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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches
of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Review #1

Committee on Supplemental Treatment of
Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

A Consensus Study Report of

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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This activity was supported by contracts between the National Academy of Sciences and Aetna Foundation, The California Endowment (#10002009), Health Resources and Services Administration (DHHS-10002817), New York State Health Foundation (#10001272), Rippel Foundation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (#10001270). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/25093.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.

Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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COMMITTEE ON SUPPLEMENTAL TREATMENT OF LOW-ACTIVITY WASTE AT THE HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION

JOHN S. APPLEGATE (Chair), Indiana University, Bloomington

ALLEN G. CROFF (Vice-Chair), Vanderbilt University, St. Augustine, Florida

MARGARET S.Y. CHU, M.S. Chu + Associates, LLC, New York, New York

KENNETH R. CZERWINSKI, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

RACHEL J. DETWILER, Beton Consulting Engineers, LLC, Mendota Heights, Minnesota

TIMOTHY A. DEVOL, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

RODNEY C. EWING, Stanford University, Stanford, California

CRAIG S. HANSEN, Independent Consultant, Clinton, Tennessee

MILTON LEVENSON,1 Independent Consultant, Menlo Park, California

CATHY MIDDLECAMP, University of Wisconsin–Madison

ALFRED P. SATTELBERGER, Argonne National Laboratory (retired), Argonne, Illinois

BARRY E. SCHEETZ, The Pennsylvania State University, State College

ANNE E. SMITH, National Economic Research Associates, Inc., Washington, DC

CHRIS G. WHIPPLE, Environ (retired), Lafayette, California

Staff

CHARLES D. FERGUSON, Study Director

OURANIA KOSTI, Senior Program Officer

TONI GREENLEAF, Administrative and Financial Associate

LAURA D. LLANOS, Administrative and Financial Associate

DARLENE GROS, Senior Program Assistant

TAMARA DAWSON, Program Associate

___________________

1 Deceased on March 31, 2018.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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NUCLEAR AND RADIATION STUDIES BOARD

GEORGE APOSTOLAKIS (Chair), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (emeritus), Los Angeles, California

JAMES A. BRINK (Vice Chair), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

STEVEN M. BECKER, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia

AMY BERRINGTON DE GONZÁLEZ, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland

DAVID J. BRENNER, Columbia University, New York

MARGARET S.Y. CHU, M.S. Chu + Associates, LLC, New York, New York

TISSA H. ILLANGASEKARE, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado

CAROL M. JANTZEN, Savannah River National Laboratory, Aiken, South Carolina

NANCY JO NICHOLAS, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico

HENRY D. ROYAL, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

DANIEL O. STRAM, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

WILLIAM H. TOBEY, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

SERGEY V. YUDINTSEV, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

Staff

CHARLES D. FERGUSON, Director

JENNIFER HEIMBERG, Senior Program Officer

OURANIA KOSTI, Senior Program Officer

TONI GREENLEAF, Administrative and Financial Associate

LAURA D. LLANOS, Administrative and Financial Associate

DARLENE GROS, Senior Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Preface

The scale and complexity of the radioactive and hazardous waste disposal problem at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is well known. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) has called Hanford the most challenging cleanup task in DOE’s nuclear complex.

DOE’s current plan for treating the nearly 56 million gallons of radioactive and heterogeneous waste in 177 large tanks is to separate it into two waste streams: a high-level waste (HLW) stream that will have less than 10 percent of the volume but more than 90 percent of the radioactivity and a low-activity waste (LAW) stream that will have more than 90 percent of the volume but less than 10 percent of the radioactivity. Once the under-construction Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) becomes operational, it will vitrify the HLW stream and at least one-third to perhaps one-half of the LAW stream. The excess LAW that still needs to be treated is called supplemental low-activity waste (SLAW). DOE, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the Environmental Protection Agency—the three parties under the legally binding 1989 Tri-Party Agreement—have yet to agree on the SLAW treatment method.

The use of a technology other than vitrification for any LAW is controversial for use at Hanford—though it has been adopted at other DOE-EM sites—and such use is at least initially opposed by the State of Washington, key Tribal Nations, and many Hanford stakeholders. In Section 3134 of the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress directed DOE to contract with a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) to analyze at least three potential technologies for treating the SLAW—vitrification, grouting, and fluidized bed steam reforming—and to report on its findings. It further directed DOE to contract with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to undertake a concurrent, independent, peer review of the FFRDC report, not only when the report is complete, but also at certain points during the effort. Congress also expressly required the FFRDC and the National Academies review committee to solicit and consider stakeholder input at every step of the process.

DOE appointed the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) as the FFRDC to lead this study, and then SRNL assembled a team of experts from SRNL and other national laboratories to perform the analysis. The National Academies appointed our committee to conduct the overlapping review. This first committee report begins an iterative exchange between the FFRDC team and the review committee which—together with stakeholder comments—is intended to lead to a report on which DOE can rely in reaching a decision on the management of SLAW.

