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Andrew Kadak's Letter to the EPA

November 24, 1999

Central Docket Section (6102)
Attn: Docket A-95-12
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street, SW
Washington, DC 20460-0001

Subject: American Nuclear Society Comments on Proposed 40 CFR Part 197, Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Yucca Mountain, Nevada: (64 FR 46975)

The American Nuclear Society (ANS) is pleased to submit a report of a special task group organized to review and comment on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed environmental radiation protection standards for Yucca Mountain. This task group is made up of a diverse group of scientists and engineers who are familiar with various technical and regulatory aspects of radioactive waste disposal. ANS is a not-for-profit organization comprised of 11,000 members with 52 U.S. and nine non-U.S. local sections, 23 plant branches, 42 student sections and approximately 100 organization members.

The attached report focuses primarily on the technical aspects of the proposed standard and the rationale provided by EPA on various aspects of the proposed standard. We also provide comment on several policy issues that derive from the legislative mandate given by Congress to the EPA regarding the proposed standard. Lastly, we have provided brief answers to the questions posed by EPA in their notice for public comment leaving the basis of the answers in the technical and policy aspects sections of our report.

The ANS report makes many key recommendations regarding this proposed standard. We have taken the best of the proposed EPA standard, the NRC standard and the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences bases report. Our selection of the appropriate aspects from each is that which we believe has the strongest scientific and practical bases.

Some key recommendations are:

  1. Individual dose, not risk, should be the basis of the standard.
  2. A dose limit of 70 mrem/year is safe, realistic and recommended.
  3. Calculation of dose should be based on expected annual dose rather than the mean.
  4. Individual dose limits for intrusion scenarios are not appropriate or realistic.
  5. Use of intelligent random sampling is appropriate for assessments.
  6. EPA should not specify receptor location but leave it to NRC for assessment using multiple locations.
  7. A separate ground water standard is technically unnecessary and, as calculated by EPA, is not meaningful since it uses outdated concentration limits for isotopes.
  8. ANS supports the use of the Reasonably Maximally Exposed Individual over the average member of the Critical Group in conjunction with recommendation 6.
  9. The location of receptors, the geologic and human uptake pathways and dose conversion factors are a matter for NRC implementation not EPA specification in the standard.
  10. The latest approved dose conversion factors incorporated in the NRC regulations should be used.
  11. ANS supports the use of "reasonable expectation" standard over that of "reasonable assurance" provided that "reasonable expectation" is defined as the median value of the spectrum of probabilities estimated.
  12. A 10,000 year demonstration period is appropriate.

We refer the readers of this summary letter to the report for more detailed explanations. A general comment needs to be made regarding the level of detail in the standard. It appears that the standard is unnecessarily prescriptive. Many of the items proposed by EPA should be left to NRC to decide in its implementation of a public health standard based on dose. We encourage making the standard simple enough for the public to understand and leave the details to NRC to assure its implementation in the design, construction and operation of the repository.

The ANS hopes these comments have been helpful. As can be seen, we have been selective in our support of various proposals made. We believe that they represent the right balance between what is science based and what science can predict over these long time frames.

The ANS recommends that EPA modify its proposal to reflect the comments listed in the attached report. We would be happy to expand on these necessarily brief comments and answer questions that you may have. For more information please feel free to contact Mr. Doug Wasitis in our Washington office at (202) 312-7420.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew C. Kadak


The Honorable Carol Browner, EPA
The Honorable Frank Murkowski, Chair, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Robert Smith, Chair, Committee on Environmental and Public Works, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Pete Domenici, Chair, Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, U.S. Senate
The Honorable Ron Packard, Chair, Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, U.S. House
The Honorable Joe Barton, Chair, Energy and Power Subcommittee, U.S. House
The Honorable Jacob Lew, OMB
The Honorable Robert Perciasepe, EPA
The Honorable Richard A. Meserve, Chairman, NRC
The Honorable Greta J. Dicus, Commissioner, NRC
The Honorable Nils J. Diaz, Commissioner, NRC
The Honorable Edward McGaffigan, Jr., Commissioner, NRC
The Honorable Jeffery S. Merrifield, Commissioner, NRC
Mr. Samuel Collins, Director of NRR, NRC
Dr. William D. Travers, Executive Director for Operations, NRC
Mr. Frank J. Miraglia, Jr., Deputy Executive Director for Operations, NRC
Dr. Carl J. Paperiello, Director, NMSS, NRC
Mr. John Greeves, Director, Division of Waste Management, NRC
Dr. Jared L. Cohon, Chairman, NWTRB
Dr. William Barnard, Executive Director, NWTRB
Dr. B. John Garrick, Chairman, ACNW
Mr. Richard Major, ACNW Staff
Mr. Lake H. Barrett, Acting Director, DOE OCRWM
Mr. Joseph Colvin, President and CEO, NEI
Mr. Steve Kraft, Director, Spent Nuclear Fuel Management, NEI
Ms. Karen Hunsicker, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate
Mr. Andrew Wheeler, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate
Mr. Alex Flint, Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, U.S. Senate
Dr. Peter Lyons, Legislative Fellow, Office of Senator Domenici

Reformatted July 12, 2012, 4:13pm CDT.

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