Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste 126th Meeting, May 15, 2001
Official Transcript of Proceedings
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
Title: Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste
Docket Number: (not applicable)
Location: Rockville, Maryland
Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2001
Work Order No.: NRC-223 Pages 1-87
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
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MAY 15, 2001
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The Committee met at the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission, Two White Flint North, Room
T2B3, 11545 Rockville Pike, at 10:30 a.m., B. John
Garrick, Chairman, presiding.
B. JOHN GARRICK, Chairman
GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, Vice Chairman
MILTON LEVENSON, Member
RAYMOND G. WYMER, Member
AGENDA ITEM PAGE
Progress Update on Key Technical Issues,
Vertical Slice Report. . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Update on Thermal Effects on Flow. . . . . . . . . 5
Discussion of Total System Performance
Assessment Investigation . . . . . . . . . .41
Discussion on Schedules and Deliverables . . . . .52
Highlights of DOE's Site Recommendation
Process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70
Adjourn. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .87
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Let's come to order.
We're not at the agenda item that's referred to as the
key technical issues, vertical slice report and the
purpose of this particular session is for the
Committee Members to give a progress report on where
they are in their assigned KTIs. And unless somebody
has a suggestion of a different order, we'll just take
it as it's shown on the agenda.
So Lynn and George, you've got an update
on the saturated zone flow?
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: I think that I
can go ahead. There's not too much of an update, all
right? Neither Lynn nor I have -- you sort of got our
views last time.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: The only thing
-- I just simply have --
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: By the way, we are now
on the record, I'm told.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: So I'm going to
have to use this?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: One thing, just
as a bit of an update, at the High Level Waste
Conference I did go by and heard John Kessler gave a
paper for Frank Schwartz. Frank Schwartz is a
hydrogeologist, a consultant to EPRI who looked at the
saturated zone flow modeling. And well, not to go on
at length about hydrology which I know is near and
dear to everyone's heart, the bottom line conclusion
that they come to, that EPRI came to was that the DOE
approach was overly conservative in their treatment of
the saturated zone transport. Frank Schwartz,
depending upon -- he felt that with his most realistic
assumptions, he felt that ground water travel times
might be on the order of 30,000 years. That may be
pushing it, but nevertheless, their bottom line
conclusion was that the DOE model was and I think this
was in their slide, overly conservative.
MEMBER WYMER: What's the downside of
being overly conservative? Is it a credibility issue?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: It is leaving the
public in ignorance as to what the experts think can
realistically happen. It's a very serious downside.
MEMBER LEVENSON: We are involved in the
EPA versus NRC, should it be 15 MR or 25 MR, when in
fact, if it's .01 MR it's a pretty important issue.
It's just a poor way to practice risk
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Besides, it can
lead to you think that some trivial things like
chemistry are actually important.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: When we know it's all
It's been suggested that we do want to
change the order here and for reasons of availability
of people, maybe we ought to ask Milt to give us an
update on his next thermal effects on flow.
You've got to use your mike.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Our objective was to do
a vertical slide on thermal effects on flow. Decided
to interpret that rather than a strict vertical slice,
try to follow a drop of water from rain that fell on
the surface to what might get to the repository, so
the slide might be slightly diagonal because it goes
through a lot of different issues. But we visited the
Center and talked to a number of people there and then
came back here and talked to people here. And the
question came up, first of all, what are we trying to
do and I decided that before to decide whether I
thought the staff was doing a good job or an
acceptable job or whatever, really needed to have an
understanding of what the staff's role was which is
why in the book there's the item on page 7 which was
an attempt to condense down what is the staff's role.
And I think an important part of it is the recognition
that it's not the NRC's responsibility to minimize
risk. It's only to assure that the standards are set
and are met by the licensees. And in the area of
ALARA, it's not NRC's responsibility to implement an
ALARA program, but only to assure that the licensee in
this case, DOE has one. And have to keep coming back
to recognizing that because otherwise why doesn't the
staff do this or do that? It's not the responsibility
of the staff to minimize risk. And so that sort of
dictated how we were going to review things.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Of course,
minimized risk is sort of a bad concept anyway, right?
MEMBER LEVENSON: Right.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: It potentially
might lead you to do some goofy things, unless it's
minimized risk in a global context.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Or unless you're doing
quas. benefit, but the key point is that minimizing
risk by itself is not only the staff's job, it's
probably not in the public interest.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Right.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Because you divert
resources for more important other things.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: But it is in the public
interest to manage the risk.
MEMBER LEVENSON: But somehow, some part
of the public thinks the target ought to be zero risk
and that's (a) not achievable, but form our standpoint
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: But I mean the
following comment only to assure that the standards
are met presumably Part 63 is a risk-based or at least
a dose-based --
MEMBER LEVENSON: Oh yeah, there's a lot
of different standards. It's not a single standard.
It's all the codes and standards, all the licensing
requirements, that they're met. There's no -- it's
not the staff's role to see that they do better than
any requirement or code or standard. And where that
comes in is in this discussion and John and I both saw
an awful lot of this in connection with WIPP where DOE
went way beyond the requirements of any codes and
standards. In some cases, in fact, increased the risk
because they've done that.
We had a lot of interesting discussions at
the Center. Some of the things that impact the
vertical slice is that some of the concerns that I
had, that had them after talking at the Center were
resolved when we came back here and talked to the
staff and got how I interpret the staff's version,
that the KTI -- just because something was resolved in
the KTI did not mean that that particular issue was
resolved for the TSPA. It only meant that it was
resolved for the data input stage and that whether the
abstractions and the modeling and everything else on
that issue were acceptable, the staff is not inferring
all of those other things are acceptable when they say
that the KTI is resolved and that, in fact, the staff
is moving forward now in studying all of those other
issues and aspects of it. I must say that made me
feel much more comfortable because in a lot of cases
when I saw something in the KTI and I said yeah, but
that doesn't mean it's being handled right and I got
the feeling the staff had just about that same point
and it's going to be moving on.
One of the -- a couple of things that came
up and the answers we got out, I have to qualify
because I don't know whether it's real or not. I'll
tell you the answer we got. One of the questions I
asked was in connection with long-term humidity in a
repository, how important was the effect of barometric
pumping because I know some cases in Idaho it's been
very important, quite different conditions, but
barometric pumping is important. And the answer I got
was that they don't think anybody had looked at that
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: That's not
true, barometric pumping is known to be important at
Yucca Mountain and there are papers that have been
written on it.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Okay.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: I think the
question you asked was would the effect be on
humidity. That's probably what they were talking
about, but not necessarily had been looked at.
MEMBER LEVENSON: That's why I said the
answer I got from the people I talked to was that they
said as far as they knew nobody had looked at.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: What aspects is
it important if it is not relative to humidity?
MEMBER LEVENSON: Are you asking with
respect to the repository?
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Yes.
MEMBER LEVENSON: I believe that the
biggest question would have to do with C14 and Iodine
129, that is the gas phase transport.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: The place the
inconsistency comes up is that you assume that the
repository, the drifts, etcetera, always stay
saturated with oxygen or at equilibrium, but at the
same time they don't allow any moisture movement and
so clearly that's an area that needs to be looked at
MEMBER LEVENSON: My gut level feeling is
that the barometric pumping is not going to
significantly affect the relative humidity in the
repository which is the question that I think you are
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Well, my gut
feeling is not that because --
MEMBER LEVENSON: That's fine.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Because the
humidity becomes very high because it's treated as a
closed box and so it slowly builds up. If it's not a
closed box --
MEMBER LEVENSON: Well, except all of our
experience in mines would dispute that.
Relative humidity in mines, once they're
in salt are very high.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: But not 100
MEMBER LEVENSON: In caves, not in mines,
where the ventilation is not forced, it is darn close
to 100 percent most of the time.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: In this type of
MR. CAMPBELL: Yep. You basically need
open caves to get the dry atmosphere where you get the
presentation of organic --
MEMBER LEVENSON: That's a great bit step.
The difference between 90 percent and 100 percent can
be quite important when you're talking about
condensation and things like that.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: My suspicion is
you're talking perhaps of 98, 99 percent instead of
MEMBER LEVENSON: The more important point
is it hadn't been looked at.
MR. CAMPBELL: John Walton looked at this
quite a few years ago and wrote a paper and I think
it's in Water Resources Research. Anyhow, I have a
copy of it, but the effect of even a very highly
unsaturated rock, with a very high matrix potential is
on the order of a couple percent.
MEMBER LEVENSON: I just think you need an
analysis of this thing.
One of the things which came out of some
of the discussions was my own opinion that the
sensitivity analysis being done by DOE is probably not
of much use because they appear to be using the
extreme bounding values and in fact, that can be very
misleading because if you do a sensitivity analysis,
you use that to pick the things you want to focus on
and if you're bounding values are in some cases high
by a factor of 2 and in other cases high by a factor
of 20, you come out with the wrong identification of
the wrong things that are important. And so that was
not a happy finding on my part, that unless you really
either are consistent in your safety factor or are
using best estimates, your sensitivity analysis is
going to cause you to focus on wrong things.
