Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste 126th Meeting, May 16, 2001

                Official Transcript of Proceedings


Title:                    Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste
                               126th Meeting

Docket Number:  (not applicable)

Location:                 Rockville, Maryland

Date:                     Wednesday, May 16, 2001

Work Order No.: NRC-223                              Pages 88-132

                   NEAL R. GROSS AND CO., INC.
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                   126TH MEETING
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                   MAY 16, 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

           .                                 I-N-D-E-X
           TOPIC                                           PAGE
           Briefing on Supplement to DEIS . . . . . . . . . .91
                 Presented by Jane Summerson
           NRC Staff's role in reviewing DEIS . . . . . . . 123
                 Presented by Melanie Wong

           .                           P-R-O-C-E-E-D-I-N-G-S
                                                   (10:30 a.m.)
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  The meeting will come
           to order.  We're going to get a briefing this morning
           on the draft environmental impact statement.  The
           committee member that's going to lead the discussion
           will be George Hornberger, and he will introduce our
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Okay.  So the
           ACNW has looked at the draft environmental impact
           statement, the DEIS.  We had some comments on the
           draft EIS.  I think that we're pretty familiar with
           the material that's in the DEIS.  And Jane is going to
           give us an update, because, as we know, DOE has
           recently issued a supplement to the draft EIS.
                       Jane, I think that we're a technical
           committee, and what we're most interested in hearing
           from you is how -- you know, what the substantive
           changes are to the DEIS and changes, sort of, if there
           are any, to the bottom line, in terms of what the
           environmental impacts may have -- how they may have
           changed.  And with that, I'll let you begin.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Have we sufficiently
           punished Tom Kress for trying to write on the screen?
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Well, George, my
           background is technical also.  I am a geologist by
           training.  But for the last nearly five years at Yucca
           Mountain I worked in the Planning Area, and I've just
           moved into this job within the last three months,
           replacing Ken Skipper when he went to Denver to the
           Bureau of Rec.  My learning curve is vertical at this
           point, so I apologize in advance.  I will probably not
           be able to answer detailed technical questions.  I'm
           not as familiar as I should be.  But I have Mr. Joe
           Rivers, who is the Project Manager of Jason
           Technologies, who is our independent EIS contractor,
           and he will deal with any technical issues.  If
           there's anything we can't handle, of course we'll get
           the information for you.  And this is on the
                       A little background in case there are
           people here who have not been as intimately involved
           with the process as many of us.  You know, the draft
           environmental impact statement did come out in 1999,
           August.  It described the preliminary design concept.
           It identified other design features that were under
           consideration.  It evaluated the impacts of
           transporting nuclear fuel, and it evaluated a no-
           action alternative.  The public comment period for
           that was 199 days, had 21 public hearings, and we
           received over 11,000 comments, which we are still in
           the process of finalizing responses to.
                       This EIS is a little unique in terms of
           EISs, because the Nuclear Waste Policy Act does put
           some restrictions on it.  First of all, it requires
           that it accompany any basis for a site recommendation
           that should be made, and therefore that constrains the
           timing of this EIS.  It also states that this EIS need
           not consider the need for repository, the initial
           availability of it, alternative sites or alternatives
           to geologic disposal.  Those things were covered in a
           generic geologic disposal EIS in the '80s.
                       The supplement to the draft was released
           and distributed on Friday, May 4.  The EPA Notice of
           Availability was Friday, May 11, and that started our
           public comment period.  We have planned a 45-day
           public comment period; it will end June 25.  The
           Department believes that's an adequate time period
           because the body of the supplement is only about 70
           pages long, including graphics.  This is a small
           document, easily readable in a couple of hours for a
           person with a general technical background.  And it's
           limited in scope.
                       We have three public hearings planned in
           the Yucca Mountain vicinity.  We're limiting it to the
           Yucca Mountain vicinity, because these are all changes
           to the design of the repository, so they would be
           local issues.
                       The purpose of the supplement is to update
           the design information that was presented in the
           draft.  The draft EIS did anticipate that the design
           would continue to evolve, and it has.  The evolution
           has focused on reducing uncertainties, increasing
           operational flexibility, and improving safety and
           efficiency.  The supplement refers to impacts that
           would be associated with the flexible repository
           design that is described in the Yucca Mountain Science
           and Engineering report, which was also released on May
                       The fundamental aspects of the repository
           design have not changed.  As a result of the changes,
           the enhancements, to the design, some small but not
           significant increases in impacts have been recognized
           compared to the DEIS.  And so we are releasing this
           supplement to solicit public comment on these changes
           in the design.
                       The purpose of the supplement, together
           with the DEIS, the supplement presents the most
           current and comprehensive statement of the design and
           the analyses regarding the impacts from the design.
           In the final EIS, we will integrate the draft
           environmental impact statement, the supplement, and
           all of the comments that we received on both the draft
           and the supplement integrated in a single body in the
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Is there a
           planned time frame for release of the final EIS?
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Well, it has to accompany
           the SR, as you know.  And at the moment we're looking
           at in early fiscal year '02.
