~ REPORT TO THE ’ JOINT COMMITTEE ON ATOMIC ENERGY CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES ./ -=.L Progress And Problems In Programs For Managing’” High-Level Radioactive Wastes”l-164052 Atomic Energy CornmissIon “,& BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES I COMf=TROLLE*R GEZNbRAL OF THE UNITED STATES WASHINGTON DC 20548 B-164052 Dear Mr Chairman* This IS our report on progress and problems m pro- grams for managmg high-level radloactlve wastes by the Atomic Energy Commlsslon. The reylew was made In ac- cordance with requests made on October 24 and Decem- ber 15, 1969 Copies of this report are bemg sent today to the Vice Chalrman of your Commlttee and to the Atomic Energy Commlsslon. We believe that the contents of this report would be of interest to other committees and members of Con- Press I’,..- Contents Page DIGEST 1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 6 2 INTERIM AND LONG-TERM STORAGE OF AEC'S HIGH- LEVEL RADIOACTIVEWASTES 15 APPENDIX Page III Prlnclpal management offxrals of the Atomic Energy Commlsslon responsible for admlnls- tratlon of actlvltxes dlscussed In this report 105 ABBREVIATIONS AEC Atomic Energy Commlsslon GAO General Accounting Office COMPTROLLER GENERAL'SREPORT TO PROGRESSAND PROBLEMSIN THEJOINT COMMITTEE ONATOMICENERGY PROGRAMSFOR MANAGING HIGH- CONGRESS OF THEUNITEDSTATES LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTES Atomic Energy Commission B-164052 -DIGEST ----- WHYTHEREVIEWWASMADE The General Accounting Office (GAO) reviewed the po11c1es and procedures of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) for the management of radloactlve wastes, to determine the actions taken on the matters discussed In GAO's previous report dated May 29, 1968, on this subJect. This review, like Its predecessor, was made at the request of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Congress of the United States. A subJect of widespread concern and Interest, AEC's radioactive waste management programs are designed to protect the public, private and pub- 11c property, and the general environment from the hazards of excessive radiation from radioactive wastes FINDINGSANDCONCLUSIONS ~ropess made AEC has made progress In carrying out Its programs for the effective management of radioactive waste materials which must be contained ana Isolated from that art of the earth and Its atmosphere where life ex- ists ('the biosphere P Since the issuance of GAO's prior report, AEC has --Taken further steps to Improve policies and practices at its opera- tional sites for the safe storage of high-level radloactlve wastes. (See p 15 ) --Made progress toward developing and Implementing long-term-storage methods for radioactive wastes being retained on an interim basis In tank storage as llqulds and as wet solids (See p. 33 > --Initiated an evaluation of the adequacy of the policies and prac- tices followed at operatlonal sites in the ground burial of radlo- active solid wastes. (See p 48 ) --Taken steps to develop and Implement plans for long-term storage of plutonium-contaminated wastes (See p 49 ) 1 --EstablIshed (May 1970) a Dlvlslon of Waste and Scrap Management which will (1) review and approve or disapprove AEC Installation waste management plans, (2) coordinate management of storage and ground burial of contaminated sol id wastes, and (3) manage opera- tions of Federal reposltorles for disposal of solldifled and solid wastes (See P 9 ) --Announced (June 1970) the selectlon of a site and plans for the development of an ln7tlal Federal repository for the demonstration of long-term storage In salt mines of high-level radloactlve solidi- fled wastes and plutonium-contaminated solId wastes. (See p, 61 ) --Published (November 1970) an amendment to its llcenslng regulations to establish criteria on siting of commercial fuel-reprocessing plants, interim storage of radloactlve wastes generated at such plants, and long-term storage of such wastes in Federal reposlto- ries. (See p. 64 ) ProGZemareas AEC 1s faced w7th complex technical problems associated with the man- agement of large quantities of high-level radioactIve wastes generated at its various installations The bulk of such wastes was generated at the chemical-reprocessing plants prior to the development of the tech- nology now available for handling these wastes Although considerable progress has been made by AEC, as stated above, problems remain to be resolved and delays are being experienced in Implement7ng certain policies and practices. GAO has noted that, --Implementation of some programs to provide for lnterlm or long-term storage of radloactlve solidlfled wastes held in underground tanks has been delayed because of operational and technical dlfflcultles. (See p 15 ) --As the waste storage tanks and engIneered systems Increase in age and are utlllzed more because of the accumulation of new wastes, there 1s an increased possl6lllty of tank incidents occurring until all liquids are removed from the older tanks (See p. 33 ) --The proposal for long-term storage in bedrock caverns of wastes which are now retained in underground tanks at the Savannah River Plant requires further evaluation by underground exploration before it can be approved (See p 33 1 4\ --Considerably more time 1s believed necessary before a determlnatlon can be made as to whether the interim-storage method being employed at Rlchland for certain wastes (solids in exlstlng tanks) will be acceptable for long-term storage (See p 33 )SJC --AEC's goal for long-term storage of plutontum-contaminated solld wastes ~111 be more difficult to achjeve If it becomes necessary to retrieve and transfer slgnlflcant quantltles of waste burled prior to April 30, 1970, since provision for retrieval was not a primary consideration at the time of burial (See p. 47 ) ComnerczaZZy generated wastes In addition to managing its own waste, AEC IS responsTble for regulating practices of commercial firms and for ensuring safe, long-term storage of the large volumes of radioactlve wastes that have been and will be generated by licensed fuel-reprocessing plants With advances in technology, AEC has developed--and must continue to develop--regulations, in advance, so that the problems to be encoun- tered by the emerging commercial fuel-reprocessing industry can be re- solved on a reasonably timely basis. ConcZuszons Although AEC has assigned a high priority to radloactlve-waste manage- ment programs, GAO believes that the level of effort given to these programs should be increased in view of their extraordlnarlly complex charactenstlcs The problems and delays being experienced are attnb- utable primarily to a need for more deflnltlve technology on such mat- ters as the relative merits of alternative practices and proposals for interim and long-term storage. AEC's decision in June 1970 to develop salt mines for potential use as a Federal repository and its announcement in November1970 of waste management regulations for private industry are maJor milestones If the development of the Federal repository proceeds on schedule and proves successful, private operators should be able to avoid the waste management problems of the type experienced in the past by AEC when the lack of technology resulted In the accumulation of large volumes of high-level radioactive liquid wastes. GAO believes that, to provide greater assurance that appropriate prion- ties are asslgned to the overall waste management program, AEC should further develop and consolidate its plans for resolving waste manage- ment problems into an overall coordinated plan Such a plan should provide the following information for each type of radloactlve waste generated by both AECand private andustry at the various locations ln- volved --The current status of the waste management program, both interim and long-term proJects --The specific actions necessary to resolve exlstlng problems and achieve acceptable waste-storage goals --The time frames over whTch these actlons can be carried out --The estimated costs Involved, by fiscal year, In carrying out these actlons. RECOMENDATIONS ORSUGGESTIONS The Dlvlsion of Waste and Scrap Management should give its immediate attention to consolldatlng and lmplementlng the overall radioactlve waste management plan described above. GAO believes that, when such a plan has been established, this Division should be assigned responslbll- lty (1) for recommending prlorlties for waste storage methods and for coordinating the conduct of research and development of waste storage methods to meet these prlorltles, (2) for recommending long-term storage methods, (3) for establishing criteria for interim storage, (4) for re- viewing and evaluating the progress made Sy the program divlslons, and (5) for coordinating matters affecting both AEC and private Industry waste management practices with AEC program and regulatory dlvlslons. AGENCY AC?'IOIVS ANDUNRESOLVED ISSUES AEC offlclals Informed GAO that the Dlvislon of Waste and Scrap Man- agement had been assigned the responsibility for developing and ample- mentlng a plan for the storage of high-level radioactive wastes from licensed facilltles in the proposed Federal repository in Lyons, Kansas, and for managlng AEC's alpha, or plutonium-contaminated, wastes The Dlvlslon also has been directed to coordinate the consolldatlon of an overall AEC plan for radioactive waste management The plan, which ~111 be largely a consolidation of plans developed or being developed by various AEC div1slons, offices3 and contractors, 1s expected to be completed early In fiscal year 1972 It IS to be updated as required to reflect maJor needs and developments in waste management activities. AEC stated that the Division of Waste and Scrap Management had been or would be given the other responslbIlltles cited in GAO's recommendation. The Dlvtslon of Waste and Scrap Management currently has responslblllty for reviewing and approving or disapproving, In consultation with cog- nizant program and staff dlv1slons, waste management plans of AEC in- stallations This responslbillty carries with it the responslblllty for monitoring progress toward achieving overall AEC plans and ObJectives. (See p 70 > Under present organlzatlonal arrangements, AEC's Dlvlslon of Production ~111 continue to have primary responslblllty for the management of 4 high-level radloactlve wastes from AEC fuel-reprocessing installations, 1ncl udlng responsebll lty for research and development of long-term- storage methods for such wastes. GAO was advised that the Bivislon of Production’s actlvltles would be conducted in accordance with the approved overall waste management plan and that its efforts to develop or improve storage methods would be coordinated with those of the Dlvlslon of Waste and Scrap Manage- ment. Various budget and organizat?onal alternatlves within AEC also are being considered with the ObJective of ensuring that the approved overall waste management plan will be effectively implemented. 5 CHAPTER1 INTRODUCTION In accordance with requests made on October 24 and December 15,1969, by the Joint Committee on Atomxc Energy, Congress of the United States (see apps. I and II>, the General Accounting Office has made a review of the Atomic Energy Commlssionqs management of high-level radioactive waste materials. The objectives of our review were to de- termine AEC actions taken after our prior report to the Joint Committee on observations concerning the management of high-level radioactive waste material (B-164052, P&jL9, _1968), . Our review was directed primarily toward evaluating certain aspects of ARC's waste management programs at four ARC field offices. We visited two commercial plants' one is generating and one will generate radioactive waste. The scope of our review is described in chapter 6. The purpose of ARC's waste management policxes and pro- cedures IS to ensure that waste management activities are conducted in such a manner as to protect --the health and safetyof ARC and ARC-contractor em- ployees and the general public, --the quality of the environment, and --private and public property. The potential hazards to mankind from radioactive wastes stem from the basic characteristics of the wastes' radloisotopic contaminants. Allowing these radioisotopes to decay naturally is the only practicable means of reducing their radioactivity to nonhazardous levels. Although many radioisotopes decay rapidly, some decay at such a slow rate that they could represent a potential hazard to mankind for centuries. The isotopes in the waste that are of greatest concern to health and safety are generally those which are highly 6 toxic and/or have long half-lives, such as strontium, ce- sium, and plutonium. AEC's radioactive waste storage tanks contain strontium-90 and cesium-137, which require hundreds of years to decay before they no longer pose a health hazard, and plutonium-239, which requires approximately 500,000 years to decay to an innocuous level. The plutonium-239 contained in AEC's solid and liquid wastes is in such low concentrations as to be considered uneconomical to recover. According to AEC, it would be im- practicable to remove enough of the plutonium from the wastes to have any relative significance with regard to the need to isolate the plutonium-containing wastes from the biosphere. AEC advised us that plutonium buried in the ground has little mobility, since it is relatively insol- uble rn water. Even if discarded in solutions, plutonium is generally held in the soil close to the point of re- lease for as long as the soil itself remains in place. The potential danger would be from ingestion or inhalation of the contaminated soil or dust. Radioactive wastes vary widely in the concentration of radioactive materials and radioisotopes. Such wastes may be divided into three categories, as follows: 1. Low-level wastes have a radioactive content suffi- ciently low to permit discharge into the environ- ment after reasonable dilution or after relatively simple processing. These wastes have no more than about 1,000 times the radioactivity concentrations considered safe for direct release. In llquld form, low-level wastes contain less than a micro- curie1 of radioactivity per gallon. 2. Intermediate-level wastes have too high a radroac- tivity concentration to permit release after simple dilution, yet they are produced in relatively large 1A microcurle is one millionth of a curie. A curie 1s a measure of the number of atoms undergoing radioactive dis- . . integration per unit time and is 37 billion disintegrations per second or the rate of decay of one gram of natural radium. volumes. The radioactivity of these wastes is up to 1,000 times higher than that of low-level wastes, and, inallquid form, they may contain up to a curie of radioactivity per gallon Intermediate-level wastes are disposed of through treatment, such as filtration or ion exchange, or are buried in the ground. 3. High-level liquid wastes cannot be released into the environment because of their high radioactivity con- centration (as much as 10,000 curies per gallon). Delineation of the categorzes is dependent on operat- ing parameters at each site location, and therefore the categories are not uniformly defined. For waste management purposes, AEX considers two levels of radioactive wastes' that which must be contained (high-level wastes) and that which can be discharged, without hazard to the biosphere and man, after reasonable dilution or after relatively slm- pie processing (low-level wastes) The matters discussed in this report pertain to those wastes considered by AEC to require some form of containment. To confine and isolate high-level liquid wastes from biological life, AEC has stored them underground in large steel-lined, concrete tanks and in steef tanks within con- crete vaults. Thestorage of these liquid wastes in tanks requires continual surveillance and can be considered only an interim solution, as the release of contaminants into the immediate surroundings can be avoided only so long as the tanks and their safety backup systems retain their in- tegrity To provide protection against the possibility of inad- vertent release of radioactivity into the environment in the event of a failure in tank integrity, AEC operations offices have been continuing their efforts to reduce the mobility of the wastes by improved methods for safe interim storage and eventual long-term storage of radioactive wastes gener- ated, or to be generated, at AEX operational sites and at private industrial sites. For example, AEC is working to- ward limiting the liquid wastes held in tanks to in-process wastes-- those wastes which are aging to the extent that they will become suitable for the next step in their process- ing to reduce the mobility of radioactive material by crys- tallization or conversion into solids. 8 RadioactIve wastes contarning numerous radiolsotope products have been generated in processing lrradlated nu- clear fuels at the chemical-processing plants bperated by AXE's Richland, Savannah River, and Idaho Operations Of- flees as well as at the commercial plant of Nuclear Fuel Services, Incorporated, located in West Valley, New York. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has generated high-level liquid wastes at its radlochemlcal-processing pilot plant and is currently generating such wastes at its transuranium- processing faclllty Solid wastes which contain radioactive materials are also generated at these lnstallatlons. The lrradlated fuels processed at the three AEC chemical-processing plants generally have been uranium fuels from MC's plutonium production, test, and military reac- tors. Fuels from nuclear-powered electric plants using light-water reactors are processed inaeommerclally operated facility Additional commercial fuel-reprocessing plants are being, or ~111 be, constructed to meet the reqrurements for processing increasing amounts of irradiated fuels which ~111 be generated at nuclear-powered electric plants. ARC's projected fuel-reprocessing requirements for the civilian nuclear power industry indicate that approxlmatelt three to SIX commercial fuel-reprocessing plants will be required by 1985 and that an estimated 60 milllon gallons of high-level radioactive liquid wastes, or about one tenth that quantity of solidified residues from processing the liquid wastes, will have been accumulated by the year 2000. In addition to the speclflc responslbllitles of the ARC operations offices for managing radloactive wastes gen- eratedatthelr respective sites, several of ARC's organlza- tlonal units have responslbillties relating to various as- pects of waste management The Dlvlsaon of Waste and Scrap Management, which was established in May 1970, has overall responsibility for --overseeing the waste management activities at all ARC operatlonal sites, 9 --coordinating the operational direction for storage and burial of MC's solid wastes, --managing the operation of Federal waste repositories, and --developing AEC-wide plans for management of scrap containing special nuclear material. The Division of Production develops and directs pro- grams for producing and processing feed, special nuclear, and other special materials and for associated process de- velopment. In con-Junction with this function, the Division of Production coordinates and directs programs for high- level waste management and for long-term storage of radio- active waste from the Division's chemical-processing opera- tions. The Division of Reactor Development and Technology de- velops and directs assigned reactor development and tech- nology programs. The Division directs also a research and development program on processes for the treatment and storage of high-level radioactive waste resulting, or ex- pected to result, from chemical-processing operations in connectlon wrth the nuclear power industry. Other AEC program divisions, including the Division of Research, Division of Isotopes Development, and Division of Biology and Medicine, because of the nature of their pro- grams y also generate some quantities of radioactive wastes which must be contained The Division of Materials Licensing is responsible for licensing private facilities for reprocessing irradiated source and special nuclear material and therefore is con- cerned with the safety of radioactive-waste management ac- tivities at such facilities. Since AEC installations are not subject to licensing by this Division, it is not re- sponsible for evaluating the management of AEC's radloactlve waste. This responsibility was previously assigned to the Division of Operational Safety, but in June 1970 it was as- signed to the new Division of Waste and Scrap Management. 