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1 National Academies Radioactive Waste Update National Academies Radioactive Waste Update Kevin D. Crowley, Director Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board.

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Presentation on theme: "1 National Academies Radioactive Waste Update National Academies Radioactive Waste Update Kevin D. Crowley, Director Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 National Academies Radioactive Waste Update National Academies Radioactive Waste Update Kevin D. Crowley, Director Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board

2 2 Who We Are The National Academies National Academy of Sciences (NAS) National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Institute of Medicine (IOM) National Research Council (NRC) BRWM (1958), NRSB (2005) Private, nonprofit, Congressionally chartered to provide scientific and technological advice to the nation

3 3 Topics to be Discussed Three studies of potential interest:  Management of Certain Radioactive Waste Streams Stored in Tanks at Three Department of Energy Sites  Risk and Decisions about Disposition of Transuranic and High-Level Radioactive Waste  Improving the Characterization and Treatment of Radioactive Wastes for the Department of Energy’s Accelerated Site Cleanup Program  Organizational change

4 4 Certain Tank Wastes Congressional request  Section 3146 of the Ronald Reagan National Defense Authorization Act of 2005 Evaluate and make recommendations to improve DOE’s plans for disposing of certain radioactive wastes at Savannah River Site (SRS), Hanford, and Idaho National Laboratory (INL) Interim report on SRS in July 2005 Final report on all sites in January 2006

5 5 Congressional Charge Waste streams addressed in study:  Stored in tanks at Hanford, INL, SRS  Exceed Class C concentration limits (10 CFR 61)  To be disposed of onsite

6 6 Congressional Charge Study to evaluate:  DOE’s understanding of waste characteristics  Additional actions needed by DOE to comply with 10 CFR 61 performance objectives  Adequacy of monitoring plans for disposal sites  Technology alternatives for managing wastes  Technology gaps  Any other matters directly related to the subject matter of the study

7 7 Committee Roster Frank L. Parker, CHAIR, Vanderbilt Univ. Hadi Abu-Akeel, AMTENG Corp John S. Applegate, Indiana Univ. School of Law Howie Choset, Carnegie Mellon Univ. Paul P. Craig, Univ. of California, Davis (emeritus) Allen G. Croff, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (retired) Patricia J. Culligan, Columbia Univ. Ken Czerwinski, Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas Rachel Detwiler, Braun Intertec Corp Edwin E. Herricks, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Tissa Illangasekare, Colorado School of Mines Milton Levenson, Bechtel International (retired) Paul A. Locke, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Michael H. Mobley, Mobley Radiation Consulting Dianne R. Nielson, Utah Dept. of Environmental Quality Ken E. Philipose, AECL Chalk River Alfred P. Sattelberger, Los Alamos National Laboratory Anne E. Smith, Charles River Associates Leslie Smith, Univ. of British Columbia Don Steeples, University of Kansas

8 8 Risk and Decisions Requested and sponsored by DOE-EM Focus on approaches for incorporating risk into DOE decision making for disposition of TRU and HLW The baseline disposition pathway for these wastes involves retrieval, treatment, and deep geologic disposal  Nearly 650,000 m 3 TRU and HLW  Over $60 billion and 70 years required to complete baseline activities under current schedules Report issued in February 2005

9 9 Statement of Task Provide recommendations on implementation of risk-based approaches in DOE’s cleanup program  Key elements of a risk-based approach  Criteria for risk assessment  Potential alternatives to geologic disposal for disposition of low-hazard waste  Compatibility with current regulatory regimes  Knowledge and technology gaps for implementation  Broader implications, if any, for disposition of other EM wastes Apply risk-based approaches to selected DOE waste streams to assess their practical usefulness

10 10 Committee Roster David E. Daniel, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chair John S. Applegate, Indiana University School of Law- Bloomington, Vice Chair Lynn Anspaugh, School of Medicine, University of Utah Allen G. Croff, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ret.) Rodney C. Ewing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Paul A. Locke, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Patricia A. Maurice, University of Notre Dame Robin Rogers, University of Alabama Anne E. Smith, Charles River Associates Theofanis G. Theofanous, University of California, Santa Barbara Jeffrey Wong, California Department of Toxic Substances Control

