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Improving the Characterization Program for Contact-Handed Transuranic Waste Bound for the WASTE ISOLATION PILOT PLANT Committee on Optimizing the Characterization and Transportation of Transuranic Waste Destined for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Board on Raclioactive Waste Management Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAl ACADEMIES The National Academies Press Washington, D.C. www.nap.eciu

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 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 competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Grant No. DE-FC01-99EW59049 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Energy. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authoress and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Library of Congress Control Number 2003116878 International Standard Book Number 0-309-09090-3 (Book) International Standard Book Number 0-309-52790-2 (PDF) Additional copies of this report are available from: The National Academies Press 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Lockbox 285 Washington, DC 20055 (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu Front cover: Radiography of a 55-gallon drum containing transuranic waste. Real-time radiography is part of DOE's contact-handled transuranic waste characterization program. Back cover: Contact-handled transuranic waste drums at the Savannah River Site, South Carolina, are stacked in the characterization area waiting to undergo non-destructive assays and headspace gas sampling and analysis. Copyright 2004 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on S`;enre, Engineering, and Med;rine 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. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in ~ 970 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. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in ~ 916 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. Wm. A. Wuff are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council www.national-academies.org iii

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COMMITTEE ON OPTIMIZING THE CHARACTERIZATION AND TRANSPORTATION OF TRANSURANIC WASTE DESTINED FOR THE WASTE ISOLATION PILOT PLANT - SUSAN WILTSHIRE, Chair, UK Research Associates, Inc (retired), South Hamillon, Massachusetts CHRIS WHIPPLE, Vice-Chair, ENVIRON International Corp, Emeryville, California JOHN C ALLEN, Bahelle, Washington, D C ANN BOSTROM, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta GREGORY R CHOPPIN, Florida State University, Tallahassee ALFRED GRELLA, GrelIa Consulting, Inc. Locust Grove, Virginia MICHAEL MOBLEY, independent Consultant, CIarksville, Tennessee KENNETH ~ MOSSMAN, Arizona State University, Tempe ROBERT H NElLL, New Mexico Environmental Evaluation Group (retired), Albuquerque JOHN PLODINEC, Mississippi State University, Starkville DETLOF VON WINTERFELDT, University of Southern California, Los Angeles RAYMOND G WYMER, Independent Consultant, Oak Ridge, Tennessee Board on Radioactive Waste Management Liaison MILTON LEVENSON, Independent Consultant, MenIo Park, California Staff BARBARA PASTINA, Study Director DARLA ~ THOMPSON, Research Associate ANGELA R TAYLOR, Senior Project Assistant lV

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BOARD ON RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT . ~ JOHN F AHEARNE, Chair, Sigma Xi and Duke University, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina CHARLES MCCOMBlE, Vice-Chair, Consultant, Gipf-Oberfrick, Switzerland ROBERT M BERNERO, U S Nuclear Regulatory Commission (retired), Gaithersburg, Maryland GREGORY R CHOPPIN, Florida State University, Tallahassee RODNEY EWING, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor HOWARD C KUNREUTHER, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia NIKOLAY LAVEROV, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow MILTON LEVENSON, Bechte! International (retired), MenIo Park, California JANE C S LONG, Mackay School of Mines, University of Nevada, Reno ALEXANDER MACLACH LAN, E ~ clu Pont cle Nemours & Company (retired), Wilmington, Delaware NOR! NE E NOONAN, College of Charleston, South Carolina EUGENE A ROSA, Washington State University, Pullman ATSUYUK! SUZUKI, Nuclear Safety Commission of ~Japan, Tokyo VICTORIAN TSCHINKEL, The Nature Conservancy, Aliamonte Springs, Florida Staff KEVIN D CROWLEY, Director MICAH D LOWENTHAL, Staff Officer BARBARA PASTINA, Senior Staff Officer JOHN R WILEY, Senior Staff Officer TON! GREENLEAF, Administrative Associate DARLA ~J THOMPSON, Research Associate LATRICIA C BAILEY, Senior Project Assistant LAURA D LLANOS, Senior Project Assistant ANGELA R TAYLOR, Senior Project Assistant JAMES YATES, dR, Office Assistant

