Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste 125th Meeting, March 21, 2001
Official Transcript of Proceedings
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
Title: Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste
Docket Number: (not applicable)
Location: Rockville, Maryland
Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2001
Work Order No.: NRC-125 Pages 1-144
NEAL R. GROSS AND CO., INC.
Court Reporters and Transcribers
1323 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
(202) 234-4433. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
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ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON NUCLEAR WASTE MEETING
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MARCH 21, 2001
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The ACNW Committee met at the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Two White Flint North,
Room T2B3, 11545 Rockville Pike, at 8:32 a.m.,
DR. JOHN GARRICK, Chairman, presiding.
DR. JOHN GARRICK, Chairman
MR. MILTON LEVENSON, Member
DR. RAYMOND WYMER, Member
. ACRS STAFF PRESENT:
DR. ANDREW C. CAMPBELL
DR. JOHN LARKINS
RICHARD K. MAJOR
ROBERT A. NELSON
AGENDA ITEM PAGE
Opening statement. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
ACNW Planning and Procedures . . . . . . . . . . .16
DOE's Status Report on Key Technical Issue . . . .44
Partial Release of a Reactor Facility or Site
for Unrestricted Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62
License Termination Plan Review and. . . . . . . 108
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Good morning. Our
meeting will now come to order. This is the first day
of the 125th meeting of the Advisory Committee on
Nuclear Waste. My name is John Garrick, Chairman of
Other members of the committee present are
Milt Levenson and Ray Wymer. George Hornberger is
absent today. During today's meeting, the committee
will discuss the following. We will do our usual
planning and future items discussion this morning.
We will talk about DOE's status report on
technical issue resolution. We will talk about the
ACNW 2001 Action Plan, and I will note that that was
originally scheduled for Thursday for those of you
still have an old agenda; and partial release of a
reactor facility or site for unrestricted use.
We will discuss license termination plan
review and lessons learned. We will look at the
topics for the March -- for tomorrow's meeting with
the Commission, the March 22nd meeting with the
And look at proposed plan ACNW reports on
the following topics: entombment, partial release of
a reactor facility or site for unrestricted use;
lessons learned; a license termination plan; and high
level waste chemistry.
I should also announce that there will not
be a formal meeting on Friday. It turns out that
unavoidably that two committee members have to be
absent, leaving us with below the threshold for a
There will be discussions of the -- well,
between the committee members and staff, and there
will be letter work performed to the extent that it
can be under those circumstances.
Howard Larson is the designated Federal
Official for today's initial session. This meeting is
being conducted in accordance with the provisions of
the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
We have received no comments or requests
for time to make oral statements from members of the
public regarding today's sessions. And should anyone
wish to do so, please contact one of the members of
And if you do, it is requested that the
speakers use one of the microphones, identify
themselves, and speak clearly.
Before proceeding with the first agenda
item, I would like to cover some brief items of
current interest. There have been a number of NRC
management changes since our last meeting.
Mr. William F. Kane has been appointed
deputy executive director for reactor programs. Mr.
Kane has most recently been the director of the office
of nuclear material safety and safeguards, where he
also served as director of the spent fuel project
office from 1997 to 1999.
Mr. Martin Virgilio has been appointed
director of NMSS. He current serves as the deputy
director of NMSS, the position that he has occupied
since December 1998.
Margaret Federline will replace Martin
Virgilio as deputy director of NMSS, and Ms. Federline
is currently deputy director of the office of nuclear
regulatory research, a position she has held since
Before joining research, Ms. Federline was
deputy director of the division of waste management,
chief of the hydrology and system performance branch,
and chief of the performance assessment and hydrology
branch in NMSS. So she has a very strong experience
base and tradition with NMSS.
Mr. Roy P. Zimmerman will replace Ms.
Federline as deputy director of research. Roy
Zimmerman is currently the deputy director of the
office of nuclear regulatory regulation, a position
that he has held since December 1998.
So much for the management changes. I
would like to also note that former NRC chairman
Shirley Jackson has added another distinguished
achievement to her record, and was recently elected to
the National Academy of Sciences.
She was also the first woman to receive
the Black Engineer of the Year award, and is also a
member of the National Academy of Engineering.
NAC Worldwide Consulting reported that
U.S. utilities now have 233 spent fuel casts deplored,
and plan to load another 107 in 2001. The report
estimates that nearly 30 percent of all U.S. spent
fuel will be in dry storage by 2010. So, dry storage
has become a very important component of the spent
nuclear fuel storage issue.
The Commission unanimously voted for a
formal adjudicatory process for hearing requests for
the potential high level waste repository at Yucca
On February 21 of this year the NRC
approved the license termination plan for the Trojan
Reactor. Portland General Electric plans to load the
spent fuel into storage casts. The plant is being
dismantled and decontaminated.
Especially for the benefit of the
committee and staff as background information, it
should be noted that there have been several speeches
given by the Commissioners in the past several months
on topics of great interest to us, such as the issue
of communication, spent fuel, research, and the NRC
We should also note that the primary
objective of this meeting is to prepare for and
participate in a public meeting with the Commission.
That will take place tomorrow as previously noted.
Otherwise, this meeting is patched up a
little bit by unavoidable things that have occurred,
including the absence of two members on Friday, and
necessitating the cancellation of that as a formal
And we have scheduled today -- we had
scheduled two meetings with Commissioners, individual
Commissioners, and one of those has been canceled
because of illness on the part of the Commissioner,
but one of those remains.
So there will be some interruptions this
morning, and given that, together with being one short
in our committee, we will have to work extra hard to
maintain the agenda and the continuity of discussion.
So with that, I think we will proceed with
our agenda, although where even there we are maybe
going to modify it a little bit, because this is the
part of the meeting where we really spend a couple of
hours trying to figure out how to be most effective
for the balance of the meeting.
So we talk about future meetings, and
issues, and priorities, and those kinds of things that
are aimed at making our meeting as effective as it can
And in that regard, and having some
license to deviate a little bit from standard agendas,
it might be a good idea to talk a little bit about
what the meetings today, or the meeting today ought to
emphasize with respect to Commissioner Dicus. So
maybe we ought to chat about that just a little. I
don't know, Jim, if you want to --
DR. LYONS: I guess I could walk you
through this with the staff's help. I put together
a little bow tie's list of the items for discussion,
and really this is more of a laundry list than that
you need to cover each one of the topics.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: It is a great list, and
if we go through it, we might be there until
DR. LYONS: That's right, and so I think
we need to kind of pick and choose from here. I think
one of the key reasons that we wanted to talk to them
was to talk about low level waste issues.
Howard put together a list of topics that
we might want to talk about, but it seems that maybe
we would want to focus on the linear non-threshold
issue, and the release of solid materials, and that
sort of thing, and to look at that, and maybe on the
overlaps with the EPA.
But I would note -- and maybe you could
ask the Commissioner about this, but I know that
Chairman Zerve met with Secretary Wittman of EPA last
week, and so maybe we will have some feedback. There
was some hope that would bring about a new era of
cooperation between the two.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Has there been any
official release from those discussions?
DR. LYONS: I haven't seen anything.
DR. LARKINS: I haven't seen anything
DR. LYONS: And you might want to ask what
is going on there. But I think if you look through
the list that I handed out to the members, there is
several items on low level waste that you might want
to talk about, and you might want to pick up on.
I think there is always the policy or
legislative concern of whether there should be new
legislation on the Low Level Waste Policy Act. We
were looking at explaining to the Commissioner that we
are actually are at this meeting looking at a number
of low level waste issues, partial site release and
lessons learned from the site termination plan and
And we are also going to work on the
letter for entombment, and maybe find out what the
status of Part 63 and the Yucca Mountain review plan
are from the Commission's standpoint, and when they
think they would be ready to come out.
If you want to talk a little bit about our
research report. The Commission is having a meeting
in May, May 10th, to talk about research. They are
bringing in former Commissioner Rogers, who was on a
committee that looked at research.
Also, representatives from ACRS are going
to be there to talk about their research report, which
is about an inch-and-a-half thick. We are just about
finished putting that together.
And so there are a couple of other items
as you look through here, and if we are going to have
additional work in the next year or so in the Yucca
Mountain area, the Yucca Mountain high level waste
repository, to make add an additional member to the
committee to deal with health physics.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Has this subject ever
been brought up with the Commission that you are aware
DR. LARKINS: I have had discussions with
several Commissioners about it, and depending on what
happens next year with the budget, and if it looks
like we are actually going to move forward, suggested
that -- I mean, right now there is a slight increase
in the budget for 2002 for the ACNW.
And so if things move forward, I would
think that we might want to consider two things. One
would be the addition of another member, with
expertise in the area of health physics. And maybe
going back to or from 8 to 10 meetings.
But those would all be contingent upon
what happens with -- whether DOE actually moves
forward. I think there is as good a chance now as any
with all the discussions on the need for a national
energy policy that something should happen.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right. Right. Okay.
DR. CAMPBELL: Jim, can I add one thing?
DR. LYONS: Yes.
DR. CAMPBELL: If the focus is low level
waste, one of the issues that may come up is greater
than Class C waste.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
DR. CAMPBELL: And it is directed related
to Part 61, because the way that Part 61 is worded is
that you either have to modify Part 61 to dispose of
greater than Class C waste in a near surface
environment, which is shallower than about 30 meters
as defined in the regulation, or you have to regulate
by exception on a case by case basis.
So it may come up, particularly with
Commissioner Dicus, because of her experience with the
low level waste.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, I think that the
thing that precipitated the desire to have the meeting
in the first place was a feeling of a little bit of
guilt on the part of the NRC as to how accountable we
were really being with respect to the whole low level
Because on the one hand, we identify the
decommissioning as a tier one priority, and while we
identify low level waste as a second tier priority,
and yet if you talk to industry, the number one
problem with decommissioning is what to do with the
low level waste.
So there is a little bit of a disconnect
there and that somehow I think we need to make darn
sure that we are aware of the implications here, and
are doing everything that we can to deal with it,
because there are real decisions that have to be made,
particularly in the reactor decommissioning arena, of
what to do with this massive amount of material.
And there doesn't seem to be real answers
yet, and so I think that is something that the
Commission is very well aware of. But I would like to
get some discussion going such that we would have some
sort of inspiration if you wish as to what kind of
advice to offer, because it just doesn't seem to get
It is not very gratifying to industry, for
example, to be told that you have got the academy
doing a study on solid materials, because they know
how the academy works, and that their schedules are
slow, and that their review process is tedious, and it
takes a long time to get a report.
And they would hate to be caught in the
position of finally with that report done, and the NRC
having some real guidance by then from either its
advisory committees and the academy making a decision
that would make an already decision that might have
been made by industry a very costly one, and perhaps
an unnecessary one.
So there is a real accountability issue it
seems to me on low level waste that I am not sure is
being addressed with the level of interest that it
needs. So that is one of the reasons.
DR. LARKINS: If you will remember the
Committee is on the record of suggesting that agency
take the lead in developing a national program.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right.
DR. LARKINS: And some change was
necessary, and this has been what, three years ago?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right. We were very
explicit in making suggestions of what would
constitute an adequate lower level waste program, and
so we have tried to be responsive to this in the
context of low level waste as an item.
But also in the context of decommission as
a much more general issue. Okay. It looks as though
we have some interesting things to talk about, and I
am quite sure that we are not going to get through
this entire list.
DR. LARKINS: I would suggest that you
really focus on the low level waste issue, and some of
the things on the lessons learned from site
termination, which is related to that.
And I think that the entombment and
greater than Class C status of where the Commission is
going on the Yucca Mountain review plan and Part 63.
I think that she might be interested in
hearing something about the Committee's views on
research, because it is a near term topic that the
Commission is going to be taking up, and the ACNW will
not be at that meeting on May 10th.
So those are four areas that I think that
we could possibly consume most of your discussion.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay. I think so, and
I guess it is almost time for us to leave for a nine
o'clock meeting is it not?
DR. LYONS: Yes.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: So, Milt, as a
committee of one, can you do the best job that you can
of getting through some of these planning items and
And normally we don't have this part of
the meeting recorded, but, Ray, I am going to ask you
to join me to go see Commissioner Dicus. And we well
be back in about 35 minutes and continue.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Is there any suggestions
as what could be done usefully in the absence of a
MR. SINGH: We can follow the items from
the 124th meeting if you want.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes. I think the
planning activity associated with future meetings, and
what have you, you can do with the help of Jim. Jim
is going to lead that discussion.
DR. LYONS: Right. I was going to lead
that discussion anyway. So we will try to work
through some of these.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right. So we will
DR. LYONS: Okay. I think let's work
through the table of contents under Tab 2, which is
where we are. And we will start off with the follow-
up items from the 124th ACNW meeting. I will turn
this over to Amarjit and let him walk us through that.
MR. SINGH: We have three letters, KTI,
Staff's, and TPA and the report to the commission.
Then we finalize the ACNW past inspection plan.
DR. LYONS: Well, we approved it in
principal, but we are going to finalize it today.
MEMBER LEVENSON: And that needs voting,
DR. LYONS: Right. But there is time set
aside in the agenda to do that.
MR. SINGH: And we also distributed the
minutes from the last meeting and the assignments and
the commitments, KTI vertical slice, and TSBA is Andy
Campbell and John Garrick. CLST is also Andy Campbell
and Ray Wymer.
DR. LYONS: Saturation zone.
MR. SINGH: Saturation zone, George
Hornberger and thermal effects with Milt and Richard
Major. We also have consulting news to explore, and
one of the members has some more names for that.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Let me ask a question in
MR. SINGH: Yes, sir.
MEMBER LEVENSON: I can't think of a
specific name, but the CDC in Atlanta has been charged
with reconstruction of old heritage sites and so
forth, and there is a substantial number of people
involved in that program who are getting good
backgrounds in data and information, and maybe that is
somewhere to look for someone that might be a
consultant since that is such a very active activity.
We have a draft report almost finished on
the Savannah River site, and we are in the midst of
reviewing one right now on the Idaho site, and we
might find somebody who could be a consultant.
And the National Academy Committee that
reviews the CDC is chaired by a guy by the name of
Schule Texas, and he might be a contact.
DR. LARSON: We have really been most
successful in getting consultants when they have been
people that the staff or the members know, and they
can talk to them and sort of preface them, and tell
them that they are going to work for the Federal
Government at the going rate.
Because if we call up somebody that we
don't know and say would you be interested in being a
consultant, one of the first things they want to know
is how much are we going to get paid, and what are the
conflicts of interest.
And so they need a prep and pep talk from
people such as yourself and other members.
