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Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2006. Tank Waste Retrieval, Processing, and On-site Disposal at Three Department of Energy Sites: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11618.
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Appendix B
Statement of Task

The objective of this study is to review and evaluate the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) plans to manage certain radioactive waste streams stored at its sites as identified below.

The waste streams to be addressed in this study are the streams of waste from reprocessed spent nuclear fuel that:

  1. exceed the concentration limits for Class C low-level waste as set out in Section 61.55 of Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations;

  2. the Department plans to dispose of on the sites specified below rather than in a repository for spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste; and

  3. are stored in tanks at the following sites:

    1. Savannah River Site, South Carolina.

    2. Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, Idaho.

    3. Hanford Reservation, Washington.

This study shall evaluate:

  1. the state of the Department’s understanding of the physical, chemical, and radiological characteristics of the waste referred to above, including an assessment of data uncertainties;

  2. any actions additional to those contained in current plans that the Department should consider to ensure that its plans to manage its radioactive waste streams will comply with the performance objectives of Part 61 of Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations;

  3. the adequacy of the Department’s plans for monitoring disposal sites and the surrounding environment to verify compliance with those performance objectives;

  4. existing technology alternatives to the current management plan for the waste streams mentioned above and, for each such alternative, an assessment of the cost, consequences for worker safety, and long-term consequences for environmental and human health;

  5. any technology gaps that exist to effect improved efficiency in removal and treatment of waste from the tanks at the Hanford, Savannah River, and Idaho sites; and

  6. any other matters that the committee considers appropriate and directly related to the subject matter of the study.

The committee may develop recommendations it considers appropriate and directly related to the subject matter of the study, including:

  1. improvements to the scientific and technical basis for managing the waste covered by the study, including the identification of technology alternatives and mitigation of technology gaps; and

  2. the best means of monitoring any on-site disposal sites from the waste streams referred to above to include soil, groundwater, and surface water monitoring.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix B Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2006. Tank Waste Retrieval, Processing, and On-site Disposal at Three Department of Energy Sites: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11618.
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DOE Tank Waste: How clean is clean enough? The U.S. Congress asked the National Academies to evaluate the Department of Energy's (DOE's) plans for cleaning up defense-related radioactive wastes stored in underground tanks at three sites: the Hanford Site in Washington State, the Savannah River Site in South Carolina, and the Idaho National Laboratory. DOE plans to remove the waste from the tanks, separate out high-level radioactive waste to be shipped to an off-site geological repository, and dispose of the remaining lower-activity waste onsite. The report concludes that DOE's overall plan is workable, but some important challenges must be overcome—including the removal of residual waste from some tanks, especially at Hanford and Savannah River. The report recommends that DOE pursue a more risk-informed, consistent, participatory, and transparent for making decisions about how much waste to retrieve from tanks and how much to dispose of onsite. The report offers several other detailed recommendations to improve the technical soundness of DOE's tank cleanup plans.

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