[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 146 (Monday, August 1, 2005)]
[Pages 44123-44127]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-15123]



[Docket No. 40-8989]

In the Matter of Envirocare of Utah, Inc.; Order Modifying 
Exemption From 10 CFR Part 70

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Issuance of order to modify Envirocare of Utah, Inc.'s 
exemption from requirements of 10 CFR part 70.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James Park, Environmental and 
Performance Assessment Directorate, Division of Waste Management and 
Environmental Protection, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and 
Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-
0001. Telephone: (301) 415-5835, fax number: (301) 415-5397, e-mail: 
[email protected].


I. Introduction

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an Order 
pursuant to section 274f of the Atomic Energy Act to Envirocare of 
Utah, Inc. (Envirocare) to modify Envirocare's exemption from certain 
NRC licensing requirements for special nuclear material.

[[Page 44124]]

II. Further Information


    Envirocare of Utah, Inc, (Envirocare) operates a low-level waste 
(LLW) disposal facility in Clive, Utah. This facility is licensed by 
the State of Utah, an Agreement State. Envirocare also is licensed by 
Utah to dispose of mixed waste, hazardous waste, and 11e.(2) byproduct 
material (as defined under section 11e.(2) of the Atomic Energy Act of 
1954, as amended).


    Section 70.3 of 10 CFR part 70 requires persons who own, acquire, 
deliver, receive, possess, use, or transfer special nuclear material 
(SNM) to obtain a license pursuant to the requirements in 10 CFR part 
70. The licensing requirements in 10 CFR part 70 apply to persons in 
Agreement States possessing greater than critical mass quantities as 
defined in 10 CFR 150.11.
    Pursuant to 10 CFR 70.17(a), ``the Commission may * * * grant such 
exemptions from the requirements of the regulations in this part as it 
determines are authorized by law and will not endanger life or property 
or the common defense and security and are otherwise in the public 
    On May 24, 1999, the NRC transmitted an Order to Envirocare. The 
Order was published in the Federal Register on May 21, 1999 (64 FR 
27826). The Order exempted Envirocare from certain NRC regulations and 
permitted Envirocare, under specified conditions, to possess waste 
containing SNM in greater quantities than specified in 10 CFR part 150, 
at Envirocare's LLW disposal facility located in Clive, Utah, without 
obtaining an NRC license pursuant to 10 CFR part 70. The methodology 
used to establish these limits is discussed in the 1999 Safety 
Evaluation Report (SER) that supported the 1999 Order (ADAMS Legacy 
Library Accession No. 9905140064).
    On January 30, 2003, the NRC revised the Order to: (1) Include 
stabilization of liquid waste streams containing SNM; (2) include the 
thermal desorption process; (3) change the homogenous contiguous mass 
limit from 145 kilograms (kg) to 600 kg; (4) change the language and 
SNM limit associated with footnotes ``c'' and ``d'' of Condition 1 to 
reflect all materials in Conditions 2 and 3; and (5) omit the 
confirmatory testing requirements for debris waste. The revised Order 
was published in the Federal Register on February 13, 2003 (68 FR 
    In a letter dated July 8, 2003, Envirocare proposed that the NRC 
amend the 2003 Order. The NRC has evaluated Envirocare's request in two 
phases. In the first phase, the NRC evaluated the following requested 
revisions: (1) Modify the table in Condition 1 to include limits for 
uranium and plutonium in waste without magnesium oxide; (2) modify the 
units of the table from picocuries of SNM per gram of waste material to 
gram of SNM per gram of waste material; and (3) revise the language of 
Condition 5 to be consistent with the revised units in the table in 
Condition 1. The first phase of these revisions was published in the 
Federal Register on December 29, 2003 (68 FR 74986).
    In the second phase, which is the subject of this Order, the NRC 
evaluated the remaining revisions that were requested by Envirocare. 
These involve: (1) Modifying the table in Condition 1 to include 
criticality-based limits for uranium-233 and plutonium isotopes in 
waste containing up to 20 percent of materials listed in Condition 2 
(e.g., magnesium oxide); (2) including criticality-based limits in the 
table in Condition 1 for plutonium isotopes in waste with unlimited 
materials in Condition 2, and in waste with unlimited quantities of 
materials in Conditions 2 and 3 (e.g., beryllium); (3) providing 
criticality-based limits for uranium-235 as a function of enrichment in 
waste containing up to 20 percent of materials listed in Condition 2 
and in waste containing none of the materials listed in Condition 2; 
and (4) including additional mixed waste treatment technologies.