11 11 Selected Findings & Recommendations The nation needs a mechanism for considering alternatives to deep geologic disposal for those wastes that may not warrant such isolation based on the risks they pose and the risks and costs involved in retrieving and disposing of them Risk is a good starting point for such considerations, but other factors may be at least as important deciding what disposition path to use, so a risk-informed decision process should be used Such decisions, and the analyses and discussions that support those decisions, should involve DOE, regulators, and interested and affected outside parties in an iterative and cooperative decision process

12 12 Selected Findings & Recommendations The process would be more credible if an agency other than DOE had the authority to approve or reject DOE's proposals for alternate disposal paths Congress, DOE, U.S. EPA, and U.S. NRC should take actions as necessary to enable DOE to implement effectively the risk-informed approach recommended in the report DOE should form an authoritative, credible, and reasonably independent group to revamp the way DOE goes about implementing risk-informed approaches applied to waste disposition decisions

13 13 Accelerating Characterization and Treatment of DOE Wastes Requested and sponsored by DOE-EM Focus on large DOE sites (Hanford, INL, Oak Ridge, SRS) Study motivated by DOE’s desire to improve the utilization of facilities and capabilities across its sites to reduce cleanup schedules, costs, and risks to workers and nearby residents, both now and in the future Final report issued in February 2005

14 14 Statement of Task Identify opportunities for improving waste characterization and treatment capabilities:  Make more effective use of existing capabilities and facilities for waste characterization, treatment, or disposal  Eliminate self-imposed requirements that have no clear technical or safety basis  Improve characterization and treatment capabilities to achieve step efficiency improvements or to treat orphan waste streams  Recommend technology development and demonstration investments that EM should make over the near term to achieve these improvements Focus on waste streams for which current characterization, treatment, or disposition pathways are difficult and (or) expensive, and for which improvements would help reduce costs, schedules, and hazards to workers, public, or the environment

15 15 Committee Roster Milton Levenson, Bechtel International (retired), Chair Cynthia Atkins-Duffin, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Patricia J. Culligan, Columbia University Robin Dillon-Merrill, Georgetown University Lloyd A. Duscha, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (retired) Thomas Gesell, Idaho State University Carolyn L. Huntoon, CLH Associates, Inc. Barry Scheetz, Pennsylvania State University Laura Toran, Temple University Raymond G. Wymer, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (retired)

16 16 Recommendations DOE should aggressively pursue opportunities to simplify and expedite waste characterization, treatment, and disposal by:  Work with the responsible classification offices to declassify, to the extent possible, classified materials declared as wastes  Better utilize the waste removal provisions of CERCLA, and  Develop more consistent interpretations among sites of waste acceptance requirements and accelerated cleanup objectives

17 17 Recommendations DOE should consider managing the following facilities as corporate assets for the characterization and treatment of both mainstream and special-case or “orphan” wastes:  Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) incinerator at Oak Ridge  High-level waste calciner at Idaho  Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Facility (AMWTF) at Idaho  Vitrification Facilities at Savannah River and Hanford  Existing groundwater-monitoring wells at all sites  H-Canyon at Savannah River  T-Plant at Hanford

18 18 Recommendations EM should continue developing and deploying new or improved technologies that address limitations in current characterization and treatment capabilities. The committee recommends investments in  Steam reforming,  “No-consequence” TRU shipping containers,  Improved high-level waste vitrification, and  State-of-the-art sensors for environmental monitoring

19 19 Recommendations For waste that EM considers leaving in place, the committee recommends that EM broaden the use of the “cocooning” concept as currently applied to the Hanford reactors Applied to certain wastes for which cleanup cost and risk to workers exceeds benefits, the cocooning concept provides a scientifically sound framework to:  Stabilize wastes or contamination in place for now;  Monitor until radioactive decay, other natural processes, or new technologies make ultimate cleanup feasible or unnecessary;  Adapt to new knowledge; and  Make responsibilities clear to all stakeholders

20 20 Organizational Change Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board  Established on March 1, 2005  Merger of the Board on Radioactive Waste Management and Board on Radiation Effects Research Interest areas:  Radioactive waste management & environmental cleanup  Radiation health effects (including BEIR and RERF)  Nuclear and radiological terrorism and security (new) First board meeting: September 12, 2005

21 21 For additional Information: Visit our “current projects” web site at Click on “current projects” and search under the project title or BRER, BRWM, or NRSB to see all projects in progress. For a list of reports visit academies.org/nrsb. Click on “publications.” Most reports can be read on line.www.national- academies.org/nrsb Call us at or send us an message to be placed on our electronic mailing


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