10 For fiscal year 1970, AEC was authorized $2 3 billion for its various programs. Of this amount, about $28 mil- lion represented operating and capital funds authorized for its waste management programs The principal management officials of AEC responsible for administration of activities discussed in this report are listed in appendix III. The illustrations on the following three pages, which were provided to us by AEX, show the three AEC installations at which irradiated-fuel elements are processed. 11 IDAHO NATIONAL REACTOR TESTBNG STATION (HI RTSI CHEMICAL PROCESSING PLANT AND STORAGE TANK FARM AREA BURIAL GROUND +2% 12 13 / IF I I LEGEND 100’S PRODUCTION REACTORS 200’S CHEMICAL PROCESSING PLANTS AND TANK FARMS 300’S FUEL FABRICATION AREA . 400’S HEAVY WATER FACILITIES 700’S RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AREAS CHAPTER 2 INTERIM AND LONG-TERM STORAGE OF AEC'S HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTES AM: has made progress toward the development of poli- \ ties and practices for effectively managing interim storage i of high-level radioactlve waste materials and for their eventual long-term storage. Since our prior report in May 1968, AZC has endeavored to improve the interim-storage sit- uation by constructing improved storage tanks, reducing the quantity of liquid wastes stored in tanks, and proceeding with the solidification of the tank-stored liquid wastes at two of its operat+onal sites. Also AEC has continued its research and development efforts to provide safe long-term- storage methods. Interim, or short-term, storage is considered by AEC to be the containment and storage of radioactive wastes safely for tens of years pending decisions on long-term storage methods. Long-term storage 1s considered to be the contain-, ment and storage of radioactive wastes during the hundreds or thousands of years that this material will be biologi- cally hazardous. In-process wastes are those radioactive wastes which are temporarily aging for a number of years to permit the decay of their radioactivity to the extent that the wastes will become suitable for the next step in their processing to a solid form. Richland has been proceeding with in-tank solidifica- tion of low-heat liquid wastes and with removal of the long- lived heat generators --strontium-90 and cesrum-137--from high-heat liquid wastes. Removing the cesium and strontium enables the remaining high-heat liqstld wastes to decay to low-heat liquid wastes within about 5 years. Richland 1s developing a process and plans to construct a facility for solidifying and encapsulating the liquid cesium and stron- tium concentrates. The solidification of the low-heat liquid wastes into salt cakes in the tanks is considered to be an interim- storage process until AEC makes a determination as to the 15 acceptability of in-tank solidification as a long-term stor- age method. Also a long-term-storage location has not been selected for the encapsulated strontium and cesium. Idaho 1s keeping current with its generation of liquid wastes by converting the wastes, after they have cooled suf- ficiently, to a granular solid calcine. The calcine is be- ing stored an stainless-steel bins in underground concrete vaults as an interim-storage process. AEC is planning that these wastes eventually will be transferred for long-term storage in a Federal repository. AEC still has not done sufficient exploratory work on the use of bedrock caverns at Savannah River to determine whether this concept would be acceptable for long-term stor- age of the Savannah River wastes. In the meantime, these wastes are being segregated on the basis of their heat- generation rates and are being immobilized by evaporation to salt crystals and sludges in the tanks to the extent allowed by their heat-dissipation capability. The concept of using salt mines m bedded salt deposits for long-term storage of radioactive wastes has been ap- proved, in principle, by AEC. AEC has selected a location near Lyons for further preparatory work and plans to seek pzoJect auth orization in fiscal year 1972. AEC contemplates making the Lyons mine the initial Federal repository for high-level solidified wastes from commercial fuel- reprocessing facilities. AEC informed us that the Lyons location probably could be used for long-term storage of AEC's high-level radioac- tive wastes; however, because of the estimated high cost (preliminary estimates are in the range of $1.5 to 2 bil- lion) of processing, packaging, and shipping the wastes from Richland and Savannah River to Lyons, efforts are under way to determine whether suitable long-term-storage locations and methods can be developed at the two AEC sites. AEC be- lieves that the cost of exploring and developing a long- term-storage method at these sites is justified, because of the potential expense of shipping the large quantities of waste at these sites to another location. AEC advised us that it probably would not be economically attractive for a commercial plant to make similar studies for its own loca- tion. 16 The following table summarizes the individual AEC pro- duction sites' interim-storage methods; the proposed long- term-storage plans and their present status; and the pos- sible alternative long-term solution, if deemed necessary. Tme of storage Long-term storage Decades Centuries Alternative Site (interim) (long term) Status solution Rlchland (note a> In tank Intank Under way Basalt (see p 341 Strontrum-cesium Strontium-cesium Ship to reposi- capsules capsules Budgeted tories (note b) Idaho (note a> Calcrne In bins Ship to reposl- (see p 44) torle5 Planned Savannah Rrver (note a> Evaporated Ready for Ship to reposi- (see p 41) crystals Bedrock next step tories (note b> aStorage of in-process lewd wastes will always be necessary, as long as fuel-processing continues Rewres high-integrity system of storage b AEC has indicated that the wastes can always be shipped, the approach has been to ex- haust the posslblllty of long-term onsite storage before movrng thousands of tons of contarmnated wastes After our prior review, AEC reemphasized the priority of radioactive waste management activities. In May 1968 the AEC General Manager established a task force, composed of assistant general managers, to make a review of the ade- ~uacy of policies and organizations regarding waste manage- ment activities at AEC installations. The task force re- view gave priorrty consideration to Richland, Savannah River, and Idaho waste management activities. In its report dated August 8, 1968, the task force recommended that planning, programming, and operating re- sponsibilities of program divxsions remain as they were but that staff responsibilities be clarified to provide that the Drvision of Operational Safety: --Within the framework of AEC-approved polxies, prin- ciples, and plans, develop, recommend, and promul- gate policies, standards, and criteria for waste management activities. --Exercise overall cognizance, evaluation, and ap- praisal of waste management activities, specifically including the degree of progress in meeting obJec- tives and schedules, to ensure compliance with AEC policies and approved waste management plans for each AEC installation. --Serve as a focal point for external relationships in the area of radioactive waste management Regarding liquid wastes the task force recommended that: All liquid radioactive wastes not suitable for routine release be suitably contained with adequate provision for control or recovery in the event of leaks or accr- dental spillage. Storage of such wastes as liquid in storage tanks not be regarded either as disposal or as an acceptable practice for long-term handling; rather, waste management programs provide for either (1) reduc- tion of such wastes to solid form for long-term storage or (2) transfer of such wastes to long-term storage in deep underground locations. Either approach provide high assurance of isolation of wastes from the bio- sphere and of resistance to credible internal or exter- nal forces. The task force set a general target date of December 31, 1975, for achieving its recommendations. As a result of the task force report, each AEC installation was required to prepare and maintain plans for management of its radioactive wastes, These plans were to include the AEC operational sites' spare-tank criteria, At the time of our prior review, we found that, for the tank-stored wastes, AEC had no overall criterion for deter- mining the minimum reserve storage capacity, or spare tank- age 3 to be maintained at all times for emergency situations. Subsequently, the Division of Production instructed the Sa- vannah River, Richland, and Idaho Operations Offices to sub- mit their minimum-reserve criteria and spare-tank philoso- PhY* These criteria, which differed with the conditions and resources available at each site, were reviewed by AEC for safety and sufficiency. Although these operations offices' criteria were con- sidered by AEC to provide sufficient protection, the Divi- slon of Production has considered the possibility of a 18 uniform spare-tank criteria and has developed for its own guidance informal criteria which provide that, as a minimum, at least one spare tank be maintained in each integrated tank-farm complex. Although these criteria currently could not be met by all ARC production sites, the Division's planning and budgeting actions were directed to attaining the capability to meet these criteria at all sites by about 1973. The flexibility then would exist to implement uni- form criteria. AEC advised us that, because nearly all the tank- stored high-level radioactive wastes were at the production sites, the Division of Production's criteria, if formalized, would be essentially agencywide; however, the specific Am- plementation of the criteria at each site would be dependent on the availability of the necessary facilities. In the meantime, AEC and its production sites are reviewing current waste-tank-farm operating practices and spare-tank criteria to determine whether further improvements may be desirable. We found that in some cases Richland, Savannah River, Idaho, and Oak Ridge did not have at least one spare tank for each integrated tank-farm complex as contemplated by the Division of Production's informal criteria for reserve tank storage. Storage space, however, was available at the oper- ational sites in tanks that were partially filled. Also we were informed by AEC that proJects under way or proposed would enable Richland and Savannah River to meet the crite- ria. AEC has also been upgrading the quality of its tanks. According to AEC, the use of improved storage tanks, along with waste concentration and volume reduction proJects, will enable the operational sites to place less dependence on the need for spare tanks. Richland's and Savannah River's waste management plans did not include sufficient descriptions of the engineered systems in use or planned to permit AEC headquarters divi- sions to evaluate the adequacy of systems designed to mini- mize the possibility of radioactive wastes escaping into the environment through tank leakage or loss of control. 19 The Division of Production's objectives and plans for high-level waste management at Richland, Savannah River, and Idaho are illustrated on the following page. In es- sence they are: 1. Improved high-level waste-storage conditions for the interim period, pending the development and ap- proval of safe long-range-storage locations and systems. The improved conditions include: a. Immobilization of the stored liquid wastes (ex- cept for the in-process wastes) to a retrievable solid. b. Upgrading the quality of the tanks and ancil- laries used for in-process storage of liquid wastes, incorporating suitable spare tankage. 2. Development of a location and method which will be safe and acceptable for long-term storage of the wastes onsite. ARC anticipates that objective la, except for separated ce- sium and strontium at Richland, tiill be achieved for the production wastes at Idaho and Richland by 1976. Also Sa- vannah River wastes will be solidified to the extent tech- nically permissible. AM: stated that objective lb was a continuing one. The quantity of wastes stored in tanks has decreased since our prior review. Decreases in volume have resulted from evaporation of the liquid wastes at all sites, in-tank solidification at Richland, and the calcining process at Idaho. Although these processes have reduced the quantity of liquid wastes, large quantities of highly radioactive liquid wastes are still stored in underground tanks. 20 AEC has about 80 million gallons of radsoactlve wastes, most of whxh are in a liquid form, in Its underground tanks. The bulk of such wastes, which were generated at chemxal-reprocessxng plants, was accumulated prior to the development of the technology now available for handling wastes. AEC advised us that the liquid wastes In the older tanks at Rrchland were being solidlfled. AEC antlclpates that by about 1976 only the newer tanks of improved design at Richland will contain liquids, and these only for storage of in-process wastes. PRODUCTION SITE HIGH-LEVEL WASTE MANAGEMENT LIQUID WASTE ,OFF=SlTE REPOSITORY, FOOTNOTES CURRENT BY ,976 UNDERGROUND PREFERREDMETHOD ALTERNATIYE METHOD 21 INTERIM STORAGEOF?TGH-LEEL-- tiADIOACTIVE WASTES In our prior rtport llre discussed Interim tank storage of high-level wastes 111 llquld form at RIchland, Savannah River, and Idaho and commented. --that Rlchland was faced with a potentially serious sltuatlon with respect to the condltlon of its exist- lng tanks and that leaks had been detected in some tanks. --that some of the tanks at Rlchland had been in ser- vice 10 years or more and that a contractor had es- tlmated that the expected life of those tanks was probably no more than 20 years. --that a tank leak at Savannah River would be more se- rious than at Richland, because the leakage from a Savannah River tank could be expected to migrate Into the groundwater. --that Idaho had not experienced any tank failures and that it was contlnulng to store llquld wastes in tanks on an lnterlm basis, however, Idaho was con- vertlng the liquid wastes into a solld form. --that AEX had not established a standard criterion as to the reserve storage capacity necessary to provide safe operation of storage facilities. During our current review we found that steps were planned and were under way at Rlchland and Savannah River to evaporate the llquld wastes to the less mobile solid residues and that only tanks of improved design would con- tain boiling llquld wastes at these two lnstallatlons. The current lnterlm-storage sltuatlon at the AEC operational sites 1s discussed below. Tank storage capacity AEC 1s contlnulng to store large quantltles of llquld wastes In Its underground storage tanks but 1s working to- ward having all but In-process wastes converted into solid forms. AEC advised us that, although two more tanks at 22 Richland had developed leaks subsequent to our prior review, only a nominal amount of radioactive liquid wastes was re- leased and that there had been no serious incidents regard- ing tank storage at the Richland, Idaho, and Savannah River sites subsequent to our prior review. Comments regarding the tank storage of liquid wastes for each site which we visited follow. Richland Operations Office The criteria for reserve storage facilities included in Richland's waste management plan provides that: --For self-boiling wastes (excluding wastes in the tank farm designated as SX), a minimum of one unoc- cupied tank which is ready for use and equipped with leak detection capability be maintained in each stor- age area at all times. If the tank designated as the spare tank is one of the previously used single- shell tanks, an additional reserve capacity equiva- lent to the volume of the spare tank will be main- tained in the tank farm for use in the event the single-shell spare tank develops a leak while being filled, --For nonboiling wastes, at least two million gallons of usable storage reserve be maintained in the tanks at all times, --The self-boiling wastes in the SX tank-farm complex exhibit heat-generation rates considerably less than those of other waste tanks containing self-boiling wastes. The supernates rn these tanks, when stored separately from the sludge, will not self-boll and can be safely stored in the usable storage reserve maintained for the nonboiling wastes. The sludges will not be removed from the tanks and will be air- cooled to maintain their temperatures at safe levels. According to Richland officials, there are three in- tegrated tank-farm complexes, as follows: --129 tanks for nonboiling wastes in 10 tank farms connected by interarea and interfarm transfer lines, 23 --lo tanks for self-bolllng wastes In the SX tank farm, --lo tanks for self-borllng wastes in the A and AX tank farms. With respect to the available and planned reserve space in these three Integrated tank-farm complexes: --The tank-farm complex for nonbolllng wastes had re- serve storage space of about lo,5 mrlllon gallons at December 31, 1969, but had no completely empty tank available as a spare and had no plans to provide an empty spare tank for this integrated tank-farm com- plex. --The SX tank-farm complex for self-bolllng wastes has one tank designated as a spare, but on December 31, 1969, this tank was about one quarter full of aged wastes, However, Rlchland informed us that the boil- ing liquid wastes 1.n the tanks were aged enough to be transferred to available space In SX tanks for non- boiling wastes, If necessary. Richland's fiscal year 1970 budget provided $2 mrlllon for a transfer sys- tem to remove the bolllng liquid wastes from the SX tank farm for processing into salt cakes, Once this project is completed and the llquld wastes are trans- ferred, there will be no interim storage of liquid wastes rn this tank-farm complex. Rlchland plans to have the llquld wastes transferred by January 1973. This farm system accounts for half of the Richland tanks which have leaked. --The A and AX tank-farm complexes had two empty, pre- viously used, single-shell tanks designated as spares. These tanks were partially filled with hot water on December 31, 1969, to prevent thermal shock In the event of a hot-waste transfer into the tanks. In addition, two of the planned 1-mllllon-gallon double- shell design tanks mentioned In our prior report were completed in May 1970. When placed in service these tanks will be included as part of the A and AX tank-farm complexes. 