[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 240 (Friday, December 13, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 75913-75919]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-29734]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


Final Tank Closure and Waste Management Environmental Impact 
Statement for the Hanford Site, Richland, Washington

AGENCY: Department of Energy.

ACTION: Record of Decision.

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SUMMARY: This is the first in a series of Records of Decision (RODs) to 
be issued by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) pursuant to the Final 
Tank Closure and Waste Management Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Hanford Site, Richland, Washington (TC&WM EIS, DOE/EIS-0391, 
December 2012). In this EIS, DOE considered alternatives for proposed 
actions in three major areas: (1) Storing, retrieving, and treating 
radioactive waste from 177 underground storage tanks (149 Single-Shell 
Tanks [SSTs] and 28 Double Shell Tanks [DSTs]) at Hanford, and closure 
of the 149 SSTs; (2) decommissioning of the Fast Flux Test Facility 
(FFTF) and its auxiliary facilities; and (3) continued and expanded 
waste management operations on site, including the disposal of 
Hanford's low-level radioactive waste (LLW) and mixed low-level 
radioactive waste (MLLW), and limited volumes of LLW and MLLW from 
other DOE sites. The Final TC&WM EIS includes No Action alternatives to 
the proposed actions in each of the three major areas, as required 
under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). DOE's decisions 
described herein pertain to all three major areas. DOE intends to issue 
subsequent RODs as identified under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

ADDRESSES: For copies of this ROD, the Final TC&WM EIS, or any related 
NEPA documents, please contact:

Ms. Mary Beth Burandt, NEPA Document Manager, U.S. Department of 
Energy, Office of River Protection, P.O. Box 1178, Richland, Washington 
99352, 1-509-372-8828, [email protected].
    This ROD and the Final TC&WM EIS are available on the DOE NEPA Web 
site at: www.energy.gov/nepa and on the Hanford Web site at: http://www.hanford.gov/index.cfm?page=1117&.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information about the 
Final TC&WM EIS and ROD, contact Ms. Burandt as listed above.
    For general information on DOE's NEPA process, contact:

Ms. Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, 
GC-54, U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, DC 20585-0103, Telephone: 
(202) 586-4600, or leave a message at 1-800-472-2756, or email 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Hanford site, located in southeastern Washington State along 
the Columbia River, is approximately 586 square miles in size. 
Hanford's mission from the early 1940s to approximately 1989 included 
defense-related nuclear research, development, and weapons production 
activities. These activities created a wide variety of chemical and 
radioactive wastes. Hanford's mission now is focused on the cleanup and 
remediation of those wastes and ultimate closure of the site. An

[[Page 75914]]

