Appendix B

Joint USNRC and EPA Guidance on Mixed Waste

A joint U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) document (62 FR 62079, 1997) provides regulatory guidance outlining the testing requirements for mixed radioactive and hazardous waste. In this dual agency guidance document, the EPA and USNRC position is that a combination of common sense, modified sampling procedures, and cooperation between state and federal regulatory agencies will minimize any hazards associated with sampling and testing mixed waste.

Waste generators may determine whether their waste is a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste based on knowledge of the materials or chemical processes that were used. That is, RCRA regulations do not require testing of the waste.

Therefore, where sufficient knowledge of materials or of the process exists, the generator need not test the waste to determine that it possesses a hazardous characteristic, which would necessitate that RCRA be applied (although generators and subsequent handlers would be in violation of RCRA if they managed hazardous waste erroneously classified as nonhazardous outside the RCRA hazardous waste system). For this reason, facilities wishing to minimize testing often assume that a questionable waste is hazardous and handle it accordingly.

Flexibility exists in the hazardous waste regulations for generators; operators of treatment, storage, and disposal facilities; and mixed waste permit writers to tailor mixed waste sampling and analysis programs to address radiation hazards. For example, upon the request of a generator, a person preparing a RCRA permit for such a facility has the flexibility to minimize the frequency of mixed waste testing by specifying a low testing frequency in a facility's waste analysis plan. The EPA position, as stated in 55 FR 22669 (1990), is that the frequency of testing is best determined on a case-by-case basis by the permit writer.

The joint USNRC-EPA agency guidance document (62 FR 62079, 1997) appears to the committee to provide appropriate guidelines for implementation and integration of RCRA requirements for mixed TRU waste. Implementation of this regulatory guidance could significantly reduce the testing protocols and associated radiation exposure of personnel. At present, the procedures specified in the waste acceptance criteria



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IMPROVING OPERATIONS AND LONG-TERM SAFETY OF THE WASTE ISOLATION PILOT PLANT: INTERIM REPORT Appendix B Joint USNRC and EPA Guidance on Mixed Waste A joint U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) document (62 FR 62079, 1997) provides regulatory guidance outlining the testing requirements for mixed radioactive and hazardous waste. In this dual agency guidance document, the EPA and USNRC position is that a combination of common sense, modified sampling procedures, and cooperation between state and federal regulatory agencies will minimize any hazards associated with sampling and testing mixed waste. Waste generators may determine whether their waste is a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste based on knowledge of the materials or chemical processes that were used. That is, RCRA regulations do not require testing of the waste. Therefore, where sufficient knowledge of materials or of the process exists, the generator need not test the waste to determine that it possesses a hazardous characteristic, which would necessitate that RCRA be applied (although generators and subsequent handlers would be in violation of RCRA if they managed hazardous waste erroneously classified as nonhazardous outside the RCRA hazardous waste system). For this reason, facilities wishing to minimize testing often assume that a questionable waste is hazardous and handle it accordingly. Flexibility exists in the hazardous waste regulations for generators; operators of treatment, storage, and disposal facilities; and mixed waste permit writers to tailor mixed waste sampling and analysis programs to address radiation hazards. For example, upon the request of a generator, a person preparing a RCRA permit for such a facility has the flexibility to minimize the frequency of mixed waste testing by specifying a low testing frequency in a facility's waste analysis plan. The EPA position, as stated in 55 FR 22669 (1990), is that the frequency of testing is best determined on a case-by-case basis by the permit writer. The joint USNRC-EPA agency guidance document (62 FR 62079, 1997) appears to the committee to provide appropriate guidelines for implementation and integration of RCRA requirements for mixed TRU waste. Implementation of this regulatory guidance could significantly reduce the testing protocols and associated radiation exposure of personnel. At present, the procedures specified in the waste acceptance criteria

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IMPROVING OPERATIONS AND LONG-TERM SAFETY OF THE WASTE ISOLATION PILOT PLANT: INTERIM REPORT and quality assurance program plan documents and in the RCRA Part B permit for the testing of mixed waste seem at odds with the ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable) principle.