24 RIchland's waste management plan, which rncluded a de- scrlptlon of Its reserve-tank-storage crlterla, was sub- mitted to the Drvlsron of OperatIonal Safety In January 1969 for revrew and comment. Me were told by ARC that its Head- quarters review of Rachland's criteria had not included an evaluatron of compliance with uniform spare-tank criteria under conslderatron by the Drvlslon of Production; however, the Rlchland and Savannah River spare-tank-storage criteria, as submltted, were compared with each other and were found to be similar. The Dlvrsion of Production advised us that proJects planned and under way at Rlchland would provide the necessary facllltles to comply with the uniform criteria, If they were amplemented. Savannah River Operations OffIce The reserve-tank-storage criteria Included rn Savannah River's waste management plan provides that, in each tank- farm complex, there be maintained In cooled tanks with good cooling ~011s spare volume sufficient to receive the con- tents of the largest tank In the tank-farm complex. Al- though this practice does not comply with the uniform spare- tank criteria under consaderatlon by the Dlvlslon of Pro- duction, Savannah River has storage tanks under construction which, when completed, ~111 brrng It into compliance with these criteria. Savannah River has two tank-farm complexes designated as the F and H areas. As of December 1969, eight cooled tanks were In service rn each tank farm and four new cooled tanks had been constructed in the H area and were soon to be placed In service, Also, each tank farm had four un- cooled tanks In service. Savannah River does not consider any unused capacity In the uncooled tanks In determlnlng whether adequate storage reserve capacity IS being maln- talned, because the needed reserve storage capacity 1s for waste which has to be kept In cooled tanks. When the four recently constructed cooled tanks are put In service In the H area, Savannah River can comply with the Drvrslon of Production's proposed spare-tank crlterla in this area, If one of the tanks IS designated as a spare. No empty tank IS available as a spare rn the F area, but compliance with the proposed spare-tank crlterra can be 25 accompllshed If one of the two tanks scheduled for comple- tlon In March 1973 1s designated as a spare. Savannah River was not meeting its own establrshed reserve-tank-storage-capacity criteria. As of December 19, 1969, Savannah River did not have sufflclent reserve capac- lty In Its cooled tanks In the F area to hold all the con- tents of the largest tank In the area. We were told, how- ever, that an Interarea transfer line, whreh had been con- structed at a cost of about $2.3 mllllon, could be used to transfer waste to avallable space In the H area In the event of an emergency In the F area. In a January 1969 presentation to the NatIonal Academy of Sciences' Committee on Radloactlve Waste Management, Sa- vannah River contractor's offlclals stated that It appeared feasible, economical, and safe for Savannah River to con- tlnue its interim tank-storage practices until national pol- icy and criteria could be agreed upon for the long-term storage of high-level wastes. We were advised by the Dlvl- slon of Production, however, that Savannah River had been told that It should take necessary steps to have available one spare tank for reserve storage In each area. Idaho Operations Office Idaho's waste management plan provides that one cooled 300,000-gallon tank be reserved as emergency storage capac- lty i-or self-boiling wastes stored within its tank-farm com- plex. Idaho has one tank larger than 300,000 gallons, how- ever, we were told that Idaho's criteria provide that no tank be filled with more wastes than cao be transferred to the empty tank, The Idaho waste management plan showed that Its Test Area North had two underground 50,000-gallon tanks for the storage of llquld wastes and that no spare tank existed. At the time of our fieldwork, one of these tanks was full and the other contained about 30,000 gallons of concentrated wastes. We were told that, due to the high chloride content, the wastes stored In the tanks could not be further evap- orated and calclned at the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant. 26 According to Idaho, the remaining tank capacity is sufflclent for the foreseeable future if a satisfactory process can be devised and instituted for the treatment of the tank-stored wastes. AEC informed us that the chloride problem had been studied but that further action had been deferred because of funding limitations. An Idaho offlclal advised us that the Test Area North was not considered to be a tank-farm complex. Another of- ficial told us that the tanks were contained In concrete saucers which acted as secondary barriers and had sufficient capacity to hold all the liquid waste should a leak develop in a tank. We were told also that the volume of radioactive wastes stored in Test Area North would be reduced, within a period of years, by natural evaporation to a point where ex- tra tank volume would be available to store wastes. Idaho's waste management plan was submitted to ARC Headquarters in January 1969. The Division of Operational Safety commented on Idaho's deferral of disposing of liquid wastes stored in Test Area North, as follows: "One item on which a decision has been deferred is the 80,000 gallons of Test Area North (TAN) waste which is chemically rncompatlble with ICPP [Idaho Chemical Processing Plant] waste processing. Since there may be problems in funding treatment of wastes from inactive programs, the next revlsron of the ID [Idaho] plans should review, at least briefly, the alternatives in this case." The Division, in commenting on Idaho's plan, did not discuss the adequacy of Idaho's reserve storage capacities, We were told that no determination was made as to whether Idaho's reserve storage available in its waste tanks in Test Area North was acceptable. Oak Ridge Operatrons Office The Oak Ridge National Laboratory's waste management plan drd not cite a spare-tank criterion. The Oak Ridge plan states that there are six underground storage tanks containing radioactive wastes in the Laboratory's tank farm; that these tanks have a total capacity of over a million 27 gallons, about half of which 1s space avallable for emer- gency storage of wastes; and that the stored wastes can be pumped from any of the tanks to the others through a system of pipes and valves. We were advlsed by an Oak Ridge offlclal that the SIX tanks had unused space but that each of the tanks contained sludge so that no empty tank was on standby reserve. We were advlsed by another offlclal that Oak Ridge's practxe was to utilize, If needed, unused storage capacity In the tanks and that this could be cited as the spare-tank crlte- rion. 28 Engineered systems for transfer of wastes AEC Headquarter's instructions provided that the waste management plans for wastes stored on an interim basis in underground tanks include descriptions of engineered systems to minimize the possibility of wastes' escaping from tanks. The waste management plans of Rrchland, Savannah River, Idaho, and Oak Ridge did not include full descriptions of the engineered systems in use or planned for transferring tank-stored wastes to reserve storage tanks in the event of tank failures. We were advised by AEC that Headquarters of- ficials had become aware of the existing conditions through periodic field trips. The bottom portions of the cooled tanks at Savannah River have outer linings of carbon steel, to provide saucers beneath the primary tanks to collect wastes that may leak from the tanks A recycling capability from a saucer back to the tank has been provided, and, in the event of a leak in the tank, the wastes would be recycled back into the tank until they are transferred to reserve tank storage space In 1968 Richland began to construct tanks having a double- containment feature similar to those used at Savannah River At Richland it would normally take about 9 to 10 days to transfer the liquid wastes from one of the largest tanks, if it was full of liquid, to a reserve storage tank in the event of a tank failure. At Savannah River it would take about 9 to 10 days to transfer the liquid wastes from one of the cooled tanks if it was full of liquid Depending on the quantity of liquid in the tank, between 3 and 14 days would be required to transfer the contents from one of the uncooled tanks at Savannah River. We were told by Savannah River that the recycling capa- bility of its tanks was adequate to handle leakages of the magnitude experienced in the past and that this recycling should prevent wastes from escaping while a tank's contents were being transferred to other tanks. The Richland contractor's officials told us that, if weather conditions were favorable, about 2 to 3 days were required to install a pump directly into a tank and to make 29 the necessary transfer-line connection changes in an under- ground routing box We were also told by a Richland con- tractor's official that a pump normally would not be In- stalled on a windy day, because of the possibility of re- leasing radioactive material We were told also that, if a leak developed In a tank having a pump, the time required before the wastes could be pumped from the tank would depend upon the number of transfer-line connection changes that would have to be made in the appropriate underground routing box, that, once the pumping began, the liquid wastes could be transferred to another tank at the rate of about 100 gal- lons a minute A Richland contractor official said that about 1 week would be required to transfer the liquid wastes from a l-million-gallon tank, the largest Rrchland under- ground storage tank, if the tank was full of liqusd Under the engineered tank-storage system at Savannah River, a transfer Jet has been installed in each of the four cooled, double-shelled, underground storage tanks which had experienced leaks Consequently no setup time is needed be- fore the wastes can be transferred from these tanks to re- serve storage tanks A Savannah River official said that the installed trans- fer Jets and related equipment could transfer the wastes at about 75 gallons a minute and that, at that rate, it would take about 9 days to transfer the contents from the largest of the cooled tanks if the tank was full of liquid. AEC ad- vised us that, under its evaporation program, the liquid in many tanks constituted only 40 percent of the volume; thus, in such cases, less than half the indicated time would be required to empty a tank. The other 12 cooled tanks at Savannah River do not have the capability for lmmedlate transfer of wastes in the event of an emergency situation, such as a leak Before wastes could be transferred from these tanks in an emergency, trans- fer Jets must be set up, which would provide a capability to transfer the wastes at a rate of 75 gallons a minute We were advised that it wocrld take about 1 day to install a transfer Jet and about 9 additional days to transfer the wastes from the largest of these cooled tanks, provided that the tank was full of liquid In the interim, Savannah River 30 would depend on the saucers and the recycle capabIlIty to prevent escape of the leaklng wastes. We were told that the high salt content of the llquld wastes mlnlmlzed their moblllty At the time of our fieldwork, Savannah River was in- stalling, or was planning to install, permanent-type waste- transfer piping for the eight uncooled waste tanks In the F and H areas, which would reduce setup tbme needed for in- stalling transfer capablllty. These uncooled tanks have pumps that have the capability of handling a leakage of 20 gallons or less a minute through a recycling operation by means of an underground drainage sump and sump pump A Savannah River contractor official advised us that 2 days would be required to Install a temporary 75 gallon- a-minute transfer system and that about 12 additional days would be required to transfer the contents from one of the uncooled tanks We were informed by the contractor offlclal that authorlzatlon to install the permanent transfer capa- bility 1.n the tank groups had been delayed because of fund- lng conslderatlons and that, If the proJect was lnltlated In fiscal year 1972, the transfer systems should be operational by late 1973 On three occasions within a 3-week period In September 1969, Idaho inadvertently discharged some unprocessed radio- active solution krom its chemical-processing plant directly Into a 600-foot-deep discharge well which extends jnto the acquifer These discharges were caused by improper opera- tion of a steam-heat system between a dissolver vessel and the service waste line, however, the cause was not ldentlfled until after the third discharge had occurred We were advlsed by the Idaho Operations Office that the lnltlal incident had been undetected because of the lnslg- nlflcant quantity of radloactlvlty released and that timely lnvestlgatlon to discover the cause of the second discharge had not been made because of consecutive, higher priority alarms triggered by a power outage. During September 1969, the month in which the acclden- tal discharges occurred, the average concentration of 31 strontium-90 (the controlling radioisotope) in the dls- charges into the chemical-processing plant's disposal well was about two times the allowable limit We were advlsed by Idaho that the average yearly concentration is considered In determinlng compliance with release criteria and that the average yearly concentration in this case was within allow- able limits The Division of Production informed US that, prior to the accidental discharges, a proJectforacooling-water pro- tection facility had been included in the fiscal year 1971 budget and that the incidents provided addItiona impetus for obtaining the proJect's authorization The facility, which 1s now under construction and which is estimated to cost approximately $700,000, will provide radiation monitors, valves, and plplng to divert the total flow of contaminated water to another tank until the defective equipment has been shut down and the system flushed of contamination 32 Conclusion AEC has requrred each of Its field operations offlces to develop waste management plans and has established the topics to be covered in the plans. The plans have been re- viewed by the responsible AEC Headquarters dlvlslons, and comments thereon have been provided to the field operations offices. It does not appear, however, that the AEC Head- quarters reviews of these plans were made In sufflclent depth to fully evaluate the plans and differences among the operational sites' spare-tankage crlterla and the need for a uniform criteria. Because of the technical factors involved, we are not In a posltlon to comment on the adequacy of the lnterlm storage practices at AEC installations. We were advised by AEC that operational sites waste-transfer capabllltles and available storage space -Ln the past had provided for ade- quate operation of tank storage facllltles. As the tanks and engineered systems increase In age and are utlllzed more because of the accumulation of new wastes and movement 1 of wastes between tanks, however, there 1s an increased posslblllty of tank lncldents occurring until all llquld wastes are removed from these old tanks, AEC told us that ' Rlchland was In the process of replaclng the older tanks contalnlng high-level liquid wastes with improved double- shelled tanks. LONG-TERM STORAGEOF RADIOACTIVE WASTES At the time of our prior report to the Joint Committee In 1968, AEC was taking actions at Rlchland, Savannah River, and Idaho to develop methods for the safe long-term storage of radloactlve wastes. Rlchland was developing processes for solldlfylng Its liquid wastes. Savannah River was con- ducting research and development on long-term storage of _ wastes In the bedrock formatlon below the Savannah River plant site. Idaho was operating a waste-calclnlng faclllty to convert Its liquid wastes into a solid granular form for storage In bins. AEC has established waste management pollcles pro- vldlng that storage of high-level liquid wastes In tanks 1s an unacceptable practice for long-term storage and that all 33 but in-process liquid wastes should be either converted into a solid form or transferred to deep underground locations for long-term storage. We were informed by AEC that the salt mines in Kansas were being considered as a long-term-storage repository for all AEC-generated high-level waste but that the AEC opera- tional sites were following or developing alternative stor- age methods which were more economical and were being con- sidered by the sites as acceptable for long-term storage. Some of these alternative methods are extensions of the interim-storage methods being used. Methods being considered to provide for long-term-storage of high-level wastes at the sites are discussed below, Richland Operations Office At the time of our 1968 report, Richland had begun separating strontium and ceslum, the long-lived fission products, from the accumulated self-bolllng wastes (frac- tionation) and temporarily storing these two radioisotopes as liquid concentrates in the waste fractlonatlon faclllty with the intent of eventually storing them as solids in high-integrity containers (encapsulation). After frac- tionation, the remalnlng nonboiling liquid wastes were be- ing transferred to storage tanks for solldiflcation. At that time, Rlchland planned that its currently generated self-boiling wastes would be treated for the removal of strontium and cesium, after which they would be stored in tanks to allow short-lived fission products to decay, The accumulated nonboillng wastes were being solidified in tanks to a salt cake In 1968 AEC reported that 25 percent of the nonbolllng waste accumulated at Rlchland was in solid form. Rlchland has continued to convert its high-level liquid wastes to a solid form within the storage tanks. We were advised by Rlchland officials that Richland would meet the general target date of December 31, 1975, for having all wastes, except in-process liquid wastes, solldlfled in tanks but that it was anticipated that a declslon would not be made for about 10 years as to the acceptability of in-tank solidification as a safe, long-term-storage method. They stated that In the meantime Rlchland would continue to 34 perform research on alternative long-term-storage methods in the event in-tank solidlflcatlon was deemed unacceptable for long-term storage. From start-up in March 1965 to December 31, 1969, Rlch- land spent about $4.9 