[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 133 (Wednesday, July 11, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 40817-40820]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-16657]


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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. 133 / Wednesday, July 11, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 40817]]



NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 61

[NRC-2011-0012]
RIN-3150-AI92


Low-Level Radioactive Waste Regulatory 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 proposed changes to its 
current regulatory requirements as directed by the Commission in a 
January 19, 2012, Staff Requirements Memorandum. Information will be 
gathered from invited subject matter experts, stakeholders, and other 
interested members of the public regarding the changes proposed by the 
Commission. Specifically, the NRC staff is interested in gaining a 
better understanding of the issues associated with specifying a 
regulatory time of compliance for a low-level radioactive waste 
disposal facility, allowing licensees the flexibility to implement 
waste acceptance criteria as an alternative to the current waste 
classification system, and revising the NRC's licensing requirements 
for land disposal of radioactive waste.

DATES: The public meeting will be held on July 19, 2012, in Rockville, 
Maryland. 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 July 19, 2012, from 8 
a.m. to 5 p.m. (registration begins at 7:30 a.m.) at the Bethesda North 
Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road; Salons G & H, 
Rockville, Maryland 20852. 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: Donald Lowman, Office of Federal and 
State Materials and Environmental Management Programs, U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-
5452; email: Donald.Lowman@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 your 
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 10 CFR part 61, ``Licensing Requirements for Land 
Disposal of Radioactive Waste.'' These regulations were published in 
the Federal Register on December 27, 1982

[[Page 40818]]

(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 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 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 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 
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 meeting was held in Phoenix, Arizona, on 
March 2, 2012 (77 FR 10401) and the second meeting was held in Dallas,

[[Page 40819]]

Texas on May 15, 2012 (77 FR 26991). After the NRC completes public 
outreach, the staff will prepare an amended technical basis document 
and 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 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 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 July 
19, 2012, public meeting will be organized into three sessions. In the 
first session, the NRC staff will seek public feedback on the concerns 
associated with specifying a regulatory time of compliance (TOC) for a 
commercial LLW disposal facility. To promote stakeholder feedback, a 
panel of invited subject matter experts will be asked to speak to the 
following topics related to the specification of any TOC:
     Limits or methods to manage long term uncertainties;
     Use of tiered approaches including how to define the 
tiers;
     Requirements for long-term performance;
     Site-specific requirements; and
     Protection of future generations.
    In the second session, the staff will seek public feedback on the 
issues allowing licensees the flexibility to implement waste acceptance 
criteria as an alternative to the current Section 61.55 waste 
classification system. To promote stakeholder feedback, a second panel 
of invited subject matter experts will be asked to speak to the 
following topics:
     Regulatory approaches to allow site-specific waste 
acceptance criteria;
     Metrics to determine site-specific waste acceptance 
criteria;
     Specification of specific requirements; and
     Longevity of institutional controls for site-specific 
waste acceptance criteria.
    The third session is intended to focus generally on policy issues 
associated with revising 10 CFR part 61. In the third session there 
will be a third panel that will consist of representatives of the NRC, 
Agreement States, and other stakeholder organizations who have 
historically demonstrated an interest in the NRC's LLW programs.
    Following presentations of prepared remarks by the invited 
panelists, stakeholders and other interested members of the public will 
have an opportunity to pose questions directly to panels in each of the 
three sessions.
    The public meeting will be held on July 19, 2012, from 8 a.m. to 5 
p.m. (registration begins at 7:30 a.m.) at the Bethesda North Marriott 
Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road; Salons G & H, 
Rockville, Maryland 20852. 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/register/634692312. The Webinar ID is 
634-692-312. 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 (U.S./Canada): 1-888-469-0566. The Webinar 
access code is 6441887.
    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.
    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 29th day of June 2012.


[[Page 40820]]


    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Gregory Suber,
Acting 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. 2012-16657 Filed 7-10-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P