    A principal emphasis of 10 CFR part 70 is criticality safety and 
safeguarding SNM against diversion or sabotage. The NRC staff considers 
that criticality safety can be maintained by relying on concentration 
limits, under the conditions specified below. Safeguarding SNM against 
diversion or sabotage is not considered a significant issue because of 
the diffuse form of the SNM in waste meeting the conditions specified. 
These conditions are considered an acceptable alternative to the 
criticality definition provided in 10 CFR 150.11, thereby assuring the 
same level of protection. The NRC staff reviewed the safety aspects of 
the proposed action (i.e., the granting of Envirocare's request) in the 
SER, dated November 2004. The NRC staff concluded that additional 
conditions were required to maintain sufficient protection of health, 
safety, and the environment. The exemption conditions would be revised 
as follows:
    1. For waste with no more than 20 weight percent of materials 
listed in Condition 2, concentrations of SNM in individual waste 
containers must not exceed the following values at time of receipt:

                                 Table A
                                     Maximum SNM concentration in waste
                                     containing the described materials
                                               (g SNM/g waste)
                                                         Maximum of 20
            SNM nuclide                                weight percent of
                                       No materials     materials listed
                                        listed in        in Condition 2
                                       Condition 2      and no more than
                                                        1 weight percent
                                                          of beryllium
U-235 (>50%) \a\..................             6.2E-4             5.4E-4
U-235 (=50%)......................             6.9E-4             6.1E-4
U-235 (=20%)......................             8.3E-4             7.4E-4
U-235 (=10%)......................             9.9E-4             8.8E-4
U-235 (=5%).......................             1.0E-3             9.6E-4
U-235 (=3%).......................             1.3E-3             1.1E-3
U-235 (=2%).......................             1.7E-3             1.5E-3
U-235 (=1.5%).....................             2.3E-3             2.1E-3
U-235 (=1.35%)....................             2.8E-3             2.5E-3

[[Page 44125]]

U-235 (=1.2%).....................             3.5E-3             3.2E-3
U-235 (=1.1%).....................             4.5E-3             4.2E-3
U-235 (=1.05%)....................             5.0E-3             4.8E-3
U-233.............................             4.7E-4             4.3E-4
Pu-239............................             2.8E-4             2.6E-4
Pu-241............................             2.2E-4            1.9E-4
\a\ Percentage value refers to weight percent enrichment in U-235. For
  enrichments that fall between identified values in the table, the
  higher value is the applicable value (e.g., for an enrichment of 14
  weight percent U-235, the applicable concentration limit is that for
  20 weight percent U-235).

    For waste with more than 20 weight percent of materials listed in 
Condition 2, concentrations of SNM in individual waste containers must 
not exceed the following values at time of receipt:

                                 Table B
                                     Maximum SNM concentration in waste
                                     containing the described materials
                                               (g SNM/g waste)
           Radionuclide                                    Unlimited
                                        Unlimited        quantities of
                                      quantities of     materials listed
                                     materials listed   in Conditions 2
                                      in Condition 2         and 3
U-235 (>50%)......................             3.4E-4             1.2E-5
U-235.............................                N/A         \a\ 3.1E-4
U-233.............................             2.9E-4             1.1E-5
Pu-239............................             1.7E-4             7.5E-6
Pu-241............................             1.3E-4            5.3E-6
\a\ For uranium at any enrichment with sum of materials listed in
  Conditions 2 and beryllium not exceeding 45 percent of the weight of
  the waste.

    Plutonium isotopes other than Pu-239 and Pu-241 do not need to be 
considered in demonstrating compliance with this condition. When 
mixtures of these SNM isotopes are present in the waste, the sum-of-
the-fractions rule, as illustrated below, should be used.