million in operating the rn-tank- solidification facilities. Three different evaporator fa- crlities are being used for in-tank solidification. The cost of constructing these three evaporators was about $2.1 million as of December 31, 1969. AEC estimated that about $492,000 more would be spent to complete modifrca- tions then in process. In accordance with its plans to meet the 1975 target date, Richland requested authorization of an additional $6.3 million for construction of in-tank-solldlfrcation fa- cilities. This request was Included in the 1971 authorlza- tion request, and the facilities have been authorized, Ac- cording to Richland, these facllitres will provide the ad- ditional capability required to meet AK's target date of having all but In-process liquid wastes solldifled. In January 1968, a Richland contractor issued a pre- llmrnary safety analysis report on the long-term hazards of wastes solidified in underground tanks. In the report, as revised in January 1970, the contractor stated that the wastes would not be transported into the atmosphere or rnto the groundwater under foreseeable environmental conditions and that, if this method of storage was compatible with "national criteria" --yet to be defined--the solidified wastes could be left in this state indefinitely. In June 1969,AEC Headquarters asked Richland for an estimate of when a more deflnrtrve, or a final, hazard anal- ysis would be available, Richland reported that about 7 to 10 years would be required to accumulate sufficient infor- mation on salt-cake characteristics and storage effects be- fore an acceptable, final safety analysis could be prepared. The Richland contractor's long-range cost forecasts indicated that the operating costs of fractionating the wastes, encapsulating the cesium and strontium, and solidi- fying wastes in tanks would amount to about $102 million for the lo-year period beginning with fiscal year 1971, He 35 estimated that additional capital funds of about $37 mullion would be required for the same period, As of December 31, 1969, Richland had spent about $38 million for operatzng costs and capital facilities toward rmplementrng this pro- posed long-term-storage method. At the time of our prior review, AEC estimated that about $12.5 million had been, or would be, spent at Rlchland for constructing facilities for the fractionation process. As of December 31, 1969, about $15.3 million had been spent In constructing such facllitles and AEC estimated that $513,000 additional would be spent on proJects in process, Rlchland had established target dates of September 1973 for the removal of strontium from stored sludge and September 1974 for the removal of cesium from the stored liquid wastes. Richland, however, does not plan to remove the strontium from about 792,000 gallons of stored sludge which is in the oldest tanks for self-boiling wastes, some of which have leaked. According to ARC, the sludge is con- sidered essentially solid. Richland's decision to retain the sludge in the tanks 1s based on a demonstrated proto- type and on the concept of minimum risk. According to Rlchland, air cooling the sludge for 25 to 50 years will cause It. to solidify satisfactorily in place without frac- tlonation. The llquld wastes from these tanks are to be transferred to the fractionation facility for the removal of the ceslum, after which the liquid wastes will go to in- tank solldiflcatlon, In its fiscal year 1970 budget, Rlchland requested $2 million to construct facilities for the transfer of wastes from the tank farm with the oldest self-boiling wastes to the waste fractionation facility, At the time of our review, the design of these facilities had begun. Be- cause of Presldentlal funding limitations on new construc- tion, the total funds were not made available until July 1970. AEC told us in January 1971 that the facllltles were being constructed. As of December 31, 1969, Rlchland was behind schedule on its programmed rate for strontium removal, about 811,000 gallons of stored sludge remained to be fractionated 36 compared with 700,000 gallons programmed to be remaining at that date, Richland's program for cesium removal was on schedule at December 31, 1969; about 12.7 mlllron gallons of liquid wastes remained to be fractionated, According to Richland, planned additions are necessary to the high-level waste-processing system for waste fractionation of both stored and current wastes to meet the December 31, 1975, date for solidification of all but in-process liquid wastes, An illustration of the first in-tank-solidified salt cake, which was provided to us by ARC, 1s on the following page. In its fiscal year 1971 budget, Richland requested and was authorized $1.7 million to provide additional interim storage facrllties for ceslum and strontium and to construct high-level waste-transfer lines and sludge-removal facili- ties. According to Richland, this additional storage in the waste fractionation facility would provide for the storage of ceslum and strontium concentrates until 1974 when It plans to begin waste encapsulation processrng. Rlchland has selected a process for solidifying and encapsulating the long-lived fission products but does not expect to have Its presently stored inventory encapsulated before 1979. A facility, scheduled for completion in 1973, 1 is being constructed for solidifying and encapsulatlng Ehe cesium and strontium. Richland has stated that, afLer en- capsulation, these fission products could be stored on an interim basis in water basins, possibly as long as 100 years. AEC has not selected the method to be used for long- term storage of the encapsulated products. As previously stated, until the solidification and en- capsulation facility is in operation, the ceslum and stron- tium removed from the wastes are being stored in tanks in- side the fractionation facility. In March 1970, during an attempt to measure the liquid level In an interim-strontium- storage tank In the fractionation facility by means of tem- porary instrumentation that has since been removed, there was an accidental release of strontium from the tank into an open 25-acre pond within the site boundaries. Water samples from the pond reached a strontium concentration level exceeding ARC's standards for releases of radiation. 37 A contamrnated ditch was completely screened over and partially backfilled, but the pond remains open, Rlchland has malntalned surveillance of the pond and has used noise guns In an attempt to prevent the use of the pond by water- fowl, however, some coots and ducks have landed on the pond. Rlchland offlclals advised us that their analysis had shown that consumptron by a person of 1 pound of the contaminated waterfowl generally would be expected to result In that person's receiving an intake of about 1 percent of the maxl- mum permlsslble body burden of two mlcrocuries of strontlum- 90; however, In some waterfowl the amount of radloactlvlty from other rsotopes was higher. Rlchland offlclals told us that emergency procedures have been provided at the fractlonatlon faclllty for the manual dlverslon of such contaminated releases into an emergency ditch. Also we were advised that Rlchland planned to include In Its fiscal year 1972 budget a re- quest for a $5.3 mllllon proJect which would provide the capabrllty to divert contaminated cooling-water and chemlcal- sewer streams from the fractlonatlon and chemical-processing plants to underground storage tanks, This proJect would provide Rlchland with a dlverslon capablllty slmllar to that now exlstlng at the commercial chemical-processing plant In New York State. (See p, 56.) Both AEC and Rlchland advlsed us that the method for long-term storage of encapsulated ceslum and strontium had not been selected and that, as a result, Rlchland was un- certain as to the number of years of interim storage that would be required before the encapsulated products could be routed to a final storage site, AEC antlclpates that flnal storage could be In salt mines. In 1969 Rlchland began a study of deep-cavern storage of radloactlve wastes as an alternative to Its proposed long-term-storage method of solldlfylng wastes In tanks. The obJectlve of this study 1s to investigate the feasl- blllty of lsolatlng radlonuclldes from the biosphere In caverns mined In the basalt deep beneath the site, Under this storage method, the salt cake resulting from the In- tank solldlflcatlon of liquid wastes would be removed from the tanks In a dry state, water would be added In the transfer system, and the slurrled waste would be transported 39 to underground caverns 2,000 to 4,000 feet below the SUP face. According to the Rlchland contractor's estimates It would cost about $150 mllllon to place the salt slurry III caverns. At the time of our fleldwork, RIchland was conducting a $1.6 mllllon project for drilling exploratory wells to secure geological, hydrological, and other physical data to be used In evaluating the sultablllty of subsurface formations for storage of radloactlve wastes for centuries. Work on the proJect was scheduled to have been completed by the end of 1970. The AEC contractor for this proJect re- ported that sufflclent data had been acquired to Justify additional drllllng to fully evaluate the area for an underground-storage faclllty, At the time of our fleldwork, the contractor had not submitted a plan to AEC for the development of the under- ground caverns. We were informed, however, that full eval- uation of the hydrological and geological characterlstlcs was to be made. The AEC contractor had established Decem- ber 1975 as a mllestone date for acqulrlng data sufflclent for reaching a declslon on the feaslblllty of contlnulng the lnvestlgatlon of long-term storage of wastes In mined caverns at the Rlchland site, In forecasting future ex- pendstures, the contractor estimated that $7,3 mllllon ad- ditional would have to be spent on studying this method of long-term storage through fiscal year 1975. 40 Savannah Rover Operations Offlce Since our prior review, essentially all research at Savannah River directed at frndlng a long-term solution for storing high-level radloactlve wastes has continued to be on exploring the feaslblllty of bedrock-cavern storage In 1967 Savannah River reported that the bedrock--cavern-storage concept for long-term storage had been developed to a point where the next maJor step In determInIng the feaslblllty of this concept was the construction of an exploratory shaft, however, approval has not been obtalned for construction of the exploratory shaft Because of the delay In proving the sultablllty of the bedrock caverns for long-term storage, Savannah River (1) will not meet the December 31, 1975, general target date for having all but In-process waste in long-term storage, (2) will have a slgnlflcantly larger inventory of radloactlve waste stored In underground tanks on an lnterlm basis, (3) may need to construct, at currently proJected rates of waste generation, additional tanks for interim storage of waste late in the 1970's, and (4) plans to spend $375,000 1.n the next few years exploring an alternative to Its proposed long-term-storage method In our prior report, we noted that AEC planned to re- quest $1.3 mllllon for deslgnlng the bedrock-cavern proJect In fiscal year 1970 and, If the proJect still appeared fea- srble, to request construction funds in the fiscal year 1971 and 1972 budgets In August 1968, a panel of consultants began a detailed analysis of the bedrock-cavern-storage concept In May 1969, the consultants reported that the bedrock-cavern-storage concept had promise of offering a permanent solution to the crltlcal waste-handling problem and stated that definite as- surance could be provided only by the actual construction of the shaft and several of the exploratory tunnels. In July 1969, a proJect to locate the construction site, lncludlng necessary drllllng and preconstructson design and englneer- vz, was authorized for $1.3 mllllon. AX offlclals stated that, for the bedrock-cavern- storage proJect to proceed, about $10 mllllon would be 41 needed for constructron of at least the shaft and explor- atory tunnels. They stated also that, because of budgetary conslderatlons, these funds would not be avaIlable in 1971 and that the $10 millron proJect was planned as a fiscal year 1972 budget submlsslon. Savannah River offlclals stated that, If fiscal year 1972 funds were authorized for the bedrock-cavern proJect and if the proJect was successful, It would be about 1981 before Savannah River could meet the obJectlve of having all but In-process waste In long-term storage. In 1963 Savannah River requested $12.5 millron to provide bedrock- cavern-storage facllitles; however, it currently estimates that more than $50 mllllon will be needed for the storage facilities. The increased estimate 1s due to escalation, an increase in the size of the cavern, and additional engr- neerrng features. Savannah River stated that, until it placed its waste in long-term storage, it would continue to store slgnifi- cant quantities of radioactive solid and llquld wastes in underground tanks. Its waste-inventory proJections for fis- cal years 1970-80 indicate that a peak inventory of over 16 million gallons of solidified and llquld wastes would be stored in tanks during that period, the Drvlslon of Produc- tlon estimates that more than half of the wastes ~111 be In the form of salt crystals. (See photograph on p 43.) In September 1969, Savannah River informed the Dlvlslon of Production that no additional waste tanks would be re- qurred beyond the two then being constructed, if the bedrock- cavern-storage facllltles were constructed and placed In- service by fiscal year 1980 but that, if the bedrock facllr- ties were not avarlable for use by fiscal year 1980, bud- geting for additional tank capablllty (one or two tanks) In fiscal year 1977 might be necessary This estimate was based on the assumption that all existing tanks would maln- taln their Integrity In the past Savannah River's program on alternatives to bedrock-cavern storage had been to keep current with the extensive research at other ARC sites on various methods for solldlfylng wastes. In an August 1968 report, however, an ARC task force on waste management recommended that 42 Savannah River develop an alternative waste management pro- gram. As a result, Savannah River proposed a program for addltlonal research and development to provide a definite alternative to bedrock-cavern storage. The proposal pro- vided, as the principal alternative to be consldered, the conversion of wastes into solids and their shipment offsite for eventual storage in salt mines. Savannah River esti- mated that it would cost about $700 mllllon to solidify its wastes and ship them offslte to salt mines. The proposal suggested that research and development necessary to adopt a calclnatlon process for these wastes could be performed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory In collaboration with Savannah River. Savannah River estimated that funding requirements for the initial phases of the project through fiscal year 1972 would be $375,000. AEC's Dlvlslon of Production suggested to Savannah River that work on this project be initiated in fiscal year 1970 within available funds. We were informed by AEC that Savannah River had initiated work on waste calclnatlon technology. Idaho Operations Office Since our prior review, Idaho has continued to convert its liquid wastes into a solid form by calclnlng for storage in bins in underground concrete vaults and has proposed this method for long-term storage, At December 31, 1969, over 1.8 million gallons of liquid wastes had been converted into solids and placed in bins. Idaho reported in its waste management plan that by fiscal year 1974 it should be cur- rent in its solidification program. AFX informed us that all high-level wastes accumulated through 1966 were scheduled to be processed in the calclnlng faclllty by about January 1972 and that it should be able to meet the AEC goal for solidifying all but in-process llq- uld wastes. AEC informed us also that It was planning to remove solid alpha wastes (plutonium bearing) from the Idaho site for deposit In salt mines, because that appeared to be a better method for attaining long-term lsolatlon of these wastes. The ma-terra1 to be transferred would include the calclned wastes If they meet the as yet undetermined crlte- rla (see p. 49) for determining the wastes to be trans- ferred. AEC plans to begin shipments of the alpha wastes 44 to a salt mine during this decade, and AEC's prellmlnary estimates lndlcate that excavation, processing, and shlp- ment of such wastes, -Lncludlng the calclned wastes, will cost about $60 mllllon. Oak Ridge National Laboratory The Oak Ridge National Laboratory has developed a method of disposing of Its nonreleasable radloactlve wastes based on the oil-field technique of hydraulic fracturing. The wastes are mixed with cement and other addltrves and are then pumped down a well Into the ground and out Into an essentially horizontal fracture wlthln a rock formatlon ad- ~acent to the Laboratory. Since the hydraulic-fracturing faclllty became opera- tlonal In December 1966, more than 700,000 gallons of radlo- active 1rqul.d wastes, which could not be routinely released into the environment, has been pumped into the ground Oak Rldge's calculations show that the capacity of the formation at the exlstlng well 1s at least four mllllon gallons of radloactlve wastes before there IS any danger of failure of rock cover and that the Laboratory can continue to use the present facility for about 20 years. Oak Ridge advised us that primary containment and shleldlng of the radloactlve wastes stored under this method 1s provided by the rock cover and that secondary containment IS provided by proper selection of the solldlfylng additives but that the removal of these inJected wastes from the rock- storage location for relocation, In the event It was later required, was considered to be extremely dlfflcult. We were advised by AEC that use of this storage method had been dls- continued pending further evaluations. Conclusion We recognize that there are dlfflcultles involved In determlnlng the adequacy of storage methods which must pro- vlde for safe storage of radloactlve wastes for hundreds of years Delays In determining long-term-storage methods, however, result In (1) use of lnterlm-storage methods for long periods of time, (2) continuous research on various alternative long-term-storage methods, and (3) a greater posslblllty of addltlonal costs' being incurred In changing 45 the physlcal characterlstlcs of the waste and constructing addltronal lnterlm-storage facllltles We believe that, to expedite the development of methods for placing Its high-level wastes in long-term lsolatlon, AEC Headquarters should place greater emphasis on evaluating the actions being taken by Its contractors, determlnlng the adequacy of long-term-storage proposals, and taking the steps needed to accomplish long-term storage 46 CHAPTER 3 GROUNDBURIAL OF RADIOACTIVE SOLID WASTES AEC and its contractors have recognized that potential hazards are associated with the ground burial of radioac- tive solid wastes that could result in the release of ra- dioactive material into