The ANL program must be considered in terms of an R&D project that is focused on the treatment of EBR-II spent fuel by the electrometallurgical technology. Within that context, the program is making acceptable progress in providing a sufficient database for DOE to make a technical decision on the application of this technology to treatment of other DOE spent fuels. Thus, the committee reaffirms its overall recommendation of the July 1995 report (NRC, 1995b, p. S-11):
ANL should proceed with its development plan in support of the EBR-II demonstration. . . . If the EBR-II demonstration is not accomplished successfully, the ANL program on electrometallurgical processing should be terminated. On the other hand, if the EBR-II demonstration is successful, the DOE should revisit the ANL program at that time in the context of a larger, “global” waste management plan to make a determination for possible continuance.
This reaffirmation of the 1995 recommendation is based on the quality and commitment of the involved ANL-E and ANL-W personnel, and on the progress in both the ANL-E R&D and the ANL-W demonstration. The present status of the demonstration project indicates that a strong and committed R&D staff continues to be an important factor. A focused R&D program must be maintained for the successful demonstration of the electrometallurgical technology. The committee encourages ANL to proceed aggressively to resolve the R&D issues and move rapidly into a demonstration phase that identifies process definitions and conditions.
In the March 1997 report, the committee noted the benefits to be gained by formalizing the organizational arrangements of the demonstration project, both at ANL-E and ANL-W, and between the two ANL sites (NRC, 1997a). The committee is pleased to note that increased organizational structure is being brought to the project by the Work Breakdown Structure process (ANL, 1997). A less detailed project implementation plan can further clarify how programs are being conducted in an integrated and coordinated manner. The committee looks forward to receiving the demonstration project implementation plan after it is approved by DOE. It is recommended that the plan be written in a form that can be easily understood and that allows for an analysis of the efficacy of the new organizational structure.
The committee believes that DOE must determine and approve of the criteria by which the ANL's R&D program will be evaluated at the end of the demonstration in 1999. Before the demonstration is