Information Notice No. 86-90: Requests to Dispose of Very Low-Level Radioactive Waste Pursuant to 10 CFR 20.302
SSINS No.: 6835
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
OFFICE OF INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20555
November 3, 1966
Information Notice No. 86-90: REQUESTS TO DISPOSE OF VERY LOW-LEVEL
RADIOACTIVE WASTE PURSUANT TO 10 CFR
All nuclear power reactor facilities holding an operating license or a
construction permit and research and test reactors.
This notice is to inform nuclear reactor licensees of the authority of
Agreement States in reviewing and approving disposals of waste that in the
past might have been reviewed by the NRC pursuant to 10 CFR 20.302(a). In
those cases where the reactor facility was in an Agreement State, the NRC
did not have a legal basis for performing the reviews and granting
It is suggested that recipients review the information provided for
applicability to their facilities. However, information contained in this
notice does not constitute NRC requirements; therefore, no specific action
or written response is required.
In February 1983, the NRC issued Information Notice No. 83-05, "Obtaining
Approval for Disposing of Very Low-Level Radioactive Waste - 10 CFR Section
20.302." The purpose of this information notice was to call attention to the
little-used section of NRC regulations, 10 CFR 20.302(a), that provides a
method for obtaining approval of proposed procedures for disposing of
radioactive material in a manner not otherwise authorized in the
regulations. The notice identified NRR as the NRC Office to receive and
process utility applications. Neither the Notice nor 10 CFR 20.302(a)
addresses NRC versus Agreement State jurisdiction. As a matter of practice,
reactor licensees who requested such approvals from the NRC for radioactive
waste disposal in Agreement States were advised that they also must obtain
the approval of the Agreement State. However, in a recent legal opinion
regarding regulatory jurisdiction, the NRC's Executive Legal Director made
it clear that in Agreement States NRC approval is not necessary for within
or outside of the exclusion area of low-level waste from a reactor
facility. Such approval is within the jurisdiction of the Agreement State.
For disposal of very low-level radioactive waste in States that are not
Agreement States, only NRC approval is required.
November 3, 1986
Page 2 of 2
In Agreement States, regulation of the handling and storage (including waste
treatment) at the reactor site of low-level waste resulting from the reactor
operation is reserved to the NRC pursuant to 10 CFR 150.15(a)(l). For this
purpose, the reactor site includes the exclusion area since it represents
specifically the area of greatest and most immediate public health and
safety concern in the operation of the reactor.
Therefore, applications for disposal by reactors in Agreement States should
be submitted to the Agreement State. Applications for disposal pursuant to
10 CFR 20.302 by reactors in Non-Agreement States should be submitted to the
NRC Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
This may change at some point in the future since NRC staff is presently
drafting a change to 10 CFR 150.15 that would clearly establish the NRC as
having sole authority over all low-level radioactive waste activities,
including disposal, within the exclusion area at NRC-licensed reactors and
at certain fuel cycle facilities.
No specific action is required by this information notice. If you have any
questions about this matter, please contact one of the individuals listed
below or this office.
Edward L. Jordan, Director
Division of Emergency Preparedness
and Engineering Response
Office of Inspection and Enforcement
Technical Contacts: Faith N. Brenneman, NRR
John D. Buchanan, IE
Legal Contact: Robert L. Fonner, ELD
Attachment: List of Recently Issued IE Information Notices
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Saturday, August 29, 2020