The Office of Environmental Management has primary responsibility, within DOE, for DOE Order 435.1, the self-regulation of radioactive waste management. As part of this responsibility, EM has decided to update the Order to incorporate several changes to the regulatory process that have taken place over the last decade as well as streamline the Order to improve management of the waste. A comprehensive complex-wide review of DOE radioactive waste management activities associated with implementation of the requirements of DOE Order 435.1, Radioactive Waste Management, was conducted in 2010 in order to gather feedback on the effectiveness of the DOE Order 435.1 requirements (not to assess compliance with the requirements) in preparation of updating the Order.
Public Involvement on Revision of DOE ORDER 435.1
There will be several opportunities for public involvement in the review of the Order, including publication for comment of the draft Order in a notice of availability in the Federal Register, expected in the late Spring of 2012. In addition, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is currently considering methods to revise their regulation of commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal. DOE and Nuclear Regulatory Commission are coordinating the revision of these various requirements, when appropriate, because they cover similar issues. DOE in coordination with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission held a workshop on March 4, 2011, in Phoenix, Arizona to gather information from a broad spectrum of stakeholders concerning the modification of the requirements in DOE Order 435.1, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s commercial low-level waste (LLW) disposal regulations, 10 CFR Part 61.
DOE has used DOE Order 435.1 to specify radioactive waste management requirements for all level of radioactive waste, including LLW, high-level radioactive waste, and transuranic waste. The current version of this Order has been in place for more than 11 years and applies to management of radioactive waste within the DOE complex. Based on the recommendations in the Complex-Wide Review Report (above), a comprehensive revision of Order 435.1 was initiated and is expected to be completed in 2012.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission has used 10 CFR Part 61 to regulation any near-surface LLW disposal technology, including shallow-land burial, engineered land disposal methods such as below-ground vaults, earth-mounded concrete bunkers, and augured holes. Development of the part 61 regulation in the early 1980s was based on several assumptions as to the types of wastes likely to go into a commercial LLW disposal facility. Over the last several years there have been a number of developments that have called into question some of the key assumptions made in connection with the development of part 60 requirements.
The joint public workshop was organized in two sessions, followed by a joint Panel Discussion Session. Session I addressed DOE Order 435.1 and include an opportunity for stakeholder feedback and comments. Session II addressed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff’s proposed options for any potential rulemaking actions with respect to revision of 10 CFR part 61 (Licensing Requirements for Land Disposal of Radioactive Waste) as discussed in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Commission Paper SECY–10–0165. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff plans to consider any modifications to Order 435.1 as part of a comprehensive revision to part 61. Below is the webcast taped during the public meeting, including the DOE presentations, the DOE stakeholder comments session, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission presentations and comment session, and the DOE/Nuclear Regulatory Commission panel discussion. A transcript of the webcast will also be attached when complete. Also attached below is the Federal Register Notice prepared by Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the public meeting.