NRC Folds Waste Committee into Safeguards Group
Regulatory Commission has decided to merge its nuclear waste and
materials advisory committee with its committee on reactor safeguards
to reflect changing workloads and technical challenges.
The merger anticipates increasing need for expertise in health
physics, waste management, and earth sciences in the agency's licensing
reviews for new reactors, the mixed-oxide nuclear fuel fabrication
facility and facilities related to the Global Nuclear Energy
"The commission has benefited immensely from the expertise and
advice of the Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste and Materials," NRC
Chairman Dale E. Klein said. "We thank these eminent scholars and will
continue to draw on their assistance as a subcommittee of the Advisory
Committee on Reactor Safeguards."
The commission established the nuclear waste committee in 1988 to
provide advice on high-level and low-level waste issues. Previously,
this function was performed by the waste management subcommittee of the
The water and materials committee's role has concluded in recent
years as the NRC's low-level waste and decommissioning programs
matured. Also, the committee's activities in high-level waste have
decreased as the Department of Energy and the NRC have resolved most
key technical issues in DOE's plans for a high-level waste repository;
any remaining issues will be addressed in the license application,
expected later this year. If and when DOE submits its license
application, Its members would be designated as adjudicatory advisers
to support the commission, limiting their interaction with agency staff.
The commission has directed Frank Gillespie, executive director of
the advisory committees, to draft a transition plan to implement the
merger, including disposition of topics currently before the waste and
materials committee and whether those topics should continue under the
new subcommittee. Until the transition plan is implemented, the
committee will continue to meet under the direction of Michael Ryan,
the current committee chairman.