Proposed Baseline Approval of the Remote-Handled Transuranic Waste Characterization Program Implemented at the Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories, 65383-65386 [2019-25671]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 27, 2019 / Notices estimated respondent burden compared with the ICR currently approved by OMB. This decrease shows the program is in maturity and is expected to operate with minimal change. Courtney Kerwin, Director, Collection Strategies Division. [FR Doc. 2019–25763 Filed 11–26–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA–HQ–OAR–2019–0634; FRL–10002–58– OAR] Proposed Baseline Approval of the Remote-Handled Transuranic Waste Characterization Program Implemented at the Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice of availability; opening of a 45-day public comment period. AGENCY: The EPA is proposing to approve SNL’s remote-handled transuranic waste characterization program based on the inspections conducted on June 24–25, 2014, and the offsite document review conducted April–July 2019. Until the Agency finalizes its baseline approval decision, the Carlsbad Field Office may not recertify SNL’s waste characterization program and the site may not ship transuranic waste to the WIPP for disposal. DATES: Comments must be received on or before January 13, 2020. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OAR–2019–0634, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or withdrawn. The EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not electronically submit any information you consider to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered the official comment and should include discussion of all points you wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment contents located outside of the SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:21 Nov 26, 2019 Jkt 250001 primary submission (i.e., on the web, cloud or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/ commenting-epa-dockets. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Edward Feltcorn (202–343–9422) or Jerry Ellis (202–564–2766), Radiation Protection Division, Center for Waste Management and Regulations, Mail Code 6608T, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20460; fax number: 202–343–2305; email addresses: feltcorn.ed@epa.gov or ellis.jerry@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. General Information What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA? Submitting CBI. Do not submit this information to the EPA through www.regulations.gov or email. Clearly mark the part or all of the information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or CD ROM that you mail to the EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD ROM as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD ROM the specific information that is claimed as CBI. In addition to one complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2. Tips for Preparing Your Comments. When submitting comments, remember to: • Identify the rulemaking by docket number and other identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date and page number). • Follow directions: The Agency may ask you to respond to specific questions or organize comments by referencing a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part or section number. • Explain why you agree or disagree; suggest alternatives and substitute language for your requested changes. • Describe any assumptions and provide any technical information and/ or data that you used. • If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how you arrived at PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 65383 your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be reproduced. • Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, and suggest alternatives. • Explain your views as clearly as possible, avoiding the use of profanity or personal threats. • Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period deadline identified. II. Background The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) is announcing the availability of, and soliciting public comment on, this proposed action. Initially, the EPA approved the Sandia National Laboratories’ (SNL) remotehandled transuranic waste characterization program in November 2011 for a limited duration, allowing the site to ship waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) for disposal (EPA Docket No. A–98–49; II–A4–155). In May 2014, the Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office informed the EPA that SNL had identified additional remote-handled transuranic debris waste requiring a new baseline inspection in accordance with 40 CFR 194.8. The EPA conducted this second baseline inspection in two phases. During the first phase, the EPA observed waste characterization activities while onsite at SNL in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and concurrently interviewed cognizant personnel offsite in Denver, Colorado, on June 24–25, 2014. In the second phase of the baseline inspection, the Agency reviewed waste characterization records offsite from April–July 2019 in Washington, DC. The EPA’s report documenting the inspection results and proposed baseline approval is available for review in the public dockets listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. The DOE operates the WIPP facility near Carlsbad in southeastern New Mexico as a deep geologic repository for disposal of defense-related transuranic (TRU) radioactive waste. TRU waste contains more than 100 nanocuries of alpha-emitting TRU isotopes, with halflives greater than twenty years, per gram of waste. Much of the existing TRU waste, which may also be contaminated with hazardous chemicals, consists of items contaminated during the production of nuclear weapons, such as debris waste (rags, equipment, tools) and solid waste (sludges, soil). E:\FR\FM\27NON1.SGM 27NON1 65384 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 27, 2019 / Notices Section 8(d)(2) of the WIPP Land Withdrawal Act (LWA) of 1992 provided that the EPA would certify whether the WIPP facility will comply with the Agency’s final disposal regulations, later codified at 40 CFR part 191, subparts B and C. On May 13, 1998, the Agency announced its final compliance certification to the Secretary of Energy (published May 18, 1998; 63 FR 27354), certifying that the WIPP will comply with the disposal regulations. The EPA’s certification of the WIPP was subject to various conditions, including conditions