                       The Department wants to emphasize that
           these design changes are not a surprise.  It was
           anticipated in the draft that the design would
           continue to evolve, stated several times, and in fact
           Appendix E focused on alternative design concepts that
           were being considered by the Department at the time.
           And we all recognize that the design will continue to
           evolve if we move forward, if there is a site
           designation and we move into licensing, there will
           continue to be evolution of the design due to
           interactions with the oversight agencies, the
           regulatory body, and this type of thing.
                       Some of the design features that were
           discussed in Appendix E of the draft, and that have
           now been incorporated, aging and blending of waste,
           the lower temperature operating conditions, potential
           for longer post-emplacement ventilation period, and
           the wider drift spacing and variable waste package
           spacing.  And all of these are to address thermal
           options for thermal management of the repository.
           Drip shields are for protection of the waste packages,
           both from water and from rock, change in waste package
           materials, and changes to ground support options and
           waste package supports.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Now are you going to
           comment on which of these have made the most
           difference in terms of the repository performance?
           Are you going to kind of rank these in terms of their
           impact on performance?
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  When you say performance,
           are you --
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Safety performance.
           Performance in the sense of the performance
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  So it would be post-
           closure performance.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Yes, post-closure.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  I had not --
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Okay.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  -- come prepared to do
           that.  That is addressed in the Science and
           Engineering report, and will be addressed in the
           preliminary site suitability evaluation when that
           comes out in the early part of the summer.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Yes.  Well, the only
           thing I was thinking of, if only one or two of these
           made a big difference or one made ten times the impact
           of the other, if there was any way you could just give
           us some perspective of their relative importance.  But
           if not, yes, it's in the Science and Engineering
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  The way that --
                       MR. RIVERS:  Jane?  If I might add -- Joe
           Rivers with Jason Technologies -- it's somewhat hard
           to necessarily say whether one as a factor of ten more
           important than the others, because the long-term
           impacts within the 10,000-year regulatory period for
           the draft EIS, which we'll base on the VA design, were
           very small.  They were close to zero.  What has come
           out of the TSPA for the SR design currently is that
           within the 10,000 period they more closely approach
           zero.  You don't have failures of waste packages
           within the 10,000-year period.  The post-10,000-year,
           million-year projections are relatively the same.
           They are not significantly different.  But I would say
           that the design features that are changed that impact
           temperature are more -- their primary reason is to
           reduce uncertainties as opposed to necessarily reduce
           the projected dose.  However, the drip shields and the
           waste package materials, I would say, probably have
           the most direct impact on performance.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Okay.  So I would guess
           that if it had a significant impact on uncertainty,
           then it probably had an impact on the magnitude and
           timing of the peak dose.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Yes, it probably did.  The
           TSPA is not -- I think right --
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Well, they haven't
           finished the sensitivity study on those.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Well, they haven't,
           especially with the lower temperature operating mode,
           they haven't finished all the TSPA runs.  They don't
           anticipate much sensitivity associated with the
           thermal design.  But right now, I believe, for the
           higher temperature operating mode, the peak dose
           occurs somewhere around 550,000 years.  And that's
           presented in the supplement and in the Science and
           Engineering report.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  The sensitivity studies
           for the lower temperature will be presented in the
           preliminary site suitability evaluation that will be
           in early summer.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  This is one of the real
           conflicts of this whole exercise is that the better
           containment provide, the more you push out the peak
           dose; the more you push out the peak dose, the greater
           the uncertainty.  And I was just curious about what
           these changes meant in those kinds of terms.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Another way to answer your
           question and something that we see as reduce
           uncertainty and as we try to reduce long-term dose, it
           tends to increase short-term impacts.  They're not in
           the significant range by any stretch, but compared to
           the draft, when you have longer ventilation periods or
           you have wider spacing and things like that, you tend
           to increase some of the short-term for the benefit of
           decreasing uncertainty or decreasing dose in the long-
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Yes.  Thank you.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Other things that have
           changed, a solar energy facility has been added to the
           design to provide some of the power needed.  There's
           a revised emplacement drift layout.  This is to make
           the ventilation more efficient.  And an expanded
           capacity of the waste handling building to allow
           blending for the aging or blending of waste.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  If you have any excess
           energy from the solar energy, send it to California.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Jane, if I might also add,
           the emplacement drift layout, that also refers to the
           general layout of the facility from, say, a -- this is
           not exact -- but from a Northwest layout.  It was
           shifted approximately 90 degrees to take advantage of
           stability in some of the rock.  That's what that
           really refers to.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  But an example of one of
           the things Joe was mentioning in adding a solar energy
           facility, in the short-term you have increased the
           transportation, the materials for that solar energy,
           not nuclear materials but of the materials to build
           it.  And you've got worker safety involved in the
           building of it, and that type of thing.  So that in
           that sense there is an increase in the impacts in the
           short-term construction and operation that we see.
           But, again, it's not significant; it's very small.
                       MEMBER WYMER:  Is there enough solar
           energy available to make any difference at all?