the environment. According to AEC, the burial practices followed by Richland, Savannah River, Idaho, and Oak Ridge have not resulted in releases of radio- activity beyond the confines of the burial grounds that ex- ceed AEC's concentration guides and exposure limits. AEC and rts contractors told us that radioactive solid wastes could continue to be buried safely at AEC operational sites, provided that surveillance was maintained over the burial grounds. Because of plutonium-239's long half-life (24,000 years), the hazardous concentrations of plutonium decrease very slowly, and there can be no assurance that surveillance will be maintained for the hundreds of thousands of years- during which the plutonium would constitute a potential hazard. Radioactive solid wastes are radioactive materials which are essentially dry or which contain adsorbed or ab- sorbed fluids in sufficiently small amounts as to be rela- tively immobile in the soil. The AEC-generated radioactive solid wastes generally include such items as contaminated equipment and materials and residues of production research activities. Most of these wastes have been burled in the ground. As of December 31, 1969, the four AEC operational sites included in our review had utilized a cumulative to- tal of approximately 630 acres of land for burying over 22 million cubic feet of radioactive solid wastes. Once radioactive solid wastes are burled in the ground, potential hazards over the extensive periods of time that they must be isolated include: --the leaching of radioactive material from the buried solid wastes and the eventual uncontrolled migration of hazardous concentrates of this material through and into the groundwater, 47 --the upward migration of radioactive material through the roots of plants, --the transport of radioactive material resulting from the encroachment into the burial grounds by animals or humans, and --the soil erosion resulting in the radioactive mate- rial's being exposed and possibly transported by the air or water. The last three potential hazards listed above would be likely to occur only if proper surveillance were not main-' tained. In October 1969, AEC*s General Manager reestablished the Task Force on AEC Operational Radloactlve Waste Manage- ment. The General Manager requested the task force to make an intensive study of the policies and practices regarding the ground burial of radioactive solid wastes at AEC opera- tional sites and to evaluate the adequacy of such policies and practices. On March 20, 1970, the General Manager issued a policy statement implementing the recommendations of the task force. This policy, applicable to burial of all solid wastes after April 30, 1970, provided, in general, that wastes having known or detectable contamination of trans- uranium nuclides, which include plutoniarm, be so packaged and segregated In the solid-waste burial grounds that they can be readily retrievable within a period of 20 years. Prior to April 30, 1970, provision for retrieval was not a primary consrderatron in solid-waste burials, and it would be dlffrcult to retrieve those wastes if AEC should so desire. In general, prior to April 30, 1970, (1) no standard packaging procedures had been established, (2) different burlal techniques were used at the various operational sites, and (3) records indicating volumes and exact loca- tions were not available for all buried solid wastes. Packaging of these radioactrve wastes was designed to main- tain safety until It was buried, but, after burial, the 48 ground was relied upon to confine the wastes. AEC told us that the various procedures used at the operational sites were considered to be adequate but that storage of the wastes in a deep underground repository appeared to be the best method for long-term isolation of these wastes from the biosphere. : The location of the burial trenches for solid wastes containing transuranium nuclides vary from several hundred feet above the water table at Richland to such a proximity to the water table at Oak Ridge that at certain times dur- ing the year the water table intersects the wastes buried in the trenches. At Idaho the burial grounds have been in- undated on occasions by the water from melting snow; how- ever, measures were being taken to prevent future accumula- tion of such water on the burial grounds. ARC studies have shown that the movement of buried plutonium is minimal be- cause of its insolubility. Illustrations obtained from ARC that show various ARC burial sites are on the following pages. ARC expects that the Kansas salt mines will be used for long-term storage of radioactive solidified wastes and of transuranium-contaminated solid wastes. AEC believes that near-surface-land-burial practices offer no current safety hazard but that a long-term-storage facility for transuranium-contaminated solid wastes should be available to accommodate the increasing amounts of such wastes which will be generated by the nuclear Industry. ARC believes also that the mines will serve as a satisfactory solution for storage of these wastes over the time periods required and will reduce surveillance requirements because of the burlal depth. AEC is in the process of determining a definition of the level of contamination that would distinguish alpha wastes (i.e., plutonium-bearing wastes) from other radloac- tive solid wastes. Such a definltlon is necessary,to estl- mate the volume of wastes now buried at the AEC operational sites that might be considered for transfer to the salt mines. ARC contractors' preliminary estimates indicate that to relocate all plutonium-contaminated wastes that had been buried at Richland, Savannah River, Oak Ridge, and Idaho could cost billions of dollars. 49 51 CHAPTER 4 PRIVATE REPROCESSINGPLANTS Reprocessing of irradiated nuclear fuel, to recover usable uranium and the plutonium which has been generated in the fuel elements during their use, is a necessary part of the nuclear-fuel cycle. Economic considerations, as well as the need to conserve natural resources, dictate that private industry recover these valuable elements existing in nuclear fuel that has reached a point where it can no longer be utilized efficiently in a power reactor. For a private firm to build and operate a fuel recovery plant, the potential operator must follow the appropriate AEC licensing procedures. The AEC licensing procedures are intended to ensure that the plant is designed, constructed, operated, and maintained in such a manner that both persons and property are protected from radiation and other health and safety hazards. The procedures include AEC reviews of the prospective plant site, the proposed process, and the applicant's preliminary safety analysis report. Reviews of the preliminary safety analysis report are made by both the Division of Materials Licensing and the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards. After these re- views, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board holds a public hearing on the application and determlnes, among other things, whether the prior reviews were adequate to support the issuance of a construction permit. Both the decision of the Board to issue a permit and the permit itself are subJect to review by the AEC Commissioners. Near the com- pletion of construction of the plant, the applicant 1s re- quired to submit a final safety analysis report for review by the AEC staff and by the Advisory Committee. After all questions on health and safety matters have been satlsfac- torily resolved, an operating license is issued. At the time of our review, the only privately owned licensed commercial fuel-reprocessing facility where hlgh- level radioactive wastes were being accumulated was the Nuclear Fuel Services plant. Within the next few years, 52 that plant and three other plants are scheduled for opera- tion, as shown below. Throughput Estimated date (metric tons) to begin Company a year operation Nuclear Fuel Services, In- corporated, West Valley, New York 300 to 900a 1966' General Electric Company, Morris, Illinois 300 to 500a 1971 Allied-Gulf Nuclear Ser- vlces9 Barnwell, South Carolina 1,500 1973 Atlantic-Richfield Company, Leeds, South Carolina 1,800 1976 aFuture expansion capability. b Actual date. AEC's forecast of the demand for addltional reprocess- ing capacity in the United States for the next 30 years is illustrated in the chart on the following page. Nuclear Fuel Services2 Allied-Gulf, and Atlantlc- Richfield plan to solidify their radioactive wastes follow- ing a period of interim storage in waste tanks, using methods developed by AEC. General Electric, however, plans to depart slightly from the interim storage of radioactive liquids by providing for immediate solidification of the high-level liquid wastes. In general, General Electric plans to utilize the basic AEC separation technology, but it plans also to provide for in-line solidlflcation of high-level liquid wastes rather than initial storage of the radioactive liquid wastes in a storage tank. AEC 1s developrng plans for the acquisition of a site and for the construction and operation of a demonstration facility for long-term storage in the bedded-salt forma- tions In central Kansas of solidified high-level liquid radioactive wastes and solid wastes contaminated with 53 U. S. IRRADIATION FUEL FORECAST THOUSANDS OF METRIC TONS A YEAR 18 16 6 8 * < \ I 1. 1970 1972 1974 1977 54 long-lived radioactive materials. During the past decade the Drvlsion of Reactor Development and Technology and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have made an extensive study Into the possible long-term storage of high-level radloac- tlve solrd wastes In salt mines. The Laboratory developed this method of storage as Project Salt Vault during the pe- riod 1963-67. 55 CQMMERCIALREPROCESSORS --Nuclear Fuel Services Nuclear Fuel Services plans provide for malntalnlng at least one spare carbon-steel tank for each three such tanks In use for storing high-level radloactlve lfquld wastes and one spare stalnless-steel tank for each five such tanks in use for storing such wastes. Nuclear Fuel Services has an agreement with the State of New York to accept long-term surveillance of the Nuclear Fuel Services' storage tanks In the event the plant should cease to operate. This concept of a long-term llquld-waste- storage tank farm satisfied AEC health and safety requlre- ments because of the specific geological condltlons existing at the plant site. These condltlons primarily involve the nearly Impermeable ~011, silty till, In which the waste tanks are burled. Geological calculations submitted to AEC show that groundwater movement 1s extremely slow In this silty till and that It would take about 40,000 years for high-level wastes to move through this silty till from the point of storage to the nearest ravine. During our vlslt to the plant site, we were advised by the company that It was provldlng for segregation of low- and high-level solld wastes in Its solld-waste-burlal practices but that It was not provldlng for possible re- trieval of wsstes known to contain transuranlum nuclldes because of the lmpermeablllty of the sosl and the lnsolubll- lty of these types of wastes We were advised by AEC that, although Nuclear Fuel Services I license did not require re- trleval capability, then-current studies might result In proposed amendments to AEC regulations ldentlfylng certain plutonium-contaminated wastes as unsuitable for disposal onslte or at licensed, privately owned ground-burial facll- ities. The plant's normal disposal system for low-level llquld wastes contains monrtorlng and mechanlcal provlslons for mlnlmlzlng the accldental discharge of high-level llquld wastes through Its ldentlflcatlon and dlverslon into the handling system for high-level llquld wastes before a slg- nlflcant amount 1s discharged into holding ponds for low- level llquld wastes. 56 General Electric In November 1966 General Electric applied to AEC for a lrcense to construct the Mldwest Fuel Recovery Plant on a site of approximately 1,300 acres located southwest of Joliet, Illinois. We were informed by General Electric that the plant was scheduled to begin operating late In 1971, The plant's high-level liquid wastes are to be calclned Into solid form and stored under water in sealed containers, rather than accumulated in steel tanks. The plant has been designed so that no potentially contaminated liquid-effluent stream will be released. This 1s to be accomplished by utlllzlng a closed-loop system for the recovery and recy- cling of process water and by providing a steel-lined con- crete vault for the retention of concentrated low-level liquid wastes as a slurry which will solidify on cooling into a salt cake. After treatment for removal of radloac- tlve iodine and partlculates, low-level radloactlve gaseous effluents (krypton and trltlum) will be released Into the atmosphere through the plant's stack. For solid-waste bur- ial, General Electric plans to utilize a stalnless-steel- lined vault which will contain 9 to 10 years' accumulation of dumped fuel hardware, leached fuel hulls, and contaml- nated small equipment. General Electric believes that this design provides no barrier to waste retrieval and transfer to separate permanent disposal faclllties. In June 1968, General Electric's construction permit was amended by AEC to provide that "In the event the Commlsslon establishes a pol- icy and regulations for ultimate dlsposltlon of fuel reprocessing plant radloactlve wastes, the Commlsslon may require the applicant to remove from the *** [plant] for storage at a regional or national disposal site designated by the Comrnlsslon the radioactive wastes particularly the high activity wastes stored inside the *** [plant]." General Electric agreed to this amendment on the basis that It recognized the incentive for avoiding proliferation of waste disposal sites. General Electric Indicated, 57 however, that there might be instances where waste transfer operations present greater risk than immobilization and long-term protection at the interim-storage point. General Electric informed us that any decision to require retrieval and transfer of wastes should be based on evaluation of relative risk exposure, made in the light of the latest technology. Allled-Gulf Nuclear Services On November 7, 1968, Allled Chemical Nuclear Products, Incorporated applied for a construction permit to construct the Barnwell Nuclear Fuel Plant-- a 1,500-metric-ton-per-year reprocessing plant-- on a 1,706 acre site adJacent to AEC's Savannah River Plant. In March 1970, Allled and Gulf General Atomic,Incor- porated (renamed Gulf Energy and Environmental Systems, Inc.) formed a partnership for the construction and opera- tion of the plant which was estimated to cost about $65 mll- llon. This partnership became a coapplicant with Allied and Gulf Energy under the name of Allied-Gulf Nuclear Ser- vices. Under the agreement between the two companies, Allied has the prime responsibility for design, construction, and marketing operations. The Barnwell plant is to have controls, Jointly with the AEC plant, to ensure that routine low-level radioactive effluents released into the environment from the two plants will be within established AEC llmlts. The high-level wastes resulting from chemical reprocessing are to be stored in acidic form in stalnless-steel storage tanks which, in turn, are to be contained in stainless-steel-lined concrete vaults Allied-Gulf informed us that this method of stor- age had been selected for the following reasons. --'Ihis method would allow the company to maintain the options to recover potentially valuable by-products from the wastes. --Experience with the storage of radioactive wastes had shown that storage of an acid solution in stainless-steel tanks was more reliable than alterna- tive storage methods 58 --Studies of the various alternative methods of stor- age of high-activity -wastes had determined that the storage of acid solutions ir stainless-steel tanks would be the most economical method. --Under this method Allied-Gulf could solidify the wastes at some later date, if required by AEC to do so. Allied-Gulf also plans to install additional stainless- steel tanks so that at all times there will be available enough tank capacity to allow any tank in use to be emptied in the event that there are problems with the tank. In addition, Allied-Gulf will install the tankage required for evaporated intermediate wastes. As these wastes are accu- mulated, development programs -gill be carried out to deter- mine the optimum method of ultimate disposal We were informed by AEC that in April 1970 the AEC reg- ulatory staff, with assistance of Government consultants, completed a technical safety review of Allied-Gulf's pro- posed plant based on its amended preliminary safety analy- sis report The amended report provided rnformatlon in response to questions raised during AEC's review and on Allied-Gulf's changes in the process and facility design as a result of its continuing safety review and discussions with AEC The construction permit was issued on Decem, ber 18, 1970. Atlantic-Richfield Company In April 1969, the Atlantic-Rlchfleld Company submitted a preliminary srte evaluation report to AEC for review of the suitability of a site near Leeds for a chemical- reprocessing plant. The proposed site, which consists of approximately 2,500 acres, is located about 60 miles north of the Savannah River Plant. After a review of the preliminary site evaluation re- port and a visit to the proposed site, AEC indicated that, although the report was not sufflclently complete for a formal review, the proposed reprocessing plant and site might be approved If further evaluations were made by 59 Atlantic-RIchfIeld and lfncorporated in a prellmlnary safety analysis report submltted In accordance with AEC regulations. Atlantic-RichfIeld submitted Its appllcatlon for a construction permit to AEC on October 29, 1970, for the Atlantic-RichfIeld Reprocessing Center. The accompanying prellmlnary safety analysis report included preliminary pro- cess and faclllty designs which Indicated that Atlantic- Rlchfleld would generally utlllze the same technology as would the Allied-Gulf plant. 60 RESEARm AND DEVELOPMENTEFFORTS In developing policies for management of radioactive wastes, AEC has concluded that llquld storage In near- ground-level tanks 1s acceptable only as an interim mea- sure and has considered and investigated other methods for long-term storage. From the standpoxnt of safety, AEC has decided that solldlficatlon of hlg'h-level radioactive liq- uid wastes and storage of the solidified waste in salt for- mations 1s the best known approach to isolate t'hls waste from the biosphere. Pro.ject Salt Vault As the result of the National Academy of Sciences' recommendations, AEC inltlated studies at Oak Rxdge in 1959 on the disposal of high-level solid wastes. The objective of the Oak Ridge program on radioactxve-waste disposal in underground formations was to demonstrate the equipment and operations necessary to carry out a safe and economical disposal of high-level solidlfled wastes in salt mines. During the 1960's, &EC's reseaxsh GUMIdevelopment ef- fort was directed toward establishing the suitabllxty of utilizing underground salt formations for the disposal of high-level sohdLfied radioactive wastes. The research and development studies included the demonstration of disposal of high-level radioactive solxds in a bedded salt mine. As a result of these studies, AEC is of the opinion that salt disposal technology has been developed to the point where confidence can be placed in engineering a system which is practicable and which will provide assurance of long-term isolation of 'high-level radloactive wastes from the envlron- ment. Federal repository In June 1970 AEC announced the tentative site selection for an initial salt mine repository demonstration project. Current plans include site acquisition, construction, and operation of a demonstration facility for long-term storage in mined salt vaults in central Kansas, This facility will accommodate both solidified high-level liquid wastes and plutonium-contamlned solld wastes. 