concerning quality assurance and waste characterization relating to EPA inspections, evaluations and approvals of the site-specific TRU waste characterization programs to ensure compliance with various EPA regulatory requirements, including those at 40 CFR 194.8, 194.22(a)(2)(i), 194.22(c)(4), 194.24(c)(3) and 194.24(c)(5). In addition, under the LWA, the initial WIPP certification was subject to quinquennial (every five years) recertification by the Agency. The EPA’s inspection and approval processes for waste generator sites, including quality assurance and waste characterization programs, are described at 40 CFR 194.8. Between November 2005 and April 2012, the EPA inspected waste characterization programs of previously approved sites. The Agency has discretion in establishing technical priorities; the ability to accommodate variation in the site’s waste characterization capabilities; and flexibility in scheduling site waste characterization inspections. In accordance with the conditions in the WIPP compliance certification and relevant regulatory provisions, including 40 CFR 194.8, the EPA conducts ‘‘baseline’’ inspections at waste generator sites, as well as subsequent inspections to confirm continued compliance. As part of a baseline inspection, the EPA evaluates each waste characterization process component (equipment, procedures and personnel training and experience) for adequacy and appropriateness in characterizing TRU waste intended for disposal at the WIPP. During the inspection, the site demonstrates its capabilities to characterize TRU waste(s) and its ability to comply with the regulatory limits and tracking requirements under § 194.24. The baseline inspection can result in approval with limitations and conditions or may require follow-up inspection(s) before approval. Within the approval documentation, the EPA specifies what subsequent program changes should be reported to the Agency, referred to as Tier 1 or Tier 2 VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:21 Nov 26, 2019 Jkt 250001 changes, depending largely on the anticipated effect of the changes on data quality. A Tier 1 designation requires that the CBFO provide to the EPA documentation on proposed changes to the approved components of an individual site-specific waste characterization process (such as radioassay equipment) which the Agency must approve before the change can be implemented. Tier 2 designated changes are minor changes to the approved components of individual waste characterization processes (such as visual examination procedures) which must also be reported to the EPA, but the site may implement such changes without awaiting Agency approval. After receiving notification of Tier 1 changes, the EPA may choose to inspect the site to evaluate technical adequacy. The inspections conducted to evaluate Tier 1 or Tier 2 changes are under the authority of the EPA’s WIPP compliance certification conditions and regulations, including 40 CFR 194.8 and 194.24(h). In addition to follow-up inspections, the EPA may opt to conduct continued compliance inspections at TRU waste sites with a baseline approval under the authority of the WIPP compliance certification regulations, including § 194.24(h). In accordance with 40 CFR 194.8, the EPA issues a Federal Register notice proposing a baseline compliance decision, dockets the inspection report for public review, and seeks public comment on the proposed decision for a minimum period of 45 days. The report describes the waste characterization processes the EPA inspected at the site, as well as their compliance with 40 CFR 194.8 and 194.24 requirements. Proposed Baseline Decision This notice announces the EPA’s proposed baseline approval of the remote-handled (RH) TRU debris waste characterization program implemented by the Central Characterization Program (CCP) at the DOE’s SNL, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In accordance with Title 40, Part 194, of the Code of Federal Regulations [40 CFR 94.8(b)], the EPA conducted Baseline Inspection No. EPA–SNL–CCP–RH– 06.14–8 of the CCP’s waste characterization program for RH TRU debris waste at SNL. Upon the EPA’s final approval, DOE can emplace SNL– CCP RH TRU debris waste in the WIPP. The EPA previously approved SNL– CCP’s RH TRU waste characterization program in November 2011 (EPA Docket No. A–98–49; II–A4–155). At the time, DOE expected that SNL–CCP would not PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 have an active RH TRU waste characterization program beyond fiscal year 2012. In March 2012, the EPA approved one Tier 1 (T1) change (EPA Docket No. A–98–49; II–A4–160, EPA Air e-Docket No: EPA–HQ–OAR–2001– 0012–0306). In May 2014, the Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) informed the EPA that SNL had identified additional RH TRU debris waste requiring a new baseline inspection in accordance with 40 CFR 194.8. The EPA is proposing to approve the SNL–CCP waste characterization program implemented to characterize RH TRU debris waste as documented in the report (‘‘Proposed Approval: EPA Baseline Inspection of the Central Characterization Program Remote-Handled Transuranic Waste Characterization Program for the Sandia National Laboratories’’; hereafter, ‘‘the report’’). The baseline inspection addressed in this notice occurred over an extended period of time. The EPA conducted the second baseline inspection in two segments: (1) Observing waste characterization activities Dose-to-Curie (DTC) and Visual Examination (VE) onsite at SNL in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and interviewing Acceptable Knowledge (AK) personnel offsite in Denver, Colorado, on June 24–25, 2014; and (2) a desktop review of waste characterization records in Washington, DC, from April–July 2019. The results of the baseline inspection documented in the report are a combination of the results of the 2014 DTC and VE observations at SNL, AK personnel interviews in Denver and the 2019 desktop review of all waste characterization records. This baseline inspection evaluated SNL–CCP’s RH waste characterization program for technical adequacy and, when approved, SNL–CCP would be allowed to ship waste already characterized under that program and to use the program’s components to characterize future RH waste in accordance with the conditions and limitations discussed in the report. SNL–CCP representatives stated that all SNL RH TRU waste has been characterized with completion of the activities described in the report. However, based on the EPA’s experience with RH