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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Review #1

Committee on Supplemental Treatment of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Nuclear and Radiation Studies Board

Division on Earth and Life Studies

A Consensus Study Report of
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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This activity was supported by contracts between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management, award DE-EM0001172/NAS Proposal Number 1005374. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for the project.

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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/26423.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, nongovernmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Consensus Study Reports published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document the evidence-based consensus on the study’s statement of task by an authoring committee of experts. Reports typically include findings, conclusions, and recommendations based on information gathered by the committee and the committee’s deliberations. Each report has been subjected to a rigorous and independent peer-review process and it represents the position of the National Academies on the statement of task.

Proceedings published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine chronicle the presentations and discussions at a workshop, symposium, or other event convened by the National Academies. The statements and opinions contained in proceedings are those of the participants and are not endorsed by other participants, the planning committee, or the National Academies.

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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COMMITTEE ON SUPPLEMENTAL TREATMENT OF LOW-ACTIVITY WASTE AT THE HANFORD NUCLEAR RESERVATION

JOHN S. APPLEGATE (Chair), Indiana University, Bloomington

ALLEN G. CROFF (Vice-Chair), Vanderbilt University, St. Augustine, Florida

C. E. “GENE” CARPENTER, Booz Allen Hamilton, Gaithersburg, Maryland

DAVID E. DANIEL (NAE), The University of Texas at Dallas

TORI Z. FORBES, The University of Iowa, Iowa City

ROBYN E. HANNIGAN, Clarkson University, Potsdam, New York

CAROL M. JANTZEN, Savannah River National Laboratory (Retired), Aiken, South Carolina

GEORGE F. LIST, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

LINDA K. NOZICK, Cornell University,

JOHN L. PROVIS, The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

GEOFFREY S. ROTHWELL, Longenecker & Associates, Antibes, France

ANNE E. SMITH, National Economic Research Associates, Inc., Washington, DC

KEVIN W. SMITH, Falcon Cougar Management Consultants LLC, Richland, Washington

CHRIS G. WHIPPLE (NAE), ENVIRON (retired), Lafayette, California

Technical Consultant

BOB MANSEILL, Studsvik, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia

Staff

CHARLES D. FERGUSON, Study Director

MICHAEL T. JANICKE, Senior Program Officer (since November 2021)

LAURA LLANOS, Financial Business Partner

DARLENE GROS, Senior Program Assistant (through July 2021)

LESLIE BEAUCHAMP, Program Assistant (since July 2021)

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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NUCLEAR AND RADIATION STUDIES BOARD

WILLIAM H. TOBEY (Chair), Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico

JAMES A. BRINK (Vice Chair), Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston

SALLY A. AMUNDSON, Columbia University, New York, New York

STEVEN M. BECKER, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia

AMY BERRINGTON DE GONZÁLEZ, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland

MADELYN R. CREEDON, The George Washington University, Washington, DC

SHAHEEN A. DEWJI, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

PAUL T. DICKMAN, Argonne National Laboratory, Washington, DC

STEPAN KALMYKOV, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

ALLISON M. MACFARLANE, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

ELEANOR MELAMED, U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (retired), Arlington, Virginia

PER F. PETERSON (NAE), University of California, Berkeley

R. JULIAN PRESTON, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

MONICA C. REGALBUTO, Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls

HENRY D. ROYAL, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri

Staff

CHARLES D. FERGUSON, Director

JENNIFER HEIMBERG, Senior Program Officer

MICHAEL T. JANICKE, Senior Program Officer

OURANIA KOSTI, Senior Program Officer

LAURA D. LLANOS, Financial Business Partner

DARLENE GROS, Senior Program Assistant

LESLIE BEAUCHAMP, Program Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Preface

The scale and complexity of the radioactive and hazardous waste disposal problem at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are well known. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM) has called the Hanford site the most challenging cleanup task in DOE’s nuclear complex.

DOE’s current plan for treating the nearly 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous chemical waste contained in 177 large tanks is to separate it into two waste streams: a high-level waste (HLW) stream that will have less than 10 percent of the volume but more than 90 percent of the radioactivity, and a low-activity waste (LAW) stream that will have more than 90 percent of the volume but less than 10 percent of the radioactivity. Notably, DOE’s determination as to whether a volume of waste is considered LAW depends on the removal of “key radionuclides to the maximum extent that is technically and economically practical,” as stated in DOE’s Radioactive Waste Manual. But this processing could still leave significant amounts of long-lived radionuclides such as iodine-129 (half-life of 15.7 million years) and technetium-99 (half-life of 210,000 years) in the LAW stream. According to DOE’s plan, once the under-construction Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant becomes operational, it will vitrify (treat) the HLW stream and one-third to perhaps one-half of the LAW stream. The excess LAW that still needs to be treated is called supplemental LAW (SLAW). DOE, the Washington State Department of Ecology, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—the three parties under the legally binding 1989 Hanford Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order (Tri-Party Agreement)—have yet to agree on the SLAW treatment method. The use of a technology other than vitrification for any LAW is controversial at Hanford—though it has been adopted at other DOE-EM sites—and such use is currently opposed by the State of Washington, key tribal nations, and many Hanford stakeholders.

