[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 89 (Tuesday, May 8, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 26991-26993]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-11160]


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Proposed Rules
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains notices to the public of 
the proposed issuance of rules and regulations. The purpose of these 
notices is to give interested persons an opportunity to participate in 
the rule making prior to the adoption of the final rules.

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Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 89 / Tuesday, May 8, 2012 / Proposed 
Rules

[[Page 26991]]



NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 61

[NRC-2011-0012]
RIN 3150-AI92


Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Issues

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Public meeting; request for comment.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) 
plans to conduct a public meeting to discuss possible revisions to the 
regulatory framework for the management of commercial low-level 
radioactive waste (LLW). The purpose of this public meeting is to 
gather information and receive feedback from stakeholders and other 
interested members of the public concerning specific proposed revisions 
to the Commission's LLW regulations. Consistent with Commission 
direction, the NRC staff plans to hold a series of three public 
meetings in 2012 on the proposed revisions to the Commission's LLW 
regulations. This is the second of those public meetings.

DATES: The public meeting will be held on May 15, 2012, in Dallas, 
Texas. Comments on the issues and questions presented in Section V of 
the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document should be 
submitted by July 31, 2012.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held on May 15, 2012, from 8:00 
a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Copper Hotel Conference Center & Spa, 12230 
Preston Road, Dallas, Texas 75230. The NRC will accept written comments 
at the public meeting and welcomes active participation from those 
attending. You may access information and comment submissions related 
to this document, which the NRC possesses and are publicly available, 
by searching on http://www.regulations.gov under Docket ID NRC-2011-
0012. You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2011-0012. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: (301) 492-
3668; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov.
     Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, 
Announcements, and Directives Branch (RADB), Office of Administration, 
Mail Stop: TWB-05-B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.
     Fax comments to: RADB at 301-492-3446.
    For additional direction on accessing information and submitting 
comments, see ``Accessing Information and Submitting Comments'' in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael P. Lee, Ph.D., Office of 
Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs, U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 
301-415-6887; email: Mike.Lee@nrc.gov; or Tarsha Moon, Office of 
Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs, U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 
301-415-6745; email: Tarsha.Moon@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Accessing Information and Submitting Comments

A. Accessing Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2011-0012 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information regarding this document. You may 
access information related to this document, which the NRC possesses 
and are publicly-available, by the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2011-0012.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may access publicly-available documents online in the NRC 
Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the 
search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and then select ``Begin Web-
based ADAMS Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's 
Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1- (800) 397-4209, (301) 
415-4737, or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession 
number for each document referenced in this document is provided the 
first time that a document is referenced.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2011-0012 in the subject line of your 
comment submission, in order to ensure that the NRC is able to make 
your comment submission available to the public in this docket.
    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact 
information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in you 
comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment submissions into 
ADAMS, and the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to 
remove identifying or contact information.
    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons 
for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to 
include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be 
publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should 
state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to 
remove such information before making the comment submissions available 
to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.

II. Background

    The Commission's licensing requirements for the disposal of LLW in 
near-surface [approximately the uppermost 30 meters (100 feet)] 
facilities reside in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 
CFR) Part 61, ``Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive 
Waste.'' These regulations were published in the Federal Register on 
December 27, 1982 (47 FR 57446). The rule applies to any near-surface 
LLW disposal technology. The regulations emphasize an integrated 
systems approach to the disposal of commercial LLW, including site

[[Page 26992]]

selection, disposal facility design and operation, minimum waste form 
requirements, and disposal facility closure. To reduce the burden on 
society over the long periods of time contemplated for the control of 
the radioactive material, and thus lessen reliance on institutional 
controls, 10 CFR Part 61 emphasizes passive rather than active systems 
to limit and retard releases to the environment.
    Development of 10 CFR Part 61 was based on several assumptions as 
to the types of wastes likely to go into a commercial LLW disposal 
facility. To better understand what the likely inventory of wastes 
available for disposal might be, the NRC conducted a survey of existing 
LLW generators. The survey, documented in Chapter 3 of NUREG-0782, 
Draft 10 CFR Part 61 Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), ``Licensing 
Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste'' (ADAMS Accession 
No. ML052590347)--revealed that there were about 37 distinct commercial 
waste streams consisting of about 25 radionuclides of potential 
regulatory interest. The specific waste streams in question were 
representative of the types of commercial LLW being generated at the 
time. In the Final 10 CFR Part 61 Environmental Impact Statement 
(FEIS), ``Final Environmental Impact Statement on 10 CFR Part 61 
`Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste','' 
(ADAMS Accession No. ML052590184) and designated NUREG-0945, it was 
reported that about half of the isotopes examined were bounding for the 
purposes of dose and those isotopes formed the basis for the 10 CFR 
Part 61 LLW waste classification system, described in Tables 1 and 2 of 
Sec.  61.55. See Volume 1 of NUREG-0945, pages 5-37-5-39. Waste streams 
associated with the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) nuclear defense 
complex were not considered as part of the survey, since disposal of 
those wastes, at that time, was to be conducted at DOE-operated sites.
    Over the last several years there have been a number of 
developments that have called into question some of the key assumptions 
made in connection with the earlier 10 CFR Part 61 DEIS, including:
     The emergence of potential LLW streams that were not 
considered in the original 10 CFR Part 61 rulemaking, including large 
quantities of depleted uranium (DU), and possibly incidental wastes 
associated with the commercial reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel;
     The DOE's increasing use of commercial facilities for the 
disposal of defense-related LLW streams; and
     Extensive international operational experience in the 
management of LLW and intermediate-level radioactive wastes that did 
not exist at the time 10 CFR Part 61 was promulgated.
    These developments will need to be considered if the staff 
undertakes a revision of 10 CFR Part 61.