TRU waste characterization programs, this proposed approval provides for the characterization of additional RH TRU wastes, subject to the conditions described below. Specifically, the proposed approval includes: (1) The AK process for RH TRU debris waste generated in the SNL Hot Cell Facility during the removal and packaging of experimental material and E:\FR\FM\27NON1.SGM 27NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 27, 2019 / Notices decontamination operations in Building 6580 and added to Waste Stream SNL– HCF–S5400–RH. The proposed approval also includes process generated waste from cleanup of the Auxiliary Hot Cell Facility after repackaging containers from Waste Stream SNL–HCF–S5400– RH. (2) The radiological characterization process using DTC and scaling factors for assigning radionuclide values for Waste Stream SNL–HCF–S5400–RH that is documented in Appendix C of CCP– AK–SNL–501, Revision 6, and supported by the calculation packages referenced in the report. (3) The VE process to identify waste material parameters and the physical form of RH TRU debris waste. CBFO currently presents the population of subject waste as 25 drums of RH TRU waste whose characterization activities were completed in 2015, using the processes observed and reviewed by the EPA in 2014. However, the Agency understands that there are two waste drums from Waste Stream SNL–HCF–S5400–RH that lack a clear path forward for disposal as RH TRU waste. One drum has an external dose rate that prevents shipment in its current configuration and, it appears, would require repacking into several drums to be eligible for shipment. The second drum contains HEPA filters associated with Waste Stream SNL–HCF–S5400–RH and SNL– CCP is not sure at the time of this notice if it will assay as contact-handled or RH TRU. If the wastes within one or both of the drums are part of this waste stream, they would be covered by this proposed baseline approval, provided they were characterized by the EPA-approved processes described in the report. The Agency is aware that processing these drums would require SNL–CCP to perform DTC and VE activities, at a minimum, which would be a T1 change, as stated in Table 1. To be clear, commencement of any RH TRU waste characterization activities by SNL–CCP from the date of the final baseline approval must be reported to and approved by the EPA, according to Table 1. All T1 changes must be submitted for approval before their implementation and will be evaluated by the EPA. Upon approval, the Agency 65385 will post the results of the evaluations through the EPA’s general WIPP eDocket. SNL–CCP must submit Tier 2 (T2) changes that have been implemented four times a year at the end of each fiscal quarter. The EPA’s final approval decision regarding the SNL–CCP RH TRU waste characterization program will be conveyed to DOE separately by letter following the EPA’s review of public comments responding to this notice. This information will be provided through the EPA’s WIPP docket provided for this action at regulations.gov (Docket No: EPA–HQ– OAR–2019–0634), in accordance with 40 CFR 194.8(b)(3). A summary of all WIPP-related EPA inspection statuses can also be found on the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/radiation/wasteisolation-pilot-plant-wipp-inspections, and any interested party can get these and other WIPP updates via the Agency’s WIPP–NEWS website (https:// www.epa.gov/radiation/wipp-news). Individuals may also subscribe to the WIPP–NEWS email listserv using the instructions on the website. TABLE 1—TIERING OF RH–TRU WASTE CHARACTERIZATION PROCESSES IMPLEMENTED BY SNL–CCP [Based on June 24–25, 2014, and April–July 2019 Baseline Inspection] Process elements SNL–CCP RH waste characterization process—Tier 1 (T1) changes requiring EPA approval SNL–CCP RH waste characterization process—reporting of Tier 2 (T2) changes * Acceptable Knowledge .............. Implementation of payload management for any waste stream .. Radiological Characterization, including Dose-To-Curie. Any radiological characterization processes performed after approval of the 2019 Baseline Inspection. Substantive modification ** to EPA-approved radiological characterization reports (e.g., CCP–AK–SNL–501). Visual Examination .................... Any VE performed after approval of the 2019 Baseline Inspection. Real-Time Radiography ............. Any use of RTR ............................................................................ Submission of a list of SNL–CCP RH AK Experts and Site Project Managers that performed work during the previous quarter. Notification to the EPA upon availability of or modification to AKSRs and certification test plans (e.g., CCP–AK–SNL–500, CCP–AK–SNL–502). Notification to the EPA upon availability of or substantive modification *** to: • CCP–TP–005, Attachments 8 and 9, including associated memoranda (e.g., add-container memoranda). • Waste stream profile form. • AK accuracy reports (annually, at a minimum). • Enhanced AK documents such as AK assessment, CCE and BOK memoranda (including addition of new figures or attachments). • Characterization procedures requiring CBFO approval. Submission of a list of SNL–CCP DTC operators, expert analysts and independent technical reviewers that performed work during the previous quarter. Notification to the EPA upon availability of or non-substantive modification ** to radiological characterization reports (e.g., CCP–AK–SNL–501). Notification to the EPA upon availability of or modification to characterization procedures requiring CBFO approval. Submission of a list of SNL–CCP VE Operators, VE Experts and independent technical reviewers that performed work during the previous quarter. Notification to the EPA upon availability of or modification to characterization procedures requiring CBFO approval. None. * SNL–CCP will report all T2 changes to the EPA every three months. ** ‘‘Substantive modification’’ refers to a change with the potential to affect SNL–CCP’s RH waste characterization processes or documentation of them, excluding changes that are solely related to the environment, safety and health; nuclear safety; or the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; or that are editorial in nature or are required to address administrative concerns. The EPA may request copies of new references that DOE adds during a document revision. