Greater-Than-Class C and Transuranic Waste, 6475-6477 [2018-03085]

Download as PDF 6475 Proposed Rules Federal Register Vol. 83, No. 31 Wednesday, February 14, 2018 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. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION 10 CFR Part 61 [NRC–2017–0081] RIN 3150–AK00 Greater-Than-Class C and Transuranic Waste Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Public meeting; request for comment. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is seeking stakeholder participation and involvement in identifying the various technical issues that should be considered in the development of a regulatory basis for the disposal of Greater-than-Class C (GTCC) and transuranic radioactive waste through means other than a deep geologic disposal, including near surface disposal. To assist in this process, the NRC is holding a public meeting and is requesting that stakeholders respond to the questions discussed in Section IV, ‘‘Specific Request for Comments,’’ of this document. DATES: Submit comments by April 16, 2018. Comments received after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is only able to ensure consideration of comments received on or before this date. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods (unless this document describes a different method for submitting comments on a specific subject): • Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC–2017–0081. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301–415–3463; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions contact the individual(s) listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:09 Feb 13, 2018 Jkt 244001 • Email comments to: Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov. If you do not receive an automatic email reply confirming receipt, then contact us at 301–415–1677. • Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission at 301– 415–1101. • Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff. • Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. (EST) Federal workdays; telephone: 301–415–1677. For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting comments, see ‘‘Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments’’ in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cardelia H. Maupin, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001; telephone: 301–415–4127; email: Cardelia.Maupin@nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information Please refer to Docket ID NRC–2017– 0081 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publiclyavailable information related to this action by any of the following methods: • Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC–2017–0081. • NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publiclyavailable documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at https://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. • NRC’s PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC’s PDR, Room O1–F21, One PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. B. Submitting Comments Please include Docket ID NRC–2017– 0081 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. If your comment contains proprietary or sensitive information, please contact the individual listed in the FOR INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document to determine the most appropriate method for submitting your comment. 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 https:// 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 into ADAMS. II. Discussion On December 22, 2015, the Commission, in Staff Requirements Memorandum (SRM)–SECY–15–0094, ‘‘Historical and Current Issues Related to Disposal of GTCC Low Level Radioactive Waste (LLRW)’’ (ADAMS Accession No. ML15356A623), directed the NRC staff to develop a regulatory basis for disposal of GTCC and transuranic waste through means other than a deep geologic disposal, including near surface disposal, within six months of the completion of the final rule for part 61 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), ‘‘Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal,’’ RIN 3150– AI92; Docket ID NRC–2011–0012. The Commission also directed the staff to conduct a public workshop during the development of the regulatory basis to receive input from stakeholders. On E:\FR\FM\14FEP1.SGM 14FEP1 6476 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 31 / Wednesday, February 14, 2018 / Proposed Rules daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS September 8, 2017, the Commission, in SRM–SECY–16–0106, ‘‘Final Rule: LowLevel Radioactive Waste Disposal (10 CFR part 61) (RIN 3150–AI92)’’ (ADAMS Accession No. ML17251B147), revised its earlier directions regarding the development of the GTCC and transuranic waste regulatory basis. The Commission directed the staff to develop the regulatory basis six months after the publication of the supplemental proposed rule for the 10 CFR part 61 rulemaking. The NRC staff is in the initial phase of implementing the Commission’s directions in SRM–SECY–15–0094 and SRM–SECY–16–0106. The process of potentially amending the NRC’s regulations is very thoughtful and deliberative because it can have significant impacts on members of the public, States, licensees, and other stakeholders. The regulatory basis describes the various scientific, technical, and legal issues associated with a potential rulemaking. Therefore, as a part of the initial steps in implementing the Commission’s directions, the staff has planned a public meeting with stakeholders to identify the various technical issues that should be considered in the development of a regulatory basis for the disposal of GTCC and transuranic waste. The staff is also requesting that stakeholders respond to the questions discussed in Section IV, ‘‘Specific Request for Comments,’’ of this notice. When this initial phase is completed, staff plans to develop a regulatory basis, which will be provided for public review. Staff plans to hold public meetings on the draft regulatory basis as well. After which, the staff will develop a final regulatory basis. III. Background The NRC’s ‘‘Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste’’ are provided in 10 CFR part 61. Section 10 CFR 61.2, ‘‘Definitions,’’ provides that waste as used in part 61 means those low-level radioactive wastes containing source, special nuclear, or byproduct material that are acceptable for disposal in a land disposal facility. The definition