One of the other things that I mentioned,
this tirade came out of following the drop of water is
that apparently most of the analysis being done at the
Center, at least, on the evaporation and build up of
salts and the corrosion problem in the container are
all being done as a, I guess I'd call it a semi-
permeable closed box. That is, everything comes in,
but as you boil the water off, nothing leaves except
the H20 and you don't lose any chlorine, any nitric
acid. You don't lose anything by boiling it to
dryness and that certainly has to lead to significant
over-estimates of concentration. In fact, I was
pointing out to Ray this morning, I poured some water
from this container into the glass and this is cold
water. You can smell the chlorine coming off it by
just smelling it. You boil it to dryness, you
certainly lose amounts. That's being called
conservative, but again, I don't know.
I think we may have -- we discussed some
of the experiments that are being done and of course,
DOE picks which experiments to do, but there is some
concern as to how relevant they are to the real cases
that are being done.
But let me summarize it by saying since I
understand the intent of the vertical slice is to
determine whether we think the staff is doing what
it's supposed to be doing, my answer to that in the
areas I've looked at, I think the answer is pretty
That doesn't mean there isn't a long ways
to go yet, but they've recognized that and they're
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: So are you pretty clear
on how you're going to implement your vertical slice?
MEMBER LEVENSON: Yes, I think so. If we
accept that the intent of the vertical slice is to
determine whether we think that the staff is doing
what it should be doing in preparing for a license
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: On the page 8,
I guess, where you discuss emerging issues, that's
sort of a list of things that we all might be alert
for in terms of as we proceed to see if there are
MEMBER LEVENSON: Oh yeah, one other thing
which may be one of the most important things and
again, I'll tell you what I was told.
The people at the Center say that they're
pretty sure that there is no conservation of mass or
conservation of energy that threads through the entire
TSPA. Some of the modules have it internal to the
modules and most cases it does not go from module to
module and in one case that they gave an example,
there's an absolute conflict, because in the seepage
model the assumption is made that all water moves into
the drift and then the thermal hydrological model, the
assumption is made that under thermal effects all the
water moves away from the drift.
But that overall, there is no conservation
MEMBER WYMER: That's time dependent
MEMBER LEVENSON: No, for the same time
MEMBER WYMER: Okay.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Of course, that
might result in local inconsistencies in terms of
treatment, but not necessarily a violation of
conservation of mass --
MEMBER LEVENSON: But the point is there
is no specific module to assure conservation of mass.
Now this becomes most important, not in
the context of --
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: What you're saying is
that the model isn't modularized in a pinch point
fashion such that the outputs of module A become the
inputs of module B.
MEMBER LEVENSON: In mass.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: In mass and energy and
liquid and --
MEMBER LEVENSON: How this turned up some
years ago, when this question first came up was when
some -- at that time, much more primitive models were
run for a very small amount of aluminum fuel to be
added to Yucca Mountain. It turned out that that was
the controlling, eliminating contaminant. It couldn't
possibly have been the case. And we went back and dug
in into the models, maybe five years ago, got involved
in this. This was on an academy committee.
We discovered that they had no
conservation of mass and without a conservation of
mass you can have a one curie source and 10,000 years
later you have one curie per cubic meter 20 miles out.
And so conservation of mass, if it's not an integral
part of the total TSPA, it's not so much the water
problem, you don't know what the hell you've got.
MEMBER WYMER: I'm surprised at that.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: My guess is
that that is not an overriding problem with either TPA
MEMBER LEVENSON: The only thing I can
tell you is that the people we've talked to said they
are pretty sure there is no overall conversation.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: But at the
scale, for example, the unsaturated zone, we're pretty
sure that they're not putting more water into the
water table than is coming in. Okay? So we're
pretty sure they're conserving water mass on the
mountain scale. And I would be really surprised if
somebody hadn't looked at whether or not they were
keeping track of their total inventory of
On the overall basis, I would have grave
difficulty believing -- unless it's a blunder, that
they could get more aluminum out than they had --
MEMBER LEVENSON: George, on the water
issue, forget the model. From everything you know,
what fraction of the incident water on the surface
will drip into the drift.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Right.
MEMBER LEVENSON: And the answer that we
got, when you apply it to the extremes of current
rainfall turns out to be less than a quarter of an
inch per year will enter the drift.
Well, when you go down into the detailed
modules that are looking at things, there's many, many
times that much water coming into the drift. Seepage
models show a hell of a lot of water coming in the
drift. So the conservation of mass --
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: No, no, no, no.
That doesn't violate conservation of mass. That just
says that perhaps the model funnels more water into
the drift than they really believe go in. But that
doesn't mean that they've created that water out of a
whole cloth to put into the drift. They're still
keeping track of the critical mass.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Well, okay. I think
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: You've got an
observation there, Brett.
MR. LESLIE: Brett Leslie, the staff, NRC.
I was just making a notation that we perhaps can get
at this in the gold sim. demonstration.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: What is important here
is if they do anything that is equivalent to it, but
you know, they're not doing it rigorously, but if
their inputs at these different stages of the model
are such that it's representative of conservation of
continuity and -- see, what you're really talking
about is a very fundamental thing. You'd like to be
able to start with the continuity equation, the
conservation of energy --
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: No, no, no.
That's exactly what they do.
So if you look at Bovartson's model, three
dimensional model at the mountain scale, unless he's
made a blunder, it conserves mass.
MEMBER WYMER: Through the continuity
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Yes.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: It seems as though it's
something the NRC could probe and be satisfied on.
MEMBER LEVENSON: I am much more concerned
about it as it applies to the fission products than to
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: But, you know, the 800
pound gorilla is the water, that reaches the waste
package. And the end package chemistry that takes
MEMBER LEVENSON: But the aluminum fuel
had nothing to do with water.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: That's right.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Again, my gut
feeling is different from yours. I would be really
surprised if they weren't keeping track of their
inventory, but who knows. Maybe they aren't.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay. Ray?
MEMBER WYMER: AS you know, Andy and I
have been following the chemistry issues fairly
assiduously over time here. We did have a working
group meeting in February and I'll say a few things
and then I'll invite Andy to say a whole bunch more,
which I'm sure he will and then --
MEMBER LEVENSON: Excuse me, before you go
on, I screwed up. I should ask Rich if he has --
MR. MAJOR: I think you covered it.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Okay, I'm sorry, go
MEMBER WYMER: So after Andy elaborates on
what I say, which he does very well and I'm sure will
do -- let me say first that I'll say at the outset
what Milt said toward the end of his talk, what the
sort of the bottom line is, namely that the staff does
appear to be addressing in a comprehensive way all the
chemistry issues that are likely to be important to
the dose at the site boundary. That's sort of the
bottom line of all of this. They are after it, on it
and I think doing a good job.
I'll say a few more conclusions before I
turn it over to Andy. Andy has written, incidentally,
jointly, but Andy has done, as always, the yeoman's
work on it, a draft report of this meeting and we have
yet to prepare a cover letter for it. And we have yet
to polish the draft and rake out any inconsistencies
that are in it, but there is a lot of work already
been done on a draft.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Do we have copies of
MEMBER WYMER: Not yet. That's not quite
-- it's predecisional. It's prediscussional.
The NRC model is by necessity is not as
comprehensive as DOE's model for chemistry, but
there's a -- the NRC model has to rely very heavily on
a DOE data and input since they don't -- NRC doesn't
have the resources to pursue all these things.
We looked at three, basically three
aspects of the Deerfield chemistry. One is the waste
package and drip shield. The second one was the
release of radionuclides from the engineered barriers.
And then the third one was the delay an dilution of
radionuclide concentrations provided by natural
barriers. These are the three points we emphasized.
We're still concerned about the way that
coupled processes ar handled and we have a little
uneasy feeling that because of the complexity of the
coupled processes and the fact that it's -- much of
the coupling studies have been done on the
abstractions of the model that we're a little
concerned about and in particular, we think that the
changes in the chemical reactivity of the incident
water, as the temperature and the concentration and
chemical composition of the water changes as it
undergoes reactions with the engineered barriers with
the waste package and waste materials that maybe they
are not well-enough characterized to give assurance at
all that important processes have been identified.
We're pretty sure that they haven't. Maybe we've got
to qualify the word "important" and not stress it too
much, but certainly all the processes have not been
identified or dealt with.
That's a point.
A lot of things have been identified that
have not been pursued in detail. It would be hard to
point to something that at one place or another in the
reports that have been written by the Center and by
the staff here that it would be hard to point to
something that has been left out. The people have
fought long and hard about these things and one place
or another one thing has been mentioned, but not
everything has been studied in the kind of depth that
they, as well as we, would like to see.
We're still concerned about the potential
catalytic activity of trace impurities as it affects
the corrosion of alloy 22, in particular, the welds in
alloy 22. Over the very long time period, 10,000
years is such a long time, that it doesn't take a lot
of catalytic activity to cause a serious problem in
that length of time and it's hard to predict for
10,000 years what will go wrong, even though
predictions have been made based on shorter term
studies. So that's still a concern.