    The concentration values in Condition 1 are operational values to 
ensure criticality safety. Where the values in Condition 1 exceed 
concentration values in the corresponding conditions of the State of 
Utah Radioactive Material License (RML), the concentration values in 
the RML, which are averaged over the container, may not be exceeded. 
Higher concentration values are included in Condition 1 to be used in 
establishing the maximum mass of SNM for non-homogeneous solid waste 
and liquid waste.
    The measurement uncertainty values should be no more than 15 
percent of the concentration limit, and represent the maximum one-sigma 
uncertainty associated with the measurement of the concentration of the 
particular radionuclide. When determining the applicable U-235 
concentration limit for a specific enrichment percentage, the 
analytical uncertainty shall be added to the result (e.g., for a 
measurement value of U-235 enrichment percentage of 1.1 +/-0.2, the U-
235 concentration limit corresponding to an enrichment percent of 1.35 
shall be used). This shall be applied to analytical methods employed by 
the generator prior to receipt and by Envirocare upon receipt.
    The SNM must be homogeneously distributed throughout the waste. If 
the SNM is not homogeneously distributed, then the limiting 
concentrations must not be exceeded on average in any contiguous mass 
of 600 kilograms of waste.
    Liquid waste may be stabilized provided the SNM concentration does 
not exceed the SNM concentration limits in Condition 1. For containers 
of liquid waste with more than 600

[[Page 44126]]

kilograms of waste, the total mass of SNM shall not exceed the SNM 
concentration in Condition 1 times 600 kilograms of waste. Waste 
containing free liquids and solids shall be mixed prior to treatment. 
Any solids shall be maintained in a suspended state during transfer and 
    2. Except as allowed by Tables A and B in Condition 1, waste must 
not contain ``pure forms'' of chemicals containing carbon, fluorine, 
magnesium, or bismuth in bulk quantities (e.g., a pallet of drums, a B-
25 box). By ``pure forms,'' it is meant that mixtures of the above 
elements, such as magnesium oxide, magnesium carbonate, magnesium 
fluoride, bismuth oxide, etc., do not contain other elements. These 
chemicals would be added to the waste stream during processing, such as 
at fuel facilities or treatment such as at mixed waste treatment 
facilities. The presence of the above materials will be determined by 
the generator, based on process knowledge or testing.
    3. Except as allowed by Tables A and B in Condition 1, waste 
accepted must not contain total quantities of beryllium, hydrogenous 
material enriched in deuterium, or graphite above one tenth of one 
percent of the total weight of the waste. The presence of the above 
materials will be determined by the generator, based on process 
knowledge, physical observations, or testing.
    4. Waste packages must not contain highly water soluble forms of 
uranium greater than 350 grams of uranium-235 or 200 grams of uranium-
233. The sum of the fractions rule will apply for mixtures of U-233 and 
U-235. Highly soluble forms of uranium include, but are not limited to: 
uranium sulfate, uranyl acetate, uranyl chloride, uranyl formate, 
uranyl fluoride, uranyl nitrate, uranyl potassium carbonate, and uranyl 
sulfate. The presence of the above materials will be determined by the 
generator, based on process knowledge or testing.
    5. Waste processing of waste containing SNM will be limited to 
stabilization (mixing waste with reagents), micro-encapsulation and 
macro-encapsulation using low-density and high-density polyethylene, 
macro-encapsulation with cement grout, spray-washing, organic 
destruction (CerOx process and Solvent Electron Technology process), 
and thermal desorption.
    Envirocare shall confirm that the SNM concentration in the rinse 
water does not exceed the limits in Condition 1 following spray-
washing, prior to further treatment. If the rinse water is evaporated, 
the evaporated product shall comply with the requirements in Condition 
1. Envirocare shall perform sampling and analysis of the liquid 
effluent collection system at a frequency of one sample per 300 gallons 
or when the system reaches capacity, whichever is less.
    Envirocare shall track the SNM mass of waste treated using the 
CerOx process. When the total concentration of SNM is 85 percent of the 
sum of the fraction rule in Condition 1, Envirocare shall confirm the 
SNM concentration in the phase reactor tank and replace the solutions. 
The 10 percent enriched limit shall be used for uranium-235. The 
contents of the phase reactor tank should be solidified prior to 
    When waste is processed using the thermal desorption process and 
the Solvent Electron Technology process, Envirocare shall confirm the 
SNM concentration following processing and prior to returning the waste 
to temporary storage.
    6. Envirocare shall require generators to provide the following 
information for each waste stream:
    Waste Description. The description must detail how the waste was 
generated, list the physical forms in the waste, and identify uranium 
chemical composition.
    Waste Characterization Summary. The data must include a general 
description of how the waste was characterized (including the 
volumetric extent of the waste, and the number, location, type, and 
results of any analytical testing), the range of SNM concentrations, 
and the analytical results with error values used to develop the 
concentration ranges.
    Uniformity Description. A description of the process by which the 
waste was generated showing that the spatial distribution of SNM must 
be uniform, or other information supporting spatial distribution.
    Manifest Concentration. The generator must describe the methods to 
be used to determine the concentrations on the manifests. These methods 
could include direct measurement and the use of scaling factors. The 
generator must describe the uncertainty associated with sampling and 
testing used to obtain the manifest concentrations.
    Envirocare shall review the above information and, if adequate, 
approve in writing this pre-shipment waste characterization and 
assurance plan before permitting the shipment of a waste stream. This 
will include statements that Envirocare has a written copy of all the 
information required above, that the characterization information is 
adequate and consistent with the waste description, and that the 
information is sufficient to demonstrate compliance with Conditions 1 
through 4. Where generator process knowledge is used to demonstrate 
compliance with Conditions 1, 2, 3, or 4, Envirocare shall review this 
information and determine when testing is required to provide 
additional information in assuring compliance with the Conditions. 
Envirocare shall retain this information as required by the State of 
Utah to permit independent review.
At Receipt
    Envirocare shall require generators of SNM waste to provide a 
written certification with each waste manifest that states that the SNM 
concentrations reported on the manifest do not exceed the limits in 
Condition 1, that the measurement uncertainty does not exceed the 
uncertainty value in Condition 1, and that the waste meets Conditions 2 
through 4.
    7. Sampling and radiological testing of waste containing SNM must 
be performed in accordance with the following: One sample for each of 
the first ten shipments of a waste stream; or one sample for each of 
the first 100 cubic yards of waste up to 1,000 cubic yards of a waste 
stream, and one sample for each additional 500 cubic yards of waste 
following the first ten shipments or following the first 1,000 cubic 
yards of a waste stream. Sampling and radiological testing of debris 
waste containing SNM ( that is exempted from sampling by the State of 
Utah) can be eliminated if the SNM concentration is lower than one 
tenth of the limits in Condition 1. Envirocare shall verify the percent 
enrichment by appropriate analytical methods. The percent enrichment 
determination shall be made by taking into account the most 
conservative values based on the measurement uncertainties for the 
analytical methods chosen.
    8. Envirocare shall notify the NRC, Region IV office within 24 
hours if any of the above conditions are not met, including if a batch 
during a treatment process exceeds the SNM concentrations of Condition 
1. A written notification of the event must be provided within 7 days.
    9. Envirocare shall obtain NRC approval prior to changing any 
activities associated with the above conditions.


