cluded that a more disciplined systems engineering approach to the entire high-level waste operations at SRS could have clarified many of the issues that remain unresolved (discussed further in Chapter 8 of this report). Further, the impact of qualitative criteria derived from such evaluation factors as perceived future missions at SRS (e.g., weapons-grade plutonium disposition; see National Research Council, 1999a) and site limitations (e.g., availability of tank space) was not clarified in terms of the effect on the selection procedure outcomes. The committee concluded that the overall quality of the outcome of the procedure to select alternatives to the in-tank precipitation was not commensurate with the effort expended to carry it out.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. SRS should proceed with an R&D program for the four final processes selected unless important barriers arise or until enough information on uncertainties is available to conduct a rigorous but more visible basis for selection.

  2. When using qualitative expert judgment, one should not rely on tools such as the numeric (quantified) evaluation procedures that tend to give the false impression of precision, accuracy, and objectivity.

  3. In response to the committee task, “Was an appropriately comprehensive set of cesium partitioning alternatives identified and are there other alternatives that should be explored? ”, the committee recommends that no further effort be expended at this time in alternative identification.

  4. In response to the committee task, “Was the process used to screen the alternatives technically sound and did its application result in the selection of appropriate preferred alternatives?”, as noted previously the committee concludes that the screening procedure was cumbersome, complex, and lacked transparency to document the technical soundness of an evaluation and selection of appropriate preferred alternatives based primarily on the best judgment of experts using many qualitative factors. The committee recommends that future such evaluations, depending on expert judgment, be documented in a clear, easily understandable and traceable manner to allow for viable reviews. Although the screening procedure did result in the selection in the ‘Short List' of what the committee believes are at least four appropriate preferred alternatives, further reduction of the alternatives will have to await completion of adequate R& D on each.



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