With respect to transport of
radionuclides, that's handled in a fairly simplistic
way through the use of KDs. Now KDs do represent what
happens, but they don't give you insight and
understanding what the mechanisms of what happens
really are and we'd like to know more, have a better
understanding of what goes on that's included in this
very broad blanket summary of all the things that are
going on through the use of KDs. That may be an
impossible request in light of the time and resources,
but still we don't think that the understanding is
there as much as it should be.
And we're still a little bit concerned
about colloids. One of the things that seems to come
out is that most of the emphasis on the study of
colloids has to do with what is normally called
pseudo-colloids, absorption of materials on the
surface of alumina silicates and this sort of thing
that form natural colloids. And not much attention is
played to colloids themselves, you know, the actinides
are notorious for performing colloids all by
themselves. They don't need to be carried on some
sort of a natural colloidal material. So that seems
to be an area that needs more study.
That's pretty much the summary. Now I'll
turn it over to Andy who will tell you what really
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Can I interject
before you start, just one thing? Your report strikes
me as having a flavor of science that we have to know
and understand --
MEMBER WYMER: It does --
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: And we have to
go down the staff and if we are to follow that
uncritically, I'm convinced that we wind up never
being able to do any engineering projects.
MEMBER WYMER: I didn't say have to. I
just said the word "liked to" or however the desire.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: It's just an
MEMBER WYMER: In fact, as I said in my
first statement, the staff is doing what it needs to
do in order to go ahead in all of this licensing
process. That's the bottom line.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: And we know with each
of these issues when we're done, there's going to be
uncertainties associated with that and the question is
what's the impact of that uncertainty.
MEMBER WYMER: Insofar as it is possible
in the time and resources to gain a greater
understanding that I talked about mostly here, we'd
like to see it done.
But I don't think it's essential.
MR. CAMPBELL: I am going to share this.
I'll just hit a couple of things and this is an issue
that at first blush you might think well this is just
a science issue. The issue is how do they calculate
the pH waste package which affects a lot of different
things in the model so it's not just an academic
question; pH is the master variable that determines
the speciation of all the radionuclides that are in a
So the solubility and what I'm showing
here, here is this is from a single run from their
EQ36 model which I've pulled out of their data set and
plotted. Shows the variation of the solubility on the
Y axis is in moles per liter because it was done by
chemists and the pH scale at the top ranges from 3 to
8. And the pH scale that you see in the calculations
that are in input to TSPA range from 4 to 8 and that
changes as a function of time. So it's a lot of
uncertainty as to what the pH is at any particular
time. And all of that is abstracted into TSPA. So
you get this abstraction into TSPA, but if you've not
got it right or if the basis of your calculation isn't
supported or you can't find how that's supported, then
this cascades down the rest of the analysis. It
affects the solubilities as you see here of neptunium
and plutonium but several orders of magnitude between
a pH of 8 and a pH of 4.
MEMBER WYMER: And if you throw eH into
that you could change it a whole lot more.
MR. CAMPBELL: What they do in the
analysis is they set the amount of oxygen dissolved in
the water coming in, equal to an atmospheric value and
so that doesn't merit -- if they impose an oxidized
environment on the system, they don't actually
calculate what this effect of consuming all the waste
package materials. There are steels in there that
produce acid. And there are aluminum alloys, in the
case of glass, glass produced consumes acid, so you
have forces driving pH in two different directions and
you have a series of reactions with competing reaction
rates, that essentially determine the pH at any one
point in time.
And so it's not just an academic question.
It also impacts the dissolution rate in spent fuel
which pH is a parameter used in that dissolution orate
because that's what comes out of the laboratory
experiments. It's used in, I believe, the dissolution
of glass and the stability of colloids is a function
of pH, so if they don't have the pH right, it will
cascade all the way down into your various components
of your source term, you release radionuclides.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: The reason
-- we know they're never going to have quote unquote
have the pH right. The real question is whether or
not we can represent --
MR. CAMPBELL: They have bounded the
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Not bounded,
well, okay, bounded --
MR. CAMPBELL: Had they put bounds on the
pH such that they had a realistic adapt and for me, as
I dug into the analyses and from TSPA into the AMRs
into one of the more recent in-package chemistry AMRs
which is a very different pH result than from previous
AMR in-package chemistry, I got to a roadblock. I got
to a point where I was still asking questions. What
are the driving forces for pH? Have they sufficiently
characterized this system so these series of a dozen
or two or so EQ6 runs truly puts a box around what the
pH could be. Because if they have put a box around
what the pH could be, then it's simply a matter of is
the abstraction a reasonable thing to do? If they
haven't put that box around what the pH could be, then
it's anybody question whether it's a conservative or
nonconservative approach because you run into this --
so that's an example where the chemistry question on
something like as basic as pH or in our looking at all
of this, we came across an issue and it's not that
they're doing it wrong. It's that at some point you
don't know what they're doing. And it's a critical
parameter that carries through the entire analysis.
That's basically all I'm going to say
about pH at this point. Our conclusion, I think, is
going to be that there's going to be a need at least
for a much better explanation for what's going on in
pH. Keep in mind that this also affects other things
because the solubility of radionuclides are determined
and this whole reaction vessel is determined by
assuming this big waste package is full of water,
that's about 4500 liters of void space. So this
amount of water with all the materials of the waste
package, a smaller volume of water reacting with a
smaller amount of material, they acknowledge, could
significantly affect the pH, but they figure that's
too complex to deal with. But they at least need to
bound it to ensure that the statement that this is a
conservative approach really is conservative and it's
not clear to me --
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: The thing is
that when this information goes across from us to
whomever and presumably back to DOE, what I think has
to be taken into account is what we have said all
along and that is we'd like to be as realistic as
possible and the fact of the matter is that you can
look at this pH and say oh, well, this could affect it
by an order of magnitude or something. DOE is already
assuming that solubility of two orders of magnitude
are probably two orders of magnitude too high.
They've got to fix that too.
MR. CAMPBELL: Right.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Which brings
them two orders of magnitude in the other direction.
This is the kind of thing that Milt has been harping
for a long time and I agree with him. And this isn't
a criticism. I think that NRC staff, their job is to
go and look for possible difficulties and the possible
difficulty that they might not -- they might have
lower pHs than they say, but by the same token, it
would be nice to say yeah, and also their neptunian
solubilities seem a little weird to us, too high.
MR. CAMPBELL: Right. And it affects the
technetium which is simply a fuel degradation issue
because it's assumed that technetium comes out.
There's a series of couplings within the
system which are essentially the way it's being
modeled are decoupled and you don't get the kinds of
feedbacks you would need to be able to say what is the
right solid phase or what is the reasonable range of
pH values over time for the system. A number of other
issues that come up in the context of what's going on
inside this waste package.
They also have a diffusion model or
diffusion through stress corrosion cracks that
literally does not need water to move waste. It needs
a thin film of water. But when you dig deep enough,
what you find is you can't find, or at least I haven't
been able to find the actual description of that
model. So I'm taking a guess as to what they're
doing, but I can't find a specific description of the
model which carries the components of spent fuel
through the internals of the waste package out and
into the invert. I find the detail mathematical model
of diffusion through the invert. I find nothing on
the release from the spent fuel to the invert. And
yet, it turns out that when they do their sensitivity
analyses, the stress corrosion cracking dominates, at
least in the first 100,000 years, the sensitivity
analyses and the importance analyses and the only way
that that can be is that diffusion out of these tiny
cracks on this thin film of water is dominating the
dose in that period of time. The question is how are
they doing it? And frankly, I don't know. It may be
conservative. It may be so conservative that it's
ridiculous, but you're left with this feeling of we
don't know what they're doing.
MS. DEERING: I have a question to make
sure I understand the pH. Are you saying that in
NRC's IRSRs or in DOE's TSPASR, the issue of pH as an
uncertainty and a potential impact on performance has
it been identified in either of those places? Maybe
you don't know.
MR. CAMPBELL: As far as the chemistry
issue which is dealt with in both CLST and near field
MS. DEERING: Because I'm thinking in
simple terms like would it be something, I would think
you would expect that to see in something DOE's TSPA
would say this is an uncertainty, there's a range of
impacts. If you have this range of possible pHs,
here's how it would play out somewhere down the way in
performance or source term. And here's how we're
choosing to model it with the information we have and
here's why this is an appropriate and acceptable way
to do it. I mean to me that would be transparent and
that would be a way to try to deal with uncertainty,
but if you saw something like -- you haven't seen
that, is that right?
MR. CAMPBELL: What --
MS. DEERING: Or is that even off-base to
what you think you'd want to see?
MR. CAMPBELL: What they've done in their
analysis is the variability of this limited subset of
modeling runs, geochemical modeling runs with this
code EQ36 are abstracted into TSPA as several
different response surfaces and in what time frame
you're dealing with because the pH varies like that
with time in their latest effort.