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:21 Nov 26, 2019 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\27NON1.SGM 27NON1 65386 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 229 / Wednesday, November 27, 2019 / Notices III. Availability of the Baseline Inspection Report and Proposed Approval for Public Comment The EPA has placed the report discussing the results of the inspection of the RH TRU waste characterization program at the Sandia National Laboratory in the public docket as described in the ADDRESSES section of this document. In accordance with 40 CFR 194.8, the Agency is providing the public 45 days to comment on this and other documents and the EPA’s proposed decision to approve the SNL RH TRU waste characterization program. The Agency requests comments particularly concerning the Enhanced Acceptable Knowledge process, a major significant change made by the Sandia National Laboratory to its RH TRU waste characterization program as previously approved by the EPA in 2012. The Agency will accept public comment on this notice and supplemental information as described in Section I above. At the end of the public comment period, the EPA will evaluate all relevant public comments and, as the Agency may deem appropriate and necessary, revise the report and proposed decision or take other appropriate action. If the EPA concludes that there are no unresolved issues after the public comment period, the Agency will issue an approval letter and the final report. The letter of approval will authorize the DOE to use the approved waste characterization processes to characterize RH TRU waste at SNL. Information on the approval decision will be filed in the official public docket opened for this action on www.regulations.gov, Docket ID No. EPA–HQ–OAR–2019–0634 (as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document). Dated: November 14, 2019. Jonathan D. Edwards, Director, Office of Radiation and Indoor Air. [FR Doc. 2019–25671 Filed 11–26–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY [EPA–HQ–OPA–2007–0042; FRL–10002–57– OLEM] Proposed Information Collection Request; Comment Request; The National Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Contingency Plan Regulation, Subpart J (40 CFR 300.900) (Renewal) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:21 Nov 26, 2019 Jkt 250001 ACTION: Notice. The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to submit an information collection request (ICR), ‘‘The National Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Contingency Plan Regulation, Subpart J (40 CFR 300.900)’’ (EPA ICR No. 1664.12, OMB Control No. 2050–0141) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act. Before doing so, EPA is soliciting public comments on specific aspects of the proposed information collection as described below. This is a proposed extension of the ICR, which is currently approved through October 31, 2020. An Agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. DATES: Comments must be submitted on or before January 27, 2020. ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, referencing Docket ID No. EPA–HQ– OPA–2007–0042, online using www.regulations.gov (our preferred method) or by mail to: EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460. EPA’s policy is that all comments received will be included in the public docket without change including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes profanity, threats, information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Wendy Hoffman, Office of Emergency Management, Regulations Implementation Division (5104A), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20460; telephone number: 202–564– 8794; fax number: 202–564–2620; email address: hoffman.wendy@epa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supporting documents which explain in detail the information that the EPA will be collecting are available in the public docket for this ICR. The docket can be viewed online at www.regulations.gov or in person at the EPA Docket Center, WJC West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave. NW, Washington, DC. The telephone number for the Docket Center is 202–566–1744. For additional information about EPA’s public docket, visit http://www.epa.gov/dockets. Pursuant to section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), EPA SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 is soliciting comments and information to enable it to: (i) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (ii) evaluate the accuracy of the Agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (iii) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (iv) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses. EPA will consider the comments received and amend the ICR as appropriate. The final ICR package will then be submitted to OMB for review and approval. At that time, EPA will issue another Federal Register notice to announce the submission of the ICR to OMB and the opportunity to submit additional comments to OMB. Abstract: This Information Collection Request (ICR) renewal supports activities to implement the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), Subpart J (40 CFR 300.900), ‘‘Use of Dispersants and Other Chemicals.’’ The use of bioremediation agents, dispersants, surface washing agents, surface collecting agents and miscellaneous oil spill control agents in response to oil spills in U.S. waters or adjoining shorelines is governed by Subpart J of the NCP regulation (40 CFR 300.900). Subpart J requirements include criteria for listing oil spill mitigating agents on the NCP Product Schedule, hereafter referred to as the Schedule. EPA’s regulation, which is codified at 40 CFR 300.00, requires that EPA prepare a schedule of ‘‘dispersants, other chemicals, and other spill mitigating devices and substances, if any, that may be used in carrying out the NCP.’’ The Schedule is required by section 311(d)(2)(G) of the Clean Water Act (CWA), as amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The Schedule is used by Federal On-Scene Coordinators (FOSCs), Regional Response Teams (RRTs), and Area Planners to identify spill mitigating agents in preparation for and response to oil spills. Under Subpart J, manufacturers who want to add a product to the Schedule must submit technical product data to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or Agency) as stipulated in 40 CFR 300.915. Subpart J requires the E:\FR\FM\27NON1.SGM 27NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 229 (Wednesday, November 27, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65383-65386]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-25671]