MEMBER LEVENSON: One of the things about
people already out on the academy committees is that
they are already working for free. I know some fair
fraction of these people, and this committee that
Schule chairs is 14 people, and 12 of them are medical
types, such as biologists, or epidemiologists, and
there is one statistician, and then me. I am the
reality check. So I know a number of these people.
DR. LYONS: As I said, Rod Ewing has
declined the invitation to be a consultant, but he
said he would continue to serve as an invited expert.
And Chris Whipple --
DR. CAMPBELL: And Chris Whipple has also
DR. LYONS: Oh, he has also declined?
DR. CAMPBELL: Yes, for the same reason.
MS. HARRIS: Is he going to be an invited
DR. CAMPBELL: Probably not.
DR. LYONS: Okay. All right. We looked
at meeting attendance, and Lynn went to the NWTRB
meeting in Amargosa Valley. We sent a consultant to
the repository design meeting in Las Vegas in
We had a high level waste chemistry
working meeting here on February 21st and 22nd that
Andy ran, and I think that turned out to be
Ray and I attended the Waste Management
2001 Symposium in Tucson and I only got to stay for
two days and Ray got to stay for all four.
Upcoming meetings. There is the
International High Level Waste Conference that is
coming up in April, or the end of April and the
beginning of May.
Right now, Milt, you and John are
scheduled to go there. Also, I think George
Hornberger is scheduled to be a speaker at that.
DR. CAMPBELL: Right.
MEMBER LEVENSON: I want to raise a
question. George is a speaker in the one session, and
he can stay and I will bow out. I can continue to
plan to go, but I think you can resolve that today or
tomorrow. You don't need an extra person there.
DR. LYONS: All right. The TSPA and
integration technical exchange; we had it down here
that it would be in May tentative. Has that been
DR. CAMPBELL: No, if you look at your
handout, titled DOE Interactions Calendar.
DR. LYONS: Agenda Item 2?
DR. CAMPBELL: Yes, Agenda Item 2.7.
Right now the May dates may -- well, it looks 14, 15,
and 16 are the FEPs meeting, Features, Events, and
Processes meeting in Las Vegas.
You will notice that it overlays exactly
with the ACNW meeting in May. So it is unlikely that
we will be able to attend that. The TSPAI meeting is
the last week of June, the 25th through the 29th, and
it is a five day schedule.
DR. LYONS: Okay.
DR. CAMPBELL: So those are upcoming
meetings. There are some -- in talking to Jim Ferth,
there may be some Appendix 7 type of meetings in the
interim, between now and June, and I will get further
information from GMS as they firm those things up, and
the topics and stuff.
DR. LYONS: Good.
DR. CAMPBELL: But right now it is FEPs in
mid-May, and TSPAI at the end of June.
DR. LYONS: All right.
DR. CAMPBELL: And we don't have a
consultant for FEPs.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Or TSPA.
DR. CAMPBELL: We don't really have a
consultant who is a FEPs person.
DR. LYONS: Okay. Any other meetings that
are scheduled? I see we have down here a tentative
visit to Invirocare? Would somebody -- I am not even
sure who is --
DR. LYONS: Well, the members had said
that they thought that that would be an interesting
visit sometime, and I think that's why she put it down
MEMBER LEVENSON: Sometime when we are in
that part of the country.
DR. LYONS: So that was just sort of a
place holder, and was put down there, I think, to
MS. DEERING: Jim, there was another memo
that came out of the staff that went to DOE agreeing
on some meetings, and ones that I wanted to note where
there is a preclosure safety on July 23rd. It is in
another one of these pick handouts.
DR. LYONS: Thirteen?
MS. DEERING: Yes, 13, and Milt, this may
be of interest to you.
DR. CAMPBELL: Are those firm dates then?
MS. DEERING: I think these are proposed.
DR. CAMPBELL: Okay. Because the
interactions calendar said that this is the preclosure
MS. DEERING: Well, no, this is just all
the meetings that are coming up, and one on July 9th
on repository temperature, which is proposed. I don't
believe that -- you know, I think it was a follow-up
to a conference call that they had, and they are just
kind of reaffirming these dates.
I don't know if they are engraved in stone
yet. They agreed on five technical exchanges in the
conference call, and I just wanted to bring them to
Milt's attention so that he could consider them,
because they are both probably interesting to him.
DR. LYONS: Okay. Good.
DR. CAMPBELL: The only reason I
interrupted, Lynn, and I am sorry, is that the
Interactions Calendar says preclosure issues, 7/24
through 7/26. But it does say TBD and tentative
MS. DEERING: I don't know. This memo is
March 11 and so it may be out of date.
DR. CAMPBELL: Or it may be that they just
have not settled on the times yet.
DR. LYONS: It is almost two weeks old
now. Okay. On to the next page, and we keep moving
through these follow-up items.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Excuse me, but it is the
week of July 9th, and I am not available that week.
MS. DEERING: For the temperature -- okay.
DR. LYONS: The next page talks about
possible working groups on above and beyond TSPA, and
propagation of uncertainty, risks and applicability of
the New Mexico environmental evaluation group process
for Yucca Mountain, State and local public
involvement. Do we have any more information on those?
DR. LARSON: Well, no, those were just
things that we -- remember we were talking about the
action plan and future things, and various committee
members pitched in with what they thought might be
interesting working group things, but we never picked
any dates or topics, or finalized anything, and once
again it is more or less a place holder for the
committee to decide what they want to do, if anything,
on these topics.
MEMBER LEVENSON: There is one more
possible space holder, because we are sort of waiting
for some feedback from the Commissioners, is the area
DR. LYONS: Right. T here is a possible
MEMBER LEVENSON: Right.
DR. CAMPBELL: Realistically, these are
-- most of these are different aspects of the same
issue, which is really how do you handle uncertainty
in the context of doing a total system analysis, and
if we want to develop a working group on that area, we
are probably going to have to do it after the TSPAI
And so we are looking at -- and then it
usually takes a number of months to develop the
necessary invitations and find out who can attend, and
put it all together.
So we are looking realistically at the
fall and into the next fiscal year before we could
have this kind of working group.
DR. LYONS: Okay. The rest of that talks
about future activities, and really talks about what
we are going to do about this meeting. I don't think
we need to go through that.
What I would like to do then is turn to --
and again under Tab 2, to page 5, and look at the
reports and letters scheduled for consideration during
The first letter that we are going to look
at is the entombment option for decommissioning
nuclear powered reactors. We had discussed this at
the 122nd and the 124th meeting. We have a draft
letter to look at. So we will be looking at that
later on. The 2001 --
MEMBER LEVENSON: We do have the draft?
MR. SINGH: Yes, sir, we do.
DR. LARSON: Yes, Ray redid it based on
the input that you have got in the plan, the draft
DR. LYONS: Okay. The 2001 action plan,
which discussed -- and which we approved in principle
at the last meeting, we are going to finalize that
later on today or actually this morning.
MR. MAJOR: This morning, yes.
DR. LYONS: We are going to work on that
and talk about that a little bit more, and talk about
our self-assessment. We were talking about a letter
on high level waste chemistry.
But we are not really ready at this time
to go forward with that, and so that will be something
that we will deal with in the future. So don't worry
about that one.
Partial site release of a reactor facility
or site for unrestricted use. We are going to be
hearing about that at this meeting. The staff is
requesting a letter with any of our conclusions and
concerns, even if it is a brief letter.
DR. LARSON: Yes, they said even an e-
mail, and I talked to them yesterday, and they would
like something from the committee of some sort, and
they will give you the timing that they have to get to
the Commission this afternoon.
DR. LYONS: Yes.
DR. LARSON: And it is your first real
presentation from NRR. So it would be an interesting
DR. LYONS: And then the last letter that
we are going to consider -- no, there is two more.
License termination plan, review the lessons learned
that we got. The committee is going to give a
briefing about that at this meeting, and we will have
to determine whether or not we need a letter.
The staff right now is not requesting one.
So we will see if as a result of that that we decide
to write a letter. And then the final one is on the
proposed revisions to 10 CFR Part 71, the packaging
and transportation of radioactive material.
Again, we are going to hear about the
proposed changes to Part 71, and the staff again is
not requesting a letter from us at this time, but if
we decide to, we could always write one.
Okay. Let's move on to future activities.
Our plate is not that full in the next few months. We
are looking at next month's meeting that the NMSS
through the EDO has requested to brief us on the
status of the sufficiency review, and an update on
But of those are information briefings,
and so those ought to be interesting. And on the page
following there are some of the things that we were
looking at adding, is more discussion on our vertical
slice reports by the committee members and the staff.
And a response to the Commission briefing
that is going to be held tomorrow if we have any, and
if there is anything that we need to do there. And
then I guess the other thing is to talk about the
international high level waste conference in Las
There was some discussion if there was a
number of people going to that whether or not we would
want to try and have a meeting there, rather than
having a meeting here.
DR. LARSON: That was discussed at the
last meeting whether the committee wanted to do that,
but at that time you didn't have the agenda. But the
agenda is now in your notebook, and you can look at
And then one of the things that we have
asked the staff in the meantime is the presentations
that they scheduled for that meeting, and whether they
would be able to give those in Las Vegas.
Now, there are papers being given by the
staff in the center on the same topics, but I have not
heard whether it is possible to do that, or whether
the members want to do it.
But John there wanted that as an option,
and several of the other members raised that
possibility once they saw the agenda, which is in your
DR. LYONS: So we can talk about that some
more. For June, we don't have any topics right now
other than we have to do an election of officers.
DR. LARSON: I got two topics this
morning, Jim --
DR. LYONS: You do? Good.
DR. LARSON: -- from the staff at 7:30.
One is that Janet Kocher would like to come in and
talk to us on public outreach activities, and it is an
And, of course, this is a topic that the
committee has indicated a lot of interest in over the
years. And the second one was a discussion of the
integrated issue resolution status report, and that is
another information briefing with medium priority.
And so they have indicated that they want
to come in and talk about those two topics at the June
DR. LYONS: Good, because we are having
our coordination meeting next week with EDO, and so we
will have -- and I am sure that these two will be
picked up there and we will look at some more.
DR. LARSON: Yes.
DR. LYONS: And then I am looking forward
to July, and that we probably need to start making
some preparations for our meeting in October in the
Las Vegas area, in the vicinity of the Yucca Mountain
DR. LARSON: It may seem early, but you
have no meeting in September. So if you talk about it
in July, you can finalize it in August, and then
that's it, and then you are there.
DR. LYONS: Yes.
DR. LARSON: And so that is the only
reason I put it on there for July.
DR. CAMPBELL: One additional -- I'm
sorry, Milt, go ahead.
MEMBER LEVENSON: I was just going to say
should this have been an item on the copy for John to
bring up with the Commissioners?
DR. LYONS: Oh, yes, whether or not they
wanted a meeting held out there?
MEMBER LEVENSON: Yes.
DR. LYONS: That might be -- I am trying
to think. I think that is something that he has
raised to them, and that they are thinking about.
DR. LARSON: Well, you put it in a letter.
We got a response back from the EDO who said it was up
to the Commission.
MEMBER LEVENSON: I know that, and so the
preliminary feedback was that it made sense, and that
we are thinking about it or forget it.
DR. LYONS: Okay.
DR. CAMPBELL: I was going to add that
there is an additional potential topic. I got a call
from Rick Hulse at INEL over the greater than Class C
DOE, under the Low Level Waste Policy Act,
as amended, is responsible for developing a strategy
for disposing of greater than Class C waste.
They also have a whole bunch of sealed
sources that are being returned to them from
commercial entities, and they are trying to develop a
plan of what to do with this stuff.
They are looking at disposal options in
deep bore holes. But any facility that they develop,
since these are commercial sources, would require an
So it would be a DOE facility under an NRC
license. So at some point they are going to be
wanting to talk to ACNW and give a presentation on the
various options that they are considering. So that is
a possible topic in the next six months or so.
DR. LYONS: Okay. I was going to say I
was wondering what the time frame was.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Andy, let me ask you a
question since that becomes technically complicated or
just policy and politics, that it seemed to me that if
the Commission is going to go ahead with the can and
canister program, and that is a good safe way of
getting rid of kernels from bombs, and you have got
the facility and the program to just throw these,
certainly any of these commercial sources are much
less an environmental threat than a couple of pounds
You have got a facility and you have got
a program, and it seems like a relatively simple way
to handle it rather than starting a whole new major
DR. CAMPBELL: Well, they are looking at
options right now, and that's --
MEMBER LEVENSON: I guess the question
really comes back to a philosophical one, and that is
while these are licensed sources, and a lot of them
are made by the Commission -- radium material come
from our energy facilities, et cetera -- can you de-
license a source like you can de-license a reactor,
which would allow DOE to just use them in one of their
existing unlicensed facilities, like the can and
canister? That would simplify the hell out of things
if it is possible.
DR. CAMPBELL: That would be a good
question to ask them if they came in. I can't give
you an answer on that. He did indicate to me that
they see the disposition of the sources as a segaway
into the larger issue of the disposition of greater
than Class C waste in general, which they are also
responsible for, and which also requires an NRC
MEMBER LEVENSON: I know that is the
approach that they are talking about, but it doesn't
seem to make sense to me, because generally the
greater than Class C waste is voluminous, and
unconfined, unpackaged, et cetera.
There is one sort of risk family, and a
sealed source that is small, and sealed, and packaged,
and directly handable, and a relatively small volume,
as compared to greater than Class C. That really
ought to be a basis for trying to at least thing about
DR. CAMPBELL: Apparently they tried to
extract useful radioisotopes out of these sealed
sources and failed, and ended up with more waste than
what they started with.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Sure.
DR. CAMPBELL: They are not just cesium
and strontium. There are neutron sources which have
actoncites in them, you know. And there are thousands
of them. It is not a small number.
MEMBER LEVENSON: They are all small, but
greater than the Class C, it is very small.
DR. CAMPBELL: Right. What is happening
apparently is because they are small, they tend to get
left and abandoned. They are finding them in -- you
know, they are used in bore hold logging and stuff
like that, and they end up getting left and abandoned.
So they are trying to gather them all in
at this point, but that's a collection issue rather
than a disposal issue.
MEMBER LEVENSON: They are still finding
radium in the free world from World War II days and in
old medical buildings and stuff.
DR. CAMPBELL: Well, I can follow up with
Rick at some point in time to see when it might fit
into your schedule.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Well, I was at Hanford
a few weeks ago, and I was absolutely appalled to
discover that they are thinking -- you know, they have
got all of this cesium and strontium sources from when
then had a packing program, and they are now building
a facility to dispose of the cesium and the strontium
that is in the waste tanks.
And they are thinking about breaking open
all those capsules and redissolving it, and dumping it
into the tanks so that it can go through the
processing plant so that they can condense it to a
finite volume when it is already in a finite volume.
