[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 151 (Friday, August 7, 2009)]
[Pages 39716-39717]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-18947]




Request for Information on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal 
and Notice of Public Meeting

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of public meeting and request for information.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff is 
conducting a public meeting to gather information to assess the effect 
of a lack of access to low-level waste (LLW) disposal facilities on 
those who use radioactive sources or materials in conducting research 
such as universities and hospitals. The purpose of this information 
gathering is to identify important research that has been impacted and/
or stopped because of a lack of disposal options for radioactive 
sources or materials. This information will be provided to the 
Commission to inform future Commission decisionmaking. The NRC is 
planning to host a public meeting on this topic at its Rockville, MD 
Headquarters on the morning of October 7, 2009.

DATES: The public is invited to provide information related to the 
above topic until October 20, 2009. Comments submitted by mail should 
be postmarked by that date to ensure consideration. Comments received 
after that date will be considered to the extent practical. The NRC is 
planning to host a public meeting at its Rockville, MD Headquarters to 
solicit public input on the questions identified below on October 7, 
2009. Because of anticipated interest, the meeting will be Web cast. 
Please check the NRC public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/index for the meeting and Web cast details.

ADDRESSES: Members of the public are invited and encouraged to submit 
comments by any of the following methods. Please include Docket ID NRC-
2009-0346 in the subject line of your comments/responses. Comments 
submitted in writing or in electronic form will be posted on the NRC 
Web site and on the Federal rulemaking Web site Regulations.gov. 
Because your comments/responses will not be edited to remove any 
identifying or contact information, the NRC cautions you against 
including any information in your submission that you do not want to be 
publicly disclosed.
    The NRC requests that any party soliciting or aggregating comments 
received from other persons for submission to the NRC inform those 
persons that the NRC will not edit their comments to remove any 
identifying or contact information, and therefore, they should not 
include any information in their comments that they do not want 
publicly disclosed.
    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
search for documents filed under Docket ID NRC-2009-0346. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher 301-492-3668; e-mail 
[email protected].
    Mail comments to: Michael T. Lesar, Chief, Rulemaking and 
Directives Branch (RDB), Division of Administrative Services, Office of 
Administration, Mail Stop: TWB-05-B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, or by fax to RDB at (301) 492-
    You can access publicly available documents related to this notice 
using the following methods:
    NRC's Public Document Room (PDR): The public may examine and have 
copied, for a fee, publicly available documents at the NRC's PDR, 
Public File Area 01 F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, 
Rockville, Maryland.
    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): 
Publicly available documents created or received at the NRC are 
available electronically at the NRC's Electronic Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this page, the public can gain 
entry into ADAMS, which provides text and image files of NRC's public 
documents. If you do not have access to ADAMS or if there are problems 
in accessing the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC's PDR 
reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by e-mail to 
[email protected].
    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Public comments received in response 
to this notice can be found at http://www.regulations.gov by searching 
on Docket ID: NRC-2009-0346.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. James Shaffner, Project Manager, 
Low-Level Waste Branch, Division of Waste Management and Environmental 
Protection, Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental 
Management Programs, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Rockville, MD 
20852. Telephone: (301) 415-5496; fax number: (301) 415-5369; e-mail: 
[email protected].


I. Background

    The NRC staff briefed the Commission on the status of the LLW 
program on April 17, 2009. External stakeholders who briefed the 
Commission noted that the use of radioactive material in nuclear 
medicine biomedical research needed cost effective disposal for low-
level radioactive waste and that key radionuclide research products are 
no longer available due to high radiological waste disposal costs. 
Following the briefing, the Commission directed the staff to work with 
stakeholders to develop a list or catalog of important research that 
has been impacted and/or stopped because of a lack of disposal options 
for radioactive sources. In its approach to complying with Commission 
direction, the staff decided to expand its inquiry to include the use 
of other radioactive material as well. Therefore, the NRC staff is 
requesting information and soliciting public comment to identify and 
catalog important research that has been impacted or stopped because of 
a lack of disposal options for sealed sources or radioactive materials. 
The staff is requesting that persons consider and address the following 
13 questions as they develop and provide their remarks.
    1. Are you involved in research involving the use of radioactive 
sources or materials, and if so, in what specific area (medical, 
academic, medical administration, etc.)
    2. If you answered yes to question no. 1, please describe the 
research procedure(s) that is performed, or was performed prior to 
disposal access limitations.
    3. Have alternative technologies taken the place of radioactive 
materials because of LLW disposal access, and if so, what have been the 
impacts, both positive and negative?
    4. In what State and LLW Compact is the research facility that 
you're addressing located?
    5. What kind of licensee uses the radioactive sources or materials 
that are being addressed (university, hospital, private research, 
    6. How do you or did you disposition the spent sources or 
radioactive materials?
    a. LLW disposal facility
    b. Store onsite

[[Page 39717]]

    c. Return to manufacturer
    d. Other, explain
    7. Have you historically disposed of spent sources or radioactive 
materials at a low-level waste disposal facility?
    8. If your answer to question no. 7 was yes, has your research been 
affected by the lack of access to a low-level waste disposal facility 
for either spent radioactive sources or radioactive materials? If so, 
please explain.
    9. Are you currently storing onsite radioactive sources or 
materials that would have been disposed of offsite had disposal access 
been available?
    10. Has the lack of disposal access for either radioactive sources 
or materials caused you to re-evaluate research needs and techniques?
    11. What adaptations have you made to reduce waste volume and 
improve the management of low-level radioactive waste disposal?
    a. Increased onsite storage capacity
    b. Increased use of nonradioactive sources
    c. Limit number of authorized users
    d. Reduce volume of waste shipped
    12. Has the cost of low-level radioactive waste disposal affected 
your research? If so, describe how.
    13. Provide any additional comments.
    In conjunction for this request for information, the NRC staff 
plans to enhance information gathering on this topic by providing the 
public with the opportunity to participate via Web cast. Please refer 
to NRC's public Web site, http://www.nrc.gov/public-involve/public-meetings/index, starting in late September for specific meeting and Web 
cast details.

II. Further Information

    The April 17, 2009 Commission Brief can be viewed via the NRC Web 
cast archive: http://video.nrc.gov/nrcArch.cfm and the transcripts, 
slides, and materials from the April 17, 2009 public meeting can be 
found at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/tr/2009. For questions related to this questionnaire, please contact 
Gregory Suber, 301-415-8087, [email protected].

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 31st day of July 2009.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Patrice M. Bubar,
Deputy Director, Environmental Protection and Performance Assessment 
Directorate, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, 
Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management 
[FR Doc. E9-18947 Filed 8-6-09; 8:45 am]