Radioactive Waste Repository Licensing

Synopsis of a Symposium sponsored by the Board on Radioactive Waste Management

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

National Research Council

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1992



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Radioactive Waste Repository Licensing: Synopsis of a Symposium sponsored by the Board on Radioactive Waste Management Radioactive Waste Repository Licensing Synopsis of a Symposium sponsored by the Board on Radioactive Waste Management Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1992

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Radioactive Waste Repository Licensing: Synopsis of a Symposium sponsored by the Board on Radioactive Waste Management 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 has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. 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 Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press 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 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. Robert M. White 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 the 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. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. The material summarized in this report was the product of a September 1990 symposium by the Board on Radioactive Waste Management and was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC01-89DP48070. International Standard Book Number 0-309-04691-2 Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 92-80363 S-547 Cover art by Maggie Stewart, Mezzanine Multiples, Alexandria Virginia Copies of this report are available in limited supply from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue Washington, D.C. 20418 Printed in the United States of America

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Radioactive Waste Repository Licensing: Synopsis of a Symposium sponsored by the Board on Radioactive Waste Management COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES M. GORDON WOLMAN, Chairman, The Johns Hopkins University ROBERT C. BEARDSLEY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution B. CLARK BURCHFIEL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology PETER S. EAGLESON, Massachusetts Institute of Technology HELEN M. INGRAM, University of Arizona GENE E. LIKENS, New York Botanical Garden SYUKURO MANABE, NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory JACK E. OLIVER, Cornell University PHILIP A. PALMER, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. FRANK L. PARKER, Vanderbilt University DUNCAN T. PATTEN, Arizona State University MAXINE L. SAVITZ, Allied Signal Aerospace Company LARRY L. SMARR, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign STEVEN M. STANLEY, The Johns Hopkins University CRISPIN TICKELL, Green College at the Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford KARL K. TUREKIAN, Yale University IRVIN L. WHITE, Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories Staff STEPHEN RATTIEN, Executive Director STEPHEN D. PARKER, Associate Executive Director JANICE E. MEHLER, Assistant Executive Director JEANETTE SPOON, Administrative Officer CARLITA PERRY, Administrative Assistant ROBIN LEWIS, Senior Project Assistant

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Radioactive Waste Repository Licensing: Synopsis of a Symposium sponsored by the Board on Radioactive Waste Management BOARD ON RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT Current Members CHRIS G. WHIPPLE, Chairman, Clement International CHARLES FAIRHURST, Vice-Chairman, University of Minnesota COLIN ALLEN, AECL Research* LYNDA L. BROTHERS, Davis Wright Tremaine SOL BURSTEIN, retired, former Vice Chairman, Wisconsin Electric Power* PAUL BUSCH, Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. MELVIN CARTER, retired, formerly Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology* CARON CHESS, Rutgers University* E. WILLIAM COLGLAZIER, National Research Council B. JOHN GARRICK, Pickard, Lowe & Garrick, Inc.* ROBERT D. HATCHER, University of Tennessee DAVID H. MARKS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology PERRY L. McCARTY, Stanford University ROGER O. McCLELLAN, Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology FRED W. McLAFFERTY, Cornell University D. KIRK NORDSTROM, U.S. Geological Survey GLENN PAULSON, Illinois Institute of Technology DAN REICHER, Natural Resources Defense Council* Participating Former Members CLARENCE R. ALLEN, California Institute of Technology GEORGE M. HORNBERGER, University of Virginia G. ROSS HEATH, University of Washington RICHARD K. LESTER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology FRANK L. PARKER, Vanderbilt University SUSAN D. WILTSHIRE, J.K. Associates Current Staff PETER B. MYERS, Staff Director CARL A. ANDERSON, Deputy Staff Director INA B. ALTERMAN, Senior Staff Officer ROBERT S. ANDREWS, Senior Staff Officer ALEXANDRA N. BERNSTEIN, Research Associate *   New to Board — did not participate in symposium as Board members.

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Radioactive Waste Repository Licensing: Synopsis of a Symposium sponsored by the Board on Radioactive Waste Management REBECCA D. ROSS, Administrative Assistant SHELLEY A. MYERS, Administrative Secretary RICKY PAYNE, Administrative Secretary JAMES GLADDEN, Administrative Secretary Participating Former Staff JOHN S. SIEG, Senior Staff Officer ROBERT J. CATLIN, Consultant JUDITH L. ESTEP, Administrative Secretary BETTY A. KING, Administrative Secretary

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Radioactive Waste Repository Licensing: Synopsis of a Symposium sponsored by the Board on Radioactive Waste Management Preface The Board on Radioactive Waste Management (BRWM) of the National Research Council convened a symposium on Radioactive Waste Repository Licensing in September 1990 while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was in the process of reviewing "Environmental Standards for the Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level and Transuranic Radioactive Waste" (the Standard). EPA was planning to reissue the Standard, the basis for U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) repository licensing regulations, in early 1991. The BRWM had recently issued a position paper that raised questions about the philosophy and methodology of the U.S. high-level radioactive waste (HLRW) program. The BRWM wanted to hear views on regulation and licensing issues from a broad spectrum of the radioactive waste community in a neutral forum. The entities that comprise the radioactive waste community — government agencies, public interest groups, research groups, international organizations, and advisory bodies — were invited to the symposium to examine the status of radioactive waste repository licensing requirements. The synopsis following this preface identifies the issues discussed at the symposium. It is intended to present neither conclusions nor recommendations but, rather, scientific and policy concerns expressed by the HLRW community. The papers from the 25 symposium presenters are not included because the speakers were invited on the basis that they not be required to submit texts of their presentations. Accordingly, a complete set of presenters papers does not exist. The BRWM is grateful for the exceptionally active participation of the symposium audience and especially wishes to thank all the speakers for their contributions. Frank L. Parker, Chairman Board on Radioactive Waste Management

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Radioactive Waste Repository Licensing: Synopsis of a Symposium sponsored by the Board on Radioactive Waste Management Contents     INTRODUCTION   1     BACKGROUND   4     High-Level Radioactive Waste in General   4     The EPA Environmental Standard — 40 CFR Part 191   5     The Court Remand   6     The USNRC Regulation — 10 CFR Part 60   7     THE SYMPOSIUM   8     Reactions to "Rethinking High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal"   8     40 CFR Part 191   9     Probabilistic Release Standards vs. Individual Dose Limits   10     Stringency of the Standard   12     Flexibility   14     The Lack of a Technical Connection Between the Standard and the Regulation   15     High-Level Radioactive Waste Abroad   16     Need for an Overall Public Health and Safety Goal   17     APPENDIXES     A   Rethinking High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal   19 B   40 CFR Part 191   67 C   Symposium Agenda   79 D   List of Speakers   83 E   Executive Summary of "Report on the Review of Proposed Environmental Standards for the Management and Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level and Transuranic Wastes (40 CFR Part 191)"   89 F   List of Acronyms   97

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Radioactive Waste Repository Licensing: Synopsis of a Symposium sponsored by the Board on Radioactive Waste Management Radioactive Waste Repository Licensing

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