So it is not our role to introduce rationality to the
world, but we can try, I guess.
DR. LYONS: Okay. The next thing on the
agenda here is to look at the reconciliation of
responses to ACNW reports.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Oh, one other thing.
DR. LYONS: Go ahead.
MEMBER LEVENSON: The sidebar to the visit
to Envirotech in fact is tied to this item at the July
meeting, I think, was that if we had a meeting out in
Las Vegas and the whole ACNW is out there, would
people be interested in a side trip to Envirotech.
DR. LYONS: Okay. The next thing on the
agenda is reconciliation, and I was wondering -- we
were just talking about this, and whether we should
wait until there was more members and everybody is
here to go through those.
So let's table that for now, and then if
you go through the rest of the information that is in
your notebook, we have the proposed agenda for ACRS
and ACNW meetings that we get from the executive
director for operations that lists the items that we
had provided already.
The ACNW stuff actually starts on page 20,
the handwritten 20 at the bottom of your page. Again,
we are having a meeting with them next week, and we
will have an updated list at that time to work with.
And we used this to develop our calendars
and our schedules for future meetings. And we have
picked up on all of these that are in here now.
Then also there is the calendar for the
ACNW and ACRS that follows that, and that is just
really for your information. And then a list of M&O
meetings status, and that is from March 5th, and I
guess some of these other documents that we have help
update that list.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Let me ask you a
question about the transportation workshop, and that
kind of drifted into being, and with Part 71 coming up
as a more substantive part of our agenda along the
way, would that have any impact on the value or
probability that we should hold a workshop?
Originally there wasn't any official thing
on our agenda that was justification for the workshop.
It was a feeling that some of the committee members
that transportation was a drifting item; and now with
Part 71, there is a place to anchor.
DR. LARSON: And as you know, the Part 71
thing is a pretty finite discussion.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Oh, yes.
DR. LARSON: Dick, there is something that
is being drafted to go in the self-assessment and
operating plan that mentions transportation.
MR. DURAISWAMY: It is already in the
MR. MAJOR: We did move transportation
from a first tier issue last year to a second tier
year this year. I think the original topic arose when
we were looking at the draft environment impact
statement for Yucca Mountain, and that seemed to be
something that was of high concern to the public.
And we kind of picked up on that following
that. My impression right now is that we are taking
on a lot of transportation issues, but we are taking
them on piece by piece, rather than in one fell swoop.
So that seems to be the course that we are taking.
DR. LYONS: Okay. And I guess what I was
saying is that the rest of this, beyond the calendars
and the meeting status -- well, are there any of these
meetings that we should highlight? I think we already
MS. DEERING: Jim, the calendar isn't
complete. Are you concerned about that?
DR. LYONS: Well, yeah. In what way?
MS. DEERING: Well, just a couple of
things come to mind. I see right away that there is
an NWTRB on April 13th, a panel meeting in D.C. on
multiple lines of evidence, which I think is a really
important meeting. Somebody needs to go.
I know that Milt says he couldn't go, but
I think we should tap the other members and see if
they could attend that since that is such a key issue
and it concerns -- we have our own opinions on that,
John Garrick does.
And there is another TRB meeting here in
D.C. on May 8th and 9th, which I don't think I see on
DR. LARSON: We have to tell Sherry. I
mean, Sherry only puts in there what we tell her to
do, and of course the KTI meetings and the tech
exchanges, and other things, are pretty dynamic in
MS. DEERING: And then there is another
one in September, the 11th and 12th, and that should
be noted on here. I mean, I will give this to Sherry.
DR. LYONS: Okay.
MS. DEERING: But for planning purposes,
some of these are coming up pretty fast.
DR. LYONS: Are they on this M&O status,
or are these separate?
MEMBER LEVENSON: What date is the April
MS. DEERING: The April meeting is on the
DR. LARSON: Friday the 13th?
MS. DEERING: I don't think you can go.
I think you already checked.
DR. LYONS: Yes, I don't see that on here.
The one in April, what was that?
MS. DEERING: What was it, the title of
DR. LYONS: Yes.
MS. DEERING: Multiple Lines of Evidence.
The board wants to explore further as I understand it
what they themselves mean by that when they ask DOE to
make sure that they are looking at multiple lines of
evidence. And I don't have an agenda for this, but I
got this from their website.
DR. LYONS: All right. I think that is
something that we should start trying to see who we
want to send to those. I would like to go to one of
these meetings and so on April 13th, if that fits in
with anything else in my calendar, I wouldn't mind
going to that.
MS. DEERING: I highly recommend it.
DR. LYONS: Somebody can go with me and
explain the process and lead me through it.
MS. DEERING: Of course, you know what?
Just for your information, that would be a panel
meeting, which is different than their full committee
meeting. But I am sure that it would still be
extremely well attended. But they just break off a
piece of the larger group and explore.
DR. LYONS: Right. Okay. Maybe we should
raise those meetings up to the others when they come
back. And then the other thing we have here is the
agenda for the international high level waste
management conference, and so you can look at that,
And that gets up through this, and so what
I would propose at this point is to take a break until
John, John, and Ray come back. So let's take a break
until 9:45. I would hope that they would be back by
(Whereupon, the meeting recessed at 9:31
a.m. and was reconvened at 10:21 a.m. in progress.)
MEMBER WYMER: All right. The coupling is
between the dripping in of the water out of the waste
package, which is one process, and radiolysis, which
is another. That is an example, Milt.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Are secondary products
MEMBER WYMER: Yes, but that wouldn't be
a surprise since everybody has anticipated that, but
they have not really anticipated the effect of high
acidity. People have mentioned it, but they haven't
really dealt with it. But it was specifically
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, I am thinking of
secondary products in the context of inhibiting
corrosion, for example.
MEMBER WYMER: No, not really. People
haven't, for example, thought about what might happen
when the grout around the rock bolts dissolves, and
then drips down on the waste package, and then
resolidifies into a coating that might then prevent
future corrosion and cracks, and something like that.
These are plucked out of the air, I want
you to know, but they are still the kinds of things
that might be surprises. That kind of stuff.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: We can come back to
that again when we do our Commission work.
MEMBER LEVENSON: In this example, you
reduce the mobility of the neptium, right?
MEMBER WYMER: Yes.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Pleasant surprise.
MEMBER WYMER: It is a pleasant surprise.
Not all surprises are bad. I think that is your point
of several meetings ago, Milt.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Yes.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Now, there may be some
colloid formation surprises that would go in the other
MEMBER WYMER: Well, that is another
issue, but something about colloids that bother me is
that people only seem to be talking about pseudo
colloids these days, and they have forgotten about
real colloids. They are talking about attachment to
silica colloids, and things like that, clays, and I
don't hear much discussion anymore for some reason
about the fact that the aconites form real true
colloids all by themselves without attaching to
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay.
DR. LYONS: That's all that we have for
the reconciliation, and that really wraps up all the
planning procedures, and so I am going to turn it back
over to you for the next item on the agenda.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay. All right. I
guess we are going to receive an update on the current
status of KTIs, the KTI resolution. Carol, we know
you, but would you for the record introduce yourself.
DR. LARSON: You might notice on the
agenda, and I think other than Carol, that at the last
meeting the members were concerned that they weren't
getting enough time for discussion.
So we have indicated on the agenda that
the presentation is supposed to be so long, and then
the questions are afterwards, and it depends on how
you interact with the speakers, so that you get an
adequate amount of time to ask questions and
interacting in the presentation doesn't take up all
MS. HANLON: Good morning. I am Carol
Hanlon with the Department of Energy, Yucca Mountain.
Up until recently, I have been responsible for the KTI
meetings. I have been facilitating those. I have
recently transferred back into the site recommendation
realm, where I am the product to lead for the site
But I want to give you an update -- one of
the highest levels, a very high level -- of the
progress that we have made and basically what has been
going on in this key technical issue, key technical
exchange, which we feel have been very, very valuable.
Basically, we could easily just read along
in our handout. There is not a lot of new material
here. So, 11 out of approximately 13 technical
exchanges are complete, beginning with the total
system performance assessment and integration meeting
that we had last year, last June, in San Antonio.
And going through the most recent meeting,
which was repository design and thermal mechanical
effects, in February, the first week in February, in
Las Vegas, we mentioned earlier this morning that
tentatively we have two more meetings planned.
And actually the key technical issue
meeting is total system performance integration. As
we mentioned earlier, that is at the end of June, and
in order to plan for that, and to facilitate that
meeting and make it more effective, there will also be
a features events and processes meeting held in May.
And there is talk of a preclosure issues
meeting to be held later, and we are waiting for some
planning information on that, and as to exactly how we
will focus that. The preclosure issue, of course,
does not have a key technical issue associated with
that. So it falls into a different category
It is rather a different type of situation
than with the other key technical issues which do have
the issue resolution status report, and how to
identify issues and sub-issues, and therefore can be
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Do you have specific
dates yet on the TSPA meeting in June?
MS. HANLON: I think that the date -- when
I left the office the date had not been set. I
understand that it has tentatively been set or perhaps
more firmly than that for June 25th through 29th. Is
that correct, Jim?
We have several people from the staff who
are very familiar with these, and they can correct me
whenever I stray. I have put in the package the issue
progress sheet, and you can look at it more closely as
I think you go through this.
Five of its sub-issues are totally closed,
and five of the sub-issues are open. There are 27
sub-issues that are closed-pending. We have
approximately 215 agreements for the nine issues so
Some of those are multiple. They address
more than one item. So we have captured them more
than once for completeness, but there are actually not
that many unique agreements. And to date we have
submitted to the NRC 56 documents which address 45 of
We have put every effort into very
carefully meeting our commitments, our agreement
items, to make sure that with the agreement items and
the dates that we have committed that we keep those.
We feel that that is very, very important.
There are occasions where we have fallen behind a bit,
and so I am just going to call these to your
attention. One of the ones that I think is almost out
is this features events and processes analysis report
for the unsaturated zone.
Another is the feature event and processes
database, which is in DOE's hands. We are reviewing
it and we will make final changes and get that to the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff, I hope, still in
A couple of others are the summary of in-
package chemistry for waste forms, preliminary
assessment of radiolysis affects from criticality and
in-package chemistry abstractions. So those are
MEMBER WYMER: What is radiolysis affects
from criticality? Who is going to worry about
MS. HANLON: You know, I would have to
look into that. Katherine Napp hasn't joined us yet,
and she may be here later, and she can say a bit more
It is one of the things that came out of
the container life and source term agreements, and I
can also look that up, that specific agreement, Dr.
Wymer, so that we have a little more information on
MEMBER WYMER: I would be interested to
see what that really means.
MS. HANLON: Sometimes we lose a little
bit when we summarize. So I am not going to go over
the next several slides for you as basically those are
just summarizing by the key technical issues, but we
will put it up briefly.
The number of sub-issues which are closed,
and which are closed-pending, and which are still
open, and you can see that we are making quite a bit
of progress. But to get us back on track, I really
won't go over those.
The total system performance assessment
and integration meeting is in June, and all four of
those sub-issues remain open. So they will be
addressed at that time, and that is really
appropriate, I believe, because it is dependent on
information that is going on to date, and also it
depends upon future events and processes discussion.
I have also put by each key technical
issue a status of items the sub-issues which are
closed and closed-pending, or in some few cases open,
and again I won't go through those in the interest of
Since last we spoke, we have had four
meetings. We have had the radionuclide and transport
meeting, the thermal effects on flow, near-field
environment, and the repository design, and thermal
So it may be worthwhile just going through
those briefly. With radionuclide and transport, there
were four issues. Sub-issue 1 was closed-pending,
with five agreements. Sub-issue 2 was closed pending,
with 11 agreements; and we have identified the
duplicate agreement from radionuclide transport.
And Sub-issue 3 is closed-pending, with 10
agreements; and Sub-issue 4 is also closed-pending,
with 3 agreements.
Thermal effects on flow had two sub-
issues, and closed-pending for Sub-issue 1, with two
agreements; and Sub-issue 2 is closed-pending with 13
Evolution of near-field environment. All
five sub-issues are closed, with the associated number
of agreements, and we have again listed the
Repository design and thermal mechanical
effects, and the last meeting which was conducted in
February has four sub-issues. Sub-issue 1 and 4 are
closed, and Sub-issue 2 and 3 are closed-pending, with
the number of agreements; two for Sub-issue 2 and 21
for Sub-issue 3. And it specifies quite specifically
the types of analysis that we need to do to close
And so the Department feels that these
technical exchanges have been extremely productive
and that we have made progress in moving forward. We
of course understand that the staff will continue to
apply a great deal of scrutiny and evaluate the
information that is forthcoming.
We appreciate that and that agreements may
be revisited. The strong point that we see here is
that we have defined information that the staff
continues to be interested in, and that they feel is
important to see as we move forward.
So we continue to work to completely
satisfy those agreements. And I would note that there
is a peer review that has been started. I think that
this is an item of interest to Dr. Wymer and others on
the committee on the waste package acromion issue.
Dr. Joe Payer (phonetic) has been
identified as chairman of that sub-group, and that
other peer review group members will be identified
soon, and when we have a schedule and an opening
meeting for that, you will be notified of that. We
invite you to participate if you would like to.
We hope to have the interim report on that
before the end of the calendar year. And in terms of
being able to close out any of the key technical
issues, we are still hopeful that we may be able to
make -- I know that both the staff and we have
interests in being able to totally close out some of
the key technical issues.
And we are hopeful that it may be possible
to close the key technical issue on igneous activity,
and perhaps a structural deformation and seismicity,
and we are working through that to see what kind of
informational meetings that we need to have to be able
to move forward and close those items.
One other thing that I have that may be
useful to you is that we have developed a matrix that
takes the items -- I will make copies of this if it
will be useful to you, that takes the agreement items
and goes through them by date of the agreement, and
then correlates that with a number of the other --
excuse me, the specific key technical issues that they
I had mentioned earlier that we have a
number of issues that address more -- a number of
agreement items that address more than one issue, and
so we have attempted to make that a little clearer by
doing this interim chart, and it goes through month to
month, and so that will also allow you to see the
scheduled date for things that are out in front.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I think that would be
MS. HANLON: So I will make sure that you
get copies of this.
DR. LYONS: I think we passed out copies
of those to you.
MS. HANLON: Are there any questions?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Is this gentleman going
to lead the corrosion the same one that was involved
in the TSPA peer review?
MS. HANLON: Joe Payor. You know, I am
not so sure. I think he has been in our program, but
I couldn't say that for sure.
DR. CAMPBELL: Yes. He was also one of
our panelists in the engineer barrier working group in
'98. Joe Payor.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay. Joe Payor. Yes.