The uncertainty analysis in TSPA is in a
sense looking at the variability of this set of
modeling runs. That's not necessarily the same thing
as the uncertainty in the pH that's important to
I believe the staff is concerned very much
about material reactions and the potential for the
different materials reacting with water coming into
the system. And so I'm not prepared to say whether or
not the staff has completely dealt with this issue.
They're certainly aware of this issue, but we only got
this in package chemistry AMR, the revised one, just
in the last month or so.
MS. DEERING: Was this part of the
agreements that DOE and NRC have reached?
MR. CAMPBELL: I believe so. So it's a
revised thing. But when you get an AMR that
completely changes the story of long time frames. You
want to dig a little deeper and when I dug a little
deeper what I didn't see was the descriptions of the
main reactions driving pH. They tell me it's the
material reactions which I believe, but I don't really
get a good handle on what are the main drivers for ph
and what's perturbing it.
MR. CAMPBELL: Or the impacts of those
assumptions they're making in terms of performance.
MR. CAMPBELL: Right.
MEMBER WYMER: I keep coming back to this
issue. DOE has in almost all cases taken what they
consider to be a conservative stance on all aspects of
the TSPA and it does look conservative. And I ask
again what's the downside of being overly
conservative? I think we ought to consider whether or
not we want to articulate what we think the downside
is or what the downsides are.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: There is certainly no
downside to regulating conservatively. You should
regulate conservatively, but there is a downside to
not knowing if you're regulating conservatively.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Ray, let me give you one
specific example. If you are ultra-conservative and
then force yourself say to go to a coal repository
design which might triple or quadruple the amount of
fuel handling you have to do on the front end, you in
fact, have generated a new risk arising from something
you called conservative because you may expose many,
many more man rems of people on the front end to avoid
something on the back end. It very seldom is over
estimating the consequences really conservative
because it always forces you to do something else
which has its own risk.
MEMBER WYMER: I guess I would like to see
something written that spells out why we think DOE's
ultra-conservative, I could call it that, that
position is a bad thing.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: It's a bad thing
because they're not doing risk assessment and they're
supposed to be doing risk assessment. And you don't
do risk assessments conservatively. You do risk
assessments to represent the truth. You give the
issue the best shot you can possibly give it in terms
of what you think will really happen.
It seems to me if you don't have that as
a baseline, you don't know where the heck you are.
But it says nothing about how we want to regulate it.
It only says this is what the experts have indicated
as their best shot at what they think will happen and
we'll use that and we will consider the evidence
supporting that in making a decision as to how we want
to regulate it.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Ray, there's also
financial aspects. Suppose -- I'm not saying this is
true, but as an example, by being
ultra-conservative on solution and dispersion, you
force the C-22 container in being, when in fact, you
could have buried it in plastic bags and tin cans and
it would have been safe, you're spending some billions
of dollars of taxpayers' money for no improvement in
MEMBER WYMER: But that's not our concern.
That's John's point. Regulation is different.
MEMBER LEVENSON: You were asking is there
a downside risk to DOE's being overly conservative and
I'm saying there's lots --
MEMBER WYMER: I should have said in the
context of what we're supposed to be doing.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Regulation is a
different story. But there's an inadvertent thing
that we tend to do. It's kind of a follow-on to
George's questions. We and the staff have to be very
careful of, and that is if DOE comes in and this is
clearly conservative, we don't say anything about it.
It's acceptable. They come in with something else
that's less conservative, we say gee, you could be
more conservative. We inadvertently push them farther
away from real risk-base thing into arbitrary
increased conservatism and that would be an
If you talk to people on the other side,
at Yucca Mountain and other licensing things, why did
you do such an incredibly stupid thing and they say
well, it was pretty clear that that's where the NRC
staff wanted us to go. You talk to the NRC staff,
they didn't necessarily want the people to go there.
They asked a question. So I think this being
nonsymmetrical about not commenting on being overly
conservative, we do some things --
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I think there's a high
order of responsibility here too that actually goes
beyond what we're supposed to be doing, but one of the
words that appears in the NRC strategic language, at
least it used to appear, I don't know, is the word
Society -- to enable society to use this
technology to their betterment --
MS. DEERING: In other words, safe.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes. And if we present
this technology in the context of an
ultra-conservative model, we may be denying society
something that's very important.
MEMBER WYMER: That is a higher goal than
we are commissioned to pursue.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, I don't know how
much higher it is given that's in the basic documents
that govern our behavior, but I don't know.
MEMBER WYMER: I'd like to see something
written, that spells out why this being too
conservative is a bad idea. I hear what you're
saying, but it would be nice to have some --
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I will only tell you --
I'll answer that in one word. We want the truth.
There's nothing more basic than the truth and if we
don't put those kind of rules on it, we won't get the
MEMBER WYMER: You're waxing philosophical
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: No, to me, it's very
MEMBER WYMER: I don't know what the truth
is in anything.
MS. DEERING: Take the pH issue. Say that
you don't know the truth in terms of how it's going to
vary over time and how that would affect solubility
because you don't know what's going to make it vary
over time, modeling it at say a constant value, that
might lead to some conservatism in some cases because
you don't have a basis to say how it's going to vary.
Is that being what you would call too conservative or
is that even -- I mean is that okay to do? Is that
your only way to go or would you still attempt to look
at variable pHs that would allow the solubility to be
MEMBER LEVENSON: You've got to include in
that discussion, Lynn, probability. If the
probability is 99.99 percent that it ranges between 5
and 7, then you probably shouldn't use 8 or 3.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: By the way I think we
really need to keep to our schedule. This is
something that --
MS. DEERING: We have an hour after lunch
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: We've got to finish the
chemical one up or if we're not finished.
MEMBER WYMER: I think we're done.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Then we need to say a few
things about the TSPA one. I notice we still have
some time for doing that.
MR. CAMPBELL: Let me just add one thing,
John. What I was talking about was commercial spent
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right.
MR. CAMPBELL: High level waste, glass,
the glass buffers, the pH, it's much more constrained
and that's the key there. It constrains the
uncertainty because there's a pH buffer in there which
is the glass that dissolves. So my comments were
focused on what happens in the commercial spent
nuclear fuel waste packages.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Is that at all, Andy, a
function of what the glass is or -- it's now going to
be a big range of glasses with significantly different
titanium contents, for instance. Is that pretty much
MR. CAMPBELL: Glass drives pH.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay, let's adjourn for
(Whereupon, at 11:35 a.m., the meeting was
recessed, to reconvene at 1:33 p.m., Tuesday, May 15,
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay, let's come to
order. I guess the question is were we through with
MR. CAMPBELL: I think so. I sure was.
MEMBER WYMER: We haven't drafted our
discussion of conservatism yet.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: We'll take care of
that. That's probably a good idea.
Okay, the final item on our KTI list here
is Total System Performance Assessment Investigation
and of course this one overlaps with all of them and
especially the chemistry so it only stands to reason
that we involve Andy in both of them, maybe.
I think what I'll do is I'll just
highlight a little bit what our approach is. As you
know, we have not had our technical exchange meeting,
but it is now scheduled and it will be next month and
that will preclude us from having any further excuses,
but we do have an approach and we want to share that
approach. It's discussed in Tab 3.1, page 5. I'll
highlight it and then Andy will give some backup.
Generally, what we are talking about doing
is taking a top down slice of the TSPA and related
activities and what we mean by that is starting with
the dose to the critical group we want to work
ourselves backwards to the contributing factors of
that dose and hopefully we will be able to focus on
just a couple of radionuclides such as technetium 99
and neptunium 237 and when we talk about working
backwards to the contributing factors, we mean not
only the contributions to the dose that come as a
result of physical processes, but we mean the
assumptions, the models and of course, the specific
radionuclides that are involved.
In this process, we're going to be
attempting to answer a couple of questions. One is at
least with respect to our vertical slice, what is the
evidence supporting the results of DOE's TSPA and by
that we mean the nature of the models, the most
important assumptions and other relevant input
The second question has to do with the
adequacy of the NRC staff's approach of using their
TPA, their Total Performance Assessment, and the
review plan to review the TSPA. The thought here is
that in order to assess the adequacy of NRC's review
process, we need to know something about what it is
they're going to be reviewing.
So we will try to in the vertical slice,
identify the factors and satisfy ourselves that the
factors controlling the release from the engineered
barrier system are understood by which we mean the
failure of the waste package, the water access and
composition, the mobilization of the key radionuclides
within the waste package such as technetium and
neptunium and the release rates and mobilization.
Now there's two subissues that we are
wishing to slice through and evaluate in some detail
and one of those is the degradation of the engineered
barriers and the other is the radionuclide release
rates insolubility limits. As far as the engineered
barrier degradation issue is concerned, we will be
looking at the NRC review process and activities. We
will at least to the extent that we can try to develop
that first order understanding of DOE's modeling
approach, and we will certainly lean on the chemistry
vertical slice to develop an understanding in the
context of the performance assessment of the impact of
in-package water chemistry on radionuclide
Now we know that from the point of view of
the NRC's key technical issue approach, that the
emphasis is now on this integration of subissues and
in this case there are four sub-issues of primary
interest: system description and demonstration of
multiple barriers, the analysis, the selection and
analysis of scenarios, model abstraction and the
demonstration of the performance.