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Have you ever
           been to Nevada on a cloudy day?
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  We have a week or so every
                       MEMBER WYMER:  You've got other energy
           sources, certainly.  I just wondered whether that
           makes a one percent addition to the total energy of
           the site or ten percent addition.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Well, what it does, if I'm
           recalling some numbers --
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Three megawatts.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Well, it's three megawatts
           electric.  It's, from what I understand, going to be
           one of the largest solar voltaic arrays in the world.
           I believe the peak usage is somewhere around 48 to 50
           megawatts during the peak time in the repository.
                       MEMBER WYMER:  So six percent.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Yes.
                       MR. CAMPBELL:  Can I ask a question?
                       MR. RIVERS:  Sure.
                       MR. CAMPBELL:  What kind of land area
           would be required to build that kind of facility, and
           what are the environmental impacts of that?
                       MR. RIVERS:  Environmental impacts of land
           disturbed I think for the area of the voltaic array is
           between 20 and 40 acres.  When you take into account
           the land disturbed associated with construction, the
           roadways and access roads to the facility, right now
           it has not been -- the decision for the site of it has
           not been -- there are a number of sites within the
           land withdrawal area that could be used.  But the
           total is approximately 50, 52 acres.
                       MR. CAMPBELL:  So it's not significantly
           larger than the repository processing in the area.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Oh, no, no, no, no.  It does
           not dwarf the repository.  Yes, that would --
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Fundamental aspects of the
           repository design in the proposal have not changed the
           DEIS.  I recommend you look at your handout to see the
           pictures.  On the upper left there, the concept of an
           underground geologic repository obviously is still
           what we're working with.  The transportation modes and
           mechanism for identifying routes using the Department
           of Transportation regulations, that hasn't changed.
           The environmental area that the potential repository
           would be built in has not changed.  The basic concept
           of the waste packages have not changed.  And our no-
           action alternative has not changed.  All of those
           remain the same as in the draft, and they are not
           addressed in the supplement.
                       If it was not a change, we did not address
           it.  We felt that they were adequately addressed in
           the supplement and that we received many comments on
           all that -- or I mean in the draft, and we received
           many comments on all aspects of that.
                       The other fundamental thing that has not
           changed is the preferred alternative.  Pending the
           determination of suitability, DOE's preferred
           alternative remains to proceed with the proposed
           action, construct, operate, and monitor and eventually
           close the repository.
                       And pursuant to that, we are now
           soliciting comments on the supplement to the DEIS.
           Public comments in the NEPA process, all comments
           regardless of the source are treated equally and will
           be addressed in the final EIS.  Comments submitted by
           June 25 will be considered.  Any comments that are
           submitted after that period will be dealt with to the
           extent practicable.  And comments can be submitted
           orally or in writing form at the hearings, by mail, on
           the Internet or by fax.  And the various addresses and
           opportunities to comment are in the supplement itself
           or in the Federal Register notice.  We have a 1-800
           number that people can call.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Just out of
           curiosity, how much of your responses now come through
           the Internet or email?
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Our first comment was an
           email on this supplement.  It came last week.  I don't
           know what the -- we've only had about half dozen
           comments so far on the supplement.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  How about on
           the DEIS itself?  Did you accept Internet comments on
           the --
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Yes, we did.
                       MR. RIVERS:  We did have email comments.
           I don't know that particular percentage.  I think
           approximately a third of our comments were received in
           the hearing process.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Okay.
                       MR. RIVERS:  I would say the bulk of them
           were of mail, and then you're probably less than 20
           percent email.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Okay.  I was
           just curious.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  We do have a lot of people
           who are accessing the documents on the Internet.  That
           seems to get a great deal of use.
                       And then I just wanted to finish up the
           process discussion.  This is a little complex, because
           we have two public involvement processes going on at
           the same time.  The top line represents the
           environmental impact statement, and you see the dates
           there.  The supplement was available on the 4th of
           May; the comment period began on the 11th.  Our public
           hearings are May 31, June 5, and June 7, and our
           comment period ends the 25th of June.  Then we have
           whatever period it is until the final EIS is required
           for the site recommendation, if it is made, to
           consider our comments.
                       At the same time, on the 4th of May, the
           Department also released the Science and Engineering
           report and began a public comment period associated
           with it.  And that is the beginning of he public
           period for the site recommendation process materials.
                       At some point, in the summer, the
           preliminary site suitability report will become
           available.  At that time, dates for public hearings on
           the potential site recommendation will be announced.
           And the end of that comment period will be announced.
           Those decisions are at the discretion of the Secretary
           of Energy, and he will decide the dates and the timing
           of those activities.  We do have some concern of
           people being able to separate the two processes, so
           we're trying very hard to be sure everyone knows which
           process is what and what the timing is for them.
                       That is really presentation that we had
           prepared on the process, and I know Mr. Rivers would
           be more than happy to answer any other technical -- I
           do apologize again.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  No, that's all
           right.  We understand.