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

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[EPA-HQ-OAR-2019-0634; FRL-10002-58-OAR]


Proposed Baseline Approval of the Remote-Handled Transuranic 
Waste Characterization Program Implemented at the Department of 
Energy's Sandia National Laboratories

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of availability; opening of a 45-day public comment 
period.

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

SUMMARY: The EPA is proposing to approve SNL's remote-handled 
transuranic waste characterization program based on the inspections 
conducted on June 24-25, 2014, and the offsite document review 
conducted April-July 2019. Until the Agency finalizes its baseline 
approval decision, the Carlsbad Field Office may not recertify SNL's 
waste characterization program and the site may not ship transuranic 
waste to the WIPP for disposal.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before January 13, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-
OAR-2019-0634, to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting 
comments. Once submitted, comments cannot be edited or withdrawn. The 
EPA may publish any comment received to its public docket. Do not 
electronically submit any information you consider to be Confidential 
Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is 
restricted by statute. Multimedia submissions (audio, video, etc.) must 
be accompanied by a written comment. The written comment is considered 
the official comment and should include discussion of all points you 
wish to make. The EPA will generally not consider comments or comment 
contents located outside of the primary submission (i.e., on the web, 
cloud or other file sharing system). For additional submission methods, 
the full EPA public comment policy, information about CBI or multimedia 
submissions, and general guidance on making effective comments, please 
visit: http://www2.epa.gov/dockets/commenting-epa-dockets.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Edward Feltcorn (202-343-9422) or 
Jerry Ellis (202-564-2766), Radiation Protection Division, Center for 
Waste Management and Regulations, Mail Code 6608T, U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20460; fax 
number: 202-343-2305; email addresses: [email protected] or 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. General Information

What should I consider as I prepare my comments for EPA?

    Submitting CBI. Do not submit this information to the EPA through 
www.regulations.gov or email. Clearly mark the part or all of the 
information that you claim to be CBI. For CBI information in a disk or 
CD ROM that you mail to the EPA, mark the outside of the disk or CD ROM 
as CBI and then identify electronically within the disk or CD ROM the 
specific information that is claimed as CBI. In addition to one 
complete version of the comment that includes information claimed as 
CBI, a copy of the comment that does not contain the information 
claimed as CBI must be submitted for inclusion in the public docket. 
Information so marked will not be disclosed except in accordance with 
procedures set forth in 40 CFR part 2.
    Tips for Preparing Your Comments. When submitting comments, 
remember to:
     Identify the rulemaking by docket number and other 
identifying information (subject heading, Federal Register date and 
page number).
     Follow directions: The Agency may ask you to respond to 
specific questions or organize comments by referencing a Code of 
Federal Regulations (CFR) part or section number.
     Explain why you agree or disagree; suggest alternatives 
and substitute language for your requested changes.
     Describe any assumptions and provide any technical 
information and/or data that you used.
     If you estimate potential costs or burdens, explain how 
you arrived at your estimate in sufficient detail to allow for it to be 
reproduced.
     Provide specific examples to illustrate your concerns, and 
suggest alternatives.
     Explain your views as clearly as possible, avoiding the 
use of profanity or personal threats.
     Make sure to submit your comments by the comment period 
deadline identified.

II. Background

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) is 
announcing the availability of, and soliciting public comment on, this 
proposed action. Initially, the EPA approved the Sandia National 
Laboratories' (SNL) remote-handled transuranic waste characterization 
program in November 2011 for a limited duration, allowing the site to 
ship waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) for disposal (EPA 
Docket No. A-98-49; II-A4-155). In May 2014, the Department of Energy's 
Carlsbad Field Office informed the EPA that SNL had identified 
additional remote-handled transuranic debris waste requiring a new 
baseline inspection in accordance with 40 CFR 194.8. The EPA conducted 
this second baseline inspection in two phases. During the first phase, 
the EPA observed waste characterization activities while onsite at SNL 
in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and concurrently interviewed cognizant 
personnel offsite in Denver, Colorado, on June 24-25, 2014. In the 
second phase of the baseline inspection, the Agency reviewed waste 
characterization records offsite from April-July 2019 in Washington, 
DC. The EPA's report documenting the inspection results and proposed 
baseline approval is available for review in the public dockets listed 
in the ADDRESSES section of this document.
    The DOE operates the WIPP facility near Carlsbad in southeastern 
New Mexico as a deep geologic repository for disposal of defense-
related transuranic (TRU) radioactive waste. TRU waste contains more 
than 100 nanocuries of alpha-emitting TRU isotopes, with half-lives 
greater than twenty years, per gram of waste. Much of the existing TRU 
waste, which may also be contaminated with hazardous chemicals, 
consists of items contaminated during the production of nuclear 
weapons, such as debris waste (rags, equipment, tools) and solid waste 
(sludges, soil).

