Click for next page ( 136


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 135
APPENDIX B CONGRESSIONAL MANDATE FOR THIS REPORT Letter of J. Bennett Johnston to Robert W. Fri. May 20' ~ 993 Energy Policy Act of ~ 992 (P.~. 102-486) Section 801 Excerpts from the Conference Report (Cong. Rec. H-12056) 135

OCR for page 135
136 DALE 9'JMPERS Arkansas YvENDELL H FORD. KeniuCkY BILL BRADLEY New J.r..Y JEFF BINGAMAN. New Leo DANIEL K. AKAKA, Hawaii RICHARD C. SHELeY Alabama PAUL WEllSTONE. blinr~ceota BEN NIGHTHORSE CAhlPIIELL Colorado BARON ?~AT14EWS, Tennessee BOB KRUEGER Tex" J BENNETT JOHNST0~4, Lou,s,ar~a C^`,rman MALCOLM WALLOP Wyoming MARK O. ~AtFIELD, Oregon PETE V DOMENICI, New 84an~eo FRANK H. MUflKOWSKI, Accede DON SICKLES, Oklahoma LARRY E. CRAIG. Idaho ROBERT F BENNEtT Utah ARLEN SffCtER. Pennov~anb tRENT LOtt Mh~ipp. BENJAMIN S. COOPED STAFF DIRECTOR D. 84ICI/^EL HARVEY CHIEF COUNSEL G. ROBERT WALLACE, STAFf DIRECTOR FOR THE MINOIUTY GARY G. ELLSWORTH. CHIEF COUNSEL FOPS THE 141NORJTY Robert W. Fri Chairman Committee on Technical Bases for Yucca Mountain Standards National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.~. Washington, D.C. 20418 Dear Dr. Fri: YUCCA MOUNTAIN STANDARDS United State' Anne COMMI11EE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES We, DC 2051~6150 May 20, 1993 Thank you for the invitation to participate in the initial meeting of the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on the Technical Bases for Yucca Mountain Standards to share my views with the committee about its charge. I regret that I am unable to attend, but I would like to offer the following comments to the committee for its consideration. ~ am concerned that the past efforts to set standards to protect the public health and safety at Yucca Mountain have strayed beyond what can be Justified based on scientific understanding and principles. The release limits for carbon-14 contained in the 1985 standards are the most obvious example of this problem. It.is extremely important that the standards developed for nuclear waste disposal be reasonable, Justifiable, and understandable. These standards must be developed based up on a scientific evaluation of the risk involved and must be grounded in the best available scientific data. Your report will be most helpful if in clearly delineates the technical assumptions, principles, and data that underlie alternative approaches to regulation in as straightforward language as possible. Your guidance on how to apply known scientific principles and how to make judgments where there are technical and scientific uncertainties will be extremely important. I believe that your committee has a vitally important role to play in bringing the best scientists together to consider these issues and in assuring that reasonable and rational advice is provided to the Environmental Protection Agency. In developing the nuclear waste provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 as we did, the Congress felt that the National Academy of

OCR for page 135
APPENDIXB - CONGRESSIONAL MANDATE Sciences was the most qualified to provide this advice and guidance. 137 Thank you again for the invitation to participate in the committee's meeting next week in Las Vegas. .~ v it.? 4. Bennett hnston Chairman 2

OCR for page 135
138 Text of the Energy Policy Act of ~ 992 YUCCA MOUNTAIN STANDARDS TITLE VIII--HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE SEC. 801. NUCLEAR WASTE DISPOSAL. (a) Environmental Protection Agency Standards.- (~) Promulgation.--Notwithstanding the provisions of section 121(a) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 10141(a)), section 161 b. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2201(b)), and any other authority of the Administrator ofthe Environmental Protection Agency to set generally applicable standards for the Yucca Mountain site, the Administrator shall, based upon ant! consistent with the finclings ant! recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences, promulgate, by rule, public health and safety standards for protection of the public from releases from radioactive materials stored or disposed of in the repository at the Yucca Mountain site. Such standards shall prescribe the maximum annual effective close equivalent to individual members of the public from releases to the accessible environment from radioactive materials stored or disposed of in the repository. The standarcis shall be promulgated not later than ~ year after the Administrator receives the findings and recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences under paragraph (2) and shall be the only such standards applicable to the Yucca Mountain site. Study by National Academy of Sciences.--Within 90 days after the ciate of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall contract with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study to provide, by not later than December 31, 1993, finclings and recommendations on reasonable standards for protection of the public health ant} safety, including-

OCR for page 135
APPENDIXB - CONGRESSIONAL MANDATE 139 (A) whether a health-based standar~i baser] upon closes to inclividual members of the public from releases to the accessible environment (as that term is clefined in the regulations container] in subpart B of part 191 of title 40, Cocle of Federal Regulations, as in effect on November ~ 8, 1985) will provide a reasonable standard for protection of the health and safety of the general public; whether it is reasonable to assume that a system for post-closure oversight of the repository can be developed, baser} upon active institutional controls, that will prevent an unreasonable risk of breaching the repository's engineered or geologic barriers or increasing the exposure of individual members of the public to radiation beyond allowable limits; and (C) whether it is possible to make scientifically supportable predictions of the probability that the repository's engineered or geologic barriers will be breaches] as a result of human intrusion over a period of 10,000 years. Applicability.--The provisions of this section shall apply to the Yucca Mountain site, rather than any other authority of the Administrator to set generally applicable stanciarcis for radiation protection. (b) Nuclear Regulatory Commission Requirements ant! Criteria.- ( 1 ) Moclifications.--Not later than 1 year after the Administrator promulgates standards under subsection (a), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission shall, by rule, modify its technical requirements and criteria under section 121(b) ofthe Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (42 U.S.C. 1014 l (b)), as necessary, to be consistent with the Aciministrator's standards promulgated under subsection (a).