                       I guess, just to perhaps make 100 percent
           clear, I gather from comments made in earlier
           questions that the differences that you started out,
           I forget which slide, Jane, on the third or fourth,
           you said, "Well, there were differences that were
           small but significant enough to report in a
           supplement."  And I guess the real question is how
           small is small?  What are we talking about here?
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  What I actually said was
           that they are small enough to not be considered
           significant.  In fact, the difference in the impacts
           was not enough to make us feel we needed a supplement.
           We simply felt that it would further the NEPA process
           and to allow public comment on the design changes,
           even though once the analyses were done the impacts
           were not considered to be significant.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Okay.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  There are -- I believe the
           backup slides are in your package.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Yes, they are.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Let me add just a couple
           things too.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Yes, Joe can address that.
                       MR. RIVERS:  The way in which we compared
           impacts was also a little bit different.  For the
           draft EIS, for the three thermal loads -- high,
           intermediate, and low thermal loads -- which were
           based on aerial mass loading within the repository, we
           had a 100-year closure period, pre-closure period that
           was constant, and we used that for our short-term
           impacts.  When the Science and Engineering report and
           the Department, after some, I guess, urging from the
           Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board to look at a
           lower temperature a repository, cold repository, they
           looked at various ways of doing that.
                       One is what they call the higher
           temperature repository operating mode in which there
           is still boiling regions in the repository, but they
           are at least 50 percent of the pillar walls between
           the drifts are maintained at a below boiling
           temperature so that you can have water flow between
           the drifts.  And that's one way of reducing some of
           the uncertainties.  That still has a 100-year closure
                       Now when you get to the different options
           to get what they call the lower temperature repository
           operating mode, that's where they try to maintain the
           temperature within the drift and the temperature at
           the waste package below boiling and in fact outside of
           a corrosion susceptibility window at the waste package
           itself of 85 degrees C and a relative humidity of less
           than 50 percent.
                       Now there are many ways to achieve that.
           One is through waste package spacing where you spread
           the waste packages out; one is through a longer
           ventilation period.  For in the draft EIS and for the
           VA design, the ventilation was 0.1 cubic meters per
           second.  For the current design, it's 15 cubic meters
           per second.  So it is more of a heat removal than it
           was not heat removal for the VA design.  So the time
           in which it takes to remove the heat could range
           anywhere from 50 to 300 years.
                       There's also the option of aging the waste
           above ground in what we call a staging area.  We've
           looked at aging up to 40,000 metric tons for up to 30
           years, coincident with emplacement.  So with these
           various variables of these parameters, it was
           impossible for us to say for the lower temperature
           operating mode that 100 years is the set time for
           closure.  It actually ranges anywhere from 125 to 324
                       And so when you increase the period of
           time that you are evaluating impacts and when you're
           looking at total impacts as opposed to an annual
           impact, the presentation is very different.  The
           impacts, whether they are significant as compared to
           what we had in the draft, we don't feel that they are
           significantly different, but they appear quite
           different.  So in order to let the public be aware of
           what the Department is currently thinking with regard
           to their design, the implementing scenarios, and how
           we analyze it, we felt it would be appropriate to
           issue the supplement based on the design
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  I think that we
           may have some interest in talking about pre-closure,
           but before I ask other people if they have questions,
           sticking with post-closure, one of the things that is
           apparent is that not only has the DOE design evolved,
           but the DOE TSPA has evolved.  And the question I have
           is, is it of any concern that the analysis that
           attends the supplemental draft EIS is actually
           different than the analysis that attends the draft EIS
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Well, yes.  That's part of
           what Joe was referring to in that, if nothing else, it
           gives us a communication problem with the public,
           different ways of evaluating and looking at things.
           And then there's also an understanding challenge for
           the Department that we certainly have to deal with.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Okay.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  In that regard, one of
           the sources of uncertainty, of course, has always been
           just exactly what the heat load is and how it's going
           to be distributed.  Was the expanded capacity of the
           waste handling building to allow blending driven
           principally to get a better handle on the heat load?
                       MR. RIVERS:  Yes, sir.  Early on when they
           incorporated blending into the proposed action, it was
           before they were evaluating the lower temperature
           repository operating mode.  It was what they, at that
           time, called the reference design.  It's what's now
           referred to as the higher temperature repository
           operating mode.  It was such that the Department could
           optimize and control the heat loads of the various
           waste packages to better spread out and know where the
           particular heat was going to be so that it could match
           with the analysis.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Yes.  It seems to me
           this is something you should have a very good handle
           on.  And if you have the ability to blend and
           redistribute spent fuel, I would think that you'd be
           in an excellent position to really essentially
           eliminate the uncertainty as far as the heat load is
                       MR. RIVERS:  I believe the uncertainty
           with regard -- one of the things the Science and
           Engineering report -- actually, let me take that back.
           I believe it's the TSPA report that came out in
           December, TSPA SR Rev 0.  One of the things it does,
           it identifies five parameters that are what they claim
           are the most important.  And most important deals with
           uncertainty and sensitivity, and inventory, by no
           stretch, is one of those.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Yes.