In Section 3125 of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 2021), Congress directed DOE to enter into an arrangement with a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) to “conduct a follow-on analysis to the analysis required by section 3134 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017” (NDAA 2017) and develop an analytic framework that would help decision-makers decide among the SLAW treatment technologies, waste forms, and disposal locations. In addition, Section 3125 of NDAA 2021 requires the FFRDC team to perform additional analysis on grout treatment options building on the analysis in the FFRDC report for Section 3134 of NDAA 2017. As with the Section 3134 study, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was directed to form an ad hoc committee of experts to provide a concurrent review of the FFRDC team’s continuing draft and final analytic frameworks. The National Academies committee also has the role to solicit and consider stakeholder input at every step of the process.

DOE appointed Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) as the FFRDC to lead this study, and then SRNL assembled a team of experts from SRNL, other DOE national laboratories, and outside the laboratories’ network to perform the analysis. The National Academies appointed its committee to conduct the overlapping review. This first committee report is for the opening stage of an iterative exchange between the FFRDC team and the National Academies committee that—together with stakeholder comments—is intended ultimately to lead to a final report which key decision-makers can rely on in reaching a decision on the treatment and disposal of the SLAW.

The FFRDC team has presented its work to the committee twice: first in an introductory online meeting on July 15, 2021; second in an online meeting describing the status of the FFRDC’s draft analytic framework, on October 20-21, 2021. The committee is grateful for the time and effort that went into the team’s presentations, as well as the presentations by other interested government agencies, stakeholders, and members of the public. The Washington State Department of Ecology, in particular, presented its perspectives at both public meetings. The committee’s review provides an overall

Page viii Cite
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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assessment of the FFRDC’s draft analytic framework and makes findings and recommendations according to the terms of the Statement of Task.

We hope that the present review will provide a useful guide to the FFRDC as it works on its complete draft report that is planned to be available for public presentation in spring 2022. That public meeting will also focus on receiving comments from the Washington State Department of Ecology, tribal nations, and other stakeholders. The public release of the complete draft FFRDC report will also begin the process of a congressionally mandated minimum 60-day public comment period. The National Academies will issue announcements in spring 2022 about how stakeholders and other interested members of the public can submit comments. We look forward to continued dialogue with interested government representatives, Hanford area stakeholders, and interested members of the public.

John S. Applegate, Chair
Allen G. Croff, Vice-Chair
Committee on the Review of the Continued Analysis of Supplemental Treatment of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Acknowledgments

A number of people and organizations contributed to the successful completion of this report. The committee thanks the study sponsor, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (DOE-EM), for supporting this project, and especially the following DOE staff:

Kaylin Burnett, DOE-One Hanford

Mark Gilbertson, DOE-EM

Beth Moore, DOE-EM

Delmar Noyes, DOE-ORP (Office of River Protection)

Elaine Porcaro, DOE-ORP

Brian Vance, DOE-One Hanford

Ming Zhu, DOE-EM

The committee also thanks the presenters and speakers who gave high-quality presentations during the public meetings as listed in Appendix E. In particular, for the most recent public meeting on October 20-21, 2021, the committee is pleased to note the informative presentations of various stakeholders and the team members of the Federally Funded Research and Development Center led by the Savannah River National Laboratory. In addition, the committee is grateful for other submitted public comments, which were useful in helping the committee better understand concerns and views.

The committee appreciates the outstanding assistance provided by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine staff in organizing the committee meetings and preparing the report. The chair and vice-chair are also thankful for the time and energy devoted by the committee members.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Reviewer Acknowledgments

This Consensus Study Report was reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in making each published report as sound as possible and to ensure that it meets the institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

Craig Benson (NAE), University of Virginia, Charlottsville

Willis Bixby, independent consultant, Crofton, Maryland

Rudy Bonaparte (NAE), Geosyntec Consultants, Brookhaven, Georgia

Peter C. Burns, University of Notre Dame, Indiana

William L. Ebert, Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Illinois

Robert B. Gilbert (NAE), The University of Texas at Austin

Sue E. Ion (NAE), independent consultant, Leyland, United Kingdom

Mark Lepofksy, FACTOR, Inc., Nashville, Tennessee

Ian Pegg, Catholic University, Washington, DC

Detlof von Winterfeldt, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations of this report nor did they see the final draft before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Mark T. Peters (NAE), Battelle Memorial Institute, and Thure E. Cerling (NAS), University of Utah. They were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with the standards of the National Academies and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content rests entirely with the authoring committee and the National Academies.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2022. Review of the Continued Analysis of the Supplemental Treatment Approaches of Low-Activity Waste at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation: Review #1. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26423.
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The Hanford Nuclear Reservation, where about two-thirds of the nation's weapons plutonium was produced from 1944 to 1987, is the site of the largest and most complex nuclear cleanup challenge in the United States. Section 3125 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 calls for a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) to develop a framework of decisions to be made among the supplemental treatment technologies, waste forms, and disposal locations for low-activity waste in the Hanford tanks. In addition, Section 3125 calls for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide a concurrent, independent peer review of the ongoing FFRDC analysis. This review report, the first of three to address the Congressional mandate, focuses on the technical quality and completeness of the FFRDC's draft framework.

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