[[Page 65384]]

    Section 8(d)(2) of the WIPP Land Withdrawal Act (LWA) of 1992 
provided that the EPA would certify whether the WIPP facility will 
comply with the Agency's final disposal regulations, later codified at 
40 CFR part 191, subparts B and C. On May 13, 1998, the Agency 
announced its final compliance certification to the Secretary of Energy 
(published May 18, 1998; 63 FR 27354), certifying that the WIPP will 
comply with the disposal regulations. The EPA's certification of the 
WIPP was subject to various conditions, including conditions concerning 
quality assurance and waste characterization relating to EPA 
inspections, evaluations and approvals of the site-specific TRU waste 
characterization programs to ensure compliance with various EPA 
regulatory requirements, including those at 40 CFR 194.8, 
194.22(a)(2)(i), 194.22(c)(4), 194.24(c)(3) and 194.24(c)(5). In 
addition, under the LWA, the initial WIPP certification was subject to 
quinquennial (every five years) recertification by the Agency.
    The EPA's inspection and approval processes for waste generator 
sites, including quality assurance and waste characterization programs, 
are described at 40 CFR 194.8. Between November 2005 and April 2012, 
the EPA inspected waste characterization programs of previously 
approved sites. The Agency has discretion in establishing technical 
priorities; the ability to accommodate variation in the site's waste 
characterization capabilities; and flexibility in scheduling site waste 
characterization inspections.
    In accordance with the conditions in the WIPP compliance 
certification and relevant regulatory provisions, including 40 CFR 
194.8, the EPA conducts ``baseline'' inspections at waste generator 
sites, as well as subsequent inspections to confirm continued 
compliance. As part of a baseline inspection, the EPA evaluates each 
waste characterization process component (equipment, procedures and 
personnel training and experience) for adequacy and appropriateness in 
characterizing TRU waste intended for disposal at the WIPP. During the 
inspection, the site demonstrates its capabilities to characterize TRU 
waste(s) and its ability to comply with the regulatory limits and 
tracking requirements under Sec.  194.24. The baseline inspection can 
result in approval with limitations and conditions or may require 
follow-up inspection(s) before approval. Within the approval 
documentation, the EPA specifies what subsequent program changes should 
be reported to the Agency, referred to as Tier 1 or Tier 2 changes, 
depending largely on the anticipated effect of the changes on data 
quality.
    A Tier 1 designation requires that the CBFO provide to the EPA 
documentation on proposed changes to the approved components of an 
individual site-specific waste characterization process (such as 
radioassay equipment) which the Agency must approve before the change 
can be implemented. Tier 2 designated changes are minor changes to the 
approved components of individual waste characterization processes 
(such as visual examination procedures) which must also be reported to 
the EPA, but the site may implement such changes without awaiting 
Agency approval. After receiving notification of Tier 1 changes, the 
EPA may choose to inspect the site to evaluate technical adequacy. The 
inspections conducted to evaluate Tier 1 or Tier 2 changes are under 
the authority of the EPA's WIPP compliance certification conditions and 
regulations, including 40 CFR 194.8 and 194.24(h). In addition to 
follow-up inspections, the EPA may opt to conduct continued compliance 
inspections at TRU waste sites with a baseline approval under the 
authority of the WIPP compliance certification regulations, including 
Sec.  194.24(h).
    In accordance with 40 CFR 194.8, the EPA issues a Federal Register 
notice proposing a baseline compliance decision, dockets the inspection 
report for public review, and seeks public comment on the proposed 
decision for a minimum period of 45 days. The report describes the 
waste characterization processes the EPA inspected at the site, as well 
as their compliance with 40 CFR 194.8 and 194.24 requirements.