                       MR. RIVERS:  So that's not one of the
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  One of the things that
           -- non-technical issues that this Committee has
           developed a keen interest in, inspired partly by our
           visits to Las Vegas and the conduct of public
           meetings, is the process by which you interact with
           the public.  And, of course, you have these three
           public hearings planned in May and June.  Are you
           doing anything different from the traditional approach
           to conducting such hearings in terms of how these
           meetings are going to be operated?
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  We're following the
           precedent that was set with the draft and which on the
           whole received a fairly good response.  We have added
           a poster session so that the hearing will open with a
           poster session on a number of technical issues.  We
           will have technical people there to discuss things and
           answer questions for the public.  We will then have an
           hour of a question -- an off-the-record question and
           answer period when people can get further information
           that they want.  We will then take a break and then
           begin the formal transcripted part of the hearing.  It
           has a presentation and then the hearing officer
           receiving comments with a court reporter.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  And how much time have
           you allowed for the on-the-record part of the hearing?
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  The agenda says seven to
           nine.  It's played by ear depending on how many people
           come.  We are limiting people, I believe, to five --
                       MR. RIVERS:  Initially, their initial
           limit is three minutes.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Three minutes?
                       MR. RIVERS:  But they have the opportunity
           to come back and continue to speak.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Do you have any sense
           of what the response is going to be?  Do they have to
           notify you in advance?
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  We ask them to sign up in
           advance, but people can sign up at the door also.
           Judging by the draft, Amargosa Valley had, I think,
           about 20, 25 people.
                       MR. RIVERS:  I don't recall what the
           numbers were.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Las Vegas had a couple
           hundred; Pahrump had quite a few.  We do stay until
           everybody is done.  And I know at the draft, the
           people at Las Vegas started at 11 in the morning and
           were there until one o'clock the next morning.  And if
           that's what it takes, you know -- the reason we put a
           time limit on, though, is because a lot of people will
           have made babysitting arrangements or something and
           can't sit there all night.  So we want everyone to
           have a chance to say something, and then they can
           either, if they're not done, turn in the comment in
           writing or wait until we've been through the whole
           roster once and then come back up and speak again,
           just to try to be as fair as possible.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Did you get any
           feedback from the draft hearing that would suggest
           reformatting the process or changing it?  You said
           that it went quite successfully, but I was just
           curious if you got any strong suggestions about
           changes and whether or not any of those changes were
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  I don't know directly,
           because I was not involved in the EIS work at all at
           the time.  I would expect, given the controversy of
           this issue, that we had responses that ranged the
           entire gamut, from "This was wonderful" to "This was
           horrible," with every possible suggestion, from "Have
           more" to "Don't have any."  Just because when
           something is very emotional, you get a very wide
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Yes.
                       MR. RIVERS:  I think one of the issues
           also in Las Vegas was that the meeting room that was
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Yes.
                       MR. RIVERS:  -- eventually used was too
           small.  The meeting room that's going to be used in
           Las Vegas this year on June 5 is at the Sun Coast
           Casino; it's a big ball room.  They should not have
           any problems with seating and availability.
                       I think one other thing was that there
           were a lot of complaints on --
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Parking costs.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Excuse me?
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  At some of the meetings,
           there were complaints about the cost of parking, and
           that was another issue.  The casinos you can park for
           free at.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Okay.  Another issue was that
           there was a lot of complaints that they weren't
           advertised enough.  I know that within all the
           newspapers in the surrounding areas there are being
           large ads put in two or three times, including the day
           -- I believe the day before the hearing --
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  The day before or the
           morning of, depending on --
                       MR. RIVERS:  I believe there's radio
           announcements also at the Spanish-speaking newspapers
           and radio.  So they're trying to increase that as much
           as they can.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  We did have comments that
           it would have been helpful to have flyers on bulletin
           boards in the communities, at community centers and
           grocery stores and that kind of thing.  And we're
           trying, for instance, to distribute the information to
           the affected unit of local government representatives
           and ask them to try to distribute it.  It's a little
           hard for us, if you're not a member of the community,
           to know where it is that people look in that community
           on a bulletin board to see something.  But we are
           trying to be responsive to that concern and
           communicate that way.
                       MR. JONES:  Jane, there was one other
           thing.  I'm Jay Jones.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  You need to get
           to a microphone, Jay.
                       MR. JONES:  I'm Jay Jones.  I work for the
           Department of Energy.  I worked on the draft.  When we
           had the draft hearings, we often had two separate
           sessions, in the late morning/early afternoon and in
           the evening, and a lot of those, with both hearings,
           some of them weren't very well attended.  So I think
           in the interest of resources we decided to just have
           one session for the hearings for the supplement.  So
           that will be like, I guess, an early evening session,
           from six to nine for each one.  So, again, I think
           that's kind of a resource decision, just having a lot
           of people and not having -- from the Department and
           not having a lot of participants at the public
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Thank you.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Milt?  Ray?
                       MEMBER WYMER:  Yes, I have one question.
           On one of your view graphs, you talked about a revised
           emplacement drift layout that you made a change in
           order to get a better orientation of the drifts with
           respect to the stability of the Mountain.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Yes, sir.
