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DOE REOPENS THE WIPP FACILITY IN NEW MEXICO

On December 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) authorized the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) to reopen. On January 4, 2017, the facility began moving waste into the underground disposal facility.

The WIPP facility resumed disposal operations after almost three years of recovery operations following the early 2014 underground fire and a subsequent unrelated fire.

In July 2016, DOE approved strict new waste acceptance criteria for the WIPP facility. DOE sites will not be able to ship waste to the facility unless it meets the new criteria.

NRC RELEASES SECY 16-0106 REQUESTING COMMISSION APPROVAL TO PUBLISH FINAL RULE RE LLRW DISPOSAL (10 CFR PART 61)

On October 3, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) published SECY-16-0106, which seeks Commission approval to publish a final rule in the Federal Register that would amend Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Parts 20, “Standards for Protection Against Radiation,” and Part 61, “Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste.” According to SECY-16-0106, NRC staff intends to publish implementing guidance concurrently with the final rule.

Information regarding SECY-16-0106 and related documents may be found at the following links:

• ML16188A307 – SECY-16-0106: Final Rule: Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal (10 CFR Part 61)(RIN 3150-AI92) (10 page(s), 9/15/2016) http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1618/ML16188A307.pdf

• ML16188A371 – SECY-16-0106: FRN: Final Rule: 10 CFR Part 61 Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal (RIN 3150-A192) Enclosure 1 (288 page(s), 9/15/2016) http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1618/ML16188A371.pdf

• ML16189A050 – SECY-16-0106: RA: Final Rule 10 CFR Part 61 Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal (RIN 3150-A192) Enclosure 2 (46 page(s), 9/15/2016) http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1618/ML16189A050.pdf

The rule is before the Commission for review and is not final until the Commission votes.

For additional information on SECY-16-0106 and related documents, please contact either Gary Comfort at (301) 415-8106 or at Gary.Comfort (at) nrc (dot) gov or Stephen Dembeck at (301) 415-2342 or at Stephen.Dembek@nrc.gov.

NRC ISSUES NEW DOCUMENTS RE DECOMMISSIONING TIMELINESS RULE IMPLEMENTATION AND ASSOCIATED REGULATORY RELIEF

On September 27, 2015, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued Regulatory Issue Summary (RIS) 2015-19, Revision 1, Decommissioning Timeliness Rule Implementation and Associated Regulatory Relief.

The intent of the new document is to correct the reference for Administrative Letter 96-05, Revision 1, and to clarify language pertaining to the time period for completing decommissioning in the subsection labeled “Requirement To Begin Decommissioning.” In addition, the NRC is taking the opportunity to provide additional clarification to the sections “Alternate Schedules for Decommissioning” and “Requesting an Alternative to the DTR’s Timeliness Requirements.”

For additional information, please contact Greg Chapman, NMSS, at (301) 415-8718 or at Gregory.Chapman@nrc.gov.

NEW MANIFEST INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEM WEB SITE AND DATA

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has established a new Manifest Information Management System (MIMS) website. DOE is in the process of transferring datA from the old website to the new one.

The MIMS website is used to monitor and report the management of commercial LLRW in the U.S. and is accessible to all interested parties. The new web site address is http://mims.doe.gov.

Please contact Douglas Tonkay of the DOE’s Office of Disposal Operations at (301) 903-7212 or at Douglas.Tonkay@em.doe.gov for additional information.

TEXAS RELEASES DRAFT TWO-YEAR STORAGE RULE FOR COMMENT

In early September 2014, the Texas State Department of Health Services (TSDHS) released for public comment draft revisions to both 25 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §289.251 concerning exemptions, general licenses, and general license acknowledgements and 25 TAC §289.252 concerning licensing of radioactive material.

Among other things, the draft revisions seek to implement a two-year limit on the storage of disused sources for both specific and general licensees.

Public comments on the draft revisions were due by September 29, 2014.

The draft rules can be found at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/radiation/draft.shtm.

NRC RELEASES FINAL GEIS ON CONTINUED STORAGE OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) releases the final Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for the Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel. The document addresses the environmental impacts of continued storage of spent nuclear fuel beyond the licensed life for operations of a commercial nuclear reactor and provides a regulatory basis for the NRC’s final rule, “Continued Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel,” which was approved in August 2014.

The final rule and GEIS were renamed by the NRC from “waste confidence” to “continued storage of spent nuclear fuel.”

The final GEIS is published in NUREG-2157, which can be found on the NRC’s website at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/.

Please contact Sarah Lopas of the NRC at (301) 287-0675 or at Sarah.Lopas (at) nrc (dot) gov for additional information regarding the final GEIS.

NRC CERTIFIES GE-HITACHI NEW REACTOR DESIGN

On September 16, 2014, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a rule to certify GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor (ESBWR) design for use in the United States. The rule will go into effect 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register. The NRC has certified four other standard reactor designs: the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, System 80+, AP600, and AP1000.

Please go to the NRC’s website at www.nrc.gov. or contact Scott Burnell of the NRC at (301) 415-8200 for additional information about the ESBWR design review.

NRC LIFTS PROBATION FOR GEORGIA’S AGREEMENT STATE REGULATORY PROGRAM

On August 27, 2014, the U.S. NRC announced that it is taking Georgia’s Agreement State program off probation after a review earlier this year found the state has made significant progress in addressing several areas of unsatisfactory performance found in an earlier review. The NRC placed Georgia’s program on probation in August 2013. The program will remain under “heightened oversight,” which involves frequent interaction with NRC staff.

The NRC press release can be found here. www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2014/14.056.pdf

Contact Maureen Conley of the NRC at (301) 415-8200 for additional information.

NRC APPROVES FINAL RULE ON CONTINUED STORAGE OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL

On August 26, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the final rule on the environmental effects of continued storage of spent nuclear fuel, which was formerly known as the waste confidence rule.

The rule adopts the findings of the Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) regarding the environmental impacts of storing spent fuel at any reactor site after the reactor’s licensed period of operations. As a result, those generic impacts do not need to be re-analyzed in the environmental reviews for individual licenses.

In a separate order, the Commission also approved lifting the suspensions of final licensing actions on nuclear power plant licenses and renewals once the final rule becomes effective.

The NRC press release regarding the rule may be found here.

More information about the rule and GEIS is available on the NRC website at www.nrc.gov. The Commissioners’ individual vote records and comments on the final rule and GEIS will be posted at www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/cvr/2014/ (reference SECY-14-0072), and the Memorandum and Order lifting the licensing suspensions and providing direction on the resolution of related adjudicatory contentions will be posted at www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/orders/2014/.

Please contact Dave McIntrye of the NRC at (301) 415-8200 for additional information.

TEXAS – TCEQ DENIES CONTESTED CASE HEARING RE WCS MAJOR LICENSE AMENDMENT

On August 20, The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) voted to deny requests to have a contested case hearing on a significant amendment to the license for the Texas Compact disposal facility operated by Waste Control Specialists (WCS). The vote effectively amends the license to allow WCS to dispose up to 9 million cubic feet of waste and to begin accepting depleted uranium at the compact disposal facility. The amendment ale reduces the financial assurance that WCS is required to post from $136 million to $86 million.

For additional information, contact Rod Baltzer, President of WCS, at (972) 450-4235 or at rbaltzer@valhi.net. Contact information for TCEQ may be found here. www.tceq.state.tx.us/permitting/radmat/contact.html