also indicates that lowlevel radioactive waste means radioactive waste not classified as highlevel radioactive waste, transuranic waste, spent nuclear fuel, or byproduct material as defined in paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) of the definition of byproduct material in § 20.1003. The Statements of Consideration (SOC) for the 10 CFR part 61 proposed rule explained that not all waste may be suitable for disposal in the near surface. Specifically, Section IV Purpose and VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:09 Feb 13, 2018 Jkt 244001 Scope of the SOC (46 FR 38082; July 24, 1981) indicates that, while 10 CFR part 61 was intended to deal with the disposal of most LLRW defined by the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act, the 10 CFR part 61‘waste classification system identified some LLRW that are not suitable for disposal under its regulatory framework, and alternative methods would have to be used. In § 61.55, ‘‘Waste classification,’’ the NRC developed a classification system for waste for near surface disposal, which categorizes waste as Class A, B, or C. This provision also describes waste that is not generally acceptable for near-surface disposal, whose disposal methods must be more stringent than those specified for Class C waste. This waste is referred to as GTCC waste. The GTCC waste is generated by nuclear power reactors, facilities supporting the nuclear fuel cycle, and other facilities and licensees outside of the nuclear fuel cycle. This class of wastes include (1) plutoniumcontaminated nuclear fuel cycle wastes; (2) activated metals; (3) sealed sources; and (4) radioisotope product manufacturing wastes (i.e., wastes ‘‘occasionally generated as part of manufacture of sealed sources, radiopharmaceutical products and other materials used for industrial, education, and medical applications’’). With regards to transuranic waste, as mentioned earlier, transuranic waste is not included in the § 61.2 definition of LLRW. In a 1988 amendment to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, a definition for transuranic was added. Transuranic waste 1 is defined as ‘‘material contaminated with elements that have an atomic number greater than 92, including neptunium, plutonium, americium, and curium, and that are in concentrations greater than 10 nanocuries per gram [(nCi/g)], or in such other concentrations as the [U.S.] Nuclear Regulatory Commission may prescribe to protect the public health and safety.’’ Transuranic waste is a byproduct of nuclear research and power production and is primarily produced from spent fuel recycling, medical isotope production, or nuclear weapons fabrication. The waste may consist of rags, tools, and laboratory equipment contaminated with organic and inorganic residues. The identification and evaluation of regulatory concerns associated with land disposal of GTCC and transuranic 1 Defense waste containing more than 100 nCi of alpha emitting transuranic isotopes per gram of waste, with half-lives greater than 20 years can be disposed of at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 waste will largely depend on the characteristics of the wastes (e.g., isotopes, concentrations and volumes of waste, physical and chemical properties). The variable characteristics of the waste can influence the decision regarding the appropriate regulatory approach to use for management and disposal of these wastes. Overly conservative assumptions for the inventory and characteristics could significantly limit disposal options, whereas, overly optimistic assumptions with respect to characteristics could lead to a disposal facility that may not provide adequate protection of public health and safety, and security. IV. Specific Request for Comment The NRC is seeking stakeholder participation and involvement in identifying the various technical issues that should be considered in the development of a draft regulatory basis for the disposal of GTCC and transuranic radioactive waste through means other than a deep geologic disposal, including near surface disposal. To assist in this process, the NRC staff is requesting that stakeholders respond to the questions below. In addition, the NRC staff has conducted some initial technical analyses to assist its understanding of potential hazards with near surface disposal of GTCC and transuranic wastes, which are contained in draft ‘‘NRC Staff Analyses Identifying Potential Issues Associated with the Disposal of Greater-Than-Class C LowLevel Radioactive Waste,’’ (ADAMS Accession No. ML17362A012). The draft analyses should assist in providing responses to the following questions: Question 1: What are the important radionuclides that need to be considered for the disposal of the GTCC and transuranic wastes? The U.S. Department of Energy has described three broad categories of GTCC wastes, including a range of transuranic radionuclides, in its ‘‘Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Disposal of Greater-Than-Class C (GTCC) Low-Level Radioactive Waste and GTCC-Like Waste’’ (http:// www.gtcceis.anl.gov/documents/ index.cfm). The three categories are entitled activated metals, sealed sources, and other wastes. The attributes (e.g., radionuclide concentrations, heat generation, and waste form) vary significantly between the three categories. Certain waste streams represent a very specific waste form (e.g., stainless steel for most activated metals; very concentrated amounts in sealed sources) that may require specific treatment to mitigate potential safety, security and criticality concerns. Some E:\FR\FM\14FEP1.SGM 14FEP1 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 31 / Wednesday, February 14, 2018 / Proposed Rules waste streams may contain sufficient quantities of specific radionuclides that will present a significant thermal output and/or gas generation through radiolysis. Still other waste streams may contain a significant quantity of fissile radionuclides (e.g., some isotopes of uranium and plutonium). The NRC is interested in identifying those radionuclides that could be important for evaluating the safety and security of: (1) Storage associated with the operational period at a disposal facility, and (2) the post-closure period, including inadvertent intruder protection. Additionally, the NRC is interested in obtaining available data and information to support the characteristics of GTCC and transuranic wastes. Question 2: How might GTCC and transuranic wastes affect the safety and security of