can give you a sense of what we
heard from the stakeholders and what we've done in response
to what we heard.
They proposed that we look at it in categories as
well. And so what we've done is, we've lined up a half a
dozen or so case studies, looking at decisions that we have
made to try to, from those decisions, particularly where the
rules -- cases where we did not just make a decision based
on the rules say do it this way, therefore, we're going to
do it this way, trying to find decisions that we made as an
agency in an area where the rules weren't quite clear, and
from that, see if we can derive what -- some of the thinking
behind the decisions were and how that might influence us in
terms of safety goals.
So we've looked at it by categories. For example,
we're looking at it across the materials arena. If think
we've got -- we've got seven programs that we're dealing
with within NMSS, you know, high-level waste, low-level
waste, decommissioning, our fuel cycle activities, our
materials and waste activities, our transportation
If you look at it from that perspective, we kind
of condense down into a smaller set of areas, looking for
commonalities, but, you know, trying to look at, for
example, our materials area, medical and industrial area as
one area where we made decisions. On what basis did we make
those decisions? We're using those case studies to kind of
pick apart, peel back the decisions and look at what were
some of the considerations? What did we look at in terms of
risk to the public?
What did we look at in terms of risk to the
worker? What did we consider acceptable risks in those
How did we come to those conclusions? And we are
using those case studies to hopefully step back and say,
now, based on that, what could be possible safety goals in
these areas? And that's what we want to lay out to you and
to the other stakeholders in the September meeting, as to
how we would propose to approach this.
MR. LARSON: Is this is a one or two-day thing?
MR. VIRGILIO: Well, we want to do it in basically
a half a day. Basically it's not to do anything other than
to lay out the plans.
As we go forward and actually conduct the studies,
we would have individual meetings. My vision would be for
individual meetings in each of the study areas where we
would not only roll out what we've done, but use the
meetings as opportunities to get input from the stakeholders
MR. LARSON: Because that's the week that the
Committee will be out at Yucca Mountain.
MR. VIRGILIO: I think you're not going to miss a
lot in terms of the documentation is there. It's basically
what we heard at the stakeholder meeting that we had, this
is what we've done with it, this is how we propose to
And we're going to have additional meetings as we
move forward in each of the areas where we're going to be
trying to formulate safety goals. From maybe five or six
different goals, if you will, what we'll do is then step
back and say is there some overarching goal that we can
develop for the waste arena?
Is there an overarching goal that we can develop
for the materials arena, and how do we harmonize that with
what we've already done on the reactor side?
I think it's a step-wise process that we'll go
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. VIRGILIO: I see it as challenging.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I guess one of the avenues of
harmonization could be through the underlying principles
that you adopt.
MR. VIRGILIO: Yes, and whether we ever get to
quantitative goals remains to be seen. It may be about
principles in the end.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes, right.
DR. LARKINS: As you know, the problem with the
QHOs for the Agency safety goal is that it's set at such a
level that when you try to apply it, it's difficult.
MR. VIRGILIO: You're always looking for
DR. LARKINS: You're looking for surrogates, yes.
MR. VIRGILIO: And what are the right surrogates,
and how do they relate back to those goals? And that's the
I will also mention now, take an opportunity for a
commercial message here; we're working on the risk-informed
regulation implementation plan. We used to every six
months, brief the Commission, provide the Commission with a
paper and a briefing on what we're doing in risk-informed
It was sort of a compilation of our ongoing
activities. And we got a lot of criticism from our
stakeholders that it was just a listing or a summary of the
activities and there was no relationship established; there
was no overarching strategy to say how do these things fit
together? How do they build back up to some goal or some
overarching strategy for the Agency on how it's going to
risk-inform its programs?
And so we've taken that criticism to heart. We're
in the process of revising the risk-informed regulation
implementation plan to include an overarching summary of how
does -- starting from the Agency's mission, looking at the
strategic goals and performance goals, looking at the safety
goals that we already have, establish looking at our
strategies and our strategic plan and these activities, what
are the linkages? What are we trying to do?
How are we trying to move the Agency forward in
some controlled manner to become more risk-informed? That's
a challenge that we're going to be working on between now
and the October timeframe. So that I think that at some
point in time, we ought to come back and brief you and the
ACRS on that activity as well.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes. Well, as you know, the
Subcommittee was quite pleased to see the work that you're
doing with respect to the dry cask probabilistic risk
assessment, and also the risk assessment that you've already
performed on byproduct material.
And I assume from that other categories are also
probably going to be addressed in a similar manner. This
follows quite nicely from questions that we raised earlier
about it would be very important for the inside expertise of
NMSS to draw on their experience and their expertise to
assess the risk of materials and wastes as a kind of a
starting point for getting effective and efficient advice
from us on what you do beyond that.
MR. VIRGILIO: Good.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: So I take it that you will do
more of these kinds of analyses?