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Preface The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) CarIsbad Field Office asked the National Research Council to provide an independent review of its characterization and characterization-related transportation activities for transuranic (TRW) waste and to recommend ways to improve DOE's transuranic waste management program. To accomplish this, the National Research Council appointed an ad hoc committee of 12 members with expertise in the following disciplines: knowledge of the DOE weapons complex, particularly with respect to TRU waste characterization techniques; hazardous and radioactive waste management regulations; health physics; actinide chemistry; public policy; social sciences; transportation regulations; and risk assessment. The committee's statement of task appears in Sidebar ~ . ~ . Biographical sketches of committee members can be found in Appendix A. The committee met four times, from October 2002 to May 2003, to complete its information gathering on DOE's characterization program. The committee interacted with DOE and its contractors, waste generator sites, WIPP's primary regulatory agencies (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New Mexico Environment Department), the New Mexico Environmental Evaluation Group, the Southwest Research and Information Center, citizens' groups, and the public. The committee gathered information on the requirements (and activities to meet these requirements) for characterization and transportation of TRU waste across DOE's complex and on expectations for improving the TRU waste management program. The committee visited the Savannah River Site to see the waste characterization process first hand and also to see the facility that DOE plans to use as a hub for characterizing TRU waste that will be shipped from small sites throughout the northeastern United States. The committee also visited the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant site, the underground repository for defense-related TRU waste. In addition, the committee went to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to meet with stakeholders and members of the public about the transuranic waste characterization program. Information-gathering meeting agendas and speakers are listed in Appendix B. Organization of the Report Chapter ~ provides information about the stucly, a background clescription of TRU waste and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, and an overview of waste characterization challenges (Section 1.6~. Chapter 2 contains information on life cycle, status, and inventories of TRU waste at selected generator sites. Chapter 3 describes the regulatory context for the characterization of contact-handIed transuranic waste. The current characterization plan for this waste is described in Chapter 4. In Chapter 5, the committee proposes a structured and quantitative analytical framework to assess the TRU waste characterization program. Findings and recommendations are grouped in Chapter 6. Regulatory requirements in the Land Withdrawal Act, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Certifications of Compliance are described in Appenclix C. Transportation requirements affecting waste characterization are .. vll

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listed in Appendix D. Appendix E reports the information gathered about worker exposures to radiation related to waste characterization. Appendix F describes elements of risk assessment that would be required to implement the proposed analytical framework. AcknowlecIgments 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 Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide canclid and critical comments that wit! 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 content of the review comments and draft manuscript remains 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: John F. Ahearne, Sigma Xi and Duke University Eula gingham, University of Cincinnati Sue B. Clark, Washington State University Howard Kunreuther, University of Pennsylvania Ernest Nieschmidt, Idaho State University Richard H. Odegaarden, Independent Consultant Michael T. Ryan, Charleston Southern University Carol L. Silva, Texas A&M University Victoria J. Tschinkel, The Nature Conservancy 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 George Hornberger of the University of Virginia. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was 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 National Research Council. This study would not have been possible without the help of several individuals and organizations. The committee thanks many DOE staff members in the CarIsbad Field Office, in the Office of Environmental Management, and at TRU waste generator sites, including contractors, for their active participation in committee meetings (see Appendix By and for responding promptly to requests for information. The committee is especially grateful to Roger Nelson, chief scientist at the DOE-CarIsbacl Field Office, who served as primary contact for this study and provided outstanding support to the committee's activities; Phil Gregory and Robert Kehrman, for assistance with technical information; and Ines Triay, former manager of the CarIsbad Field Office, for her enthusiasm throughout this study. The committee also expresses its deep appreciation to those who organized site tours, especially Herbert Crapse and Sonny Goldston at the Savannah River Site and Roger Nelson at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. The committee is equally grateful to Steve Zappe of the New Mexico Environment Department and Betsy Forinash of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for their input on WIPP's regulatory requirements. Matthew Silva, James Channell, and Ben Walker of the New Mexico Environmental Evaluation Group also provided the committee with helpful technical and historical perspectives on the . . . v///

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characterization of TRU waste. The committee also thanks representatives of public interest groups and the Citizens Advisory Boards for providing their knowledge and perspectives to the committee at meetings (see Appendix By and in written comments. Finally, the committee thanks the following National Research Council staff members: Kevin Crowley, who helped the committee understand the larger context of its task; Angela Taylor, who smoothed our way with great organizational skill; DarIa Thompson, who provided solid research support and assistance during the study director's maternity leave; and Barbara Pastina, who unflaggingly supported and focused our work. Her knowledge, strong writing skill, balanced judgment, and adeptness in reconciling disparate perspectives were invaluable. The committee is in awe of her deftness in bringing the delighffut Giangi into the world and keeping him and us all on an even keel without loosing her own balance. We add our personal thanks to committee members for their hard work, steady purpose, and good humor. Susan Witishire, Chair Chris Whipple, Vice Chair Committee on Optimizing the Characterization and Transportation of Transuranic Waste Destined for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant lX

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Contents Executive Summary 1 Introduction 2 Transuranic Waste Inventories 3 Regulatory and Policy Framework for Waste Characterization 4 Transuranic Waste Characterization Program 5 A Framework for Evaluating Waste Characterization Activities 6 Findings and Recommendations References Appendices A Biographical Sketches of Committee Members B Information-Gathering Meetings C Characterization-Related Requirements in WIPP Regulatory Documents D Transportation Package Requirements Affecting Waste Characterization E Health and Safely Issues in Waste Characterization F Risk Considerations Glossary Acronyms xl i 18 27 39 58 74 82 87 91 94 103 110 116 119 130

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