a disposal facility during operations (i.e., pre-closure period)? The presence of sufficient quantities of high activity radionuclides and/or fissile radionuclides in GTCC and transuranic wastes may impact the design and operational activities associated with a disposal facility prior to disposal. The NRC is interested in identifying those design and operational activities at a disposal facility that may be impacted by GTCC and transuranic wastes. For example, the requirements in 10 CFR part 73 would require licensees to develop safeguards systems to protect against acts of radiological sabotage and to prevent the theft or diversion of Special Nuclear Material (i.e., transuranic waste such as plutonium, uranium-233, or uranium enriched in the isotopes uranium-233 or uranium-235) if a sufficient amount of Special Nuclear Material were present above ground at the disposal facility. Question 3: How might GTCC and transuranic wastes affect disposal facility design for post-closure safety including protection of an inadvertent intruder? The NRC is considering disposal units (e.g., a single trench, borehole, and vault) that would contain a single category of waste (e.g., sealed sources) as well as disposal units that contain a mixture of all three waste types. However, the NRC believes the best approach for understanding the issues would be to assume that waste within a disposal unit would be separated by the waste category and not be comingled. Such an approach could provide a clear understanding of the issues associated with how a specific waste category might affect disposal facility design. Certain waste streams associated with GTCC and transuranic wastes have larger inventories and VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:09 Feb 13, 2018 Jkt 244001 concentrations of radionuclides than was typically considered at LLRW disposal facilities. For example, certain GTCC and transuranic wastes in sufficient quantities have the potential for: (1) Significant thermal output that could affect degradation processes within a disposal unit, and (2) hydrogen gas generation through radiolysis that could also affect degradation processes of the waste package and waste form. Additionally, waste streams associated with GTCC and transuranic wastes may have fissile materials that require facilities to be designed to limit the potential for a criticality event or limit the amount of fissile material that can be disposed. There is a potential balance between security/safety and economic feasibility of design, construction, and operation. The NRC would like to hear from the stakeholders on these aspects as well. The information provided on economic feasibility would be in concert with the NRC’s strategies on examining the cumulative effects of potential regulatory actions. The NRC is interested in identifying the various scenarios that should be considered in evaluating the post-closure safety for the disposal of GTCC and transuranic wastes especially scenarios associated with specific issues and concerns that may not have been previously considered for commercial disposal facilities (e.g., synergistic effects of the thermal output on geochemical processes affecting release of radionuclides). V. Public Meeting To facilitate the understanding of the public and other stakeholders of these issues and the submission of comments, the NRC staff has scheduled a public meeting for February 22, 2018, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST) in the NRC Auditorium at 11545 Rockville, Pike, Rockville, MD. In addition, those wishing to participate by Webinar will be able to view the presentation slides prepared by the NRC and electronically submit comments during the meeting. Participants must register to participate in the Webinar. Registration information may be found in the meeting notice (https://www.nrc.gov/pmns/mtg?do= details&Code=20180033). The meeting notice can also be accessed through the NRC’s public website under the headings Public Meetings & Involvement > Public Meeting Schedule; see web page https:// www.nrc.gov/public-involve/ publicmeetings/index.cfm. Additionally, the final agenda for the public meeting will be posted no fewer than 10 days prior to the Webinar at this website. Those who are unable to PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 6477 participate in person or via Webinar may also participate via teleconference. For details on how to participate via teleconference, please contact Sarah Achten; telephone: 301–415–6009; email: Sarah.Achten@nrc.gov. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this day of February 9, 2018. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Gregory F. Suber, Acting Deputy Director, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery, and Waste Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards. [FR Doc. 2018–03085 Filed 2–13–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Federal Aviation Administration 14 CFR Part 39 [Docket No. FAA–2018–0078; Product Identifier 2017–NM–107–AD] RIN 2120–AA64 Airworthiness Directives; The Boeing Company Airplanes Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), DOT. ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). AGENCY: We propose to supersede Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2017–01– 02, which applies to certain The Boeing Company Model 787–8 and 787–9 airplanes. AD 2017–01–02 requires an inspection for discrepant inboard and outboard trailing edge flap rotary actuators. Since we issued AD 2017–01– 02, we have determined that it is necessary to revise the applicability to include additional airplanes, and to reduce the number of affected actuators. This proposed AD would continue to require an inspection of the inboard and outboard trailing edge flap rotary actuator for any discrepant rotary actuator, and corrective actions if necessary. We are proposing this AD to address the unsafe condition on these products. SUMMARY: We must receive comments on this proposed AD by April 2, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may send comments, using the procedures found in 14 CFR 11.43 and 11.45, by any of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Fax: 202–493–2251. • Mail: U.S. Department of Transportation, Docket Operations, M– DATES: E:\FR\FM\14FEP1.SGM 14FEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 31 (Wednesday, February 14, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 6475-6477]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-03085]