important part of the mission includes the retrieval and treatment of 
waste from 177 underground radioactive waste storage tanks, including 
149 SSTs and 28 DSTs, and closure of the SSTs. Hanford's mission also 
includes radioactive waste management on the site and decommissioning 
and closure of the FFTF, a nuclear test reactor that has been 
designated for closure (66 FR 7877, January 26, 2001).
    The Final EIS implements the January 6, 2006, Settlement Agreement 
(as amended on June 5, 2008) signed by DOE, the Washington State 
Department of Ecology (Ecology), the Washington State Attorney 
General's Office, and the U.S. Department of Justice. That agreement 
settles NEPA claims made in the case State of Washington v. Bodman 
(Civil No. 2:03-cv-05018-AAM), which addressed the Final Hanford Site 
Solid (Radioactive and Hazardous) Waste Program Environmental Impact 
Statement, Richland, Washington (HSW EIS, DOE/EIS-0286, February 13, 
2004). The agreement also stipulates that the TC&WM EIS and its RODs 
supersede the HSW EIS and its ROD (69 FR 39449, June 30, 2004).
    In addition, this TC&WM EIS ROD amends the 1997 Tank Waste 
Remediation System ROD (TWRS ROD, 62 FR 8693, February 26, 1997). 
Information on the 1997 TWRS ROD and three subsequent TWRS EIS 
Supplement Analyses \1\ can be found in the Final TC&WM EIS (Chapter 1, 
Section 1.2.3). In the third TWRS Supplement Analysis, DOE determined 
that Phase I of the TWRS project, the initial demonstration facility, 
was not substantially different from the facilities identified in the 
Phased Implementation Alternative selected in the TWRS EIS ROD. The 
TWRS ROD is hereby amended, and the Phase II facility will not be 
constructed. The TC&WM EIS analysis of supplemental treatment capacity 
for low-activity waste (LAW) from chemical separation of the tank waste 
is consistent with the Phase I concept as stated in the TWRS ROD.
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    \1\ DOE/EIS-0189-SA1 ``Supplement Analysis for the Proposed 
Upgrades to the Tank Farm Ventilation, Instrumentation, and 
Electrical Systems under Project W-314 in Support of Tank Farm 
Restoration and Safe Operations'' May 1997 DOE/EIS-0189-SA2 
``Supplement Analysis for the Tank Waste Remediation System'' May 
1998 DOE/EIS-0189-SA3 ``Supplement Analysis for the Tank Waste 
Remediation System'' March 2001
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    To support its decision making for the needed actions described 
below, DOE prepared the TC&WM EIS pursuant to NEPA and in accordance 
with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and DOE NEPA 
implementing regulations (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508; 10 CFR Part 1021). 
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ecology were cooperating 
agencies on the TC&WM EIS. DOE held a public comment period on the 
Draft TC&WM EIS, extending from October 30, 2009, through May 3, 2010, 
with public hearings in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. DOE considered 
all public comments received in preparing the Final TC&WM EIS, which 
was issued in December 2012 and includes DOE's responses to those 
comments.
    In September 2013, DOE issued a Draft Hanford Tank Waste Retrieval, 
Treatment, and Disposition Framework (Framework). The Framework is not 
a proposal or a decision document.

Purpose and Need for Agency Action

    DOE needs to accomplish the following objectives:
     Safely retrieve and treat radioactive, hazardous, and 
mixed tank waste; close the SST system; and store and/or dispose of the 
waste generated from these activities. Further, DOE needs to treat the 
waste and close the SST system in a manner that complies with 
applicable Federal and Washington State laws and DOE directives to 
protect human health and the environment. Long-term actions are 
required to permanently reduce the risk to human health and the 
environment posed by waste in the 149 SSTs and 28 DSTs.
     Decommission FFTF and its support facilities at Hanford, 
manage waste associated with decommissioning the facilities, and manage 
disposition of the radioactively contaminated bulk sodium inventory at 
Hanford. These actions are necessary to facilitate cleanup at Hanford 
in compliance with Federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
     Expand or upgrade existing waste storage, treatment, and 
disposal capacity at Hanford to support ongoing and planned waste 
management activities for LLW and MLLW generated at Hanford and from 
other DOE sites; some tank waste; and FFTF decommissioning waste.

Alternatives Considered

Tank Closure

    Under the Tank Closure Alternatives, DOE evaluated each of the 
primary tank closure components, specifically, storage, retrieval, 
treatment, and disposal of tank waste and closure of the SST system.
     Alternative 1: No Action. Alternative 1 is based on the No 
Action Alternative presented in the TWRS EIS, updated to reflect 
actions taken (interim stabilization of the SSTs) and new information 
developed since the TWRS EIS was issued, including additional 
consideration of the past leak inventory associated with the Hanford 
200-East and 200-West Area tank farms.
     Alternative 2: Implement the TWRS EIS ROD with 
Modifications. Alternative 2 considers all vitrification treatment with 
retrieval of 99 percent of the waste from SSTs in accordance with the 
TWRS EIS ROD and the three supplement analyses completed through 2001. 
Two sub-alternatives were separately evaluated. Under Alternative 2A, 
waste would be treated using the existing Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) 
configuration, but the SST system would not be closed. Under 
Alternative 2B, WTP current configuration capacity for producing 
vitrified, i.e., immobilized, LAW glass (referred to herein as ILAW) 
from WTP would be expanded; technetium-99 would be removed from the WTP 
LAW stream during the pretreatment process \2\ and the SST system would 
be closed as landfill closure under the Resource Conservation and 
Recovery Act (RCRA) and covered with an engineered, modified RCRA 
Subtitle C barrier, a multi-layer barrier designed to provide 500-year 
protection.
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    \2\ Under Tank Closure Alternatives 2 through 6 and the sub-
alternatives within them, the contents of the cesium (Cs) and 
strontium (Sr) capsules currently stored on site would be treated in 
the WTP.
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     Alternative 3: Existing WTP Vitrification with 
Supplemental Treatment Technology; Landfill Closure. Alternative 3 
includes retrieval of 99 percent of the waste from SSTs. Under 
Alternative 3A, the waste would be treated using the existing WTP 
configuration supplemented with thermal treatment capacity (bulk 
vitrification). Under Tank Closure Alternative 3B, the waste would be 
treated using the existing WTP configuration supplemented with 
nonthermal treatment capacity (cast stone). Under Alternative 3B, 
technetium-99 would be removed from the LAW stream during pretreatment 
and incorporated into the high-level radioactive waste (HLW) stream for 
immobilization and off-site disposal. Under Alternative 3C, the waste 
would be treated using the existing WTP configuration supplemented with 
thermal treatment capacity (steam reforming). The SST system would be 
closed as a landfill and covered with an engineered modified RCRA 
Subtitle C barrier. There would be separate treatment of candidate tank 
mixed transuranic (TRU) waste \3\ under all