Proposed Baseline Decision

    This notice announces the EPA's proposed baseline approval of the 
remote-handled (RH) TRU debris waste characterization program 
implemented by the Central Characterization Program (CCP) at the DOE's 
SNL, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In accordance with Title 40, Part 194, 
of the Code of Federal Regulations [40 CFR 94.8(b)], the EPA conducted 
Baseline Inspection No. EPA-SNL-CCP-RH-06.14-8 of the CCP's waste 
characterization program for RH TRU debris waste at SNL. Upon the EPA's 
final approval, DOE can emplace SNL-CCP RH TRU debris waste in the 
WIPP. The EPA previously approved SNL-CCP's RH TRU waste 
characterization program in November 2011 (EPA Docket No. A-98-49; II-
A4-155). At the time, DOE expected that SNL-CCP would not have an 
active RH TRU waste characterization program beyond fiscal year 2012. 
In March 2012, the EPA approved one Tier 1 (T1) change (EPA Docket No. 
A-98-49; II-A4-160, EPA Air e-Docket No: EPA-HQ-OAR-2001-0012-0306). In 
May 2014, the Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) informed the EPA that SNL 
had identified additional RH TRU debris waste requiring a new baseline 
inspection in accordance with 40 CFR 194.8. The EPA is proposing to 
approve the SNL-CCP waste characterization program implemented to 
characterize RH TRU debris waste as documented in the report 
(``Proposed Approval: EPA Baseline Inspection of the Central 
Characterization Program Remote-Handled Transuranic Waste 
Characterization Program for the Sandia National Laboratories''; 
hereafter, ``the report''). The baseline inspection addressed in this 
notice occurred over an extended period of time. The EPA conducted the 
second baseline inspection in two segments: (1) Observing waste 
characterization activities Dose-to-Curie (DTC) and Visual Examination 
(VE) onsite at SNL in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and interviewing 
Acceptable Knowledge (AK) personnel offsite in Denver, Colorado, on 
June 24-25, 2014; and (2) a desktop review of waste characterization 
records in Washington, DC, from April-July 2019. The results of the 
baseline inspection documented in the report are a combination of the 
results of the 2014 DTC and VE observations at SNL, AK personnel 
interviews in Denver and the 2019 desktop review of all waste 
characterization records.
    This baseline inspection evaluated SNL-CCP's RH waste 
characterization program for technical adequacy and, when approved, 
SNL-CCP would be allowed to ship waste already characterized under that 
program and to use the program's components to characterize future RH 
waste in accordance with the conditions and limitations discussed in 
the report. SNL-CCP representatives stated that all SNL RH TRU waste 
has been characterized with completion of the activities described in 
the report. However, based on the EPA's experience with RH TRU waste 
characterization programs, this proposed approval provides for the 
characterization of additional RH TRU wastes, subject to the conditions 
described below. Specifically, the proposed approval includes:
    (1) The AK process for RH TRU debris waste generated in the SNL Hot 
Cell Facility during the removal and packaging of experimental material 
and

[[Page 65385]]

decontamination operations in Building 6580 and added to Waste Stream 
SNL-HCF-S5400-RH. The proposed approval also includes process generated 
waste from cleanup of the Auxiliary Hot Cell Facility after repackaging 
containers from Waste Stream SNL-HCF-S5400-RH.
    (2) The radiological characterization process using DTC and scaling 
factors for assigning radionuclide values for Waste Stream SNL-HCF-
S5400-RH that is documented in Appendix C of CCP-AK-SNL-501, Revision 
6, and supported by the calculation packages referenced in the report.
    (3) The VE process to identify waste material parameters and the 
physical form of RH TRU debris waste.
    CBFO currently presents the population of subject waste as 25 drums 
of RH TRU waste whose characterization activities were completed in 
2015, using the processes observed and reviewed by the EPA in 2014. 
However, the Agency understands that there are two waste drums from 
Waste Stream SNL-HCF-S5400-RH that lack a clear path forward for 
disposal as RH TRU waste. One drum has an external dose rate that 
prevents shipment in its current configuration and, it appears, would 
require repacking into several drums to be eligible for shipment. The 
second drum contains HEPA filters associated with Waste Stream SNL-HCF-
S5400-RH and SNL-CCP is not sure at the time of this notice if it will 
assay as contact-handled or RH TRU.
    If the wastes within one or both of the drums are part of this 
waste stream, they would be covered by this proposed baseline approval, 
provided they were characterized by the EPA-approved processes 
described in the report. The Agency is aware that processing these 
drums would require SNL-CCP to perform DTC and VE activities, at a 
minimum, which would be a T1 change, as stated in Table 1. To be clear, 
commencement of any RH TRU waste characterization activities by SNL-CCP 
from the date of the final baseline approval must be reported to and 
approved by the EPA, according to Table 1. All T1 changes must be 
submitted for approval before their implementation and will be 
evaluated by the EPA. Upon approval, the Agency will post the results 
of the evaluations through the EPA's general WIPP eDocket. SNL-CCP must 
submit Tier 2 (T2) changes that have been implemented four times a year 
at the end of each fiscal quarter.
    The EPA's final approval decision regarding the SNL-CCP RH TRU 
waste characterization program will be conveyed to DOE separately by 
letter following the EPA's review of public comments responding to this 
notice. This information will be provided through the EPA's WIPP docket 
provided for this action at regulations.gov (Docket No: EPA-HQ-OAR-
2019-0634), in accordance with 40 CFR 194.8(b)(3). A summary of all 
WIPP-related EPA inspection statuses can also be found on the EPA 
website at https://www.epa.gov/radiation/waste-isolation-pilot-plant-wipp-inspections, and any interested party can get these and other WIPP 
updates via the Agency's WIPP-NEWS website (https://www.epa.gov/radiation/wipp-news). Individuals may also subscribe to the WIPP-NEWS 
email listserv using the instructions on the website.