A primary area, a primary area focus is
the abstraction process associated with the models.
That is to say the transition from the subsurface
models to the probabilistic analysis and there are, of
course, three key subsystems involved in this, the
engineered system, the geosphere and the biosphere.
So that's what we're going to do. We're
going to start with the dose and work backwards, but
keep very focused on what seems to be driving the risk
in order to keep it within a reasonable bounds of
complexity and beyond that, there's a lot of technical
Andy, you may want to elaborate on some of
MEMBER WYMER: Can we react to that a
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MEMBER WYMER: It seems to me that much of
what you've discussed in the beginning, what you said,
is what's covered in the chemistry vertical slice.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: That's right.
MEMBER WYMER: I don't know why you want
to repeat that.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, we wont. We
MEMBER WYMER: It seems like what you
talked about last four issues you outlined, that's
really the guts of what you want to do. That's the
substance of a review of a TSPA.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MEMBER WYMER: It seems to me that's what
I -- what's about what I would do. That's about all
I would do. That's a big job in itself. We're sort
of rehashing all the chemistry stuff.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, we won't rehash
it, but we will try to put it in the context of the
onion peeling process of working back from the dose to
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: My guess is
that you'll be looking at the model abstraction
process and how it carries into the TSPA.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Whereas you're
going to be looking at processes and chemistry.
MR. CAMPBELL: Let me try and put this in
context. What we want to look at is abstraction of
models in the TSPA and how that abstraction process
carries through the uncertainty into the final result.
So really the focus, the reason I referred to
chemistry was probably one that that's the lamppost
phenomena, that's what I thought would be a good proxy
for looking at -- I mean we could look at water flow,
we would look at any number of things to trace through
the TSPA, how abstraction is done and how uncertainty
is dealt with in this process. That just happened to
be a useful thing which we had a lot of background
MEMBER WYMER: The emphasis is on the
abstraction process, not only the specifics.
MR. CAMPBELL: Right and then how they
analyzed the uncertainties and sensitivities and so
on, how that's all carried through. At least that's
the concept that I'm coming from.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I think there is a
desire to understand the physical processes enough to
appreciate that the abstraction makes sense.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Actually, I
think that's why it sort of makes sense to have this
plan because Ray and Andy are looking at the very
detailed physical stuff and then you and Andy are
looking at the abstraction, so you'll have a direct
MR. CAMPBELL: That was the intent, was
not to reinvent the wheel or redo that which has
already been done, but rather okay, now that we have
this large base, if you will, of information about
what's going on in the process level and maybe even
some concerns on that, start at the top, work your way
down and then come back up, looking as to how did they
abstract a particular set of information into the
model and how is that treated within the model and
then how are they dealing with the uncertainties and
do their uncertainty and sensitivity results make
sense in the context of all of this. That's the idea
MEMBER WYMER: That's not the flavor that
I got, but that sounds very sensible.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: As far as the flavor
that you got, I guess the way I'm presenting this is
that the performance assessment is to take the
relevant chemical models, the relevant geotechnical
models and structure them in order to be able to
abstract from them a probabilistic treatment.
MEMBER WYMER: Fine.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: And if you start with
the dose and work backwards, you work your way into
what's going on inside the waste package because the
source term is where most of the action is, the
development of the source term.
And that's all water access and corrosion
model and mobilization of --
MEMBER WYMER: Chemistry.
MR. CAMPBELL: He cringes.
MEMBER WYMER: Sorry.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Anyway, that's where we
are and I think that we'll be able to in about a month
get some real momentum.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Is the
technical exchange in Las Vegas? I didn't know.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. CAMPBELL: It's June 25 through 28.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: And also the one that's
going on now is very relevant.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: FEPs?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yeah, Features, Events
and Processes. It's too bad that one of us is not
there, but I'm sure Jim Clark will give us a full
MEMBER WYMER: John, I would hope that
there's a sentence that I raised a question about some
time ago by e-mail because it appears dozens and
dozens of places in DOE documents and since it's the
identical wording in each case, I assume it isn't
accidental and that's a statement that no confirmation
of this is required. When Rich and I asked about it,
nobody seemed to know what that meant. Does that
really mean that any programmer, anybody can attach
that sentence to something and nobody else checks it
or reviews it? None of the people, in fact, none of
the people that we talked to, either staff or in the
Center, were sensitive to the fact that this was a
standard statement that appeared in many, many places
in the DOE documentation. I'd suggest that you put
that on your list of things to ask about if you're
looking at the total TSPA.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I hope not. I hope
that's not the case, that interpretation.
MEMBER WYMER: Well, I don't know. What
bothered me is that nobody else seemed to have --
except for Ray, nobody else had raised the question of
what does this mean.
But since it's the exact wording that
appears many places in many documents, I think you
have to ask about it.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. CAMPBELL: One of the concerns that we
have is how do some of the conservatisms that are
built into these various models carry through into the
final analysis and what are the impacts of those
conservatisms on your interpretation of the
uncertainty and even the sensitivities?
And there may be issues along the way that
we come across that we haven't and certainly there
will be issues that we haven't anticipated that will
possibly change our focus a bit. There has to be a
vehicle for where do you start and we thought, okay,
let's start with this because this is something we
know and then work from there and I recognize that
that's a bit of a lamppost philosophy there, but it's
a starting point.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: One of the things that
we'll certainly be looking for is consistency of
modeling. The worry here is and maybe it's been done
in such a way that it does not present a problem, but
the worry is that you have in the same track periods
of extreme conservatism and periods of nonconservatism
and periods of totally probabilistic approach and
periods of totally deterministic, sometimes. And
that's inevitable to a certain extent. You can't
really make the probabilistic approach completely
pervasive or you'd never get done. So just need to
understand where it is and where it isn't and what the
basis of the way it is, how it's presented.
I don't know if it's a feasible approach,
but we'll know soon when we get into it a little more.
MR. LESLIE: Brett Leslie, here, NRC
staff. Just one of the things you may have heard,
John, is that DOE has just issued a corrective action
request and I think you'll like this one because it
had to do with model validation and in effect, they
found a problem in that the DOE appeared to be saying
the staff believes that this model is conservative and
therefore it is validated and so it was as large
portion of the models that they evaluated in these
AMRs that had this specific problem. And so the
Office of Quality Assurance has brought this up as
something as a high priority issue.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I'm glad they did. Do
you want to add any more to it, Andy, or are we okay
MR. CAMPBELL: I think we're okay for now.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay, I guess this is
a good time to hear from Lynn, isn't it?
MS. DEERING: I just wanted to talk about
schedules and deliverables. If we could think about
that a little bit.
I think, as we understand it, staff is
looking to kind of get their sufficiency comments
wrapped up by August to the Commission in mid-August
and that means that we could have that meeting, our
August meeting, we could also take that time we need
to start wrapping this up.
One of the things to think about is what
products we want and George and I are accountable to
get out at least one of these on the overall
sufficiency review. And one idea we've talked about
is having funneling some of our insights to the extent
there's commonalities or nuggets we could share in
this report into that single report.
We're also able to have, depending on the
outcome of some of these vertical slices, we may
decide we want to issue a separate report to the
Commission on just that very vertical slice. So
George and I were talking. We probably -- it's
probably easier for the Commission if we try to limit
the number of reports we're going to give them and try
to package our insights into a single document or
maybe, Ray, if you really want to give a chemistry
report -- I think you do.
MEMBER WYMER: We have about half
committed ourselves to present four independent
vertical slices, I felt.
MS. DEERING: No, I don't believe so.
We're committed to do them, but then how we report the
results, I think we have flexibility.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Don't forget the
objective was a single thing. WE divided it up.
MS. DEERING: We did.
MEMBER LEVENSON: For implementation, but
I would think that putting it back together for
presentation to the Commission would make a more
MEMBER WYMER: Not really in a way because
if you put it back together, then they can expect all
the pieces to be covered and there's only four pieces
MEMBER LEVENSON: No, no, no. More
MS. DEERING: We would discuss our method.
MEMBER LEVENSON: There's going to be a
significant difference in degree of detail, so I'd
suggest we put them together into a brief report as
several appendices where you might include, for
instance, a lot more detail on chemistry or a lot more
on this or that to make the report itself.
The question we're addressing is a very
narrow one, that is, is the staff doing its job. The
details are not really relevant to evaluating that
point from a Commission standpoint. they just want to
know should they worry about what the staff is doing
or not. And I think we can best respond to that by a
single report. But maybe appendices for detail.
MEMBER WYMER: It seems to me it would be
a little illogical.
