INTRODUCTION

The National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council (NAS/NRC) Committee on Remediation of Buried and Tank Wastes (hereafter, “ Committee”) was established in 1992 to study the remediation of buried and tank-contained radioactive wastes from the perspective of safety issues, risk to the public, workers, and the environment, technology required, and cost. At the request of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) (letter of March 17. 1994, from R.P. Whitfield, DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environmental Restoration, to R.J. Budnitz, Committee Chairman), the Committee agreed to review documentation pertaining to the present and proposed waste containment structure for radioactive residues buried at the Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS), Lewiston, NY, and to review evaluations of these structures, the waste configurations, and environs as they pertain to provision of adequate and appropriate protection to the surrounding population and environment (letter of March 24, 1994, from R.S. Andrews, Committee Staff Officer, to R.P. Whitfield, DOE). The Committee agreed to determine whether any immediate short-term action might be needed pending completion of further assessments. If the proposed waste containment structure and configuration were not considered to be adequate to provide an appropriate degree of long-term protection, the Committee would review alternative approaches and their risk as detailed in the 1986 NFSS Final Environmental Impact Statement (hereafter, 1986 FEIS, or U.S. Department of Energy, 1986).

A four-person subcommittee of the Committee, Thomas A. Burke, Robert J. Catlin (Chair), James H. Johnson, Jr., and Raymond G. Wymer, reviewed documents provided to it by DOE and received presentations from DOE and its NFSS contractors at three meetings in 1994: February 23-24, at the National Academy of Sciences Beckman Center, Irvine, CA; May 2-4, at the Holiday Inn, Grand Island, NY, and the NFSS, Lewiston, NY; and June 29-30, at Bechtel National, Inc., Oak Ridge, TN. During the May meeting, representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the State of New York Departments of Health and Environmental Protection, and members of the public were invited to address the subcommittee and DOE representatives and contractors, both after the presentations and during the site visit. On September 29, 1994, the subcommittee visited and received presentations at the Fernald Environmental Management Project (FEMP) site at Fernald, OH, concerning the management and future plans for disposal of the high-level residues presently stored there in silos. Various questions posed by the subcommittee that were not answered at meetings were addressed in subsequent reports and correspondence with DOE. The background information presented in this report was summarized from the many documents provided by DOE and its contractors (see Bibliography in Appendix A).



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SAFETY OF THE HIGH-LEVEL URANIUM ORE RESIDUES AT THE NIAGARA FALLS STORAGE SITE, LEWISTON, NEW YORK INTRODUCTION The National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council (NAS/NRC) Committee on Remediation of Buried and Tank Wastes (hereafter, “ Committee”) was established in 1992 to study the remediation of buried and tank-contained radioactive wastes from the perspective of safety issues, risk to the public, workers, and the environment, technology required, and cost. At the request of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) (letter of March 17. 1994, from R.P. Whitfield, DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environmental Restoration, to R.J. Budnitz, Committee Chairman), the Committee agreed to review documentation pertaining to the present and proposed waste containment structure for radioactive residues buried at the Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS), Lewiston, NY, and to review evaluations of these structures, the waste configurations, and environs as they pertain to provision of adequate and appropriate protection to the surrounding population and environment (letter of March 24, 1994, from R.S. Andrews, Committee Staff Officer, to R.P. Whitfield, DOE). The Committee agreed to determine whether any immediate short-term action might be needed pending completion of further assessments. If the proposed waste containment structure and configuration were not considered to be adequate to provide an appropriate degree of long-term protection, the Committee would review alternative approaches and their risk as detailed in the 1986 NFSS Final Environmental Impact Statement (hereafter, 1986 FEIS, or U.S. Department of Energy, 1986). A four-person subcommittee of the Committee, Thomas A. Burke, Robert J. Catlin (Chair), James H. Johnson, Jr., and Raymond G. Wymer, reviewed documents provided to it by DOE and received presentations from DOE and its NFSS contractors at three meetings in 1994: February 23-24, at the National Academy of Sciences Beckman Center, Irvine, CA; May 2-4, at the Holiday Inn, Grand Island, NY, and the NFSS, Lewiston, NY; and June 29-30, at Bechtel National, Inc., Oak Ridge, TN. During the May meeting, representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the State of New York Departments of Health and Environmental Protection, and members of the public were invited to address the subcommittee and DOE representatives and contractors, both after the presentations and during the site visit. On September 29, 1994, the subcommittee visited and received presentations at the Fernald Environmental Management Project (FEMP) site at Fernald, OH, concerning the management and future plans for disposal of the high-level residues presently stored there in silos. Various questions posed by the subcommittee that were not answered at meetings were addressed in subsequent reports and correspondence with DOE. The background information presented in this report was summarized from the many documents provided by DOE and its contractors (see Bibliography in Appendix A).

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