The FFRDC team has presented its work to our review committee twice, once in an introductory meeting in Washington, DC, and once in a meeting describing the status of the FFRDC’s analysis held in Richland, Washington. Our committee is most grateful for the time and effort that went into their presentations, as well as the presentations by other interested government agencies, stakeholders, and members of the public. Between the first and second meetings, as our review indicates, the FFRDC team has made considerable strides in structuring its work and developing its data. We all recognize, however, that much more remains to be done, and that a comprehensive and final committee evaluation must await the comprehensive and final FFRDC team report. We hope that the present review will provide a useful guide to the work that has been completed to date, and additional guidance as it progresses. Our committee will meet three more times in Washington State (the next time in late July), and we look forward to our continued dialogue with the FFRDC team, interested government representatives, Hanford stakeholders, and interested members of the public.

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Finally, we acknowledge with sadness the absence of one of our committee members, Milton Levenson, who died unexpectedly shortly after our second meeting. Milt was the senior member of the committee—he was serving actively at 95—both in age and engagement with the activities that gave rise to the committee’s work. Milt, alone among all of those involved in this study, actually participated in the Manhattan Project. While Milt’s wartime service did not involve Hanford, he was “present at the creation” in a way than none of us were. This in itself would have commanded our respect, but even more important was his distinguished post-war career with DOE and its predecessors, to say nothing of a post-retirement career of service as a consultant in many settings, very much including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Milt’s name and biographical sketch are included with this report because he contributed substantially with many important insights based on his extensive experience. What the biographical sketch cannot convey is the man’s vitality and eagerness to share his insights and experience with his colleagues. Milt’s passing leaves a gap in our committee that we can only partly fill. We will miss him very much.

John S. Applegate, Chair
Allen G. Croff, Vice Chair
Committee on Supplemental Treatment of
Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Acknowledgments

A number of people and organizations contributed to the successful completion of this report. The committee wishes to thank the study sponsor, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM), for supporting this project, and especially the following staff:

Dieter Bohrmann, DOE, Office of River Protection (ORP)

Paula Call, DOE-ORP

Betsy Connell, DOE-EM

Beth Moore, DOE-EM

Delmar Noyes, DOE-ORP

Jon Peschong, DOE-ORP

Rob Seifert, DOE-EM

Linda Suttora, DOE-EM

The committee also thanks the presenters and speakers who gave high-quality presentations during the two public meetings as listed in Appendix C. In particular, the committee is pleased to note the several very informative presentations given by the contractors from Washington River Protection Solutions as well as by the team members of the Federally Funded Research and Development Center led by the Savannah River National Laboratory. In addition, the committee is grateful for other submitted public comments, which were useful in helping the committee better understand the public’s concerns and views.

The committee is grateful for the outstanding assistance provided by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine staff in preparing the report. The chair and vice chair are also thankful for the time and energy devoted by the committee members.

REVIEWER ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Lake H. Barrett, independent consultant, Venice, Florida

Larry Camper, independent consultant, Montgomery Village, Maryland

Jonathan “JD” Dowell, Fluor, Kennewick, Washington

John T. Greeves, independent consultant, Frederick, Maryland

Howard Hall, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Neil C. Hyatt, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom

Marco Kaltofen, Boston Chemical Data Corporation, Natick, Massachusetts

William E. Kennedy, W.E. Kennedy Consulting, Benton City, Washington

Steven Krahn, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Timothy Milner, Atkins, Columbia, South Carolina

Ian L. Pegg, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC

Kevin Smith, independent consultant, Richland, Washington

Bruce M. Thomson, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Michael L. Corradini, University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Robert J. Budnitz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
×
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the Analysis of Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25093.
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In 1943, as part of the Manhattan Project, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation was established with the mission to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. During 45 years of operations, the Hanford Site produced about 67 metric tonnes of plutonium—approximately two-thirds of the nation’s stockpile. Production processes generated radioactive and other hazardous wastes and resulted in airborne, surface, subsurface, and groundwater contamination. Presently, 177 underground tanks contain collectively about 210 million liters (about 56 million gallons) of waste. The chemically complex and diverse waste is difficult to manage and dispose of safely.

Section 3134 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 calls for a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) to conduct an analysis of approaches for treating the portion of low-activity waste (LAW) at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation intended for supplemental treatment. The first of four, this report reviews the analysis carried out by the FFRDC. It evaluates the technical quality and completeness of the methods used to conduct the risk, cost benefit, schedule, and regulatory compliance assessments and their implementations; waste conditioning and supplemental treatment approaches considered in the assessments; and other key information and data used in the assessments.

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