========================================================================
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.

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 31 / Wednesday, February 14, 2018 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 6475]]



NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

10 CFR Part 61

[NRC-2017-0081]
RIN 3150-AK00


Greater-Than-Class C and Transuranic Waste

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Public meeting; request for comment.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is seeking 
stakeholder participation and involvement in identifying the various 
technical issues that should be considered in the development of a 
regulatory basis for the disposal of Greater-than-Class C (GTCC) and 
transuranic radioactive waste through means other than a deep geologic 
disposal, including near surface disposal. To assist in this process, 
the NRC is holding a public meeting and is requesting that stakeholders 
respond to the questions discussed in Section IV, ``Specific Request 
for Comments,'' of this document.

DATES: Submit comments by April 16, 2018. Comments received after this 
date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is 
only able to ensure consideration of comments received on or before 
this date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods 
(unless this document describes a different method for submitting 
comments on a specific subject):
     Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2017-0081. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-
3463; email: [email protected]. For technical questions contact 
the individual(s) listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section 
of this document.
     Email comments to: [email protected]. If you do 
not receive an automatic email reply confirming receipt, then contact 
us at 301-415-1677.
     Fax comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission at 301-415-1101.
     Mail comments to: Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and 
Adjudications Staff.
     Hand deliver comments to: 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 
Maryland 20852, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. (EST) Federal workdays; 
telephone: 301-415-1677.
    For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting 
comments, see ``Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments'' in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cardelia H. Maupin, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-4127; email: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments

A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2017-0081 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain 
publicly-available information related to this action by any of the 
following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2017-0081.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the 
ADAMS Public Documents collection at https://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 [email protected].
     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-2017-0081 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. If your 
comment contains proprietary or sensitive information, please contact 
the individual listed in the FOR INFORMATION CONTACT section of this 
document to determine the most appropriate method for submitting your 
comment.
    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 
https://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 into ADAMS.