    Based on the staff's evaluation, the Commission has determined, 
pursuant to 10 CFR 70.17(a), that the exemption of above activities at 
the Envirocare disposal facility is authorized by law, and will not 
endanger life or property or

[[Page 44127]]

the common defense and security and is otherwise in the public 
interest. Accordingly, by this Order, the Commission grants an 
exemption subject to the stated conditions. The exemption will become 
effective after the State of Utah has incorporated the above conditions 
into Envirocare's radioactive materials license. In addition, at that 
time, the Order transmitted in December 2003 will no longer be 
    Pursuant to the requirements in 10 CFR part 51, the Commission has 
prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed action and 
has determined that the granting of this exemption will have no 
significant impacts on the quality of the human environment. This 
finding was noticed in the Federal Register on July 18, 2005 (70 FR 


    Documents related to this action, including the application for 
amendment and supporting documentation, will be available 
electronically at the NRC's Electronic Reading Room at http://www.NRC.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this site, you can access the 
NRC's Agencywide Document Access and Management System (ADAMS), which 
provides text and image files of NRC's public documents. The ADAMS 
accession numbers for the documents related to this notice are: 
Envirocare's June 8, 2003, request (ML031950334), the NRC staff's July 
2005 Environmental Assessment (ML041200390), and the NRC staff's June 
2005 SER (ML041190003).
    If you do not have access to ADAMS or if there are problems in 
accessing the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC's Public 
Document Room (PDR) Reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or 
by e-mail to [email protected].
    These documents may also be viewed electronically on the public 
computers located at the NRC's PDR, O 1 F21, One White Flint North, 
11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The PDR reproduction 
contractor will copy documents for a fee.

    Dated in Rockville, Maryland this 22nd day of July, 2005.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Margaret V. Federline,
Acting Director, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 05-15123 Filed 7-29-05; 8:45 am]