Very good. Any questions?
MEMBER LEVENSON: Carol, at the KTI
meeting on repository design, as I wasn't there, but
it was reported -- and I will read you the statement.
"DOE stated that the project design goal for
preclosure emplacement is a wall temperature of 96
degrees, below boiling." Is that a decision that has
actually been made?
MS. HANLON: I think right now currently
we are looking at a range of that, and Dr. Hanner may
want to add to this, but we are looking for a range
between the cooler temperatures and the warmer
MEMBER LEVENSON: Well, as it relates to
KTI, the question is that if you make -- and that is
a somewhat significant change. Is it in your plans or
programs to go back and review all of the sub-issues,
because some of them will probably no longer be
relevant, and somebody shouldn't necessarily invest a
lot of effort and time generating information to
And conversely the whole series of new
sub-issues that become important. How does that get
handled with major changes?
MEMBER WYMER: Actually, I can answer
that. At the Waste Management 2001 meeting a couple
of weeks ago, a statement was made that it will not be
a complete redo with the low temperature, but it will
just be a fix on the high temperature case.
They are going to go in and patch and fill.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Well, it's not that
MS. HANLON: Actually, I would prefer to
say that we are looking at whole range of temperatures
from the current repository reference design that we
are using, and down to a cooler, and the range is in
So we will be looking at a range, and one
of the things that we are doing is sensitivity
studies, which will come out later this summer, that
address that range.
So the information and the documentation
that we are putting together will look at that range
of temperature. And I think that Mr. Levenson's
question was how does that relate to the issues and
sub-issues, and the key technical issues that we have
And I know that the staff has been very
interested on the range of temperatures that we are
looking at, and what that variation will do. We are
also interested in that, and basically after we finish
these sensitivity studies, what we would propose is a
discussion with them to discuss what the range is, and
information that we see coming out of that and what
effect we have.
And I am sure that the NRC staff will be
looking very closely and will have questions of their
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Carol, when you look at
this, and you evaluate it at the sub-issue level, and
you put your score card on it of the ones that are
closed, and closed-pending, and so forth, one can be
encouraged by the progress that has been made.
But we also know that these issues are not
all equally important. Some of them are at the sub-
issue level, and some of them are 10 times, or maybe
a hundred times more complex or more difficult than
Has anybody thought ahead enough to know
what the real binding issues are going to be? You
know, you suspect that there is going to be an isotope
that we get to what looks like total resolution pretty
But that the last few are really going to
determine the amount of resources that will have to be
allocated to deal with them, and will probably drive
Has anybody thought about it enough to
identify what they consider to be the over-arching
sub-issues, in terms of getting resolution?
MS. HANLON: Well, Dr. Garrick, I think
there are a couple of answers to that, and one is that
we have tried previously on repository safety strategy
to identify those things that we think are most
And therefore to prioritize our work, and
to prioritize our emphasis. Previous to that we had
done a similar thing as you recall in the viability
assessment, where we had gone over the other principal
factors and identified which ones that we felt had
the greatest significance, and therefore, needed the
And that has been carried forward into the
TSPA that we currently have and will be continued to
be reevaluated in the sensitivity assessments ongoing.
But I think another thing is the features,
events, and processes assessment that we have ongoing,
and I believe that is why the staff is placing the
amount of emphasis they are on features, events, and
processes, so we can go through those, and they can
fully understand how we have considered them, and how
we have excluded them, included them, and treated
them, including secondary processes, so that they can
be sure that we are putting our emphasis where they
believe it should be.
And following that meeting, it will carry
forward into the total system performance integration.
So I believe that is how we are trying to identify the
most important of these issues.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: For example, one of the
sub-issues that the TSPA is going to be the scenarios.
Do you envision that the features, events, and
processes activity is going to provide the source
material necessary to deal with that particular issue?
That is, the structuring of the details of
the scenarios? That is one of the four sub-issues.
MS. HANLON: Well, the FEPs are intended
to look at that, as well as the analysis and modeling
reports, and the PMRs are intended to set up the
scenarios based on the FEPs and how they are derived.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes. I think the more
that we could telegraph what we consider to be the
most important things that are yet to be resolved, the
better we will be in a position to address them, and
allocate our own resources.
MS. HANLON: I know that has been a
concern of yours previously on many occasions, and it
came up earlier this morning, and I made sure I took
a note of that.
And I will be speaking with Bob Andrews
when I go back, and perhaps you would like a
presentation later on, perhaps this summer, in which
we make that a bit more clearer for you.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes. The Committee is
trying to come to grips with this whole issue through
a vertical slice process, and you would like to
maximize the benefit of what you choose as a vertical
And whatever additional insight we can get
from the DOE and the NRC staff as to the most
important issues might influence what we would focus
on in attempting to get a better indication of the
readiness if you wish of the NRC to actually process
the license application.
So we really are looking for what are
considered to be the most important issues, and trying
not to get lost in the large number of issues that
exist, and be more focused on what the TSPA is telling
us is really the drivers here.
MS. HANLON: Great, and understand that we
would be very interested in doing that for you. Up
until June, that time frame is going to be very, very
busy with completing these analyses.
But in the July-August time frame, if that
worked for you, I think we can make speakers
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay. Thank you.
MEMBER LEVENSON: No, thanks.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Staff?
DR. LARSON: There is no SRCR anymore,
MS. HANLON: There is not.
DR. LARSON: And so what is taking its
place? Wasn't there supposed to be some kind of
engineering report out last week?
MS. HANLON: It is a science and
engineering report, and it is looking as if that will
be available at the end of April now, in that time
And basically that is what -- it is the
requirements out of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act,
Section 114, I think it is, Sections A, B, and C, for
a waste form, waste package, repository design, site
characterization depth and analysis.
So that document is coming together, and
we hope that it will be released in the April time
frame, and the rest of our schedule is evolving a bit.
We hope to have the site recommendations
still available this calendar year, but as soon as
that schedule becomes more tied down, Howard, I will
be happy to brief you on that also.
DR. LARSON: Okay. Thank you.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Any other questions
(No audible response.)
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Thank you very much.
(Whereupon, meeting recessed at 10:47
. A-F-T-E-R-N-O-O-N S-E-S-S-I-O-N
MEMBER WYMER: All right. This afternoon,
we are going to hear an interesting -- or interesting
to me anyway -- report on Partial Site Release. I
don't know who is going to start off.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Mike Ripley.
MEMBER WYMER: There are a lot of
interesting and somewhat difficult issues, and I think
we will be interested to hear what you have to say,
MR. RIPLEY: Great. I appreciate the
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Ray is going to lead
our discussion on this. This happens to be one of his
topics. So he will be pushing us all to get involved.
So, carry on.
MR. RIPLEY: Good afternoon. My name is
Mike Ripley, and this is my colleague, Paul Harris.
Both of us came out of the Division of Licensing
Projects, and we are both project managers in the
As many of you may know, that section was
essentially dissolved, and some of us stayed behind on
projects and others moved over to the rule making
I have been on the rule making for partial
site release since the middle of last year, and come
May, I will be returning back to a project management
assignment, and I will be turning over partial site
release to Paul.
So probably after about the middle of May,
Paul Harris will be your prime contact if there is any
questions on partial site release. I am going to
brief you pretty much on the background, and a lot on
the rule itself.
And then I will finish up with 2 or 3
items that came up during our concurrence reviews that
causes to make some non-editorial changes to the rule
making, and so that you are aware of those, and bridge
the gap if you had an opportunity to look at the
package that was distributed a month or so ago.
And I think it will also be appropriate if
I gave you an indication of what I would like to see
come out of this other than just a good transfer of
information between you and I.
I would like to go away with any comments
that you would have on the rule making that would help
us maybe clarify things in the rule, or maybe things
that we want to carry to the public and what not.
And hopefully I would like to receive
back, preferably in writing, some kind of feedback
that indicates that the committee doesn't have any
objections to us proceeding ahead and publishing this
proposed rule for public comment.
As I will indicate, our schedule right now
has us a commitment to have this to the EDO for his
approval prior to giving it to the Commission on the
1st, and we still have some significant concurrence
reviews to go through between now and then.
What I would like to do, and my preference
is, is that as I go, if there are any questions that
anyone has or any comments, that we could field those
as we go in real time rather than waiting until the
end, although hopefully we will have some time at the
end to wrap things up and talk about anything that you
guys want to talk about.
I am prepared to talk in so many details
in everything that I am going to go through fairly
quickly. Again, stop me, but on the other side of the
coin, if I get into too much detail, and more than you
really want to hear, give me the old across the neck
sign and I will move on.
So with that, with the next slide. First,
as a definition, a partial site release means a
release of a part or a portion of a power reactor site
for unrestricted use prior to NRC approval of the
license termination plan.
The need for the partial site release
rule making evolved out of our experience in dealing
with the Oyster Creek site in late 1998 and 1999.
Basically, in 1998, they submitted a license amendment
application to revise their tech specs to delete a
requirement in there that restricted them from selling
a new part of their exclusion area, and they want to
pull it out of their tech specs.
They, and many other of the older plants
as they transition to the standardized tech specs, are
removing such things as that, including site boundary
descriptions from their technical specifications, and
moving the rules in the FSAR.
It was, however, in response to some
queries from the State of New Jersey on whether or not
as it turned out Oyster Creek's plans to sell off a
good portion of their site, some 600 acres.
And in our return correspondence to the
State of New Jersey, uncovered the fact, if you will,
that we really didn't have a process for handling
partial site releases for Part 50 licensees.
And as a result of that, it wasn't clear
whether or not a licensee would need to come to the
NRC for approval of a partial site release; and also
as I indicated here, it wasn't clear if the
radiological criteria for release of the property fell
under the license termination release requirements,
which are given in Part 20, Subpart E, which we will
So because of this regulatory gap, it was
decided that it would be appropriate to do a generic
rule making, and we submitted a rule making plan to
the Commission in February of last year, and the
Commission approved that rule making plan in their SRM
issued in April of last year.
The generic schedule that we had, as
indicated here, was to issue a proposed rule this year
and a final rule next year. As part of the
Commission's SRM or staff requirements manual, back to
the staff in approving the rule making plan, they
directed the staff to issue a generic communication to
power reactor licensees indicating to them that a rule
making was pending involving a partial site release.
And also described in somewhat specific
terms what the process that they would use on a case-
by-case basis to request and gain our approval for a
partial site release.
And that generic communication as I
indicated here was issued as an RIS, a regulatory
issue summary, in October of last year. Next slide,
Our regulatory approach to partial site
release is to narrowly focus the release on, one,
unrestricted releases only; and only at power
reactors, however, that would be both operating, as
well as plants that are in the decommissioning phase.
Basically, the rule making adds a new
section to 10 CFR 50, which provides the procedural
guidance for licensees submitting information
sufficient for us to be able to review and then
approve a partial site release.
The first step in the process that a
licensee undergoes would be to perform what is called
a historical site assessment. A historical site
assessment is a MARSSIM term.
It consists of a review of essentially
plant records, and it may also consist of personnel
interviews, to determine whether or not radioactive
material has been deposited anywhere on the area to be
This historical site assessment has the
purpose of classifying the proposed release area in
one of two classifications, again using MARSSIM
terminology, as either an impacted area, which means
that the area has some potential for residual
Or a non-impacted area, which means that
there is no reasonable potential for residual
In the case of an impacted area, the
licensee would be required to perform surveys adequate
to demonstrate compliance with the radiological
release criteria, which I will talk about in some
detail in a minute.
On the other hand, if the area can be
demonstrated to be non-impacted, then there are no
radiological surveys required.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Now, what is the basis
for deciding whether it is impacted or non-impacted?
MR. RIPLEY: Not impacted or impacted
means whether or not there is a potential for residual
radioactivity, and it is based on a records review,
and a records search. Sometimes augmented by
radiological surveys, but not necessarily.
MEMBER WYMER: Which is related to the use
for which that part of the site has been put to?
MR. RIPLEY: Yes. Yes. The kinds of
things that are looked at are events such as spills
that have occurred historically, and whether or not
the area was ever used to store contaminated material.
And whether it was ever part of the RCA
boundary, and whether or not it was in the downstream
of an elevated release from the plant stack. Those
kinds of things.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: You are probably going
to get to this, but does this open the way for a phase
MR. RIPLEY: Well, this is in fact and
could be termed a phase decommissioning process in
respect of the fact that the essence of it is a
partial license termination if you will.
I think that phase decommissioning process
is a terminology that is used by the material sites,
by the material licensees, where in their regulations
Part 30, 40, 70, 72, there are provisions for a phased
release such as this
This is in so many words a Part 50
equivalent of that kind of thing, is the way that I
would characterize it.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, it seems to me
like a good idea, but what got me to thinking about it
is that there aren't many situations quite like Oyster
Creek. They had very special circumstances as to why
they wanted to pull that particular part of the site
MR. RIPLEY: I will give you some examples
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: So the question is,
well, how many cases are there that are going to
MR. RIPLEY: Well, I will talk about that.
It is an emerging issue, and there are a number of
sites who have requested information on the process
that they need to go by.
Maine Yankee, in January, submitted a
license and memory application for the sale of
property that they were obligated to sell off as part
of an agreement with their DPUC some 200 acres, I
believe it is, and that they are going to donate
rather than sell to an environmental organization.
So we are considering that, and Haddam
Neck in Connecticut will be submitting a formal
request for partial site release in the next month or
two for an area that is currently their parking lot,
and essentially in the middle of their site, which
they are going to use -- which a developer is going to
use to build a gas-fired -- a dual-unit, gas-fired
And along with, by the way, a liquid
natural gas storage facility. So that is coming at us
as well. Limmerick has questioned that, and we are
going to be meeting with Trojan at the end of the
They have already submitted their license
termination plan and it has been approved by the
Commission. However, they are now looking at selling
a part of their property as well. I don't know if
that answers your question or not.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, yes, but what I
was thinking of -- and maybe this is off the track,
but it would seem to me to be a good public process to
be in a position to say that we have got this site
with all this land and we are going to decommission
it, but in the meantime we are going to release a lot
of the land for unrestricted use.
Now, does this specifically allow this to
happen, and wouldn't that be a good strategy on the
part of applicants or licensees?
MR. RIPLEY: I think yes, yes. This is
really put in place to provide the mechanisms for
those who desire to do that, and obviously there is
economic advantages, and there are public confidence
things as well that goes along with that, but I think
you are right.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: And most of these
sites, you are probably in a position to -- and I
don't know what the number is, but it is a large
fraction. Maybe 80 percent of the land could come
under this immediately.
