United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Report on Waste Burial Charges: Changes in Decommissioning Waste Disposal Costs at Low-Level Waste Burial Facilities, Final Report (NUREG-1307, Revision 16)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: August 2016
Date Published:
March 2017

Prepared by:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Steven Short and Michael Toyooka

NRC Project Manager:
Kosmas Lois and Emil Tabakov

Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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Abstract

Pursuant to 10 CFR 50.75 "Reporting and recordkeeping for decommissioning planning", the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires nuclear power reactor licensees to adjust annually, in current year dollars, their estimate of the cost to decommission their plants. The annual updates are part of the process for providing reasonable assurance that adequate funds for decommissioning will be available when needed. This NUREG, which is periodically revised describes formula acceptable to the NRC for determining the minimum decommissioning fund requirements for nuclear power reactor licensees. The sources of information used in the formula are identified in this document, and the values developed for the estimation of radioactive waste burial/disposition costs, by site and year, and other factors (e.g., labor and energy), are provided in this report.

This 16th revision of NUREG-1307, "Changes in Decommissioning Waste Disposal Costs at Low-Level Waste Burial Facilities," contains disposal costs updated to the year 2016 for the reference pressurized-water reactor (PWR) and for the reference boiling-water reactor (BWR). Three different options for estimating these costs are presented. Licensees may use the formula, coefficients, and burial/disposition escalation factors from this NUREG in their cost analyses, or they may use adjustment factors derived from any methodology that results in a total cost estimate of no less than the amount estimated by using the parameters presented in this NUREG.

Several sample calculations for estimating the burial/disposition cost for each of the options are presented, demonstrating the use of the data contained in this NUREG. This revision compares 2016 to 2012 costs. NUREG 1307 was not published during the regular issuance cycle of 2014.

Estimated disposal costs for 2016 using only the Washington disposal site, which accepts LLW from members of the Northwest and Rocky Mountain Compacts, are about 19-percent higher for the reference PWR and 8.7-percent higher for the reference BWR when compared to 2012 costs. The increases in disposal costs were driven by increases in the environmental site surveillance fee. The increase in the PWR disposal cost was also due to a revision in the treatment of combustible waste to be consistent with the basis document NUREG/CR-0130 "Technology, Safety and Costs of Decommissioning a Reference Pressurized Water Reactor Power Station". Disposal costs for the option in which a portion of decommissioning LLW is disposed of at a non-compact disposal facility are about 10-percent higher for the PWR and 9.7-percent higher for the BWR when compared to 2012 costs. The increases are predominantly due to increases in the non-compact facility disposal rates.

Estimated disposal costs for 2016 using only the South Carolina disposal site, which accepts LLW from members of the Atlantic Compact, are about 1.7-percent lower for the reference PWR and 3.5-percent lower for the reference BWR when compared to 2012 costs. Increases in disposal costs for weight, curie, and irradiated hardware charges were offset by a revision in the treatment of evaporator/concentrator bottoms to be consistent with the basis documents NUREG/CR-0130 and NUREG/CR-0672 "Technology, Safety, and Costs of Decommissioning a Reference Boiling Water Reactor Power Station" (see Reference 1 and 2, respectively). Disposal costs for the option in which a portion of the decommissioning LLW is disposed of at a non-compact disposal facility are about 21-percent lower for the PWR and 14-percent lower for the BWR when compared to 2012 costs. The increases in the non-compact disposal facility rates were offset by decreases due to: 1) the revision in the treatment of evaporator/concentrator bottoms previously described, and 2)revision in the classification of several components from Class B/C to Class A, to be consistentwith the basis documents NUREG/CR-0130 and NUREG/CR-0672.

Revision 16 to NUREG-1307 assumes that LLW generated from day-to-day plant operations would be disposed of using the licensee's operating funds, and thus would not rely on decommissioning funds identified in the formula calculation. However, facilities located in states that are members of an LLW Compact with no available LLW disposal site may be forced to provide interim storage for this waste (although most LLW may be able to be disposed of at the non-compact disposal facility located in Clive, Utah or at the compact-affiliated disposal facility located in Andrews County, Texas). Accordingly, some of the LLW may ultimately need to be disposed of during decommissioning following interim storage. This volume can become significant for those plants operating through extended license terms, and the disposal cost would not be accounted for in a decommissioning trust fund based on the formula calculation.

For plants that have no disposal site available within their designated LLW Compact, NUREG-1307, Revision 16, assumes conservatively that the cost for disposal of Class A LLW is the same as that for the Clive, Utah, disposal facility and for Class B and C LLW, the cost would be the same as that for the Andrews County, Texas, disposal facility including accounting for out-of-compact fees. As new disposal options become available, they will be incorporated into subsequent revisions of NUREG-1307.

The views expressed in this paper are not necessarily those of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

NUREG-1307, Revision 16, is not a substitute for NRC regulations. The approaches and methods described in this NUREG are provided for information only. Publication of this report does not necessarily constitute NRC approval or agreement with the information contained herein.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, March 07, 2017