61 An illustration of the demonstratzon project provided to us by AEC is on the following page. AEZ Informed us that over t'he next year geologic and safety studies would be conducted by the National Academy of Scrences' Committee on RadIoactive Waste Management to conflrm that all aspects of the operation at the selected locatlon can be performed safely. AEC stated that, on the basis of preliminary studies, radloactrve wastes would be buried in a salt mine 1 square mile In area and 1,000 feet below the surface. AEC esti- mated that, on the basis of fiscal year 1971 dollars, the lnrtlal capital outlay for a facility to handle waste gen- erated by commercial reprocessing plants would amount to $25 million and that annual operatrng and capital costs would amount to $150 mlllion over the first 20 years. AEC'S published policy provides that these costs be recovered from the users of the repository. AJX estimates that preparation of a salt mine for long- term storage of radioactive wastes will require approxi- mately 4 years after authorized funds are avallable. AFC plans to seek authorization for the Initiation, during fis- cal year 1972, of a demonstration repository to provide ad- ditional technical data and experience on operational metb- ods and costs of long-term storage of solldlfied wastes which are generated by commercial reprocessing plants, AEC informed us that, although the faclllty was termed a demon- stration repository, It antlclpated that the facility would be designated as the initial Federal repository. 62 ORNL-DWG 63-23912 DENIONSTRATIONOF RADlQACTlVE SQllDS STGBRAGEIN SALT 63 QEVELOPMF3TOF REGULATIONS In June 1969, AEC published its proposed regulations for the siting of commercial fuel-reprocessing plants and related waste management facilitres and lnvlted comments from Interested parties. The proposed regulations were de- veloped with a view to provide industry with the informa- tion needed currently to develop designs consistent with AEC requirements and with the obJective of lsmltrng the number of hrgh-level waste disposal repositories in the country. The proposed regulations provided that the high-level liquid wastes generated at a reprocessing plant be stored at the plant for as long as 5 years before conversion to solid form and that shipment of the solid wastes to a Fed- eral repository be required within 10 years after generatlon of the liquid wastes. The regulations provided also that, upon receipt of the solid wastes at a designated Federal waste repository, the Federal Government assume physlcal re- sponsibility for the material but that industry be required to pay for the costs of perpetual storage and disposal In summary, the companies involved in reprocessing plants--Nuclear Fuel Services, General Electric, Allied-Gulf Nuclear Services, and Atlantic-Richfield--in commenting to AEC on its June 1969 proposed regulations, stated that the regulations did not clearly explain important safety, eco- nomic, and technical considerations. Nuclear Fuel Services expressed the oplnlon that the proposed regulations, as stated, would be illegal when ap- plied to exlstlng licenses. Allled-Gulf, Atlantic-RIchfield, and General Electric indlcated,ln general, that the regula- tions failed to clearly establish solldlficatron and trans- portatlon crlterla and repository charges The companies recommended that adoption of the regulations be withheld un- til such conslderatlons were answered Offlclals of Nuclear Fuel Services informed us that the proposed regulations, if adopted, would have a substantial adverse economic effect on their operations and would upset certain agreements and business arrangements entered into in good faith in reliance upon previously established AEC poll- ties 64 In general, General Electric's planned operation of Its reprocessing plant ~~11 be In accordance with the proposed regulations In that the wastes will be In a solldlfled form, packaged in containers, and held at its plant pending final disposal General Electric offlcrals told us that the effect of AEC's not establrshlng cask and waste-container crlterla had caused problems In determInIng and deslgnlng what Gen- eral Electric considers to be an Integral part of reprocess- Ing plant's waste faclllties In addltlon, they stated that there was a need for AEC to release background criteria for evaluating alternative disposal methods for high-level wastes and the risk-benefit relatlonshlp for onslte disposal versus offslte shipment They lndlcated that offslte ship- plngtobe utlllzed during decontamrnatlon of reprocessing facllltles upon decommlssronlng should be evaluated on the same basis Although Allled-Gulf and Atlantic-Rlchfleld had not ob- tanned construction permits at the time AEC proposed Its reg- ulatlons, both companies apparently had selected, as lnterlm methods of storage, high-level llquld-storage systems that would include the use of stainless-steel tanks We were in- formed by an AEC offlclal that both companies had selected this form of storage, In part, to allow for enough flexlbll- lty to dispose of the high-level wastes as national policy warrants On November 14, 1970, AEC publlshed In the Federal Reg- lster revised regulations to be effective within 90 days In revising the regulations, conslderatlon was given to the comments made by industry on the proposed regulations pub- lished In June 1969 The June 1969 proposed regulations provided that radio- active hardware resulting from operation of commercial re- processing plants be disposed of In the same manner as solld- ifled radloactlve wastes or at a licensed Federal or State burlal facility; however, this provlslon was not included in the November 1970 regulations We were informed by AEC that further conslderatlon was being given to the alternative techniques for dlsposlng of solid wastes and that regula- tlons on these types of wastes would be forthcoming 6.5 The November 1970 regulations state that (1) recent AEC studies had Identified the bases upon which repository charges might be developed and had provided prehrmlnary es- tlmates and (2) shipments of solidafled radIoactIve wastes should be transported in accordance with exlstlng regulations of AEC and the Department of Transportation By letter dated November 11, 1970, AEC advlsed Nuclear Fuel Services that its operating license would be amended to provide that, in the future, kgh-level radloactlve llq- uld wastes generated at its plant must be solidlfled and transferred to a Federal repository, in accordance with the new regulations AEC advised Nuclear Fuel Services also that, with respect to waste generated prior to the effective date of the new regulations, AEC proposed to include provl- slons in the amendment which would require the solldiflca- tlon and transfer of the wastes by a deflnlte future date but on a schedule which would take into account the techni- cal and economic conslderatlons involved AEC requested a meetrng wrth Nuclear Fuel Services to discuss the appllca- tlon of the new regulations and to develop a schedule of actions to be reflected in the amendment to the license In accordance with AEC's current regulations, Its reg- ulatory dlvlslons are responsible for licensing and revlew- ing the practices of commercial reprocessors, including the preparation of the wastes for transportation to a Federal repository After the commercially generated wastes are delivered to the repository, AEC's Division of Waste and Scrap Management is responsible for the material The users of the Federal repository are to pay the Fed- eral Government a charge which, together with interest on unexpended balances, will be adequate to defray all costs of disposal. According to AEC, followang authorlzatxon of the proJect (expected in 1972) and the completion of the de- tailed repository design, a firm schedule of repository charges will be developed and published. AEC regulations provide that high-level radloactlve wastes stored at fuel-reprocessing plant sites be trans- ferred to a Federal repository In the event a plant is de- commlssloned and that, for future fuel reprocessmg plants, a design obJective be to facilitate decontamination and 66 removal of all slgnlficant radioactlve wastes from the plant sites In the event of decommlssionlng. Ultimate disposal of high-level radioactive waste material will be permitted only on land owned and controlled by the Federal Government. 67 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSIONS, RECOMMENDATION,AND AGENCYACTIONS In the preceding chapters, we have discussed AEC's progress In resolving its radioactive-waste management problems, as well as the difficulties that still remain with respect to both the interam and long-term storage of the wastes. We have pointed out that AEC installations have expe- rienced delays in Improving the capability for handling interim-stored wastes at their sites and in developing long-term (centuries) storage methods for large volumes of wastes because of budgetary considerations and because long-term-storage methods have not been defined and ac- cepted. Although various plans and methods have been or are being developed, ARC has not established an overall coordi- nated plan for resolving Its waste management problems and achieving its obJectives at all installations. Requests for the necessary funds to implement waste management plans are made and considered on an individual-program basis. We believe that, although ARC has assigned a high pri- orlty to radloactlve-waste management, the level of effort given to the program should be increased in view of its ex- traordlnarlly complex characteristics. The problems and delays being experienced In the lmplementatlon of ARC's pollcles for the management of radioactrve wastes are prn- marily attributable to a need for more definitive technol- ogy on such matters as the relative merits of various prac- tices and proposals for interim and long-term storage. In the past and currently, ARC management has empha- sized and has given priority to the development of technol- ogy and plans with respect to ARC's weapons, productson, and reactor development activities whch result in the gen- eration of radloactrve wastes and to the safe containment of radloactive wastes on an interim basis.. A lesser degree of management emphasis and prlorlty have beengivento the actlvltles dealing with the long-term management of such waste. 68 In view of the large quantrties of radioactive wastes at AEC operational sites, the continued generation of such wastes at these sites and AEC's forecasts of the relatively large volume of such wastes that will be generated by lr- tensed fuel-reprocessing plants, the importance of develop- ing and implementing policies and practrces for long-term waste storage cannot be overemphasized. AEC recogrmzes that vigorous management attention must continue, to re- solve existing problems and reach appropriate decisions on a reasonably timely basis and to recognize and resolve any future radioactive-waste problems as they develop. AEC's decision in June 1970 to develop the salt mines for potential use as a Federal repository for commercially generated wastes and its announcement In November 1970 of waste management regulations for private industry are major milestones. If the development of a Federal repository proceeds on schedule and proves successful,the commercial operators should be able to avoid the waste management problems of the types experienced in the past by AEC when the lack of technology resulted in the accumulation of large volumes of high-level liquid wastes. We believe that, to provide greater assurance that ap- propriate priorities are assigned to the overall waste man- agement program, AEC should further develop and consolidate its plans for resolving waste management problems into an overallcoordinatedplan. Such a plan should provide the following informatson for each type of radioactive waste generated by both AEC and private industry at the various locations involved. --The current status of the waste management program, both interim and long-term projects. --The specific actions necessary to resolve existing problems and achieve acceptable waste-storage goals. --The time frames over which these actions can be carried out. --The estimated costs involved, by fiscal year, In carrying out these actions. 69 We recognize that, because of geological and other conditions at the various AEC operational and private In- dustry sites and because of the differences in the types of wastes, t'he same procedures and practices may not be applicable Ln all cases. We believe, however, that the consolidation of such plans into a detailed coordinated plan would better serve to Identify the actlons needed to resolve existing waste management problems on a reasonably timely basis. Such a plan would provide both AEC and the Congress with information regardrng the required funds and, if it is not feasible to provide all t'he required funds, the plan would enable priorities to be established, after conslder- atlon of the relative costs and benefits of the various alternatlve uses that can be made of available funds. F'ur- ther, by establishing specific target dates for the resolu- tion of these problems, areas In which firm decisions are required would be hghlighted and consideration could be given to the proposed solutions and actions needed to make the necessary decisions. For instance, it is our opinion that, wit‘h such a cen- tral overview, final evaluation of the bedrock concept at Savannah River, which has been under study for about 9 years, could be expedited and thereby limit the expenditure of funds for the study of alternative solutions and minimize the need for funds to provide additional interim-storage capabilities, RECOMNDATION AND AJX ACTIONS In our May 1968 report, we recommended that: "*** consideration should be given to the desir- ability of vesting responsibility for policy mak- lng and overseeing the waste management program in a single AEC office at a level sufficiently hgh so that it can efficiently and economically coordinate the program and assume the authority necessary to make decisions concerning long- term storage methods, with all of the implica- tions which such decisions encompass." Action was taken to implement this recommendation in May 1970, when AEC established the Division of Waste and Scrap Management. We now recommend that the Division of Waste and Scrap Management give its immediate attention to consolidating and implementing the overall radioactive waste management plan described above. We believe that, when such a plan has been established, this Divlslon should be assigned responsibility (1) for recommending priorities for waste storage methods and for coordinating the conduct of re- search and development of waste storage methods to meet thesepriorities, (2) forrecommending long-term storage methods, (3) for establlshlng criteria for interim storage, (4) for reviewing and evaluating the progress made by the program divisions, and (5) for coordinating matters affect- ing both AEC and private industry waste management prac- txes with AEC program and regulatory divisions. AEC officials informed us that the Divxsion of Waste and Scrap Management had been asslgned the responsiblllty for developing and implementing a plan for the storage of high-level radioactive wastes from licensed facilities in the proposed Federal repository in Lyons and for managing AEC's alpha, or plutonium-contamrnated, wastes throughout AEC. These officials stated that the Division had been directed to coordinate the consolrdation of an overall AEC plan for radioactive waste management. They stated also that the plan, which would be largely a consolidation of plans developed or being developed by various AEC divisions, offices, and contractors, was expected to be completed early in fiscal year 1972 and that it would be updated as required to reflect major needs and developments in waste management activities, We were told that the Dlvlsion had been or would be assigned the other responsibilities cited in our recommenda- tion, The Division currently has responsibility for review- ing and approving or disapproving, in consultation with cognizant program and staff dlvislons, waste management plans of AEIC installations. This responsibility carries with it the responsibility for monitoring progress of per- formance under such plans, including progress toward ac'hiev- ing overall AEC plans and objectives. 71 Under present organizational arrangements, the Divi- sion of Production wrll continue to have primary responsi- brlity for the management of high-level radioactive wastes from AEC fuel-reprocessing installations, fncluding respon- sibility for research and development of long-term storage methods for such wastes. AEC advised us that the Division's activities would be conducted in accordance with the approved overall waste management plan and that Its efforts to develop or improve storage methods would be coordinated with the Division of Waste and Scrap Management. Also various budget and organi- zational alternatives within AEC are being considered to determine the best method of ensurrng that the approved overall waste management plan will be effectively imple- mented. 72 CHAPTER 6 SCOPEOF REVIEW We examined into the progress made at AEC's Idaho, Rich- land, and Savannah River Operations Offrces--located at Idaho Falls, Idaho, RIchland, Washlngton, and Alken, South Carolina, respectlvely-- In the development and lmplementatlon of solutions to problems assocrated with lnterlm and long- term storage of high-level radroactlve wastes, as discussed In our prior report to the Joint Committee. We also made a llmlted review of selected aspects of the waste management actlvltles at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. We examined also into AEC's pollcles and procedures for burying radloactlve solid wastes at the four locations men- tioned above. In addition, we considered AEC's proposed regulations for the management of liquid waste expected to be generated by the expanding clvlllan nuclear power lndus- try and the technology being developed by AEC for the trea-t- ment and long-term storage of these waste materials. Our examlnatlon included dlscusslons on current and future waste management activities with two companies which are operating, or plan to operate , private radloactlve-waste reprocessing plants. Nuclear Fuel Services, Incorporated West Valley, New York, and Wheaton, Maryland General Electric Company Morris, Illinois, and San Jose, California Our review was concerned prlmarlly with the management of radioactive waste generated In the reprocessing of lrra- dlated nuclear fuel. We did not examine into the waste management actlvltles being carried out in connection with the operation of reactors, laboratories, and test facllltles at the four AEC lnstallatlons included in our review. 