MR. RIPLEY: Yes.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: And that sounds like a
MR. RIPLEY: Well, what we envisioned, and
what we expect to be the case will be those partial
site release requests that have to do with parcels out
at the edge of their site boundary.
Limmerick was talking about that they
wanted the local regional sewer district wanted to
build a small facility out in an area at the edge of
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. RIPLEY: Probably the exception to the
rule -- Haddam Neck is probably the exception to the
rule, where they are releasing property right in the
middle of their existing site.
MR. NELSON: I guess -- I'm Paul, and if
I could be presumptuous here and assume that what you
are getting at is will this rule circumvent the
license termination rule.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right.
MR. NELSON: And the answer is, no, it
won't. This rule is based upon the license
termination rule, and when this comes to conclusion,
and let's say a licensee opts to release a portion of
the site, under this portion of the rule, the license
termination rule upon that phase of their
decommissioning, will envelope these areas which are
released under partial site release.
So in the aggregate the site as licensed
originally will be looked at for license termination.
So the advantage to a licensee would be on a case-by-
case basis, where they have a specific need to release
a portion of the site for their own use.
But that doesn't preclude them from being
looked at from the license termination umbrella.
MR. RIPLEY: That's exactly right, and
that is part of the purpose of making this a formal --
well, part of the regulations, is to prevent those
licensees who may feel that they can go ahead and do
a partial site release without gaining NRC approval
under 50-59, for instance.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I guess the impacted
area issue would address those situations where
decontamination activities are on at a reactor, for
example, could lead to some contamination of the
nearby regions; is that part of the consideration?
MR. RIPLEY: Yes. That would also be
looked at as well, especially when these
decommissioning activities are going on at the site.
We will talk a bit more about that in a while.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: All right. Thank you.
MR. RIPLEY: The approval process for a
partial site release, the mechanism, then depends on
this area of classification, impacted versus not
impacted, which I will show you right now.
Where the area cannot be demonstrated to
be non-impacted, which is almost the same thing as
saying an area that is classified as impacted, but
using the MARSSIM approach and philosophy of you are
guilty until proven innocent.
So you assume that it is impacted unless
you can clearly demonstrate that it is not impacted,
and so we are using this kind of wording. Where an
area cannot be demonstrated to be non-impacted, the
license must submit an application for amendment of
his Part 50 license.
And that amendment application must
include the methods used and the results from those
radiation surveys that he is obligated to perform to
demonstrate compliance with the radiological release
criteria for unrestricted use.
This is the same criteria that is used at
license termination and is found in Part 20, Subpart
E, which is 25 MILLIREM per year, and as reduced to as
low as reasonably achievable or allowed.
He also needs to include the results of an
evaluation of the impacts to reducing or changing his
MEMBER WYMER: What kind of impacts are
you talking about?
MR. RIPLEY: I will be talking about that.
I have a slide devoted to that, but basically other
kinds of things other than radiological things;
impacts on security, and evacuation plans, the other
limits and standards associated with public dose
limits, et cetera.
And because a license amendment is
involved, the licensee would be required to also
provide a supplement to his environmental report
describing any information based on any changes or
impacts as a result of the partial site release.
In response to a licensee's amendment
application for a partial site release, the NRC will
conduct confirmatory parallel sampling of surveys as
warranted, and "as warranted" are the words that are
used in the rule.
We have stated in a number of public
meetings that it will be our policy to conduct
confirmatory and parallel sampling in conjunction with
those that would typically be expected to be done by
the States as well.
In addition, prior to taking any action on
a partial site release, we will complete any Subpart
L or informal hearings that may be granted as a result
of a partial site release amendment being challenged.
And based on a demonstrated compliance
with the release criteria the NRC would then be able
to approve the amendment application. Next slide.
Where the area can be demonstrated by the
demonstrated by the licensee to be non-impacted. A
license amendment is not required. A written request
may be submitted for NRC approval.
What I am getting at here is that it
allows for those licensees who wish to submit a
license amendment application, even for the cases
where they are not otherwise required to.
And where, for instance, the area is not
impacted. A case in point is Maine Yankee which I
mentioned a few minutes ago. Maine Yankee has
submitted a license amendment application for approval
by the NRC to release a couple of hundred acres of
land that is as they claim, and which is under review
currently, is not impacted. So that was their choice.
And the Commission cannot take a posture
of denying such a license amendment application as OGC
has told us because we don't do that unless there is
a safety reason for denying an amendment application.
The application itself needs to include
again the results and evaluation of the impacts of a
change in the site boundaries before, and includes a
description of the facility, and a schedule for the
And in this case, because there is no
amendment involved, they need to include an evaluation
that demonstrates that the environmental impacts are
bounded by previously submitted environmental impact
statements. The next slide.
In response to a letter submittal for a
partial site release, the NRC will determine whether
the licensee's historical site assessment is adequate,
and those will be primarily by regional inspections of
the report itself, and the supporting data, records,
And provide the basis for the NRC agreeing
with the conclusions of the historical site
assessment. We will again conduct confirmatory
surveys, or whatever surveys we deem is warranted.
And upon determining that the licensee has
met the regulatory requirements, and that there is
otherwise no other safety impacts as a result of their
planned release will approve that release by letter.
For all partial site releases, and here I
mean both the case where amendments are required, and
an amendment is not required, the licensee would
submit the results of their evaluation of the impacts
of reducing a site boundary.
In most cases this will include some site
specific kinds of things, depending upon their
circumstances. However, the proposed rule includes
five areas of review that are specifically specified
or specifically required to be included in an
evaluation, and I have listed those as you can see.
One, the public dose limits of Part 20,
Subpart D, and these are the regulations involved with
the dose limits to individual members of the public
are not exceeded, and requires an evaluation of the
emergency planning or physical security as I
And that the regulatory standards involved
with gaseous and liquid effluent releases are not
adversely impacted, and that their environmental
program, ODCM, that may require revision is being
And then finally that the Part 100 siting
criteria are still being met. Next slide, please.
Our rule making specifies that the license
termination plan must consider all site areas
controlled during the duration of the Part 50 license
in order to demonstrate that the entire area meets the
radiological release criteria.
In that regard, we are proposing to amend
50-82, which is the license termination portion of the
regulations, to require that license termination plan
to specifically include identification of any parts of
the site that have been previously released.
As well as including in the documentation
that demonstrates compliance with the release criteria
for license termination, and consideration of the
previously released areas of the site in ensuring that
the release limits of 25 MR per year is reduced and
met for the whole site.
In addition, at Part 20, Part 20 is being
revised to bring into the scope of the criteria by
which the NRC could require additional cleanup at a
site, partial site releases.
This would be the case where new
information may come forward following release that
indicates that the results of the surveys and
assessments that were done were in error and in fact
the release criteria is exceeded and also specifies
that it would be the case that there would be a
significant impact on the health and safety of the
public. Next slide.
Section 50-75 in 10 CFR already includes
a number of specific records that must be maintained
by licensees. These are records termed in the
regulation as being important to decommissioning.
Our proposed rule making would require
that some additional record keeping be established and
maintained related to property line changes, and
changes in site boundary, as well as the records
related to the radiological conditions of portions of
their site that have been released under the partial
site release rule.
And it includes as I indicated there
records of the site boundary as it was originally
licensed, and in addition any records of acquisition
to the original site, including records of the use of
any acquisitions outside of the original site boundary
for handling license material.
And finally records of the disposition or
the release of any areas of the site, including the
records that support the submittals to the NRC per the
requirements of our partial site release rule.
The purpose of this record keeping is to
ensure that the dose contributions of these partial
site released areas can be adequately accounted for at
the time of a subsequent partial site release, and at
the time of license determination when the balance of
the site is released for use.
Our proposed rule specifically provides
for public involvement in that, and that the NRC will
notice the licensee's request letter or licensee
amendment application as applicable, and make it
available for public comment.
We will also hold at least a public
meeting, if not more public meetings, in the vicinity
of the site prior to taking any action relative to
approval of a partial site release request.
And that would be the case regardless of
whether it was a letter or an amendment, and again
which means regardless of the potential for residual
And we have already held several workshops
and public meetings where a partial site release was
discussed with both members of the public, as well as
licensees. Most recently in November of last year at
the NEI licensing forum, and a few days later at the
NMSS decommissioning workshop.
As part of our rule making effort we plan
on holding probably two more workshops, one in the
west and one in the east, to give an opportunity for
public dialogue and comment. We probably plan on
doing that in the summer to fall time frame of this
Finally, a note that 10 CFR, Part 2, would
be revised by this rule making to bring into the scope
of the informal Subpart L hearing procedures
amendments for partial site release that may be
successfully challenged and require a hearing.
I note here in the bottom bullet that we
recognize that the Commission has just recently
approved with comment a substantial proposed rule
modifying Part 2, which would include expanding the
informal hearing procedures to include amendments such
as partial site releases.
So if this ruling then becomes final,
there would be no need for a partial site release rule
making to amend Part 2. So we are telling the
Commission that we will continue to monitor the status
of that rule making and delete our proposed changes to
Part 2 as appropriate. The last slide.
As I indicated, our rule making has been
in office concurrence since the middle of January, and
since that time we have incorporated several
significant changes that I would like to discuss
briefly with you, which were not, I don't believe,
reflected in the package that you were given.
These are late breaking changes if you
will. One, we have eliminated distinguishability from
background as a release criteria. In the initial rule
making plan, and in our initially distributed proposed
rule package, we offered two cases where a licensee
could receive NRC approval for a partial site release
by amendment, as opposed to letter approval.
The first case is if the area is not
impacted, which I have already talked about and
remains a criteria. The other is that a letter
approval would be permissible if the licensee could
for impacted areas that had been remediated to some
low level of radioactivity, but still is impacted, if
he could demonstrate that the remaining residual
radioactivity is not distinguishable from background.
Now, the comments that came to us in
regard to that was that we needed to provide a little
more detail on the technical basis for that criteria,
as well as what he licensing guidance would be -- you
know, which new reg he would go to, for instance, to
find out how to make that determination that the
residual radioactivity was distinguishable from
In response to some comments and
discussions that we held with the Office of Research,
their technical people concluded -- and I see Mr.
George Powers back there.
We also spoke with Dr. Carl Gogalak, who
some of you may know is with DOE and whose office is
in New York City, and was primarily involved with the
statistical analysis involved with releases.
And they recommended to us that we not use
distinguishability from background as a criteria
unless we could also provide an indication of how
closely a licensee needed to look at to what degree it
was differentially different than from the background
The thrust of that is that it would
require us to specify a number, a quantity, a minimum
amount of either -- in terms of concentration or dose
by which it did differ from background.
And the problem there is, and as would
seem obvious I guess to us now at the time now as we
speak about it, is that such a minimum number really
-- although it has been batted around about a small
fraction of the release limit, or one MR per year or
something like that, there is not currently endorsed
And therefore as a result of that, there
is no existing technical basis for using that as a
criteria and so we deleted it. What this means is
that those licenses who would otherwise have been able
to gain NRC approval of an impacted, yet remediated
area, by letter approval would now -- those folks
would require the same process, and would require a
license amendment as those who would otherwise would
have activity well above background, but less than the
The other thing we did was in the original
rule making plan we had words in there for the
amendment case that the licensee needed to submit his
plan for demonstrating how he was going to comply with
the radiological release criteria.
This kind of wording really comes from the
license termination plan, where in fact it is a plan
that is submitted to the NRC for approval for license
amendment, and in the case of a license termination
plan, at least two years prior to their proposed date
of license termination.
In this case, we are looking for the
evidence that demonstrates that they meet the
criteria, as opposed to a plan. However, we have
added words to the statements of consideration noting
to licensees, and in fact they certainly already know
this, that it will be to their benefit to review their
survey designs and their survey plans with the NRC
prior to performing those surveys.
Lastly, we will incorporate -- we have not
yet received it yet as it is in the concurrence
process -- NMSS's review of interactive or so-called
synergistic dose effects.
Back during the drafting of our original
rule making plan, NMSS and others, I believe, raised
a concern that there may be what was termed at the
time as a synergistic effect between partial site
releases or between a partial site release and the
balance of the site as it is released at license
Synergism would imply a multiplicity of
dose if you will, where you would get more and end up
with a higher dose if you will than the sum of the
And that would probably violate the laws
of physics and that's why synergism is not a good
term. So we are not using interactive, I believe, is
the operative word.
And interactive to the extent that -- and
just to give you a rough example, and there are others
here in the room that can provide more depth if we
need to talk about it.
But if I release Parcel A today, and maybe
it was a small area, and if you look in the MARSSIM
guidance, the survey area that is assumed for the
resident former scenario, which is a scenario assumed,
is 2,400 square meters.
Well, if there is less than that, and he
didn't use that whole area, but then Parcel B next
year is released, and so now he can now take his 2,400
square meters and move it around if you will, his
residence, the well that he drinks water from, and now
possibly the crops that he would probably be eating,
could now extend over what was originally his boundary
at the time of the initial part site release.
And the conditions over there may be that
there is some radionuclides that didn't exist in
Parcel A over in Parcel B, such that now due to his
lifestyle scenario that is described in the dose
modeling assumptions, would cause him them to receive
a higher dose than was assumed at the time of the
release of Parcel A.
This is a hard one. The thrust of NMSS's
work was to respond to specific questions that the
Commission raised in their SRM, and they have done
that, that related to this dose impact, as well as
identifying what the guidance needs to be for the
licensees to be able to assess those contributions
both from the balance of the site on the partial site
release, as well as the dose contributions from the
partial site release on subsequent releases or the
balance of the site, it would go either way.
The primary benefit of this guidance will
be to allow licensees when they do partial site
release, number one, let's say, to be able to look
forward based on this guidance to what the impact
could be down the road when they go to release another
part of the site or the balance of the site.
So they can make intelligent decisions on
the degree of remediation that they think they might
want to do if it is an impacted area in both Parcel A,
if you will, and the other releases. I hope that you
So this guidance is currently being
developed and will be done in the June time frame of
this year, and then incorporated into the appropriate
guidance document in NMSS, which we think will
probably be there in the NMSS standard review plan.
And that will ultimately be the case, and
what they are planning on doing now is issuing what is
called a staff position document that will provide
that guidance in the interim before the new reg is
The Commission, by the way, when they
approved our rule making plan, were notified that the
expectation was that this guidance would probably be
factored into the rule making at the time of the final
So we don't intend to discuss this in any
depth in our proposed rule because it is still
somewhat preliminary and the guidance has not yet been
However, we will take the attachments that
describe the guidance process in general terms, as
well as the specific responses, to the Commission's
questions in the proposed rule. Like I said, it is
not in there yet.
And that is pretty much the significant
changes that were made, and I guess that pretty much
concludes my prepared slides, and I would be happy to
answer any questions.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Thank you very much.
