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STATUS OF MPC&A MEASURES FOR THE US-RUSSIAN PLUTONIUM DISPOSITION PROGRAM Edwin Lyman Union of Concerned Scientists Presented at the 15 th UCS Summer Symposium.

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Presentation on theme: "STATUS OF MPC&A MEASURES FOR THE US-RUSSIAN PLUTONIUM DISPOSITION PROGRAM Edwin Lyman Union of Concerned Scientists Presented at the 15 th UCS Summer Symposium."— Presentation transcript:

1 STATUS OF MPC&A MEASURES FOR THE US-RUSSIAN PLUTONIUM DISPOSITION PROGRAM Edwin Lyman Union of Concerned Scientists Presented at the 15 th UCS Summer Symposium Moscow, 24 July 2003

2 2 FRAMEWORK U.S.-Russian Plutonium Disposition Agreement (9/00): –disposal of 34 t weapons-grade Pu per side U.S.: MOX in LWRs, immobilization (now cancelled) Russia: MOX in VVER-1000s, BN-600 (and foreign LWRs?) A credible safeguards and physical protection regime is essential for the success of disposition –Stringent domestic material protection, control and accounting (MPC&A) measures to minimize risks of diversion and theft –Pu Agreement Annex on Monitoring and Inspections established “principles and provisions to govern the development of procedures” for a bilateral transparency agreement by 12/02 –IAEA “verification” of US and Russian disposition programs would provide international assurance of irreversible arms cuts

3 3 IMPLEMENTATION: UNITED STATES 2000 DOE Record of Decision (ROD): –3 new facilities to be constructed at the Savannah River Site (SRS) Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility (PDCF) Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Plant (MFFF) Plutonium Immobilization Plant (PIP) –4 reactors to irradiate MOX fuel: Duke Energy’s Catawba 1&2 and McGuire 1&2 ice-condenser containment pressurized-water reactors Consortium Duke Cogema Stone & Webster (DCS) awarded DOE MOX contract

4 4 REVISED PU DISPOSITION STRATEGY (JAN. 2002) PIP cancelled –NNSA: Immobilization of all 34 tonnes Pu would “achieve full disposition at the lowest cost” but “would almost certainly lead to termination of bilateral plutonium disposition with Russia.” –Material previously slated for immobilization needed to start up MFFF on schedule, because of PDCF delay –“Enhanced” aqueous purification capability required

5 5 MFFF LICENSING PROCEEDING Congress gave NRC the authority to license the MFFF, even though it will be built on a DOE site NRC must conduct both safety (includes MPC&A) and environmental reviews of fuel cycle facility applications –NRC Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) required prior to commencement of construction –Construction of uranium facilities can begin before completion of safety review, but license application must be submitted at least nine months before construction begins

6 6 NRC AND DCS: DOING THE TWO-STEP Licensing procedure for plutonium fuel cycle facility contains an additional requirement: –applicant must provide a “description and safety assessment of the design bases of the principal systems, structures and components” –prior to construction, NRC must determine that “design bases of principal SSCs... provide reasonable assurance of protection against natural phenomena and the consequences of potential accidents.” NRC has interpreted this requirement as permitting a “two- step” licensing proceeding: –Construction Authorization Request (CAR) containing only description and SA of “design bases”; submitted by DCS in 2/01 –Operating License Application; now will not be submitted until after NRC authorizes construction

7 7 WHAT IS THE “DESIGN BASIS”? Design bases means “that information which identifies the specific functions to be performed by a structure, system, or component of a facility, and the specific values or ranges of values chosen for controlling parameters as reference bounds for design …” Design basis threat characterizes the attack (either overt or by stealth) that a nuclear facility is required to provide protection against –For theft or diversion of plutonium, NRC DBT consists of a small, well-trained, well-armed group with the assistance of an insider or a conspiracy of insiders –DBT revised in May 2003; details are not public

8 8 CHALLENGES TO MFFF LICENSE May 2001: Georgians Against Nuclear Energy (GANE) and three other groups requested a hearing on the MFFF license August 2001: GANE filed –set of 13 “contentions” opposing MFFF license –motion to dismiss proceeding based on NRC two-step interpretation of regulations October 2001: GANE filed petition to suspend hearing based on likely need to modify design for post 9/11 design basis threat, including jet attack

9 9 OUTCOME OF CHALLENGES Dec. 2001: Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) admitted 8 of GANE’s 13 contentions, thereby awarding GANE a hearing NRC Commissioners rejected –motion to dismiss (affirmed two-step licensing process) –petition to suspend (9/11) --- NRC argued that there would be plenty of time to change MFFF design if DBT is upgraded following “top-to-bottom” security review But DBT was not changed until May 2003, when the MFFF design was essentially complete

10 10 ADMITTED CONTENTIONS 1: Lack of safeguards considerations in design 2: Lack of physical protection considerations in design 3: Inadequate seismic design 5: Incorrect designation of “controlled area” 6: Inadequate safety analysis 9: Inadequate cost comparison 11: Lack of polishing waste stream analysis in ER 12: Failure to analyze terrorist acts in ER