MS. DEERING: I don't think -- it depends
on the outcome of your review. You may find that you
have something to say beyond what the sufficiency
report wants to say, which is fine. I don't think we
have to shut down on that now. I think we're
assuming, Ray, that you will go down that path, the
loan bath of a chemistry --
MEMBER WYMER: We're always alone in that,
but I think that's right. Again, I don't know how you
can pretend to write a sufficiency review which covers
everything when you haven't covered everything.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: First of all,
of course, we wouldn't write a sufficiency review that
covered everything because we didn't cover everything.
We would simply have to outline what we did and what
we did was an audit, but Lynn and I chatted briefly
and again, not looking at it from our point of view
because I think from our point of view it would
probably be easiest to write four separate reports,
but trying to look at it from the Commission's
standpoint and what we could do to benefit the
Commission and it's pretty clear at least to me and I
think to Lynn as well, that it will be harder for us
to do, but it would really benefit the Commission most
if we wrote a single report.
MEMBER WYMER: Properly qualified.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Properly qualified. A
summary report that deals with the question of
sufficiency. And then appendices --
MEMBER WYMER: That's part of the question
that we've audited.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes. And then
appendices as appropriate.
MEMBER WYMER: Absolutely.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: So we don't lose the
detail and we don't lose what Ray wants to
communicate. He wants to convince the Commission that
the only thing that's important is chemistry, well,
let him do that.
MEMBER WYMER: That seems to be the way
it's turning out.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Actually,
though to go a little farther, I also agree with
exactly what Lynn said, that if, in fact, as you delve
into chemistry or if we look into groundwater flow and
dilution and what not that if there are issues that
really aside from sufficiency, issues that really
deserve a letter, then we should by all means follow
MS. DEERING: And it could even mean we
save those issues until we do our research report.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: And I think it fits in
MS. DEERING: Depending on how we use the
information we gather.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I think it fits in
nicely with our briefing to the Commission where we
indicated what our approach was going to be and we can
make reference to that and show continuity.
MEMBER WYMER: And indicate the
limitations of what we've done.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right.
MEMBER WYMER: We can do that whether we
have four reports or one.
MS. DEERING: We have June and July and
then August, we're really under the gun, and then
we're going to get the staff briefing on sufficiency
in August. I think we've accepted that. We've agreed
And we want to hear from DOE also, be it
July -- hopefully, July, August, somewhere in there.
No later than August. So we still have some pieces
that we won't get to later, but we need to start
thinking about bringing -- we've isolated our areas,
now recombining and the staff can do that, help do
that here on our own, help you do that and we also do
it -- when we're all together. But the templates, I
don't know how useful those are. It's probably worth
revisiting, if those will guide us to where we want to
I tried to tweak it a little bit for this
notebook. It's revised slightly, just based on some
of our experience, but it still probably needs, as
you're finding, filling this thing out, you may find
some of it just doesn't have relevancy and there might
be areas that are missing, but originally I was
thinking we would use something like this to start a
letter and I might take a stab at that with George to
just get -- even if we don't have the answers, but
just see if I could structure the thing in a way that
would -- I mean it's time to start thinking about
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Sure is.
MS. DEERING: Is that what you've been
trying to tell me?
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: No. I live in
a glass house. I'm not throwing any stones.
MEMBER LEVENSON: I think we have a
template in our current book?
MS. DEERING: Yes, we do.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Page 13 under Tab 3.1.
MS. DEERING: How comfortable is everybody
on where we stand on this? Is this about as clear as
mud or do we feel we have a path forward as the staff
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I am sure that ea
ch one is going to be a little different in the
final analysis because we're going to tailor it to the
specifics, to the specific vertical slice, but I think
for now, it's plenty of guidance and we just need to
MS. DEERING: I think we're going to come
up with a number of interesting, even if they don't
make it in the report, observations that will be very
useful as we pursue issue resolution beyond
My assumption, tell me what you think,
just as a staff -- sufficiency is sort of a snapshot
with where they are with issue resolution and
ultimately if they get to licensing. Same with our
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right.
MS. DEERING: I think this is a snapshot.
This concept, if it works for us, we can continue
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes, that's right, as
issues pop up.
MEMBER WYMER: I like your Part 2
questions and I think we need to work a little harder.
Andy and I are writing to respond more directly to
those questions in our report. We haven't really sort
of pulled them out, highlighted them yet.
MS. DEERING: Now those are the kinds of
questions I would envision in the total report. Say
if you and -- to the extent if we individually can
answer those, all the better, but this is the kind of
thing I'm picturing as things we tried to get at in
that one big --
MEMBER WYMER: If we don't do it
individually you'll have a hard time doing it in
MS. DEERING: I know.
MEMBER LEVENSON: Are you accepting
MS. DEERING: No.
MEMBER LEVENSON: On your second question
in Part 2, I'm not sure that any of the sub-issues
have a risk. It's really the contribution to risk of
the subject, rather than the risk of the sub-issue.
MS. DEERING: How should that be worded?
How is the relative --
MR. CAMPBELL: Contribution to risk of the
MS. DEERING: Contribution --
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: On the other
hand, if Lynn picks up that sub-issue, it might be a
risk to you.
MS. DEERING: No.
MEMBER LEVENSON: But it's only NRC or DOE
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: But just simply is the
contribution to risk of the sub-issue known or
MS. DEERING: This gets at what I was kind
of trying to get at earlier. Does the staff have a
good feel for risk insights, their own that they found
with their TPA code and their own perspective and/or
has DOE provided that in repository safety strategy?
Does it hit that top ten list that you
kind of referred to earlier, Milt, that top ten, are
there top ten issues?
I'm not sure how well we'll ever get to
this, but I think it's pretty important.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Actually, Lynn,
it strikes me that for you to move forward, as you
said, to try to structure a letter, it would be
extraordinarily helpful if each of the four of us took
these questions and answered them, as Ray said, as
best we could.
MS. DEERING: That was the idea.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: And then you
could compile them and see (a) if there are
commonalities, what they are; (b) what is specific to
the individual things, so we would have to call out
specifics. It might really help us structure the
MS. DEERING: And it might even help us
structure that working group that we have six months
from now. If we really can't get to the answer of
this, it may be that that helps us structure it
differently -- we just keep on the path to try to get
I like that.
MEMBER WYMER: The one problem with
answering some of these, some of them are very
appropriate generic question, that is, for instance,
are they focused on the most risk significant issues.
Well, we picked sort of four arbitrary slices and
we're not in a position to say whether the four that
we picked are or are not among the most significant.
We didn't pick them for that reason. We did a random
sample. I think that the questions are good ones, but
we won't necessarily directly answer them in a letter.
In fact, maybe one like number 4, the letter ends up
saying we did a slice and we sampled. There's no
assurance that the four we picked are the most
significant. I think it's the right question to ask.
We don't necessarily need to answer it --
MS. DEERING: That's a good point. That's
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: There's another point
that may be worth just mentioning and that is none of
the questions have anything to do with DOE except
Question 2. Is the contribution to risk of the
sub-issue known or understood by NRC or DOE? Is it a
principal factor? Well, that's just slipped in there.
That's a mouthful. And a big one. See, the way I
characterize it in our general approach was the two
questions were the first one is what is the evidence
supporting the results of DOE's TSPA in the context of
the vertical slice as background. And the second one
has to do with the adequacy of the NRC staff's
approach of using their TPA and review plan to review
MS. DEERING: John, what is that you have?
Is that something you wrote a while back,
right, and we all had it?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I might have.
MS. DEERING: I thought I adopted those.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yeah, well I think you
did. And I'm just trying to correlate the two and --
MS. DEERING: I don't know where they are.
I'm going to have to relook at your list and make
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: He only has
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I split mine into two
basic questions and then there's a lot of
sub-questions and yours are -- many of yours are the
right sub-questions. But two basic questions that we
want to get out of the vertical slice. One has to do
with developing a warm, fuzzy feeling about what DOE
has done. And having done that, and having that as
background, you're in a position to evaluate the
adequacy of the NRC approach to review.
MS. DEERING: That makes sense. That's
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: It's on page 5 if you
want to check it. It's the second paragraph on page
MS. DEERING: Page 5. That's probably
good. That's probably something I need to start
building into the overall template and I don't know
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: You can steal it.
MS. DEERING: May I?
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yes.
MR. CAMPBELL: Let me add that the
advantage of having four different perspectives and
four different, somewhat different ways of doing these
vertical slices is to pull together common
observations and common trends.
To me, in a sense that then becomes
abstracted into our letter, the overall letter to the
Commission or what are the commonalities in our four
different vertical slices, from widely different
perspectives, did we come across. I think both in
terms of the DOE approach and how the staff is
handling that, I think those -- that's really going to
be key. Not a bunch of details, necessarily in the
On the other hand, as Ray and I have
talked about, there are a whole series of issues at,
if you will, the process model level and how those are
carried into TSPA that at least we think in terms of
the chemistry warrant a separate report, but what we
will pull forward, I think, I'm getting in a vision
how we can put together the cover letter, is pull out
of this issues that address these questions and then
that's backed up by this report. And then ultimately
from the other three Members of the Committee, the
other three processes we pull out of that and then sit
down and basically look, do we see common issues.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I think what you're
kind of saying is that let's see what kind of product
we develop or generate and then it will be much easier
for us to decide how to aggregate that into a single
package or multiple packages, whatever seems to do the
MS. DEERING: Do you want to talk about
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Yeah, we should.