MEMBER WYMER: I have some comments and
questions, or observations. You wanted the ACNW to
tell you whether or not you had responded adequately
and completely to the issues.
You have responded, but there are still a
number of pending things to be done, like this new Reg
70-27 has to be --
MR. RIPLEY: Yes, some guidance.
MEMBER WYMER: -- added to. But with
respect to involving research in this thing with
respect to dose measurements, where do you stand on
that? What have you done? I know that you have
appointed a contact, but that doesn't mean much.
MR. RIPLEY: Okay. We have met with
research to a large extent to discuss both the rule
making in general, and specifically most of our time
has been in discussion of this distinguishable
And as a result of that, research now
concurs with our rule making based on us deleting --
and which we have already deleted -- that
distinguishability from background as a criteria. So
that is a done deal.
In addition, let me just point out that
the guidance that is needed to address the interactive
dose effects is exactly that guidance. In NMSS's
response, they have concluded -- and we specifically
asked them to conclude -- that in the time that they
have spent since October of last year there is no
further changes or modifications needed to the rule
making or any of the things that are proposed in the
proposed rule as it stands today.
So further guidance will be provided to
licensees on one element of it. However, it does not
impact our ability to go on and publish the rule and
get in this public comment period.
MEMBER WYMER: I have a question that I am
just curious about. I think there is something about
having to amend the license if the site boundaries are
defined by a map, but are there actually sites that
have been licensed for reactors where they have not
defined the site boundaries?
MR. RIPLEY: They have all defined the
site boundaries. In fact, every one has a map, and
many times the site description -- its size, and its
areas and what not -- were an earlier technical
specification, and were included in the tech specs or
in the license.
MEMBER WYMER: Then why make the
MR. RIPLEY: Well, we are not really
making the distinction. What we are saying is --
well, we are not really making any distinctions. I am
just pointing out that most sites had moved over to
Oyster Creek in 1998 had not done that
yet, and we make the distinction in our rule making in
the statements of consideration that the licensee
needs to be aware of that if he still has a
description of his site in the license or in the tech
specs, which are a part of the license, and then he
would need an amendment in any case, regardless of the
MEMBER WYMER: So some do and some don't
MR. RIPLEY: Some do and some don't.
Really, it is a transitional thing as the plants have
done the work to go ahead and remove some of these
things that makes them transition into the
standardized tech specs, which do not include the site
descriptions within the tech specs, per se.
They belong in the FSAR and that's where they are.
MEMBER WYMER: Another question I had is
that if you release part of a site to unrestricted
use, then that means that somebody can do anything
that they want to on that site.
And it seems to me that there are some
things that they could do which could impact the
licensed site. How is that handled?
MR. RIPLEY: Well, it depends on what kind
of impact we are talking about.
MEMBER WYMER: Let's say a really bad
impact. Like somebody builds an oil refinery there or
something. I am taking something out of the air, but
something really bad.
MR. RIPLEY: The siting rules in Part 100,
as well as -- and which include the requirement for an
exclusion area, inside which the licensee is precluded
to allow certain things from happening, like building
something that would be a hazard to the site.
And it could be that depending on how much
the site boundary was shrunk as a result of the
partial site release, that those kinds of impacts
would need to be released, or need to be judged.
But the licensee is obligated to know and
document what the proposed use of that property is.
MEMBER WYMER: It is unrestricted.
MR. RIPLEY: That's right, but he is still
required to assess that in determining what the
potential impacts are, and taking any actions at the
time of the release. Now, you are right. Downstream
it is in fact unrestricted.
MEMBER WYMER: It is in fact a pretty
MR. RIPLEY: But when you think about it,
that is really no different than the existing case of
a licensee today. Outside of his light and sight
boundary at the edge of his owner controlled area,
anything can go on out there. And whatever local
regulations or whatever --
MEMBER WYMER: Except that now you are
MR. RIPLEY: Except that now you are
closer, that's right, and because of the fact that you
are closer, then it needs to be looked at closer. But
you are right.
Unrestricted use is unrestricted use, and
OGC has already weighed in other than that exclusion
they talked about in the case where exceeding the
criteria based on new information, we probably had no
jurisdictional authority once the release is done.
MEMBER WYMER: Okay.
MR. RIPLEY: So it requires having our
head together at the time that we approve the release.
MEMBER WYMER: And then one final
question. It seems the factor having to do with this
interaction effect, if you release part of the site to
unrestricted use, and it is a long time between that
and the time that you actually go to a license
termination process, then during that period of time
it seems to me that there is a possibility of some
radioactivity from the license site to kind of move
over there, depending on the length of time and what
is involved, and something like that.
MR. RIPLEY: To move from the released
area to --
MEMBER WYMER: No, to move from the still
licensed area to the released area, and what are the
odds of that happening?
MR. RIPLEY: Well, in fact the most
credible examples of that would be possibly ground
water would shift and change. And I see that Chris
McKenney stood up, and he might respond to you on
MR. MCKENNEY: I am in charge of the NMSS
group to develop the guidance.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Do you want to give
MR. MCKENNEY: My name is Chris McKenney,
NMSS, Division of Waste Management. That was
specifically an issue, which was that we want to look
at both processes that could make the partial site
release effect the reactor site as it is operating, or
as it is in the decommissioning mode.
And which has been discussed previously,
and changing the site boundary, and all those issues.
Additionally, we wanted to look at processes that
could affect a partial site release that could come
from the facility, and because it is all their land
right now, that does need to be considered.
And so those issues would need to be
looked into; is there potentials through different
pathways, like ground water, or surface water, or
other ways, to recontaminate or add contamination to
the other land and that isn't there today.
MEMBER WYMER: There is always potential,
but the question is --
MR. HARRIS: Right, using a risk approach,
a credible potential that actually results in actual
impact to the decision.
MEMBER WYMER: Well, a licensee is
actually required to address that issue.
MR. HARRIS: Right. They would have to
look into it and go into the process. And then in the
future this would be the source of possibly a new
source of information if the assumptions and
everything else turned out to be false.
Or depending on how it is, it could just
limit the amount and they can decommission the rest of
the site. In other words, having the rest of the site
decommissioned to 25 MRN, and they may only be able to
do it to 10 or 15, because the partial site may have
such a dose impact to somebody who lived on both the
partial site and the main facility. They would have
to take that into consideration.
That's why we are requesting a
progressive or future look at the site so that people
are aware of those sort of issues to weigh out, and
that they are aware of those issues, and the licensee
can decide what the risk is to them in releasing this
MEMBER WYMER: That's why the license
termination process goes back to the whole site again.
MR. HARRIS: Right.
MEMBER WYMER: Okay. Thank you. That's
all I have.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: It seems as if this
rule is coming about like so many other rules. The
problem develops and you need to deal with it, and the
existing rules don't work, and so you create another
rule that will.
Supposing Oyster Creek's request had not
come along and that you envisioned that there could be
an improvement in the license termination rule, or
another rule enhancing the flexibility of what the
license can do with respect to the release of a site
that is going to be decommissioned. What you have
written it any differently?
MR. RIPLEY: I would say no. I think that
was probably the approach that we took is a proactive
approach without regard to what has happened in the
past and balancing the various pillars involved and
the public confidence, versus the need for effective
and efficient regulations.
I know that sounds like preaching to the
choir, but that is the approach that we would have
taken in any case. I think the rule would have come
out the same.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Is this going to come
out as a separate rule?
MR. RIPLEY: Yes. There is a new section,
50-83, that is being added to 10 CFR 50, which is the
procedural portion of it, and provides the process.
And then there are amendments to the other sections as
I indicated, to 50-75, record keeping, et cetera. So
it is not an integrated rule.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I guess what I am
getting at is there -- if we had approached it just
from the standpoint of modifying the license
termination rule, but to give the licensee a lot of
flexibility in releasing the land, if we think of it
that way would we do it the say way that we have done
it? It is kind of the same question, but from a
little different perspective.
MR. RIPLEY: Would we approach it from
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes, I see this a
little differently, I guess. I guess I see that there
is a real opportunity here for enhancing the way in
which sites are decommissioned, and releasing land
quickly rather than -- well, sooner rather than later.
And yet that is not quite this rule was put into
MR. RIPLEY: That's right.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: And so my thought here
-- and which is probably not a very good one, is that
could we have written this a little differently to
provide for much greater flexibility and much quicker
release of lands that are tied up in these large
Because they are large sites, and had we
approached it more globally, more from the standpoint
of decommissioning rather than the releasing of land.
It is not unlike a strategy that has been
suggested many times for some of the nuclear weapons
sites, where you take a Hanford that has 460 square
miles, and really the problems reside in something
that is only about 10 percent of that.
So you could release 90 percent of the
land in a very quick and short order if you didn't get
the whole process completely entangled in a kind of a
legal maze that stands in the way of doing it.
And I was just struck by the idea that
maybe now that we are going to have partial release
there are some things that could be done with this
rule that would give it a lot more flexibility,
improve the public participation and image, and
acceptance, and at the same time probably save a lot
of money. And I was just very curious as to how
visionary you were when you did this.
MR. RIPLEY: Well, I don't think we were
visionary to the extent that you are talking about.
I don't believe it was viewed, or at least I don't see
it in thinking about it -- and this is the first time
that I have thought about it as you have brought it
up, that really there is enhancing the decommissioning
process by purposely going in and providing the
mechanism for a partial site release.
I think to the contrary that it is really
providing something to the benefit of licensees who
would like to do that for their benefit. That is a
large site, and maybe there are some reasons to say
that from an overall global decommissioning process
standpoint that it may be better off to reduce the
size of the site.
But I don't see that myself, and so maybe
to answer your question that the answer is no. I
don't think we would have headed off in that
Really, it is reduced down to providing a
process to licensees, and to prevent them from
circumventing the license termination rule, a stop gap
because of this gap in the regulations that I talked
That is really the thrust and purpose of
the rule making and therefore would be the way that we
would go if we didn't otherwise see a benefit in any
case to partial site release, which I am not sure is
there from our standpoint.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay. Milt.
MEMBER LEVENSON: I have a one question.
It seems to me that there is a somewhat difference v
between partial site release of a piece of property
out there at the end of the site somewhere, and your
comment that one of them is internal to the site.
That the unrestricted release internal to
a site, I must admit that we worry about the things
that we know less about. I would be very nervous
about putting an LNG tank in the middle of my reactor
site if it were my reactor. How are things like that
MR. RIPLEY: Well, let me recharacterize
my statement that Haddam Neck was planning on this
release in the middle of their site, and it is a
parking lot area that is currently in the middle of
their owner controlled area currently.
Their release is going to -- well, it is
to the northwest of their reactor building and fuel
facility, et cetera.
MR. HARRIS: Northwest.
MR. RIPLEY: Northwest. It is everything
that side of it, and so they will own that parking
lot, and then they will have to grant back to
Connecticut Yankee access to the road, because the
road that now is coming in is now that parking lot to
the site area is the site access road.
So when the release is finished, it will
no longer be in the middle of their site. So I
mischaracterized what is now currently in the middle
of their site.
Now, as far as this liquid natural gas
storage facility, that is the subject of a very huge
hazards analysis that is ongoing right now that will
come for our approval because it is an unreviewed
safety question and is another amendment process all
of its own, and the impact on the existing facility.
It is some several hundred yards from
their fuel storage building, and they envision this
humongous concrete structure around it and what not,
which is part of their safety hazards analysis.
MEMBER LEVENSON: But you said they
envisioned bringing it to you as an unresolved safety
issue, but if the land is not under your jurisdiction
because it is completely released, what forces people
in the future to bring things to do, to the NRC?
MR. RIPLEY: On the --
MEMBER LEVENSON: Well, suppose at the
moment they just said that we don't want this piece of
land, and we don't need it. We want to see it and we
want to get rid of it. And then two years later
somebody decides to put an LNG tank there.
What mechanism or regulation, or how do we
assure that such safety issues get reviewed?
MR. HARRIS: Well, it really comes down to
-- this is no different than a decommissioned power
reactor and sort of test reactor out there, where the
environmental exterior of the licensed facility
The licensee still has the safety analysis
report that needs to be maintained and updated, and
that in Chapters 1 and 2 of that FSAR describes the
environment off-site of the site, and the licensee is
required and it is their responsibility to keep that
Any change to the final safety analysis
report requires a 50-59 review, and that requires a
hazards analysis, and if they determine that there is
a safety question there, they are required to come to
The LNG scenario is pretty well known
within the industry and within the staff, and that is
MEMBER LEVENSON: Yes, but what I am
following through on is that that is correct, and the
utility owns the reactor, and brings you the issue,
and you come to the conclusion that it is an
unresolved safety issue, but you don't have
jurisdiction over that land anymore if it is
How do you prevent somebody from doing
that? Do you force the utility to shut down its
reactor for an unresolved safety issue off-site?
Jurisdictionally, this is very --
MR. RIPLEY: Well, I guess as Paul said,
this is the same case of property outside the owner
controlled area that someone would choose to do
something on, and whatever existing requirements that
they would have to meet, in terms of their being
adjacent to a licensed facility, I don't know for sure
exactly what it is. But those controls exist, but I
can't describe them to you.
MEMBER LEVENSON: But presumably in the
past those areas were big, and the probability that
something off-site could impact the reactor was quite
different than when you use the terminology that this
is on a piece of land that originally was in the
middle of the site. That is the thing which I wonder
MR. RIPLEY: And it is a good question,
and it again speaks of this unrestricted use.
MR. BECKNER: Mike, can I address that
MR. RIPLEY: Sure.
MR. BECKNER: My name is Bill Beckner, and
there is an answer to your question, but we just don't
know it right now. Off-site hazards do change with
time, whether you have made the site small or not, and
there is some provision for looking at that.
And I was talking to my colleagues at the
table, and we are not sure what they are, and we will
get back to you with what that answer is, and what the
controlling provisions are to periodically look at
MEMBER LEVENSON: Well, it seems to me
that it isn't so important that you get back to us as
it is that the new rule extends whatever that is in
the past to this new land.
MR. BECKNER: It is a valid concern.
MEMBER WYMER: John, you had a question?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I just wanted to ask
one final question. How do you -- in this era of when
the NRC is trying to adopt a risk-informed
performance-based way of looking at issues, and making
decisions, how do you risk informed decisions on
partial site release?
MR. RIPLEY: A good question. I don't
have a ready answer for you. I can't really address
that. I am not sure how you would accomplish that.
There is an in-process review of
decommissioning related rules and bringing them into
an integrated rule making process that would address
risk informing those regulations. However, partial
site release was not part of the scope of that effort
either. So probably nothing is envisioned now and I
am not sure how you would accomplish it.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay.