73 APPENDIXES 75 October 24, 1969 Honorable Elmer B. Staats Comptroller General of the Unlted States U S General Account-g Office Washmgton, D C Dear Mr Staats In conslderatlon of the Committee’s contmumg interest m radlo- active waste management actlvltles by the Atormc Energy Comrmsslon and because of the results of the General Accounting Office Review as reported to us on May 29, 1968, we would like your Office to perform another review of this program to follow up on your prior findings However, before your Office physically starts another renew, I think that you should obtain from the AEC answers to the many questions that were generated by statements m the 1968 report Ths ~111 establish a common ground of what AEC has accomplished versus what they said they hoped to accomplish. We have drawn up a tentative list of questions, whch are attached, When we have the answers, we should know which areas m the waste management field require intensive exammatlon and which areas can be examined superflclally We would appreciate any comments you might care to make on our idea of how to conduct this reexammatlon and on the list of questions Edward J X[kuser Attachment 77 APPENDIXI Page 2 QUESTIONS TO THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION ON WASTE MANAGEMENT (Page references are In “Observations Concerning the Management of High- Level Radloactlve Waste Material”, GAO Report No B-lb4052, May 29, 1968, Secret} 1 Page 12, paragraph 1’ Has AEC developid standard criteria for reserve storage cagaclty? On an agency-wide basis? On a specific location basis? 2 Page 12, paragraph 1 Has a decision been made on re-usmg tanks which have been emptied? Why would such tanks be emptied? Does “emptied” mean completely emptied or drained to a certam level? Why IS the ‘%e-usmgl’ of empty tanks questionable, what 1s the probable hazard? 3 Page 12, paragraph 2 Have any further data been evolved which would indicate what the true life of the Hanford tanks might be--l e , 10, 15, or 20 years7 4 Page 13, paragraph 2 What has the AEC accomplished since the last review to a. Advance the technology of long-term storage at Rlchland and Savannah Rlvcr? b Arrive at “best” method for ceslum and strontium solldl- flcatlon and encapsulations Page 14, paragraph 5 1 What has the AEC done with regard to organlzlng a single offlce with oversight of the entlre waste management pro- gram at AEC facllltles’ Specifically a Which dlvlslon In the AEC has primary responslblllty for waste disposal matters under the cognizance of Rxhland Oper- ations Office, Savannah River Operations Office, and Idaho Operations Office respectfully’ [Page 7, paragraph l] b Does the Dlvlslon of Production (DP) coordinate through each concerned Field Office with the Contractors, or does It dictate procedures to the Field Offices, or IS some other procedure used? [Page 7, paragraph Z] Does the Dlvlslon of Reactor Development and Technology ~DRDT) coordmate with DP, or does DRDT coordinate anly through each concerned Field Office with the contractor7 [Page 7, paragraph 41 *Paragraph numbering starts with first full paragraph 78 APPENDIXI Page 3 d What authority does the Dlvlslon of Operational Safety (DOS) have to enforce the standards lt develops? Hov, do these standards compare to Federal Radiation Council standards’? Does DOS work directly with contractors or only with Field Offices or both? [Page 7, paragraph 33 e Do DOS, DP, or DRDT collectively or lndlvldually ’ compare standards established for AEC facllltles with standards the Dlrector of Regulation establishes for non- AEC facllltles? [Page 8, paragraph l] 6 Page 14, paragraph 2 Is it contemplated that an AEC smgle- point waste management office would cover both AEC facllltles and commercial/ mdustrlal/academlc facllltles3 Would or could such an authority operate with the same set of regulations for all high Level waste storage facllltles7 7 Page 15, paragraph 2 Has the AEC review of its organlzatlonal structure for waste management been completed7 Are reports available? 8 Page 15, paragraph 3 What reports, plans, or research has the waste management panel of the Natlonal Academy of Sciences (NAS) completed or undertaken for the AEC’J Are any reports available? 9 Page 18, last paragraph Is there any slgmficant difference m waste generated by commercial spent fuel processmg plants and AEC plants processing fuel elements from AEC production reactors? 10 Page 20, paragraph 1 After 7 or more years, why 1s the AEC still experimenting with three or more methods of long-range, high-level waste storage? 11 Page 20, paragraph 1 Does the AEC stand behmd the statement “With respect to the use of salt structures for the storage of its radioactive wastes, AEC has no present plans to store its high level wastes In this manner, even If the program IS proven to be feasible because the proposed approaches appear to be adequate and addltlonal expenses do not seem necessary at th1.s time “3 (underl.me IS added for emphasis) 12 Page 20, paragraph 1 What were the results of the AEC salt mme storage experlmentp Any reports? 79 APPENDIXI Page 4 13 Page 26, paragraph 4, and page 27, paragraph 3 What 13 the basis for the Dlvlslon of Production statement (Page 27) ” bedrock storage constitutes for the Savannah site a potentially safe, practical, and economical arrangement from the standpolnt of providing a solution to its long-range waste storage problem ” When (see Page 26) a maJorlty of a committee of the Earth Sciences Dlvlslon of the Natlonal Academy of Sciences in a 1966 report ex- pressed strong reservations concerning the bedrock concept of waste storage and recommended that lnvestlgatlons be dlscontmnued? What was the AEC JUStlflCatlOn for relying on the minority concept? 14 Page 28 Can DP Justify the calculations which indicate expenditures of $lOO-$500 mllllon for other than bedrock storage at Savannah River’ 15 Page 40, paragraph 2 On Page 12 It IS stated that tank service life could be 10, 15, or 20 years, on the top of Page 39 It IS stated that carbon steel tanks might last 20 to 40 years, the second paragraph onPage 40 states “This matter 1s of concern because, according to AEC, there 1s not enough experience with the service life of exlstlng storage tanks to reach experienced conclusions I1 Are any of the above listed statements correct’ Which=’ 80 APPENDIXI Page 5 UN ITED STATES ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION WASHINGTON D C 20545 November 21, 1969 Mr. Dean K. Crowther AssIstant Dlrector AEC Audrt Staff, GAO RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT Reference 1s made to the letter from the JCAE to the Comptroller General of the Unrted States, dated October 24, 1969, requesting the General Accountrng Office to obtarn from the Atomrc Energy Commlsslon answers to questions generated by statements in the 1968 GAO Report on Radroactlve Waste Management I am enclosrng for your rnformatron and further consrderatron, AEC's answers to the lrst of questions attached to the letter. I would appreciate any comments you may wish to make concernrng these answers. 'John A Erlewlne Assistant General Manager for Operatrons Enciosure AEC's Answers to Questions, w/attachments . 81 APPENDIXI Page 6 1. Q. Page 12, paragraph 1 Has AEC developed standard crlterla for reserve storage capacity? On an agency-wide basis? On a specific-locatlon basis’ A. As noted rn the previous GAO report on waste management, the crzterla for reserve storage capacity at each site were established by that site. These crlterla were generally the same at all three sites in provldlng spare volume equivalent to one tank. In the past year the Division of Production has developed crlterla for reserve storage for tank-stored wastes in conJunctlon with its long term lsolatlon program which it feels can be generally applicable at all sites. The field offices have been informally instructed to amplement these criteria as soon as possible. Accordingly, our budgeting and program plans have been consistent with this developed criteria which 1s to be formalized in the near future. Line item proJects have been included in FY 1970 and 1971 budgets at RL at $10~~ and slmllar proJects at SR are being completed. The construction of new tanks at RL and SR and the conversion of waste to solid makes available tank space for increased flexlblllty in management of the tank farm complex to provide spare capacity in excess of the criteria defined below. In addition to safety, the tank management program as planned improves assurance of operating continuity. These crlterla are a) At least one spare tank will be malntarned in each Integrated tank farm complex The spare tank must have the capacity to receive the contents of the largest tank in the farm complex e In tank farms where high heating wastes are stored, APPENDIXI Page 7 the spare tank must be capable of storing such wastes b) In addition to the spare tank a total working freeboard volume of surge capacity of at least one year’s operating requirements in each tank farm should be used in the scheduling of new tank construction. The one year lead time will provide a reasonable margin for unforeseen delays In construction of tanks. Because nearly all of the tank-stored high-level wastes are at the Production s ltes, the criteria are essentially agency-wide. However, the speclflc lmplementatlon of the crlterla at each site is dependent on the avallablllty of the necessary facilities. Currently, Idaho can meet the general criteria. At Savannah River the general crlterla can be met In H LIea with the four new double-shell tanks which are nearing completion, One tank 1s ready for use and the remainder will be completed within one or two months In F area, two new double-shell tanks are under construction and are expected to be ready by the first quarter of FY 1973 The equivalent of one tank will be malntalned In the F area tanks until the new tanks are completed (by evaporation of exlstlng wastes or by transferring wastes to H area via the interarea line if necessary). 83 APPENDIXI Page 8 At Hanford, there are currently two single-shell spare tanks in both the Purex and Redox areas. At Purex (the only active tank farm), two new double-shell tanks which are under construction are scheduled for completion by the first quarter of FY 1971. Additional double-shell tanks are planned on a schedule to maintain compliance with the general criteria. 2. Q: Has a declslon been made on re-using tanks which have been emptied? Why would such tanks be emptied? Does “emptied” mean completely emptied or drained to a certain level7 Why IS the “re-using” of empty tanks questlonalbe, what 1s the probable hazard? A: The declslons to reuse single-shell tanks must be made on a case- by-case basis. Although single-shell tanks will bz avallable for use, our plans are to store newly generated high-heating wastes only in double-shell tanks when these tanks are a\,nlldble since these tanks are of improved design. All of the new tank proJects provide for double-shell tanks and these tanks have been designated as the lnterlm storage tanks In the current planning of the overall waste management program at the sites Tanks are being emptied as a result of a program to convert the waste to a solld form for safer interim or long term storage (e.g. fluidbed calclnatlon at the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant (ICPP) and conversion of llquld wastes to “salt cakes” by repeated evaporation-crystalllzatlon operations at both Savannah River and Hanford). 84 APPENDIXI Page 9 The word “empt led” IS used In an operational sense i.e., removing as much llquld as 1s possible with pumps or Jets. A heel of up to 50,000 gallons might remain in the tank. Addlt lonal “emptying” would be performed on an lndlvldual basis depending upon whether the tank 1s to be re-used or retired from service. Reusing of empty tanks IS not necessarily questlonabte. Englneer- ing studies have shown that high-heat loads can impose considerable stress upon the single-shell tanks, and as noted In an earlier answer, our plans are to use the new double-shell tanks for interim storage of high-heating liquid wastes, however, we could use these single-shell tanks that have been tested for accept- ability, where necessary for newly generated high-heat wastes. There is confidence in the reuse of single-shell tanks which have stored only low-heating wastes and they are being reused to store the ITS product, new coating waste and other low-heating wastes. The stalnless steel tanks at Idaho are reusable, 85 APPENDIXI Page 10 3) Q: Have any further data been evolved which would Indicate what the true lrfe of the Hanford tanks might be--I.e., 10, 15 or 20 years 7 A: No further data that would lndlcate the “true life” of Hanford tanks for llquld storage have been accumulated. However, our waste management program 1s removing 1rqul.d waste from tanks and storing the waste as a solid. By about 1975 essentially all but the current waste ~111 be In solld form and all llquld waste would be considered as lnterrm storage (5-7 years - prior to solldlflcatlon) using prlmarlly new tanks under construction at Rlchland These new, double-shell tanks are of Improved desrgn for safer handling of the waste and are expected to last longer, on the average, than previously constructed tanks, Thus, the waste management program places less emphasis on long life of ranks for liquid storage, also avallable tanks for liquid storage at Rlchland Increase over the next few years to provide ample space capacity to support the interim storage of liquid waste. However, the long-range proJection on waste tank life was a consrderatlon at the time planning for the lnunoblllzatlon of wastes at the AEC sites. 86 APPENDIXI Page 11 4) Q: Page 13, paragraph 2: What has the AEC accomplished since the last review to (a) advance the technology of long-term storage at Richland and Savannah River? (b) arrive at the “best” method for cesium and strontium solidlflcatlon and encapsulation? A: Richland -- Technical studies have concentrated on supportIng and improvlng operation of B plant in-tanksohdlflcatlon equip- ment. A revised analysis of the hazards associated with long-term storage of the in-tank solldlflcatron (ITS) product LS ln’preparatkon. A deep hole has been drilled to explore the basalt formations under the chemical processing areas as a possible relocation alternative for the tank-stored wastes. The first results of the deep hole were encouraging but more extensive lnvestlgatlons would be needed to establish feaslblllty of the concept. The best method for ceslum and strontl\,m solldlficatlon and encapsulation have been selected, technical and engineering studies are provldlng support to a “design only” proJect In the FY 1970 Congressional budget for the facllltles to solldlfy and encapsulate cesium and strontium. Savannah River -- additional drilling and selsmlc studies have been completed to better define the geology to the southeast or the proposed site for the bedrock shaft and caverns. The data collected to date have been examined by a group of consultants who has concluded that the bedrock concept shows sufficient promise to warrant the next step, i.e. HI situ exploration of the bedrock, APPENDIXI Page 12 A copy of the consultant’s report (Attachment 3) “Permanent Storage of Radioactlve Separations Process Wastes an Bedrock on the Savannah River Plant Sateurs attached. A ‘IdesIgn only” prOJeCt in the FY 1970 Congressional budget provides for design and sate selection drllllng of the central shaft for which construction funds will be sought later. Studies have been inltlated to explore alternatives to long-term bedrock storage of the Savannah River wastes. 88 APPENDIXI Page 13 5) Q. What has the AECdone with regaru to organlzlng a single office with overslght of the entire waste managementprogram at AEC facllltles? Speclflca.lly. (a) Q: Which dlvlslon In the AEChas primary responslblllty for waste disposal matters under the cognizance of Rlchknd Operations Office, SavannahRiver Operations Office, and Idaho Operations Office, respectively? A: The Dlvlslon of qroductlon has primary responslbzkty Sor waste managementoperations at the SavannahRiver and the Richland sites, and for tne Idaho Chemical Processing Plant (ICPP) operations at the Xatlonal Reactor Testing Stac;lon (NRTS). The remainder of the waste dlsposjl o>eratlon, including the burial gromd at the XRTS, 1s the responslb;Lzy of RDT (except for the X3?, which is under Naval Reactors). At B'RTS,all llqu~d wastes which cannot be discharged to the surroundings are sent to the ICPP for treatment. (3) Q: Does the Dlvlslon of ProductIon coordinate through each concerned Field Office with the contractors, or does it dictate procedures to the Field Offices, or 1s some other procedure used? A. The Dlvlslon of Production coordinates through the Field Offuzes. Program guidance is provided by the Division of Production ana the Field Offices are responsible fo= conducting programs wiC'nln the guidelines. (c) Q: Does the Division of Reactor Development and Technology (DRDT) coordinate with DP, or does DRDTcoordinate only through each concerned Field Office with the contractor2 A: The RDT and DP high level waste managementprograms are coordinated. This coordination has prlmarlly been at tne HQ level and has taken the form of many ~ns"ormal staff dlscusslsns and lnformatlon exchanges In areas of mutLca1 89 APPENDIXI Page 14 2.nterest. These exchanges gener,w;r 2.nvolve transmittal of special reports, attendance at K.,c~T;.L,~,L02 JosaL xr,terest (NAS comixttee, etc.) and, in general, Bz~~-~I:: each other abreast of slgnlflcant developments IA dlvlslonal waste management efforts. As part of this contlnulng dla3ogue, each dlvislon I”rom time to tune sollclts comments and technical appraisals of slgnlflcant elements in the programs of the other dlvislon. For example, RDT was requested to comment through DP on the long range waste manage;uent plans silomtted by the Richland Operations Offlce. SImllarly, the Dlvislon of Production and Its contractors were asked to provide technical input and comment on the recently proposea Commlsslon policy on the sltlng of commerc&l. fuel reprocessing plants when this RDT document was In zhe draft form. Most recently, DP and Its contractors were asked to comment on the scope of work being carried out In RDT’s Waste Solzdlflcatlon Engzneerlng Prototype facility before lnltlatzon of the termxxI. phase of this experimental program. (d) Q: What authority does the Division of Operational Safety (DOS) have to enforce the standards It develops? How do these standards compare to Federal Radiation Councxl standards" Does DOS work directly with contractors or only with Field Offices or both? A. The standards developed by DOS, when approved by the General Manager and publlshed as Manual Chapters, are in fact dlrectxons from the General Manager and enforcement 1s thus a responsLblilty of each member of the management chain of command. In its appralsa2. role, DOS essentially provides an internal audit for the General Manager. DOS standards 90 APPENDIX I Page 15 are comparable for FRC standards on those subJects on which both have publIshed standards, however, DOSstandards In either scope or detail cover subJects whzch the FRC has not gone Into. DOSdoes not appraise contractors dlrectiy nor make direct suggestions or recommendations to cor,tractors on conduct of their safety programs. DOSdoes maintain famlllarxty with contractor actlvltles throagh plant vlslts and technxcal dlscusslons, usually with Field Offsce safety staff In attendance, as well as through reviews of written reports. (e) Q. Do DOS, DP, or RDT collectively or lndlvldually coapz,re standards established for ARC faclllties with standards the Dlrector of Regulation establishes for non-ARCfaczhtw: A: ARC!Manual. Chapter 0517-025 designates the Director, DOS, as provldlng a central point of coordlnatlon with the Dxrector of Regulation and other groups, committees, or agencies, In the development of codes and standards. Proposed cnarges In. the regulatory code are usually circulated for comments of DOS and of the program dlvlsxons and Field Offices having experience in the subJect areas. The Division of Materials Licensing has also requested DOScomments on safety analysis documents submitted In connection Fnth lxcense applxatlons for fuel reprocessing plants. RDT, DOS, and Production ali worked with RRGin preparatxon of the proposed ARCpolicy on sxtlng of fuel reprocessing plants recently published uz the Federal Register for comment. In addltlon to these specific responses to specific questions, the folloxng also applies to parts b, c, and d of this question. As a resuit of a GM directive of November15, 1968, each Field Office 1s required to aevelop detailed site plans for waste managementand to keep these plans updated.. These plans are to be submitted to Headquarters for review by OS and the programmatic dl&ons concerned wxth that sxtess operations. 