                       MEMBER WYMER:  Say more about that, if you
           would.  Does that mean that the pictures we've been
           seeing all along are not -- are no longer valid.  They
           are things that are going to be skewed?
                       MR. RIVERS:  Needless to say, it's still
           in the horizontal plane, but they're skewed in the
           other direction.
                       MEMBER WYMER:  Well, I didn't think you
           did it vertically.
                       MR. RIVERS:  And, in fact, from an EIS
           standpoint, I don't have a lot of information
           particularly about the reasons and the -- if you'll
           look -- do you have a copy of the supplement?
                       MEMBER WYMER:  Yes, we have one.
                       MR. RIVERS:  If you'll look on page 2-20.
                       MEMBER WYMER:  Of the supplement.
                       MR. RIVERS:  I've got a copy --
                       MEMBER WYMER:  Assume we don't have it.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Okay.  Well, what we have in
           here -- because one of our, I guess, purposes and one
           of our goals in the supplement was to present the
           information from the draft for comparison purposes so
           the public would understand what has changed.  And if
           you'll look at the top two and the bottom left
           pictures in this figure, they represent the layouts
           for the high, low, and intermediate thermal loads.
           And if you'll see, in general, how everything is
           angled from bottom left to top right, and if you'll
           look at the S&ER flexible design, as laid out in the
           bottom right, it's angled slightly more to the left as
           opposed to up to the right.  So that's essentially the
           difference in the layout.
                       MEMBER WYMER:  Okay.  And the reasons
                       MR. RIVERS:  From what I understand, it's
           take advantage of some additional stability in the way
           the rock is formed in the repository horizon.  I
           really don't know much more about it than that.  I can
           get back -- I can try to find some more information if
           you'd be interested.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  That is
           correct.  It has to do with state of stress in the
           rock and the rock mass characteristics.
                       MEMBER WYMER:  But you don't have any --
           can you give me an idea of the order of magnitude of
           improvement to doing it or is just something you can
           capitalize on?
                       MR. RIVERS:  No, sir.  No, sir, I don't.
                       MEMBER WYMER:  Okay, thanks.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Questions from
           staff?  Any questions?  Bret?
                       MR. LESLIE:  Bret Leslie, NRC staff.  I
           had one question on your backup slide, which is slide
           16.  I saw that you were going to have the suit
           stability evaluation report.  The only other thing
           that I didn't see in there going into the site
           recommendation documentation concept is the report
           that we've heard may be coming out sometime mid-summer
           that attempts to address the NWTRB concerns.  How does
           that play into the decisionmaking process or is that
           one of the acronyms I can't decipher?
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  That report I believe it's
           acronym now is SSPA, but in all honesty, I'm having
           trouble keeping up with our acronyms as the targets
           are moved.  If you go to backup slide 15, that report
           is basically a level lower in the documentation
           pyramid so that it would be on the level of the TSPA
           and the system description documents and that type of
           thing.  And so not one of the reports that actually
           makes up the package that would be considered the
           President's basis -- or the Secretary's basis for
           recommendation, but it would be the technical material
           that is referenced by the SR reports.  The purpose of
           this pyramid, with its hideous colors, is --
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  I sort of like them.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Well, I find --
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  It's clear that
           a man designed that.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  And in fact you are right.
           Dr. Brokeman and I have an ongoing war about this
           pyramid.  It is to emphasize the layering the we have
           here in these documents, because, needless to say, the
           Secretary of Energy is not going to read all of this
           wealth of technical material, so at different levels.
           And the ones in slide 16 are referring to the things
           that are required by the act.
                       MS. ABRAMS:  Jane, Charlotte Abrams, NRC
           staff.  Could you just talk a minute about the
           relationship of the Science and Engineering report to
           the supplemental draft?
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  The flexible repository
           design for which the supplement to the draft EIS is
           analyzing impacts is detailed in the Science and
           Engineering report.  We have 70 references, about?
                       MR. RIVERS:  Probably.  It's almost -- its
           primary role, as it relates to the supplement to the
           draft, is it provides the detailed information about
           the current design being considered.  And from a
           standpoint of timing, if you're going to issue the
           Science and Engineering report, then you need to be
           able to allow the public to understand the changes in
           environmental impacts that result from the changes in
           the design.  Does that answer your question?
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  In terms of reviewing,
           however, Charlotte, the vast majority of the
           references that we make to the S&ER report are in
           Section 1?
                       MR. RIVERS:  Well, primarily it's in
           Chapter 2 of the supplement, and the ones in Chapter
           2 of the supplement are the references that are
           primarily send you to the basis document for
           description of the design.  There are a couple
           references in Chapter 3 where we report the long-term
           performance data, I believe it's in 3.2, and we refer
           to the S&ER for the long-term performance data.  As
           far as results, that's the only place we refer to the
           S&ER.  Most of the other places we're referring to the
           SR for descriptive information.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Jit?  No?
           Okay.  Well, thank you very much, Jane.  Thanks for
           the update and clarification.