III. Recent Commission Direction to the NRC Staff

    In a March 18, 2009, staff requirements memorandum (SRM), SRM-SECY-
08-0147,\1\ the Commission directed the NRC staff to proceed with a 10 
CFR Part 61 rulemaking to specify a requirement for a site-specific 
analysis for the disposal of large quantities of DU--including the 
technical requirements for such an analysis--and to develop a guidance 
document for public comment that outlines the parameters and 
assumptions to be used in conducting such site-specific analyses. In a 
second SRM, SRM SECY-10-0043,\2\ the staff was directed to include 
blended LLW streams as part of this rulemaking initiative. Following 
the solicitation of early public input in 2009 (74 FR 30175; Docket ID 
NRC-2009-0257), the NRC staff subsequently developed a technical basis 
document for the rulemaking amendment (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML111040419), shared it with the NRC Agreement States, and proceeded to 
develop a proposed rulemaking package. In connection with the 
rulemaking effort, the NRC staff also proposed a two-tier approach for 
evaluating compliance with 10 CFR Part 61's overall system performance 
objectives: A quantitative assessment that extends to 20,000 years as 
well as a qualitative analysis that extends beyond 20,000 years to the 
time of peak dose. In May 2011, the NRC staff sought public feedback 
(76 FR 24831) on the preliminary proposed rulemaking language (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML111150205) and the technical basis for the time of 
compliance recommendation (ADAMS Accession No. ML111030586). (See 
http://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/regulatory/rulemaking/potential-rulemaking/uw-streams.html.) Later in 2011, the staff also briefed the 
Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) on the preliminary 
proposed rulemaking language for which a Committee Letter Report dated 
September 22, 2011 (ADAMS Accession No. ML11256A191), was issued to the 
Commission.
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    \1\ See http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/srm/2008/2008-0147srm.pdf.
    \2\ See http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/srm/2010/2010-0043srm.pdf.
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    More recently, in an SRM, dated January 19, 2012,\3\ the Commission 
provided additional direction to the NRC staff concerning this 
particular rulemaking. Specifically, the NRC staff was directed to 
amend the existing draft rulemaking to include the following:
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    \3\ See http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/comm-secy/2011/2011-0002comgeawdm-srm.pdf.
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     Allowing licensees the flexibility to use International 
Commission on Radiological Protection dose methodologies in a site-
specific performance assessment for the disposal of all radioactive 
waste.
     A two-tiered approach that establishes a compliance period 
that covers the reasonably foreseeable future and a longer period of 
performance that is not a priori and is established to evaluate the 
performance of the site over longer timeframes. The period of 
performance is developed based on the candidate site characteristics 
(waste package, waste form, disposal technology, cover technology and 
geo-hydrology) and the peak dose to a designated receptor.
     Flexibility for disposal facilities to establish site-
specific waste acceptance criteria based on the results of the site's 
performance assessment and intruder assessment.
     A compatibility category for the elements of the revised 
rule that establish the requirements for site-specific performance 
assessments and the development of the site-specific waste acceptance 
criteria that ensures alignment between the States and Federal 
government on safety fundamentals, while providing the States with the 
flexibility to determine how to implement these safety requirements.
    In the January 2012 SRM, the Commission also directed the NRC staff 
to engage stakeholders to discuss and finalize the NRC's approach to 
address the matters raised by the Commission. The Commission also noted 
that it would reserve judgment on the regulatory form these elements 
should take in any final rule following NRC staff evaluation of 
stakeholder input. Accordingly, the NRC staff planned to hold three 
public meetings in March, May, and July 2012 on the proposed revisions 
to 10 CFR Part 61. The first of those meetings was held in Phoenix, 
Arizona, on March 2, 2012 (77 FR 10401). After the NRC completes public 
outreach, the staff will prepare an amended technical basis document 
and