11 11 LACK OF MPC&A CONSIDERATIONS IN DESIGN Under “two-step” licensing proceeding, NRC has allowed DCS to defer submittal of Fundamental Nuclear Material Control Plan (FNMCP) and Physical Protection Plan (PPP) until submittal of operating license application As a result, original CAR section on MC&A is less than one page long; section on physical protection is one paragraph long Ignores well-established principle that MC&A, security and safeguards measures should be considered early and integrated into design

12 12 GANE MPC&A CONTENTIONS GANE contentions maintain that –DCS CAR does not contain a description of MPC&A design bases detailed enough to enable NRC to establish that they will lead to a FNMCP and PPP that will meet NRC regulations Essential to ensure compatibility of PP and safety requirements –Failure to address MPC&A adequately in the design stage may result in the need for costly retrofits later PFPF example: $100 million worth of cleanout and retrofits to deal with excessive holdup accumulation Scrap control problems at MELOX?

13 13 DCS RESPONSE TO GANE MPC&A CONTENTIONS DCS argued that it did not have to provide MPC&A information to NRC at this stage because NRC does not need such information to find that design bases provide reasonable assurance against natural phenomena and potential accidents DCS willing to “take the risk” that retrofits will be necessary later, although any mistakes it makes will be paid for in full by U.S. taxpayers

14 14 NRC RESPONSE TO GANE MPC&A CONTENTIONS ASLB, in admitting the GANE contentions, rejected the DCS argument and maintained that the “design bases of the MC&A and physical protection systems of the [MFFF] are not precluded from consideration…” NRC draft Safety Analysis Report (SER) issued in April concludes that the design bases for MC&A and PP were acceptable --- but appears to rely on information not in the CAR

15 15 IMPACT OF REVISED PU DISPOSITION STRATEGY Cancellation of immobilization will send at least 6.4 t of impure Pu to MOX program Requires revision of MFFF aqueous polishing facility design to include a new process line that can handle four new feedstock streams containing high chloride levels, enriched uranium –MFFF footprint will increase by 10% –liquid high-alpha waste volume will increase by 10% Facility changes were so significant that DCS had to completely revise its construction authorization request Impact on MC&A approach not yet determined

16 16 REVISED CAR MPC&A DESIGN BASES DCS submitted revised CAR in October 2002 Revised CAR contained “design bases” for MC&A and physical protection, even though DCS does not concede such information is required GANE does not believe DCS submission is adequate because it does not provide “specific values or ranges of values chosen for controlling parameters” –Measurement precision for non-destructive assay equipment –Delay times for barriers and vault walls as a function of adversary equipment –5/03 revised DBT could have significant impact on facility design but has not yet been taken into account

17 17 INTERNATIONAL IMPLICATIONS U.S.-Russian Agreement violations: –VII.3: Parties shall consult with IAEA at early date –VIII.1(b): Parties shall take into account INFCIRC/225(Rev. 4) on physical protection –Annex on Monitoring and Inspections, Section V: “Parties shall seek to complete by December 2002 an agreed set of detailed measures … for monitoring and inspections” that “shall be completed in writing prior to beginning construction of … disposition facilities in the Russian Federation … [and] shall be coordinated at an early stage with, and be made compatible with, the design effort for the disposition facilities.” May be a factor in inability to raise all initial Russian MOX plant construction funds from G-8 nations

18 18 INTERNATIONAL IMPLICATIONS (cont.) Clinton Administration expected to implement IAEA verification under the voluntary offer agreement (VOA) for all three disposition facilities Bush Administration has indefinitely suspended decision to place MFFF on IAEA eligible facilities list –Would require submission of design information to IAEA no later than date when decision to start construction is made (anticipated to be 10/03), and preferably 180 days in advance of start of construction –incompatible with the current DCS plan to submit an MC&A plan to NRC only after construction begins Actual IAEA verification not likely to be based on same standard as verification in non-weapon states

19 19 FAILURE TO ANALYZE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF TERRORIST ACTS NEPA requires consideration of environmental impacts of “reasonably foreseeable events” but excludes “remote or speculative” events Legal precedent allows consideration of “beyond-design- basis” accidents but not “worst-case” accidents ASLB in MFFF case ruled that the 9/11 attacks “close the door … on qualitative arguments that terrorist acts are always remote and speculative and not reasonably foreseeable” --- disagreed with NRC Staff 9/12 filing But 3 other Boards rejected similar appeals; Commission overturned ASLB ruling and said terrorist attacks need not be considered

20 20 THE BOTTOM LINE The chief goal of plutonium disposition is to reduce the long-term proliferation risks posed by stockpiles of separated warhead plutonium To minimize near-term risk, disposition should be carried out as safely and securely as possible The U.S. has a singular opportunity (and obligation) to set an example for Russia regarding MPC&A at disposition facilities Simply doing the bare minimum required by the regulations does not set the right example


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