MEMBER WYMER: And in final conclusion,
let me say that we do note your request that we
respond in some way so that we don't hit you with
something after you have already put the rule in
MR. HARRIS: Just to answer that one,
understand that the intent here is to brief the
committee. There is by no means a closed door here.
We expect to continue dialogue, especially during the
public comment period after the proposed rule comes
out and something getting published.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right.
MR. RIPLEY: We would expect to be
briefing this committee at that time.
MEMBER WYMER: Okay. Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes, thank you. Okay.
License termination plan and review and lessons
MR. NELSON: Good afternoon. My name is
Bob Nelson, and I am Chief of the Facilities
Decommissioning Section in the Decommissioning Branch,
Division of Waste Management.
And I am here today to discuss the topic
of lessons learned in the license termination plan
review process. I am also going to sneak in a little
status report on where we stand on the license
termination plans and give you some background
information on that.
And then discuss in some detail some
lessons that we have learned during this process, and
improvements that we plan as a result of those
I am going to start with the Trojan plant.
I am not going to read through all these dates, but
the Trojan plant was the first license termination
plan that we initiated a review on.
In fact, it was the first plan submitted
under the license termination rule. It was the first
plant to submit a MARSSIM type final survey plan. So
it represented a lot of firsts for us.
We completed the review of that license
termination plan, and the plan was approved by license
amendment last month.
And for Maine Yankee, we have completed
our initial review, and you will note here that I have
identified a two-phase review process, and that's
because of the involvement of a contractor supporting
a technical staff under a different time frame than --
the contractor's portion was under a different time
frame than ours, the portion that we were reviewing
And so we decided to break the review into
two parts rather than hold up the whole review until
the contractor could finish. So we finished Phase One
in October, and Phase Two in January.
But I should note that the licensee has
indicated that they will submit a revised license
termination plan, and currently that their date is
April 15th of this year.
At which time we will have to look at that
revised plan and make an assessment about what
additional reviews are required. And just for
scheduling purposes, we have made some assumptions,
and based on what we believe will be changed, we
believe we can complete the review by January of 2002.
But we will need to reassess that date
after we have received the revised license termination
Connecticut Yankee. Again, we have
conducted a two-phased review of that licensed
termination plan, and we just recently completed the
We will be meeting with the licensee
shortly to discuss our comments on that, our specific
comments on phase two. We have already made on phase
Responses to both sets of questions are
pending, and we hope to be able to complete the review
in September of this year.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Is there any reason why
Connecticut Yankee takes 6 or 7 months less than Maine
MR. NELSON: The substantive difference
between the two is that we are going to get a new LTP
for Maine Yankee in April, and that compounds -- and
to what degree we have to go back and reexamine
things, we don't know.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Is that because the
original one was not as complete?
MR. NELSON: No, the original plan
included a concept called rubblization, and also there
original plan addressed compliance with NRC's dose
standards in the license termination rule.
They have made a commitment to the State
to comply with more restrictive standards that the
State has established by legislation, and to eliminate
basically the rubblization concept.
So there are some substantive changes, but
exactly how those will be reflected in the plan we
don't know. But that is the driver on the schedule
MR. NELSON: The Saxton plant. We again
completed the two-phase review. Unfortunately in this
case, substantive additional characterization is
needed at the site, and because of weather conditions
at the site and other factors, they have informed us
that they won't be able to complete that
characterization and provide that data to us until
late in December of this year.
Therefore, we have moved out our schedule
for completion until April of 2002. Any questions on
the review status before I go on to lessons learned?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Did all of these go
through pretty much very similar steps?
MR. NELSON: Yes, they did. We did an
acceptance review in all cases, and we did or had a
public meeting at the licensee's or near licensee's
facilities within a few months after the receipt of
Then with the exception of Trojan, we have
imitated this two-phase review process. Trojan was
different. We didn't do that because we didn't have
a contractor involved. Trojan was a little simpler.
The Trojan plant decided to use the
generic screening criteria rather than develop site
specific. So we had no dose modeling needs for this
And the Trojan also had a previously
developed EA for a decommissioning plan that they had
submitted earlier. So we had a simpler analytical
task, and some of the work had already been done to
support the amendment review.
So it was a different approach that was
taken for Trojan, but the other three have been
essentially the same.
MEMBER WYMER: Do you have a sense of how
many more are in the pipeline?
MR. NELSON: Not many. Fermi One may
submit a license termination plan in the next couple
of years. I believe that they decided to go into
active decommissioning, we believe.
Big Rock Point, they had said that they
want to have their license terminated by -- I believe
it is July of 2005, which would mean that they would
have to submit a decommissioning plan no later than
July of 2003 to meet the two year requirement. Those
are the only two that I can speak to.
MEMBER WYMER: So you don't anticipate a
staffing problem, or any big problems?
MR. NELSON: No, for planning purposes,
for our budget planning purposes, we are assuming
essentially one LTP per year, and I don't see anything
more than that.
I certainly don't see the four LTPs at one
time that we have experienced within the last year to
MEMBER WYMER: You don't have a sense of
how many are coming along each year at the end of
their 40 years?
MR. NELSON: No.
MEMBER WYMER: But you could get that if
you wanted it? I know that a lot of them are getting
renewed, but some of them won't. So just by going
back to when they were licensed, you could sort of
calculate how many could come.
MR. NELSON: Could, but many of them may
stay in safe store for years. So it is difficult to
make that estimate.
MEMBER WYMER: Okay. I was just curious.
DR. LARSON: Other than Maine Yankee, are
they all going with the 25 MREM and don't worry about
MR. NELSON: Yes.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: It appears that plant
type and size is not as much a factor as site problems
and communication issues, and what have you. Is that
a fair assessment?
MR. NELSON: I think that is a fair
assessment. You will see that as we go through the
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Because this is a very
MR. NELSON: A very small plant, but
historically it has been around for along time, and
the unique feature of this site is that there was a
coal-fired plan right next door.
And the Saxton plant used that steam
turbine as basically its energy sync, and that plant
was cleaned up or was removed many years ago.
Fortunately, the footprint is contaminated, and which
they just discovered.
And they also have other hazardous wastes
buried in the footprint, which complicates the
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: An interesting question
is can you take these lessons learned and feed them
into the existing plants who may have similar
situations? When you said a coal plant next store, I
immediately thought of Beaver Valley.
It is not quite as close as this, but they
do have right next door a very large coal plant. Are
these lessons learned valuable to other installations
such as Beaver Valley, and the way that they conduct
MR. NELSON: Well, I can't speak
specifically to any plant, but I will say that, yes,
I think they are a valuable lessons learned, and that
will get to the implementation of -- which is the last
slide in my presentation. So if you hold on that, I
will come to it, I promise you.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Good.
MR. NELSON: Okay. If there are no other
questions on plant status, then I will transition into
lessons learned. First of all, and maybe most
importantly, is that early and frequent consultations
between NRC staff and licensee are needed and
encourage during the planning and scoping phase of not
only LTPs, but decommissioning plans.
And I will now speak to both because
really these lessons learned apply to both
decommissioning plans and license termination plans.
In this context, we encourage an early meeting between
NRC and the licensee to discuss the planning and
content of the LTP or DP.
We believe that these discussions should
address such things as past and current licensed
operations, types and quantities of radioactive
materials used or stored; activities that may have an
impact on decommissioning operations, decommissioning
goals, such as restricted versus unrestricted license
Basis for the cleanup criteria, and
development of specific cleanup goals, and whether the
licensee plans to use default cleanup values or site
specific cleanup values, and any potential impact on
the environment that may result as a result of the
To support these meetings, we developed
Appendix A to new reg 1727, which is the NMSS
decommissioning standard review plan. It is developed
in the form of a checklist. During the meeting, we
would with the licensee go through this checklist and
address site specific requirements that ought to be
included in the decommissioning plan or LTP, and make
a record of that checklist for future reference.
That and product, and then as a marked up
checklist, which defines the technical elements and
regulatory requirements that should be covered in the
We hope that this process provides a
better understanding of the type of information that
we feel we need to be included in either document, and
familiarize the licensee with the process that the
staff will use to evaluate their submittal.
This approach is anticipated to minimize
the need for request for additional information, and
reduce the number and iterations of submittals, and
expedite the staff technical review.
In fact, we have implemented this process
with several upcoming decommissioning plans with three
different licensees. And in each case the licensee
has told us after the meeting how useful they found
it, and we had the same reaction to that process.
Fortunately, we did not have this process
in place prior to or at the time that we started
receiving the license termination plans. The second
lesson that I have enumerated here is that operational
environmental monitoring of ground water is unlikely
to be adequate for site characterization to support
Environmental monitoring is normally
conducted at the fence line or even off-site,
particularly in the ground water area, and this does
not provide the information needed to support a dose
For example, monitoring off-site doesn't
tell us what the ground water -- whether there is any
ground water contamination on-site.
In fact, the use of the screening criteria
for soils, one of the fundamental assumptions, is that
there is no current ground water contamination unless
you have data on site ground water contamination, and
you don't know whether you can use the default soil
values or not.
Also, on-site wells normally provide
information regarding the hydrogeologic parameters of
the site, which would be needed for dose assessment,
and knowing the types of soils, and rock, and the
depth of those, and the depth of the ground water, and
And some of the information that you would
gather during the installation of a well that would be
needed to support a site specific dose assessment.
The design of the final survey must
involve the application of appropriate data quality
objectives. In this context the licensee needs to
identify all appropriate data quality objectives, and
planning and designing the final status survey plan.
I summarize this bullet by saying you need
to know where you are going before you plan how to get
there. And the DKO process provides the structure to
do just that.
The process identifying the DKOs ensures
that the survey plan requirements, and survey results,
and survey evaluation are of sufficient quality,
quantity, and robustness to support the decision on
whether the cleanup criteria have been met using this
required statistical test.
Major elements of the process include,
first, a clear statement of the problem; the
identification of all related decision statements and
alternative actions, including selection of the most
appropriate scenario to be analyzed.
The identification of the information
needed to support this decision making process; the
definition of the site physical, temporal, and
spacial boundaries for all environmental medias and
structures, including reference areas that would be
covered by the decision process in any subsequent dose
The development of the appropriate
decision rules and identification of the cleanup
criteria; specifying types of the limits for the type
one and two decision areas in support of the no
hypothesis, and impacts on sample size.
And finally the optimization step, looking
at the process of collecting data and updating the
survey design to meet those DQOs.
We have observed that licensees have
difficulty in scoping out the DQOs, and have not taken
full advantage of the DQO process, especially the
final step, the optimalization step.
Experience has shown that the process is
often rigidly structured rather than relying on too
much characterization data, and not being readily open
to the possibility of incorporating new information as
it becomes available.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Don't most of the sites
have ground water monitoring programs of some sort
going because they are looking for Tritium and other
MR. NELSON: Some do, but not necessarily
in all the right places that you need to support a
dose model. This is the problem that we experienced
The Trojan plant decided to use the
default screening criteria, but didn't have data to
show that they didn't have ground water contamination
So as a condition of approval of the
license termination plan, we included a requirement in
that approval for them to collect that data, and if
necessary, come back and revise the cleanup criteria
if they found any ground water contamination on site.
MEMBER LEVENSON: If the site had a coal
plant on it, how would you differentiate whether the
contamination in the ground was what legally came from
the coal plant that is not radioactive?
MR. NELSON: That's true, but the
contaminants that they are finding at Saxton are
clearly Cesium 137, strontium.
MEMBER LEVENSON: They are not finding
MR. NELSON: No, that is not the problem
at all. It is clearly contaminants resulting from the
operation of the nuclear power plant.
In-process inspections are more efficient
than a one-time after the fact confirmation surveys.
As a result of the final survey problems experienced
at the Sherm nuclear plant, an in-process final survey
approach was developed at the Fort St. Vrain plant.
At the Sherm Plant, the confirmatory
survey was conducted after the licensee had completed
most of the final survey and many of the staff
involved in that survey were no longer available to
address questions and issues that were identified by
the staff during the confirmatory survey.
Simply put, we were too late. The in-
process approach we are now implementing at all of our
sites has allowed the NRC and the licensee to make
side by side measurements, compare instrument
readings, and sensitivities, and address survey issues
early in the process, rather than at the end of the
The in-process approach would result in a
significant cost savings and would show a more
accurate survey, and help the licensee in maintaining
their release schedule.
Following on the first point about having
the conversations early, a continuous dialogue is
needed throughout the process so that the licensee can
take advantage of the inherent flexibility in MARSSIM,
the multi-agency site survey investigation manual.
In reviewing LTPs and DPs, we have
observed that licensees are often boxing their
approaches into rigid formats and structures, thereby
locking out any operational flexibility that may be
Frequently we find that the derivation of
the derived concentration guidelines, or DCGLs, are
not fully justified, and they should include all
assumptions and justifications for the parameters
For example, area factors. Area factors
are needed in the final survey status to determine
such things as required scan, minimum detectable
concentration, and a developed, elevated measurement
limits or values, which we call DCGL/EMC, or elevated
These are needed to identify small areas
that may require further investigation, and frequently
these area factors are not provided for residual
activity on building surfaces.
Volumetric contamination is another
problem area, because volumetric contamination does
occur, and often does occur within building
structures, some licensees have assumed that it is
appropriate to use the DCGLs that have been developed
for building surface contamination for these areas
without additional justification on the
appropriateness of that use.
We advise licensees to develop specific
DCGLs for volumetric contamination, which would
consider the potential routes of exposure to residual
activity in the material if the structure is
eventually torn down, for example.
As an alternative , licensees can
demonstrate that these cleanup values developed for
surface contamination will bound the possible effects
from exposure from other configurations in the
A third area under this bullet is modeling
results. Licensees frequently use RESRAD or D&D to
generate the DCGL values and to perform dose
assessments, and these often do not include printouts
from the codes as part of their submission.
This information is typically omitted
simply because of its size. It can be voluminous.
However, without this information, it is difficult for
us to undertake confirmatory analyses, or to complete
our review of the licensee's analysis.
We suggest that the licensees provide
output results from their analyses that they used to
develop the DCGLs, and if the output values do not
provide an echo of the input values, then we would
also ask that that also be included in the submission.
Licensees often use a combination of
default and site related parameters in their analyses
to develop the cleanup criteria. In many cases,
little or no justification is provided for the reason
for using the site specific parameter values, or the
This can lead to enormous uncertainties in
assessing the appropriateness of the cleanup values or
the calculated dose to demonstrate compliance with the
We categorize the parameters in the models
in one of three ways; the behavioral, metabolic, and
physical parameters. Licensees may use the default
values for the behavioral and metabolic parameters as
long as these values are consistent with the generic
information, or generic definition of the average
member of the critical group, and the screening
scenarios that are used.
