NRC proposes new LLW rule interpretation

March 9, 2020, 9:48AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is issuing a proposed interpretation of its low-­level radioactive waste disposal regulations that would permit licensees to dispose of waste by transfer to persons who hold specific disposal exemptions. The NRC said that it will consider approval of requests for specific exemptions only if they are for the disposal of very low-­level radioactive waste by land burial. Notice of the proposed interpretive rule was published in the March 6 Federal Register.

The proposed rule would modify the current guidance, which states that CFR 10 Part 20.2001 allows the transfer of licensed material for disposal only to licensed persons. The interpretation of “authorized recipient” under section 20.2001 would expand such recipients to specifically exempted entities, in addition to the current interpretation of licensed persons or facilities. Licensees could transfer very low-­level radioactive waste to a disposal facility not licensed under 10 CFR Part 61 that holds an appropriate authorization.

The NRC said that it expects that this interpretive rule would provide an efficient means by which the agency may issue specific exemptions for waste disposal and by which licensees may transfer appropriate material to these exempt facilities. Under the new interpretation, the NRC would no longer need to review and approve exemptions on a case-­by-­case basis.

The NRC is requesting comments on the proposed interpretive rule by April 20. Comments can be submitted through the federal rulemaking website, at <www.­>, with a search for Docket ID NRC–2020–0065.

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