II. Discussion

    On December 22, 2015, the Commission, in Staff Requirements 
Memorandum (SRM)-SECY-15-0094, ``Historical and Current Issues Related 
to Disposal of GTCC Low Level Radioactive Waste (LLRW)'' (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML15356A623), directed the NRC staff to develop a 
regulatory basis for disposal of GTCC and transuranic waste through 
means other than a deep geologic disposal, including near surface 
disposal, within six months of the completion of the final rule for 
part 61 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), ``Low-
Level Radioactive Waste Disposal,'' RIN 3150-AI92; Docket ID NRC-2011-
0012. The Commission also directed the staff to conduct a public 
workshop during the development of the regulatory basis to receive 
input from stakeholders. On

[[Page 6476]]

September 8, 2017, the Commission, in SRM-SECY-16-0106, ``Final Rule: 
Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal (10 CFR part 61) (RIN 3150-AI92)'' 
(ADAMS Accession No. ML17251B147), revised its earlier directions 
regarding the development of the GTCC and transuranic waste regulatory 
basis. The Commission directed the staff to develop the regulatory 
basis six months after the publication of the supplemental proposed 
rule for the 10 CFR part 61 rulemaking.
    The NRC staff is in the initial phase of implementing the 
Commission's directions in SRM-SECY-15-0094 and SRM-SECY-16-0106. The 
process of potentially amending the NRC's regulations is very 
thoughtful and deliberative because it can have significant impacts on 
members of the public, States, licensees, and other stakeholders. The 
regulatory basis describes the various scientific, technical, and legal 
issues associated with a potential rulemaking. Therefore, as a part of 
the initial steps in implementing the Commission's directions, the 
staff has planned a public meeting with stakeholders to identify the 
various technical issues that should be considered in the development 
of a regulatory basis for the disposal of GTCC and transuranic waste. 
The staff is also requesting that stakeholders respond to the questions 
discussed in Section IV, ``Specific Request for Comments,'' of this 
notice. When this initial phase is completed, staff plans to develop a 
regulatory basis, which will be provided for public review. Staff plans 
to hold public meetings on the draft regulatory basis as well. After 
which, the staff will develop a final regulatory basis.