Site specific physical parameters should
be used and justified, and we found this not to be the
A clear relationship is needed between the
planned decommissioning activities and the estimated
cost. In order for us to make a finding that
sufficient funding is available to complete
decommissioning, the updated cost estimate and the
remaining site dismantling activities, and the
remediation plan must be consistent.
The updated cost estimate should be based
on the remaining activities, and the plans on how
these actions will be completed, and this has not
always been the case.
It has not always been a direct or easily
detectable tie between the elements and the cost
estimate, and what the licensee says they are going to
do in the other sections of the LTP; almost as if two
entirely separate entities developed the sections
without discussing those.
The next point goes to the matter of
characterization. Experience has shown that old
records and results of operational surveys, and post-
shutdown scoping surveys, have been submitted as
substitutes for characterization surveys.
While these records are important and
should be looked at, they are not a substitute for
characterization. We certainly do encourage licensees
to review old records and to conduct personal
interviews of both current and past employees, and key
However, there is still a need to present
this information in its proper context, and to qualify
its usefulness in how it might be supplemented.
When digging a little further into the
characterization issue when we see that the
characterization information is lacking, we found that
the characterization data in often cases does exist,
but it just simply has not been submitted to us for a
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Bob, how are you --
what action if any are you taking to overcome some of
MR. NELSON: Well, in this specific case,
where we note just a serious deficiency in
characterization information, we have had knowledge
and had every reason to believe that the information
was available, but it just wasn't submitted. So we go
We ask, and we go back to the files, and
find it, or go to the site and say we have it. It is
right here. So we look at it, and so it is going back
and asking questions, and pulling the threads that
lead us to the data.
Clearly it is better if that information
is presented as a package, rather than us having to go
back and ask the questions to find it.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I guess what I am
getting at is there any requirements that should be
changed, or modified, or added in the operating
license to minimize some of these difficulties?
MR. NELSON: I don't see it as any
requirement. New requirements would have to be
replaced on the operating license to collect more
data. It is a matter of packaging that data and
providing it to us.
Now, there have been cases -- and I
mentioned Saxton earlier, where there was
contamination found after the license termination plan
had been submitted, and that really goes back to my
point about relying exclusively on old records to
determine that an area is unimpacted.
For areas close into the site, you
probably need to take some confirmatory samples to
determine that what you have deduced from the record
review is in fact the case. They did that, but they
did it after the fact.
MEMBER WYMER: So you get this information
out to the potential people putting in an LTP at these
public meetings that you have, like the Waste
Management 2001 meeting that you presented them at and
that sort of thing? Is that how you get it out to
MR. NELSON: Well, this particular
presentation has been given several times, and it
wasn't done at Waste Management 101. I am going to
get to who we plan to implement these lessons learned
at the last phase of this discussion.
But right now we have been doing it
through presentations such as this, and of course
direct discussions with the licensee during the LTP
But hopefully as a part of this process
and in implementing the steps that we are going to
take, we can prevent these types of things in the
In the area of environmental reviews the
licensee needs to address both non-radiological as
well as radiological. While most licensees normally
provide sufficient information for the staff to assess
radiological impacts in the human environment, most
licensees fail to provide information related to
current site-specific, non-radiological impacts.
Such areas could, but don't necessarily
include, land use, future land use, transportation
impacts, ecological, hazardous wastes, public and
occupational health, water quality, air quality,
historic and cultural resources, noise,
Again, these might -- all of these may not
apply to every site, but normally some of them do, and
they are not addressed, or haven't always been
Well, I promised you the improvements that
we plan to implement as a result of this, and this
goes back to my very first bullet. We are, and
scheduling, and having these pre-submittal
consultations and we are finding them very useful.
The checklists that are developed are --
and I don't know if you are familiar with Appendix A,
but it gets pretty specific, and basically we go down
and just put a check mark by every item that should be
in the LTP, and we discuss that, those items.
And if there is more information that we
need to annotate, then we annotate the checklist with
notes about what else needs to be provided. We found
that very useful, and I think if we would have done
that in the cases of the LTPs, a lot of the problems
that we have seen would have gone away.
On our side, we need to develop project
plans and schedules early in the process and
communicate those with the licensees so that they know
exactly when we are going to be doing things, and what
they can expect to see, and when they can expect to
see it, and what we expect to see as far as response
This will allow us to schedule meetings up
front or ahead of time, rather than ad hoc, and to go
through the process in a more orderly fashion.
We also believe a more expansive review is needed at
the time of the acceptance review.
Our current practice on acceptance review
is that acceptance review is defined to be basically
an administrative review, and by guidance it is
designed to be conducted by an administrative staff,
a licensing assistant, for example.
And the acceptance review is basically
just a look at the outline and a quick read of the
document to see if the licensee has addressed all of
the necessary topics.
In practice, our project managers do those
acceptance reviews, but the project managers aren't
versed in all the necessary technical areas that are
needed to conduct the ultimate review.
We believe that if we expand the technical
review to bring in the full project team, and look at
targeted areas of the submittal, we can identify
significant deficiencies and turn the document back,
rather than initiate a full or very intensive
technical review and wind up with literally hundreds
of requests for additional information.
In other words, enforce the quality on the
front end rather than bringing the quality in
piecemeal during the process.
The other improvement that we plan is a
generic communication, which will basically put in
words what I have discussed with you today. An
information notice that would identify these lessons
learned, and discuss in more detail what we have seen
and how we think that they can be corrected in future
We are currently working on that generic
communication and hope to have that published in April
of this year. That concludes my comments and I am
open for any questions that you may have.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: What has been the
biggest surprises in this process that you didn't
really expect to be the way they are, if any?
MR. NELSON: Well, I would say one
surprise was the reliance on environmental monitoring
to provide ground water characterization. That took us
Internally, we weren't real familiar with
the REM process, the radiological environmental
monitoring program at reactor sites. And we weren't
aware that that might be relied upon as
characterization for ground water.
I think generally the problems were with
just characterization in general was surprising. That
characterization information was provided in a very
summary nature or not at all, or not referred to.
That was a surprise.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: And I would guess that
part of that is brought about by the fact that the
mentality of reactor safety has always been accidents,
and the pathway of greatest concern in that regard has
always been air.
And next maybe surface liquids and so on,
and that it has taken a little while to develop a real
environmental perspective as far as site contamination
is concerned. But I would think that that would be
MR. NELSON: I think those are the two big
surprise areas. I think we anticipated that
implementing the MARSSIM process would be challenging
at the outset.
Both the industry and the agency was
embarking on a new guidance that we had really not
implemented anywhere before. So I think the growing
pains with that were anticipated, although I don't
know that we specifically had or knew where those
growing pains would be.
I think we knew that they would be there,
and so I don't think that was a surprise. But it has
been a learning -- implementing MARSSIM has been a
learning process I think for everyone.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: With this being a bit
of a surprise, then the thing that we were talking
about earlier, about a partial site release, makes it
all the more important to be very focused on things
like ground water pathways and what is happening in
MR. NELSON: You are absolutely right, and
I think we had enough experience with these concerns
to do it right at Oyster Creek. We did a very
concentrated effort at Oyster Creek, and I think it
was well done.
But we at that time had been involved
already in some of these issues and we knew what to
look for and where the problems might be.
MEMBER WYMER: How significant an economic
impact was it for these utilities to go back in now
and drill these wells and get this information? Is
that a big deal?
MR. NELSON: I can't give you an exact
cost estimate. I think there may be 3 or 4 wells that
Trojan has to drill. I am not sure of the exact
number. It might be up to five.
MEMBER WYMER: Not a whole lot?
MR. NELSON: Not a whole lot. There are
certain specific areas that we wanted them to look at
because of the specific hydrogeologic structure of the
site. They are basically upon a rock platform, but
there is on both sides -- well, there is Columbia
River on one side, and then there is an old stream bed
on the other.
So it is conceivable that spills could
have traversed down or even through the bedrock into
the underlying aqua fern, and we are just looking for
some confirmatory measurements to say that that did
MEMBER WYMER: The reason that I ask is
because I know that is a big cost deal out at Hanford,
and I was just wondering what the relative size was.
MEMBER LEVENSON: There is a big
difference in the -- well, in Idaho, the USGS put some
30 or 40 wells in in 1949 all over the whole site, and
have been monitoring it continuously. So it varies
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: That's because they
have a big river running under the site.
MEMBER LEVENSON: But they didn't do
anything like that at Hanford.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right. Right.
MEMBER WYMER: Milt.
MEMBER LEVENSON: I had one other
question. The Saxton removal which left the footprint
was a long time ago.
MR. NELSON: A long, long time ago, yes,
MEMBER LEVENSON: Do you think that they
really missed the contamination back then, or is this
a case of much more sensitive instrumentation today
that detected what was probably missed then?
MR. NELSON: I honestly don't know.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Is it quite low level?
MR. NELSON: We don't know exactly yet.
I mean, they have not done enough characterization to
know how extensive it is, or what exactly they are
going to haver to do.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Well, sensitivity of
instrumentation has changed enough so that if you go
back to things done 40 or 50 years ago, they --
MR. NELSON: Yes, sir, but I don't
actually know whether it is that. The ground water
there is very high, and so it may just be a transport
issue. I don't know.
There is another portion of the plant that
also needs to be characterized, and it is a discharge
tunnel, where the effluent is discharged to the river.
It is a rather long tunnel, and actually traverses the
switch yard, the active switch yard at the site.
And they haven't fully characterized that
tunnel or what may be underneath the piping that
compromises the tunnel. It is a difficult area to get
into. And that is another area where they owe us some
MEMBER WYMER: We got into a little
discussion this morning about decommissioning and
license termination for sites, and what was brought up
and practically everything that we have heard from the
staff is related to reactor decommissioning.
I wonder what is the status of
decommissioning other kinds of NRC licensed sites that
may have significant amounts of radioactive materials
on them, like fuel fabrication plants? Does it say
anything about that, or is that --
MR. NELSON: Well, I can give you another
hour long briefing on that.
MEMBER WYMER: Give us the 5 minute
MR. NELSON: Well, a lot of the lessons
learned that I summarized here would apply to
materials facilities as well I would expect as they go
into or they submit decommissioning plans under the
license termination rule.
We have no decommissioning plans for
material or fuel cycle facilities. Well, I will
correct that. We do.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Isn't Sequoia Fuels in
MR. NELSON: Yes, it is, but it is a
little different, in that their plan was submitted
before MARSSIM, and so it is a unique character. I
would say that we have reviewed one plan, and it is
actually a partial cleanup at NFS Irwin, which was
developed basically under the license termination rule
concept in MARSSIM.
But most of our experience with applying
the LTR and the supporting guidance has been in
reactors. But we are expecting more Dps in the
future. Several in the next couple of years, and
which would be LTR compliant.
So we are hoping that these lessons learned will
positively impact those submittals. But the overall
process is not dissimilar. I mean, we are conducting
the same types of reviews or would conduct the same
types of reviews on those sites as well.
MEMBER WYMER: Many of the same type of
MR. NELSON: Basically the same
considerations apply, yes. And the up-front
consultation with the materials facilities I think is
even more important, because most of those, with the
exception of fuel cycle, but at the other STNP sites
are basically in a possession only status.
They don't have an in-place significant
RAD health and safety program. They probably only
have environmental monitoring data, and until they
start characterizing, they would not have installed
So there are some substantive difference
in the types of organizations and the problems that we
might anticipate from those different organizations,
just simply because of the type of business that they
So I think that it is even more important
with the materials facilities that we have these up
front discussions and work with them, and have the
prelicensing consultations to make sure that we get
the right plan in the door when it is submitted.
MEMBER WYMER: Anybody else? Staff?
DR. LARSON: You have the agreement of
States involved in some of the other facilities;
whereas in reactors you don't, and you haven't seen
any problems with their involvement?
MR. NELSON: Well, I wouldn't say the
States aren't involved in reactor facilities. They
clearly are. The State of Maine is very active at
The State of Connecticut is very active at
Haddam Neck. The State of Oregon was very much
involved with the review of the LTP for Trojan. So I
would say the States are involved very much so at the
DR. LARSON: But a Part 50 license is an
MR. NELSON: Absolutely.
MEMBER WYMER: Well, if there are no more
questions, we thank you very much.
MR. NELSON: Thank you very much.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Is it worth asking Bob
the question of what does he want from us?
MR. NELSON: I meant to say that at first.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, maybe you did.
MR. NELSON: No, I omitted that and I
should have addressed it. This was principally an
information briefing. We are not looking for any
specific feedback. If you have any recommendations,
clearly we would welcome them. But we are not asking
for a critique or any specific memo back form the
committee at this time.
MEMBER WYMER: Good.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Let me ask a curiosity
question, because you say you have to look at the
environmental issues other than the radiation from the
MR. NELSON: Yes.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Back to this situation
where there is a joint site that has a coal plant.
What would be your response if there were significant
amounts of either uranium or mercury in the ground
water, both of which are fairly likely from coal
MR. NELSON: I don't know.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Would you have to do
something about that, or do you just ignore that?
MR. NELSON: Well, I don't know that we
would ignore it. We have to look at cumulative
So if there is an existing impact on the
site resulting from something that is not on site,
then we would have to address that the combined
impact, the environmental impact in our assessment of
our licensing actions. So it very well could impact
or very well could be an impact from an off-site
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Just a final comment.
We mentioned earlier the Sequoia facility and that it
came in early and maybe was started under a different
set of rules. But that one has always intrigued me,
and we have heard very little about it.
It intrigues me because of the diversity
of the facility. It has a front end solvent
extraction process, and it has oxidation reduction
activity. It has high temperature components,
autoclaves, and it has very interesting material
handling problems. It has storage all over the place.
One of these days it might be interesting
for this committee to get a real -- from the
standpoint of experience, to get a real briefing on
what is going on there in the context of license
termination activities. Is that a reasonable thing to
put on some future agenda?
MR. NELSON: Certainly. We have just had
in-house a staff presentation on that site, and we
briefed one of the Commissioner several weeks ago on
Sequoia Fields. So we would welcome the opportunity
to do that.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I think the committee
would be very interested in it, because it is real
problems. It is real issues, and the plant has been
through some very stormy times in its history.
MR. NELSON: It is a timely topic.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes, and I was thinking
about it as you were giving us your lessons learned.
So we may want to take advantage of that and maybe
piggy-back on the presentation to the Commission or
MR. NELSON: We would be glad to do that.
MEMBER WYMER: Thanks again.
MR. NELSON: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: We are going to take a
15 minute break.
(Whereupon, the meeting was recessed at
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