Conclusion: These continuing concerns are not expected to jeopardize the timely completion of the EBR-II demonstration project in 1999, but attention should be devoted to their resolution prior to extending the EMT process past the demonstration.
When waste form acceptance criteria for geologic repository placement are adopted by RW, test procedures for the waste forms produced by the electrometallurgical process may require modification. The committee believes, however, that the test procedures used for the MWF and CWF are appropriate for the completion of ANL's demonstration project.
The EMT Program staff has discussed applicable product purity levels with the staff of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Y-12 Plant for Y-12 acceptance of the uranium metal. If DOE decides that a commercial disposition option is desirable, some additional purification must be sought. To date, these options have not been studied.
The committee notes that both the quantity and radionuclide inventory of EMT waste forms are extremely small relative to those of commercial SNF and DHLW. DOE should evaluate whether small quantities, both in terms of volume and radionuclide inventory, of novel waste forms should be characterized and qualified to the same level of detail as major waste forms. However, because final qualification criteria have not been set, it is difficult to assess whether the testing is excessive or not at this stage.
Conclusion: Alternative, conservatively bounding strategies for assuring safe disposal of such relatively small quantities of novel HLW may result in significant cost avoidance while still protecting public safety.
However, if EMT is to be used for other DOE SNF, a full qualification of the waste forms would be required.