MR. VIRGILIO: Yes. I think, if I look at the
byproduct study that's been done so far, I think there's a
lot more we can do with that.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right.
MR. VIRGILIO: I think there is a lot of
refinement that we can do, but I want to do it in a
controlled way, decide how we want do -- what we want to do
first, for example, looking at our materials program and the
frequency at which we conduct inspections.
How do we need to, if we need to at all, improve
that report in order to inform our decisionmaking in that
area? So, what I don't want to do is create shiny books on
people's shelves, go back and do studies that are not going
to be used.
What I want to do is try to decide what is the
decision that we're going to have to make in making our
programs more risk-informed, making them more efficient,
making them more effective, and then look at how we can use
risk insights to inform those decisions, and then initiate
the studies or improve on the studies that we have today in
order to support that decisionmaking.
So that's the kind of thought process that we're
going through today.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right.
MR. VIRGILIO: And we would develop more of those
studies in order to do that, or refine the studies we
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes. Comments?
DR. HORNBERGER: Marty, we've been -- as John
said, I think this is very helpful. We've been talking,
obviously, about a mix of things, some ACNW, some Joint
Subcommittee. I'm just curious about what kind of process
do you go through as to deciding which issue should go to
the ACNW and which should go to the Joint Subcommittee?
MR. VIRGILIO: Dialogue through your staff is the
way we have done it so far. If you want to do it in another
way that is okay with me.
DR. HORNBERGER: No, it was just a naive question.
MR. VIRGILIO: It's a matter of just dialogues
with John and the Staff --
DR. LARKINS: George loves the subcommittee.
MR. VIRGILIO: What we have done, I guess, is
looked at -- well, we worked with the Commission on this in
one regard. Think back to SECY 99-100, you know, the
framework paper. What we said was that we were going to
work with the subcommittee on those issues, so that has been
sort of a guiding principle and our interactions with John
and the Staff as to what are the activities we were going to
just really focus on with the subcommittee, so things that
have come out of the SECY 99-100, in particular some of the
things that we are talking about in terms of the safety
goals and the screening criteria, we have been -- I have
been thinking anyway that these are issues for the
subcommittee to focus on, but if you want to do it a
different way, however it works best for you I think.
DR. HORNBERGER: The other question I have, I even
hesitate to raise it because you have done such a nice job
here, in mapping between our priorities and how you see us
interfacing, but do you have any issues that aren't on our
list that you would like to see on our list?
MR. VIRGILIO: We are working on providing
comments on the charter right now and we have got a lot of
internal discussion about those issues.
MR. TURTIL: The MOU.
MR. VIRGILIO: I'm sorry, the MOU, not the
charter, on the MOU, and there's -- I struggle with a
recognition that you have only got a certain limited,
there's a finite set of resources you have and there are
priorities for us and you here and there's a temptation to
add a number of other things onto that list, but I struggle
with doing that because I don't want to dilute your efforts,
particularly now as the activities with respect to the
repository are increasing dramatically.
The amount of time that Bill Kane and I are
engaged is going up. The amount of time that you are
engaged is going up. The Commission's engagement is going
up -- so it is tempting but I am hesitating -- but we will
give you feedback. I will give you an answer to that in the
context of looking at the MOU.
DR. LARKINS: This is the draft MOU that we
prepared, I think presented a couple months back, which
talks about how we interface with the NRC Staff. It also
talks a little bit -- well, I don't know if it does or not,
about the separation between ACRS and ACNW but basically it
defines the protocol for our interactions between the NRC
Staff and the ACRS, ACNW.
MR. VIRGILIO: As part of the -- is it the second
section or third section of it, it provides a summary list
of all the areas where you are engaged and gives you some
sense of priority and -- yes.
DR. LARKINS: Now as I recall the response that
came back from the EDO on our tier one and tier two, there
were a few things that were added there that we didn't have
on it initially and we are going to provide some response,
but certainly like you said we are going to be limited in
the number of things that we can undertake this year.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Ray? Questions?
DR. WYMER: No. I thought it was good.
MR. VIRGILIO: Thanks.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: It was excellent.
MR. VIRGILIO: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: And we appreciate it much.
MR. VIRGILIO: We appreciate the opportunity.
DR. LARKINS: One comment -- the Part 71
rulemaking I guess we need to think about whether we want to
schedule that sometime in the spring or late winter this
MR. VIRGILIO: The issues paper is out for public
comment. We have got the meeting scheduled, hopefully, that
you or the Staff can participate in a couple of the
DR. LARKINS: Right, and I guess if we can move
forward in looking at this ISA methodology at some point
that could probably come to the committee, since that is
being used as a method of risk-informing several of the
regulations, so at some point I think all the committee
members should be exposed to that. We are working on it.
MR. VIRGILIO: Okay. Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Thank you.
All right, I think this brings the recorded part
of our meeting to a close.
[Whereupon, at 3:12 p.m., the hearing was
recessed, to reconvene at 8:30 a.m., Thursday, July 27,
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