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three sub-alternatives, as described in the TC&WM EIS.
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    \3\ For Tank Closure Alternatives 3 through 5, the TC&WM EIS 
evaluated treatment of the tank waste stream associated with the 
candidate TRU waste as both TRU waste and HLW.
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     Alternative 4: Existing WTP Vitrification with 
Supplemental Treatment Technologies; Selective Clean Closure/Landfill 
Closure. Alternative 4 includes retrieval of 99.9 percent of the waste 
from SSTs. Waste would be treated using the existing WTP configuration 
supplemented with thermal treatment capacity (bulk vitrification) and 
nonthermal treatment capacity (cast stone). There would be separate 
treatment of the candidate tank mixed TRU waste, as described in the 
TC&WM EIS. Under this alternative, technetium-99 removal would not 
occur as part of WTP pretreatment. Tank farms BX and SX would be clean 
closed, which means the tanks, ancillary equipment, and contaminated 
soil would be removed, and the remaining tank farms would be closed as 
landfills and covered with an engineered modified RCRA Subtitle C 
barrier.
     Alternative 5: Expanded WTP Vitrification with 
Supplemental Treatment Technologies; Landfill Closure. Alternative 5 
includes retrieval of 90 percent of the waste from SSTs. WTP current 
configuration capacity for producing ILAW glass would be expanded and 
supplemented with thermal treatment capacity (bulk vitrification) and 
nonthermal treatment capacity (cast stone). Under this alternative, no 
technetium-99 removal would occur as part of WTP pretreatment; however, 
a sulfate removal process would allow higher waste loading in the ILAW 
glass. There would be separate treatment of the candidate tank mixed 
TRU waste as described in the TC&WM EIS. The SST system would be closed 
as a landfill and covered with an engineered Hanford barrier, a multi-
layer barrier designed to provide 1,000-year protection.
     Alternative 6: All Waste as Vitrified HLW. Under 
Alternative 6, all vitrified waste produced in the WTP would be managed 
as immobilized HLW (IHLW). Alternative 6A includes retrieval of 99.9 
percent of the waste from SSTs and vitrification in the WTP using an 
expanded IHLW production capacity. The SST system would be clean 
closed.\4\ Alternative 6B includes retrieval of 99.9 percent of the 
waste from SSTs, pretreatment in the WTP, separation into HLW and LAW 
streams, and vitrification into IHLW and ILAW glass. Both vitrified 
waste streams would be managed as HLW. The SST system would be clean 
closed. Alternative 6C includes retrieval of 99 percent of the waste 
from the SSTs. Like Alternative 6B, this waste would be pretreated in 
the WTP, and vitrified into IHLW and ILAW glass. Both vitrified waste 
streams would be managed as HLW. The SST system would be closed as a 
landfill and covered with an engineered modified RCRA Subtitle C 
barrier. Under all Tank Closure Alternative 6 sub-alternatives listed 
above (6A, 6B, and 6C), the resulting IHLW and ILAW glass would be 
stored in IHLW Interim Storage Modules and managed as IHLW pending 
ultimate disposition.
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    \4\ Clean closure means the removal or remediation of all 
hazardous waste from a given RCRA-regulated unit so that further 
regulatory control under RCRA Subtitle C is not necessary to protect 
human health and the environment.
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Fast Flux Test Facility Decommissioning

