Environmental Protection

NRC Extends Comment Period on LLRW Program Changes

The agency's staff will develop an updated strategic assessment of the Low Level Radioactive Waste Regulatory Program, revising the alternative future disposal scenarios specified in the prior, 2007 strategic assessment.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is extending the comment period on its request for comments about possible changes in the Low Level Radioactive Waste (LLRW) Regulatory Program. These developments over the next several years would affect licensees and States with LLRW disposal sites and actions that the NRC could take to ensure safety, security, and the protection of the environment. The public comment period has been extended until Sept. 15.

NRC issued the request May 15, 2014, stating its staff will develop an updated strategic assessment of the program, revising the alternative future disposal scenarios specified in the prior, 2007 strategic assessment. And this new assessment is an opportunity for stakeholder engagement.

In the 2007 assessment, the staff developed three scenarios or "alternative futures" -- optimistic, realistic, and pessimistic. The "optimistic future" scenario was one in which the staff envisioned a continuous expansion of safe, secure, moderately priced disposal capacity for the entire spectrum of LLRW. The "realistic future" scenario was characterized by a significant curtailment of disposal capacity and continued cost escalation for much of the spectrum of LLRW, and the "pessimistic future" scenario presumed a virtual elimination of disposal capacity for LLRW in the not too distant future.

The NRC staff concluded large quantities of depleted uranium can be disposed of in a near-surface disposal facility under certain conditions and still meet the performance objectives of 10 CFR Part 61. The staff is proceeding with a rulemaking to amend 10 CFR Part 61 to specify a requirement for a site-specific analysis for the disposal of large quantities of depleted uranium, with a proposed rule expected to be published in 2015.

To submit a comment, visit http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2014-0080.

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