91 APPENDIXI Page 16 6. Q. Page 14, paragraph 2 Is 1t contam~l GLt~ that an AEC slnglc- PO&# waste management offlce would cover both AEC iacllltles ant commerclal/lndustr~al/academ~c facalltles? Would or could such an authority operate with the same set of regulations for all high- level waste storage facllrtlesv A. The question appears to refer to a suggestion In the GAO report rather than to AX plans. The concept of a single office responsible for waste management wlthln AEC was considered by the General Manager's Task Force In 1968 After review of this study, the General Manager concluded that organlzatlonal responslbllltles wzthxn AEC for waste management, should reman essentially as they are assigned We had not Interpreted the GAO suggestion to Include centrallzrng responslblllty for "commerc~al/lndustr~al/academx facllltxs" as well as AEC facilities. The only area currently under conslderdtron where most of these Interests appear to colnclde 1s the proposed Federal repository for high-level radloactlve wastes It 1s probable that all wastes stored at such a faclllty would be sub:ect to these requirements whether from industry or from AEC installations. 7. Q. Page 15, paragraph 2 Has the AEC review of Its organlzatlonal structure for waste management been completed? Are reports avaIlable' 92 APPENDIX1 Page 17 7. A. As stated In the answer to Questron 6, the General Kanager's Task Force on Operational Radloactlve Waste Management renewed this subJect and reported (August 1968) that reorganizatloc was not recommended, although certain functions of the Dxector, Dlvlsion of OperatIonal Safety, were reempbaslzed. The report of this Task Force (AX 180/43) was provided to the GAO previously 8. Q. Page 15, paragraph 3 What reports, p lans, or research has the waste management panel of the Katlonal Academy of Sciences (NAS) completed or undertaken for the AEC3 Are any reports available? A. At AEX's request, the Academy Committee on Radloactlve Waste Management (CRWN) devoted most of Its lnltlal year to vlslts to AEC rnstallatlons where maJor radloactlve waste management operations are carried out. At AEX's request the CRWMreviewed and commented upon the AK's proposed policies on sltlng of reprocessing plants. Copies of these comments have been given to GAO and have been sent to the JCAE The CRWM1s currently preparing a report to AEC relating to Its actlvrtres to date When recexved, the report ~~11 be made available to GAO and JCAE. 93 APPENDIXI Page 18 9) Q: Page 3.8, last pzagrapn. Is thtire any o~gr~3.2~c3nb difference In waste genzratcd by co~~ex~ai spent 2x1 processing plants and AX p&~is pl ocesslng fuel eie; enLs from AX! produczlon reactors~ A: The wastes f&om the commercial p2xts we’ll have higher radloac txvlty content, and higher b.eat generaixon, per unit volume than the corresponding AXC ?lh~c wastes, but the relatlva abundance of the different r&d;onuclxdes to one another wxi.l be sLmllar . The commercal wastes belore solldxPlcatlon wxll have less volume per ton of fuel than AX production wastes, due to more advanced processes and snysxcal removal of claddlngs as solids. Background material. on -Lh~s general subJect 1s being prepared for use of the GAO staff. 94 APPENDIXI Page 19 lo. Q. Page 20, paragraph 1 After 7 or more years, why 1s the AX still experlmentlng with three o.c more methods of long-range, high-level waste storage? A. There 1s no single best solution for long-range, high-level waste storage whrch will take into account the varletles of wastes, differences In composltlon and particular envlron- mental condltlons at each of the AisC sites storing radloactlve waste. Therefore, each site's waste management program for long-term storage of Its radloactlve wastes has taken a differ- ent approach suitable to the particular sltuatlon at that plant or sate. Idaho 1s using a fluldlzed-bed calclner. Rlchland 1s employing the waste fractionation in-tank solldlflcatlon and Savannah River 1s considering caverns mined in the bedrock under the site The attached article (Conslderad tlons for Long-Term Waste Storage and Disposal at 7J.S AEC Sites," Attachment 1 ), goes into the reasons in more detarl Also, addltlonal methods for waste management are under development which would be better suited for licensed cbmmerclal fuel reprocessing operations and to serve as backup to an AX operation provided any one of the approaches currently being taken 1s not found to be acceptable. 95 APPENDIXI Page 20 11) Q: Page 20, paragraph 1. Does the AEC stand behlnd the state- ment "With respect to the use of salt structures for the storage of its radloactlve wastes, ABC has no present plans to store Its high level wastes In this manner, even if the pr.ogram 1s proven to be feasible because the proposed approaches appear to be adequate and addltlonal expenses do not seem necessary at this time?" (underline 1s added for emphasis) A The AEC 1s studying the feaslblllty of storing Its high- level wastes in salt structures but only as alternatives to its current plans. Because of the large volumes of wastes stored at the Commlsslon's chemical processing plant sites, the Commlsslon 1s seeklng long-range high-level waste management solutions which ~111 leave the wastes at these sites. Solldlflca- tion of the AEC's wastes and shipment to salt structures for long-term storage would be a very expensive alternatlve which may well cost as much as $1 billion to implement. The programs that the AEC 1s examining should cost only a fraction of the cost of removing the wastes from the productlon sites. 96 APPENDIXI Page 21 12. Q. Page 20, paragraph 1 Uhat were the results of the AX salt storage experiment? Any reports? A. The operation of ProJect Salt Vault (a demonstration d~sposa? of high-level radloactlve waste sollds In a Lyons, Kansas, bedded salt mine, usmg Englneerlng Test Reactor fueA assc-oiles In lieu of actual solldlfled wastes) has successfully de-~o~~- strated waste-handling equipment and tecnnlques slmllaz to those requrred In an actual waste disposal operatron. A total . of about 4 mllllon curies of flsslon product actlvlty In 21 containers, each having an average of about 200,COO curies was transferred to the drsposal faclllty m the mine and back to the NRTS at the end of the test During the 19-month opera- tlon of the radroactlve phase of the demonstration, the average radratlon dose to the salt over the length of the fuel assembly container holes was about 8 x 108 rads, and the peak dose was about 10' rads. The lnflnlte dose to the salt over the llfetlme of the faclllty 1s expected to be on the order of 1010 rads. As antlclpated from the Laboratory studies, no slgnlflcant effects due to the radlatlon were detected. ProJect Salt Vault has lndlcated that the In situ heat transfer properties of salt are sufflclently close to the values determined in the laboratory that confidence can be placed x theoretlcal heat transfer calculations. Calculations to date have generally been approximate and on the conservative siae, 97 APPENDIXI Page 22 but the knowledge now exists to permit more precise calculations to be made by zreans of more complex computer programs. The most slgnrflcant flndlng In the field tests regarding the effects of heat on salt behavior 1s that the lnsertlon of heat sources In the floor of a mine room produces a thermal stress whose effects are instantaneously transmltted around the opening (to tne pillars and roof). These stresses produce rncreased plastic flow rates m the salt. The combined field and laboratory tests have provided sufflclent lnformatlon on these salt flow characterlstlcs to allow the develop- ment of both general and speclfzc emplrlcal crlterla for the design of a disposal faclllty In almost any bedded salt deposit. These crlterla are necessary for a detailed englneerlng design of an actual disposal faclllty. To summarize, it may be said that most of the maJor technical problems regarding disposal In salt have been resolved. The feaslblllty and safety of handlrng highly radloactlve materials in an underground environment have been demonstrated The stability of the salt under the effects of heat and radlatlon was shown, as well as the capablllty of solving minor structural problems by standard mlnlng techniques. The data obtaIned on t%e creep and plastic flow characterastlcs of the salt will make It possible to arrive at a suitable mine design for an actual disposal facllrty. The final report on PrOJeCt Salt Vault ~~11 be issued during this fiscal year. 98 APPENDIX I Page 23 13) Q: Page 26, paragraph 4, and page 27, paragraph 3 What IS the basis for the Drvlsron of Production statement (page 27) 11. ..bedrock storage constitutes for the Savannah site a potentially safe , practical, and economical arrangement from the standpoint of provrdlng a solution to Its long-range waste storage problem." when (page 26) a maJorlty of a committee of the Earth Scrences Divlslon of the Natronal Academy of Sciences in a 1966 report expressed strong reservations concerning the bedrock concept of waste storage and recommended that the lnvestlgatlons be dlscontlnued? What was the AEC Justlflcatlon for relying on the minority concept? A: The NAS Committee referred to, in Its 1966 report, stated that in situ examination of the bedrock caverns would provide the best evidence that caverns could retain the radloactlve wastes. However, a maJorlty of the commrttee felt posltlve results from continued studies would be unlikely and recommended their termlnatlon, while a minority felt additional studies were needed before a declslon was made to abandon the concept. The AEC decided to perform addltlonal studies because the drfferentlal In cost between bedrock storage and the alternatives Justified expenditure of funds to obtain this information. The bedrock proJect consultants engaged by duPont (see reference 3) have examined all of the data avallable and have concluded rn situ exploration of the bedrock LS Justified and there is a high probablllty of producing evrdence to warrant com- pletion of the entlre proJect. Although this panel of consultants does not represent the NAS, each consultant IS lndlvldually a member of the NM. 99 APPENDIXI Page 24 14) Q: Page 28 Can DP Justify the calculations which lndlcate expendl- tures of $100-500 mllllon for other than bedrock storage at Savannah River ? A: The attached article (“A Look at Long Range Waste Management Costs at USAEC Sites” Attachment 2) provrdes an estrmate. These estimates are in 1964 dollars and escalation and subsequent experience and lnformatlon would increase these costs slgnlfr- cant ly. However, the relative magnitudes and ratros of the alternatlves probably would not be changed. The duPont consul- tants ’ report (Attachment 3) also povldes a srmllar estimate of $334 million. It should be noted that these are only prellmrnary estimates which have been made without benefit of process develop- ment studies related to adapting calclnation processes to the speclflc wastes at Savannah River and detailed engineering studies to better define the facility requirements. The actual costs may exceed the estimates. 100 APPENDIXI Page 25 15) Q: Page 40, paragraph 2: On page 12 ri is stated that tank service lrfe could be 10, 15, or 20 years, on the top of page 39 rt IS stated that carbon steel tanks might last 20 to 40 years, the second paragraph on page 40 states: “Thrs matter is of concern because, accordrng to AEC, there is not enough experience wrth the servrce lrfe of existing storage tanks to reach experienced con- elusions. ” Are any of the above-lrsted statements correct? Whrch? A: As covered by the AEC’s answer to questlon 83, the waste management program does not place long term reliance on storage of lrquld waste in tanks. Srnce the AEC 1s moving away from long term lrquld storage and mth the PrOJeCted space storage capacity, the service life of waste tanks 1s not the same crrtrcal factor Ln the program as It would have been had AEC continued wrth llquld storage. The service life values presented in the CA0 report are only estimates based mostly upon measured corrosron rates and the allowance (addltlonal wall thrckness) made for corrosion in the tank design. The service life as used by the AEC and its contractors is an estrmated “average” value used rn planning for replacement of tanks in the event extended rnterLm storage of llqurd wastes 1s contemplated. Because of the small number of tanks that have been constructed to handle, current waste, sufflclent statistrcal experience must awalt the accumulation of a larger number of tank years, Because of the rmmobrllzatron program, the tank years to be used in any statrstlcal analysrs would Increase 101 APPENDIXI Page 26 slowly with time. As noted above, this lnformatlon is now not essential to the AEC waste management program. 102 APPENDIXII Page 1 JQ~MTCOMMRTEEONATOMICENERGY ~A!%ING7l-0N.Dc 20510 December 15, 1969 Honorable Elmer B. Staats Comptroller General of the United States U S General Accountmg Office Washington, D C Dear Mr Staats Our letter of October 24, 1969 requested that the General Accountmg Office perform a follow-up review of the radloactlve waste management actlvlizes of the Atomic Energy Commlsslon. As indicated m our letter, we considered that the areas to be revlewed, and the depth of review, should be predicated upon the AEC’s response to the series of questions generated by your report of May 28, 1968 on waste management The meeting on December 8, 1969 of the Jomt Committee staff with personnel from GAO and AEC did much to clarify AEC progress and plans for radloackve waste management by the Government It appears to us that any radioactive waste management and control programs will, m the near future, involve comprehensive government- industry cooperation, particularly if the AEC plan for a 5-year maximum storage period at non-U S Government facllltles goes into effect While the GAO review will be of Government facllltles and plans, possible future relatlonshlps to the clvlllan nuclear program of waste management should be kept in mmd. As part of the review, we would like the GAO to consider exammmg the followmg aspects of the AEC’s program 1. The manner IIY which the AEC organlzatlons responsible for waste management actlvltles dischal ge their responslbllltles with respect to operations and research and development usmg the AEC field offices and contractors 103 APPENDIXII Page 2 2. The effectiveness of programs for developing, evaluatmg, and appraising methods of mterlm and long-term storage for waste generated J:,f AEC and commercial faclllties. 3. The status of research and development programs being carried out by AEC to develop a means for long-term waste storage and reasonableness of establrshed ObJectives. As stated previously, you may desire, while conducting thus renew, to consider the AEC’s proposed policy statement dealing with the slkng of commercial fuel reprocessmg plants and related waste management facllllhes and to determine the posltlons taken by some commerczal farms who are now or w1l.l be dealing with high-level radloactlve wastes. Your cooperation m these important matters wlpp be greatly appreciated. Smcerely your 8, Executive Director 104 APPENDIX III Page 1 PRINCIPAL MANAGEMENTOFFICIALS OF THE ATOMIC ENERGYCOMMISSION RESPONSIBLE FOR ADMINISTRATION OF ACTIVITIES DISCUSSED IN THIS REPORT Tenure of offlce From To CHAIRMAN Glenn T Seaborg Mar. 1951 Present GENERALMANAGER R. E. Holllngsworth Aug. 1964 Present DIRECTOR OF REGULATION Harold L Price Sept. 1961 Present ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGERFOR OP- ERATIONS John A. Erlewlne Dec. 1964 Present ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGERFOR PLANS AND PRODUCTION George F. Quinn Aug. 1961 Present ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGERFOR RE- ACTORS George M. Kavanagh Jan. 1966 Present ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGERFOR RE- SEARCHAND DEVELOPMENT Spofford G. English Aug. 1961 Present DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF PRODUCTION Frank P. Baranowskl Oct. 1961 Present 105 APPENDIX III Page 2 Tenure of offlce From DIRECTOR, DIVITION OF REACTORDE- VELOPMENTAND TECHNOLOGY Mllton Shaw Dec. 1964 Present DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF OPERATIONAL SAFETY. Martin B. Blles Nov. 1966 Present DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF WASTEAND SCRAP MANAGEMENT Henry A. Nowak Aug. 1970 Present DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF MATERIALS LICENSING John A. McBride Jan. 1965 May 1970 Lyall E. Johnson (acting) May 1970 Present FIELD OFFICE MANAGERS. Idaho Operations Offlce Wlllz.am L. Glnkel Nov. 1963 Present Oak Ridge Operations Offlce S. R. Saplrle Feb. 1951 Present Rlchland Operations Office Donald G. Wllllams July 1965 Present Savannah River Operation Of- flee. Nathaniel Stetson Dec. 1965 Present U S GAO Wash, D C 106
Progress and Problems in Programs for Managing High-Level Radioactive Wastes
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-01-29.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)