III. Background

    The NRC's ``Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive 
Waste'' are provided in 10 CFR part 61. Section 10 CFR 61.2, 
``Definitions,'' provides that waste as used in part 61 means those 
low-level radioactive wastes containing source, special nuclear, or 
byproduct material that are acceptable for disposal in a land disposal 
facility. The definition also indicates that low-level radioactive 
waste means radioactive waste not classified as high-level radioactive 
waste, transuranic waste, spent nuclear fuel, or byproduct material as 
defined in paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) of the definition of byproduct 
material in Sec.  20.1003.
    The Statements of Consideration (SOC) for the 10 CFR part 61 
proposed rule explained that not all waste may be suitable for disposal 
in the near surface. Specifically, Section IV Purpose and Scope of the 
SOC (46 FR 38082; July 24, 1981) indicates that, while 10 CFR part 61 
was intended to deal with the disposal of most LLRW defined by the Low-
Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act, the 10 CFR part 61`waste 
classification system identified some LLRW that are not suitable for 
disposal under its regulatory framework, and alternative methods would 
have to be used.
    In Sec.  61.55, ``Waste classification,'' the NRC developed a 
classification system for waste for near surface disposal, which 
categorizes waste as Class A, B, or C. This provision also describes 
waste that is not generally acceptable for near-surface disposal, whose 
disposal methods must be more stringent than those specified for Class 
C waste. This waste is referred to as GTCC waste.
    The GTCC waste is generated by nuclear power reactors, facilities 
supporting the nuclear fuel cycle, and other facilities and licensees 
outside of the nuclear fuel cycle. This class of wastes include (1) 
plutonium-contaminated nuclear fuel cycle wastes; (2) activated metals; 
(3) sealed sources; and (4) radioisotope product manufacturing wastes 
(i.e., wastes ``occasionally generated as part of manufacture of sealed 
sources, radiopharmaceutical products and other materials used for 
industrial, education, and medical applications'').
    With regards to transuranic waste, as mentioned earlier, 
transuranic waste is not included in the Sec.  61.2 definition of LLRW. 
In a 1988 amendment to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, a 
definition for transuranic was added. Transuranic waste \1\ is defined 
as ``material contaminated with elements that have an atomic number 
greater than 92, including neptunium, plutonium, americium, and curium, 
and that are in concentrations greater than 10 nanocuries per gram 
[(nCi/g)], or in such other concentrations as the [U.S.] Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission may prescribe to protect the public health and 
safety.'' Transuranic waste is a byproduct of nuclear research and 
power production and is primarily produced from spent fuel recycling, 
medical isotope production, or nuclear weapons fabrication. The waste 
may consist of rags, tools, and laboratory equipment contaminated with 
organic and inorganic residues.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Defense waste containing more than 100 nCi of alpha emitting 
transuranic isotopes per gram of waste, with half-lives greater than 
20 years can be disposed of at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The identification and evaluation of regulatory concerns associated 
with land disposal of GTCC and transuranic waste will largely depend on 
the characteristics of the wastes (e.g., isotopes, concentrations and 
volumes of waste, physical and chemical properties). The variable 
characteristics of the waste can influence the decision regarding the 
appropriate regulatory approach to use for management and disposal of 
these wastes. Overly conservative assumptions for the inventory and 
characteristics could significantly limit disposal options, whereas, 
overly optimistic assumptions with respect to characteristics could 
lead to a disposal facility that may not provide adequate protection of 
public health and safety, and security.

IV. Specific Request for Comment

    The NRC is seeking stakeholder participation and involvement in 
identifying the various technical issues that should be considered in 
the development of a draft regulatory basis for the disposal of GTCC 
and transuranic radioactive waste through means other than a deep 
geologic disposal, including near surface disposal. To assist in this 
process, the NRC staff is requesting that stakeholders respond to the 
questions below. In addition, the NRC staff has conducted some initial 
technical analyses to assist its understanding of potential hazards 
with near surface disposal of GTCC and transuranic wastes, which are 
contained in draft ``NRC Staff Analyses Identifying Potential Issues 
Associated with the Disposal of Greater-Than-Class C Low-Level 
Radioactive Waste,'' (ADAMS Accession No. ML17362A012). The draft 
analyses should assist in providing responses to the following 
questions:
    Question 1: What are the important radionuclides that need to be 
considered for the disposal of the GTCC and transuranic wastes?
    The U.S. Department of Energy has described three broad categories 
of GTCC wastes, including a range of transuranic radionuclides, in its 
``Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Disposal of Greater-
Than-Class C (GTCC) Low-Level Radioactive Waste and GTCC-Like Waste'' 
(http://www.gtcceis.anl.gov/documents/index.cfm). The three categories 
are entitled activated metals, sealed sources, and other wastes. The 
attributes (e.g., radionuclide concentrations, heat generation, and 
waste form) vary significantly between the three categories. Certain 
waste streams represent a very specific waste form (e.g., stainless 
steel for most activated metals; very concentrated amounts in sealed 
sources) that may require specific treatment to mitigate potential 
safety, security and criticality concerns. Some

