Environmental Monitoring of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility (NUREG-1388)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: November 1989
Date Published: December 1989

E. Y. Shum, R. J. Starmer, M. H. Young

Division of Low-Level Waste Management and Decommissioning
Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555

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This branch technical position (BTP) paper on the environmental monitoring program for a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility provides general guidance on what is required by Section 61.53 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) of applicants submitting a license application for such a facility. In general, the environmental monitoring program consists of three phases: preoperational, operational, and postoperational. Each phase of the monitoring program should be designed to fulfill the specific objectives defined in the BTP paper. During the preoperational phase, the objectives of the program are to provide site characterization information, to demonstrate site suitability and acceptability, to obtain background or baseline information, and to provide a record for public information. During the operational phase, the emphasis on measurement shifts. Monitoring data are obtained to provide early warning of releases and to document compliance with regulations, the dose limits of 10 CFR Part 61, or applicable standards of the U S. Environmental Protection Agency. Data are also used to update important pathway parameters to improve predictions of site performance and to provide a record of performance for public information. The postoperational environmental monitoring program emphasizes measurements to demonstrate compliance with the site-closure requirements and continued compliance with the performance objective in regard to the release of radionuclides to the environment. The data are used to support evaluation of long-term effects on the general public and for public information. Guidance is also provided in the BTP paper on the choice of which constituents to measure, setting action levels, relating measurements to appropriate actions in a corrective action plan, and quality assurance.

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