                       MS. SUMMERSON:  Thank you for the
           opportunity.  If there are any other questions, Joe
           and I are going to stick around today, and we'd be
           more than happy to either answer things or take notes
           and find somebody and get the information back to you.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Great.  Thanks
           very much.  Thank you, too, Joe.
                       MR. RIVERS:  Thank you.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  We apologize.  We're
           having a little caucus here to figure out what's right
           and what's wrong.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  We figured out
           what's right.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  But I think we can go
           ahead after all, I'm told, if you're able to do so
           right now -- ready right now.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  The item on our
           agenda that we're moving to is scheduled for one
           o'clock, and we're going to hear about the staff's --
           the NRC staff's plans for reviewing the DOE DEIS.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  And it's going to be
           given by Melanie Wong.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Right.  As soon
           as the computer --
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  As soon as she gets her
           Powerpoint presentation resolved.
                       (Whereupon, the foregoing matter went off
                       the record at 11:19 a.m. and went back on
                       the record at 1:02 p.m.)

           .                     A-F-T-E-R-N-O-O-N  S-E-S-S-I-O-N
                                                    (1:02 p.m.)
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Our meeting will come
           to order.  George, let's pick up where we left off.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Okay.  I see
           they called Theron back from vacation so that we got
           the computer working.
                       And we're going to continue our discussion
           of the draft EIS on Yucca Mountain.  And Melanie Wong
           is going to tell us about the NRC plans to review the
           draft.  Melanie?
                       MS. WONG:  Hello.  My name is Melanie
           Wong.  I'm from the Environmental and Performance
           Assessment Branch.  Our Branch reviews performance and
           environmental review on NMSS licensing action.
                       My purpose today is to outline the NRC
           staff's plan for reviewing the DOE Yucca Mountain
           supplement to the draft environmental impact
           statement.  I'll take a few minutes to discuss the
           background of NRC's role as a commenting agency,
           discuss our review plan, our review schedule, what is
           the scope of the supplement, and who the assigned
           reviewers and point of contacts are.
                       As you are aware, under the Nuclear Waste
           Policy Act, the Secretary of Energy must submit to the
           President, when making a site recommendation, a number
           of documents, including the comments made by the NRC
           on the draft environmental impact statement.  Thus,
           any NRC comments on the supplement would accompany any
           DOE site recommendation.  The Nuclear Waste Policy Act
           also provides that NRC shall adopt DOE final
           environmental impact statement to the extent
                       In reviewing the supplement, the staff
           will use the guidance prepared by the NRC for
           reviewing DOE's draft environmental impact statement.
           The NRC staff has previously briefed the Committee on
           the guidance in June 1999.  A completeness and an
           evaluative review will be performed on the supplement.
           The completeness component determines whether the full
           range of impacts have been considered.  The evaluative
           components includes an evaluation supporting data,
           data gathering method, and analysis method, confirming
           that data and analysis support the conclusions.
                       As Jane has discussed before lunch, the
           supplement focuses on the design enhancements, such as
           the repository design, the operating modes.  It does
           not discuss the transportation of spent nuclear fuel
           or high level waste or the no-action alternative.
           Staff from the NRC and the Center for Nuclear Waste
           Regulatory Analysis, with expertise in environment
           review and performance assessment, hydrology, geology,
           geochemistry, waste package and engineering design
           have been assigned to review the document.  The NRC
           staff have also reviewed the draft environmental
           impact statement and are from the High Level Waste
           Branch and the Environmental Performance Assessment
                       A schedule has been developed for
           reviewing the supplement within the 45-day review
           period.  The supplement was received on May 4.  On-
           site representative of office will attend the DOE
           public meetings and report back to the staff.  After
           drafting the comments on May 28, the staff will brief
           various management, getting concurrence and refining
           any comments for DOE.  We would appreciate it if you
           could please share any comments with us by the end of
           the month.  These documents will be documented in a
           letter signed by the NMSS Office Director before the
           close of the comment period, June 25.
                       Please feel free to contact Mike Lee Matt
           Blevins of the Environmental Performance Assessment
           Branch if you have any questions.  With that, I'll
           conclude my presentation.  Do you have any questions?
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Thank you,
           Melanie.  Let's see, how long have you had this
           document now?  All of ten days?
                       MS. WONG:  May 4 we received it, yes.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  So all of the
           questions we'll ask you will be totally unfair.
                       MS. WONG:  Thank you for your
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  I guess -- so
           you've given us an outline of, sort of, your
           programmatic responsibilities and how you're going to
           do this.  We heard from DOE this morning that they
           really didn't -- DOE did not see any really
           significant changes from the draft EIS itself.  In
           your very first cursory overview, do you see any major
           changes from the draft EIS that you think deserves
           particular scrutiny on your part?
                       MS. WONG:  They have addressed
           environmental impacts in the 13 resources areas, but
           we're still evaluating the extent of that review.
           We're still evaluating the impacts there.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Okay.
                       MEMBER LEVENSON:  I've got one that's sort
           of a philosophical question.  On your backup slide, on
           Category 2, does the NRC have responsibility for water
           use and land use?