[[Page 6477]]

waste streams may contain sufficient quantities of specific 
radionuclides that will present a significant thermal output and/or gas 
generation through radiolysis. Still other waste streams may contain a 
significant quantity of fissile radionuclides (e.g., some isotopes of 
uranium and plutonium). The NRC is interested in identifying those 
radionuclides that could be important for evaluating the safety and 
security of: (1) Storage associated with the operational period at a 
disposal facility, and (2) the post-closure period, including 
inadvertent intruder protection. Additionally, the NRC is interested in 
obtaining available data and information to support the characteristics 
of GTCC and transuranic wastes.
    Question 2: How might GTCC and transuranic wastes affect the safety 
and security of a disposal facility during operations (i.e., pre-
closure period)?
    The presence of sufficient quantities of high activity 
radionuclides and/or fissile radionuclides in GTCC and transuranic 
wastes may impact the design and operational activities associated with 
a disposal facility prior to disposal. The NRC is interested in 
identifying those design and operational activities at a disposal 
facility that may be impacted by GTCC and transuranic wastes. For 
example, the requirements in 10 CFR part 73 would require licensees to 
develop safeguards systems to protect against acts of radiological 
sabotage and to prevent the theft or diversion of Special Nuclear 
Material (i.e., transuranic waste such as plutonium, uranium-233, or 
uranium enriched in the isotopes uranium-233 or uranium-235) if a 
sufficient amount of Special Nuclear Material were present above ground 
at the disposal facility.
    Question 3: How might GTCC and transuranic wastes affect disposal 
facility design for post-closure safety including protection of an 
inadvertent intruder?
    The NRC is considering disposal units (e.g., a single trench, 
borehole, and vault) that would contain a single category of waste 
(e.g., sealed sources) as well as disposal units that contain a mixture 
of all three waste types. However, the NRC believes the best approach 
for understanding the issues would be to assume that waste within a 
disposal unit would be separated by the waste category and not be co-
mingled. Such an approach could provide a clear understanding of the 
issues associated with how a specific waste category might affect 
disposal facility design. Certain waste streams associated with GTCC 
and transuranic wastes have larger inventories and concentrations of 
radionuclides than was typically considered at LLRW disposal 
facilities. For example, certain GTCC and transuranic wastes in 
sufficient quantities have the potential for: (1) Significant thermal 
output that could affect degradation processes within a disposal unit, 
and (2) hydrogen gas generation through radiolysis that could also 
affect degradation processes of the waste package and waste form. 
Additionally, waste streams associated with GTCC and transuranic wastes 
may have fissile materials that require facilities to be designed to 
limit the potential for a criticality event or limit the amount of 
fissile material that can be disposed. There is a potential balance 
between security/safety and economic feasibility of design, 
construction, and operation. The NRC would like to hear from the 
stakeholders on these aspects as well. The information provided on 
economic feasibility would be in concert with the NRC's strategies on 
examining the cumulative effects of potential regulatory actions. The 
NRC is interested in identifying the various scenarios that should be 
considered in evaluating the post-closure safety for the disposal of 
GTCC and transuranic wastes especially scenarios associated with 
specific issues and concerns that may not have been previously 
considered for commercial disposal facilities (e.g., synergistic 
effects of the thermal output on geochemical processes affecting 
release of radionuclides).

V. Public Meeting

    To facilitate the understanding of the public and other 
stakeholders of these issues and the submission of comments, the NRC 
staff has scheduled a public meeting for February 22, 2018, from 1:00 
p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST) in the NRC Auditorium at 11545 Rockville, Pike, 
Rockville, MD. In addition, those wishing to participate by Webinar 
will be able to view the presentation slides prepared by the NRC and 
electronically submit comments during the meeting. Participants must 
register to participate in the Webinar. Registration information may be 
found in the meeting notice (https://www.nrc.gov/pmns/mtg?do=details&Code=20180033). The meeting notice can also be accessed 
through the NRC's public website under the headings Public Meetings & 
Involvement > Public Meeting Schedule; see web page https://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/publicmeetings/index.cfm.
    Additionally, the final agenda for the public meeting will be 
posted no fewer than 10 days prior to the Webinar at this website. 
Those who are unable to participate in person or via Webinar may also 
participate via teleconference. For details on how to participate via 
teleconference, please contact Sarah Achten; telephone: 301-415-6009; 
email: [email protected].

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this day of February 9, 2018.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Gregory F. Suber,
Acting Deputy Director, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery, 
and Waste Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2018-03085 Filed 2-13-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 7590-01-P