     FFTF Alternative 1: No Action. Under Alternative 1, the 
FFTF Reactor Containment Building (RCB), along with the rest of the 
buildings within the 400 Area Property Protected Area, would be 
maintained under 100 years of administrative controls (site security 
and management). Activities under the Environmental Assessment, Sodium 
Residuals Reaction/Removal and Other Deactivation Work Activities (DOE/
EA-1547, March 2006) would be completed. The reactor vessel, piping 
systems, and tanks would be left in place under an inert gas blanket 
and Remote Handled Special Components (RH-SCs) would be stored. Spent 
nuclear fuel would be removed, and systems not associated with 
maintaining safety-related functions would be deactivated or de-
energized and isolated according to the deactivation plans.
     FFTF Alternative 2: Entombment. Under Alternative 2, all 
above-grade structures around the main FFTF RCB and two adjacent 
support facilities would be dismantled. Demolition waste would be 
consolidated in below-grade spaces and stabilized with grout. RH-SCs 
would be removed and treated at either Hanford or the Idaho National 
Laboratory (INL), and then be disposed of at Hanford in an Integrated 
Disposal Facility (IDF) or at the Nevada National Security Site, 
depending on the treatment option selected. An engineered modified RCRA 
Subtitle C barrier would be constructed over the filled area. For both 
FFTF Alternative 2 and 3 Hanford's bulk sodium inventory would be 
converted to a caustic sodium hydroxide solution for reuse at Hanford.
     FFTF Alternative 3: Removal. Under Alternative 3, all 
above-grade structures around the main RCB and the two adjacent support 
facilities would be dismantled. The RCB would be demolished to grade 
and the support facilities to below grade. Contaminated demolition 
waste would be disposed of at Hanford in an IDF. The reactor vessel, 
its internal piping and equipment, and its attached depleted-uranium 
shielding would be filled with grout, removed, packed, and disposed of 
in an IDF. All other radioactively contaminated equipment and hazardous 
materials also would be removed for disposal.

Waste Management

     Alternative 1: No Action. Alternative 1 evaluates 
continued storage of LLW, MLLW, and TRU waste at the Central Waste 
Complex (CWC), Waste Receiving and Processing Facility (WRAP), and T 
Plant in the 200-West Area, with no expanded storage capacity required. 
At the CWC, the LLW and MLLW would be processed for disposal in Low-
Level Radioactive Waste Burial Grounds (LLBGs) Trenches 31 and 34. 
These trenches are the only lined trenches in the LLBGs and would 
receive on-site ``non-CERCLA,'' \5\ non-tank LLW and MLLW until this 
waste stream is no longer generated. TRU waste would be shipped to and 
disposed of in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, 
New Mexico.
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    \5\ ``Non-CERCLA'' waste refers to remediation waste not 
regulated under the Comprehensive Environmental Restoration, 
Compensation and Liability Act. CERCLA waste is disposed of in the 
existing Environmental Restoration Disposal Facility on site.
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     Alternative 2: Disposal in IDF, 200-East Area Only. 
Alternative 2 evaluates continued storage and processing of LLW, MLLW, 
and TRU waste using existing and expanded capabilities at the CWC, 
WRAP, and T Plant. In Waste Management Alternative 2, disposal of LLW 
and MLLW in LLBGs Trenches 31 and 34 would continue until they are 
filled. Routine shipments of TRU waste for disposal at WIPP would 
continue. Also under Alternative 2, DOE analyzed the construction and 
operation of an IDF in 200-East, and the proposed River Protection 
Project Disposal Facility (RPPDF) would be constructed and operated in 
the 200 Area. The IDF-East would accept waste from tank treatment 
operations, onsite non-CERCLA sources, FFTF decommissioning, waste 
management, and MLLW and LLW from other DOE sites. Waste from tank farm 
cleanup operations would be disposed of in the proposed RPPDF. After 
closure, these disposal facilities would be covered with engineered 
modified RCRA Subtitle C barriers.
     Waste Management Alternative 3: Disposal in IDF, 200-East 
and 200-West Areas. Alternative 3 is similar to Alternative 2 for Waste 
Management, except in Alternative 3, an IDF would