MEMBER WYMER: Nag, nag, nag.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: We should. Chemistry
next week --
MEMBER WYMER: Why wait so long on that?
You don't ever get where you're going unless you have
a nag --
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Well, I guess we could
look at this schedule and be guided.
MS. DEERING: No, probably not. Would you
like to defer and talk about that for a minute while
you talk about DOE's schedules and then we can align
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: If we work
backwards, we know that we want to have this finished
in August. We really do. We need to come into the
August meeting with a draft, a good solid draft and we
can then add to modify in response to the staff's
presentation, but we should have our act together
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Are you talking about
the vertical slices?
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Yes. That
means that --
MS. DEERING: That would be the final
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: That's what I
MS. DEERING: We need those even sooner.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Well, to have
-- to get to a final, good final letter in August,
that means that we have to be in a position to discuss
everything in July. Okay? And if we're going to
discuss everything in July, that means that by our
June meeting, we're going to, at the very least, have
to have this information. So we know that we need it
at least by the June meeting and the only question
then is whether we push it to get it ahead of time on
the June meeting to have a first pass at trying to
pull it together.
So it's bounded.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: So we need a draft of
our individual vertical slices for the June meeting?
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: For the June
meeting or ahead of the June meeting, one or the
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: How can we do that?
MS. DEERING: Do we make an exception for
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Yes, we have to
make an exception for John.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: When is the June
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: So we need
yours two weeks after that tech exchange.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay. 19, 20, and 21.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: And if you want
to put the same pressure on the rest of us, then we
should get ours probably a week ahead of the next ACNW
meeting which is going to be impossible for me.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: So three of the four
vertical slices, we'll see a draft at the next
meeting. Is that what we're saying?
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: At least the
MS. DEERING: To answer these kinds of
questions and any other insights beyond these
questions you want to share. We'll start to really
have some results.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Have to. We
have to do it.
MS. DEERING: Okay. The staff seems open
to continue on with informal information exchanges, if
you have the need for that. Let's schedule those.
Let's continue to schedule those.
MEMBER WYMER: What did you just say? I
heard the words, but what does it mean?
MS. DEERING: I have that effect on
MEMBER WYMER: I saw your lips moving, but
MS. DEERING: These information exchanges
we've been having with the staff, we just had one at
lunch. It was pretty useful. The staff indicated
they would be willing to continue doing that between
now and August and beyond, but if you need them, make
that known and let's --
MEMBER WYMER: You mean at the time of the
regular scheduled meetings.
MS. DEERING: Any time.
MR. LYONS: Or conference calls, if you
need, we can set something up like that or if you're
in the area, we can come in and talk.
MEMBER LEVENSON: The one that Rich and I
had, we just came here for a day and did it.
MS. DEERING: Don't be constrained by our
meetings. George and I had a conference call once
MEMBER WYMER: They work pretty good,
MS. DEERING: Yes. Would you like me to
give some highlights? We heard a few of them at
lunch, but for the benefit of everybody about DOE, how
DOE plans to get this site recommendation process
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: I think that would be
useful, unless we're breaking any rules.
MS. DEERING: This won't take more than 10
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay.
MS. DEERING: And we have about 15 left.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Go ahead.
MS. DEERING: Sure.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: We got the clock
MS. DEERING: Okay. Some of these
highlights come from this colorful package that you
have. This is pretty neat. It's very pretty.
Some of these highlights -- this is like
a report from the TRB meeting. I'm just going to give
you orally some highlights that came out of it. Okay?
And I'm using this point paper, if you
want to follow along.
Let's talk about the revised SR approach.
That's what DOE is calling it. Their LA is expected,
I think we've all heard this by now, it's going to be
now late 2003. They're looking to issue the LA in
MEMBER LEVENSON: Why are we worrying
about it? It's after my term on the committee.
MS. DEERING: That is no excuse to slack.
I don't know whether I have whether that's FY or
calendar. Calendar. Thank you.
All right, the SR decision, I think we
also know and it's expected in early 2002, FY 2002.
I'm sorry, that's FY 2002. So November-December time
frame. That's when DOE is planning to make an SR
decision, unless there's delays in getting 963 out,
etcetera, delays in the EPA standard.
What they're calling the revised SR
approach includes a series of documents. It's no
longer what we once refer to as SRCR. The first --
the SR process was initiated on May 4th. That was the
official beginning of the process and the public -- it
was announced in the Science and Engineering Report,
this big thick thing that you'll have an Executive
Summary of in your mailbox with the disk, started that
process. And the draft DEIS is also considered part
of this process supplement to the DEIS.
In those documents, there's a summary.
Those tend to summarize, as I understand it, there's
two things. It complies with what's required in NEPA
part 114. There's some very specific information DOE
has to address. That document does that, in their
opinion and it also attempts to summarize the PMRs and
As I understand it, it also tries to focus
more on this range of temperature modes, operating
modes as does the DEIS.
So next after -- I guess in the June time
frame, DOE's, the next series is what they're calling
the Supplemental Science and Performance Analysis
Report and it has Volume 1 and Volume 2. Now let me
tell you about what this is. Volume 1, they call
Scientific Basis and Analysis. Volume 2 is a
Performance Analysis. The idea here is that new
information has come in since the TSPASR. They've
altered some of their conceptual models. They
consider them to be less conservative. They also have
done some work on uncertainty, trying to deal with
quantified uncertainties. And they also now want to
evaluate this cooler range. They're talking about a
single design that would operate from cool to warm and
they're not willing to lock in to either of those just
as of yet, so they're going to carry along both ideas
and this, the emphasis now, so since TSPASR, this is
how they're going to factor in this new information
are in these documents that are coming out this
summer. There will not be a TSPASR rev. 1 in other
words. The new information for SR decision making
will be captured in the supplementary documents to be
issued this summer, which is interesting, really.
And as I understand it, they're also --
even though the TSPASR focused on the warmer
temperature, they're going to now with their updated
information and new conceptual models, reevaluate the
warmer temperature also and compare it to the cooler
temperature in these supplementary documents, so
they're going to revise what they did for warmer and
compare it to cooler with the same information. Is
Now a third document in the series to be
issued, this may be July, I believe, is what they call
their Preliminary Site Suitability Evaluation and this
is something they will actually do against Part 963,
okay. And apparently, they're going to look over a
range of thermal operating modes and at that point
when they issue this document, they're going to
announce some public hearings, the dates of those
public hearings and specify a formal public comment
period for whole SR process.
So they believe they're doing this partly
-- partly they're doing this because (1) the SRCR they
needed more time to get updates from this technical
information and I guess the IG report that was pending
also played into why they've changed their whole --
revised their SR process. And they think that this
will give people more time to review each piece.
The Board seemed concerned at the meeting
last week that there's no one integrating document and
it does seem a little unruly, but that was some
comments from last week.
On page 2, I'm going to talk a little bit
about the design. I may have already covered some of
this, but I mentioned that it's a single design,
flexible, capable of operating over a range of
temperatures. They're looking at tradeoffs between
the two, the cooler and the warmer. I think the
original objective was does a cooler reduce
uncertainties and enhance performance? And I think
the NWTRB has been convinced that it does. I think
there's -- I know Charles Fairhurst has been working
with TASCA and they're doing some analyses that
suggest there might, you know, there might be more
seepage. There might be more concerns, more
uncertainty. But DOE, as we understand, is going to
carry forward both and continue to quantify in terms
of performance, both ideas.
I mentioned that there will not be a rev.
1 to this TSPASR. All the new information will be
quantified in what they call the Supplementary Science
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: This is a Supplementary
Science and Performance Analysis, is just an
aggregation of other things including the TSPASR and
the System Description documents and the Site
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Just the cold
MS. DEERING: It's what?
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: It's just the
MS. DEERING: Well, but it also will
include the warmer repository design quantified also.
Yeah, it's a way to bring the new information they've
collected in some of their less conservative
conceptual models and some of the way they're dealing
with uncertainties, they've been doing a comprehensive
and systematic study on uncertainty.
They're going to try to bring all that in
as I understand it, to these documents.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Is this -- I'm trying
really to understand if this is real or just cosmetic.
Is this DOE's attempt to respond to the TRB's
frequently asked questions having to do with what
other evidence are you going to present beyond the
MS. DEERING: Oh, I don't -- you know
what, these documents will also deal with the multiple
lines of evidence, but that -- a lot of this is an
attempt to address TRB's concerns about a number of
things. Low temperature operating modes, the Board
has beat up on them on that. This is a way to bring
that into -- on to the table. Multiple lines of
evidence, use of natural analogs in a way to help
quantify some of this information. They're going to
try to bring that in to the extent they can for the
The Board also has beat up them and John
on uncertainty, dealing with unquantifiable
uncertainties. So again, they're trying to bring that
in. It is a way to structure, yes, to answer to the
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay.
