§ 60.113 Performance of particular barriers after permanent closure.

(a) General provisions--(1) Engineered barrier system. (i) The engineered barrier system shall be designed so that assuming anticipated processes and events: (A) Containment of HLW will be substantially complete during the period when radiation and thermal conditions in the engineered barrier system are dominated by fission product decay; and (B) any release of radionuclides from the engineered barrier system shall be a gradual process which results in small fractional releases to the geologic setting over long times. For disposal in the saturated zone, both the partial and complete filling with groundwater of available void spaces in the underground facility shall be appropriately considered and analysed among the anticipated processes and events in designing the engineered barrier system.

(ii) In satisfying the preceding requirement, the engineered barrier system shall be designed, assuming anticipated processes and events, so that:

(A) Containment of HLW within the waste packages will be substantially complete for a period to be determined by the Commission taking into account the factors specified in ยง 60.113(b) provided, that such period shall be not less than 300 years nor more than 1,000 years after permanent closure of the geologic repository; and

(B) The release rate of any radionuclide from the engineered barrier system following the containment period shall not exceed one part in 100,000 per year of the inventory of that radionuclide calculated to be present at 1,000 years following permanent closure, or such other fraction of the inventory as may be approved or specified by the Commission; provided, that this requirement does not apply to any radionuclide which is released at a rate less than 0.1% of the calculated total release rate limit. The calculated total release rate limit shall be taken to be one part in 100,000 per year of the inventory of radioactive waste, originally emplaced in the underground facility, that remains after 1,000 years of radioactive decay.

(2) Geologic setting. The geologic repository shall be located so that pre-waste-emplacement groundwater travel time along the fastest path of likely radionuclide travel from the disturbed zone to the accessible environment shall be at least 1,000 years or such other travel time as may be approved or specified by the Commission.

(b) On a case-by-case basis, the Commission may approve or specify some other radionuclide release rate, designed containment period or pre-waste-emplacement groundwater travel time, provided that the overall system performance objective, as it relates to anticipated processes and events, is satisfied. Among the factors that the Commission may take into account are:

(1) Any generally applicable environmental standard for radioactivity established by the Environmental Protection Agency;

(2) The age and nature of the waste, and the design of the underground facility, particularly as these factors bear upon the time during which the thermal pulse is dominated by the decay heat from the fission products;

(3) The geochemical characteristics of the host rock, surrounding strata and groundwater; and

(4) Particular sources of uncertainty in predicting the performance of the geologic repository.

(c) Additional requirements may be found to be necessary to satisfy the overall system performance objective as it relates to unanticipated processes and events.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, March 24, 2021