OCR for page 135
140 YUCCA MOUNTAIN STANDARDS Required assumptions.--The Commission's requirements and criteria shall assume, to the extent consistent with the findings and recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences, that, following repository closure, the inclusion of engineered! barriers ant! the Secretary's post-closure oversight of the Yucca Mountain site, in accordance with subsection (c), shall be sufficient to- (A) prevent any activity at the site that poses an unreasonable risk of breaching the repository's engineered or geologic barriers; and (B) prevent any increase in the exposure of individual members of the public to radiation beyonci allowable limits. Post-Closure Oversight.--Following repository closure, the Secretary of Energy shall continue to oversee the Yucca Mountain site to prevent any activity at the site that poses an unreasonable risk of- ( 1 ) breaching the repository's engineered! or geologic barriers; or (2) increasing the exposure of inclivitiual members of the public to radiation beyond allowable limits.

OCR for page 135
APPENDIX B - CONGRESSIONAL MANDATE Text of Conference Report [CRpageH-120561 TITLE VIII--HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE 141 Section 801 acidresses the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) generally applicable standards for protection of members of the public from release of radioactive materials into the accessible environment as a result of the disposal of spent nuclear fuel or high-level or transuranic radioactive waste. Administrator's authority to establish these standards is embodies! in section Nib. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970, and section 121(a) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. Section 801 builds upon this existing authority of the Administrator to set generally applicable standards and directs the Administrator to establish health-basec! standards for protection of the public from release or radioactive materials that may be stored or disposed of in a repository at the Yucca Mountain site. The provisions of section 801 make clear that the standards established by the authority in this section would be the only such standards for protection of the public from releases of radioactive materials as a result of the clisposal of spent nuclear fuel or high-level radioactive waste in a repository at the Yucca Mountain site. Any other generally applicable standarcis established pursuant to the Administrator's authority uncler section 161b. of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970, and section 121(a) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 would not apply to the Yucca Mountain site. The provisions acloptec} by the Conferees in section 80 ~ require the Administrator to promulgate health-based stanriards for protection of the public from releases of radioactive materials from a repository at Yucca Mountain, based upon and consistent with the findings and recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences. These standards shall prescribe the maximum annual dose equivalent to individual members of the public from releases to the accessible environment from radioactive materials stored or disposed of in the repository. The provisions of section 801 do not mandate specific stanciards but rather direct the Administrator to set the standards based upon and consistent with the findings and recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences.

OCR for page 135
142 YUCCA MOUNTAIN STANDARDS The Administrator is clirectec! to contract with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study to provide finclings anti recommendations on reasonable standards for protection of the public health and safety by not later than December 3 1, 1993. In carrying out the study, the National Academy of Sciences is asked to address three questions: whether a health-basec] standard based upon doses to individual members of the public from releases to the accessible environment will provicle a reasonable standard for protection of the health and safety of the general public; whether it is reasonable to assume that a system for post-closure oversight of the repository can be developeci, based upon active institutional controls, that will prevent an unreasonable risk to breaching the repository barriers or increasing the exposure of individual members of the public to radiation beyond allowable limits; and whether it is possible to make scientifically supportable predictions of the probability that the repository's engineered} or geologic barriers will be breached as a result of human intrusion over a period of 10,000 years. In looking at the question of human intrusion, the Conferees believe that it is also appropriate to look at issues relater! to predications of the probability of natural events. In carrying out the study, the National Academy of Sciences would not be precluded from addressing adclitional questions or issues related to the appropriate standards for radiation protection at Yucca Mountain beyond those that are specified. For example, the study could inclucle an estimate of the collective dose of the general population that could result from the adoption of a health-based standard baser! upon doses to individual members of the public. The purpose of the listing of specific issues is not to limit the issues considered by the National Academy of Sciences but rather to attempt to focus the study on concerns that have been raiser) by the scientific community. Under the provisions of section 801, the Administrator is directed to promulgate standards within one year of receipt of the findings and recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences, based upon and consistent with those recommendations. The Conferees do not intend for the National Academy of Sciences, in making its recommendations, to establish specific standarcls for protection of the public but rather to provide expert scientific guidance on the issues involved in establishing those standards. Under the provisions of section 801, the authority and responsibility to establish the standards, pursuant to a rulemaking, would

OCR for page 135
APPENDIX B - CONGRESSIONAL MANDATE 143 remain with the Administrator, as is the case under existing law. The provisions of section 801 are not intended! to limit the Aciministrator's discretion in the exercise of his authority related to public health anti safety Issues. The provisions to modify its technical requirements and criteria for licensing of a repository to be consistent with the standards promulgated by the Administrator within one year of the promulgation of those standards. In modifying its technical requirements and criteria, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is directed to assume, to the extent consistent with the findings and recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences, that civilization will continue to exist and that post-closure oversight of the repository will continue, and to include in its technical requirements and criteria, engineered barriers to prevent human intrusion. As with the Administrator, the provisions of section 801 are not intencled to limit the Commission's discretion in the exercise of its authority relateci to public health and safety. The provisions of section 801 address only the stanciards of theEnvironmental Protection Agency, ant] comparable regulations of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, relater] to protection of the public from releases of radioactive materials storer! or disposed of at the Yucca Mountain site pursuant to authority under the Atomic Energy Act, Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1970, the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 19X2, and this Act. The provisions of section 801 are not intended to affect in any way the application of any other existing laws to activities at the Yucca Mountain site.

OCR for page 135