MS. DEERING: But I don't think it's
cosmetic. I do think that there's concern that this
cooler repository and them wanting a single, flexible
design that operates at different modes is a way to
not -- to resist the Board's demands for a cooler
repository. I could be wrong with this, but I'm just
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right.
MS. DEERING: That seems like the Board
quizzed them pretty heavily, like why would you go
with this flexible design? Would this be the optimal
design if you were just designing a cooler repository?
Would you do this flexible design and what are your
criteria? What is it that -- what do you want the
flexibility for? And they very heavily quizzed them
on what is the need for the flexibility? You have to
meet a certain dose at 20 kilometers. Where does the
need for flexibility come in. What drives you toward
And so they encourage the DOE to
articulate that in writing and get that -- clarify
that so that the Board can live with it, okay?
Just a couple other highlights, DOE, the
waste package peer review we're aware of that was
announced last week, that's on May 23rd.
There's an international TSPA peer review
that's on-going, but there's a report, an interim
report due in October and the final report due in
February 2002. So the interim results of that will
probably be -- support the SR decision, hopefully, if
they come out in October.
I'm on page 3 now. There a biosphere peer
review report that was issued last week. Howard
announced that. The revised repository safety
strategy, I think should be rev. 5, comes out this
Unless there's questions, I can talk a
little bit about the fluid inclusions, that was a big
highlight of the meeting.
It should be on the top of the pile,
because I just handed it out right after lunch.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Thank you. I'm sorry.
MS. DEERING: All this is is an interim
report, there will be a bigger report on the CRB
meeting. This is just designed to give you the
latest, what I heard last week and what DOE is saying.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Right.
MS. DEERING: Just my best attempt at
keeping us as informed as possible.
And I wanted to mention this fluid
inclusion because we had had our own session on that
less than a year ago, was it? Less than a year ago.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Back in October.
MS. DEERING: It was Yuri Dublionsky and
Jerry Shamansky and Jean Klein and this study that DOE
funded for the ULNV to take a hard look at this whole
fluid inclusion issue and whether or could be hot
water coming from up and based on evidence in the
mountain and fluid inclusions plays into it in that
sense. And the study is over and she reported very
definitely on her results, feels with high confidence
that there are no other interpretations other than the
ones she's putting forth and the USGS backs her up and
some other independent advisors also who -- a man
named Bob Bodner, I believe, who facilitated these
quarterly meetings that they had. Everyone praised
the study in terms of its openness, involving the
public, the quality of the data, the quantity of the
data. And in the end, she basically is saying these
two phase inclusions which contain the record of the
heated water, hot water is throughout Yucca Mountain
is evident. However, these two phase fluid inclusions
are only found in rocks or calcites older than at
least 2 million years old. So this -- and she used
uranium, lead dating of the opal to come up with this
finding. And she took all kinds of samples and
basically that's her ultimate conclusion that they are
at least 2 million years old which puts in her mind
and others the concerns raised by Dublionsky and
Shamansky about seismic upwelling potentially
occurring into Yucca Mountain, based on the past. It
has not happened any time in recent geologic history
and Bodner went on in pretty great detail about the
fact that the evidence you would expect to see if you
did have this type of episodic, heated invasion of
fluids and it just isn't there.
Yuri Dublionsky had his change to also
counter this. The Board was very, very fair and
allowed him opportunity to show his data and his
information. He's now kind of saying well, he thinks
that there could have been this episodic upwelling
only along the faults which there really, we didn't
focus on those in the study. And anyway, the Board
was great because they made him address each and every
point. It was uncomfortable, I think, probably,
forcing him to address, but they did. And I think to
everyone's -- most people's satisfaction it looks
pretty good, that that's a safe conclusion.
Anyway, that just puts -- since we had
opened that up at our own meeting, so I thought I
would share that. It was pretty exciting because then
Jean would stand up and then Yuri would stand up and
Jean would get back up to stand up and then the USGS
would stand up and there was a lot of opportunity and
very fair, I thought, forum for this discussion.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: It's
interesting how science can be politicized. Jean, I
think, first reported those results at GSA in Reno, if
I'm not mistaken.
MS. DEERING: Probably.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: And boy, she
got lambasted publicly in the Reno press and basically
had to defend herself in a public forum. It's just
very interesting and yet Shamansky and Yuri, this goes
on. It's a never-ending sage.
MS. DEERING: Because they're still
missing, I guess a hypothesis of exactly why there are
these -- evidence of elevated temperature water.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Three million
years ago, you could still have some heat from
vulcanism, I think.
MR. LESLIE: I hesitate to butt in. This
is Brett Leslie from the staff. As you may know, we
do have an agreement in the near field in which there
are some observations that weren't even talked about
at the NWTRB meeting that the Center has made and
still remained to be addressed, where clearly there
were saturated fluids at high temperatures. They have
Second, we believe that currently the DOE
as Lynn suggested, doesn't have a very robust
hypothesis for how you can maintain temperatures,
elevated above ambient for millions of years after we
know that vulcanism occurred. So to kind of further
this, I actually got something today from Yuri
Dublionsky going through the hypothesis saying that
their model which is basically a conductively cooled
model is seriously flawed.
So even though publicly the NWTRB thinks
things are resolved, there are still on-going
information by State-supported people who are going to
follow this and this is one of the reasons why we had
that agreement is that we would have the necessary
information to address this issue.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: It's clear that
the State is going to follow this. In something that
Howard gave us this morning, they're saying that
Shamansky and Dublionsky have been commissioned to
write a Nevada Paper on this aimed at a court case.
MS. DEERING: Yes. Any questions you have
about some of this design, what not? I have all these
handouts from the meeting, if you require information
right away, until I do my report and send the handouts
So this DOE SR process, you got the basic
And you know, NRC will be needing to take
into account that new information they receive in
terms of these supplementary performance analysis
documents, some of which may affect, impact their
sufficiency review and so they need to deal with that
and factor that into their schedule somehow.
DOE wants their comments, sufficiency
comments by October. I think the staff thinks they
can meet that, as long as this new information doesn't
-- first of all, they don't have exact deliverable
dates. NRC needs to have a better idea of when
exactly these documents are going to be coming out.
I think a lot of people want to know that, but DOE is
pretty nebulous on that.
MEMBER WYMER: Is it really new data or is
it just a reformulation of the old information that
they're coming up with? In all these new reports that
they write, things that are coming up, it seems to me
that there's not been enough time to really dig into
new information. They must just be recasting --
MS. DEERING: You know, even at TRB
meeting in January, they had a lot of new analysis
beyond the TSPA --
MEMBER WYMER: So there really is new
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Things like
this, this fluid inclusion --
MEMBER WYMER: Yeah, that's new.
MS. DEERING: And a lot of these
assumptions in some of these conceptual models have
changed to be less conservative and they believe they
have the evidence to support this. I know in
saturated zone that's true. They've got a lot more
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: I mean there's
still an awful lot of lab work going on at the labs at
Livermore and Argonne and what not.
MS. DEERING: It's that time lag problem.
They had to lock into that TSPASR quite a while ago
and here as the SR decision wants to be -- need to do
something this summer, there was a whole year's worth
or more of information, somehow needs to be quantified
that DOE thinks helps their case for the SR finding.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: It's a little
disquieting if it made any major differences, wouldn't
MS. DEERING: Yeah. Well, maybe this
cooler repository will open up a new can of worms in
terms of -- who knows? Maybe there will be some
So is the ACNW going to review the S&ER,
the Science and Engineering Report and the -- I mean,
how do we factor that into our vertical slices? If
they're due in June, I guess we're not.
I don't know that we need to. I don't
know if it's relevant to our purpose.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: What's due in
MS. DEERING: Our vertical slice.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: What information is in
it that's safety related that we don't have?
MS. DEERING: In the S&ER, I don't know
anything other than just a look or consideration of
the core repository. I'm only going by hearsay on
MR. LESLIE: I thought it was a
consolidation of the AMRs, PMRs and they all get more
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: Until they get
to something this thick.
That's my question. I thought there was
more of a matter of consolidation, integration and
unification than it was novelty.
MS. DEERING: And as I mentioned this
cooler design, in some ways is considered in the S&ER.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: But if we're expected
to use them, we better have the full report and I
guess that's on the CD.
We're getting copies of that?
MS. DEERING: We have one hard copy.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: But are the
graphs in it using different colored lines, and
whenever you make a copy of it those all disappear
into a single color and sometimes it's difficult to
sort it out. DOE likes to use these --
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: You said we have copies
on the way.
MS. DEERING: CDs.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Now the CDs, I assume
MS. DEERING: Yes. We also are expecting
the hard copy to come in for everybody too.
VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER: That's useful.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Okay.
MS. DEERING: Thank you.
CHAIRMAN GARRICK: Anything else along
these lines because we're going to move from what
we're doing now into reports, preparation and what
have you and for that part of our meeting we'll go off
(Whereupon, at 2:35 p.m., the meeting was
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, October 02, 2017