[[Page 26993]]

start the formal rulemaking process. Changes will also need to be made 
to any 10 CFR Part 61 performance assessment guidance document to 
address the recent June 2012 direction. The completion date for 
submittal of a revised rulemaking package is currently July 19, 2013.
    The Commission also directed the staff to gather information on the 
options presented in SECY-10-0165, dated December 27, 2010,\4\ 
concerning the staff's approach to a risk-informing 10 CFR Part 61. 
Previously, the NRC staff sponsored an earlier workshop on SECY-10-
0165, on March 4, 2011 (76 FR 10810). The staff intends to seek the 
public's views on various proposals for a risk-informed revision of 10 
CFR Part 61.
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    \4\ See http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/secys/2010/secy2010-0165/2010-0165scy.pdf.
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IV. Emerging Issues Concerning 10 CFR Part 61

    The NRC staff has also conducted other activities related to 10 CFR 
Part 61. These include revisions to the Commission's ``Policy Statement 
on Volume Reduction and Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management'' (76 FR 
50500; August 15, 2011); and the ``Branch Technical Position on 
Concentration Averaging'' (76 FR 4739; January 26, 2011). Through the 
course of those stakeholder interactions, the staff received comments 
and suggestions relevant to the more comprehensive revision of 10 CFR 
Part 61. For example, stakeholders have recommended changes that would 
lengthen the period of institutional controls and allow a site-specific 
intruder assessment. Some stakeholders have questioned basic 
fundamental tenets of 10 CFR Part 61 including the need to protect the 
inadvertent intruder. The staff intends to seek the public's views on 
these and other stakeholder comments.
    In addition, during the March 2, 2012, public meeting in Phoenix, 
Arizona, several stakeholders expressed an interest in expanding the 
scope of the ongoing 10 CFR Part 61 rulemaking beyond the Commission's 
current January 2012 direction. For example, the following specific 
suggestions were proposed in connection with any potentially expanded 
10 CFR Part 61 rulemaking.
     Update the Sec.  61.55 tables to include the latest dose 
conversion factors and dose methodologies.
     Expand the current duration of institutional controls in 
10 CFR Part 61 from 100 to 300 years.
     Address the issue of the over-reporting of certain 
isotopes that are required to be identified by the 10 CFR Part 20 LLW 
manifest shipping report (60 FR 15649).
     Develop specific licensing criteria for the disposal of 
greater-than-Class C LLW.
     Develop screening criteria pertaining to the disposal of 
low-activity radioactive wastes.

V. NRC Public Meeting

    The purpose of this public meeting is to gather information from 
stakeholders and other interested members of the public concerning the 
rulemaking proposals identified by the Commission in its January 2012 
SRM. This overall approach is consistent with the NRC's openness policy 
and is consistent with the type of public outreach initiative 
originally used by the NRC staff to develop 10 CFR Part 61. The May 15, 
2012, public meeting will be organized into two parts. In the first 
part, the NRC staff will seek public feedback on the pros and cons of 
the four technical issues specifically identified by the Commission in 
its January 2012 SRM. In the second part, the staff will identify other 
technical issues identified by stakeholders bearing on the 10 CFR Part 
61 rule and seek public feedback on the merits of these possible 
additional changes that have been suggested in connection with other 
on-going LLW regulatory initiatives. The staff will also summarize the 
public comments received during the March 2, 2012, Public Meeting in 
Phoenix, Arizona. To the extent that members of the public might have 
comments on SECY-10-0165, the staff would also welcome public feedback 
on that topic.
    The public meeting will be held on May 15, 2012, from 8:00 a.m. to 
4:00 p.m. at the Cooper Hotel Conference Center & Spa, 12230 Preston 
Road, Dallas, Texas 75230. Pre-registration for this meeting is not 
necessary. Members of the public choosing to participate in this 
meeting remotely can do so in one of two ways--online, or via a 
telephone (audio) connection. Instructions for remote participation in 
this meeting follow.
    Interested members of the public can also participate in this 
meeting via Webinar. The Webinar meeting registration link can be found 
at: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/pjoin/679771561/105859216. The 
Webinar ID is 679-771-561. After registering, instructions for joining 
the Webinar (including a teleconference number and pass code) will be 
provided via email. All participants will be in ``listen-only'' mode 
during the presentation. Participants will have a chance to pose 
questions either orally after the presentation or in writing during the 
Webinar.
    To receive a call back, provide your phone number when you join the 
meeting, or call the following number and enter the access code:
    Call-in toll-free number (US/Canada): 1-888-970-4129. The Webinar 
access code is 66725.
    The agenda for the public meeting will be noticed no fewer than ten 
(10) days prior to the meeting on the NRC's Public Meeting Schedule Web 
site at http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/index.cfm. 
The last public meeting is tentatively planned for July 19, 2012, in 
Rockville, Maryland. For details on this meeting, please monitor the 
NRC's Public Meeting Schedule Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/index.cfm or the Docket ID for the 10 CFR Part 
61 rulemaking, NRC-2011-0012, on www.regulations.gov.
    Questions about participation in the public meetings should be 
directed to the points of contact listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT section of this document.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 3rd day of May 2012.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Andrew Persinko,
Deputy Director, Environmental Protection and Performance Assessment 
Directorate, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, 
Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management 
Programs.
[FR Doc. 2012-11160 Filed 5-7-12; 8:45 am]
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