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The Impact of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Policy on Biomedical Research in the United States

Committee on the Impact of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Policy on Biomedical Research in the United States

Board on Radiation Effects Research

Commission on Life Sciences

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.



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Page i The Impact of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Policy on Biomedical Research in the United States Committee on the Impact of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Policy on Biomedical Research in the United States Board on Radiation Effects Research Commission on Life Sciences National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.

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Page ii NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS 2101 CONSTITUTION AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the Committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report was prepared under DHHS Contract No. NO1-OD-4-2139 Task Order 11 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institutes of Health. International Standard Book Number 0-309-07331-6 A limited number of copies of this report are available from National Research Council Board on Radiation Effects Research 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418 (202) 334-2232 Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Page iii THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Page iv COMMITTEE ON THE IMPACT OF LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT POLICY ON BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH IN THE UNITED STATES SIDNEY H. GOLUB, (Chairman), Executive Director, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Bethesda, MD CAROL C. AMICK, Environmental Consultant, Bedford, MA GLORIA ANDERSON, Crestline, CA MICHAEL T. RYAN, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC DETLOF VON WINTERFELDT, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF ISAF AL-NABULSI, Study Director BRIDGET R. EDMONDS, Project Assistant DORIS E. TAYLOR, Staff Assistant SPONSOR'S PROJECT OFFICER JUDITH VAITUKAITIS, National Center for Research Resources, National Institutes of Health EDITOR NORMAN GROSSBLATT

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Page v BOARD ON RADIATION EFFECTS RESEARCH R.J. MICHAEL FRY * , (Chairman), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN S. JAMES ADELSTEIN † , Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA VALERIE BERAL, University of Oxford, United Kingdom SARAH S. DONALDSON † , Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA EDWARD R. EPP, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University, Boston, MA HELEN H. EVANS, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH WILLIAM F. MORGAN, The University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD FRANKLYN G. PRENDERGAST, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Rochester, MN DANIEL O. STRAM, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF EVAN B. DOUPLE, Director, Board on Radiation Effects Research RICK JOSTES, Senior Program Officer ISAF AL-NABULSI, Program Officer CATHERINE S. BERKLEY, Administrative Associate BRIDGET R. EDMONDS, Project Assistant BENJAMIN HAMLIN, Project Assistant (effective 10/00) DORIS E. TAYLOR, Staff Assistant * Retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (effective 12/00) † Member of IOM

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Page vi COMMISSION ON LIFE SCIENCES MICHAEL T. CLEGG (Chair), University of California, Riverside, CA PAUL BERG (Vice Chair), Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA FREDERICK R. ANDERSON, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Washington, DC JOANNA BURGER, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ JAMES E. CLEAVER, UCSF Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA DAVID S. EISENBERG, University of California, Los Angeles, CA NEAL L. FIRST, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI DAVID J. GALAS, Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Science, Claremont, CA DAVID V. GOEDDEL, Tularik, Inc., South San Francisco, CA ARTURO GOMEZ-POMPA, University of California, Riverside, CA COREY S. GOODMAN, University of California, Berkeley, CA JON W. GORDON, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY DAVID G. HOEL, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC BARBARA S. HULKA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC CYNTHIA J. KENYON, University of California, San Francisco, CA BRUCE R. LEVIN, Emory University, Atlanta, GA DAVID M. LIVINGSTON, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA DONALD R. MATTISON, March of Dimes, White Plains, NY ELLIOT M. MEYEROWITZ, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA ROBERT T. PAINE, University of Washington, Seattle, WA RONALD R. SEDEROFF, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC ROBERT R. SOKAL, State University of New York, Stony Brook, NY CHARLES F. STEVENS, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, LaJolla, CA SHIRLEY M. TILGHMAN, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ RAYMOND L. WHITE, University of Utah, School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL STAFF WARREN R. MUIR, Executive Director

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Page vii PREFACE The National Research Council's Committee on the Impact of Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Policy on Biomedical Research in the United States was called on to assess the effects of the low-level radioactive waste management policy on the current and future activities of biomedical research. This report provides an assessment of the effects of the current management policy for low-level radioactive waste (LLRW), and resulting consequences, such as higher LLRW disposal costs and onsite storage of LLRW, on the current and future activities of biomedical research. That assessment will include evaluating the effects that the lack of facilities and disposal capacity, and rules of disposal facilities, have on institutions conducting medical and biological research and on hospitals where radioisotopes are used for the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The committee members wish to thank several individuals who have contributed to their understanding of the impacts of the current low-level radioactive waste management policy on biomedical research. Louise Ramm of the National Institutes of Health provided valuable and useful historical insights for the committee's study. The committee is especially grateful for the information provided by Frank Castronovo, Carol Marcus, Leonard Smith, James Osborne, Holmes Brown, Kenneth Miller, Richard Fry, Henry Porter, and Edgar Bailey. They were generous with their time and thorough in discussing their impressions of, and knowledge about, the impact of low-level radioactive waste management policy on the current and future activity of biomedical research. The committee thanks the National Research Council staff who worked with us, especially the study director Dr. Isaf Al-Nabulsi, for keeping the committee focused and assisting in the preparation of several drafts of this report. Dr. Al-Nabulsi was well assisted in the administrative details related to the committee's work by Bridget Edmonds and Doris Taylor. Sidney H. Golub Chairman

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Page ix ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their participation in the review of this report: Kenneth L. Miller, Hershey, PA Dade W. Moeller, New Bern, NC Helen M. Ranney, San Diego, CA Gerard Spahn, La Jolla, CA Richard J. Vetter, Rochester, MN Kenneth T. Wheeler, Winston-Salem, NC Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by James E. Cleaver, appointed by the Commission on Life Sciences and Charles F. Stevens, appointed by the Report Review Committee, who were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Page xi CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 1     INTRODUCTION 3     Background of this Report 3     Background to LLRW-Management Policy 5 2     CHARACTERISTICS OF LOW-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE 11 3     CHALLENGES TO THE BIOMEDICAL INVESTIGATOR 12     Regulation 12     Disposal Cost 15     Access to Disposal 21         Legal Framework 21         Current Status of Disposal 21         Testing the System: Closures of Barnwell 22             Michigan 22             North Carolina 23         Barnwell Disposal Site Closure: 1994-1995 24         Changes – Barnwell and Envirocare 25 4     ADAPTATIONS AND WASTE MINIMIZATIONS 27     Overview 27     Improved Management 27     Storage Practices 28     Treatment Practices 29     LLRW Disposal Practices 32     Minimizing the Use of Radioactive Materials 33     Use of Nonradiological Materials 35 5     CONCLUSIONS 37 6     RECOMMENDATIONS 41 APPENDIX A:     Cost Trade off Analysis 42 REFERENCES 44 GLOSSARY 49 COMMITTEE BIOGRAPHIES 52

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