                       MS. WONG:  Well, we are evaluating from an
           environmental point of view.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  It's part of
           NEPA.  So it's a NEPA --
                       MEMBER LEVENSON:  Yes.  I know it's a
           requirement, but the question is does the NRC has a
           specific role?
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  No.  NRC has --
           what I understand is the NRC's role is they have an
           obligation to make comments and to be, what -- to sign
           on, if you will, to the final environmental impact
           statement to as great an extent as possible.  So given
           that they have to do that, it is, I think, appropriate
           for them to --
                       MEMBER LEVENSON:  You mean much broader
           than a normal charter?
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Yes.
                       MEMBER WYMER:  It might have been more
           palatable if it had said, "evaluation of water use and
           evaluation of land use," since water use is somewhat
                       MS. ABRAMS:  What we were -- Charlotte
           Abrams -- what we were just trying to do there is --
           this is a backup slide -- is just to point out the
           comments we had on the previous draft and just to show
           you the comment areas that might relate to the
           information in the supplemental draft.  And we just
           abbreviated water use.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  I heard that George
           Hornberger's summary of what the NRC's role is here.
           Would you give me your interpretation of -- not that
           I don't have complete confidence.
                       MS. ABRAMS:  Well, he did a good job.  In
           fact, he can become part of the environmental review
                       Well, as Melanie laid out early on, the
           NRC's role in this, which is a little different than
           in most NEPA situations, because we're to adopt DOE's
           EIS to the extent practicable.  So we wouldn't be
           completing our own EIS for this action.  Normally, for
           any significant federal action, we would have to
           complete an environmental assessment or an
           environmental impact statement.  And environmental
           assessment if there are no significant impacts;
           environmental impact statement, which goes further if
           there are some significant environmental impacts
           associated with the action.  Does that help?
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Yes.  Yes, that does.
                       MEMBER LEVENSON:  John, the reason I asked
           the question, and it's not just idle curiosity, if in
           fact it is part of NRC's jurisdiction, then it becomes
           part of the issues that this Committee needs to look
           at.  If it's outside that, we don't.  So that's what
           I was -- the reason I'm asking is to understand the
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Well, my
           recollection is, again, within the EIS context.  When
           we commented on the draft EIS, we didn't feel
           constrained at all.  In fact, we commented on some
           things about transportation, which normally do not
           fall under our purview anyway.  So we're rarely
           bashful about what is or isn't proper for us to do.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Staff have any
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  I think it's
           appropriate for us to go beyond, but we need to go at
           least as far as.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  As far as, yes.
           Does staff have any -- any questions from staff?
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  I have one more
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Oh, go ahead,
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  I think one more
           question.  I notice your draft comments come before
           the public meetings.  If you hear something during the
           public meetings that causes you to have second
           thoughts or what have you, will that impact your
                       MS. WONG:  Yes.  We would revise our
           comments and reconsider the issue at hand.
                       MS. ABRAMS:  Just because the draft
           comment date is the 28th, it doesn't mean we're not
           going to be revising up till June 25.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Thank you.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  I think Jim
           asked about our timing.  My recollection is that you
           wanted our comments, if we have any, by the end of
           this month.
                       MS. WONG:  Yes.  That would be good, thank
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  The process kind of
           stands in the way of our doing that, simply because we
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Unless you want
           to stay tomorrow, John.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Yes.
                       MS. ABRAMS:  I guess I would restate that
           also.  If there are any concerns that you think the
           staff should look at in more depth, please alert us to
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Thank you.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Okay.  I think
           that does it.  Thank you very much, Monica.  Thank
           you, Charlotte.
                       MS. WONG:  Thank you.
                       VICE CHAIRMAN HORNBERGER:  Let's see.  I
           think I turn it back to John Garrick now, don't I?
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  Andy, is there anything
           -- do you want to walk us through this so we can
           address the question of EDO response to ACNW report,
           et cetera, et cetera.
                       MR. CAMPBELL:  Okay.
                       CHAIRMAN GARRICK:  You can highlight it
           for us.
                       MR. CAMPBELL:  Yes.  I'm just going to
           cover the first two pages.  The rest is the
           attachments.  Also, for completeness sake, I included
           all the view graphs that were presented at the
           briefing of Dana Powers and Ken Rogers as well as view
           graphs that Ashook Adhani presented, although I didn't
           sit through that part of the briefing.  It was pretty
           short because the rest was pretty long.
                       But let me walk through the first page
           which has the specifics I've excerpted out of the
           response, their specific response.  And the dark
           bullets are the response areas, and the light bullets
           are kind of actions that they say they're going to do.
           So the first one, of course, observation of excellent
           scientific, timely, high quality work.  They noted
           that.  They thanked us, basically.  And then they said
           that NMSS and RES will keep the Committee appraised of
           staff efforts, which means in the future they'll be
           giving us more of these types of presentations.
                       In the next bullet, the staff agrees with
           the --
                       (Whereupon, at 1:15 p.m., the Committee
           Meeting was concluded.)


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