 Table 1--Tiering of RH-TRU Waste Characterization Processes Implemented
                               by SNL-CCP
  [Based on June 24-25, 2014, and April-July 2019 Baseline Inspection]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                SNL-CCP RH waste      SNL-CCP RH waste
                                characterization      characterization
      Process elements        process--Tier 1 (T1)   process--reporting
                                changes requiring      of Tier 2 (T2)
                                  EPA approval            changes *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Acceptable Knowledge........  Implementation of     Submission of a list
                               payload management    of SNL-CCP RH AK
                               for any waste         Experts and Site
                               stream.               Project Managers
                                                     that performed work
                                                     during the previous
                                                     quarter.
                                                    Notification to the
                                                     EPA upon
                                                     availability of or
                                                     modification to
                                                     AKSRs and
                                                     certification test
                                                     plans (e.g., CCP-AK-
                                                     SNL-500, CCP-AK-SNL-
                                                     502).
                                                    Notification to the
                                                     EPA upon
                                                     availability of or
                                                     substantive
                                                     modification ***
                                                     to:
                                                        CCP-TP-
                                                        005, Attachments
                                                        8 and 9,
                                                        including
                                                        associated
                                                        memoranda (e.g.,
                                                        add-container
                                                        memoranda).
                                                        Waste
                                                        stream profile
                                                        form.
                                                        AK
                                                        accuracy reports
                                                        (annually, at a
                                                        minimum).
                                                        Enhanced
                                                        AK documents
                                                        such as AK
                                                        assessment, CCE
                                                        and BOK
                                                        memoranda
                                                        (including
                                                        addition of new
                                                        figures or
                                                        attachments).
                                                       
                                                        Characterization
                                                        procedures
                                                        requiring CBFO
                                                        approval.
Radiological                  Any radiological      Submission of a list
 Characterization, including   characterization      of SNL-CCP DTC
 Dose-To-Curie.                processes performed   operators, expert
                               after approval of     analysts and
                               the 2019 Baseline     independent
                               Inspection.           technical reviewers
                              Substantive            that performed work
                               modification ** to    during the previous
                               EPA-approved          quarter.
                               radiological         Notification to the
                               characterization      EPA upon
                               reports (e.g., CCP-   availability of or
                               AK-SNL-501)..         non-substantive
                                                     modification ** to
                                                     radiological
                                                     characterization
                                                     reports (e.g., CCP-
                                                     AK-SNL-501).
                                                    Notification to the
                                                     EPA upon
                                                     availability of or
                                                     modification to
                                                     characterization
                                                     procedures
                                                     requiring CBFO
                                                     approval.
Visual Examination..........  Any VE performed      Submission of a list
                               after approval of     of SNL-CCP VE
                               the 2019 Baseline     Operators, VE
                               Inspection.           Experts and
                                                     independent
                                                     technical reviewers
                                                     that performed work
                                                     during the previous
                                                     quarter.
                                                    Notification to the
                                                     EPA upon
                                                     availability of or
                                                     modification to
                                                     characterization
                                                     procedures
                                                     requiring CBFO
                                                     approval.
Real-Time Radiography.......  Any use of RTR......  None.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* SNL-CCP will report all T2 changes to the EPA every three months.
** ``Substantive modification'' refers to a change with the potential to
  affect SNL-CCP's RH waste characterization processes or documentation
  of them, excluding changes that are solely related to the environment,
  safety and health; nuclear safety; or the Resource Conservation and
  Recovery Act; or that are editorial in nature or are required to
  address administrative concerns. The EPA may request copies of new
  references that DOE adds during a document revision.


[[Page 65386]]

III. Availability of the Baseline Inspection Report and Proposed 
Approval for Public Comment

    The EPA has placed the report discussing the results of the 
inspection of the RH TRU waste characterization program at the Sandia 
National Laboratory in the public docket as described in the ADDRESSES 
section of this document. In accordance with 40 CFR 194.8, the Agency 
is providing the public 45 days to comment on this and other documents 
and the EPA's proposed decision to approve the SNL RH TRU waste 
characterization program. The Agency requests comments particularly 
concerning the Enhanced Acceptable Knowledge process, a major 
significant change made by the Sandia National Laboratory to its RH TRU 
waste characterization program as previously approved by the EPA in 
2012. The Agency will accept public comment on this notice and 
supplemental information as described in Section I above. At the end of 
the public comment period, the EPA will evaluate all relevant public 
comments and, as the Agency may deem appropriate and necessary, revise 
the report and proposed decision or take other appropriate action. If 
the EPA concludes that there are no unresolved issues after the public 
comment period, the Agency will issue an approval letter and the final 
report. The letter of approval will authorize the DOE to use the 
approved waste characterization processes to characterize RH TRU waste 
at SNL.
    Information on the approval decision will be filed in the official 
public docket opened for this action on www.regulations.gov, Docket ID 
No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2019-0634 (as listed in the ADDRESSES section of this 
document).

    Dated: November 14, 2019.
Jonathan D. Edwards,
Director, Office of Radiation and Indoor Air.
[FR Doc. 2019-25671 Filed 11-26-19; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P