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also be constructed and operated in the 200-West Area. IDF-East would 
be used for disposal of tank waste only; IDF-West would be used for 
disposal of on-site waste not generated from remediation activities and 
off-site LLW and MLLW, as well as FFTF decommissioning and waste 
management wastes. After closure, these disposal facilities would be 
covered with engineered modified RCRA Subtitle C barriers.

Environmentally Preferred Alternatives

Tank Closure

    SST Closure--Clean closure is the environmentally preferred 
alternative when considering only long-term groundwater impacts, e.g., 
impacts that may be incurred during the period after closure of a 
facility. In terms of land resources, clean closure may allow future 
use of the tank system area, but, unlike all other Tank Closure 
alternatives, would require significant new, permanent land disturbance 
for new facilities to treat, store, and dispose of waste. The Tank 
Closure No Action alternative is the environmentally preferred 
alternative when considering only short-term impacts, e.g., those that 
may be incurred during the operational period through facility closure. 
Such impacts include worker dose, land disturbance, and electrical use. 
Clean closure of the SST system compared with landfill closure would 
have the following potentially adverse short-term impacts: total land 
commitments would increase twofold, electrical use would increase by 
one order of magnitude, geologic resource requirements would increase 
as much as fivefold, sagebrush habitat affected would increase by as 
much as two orders of magnitude, radiation worker population dose from 
normal operations would increase over twofold, LLW and MLLW generation 
volumes would increase threefold, and total Occupational Safety and 
Health Administration recordable cases would increase as much as 
fivefold.

FFTF

    FFTF Alternative 2 Entombment and Alternative 3 Removal are both 
environmentally preferred. The long-term analysis shows that the 
inventory remaining for the two alternatives is relatively small. 
Results for both alternatives show the groundwater impacts for the 
constituents of concern to be below the maximum contaminant levels 
under the Safe Drinking Water Act at the fence line of the FFTF 
facility. Short-term impacts for the land, water, transportation and 
socioeconomic analysis areas would be slightly smaller for FFTF 
Alternative 2 Entombment. However, the air analysis and construction 
impacts would be slightly larger for the FFTF Alternative 2 Entombment.

Waste Management

    Waste Management Alternatives 2 and 3 are both environmentally 
preferred. Short-term environmental impacts are projected to be very 
similar for these two waste management alternatives with no differences 
between impact areas. Long-term impacts analysis indicates that IDF-
West may not perform as well as IDF-East, even when the infiltration 
rate is assumed to be equal for both facilities.

Preferred Alternatives

    In accordance with CEQ guidance, the preferred alternative is the 
alternative that the agency believes would fulfill its statutory 
mission while giving consideration to environmental, economic, 
technical, and other factors. DOE identified its preferred alternative 
for each of the three major sets of actions evaluated in the Final 
TC&WM EIS. The preferred alternatives are identified in the Final TC&WM 
EIS Summary, Section S.7, Preferred Alternative, TC&WM EIS Chapter 2, 
Section 2.12, and a Federal Register notice referenced below, and 
summarized in the following paragraphs.
    As stated in the Final TC&WM EIS, for the actions related to tank 
waste retrieval, treatment and closure, DOE prefers Tank Closure 
Alternative 2B, without removing technetium in the Pretreatment 
Facility. Tank Closure Alternative 2B includes 99 percent retrieval of 
waste by volume from the SSTs; leak detection monitoring and routine 
maintenance; new and existing storage facilities; operations and 
necessary maintenance, waste transfers and associated operations, and 
upgrades to existing tanks or construction of waste receipt facilities. 
Tank waste treatment includes pretreatment of all tank waste, with 
separation into LAW and HLW. New evaporation capacity, upgrades to the 
Effluent Treatment Facility (ETF), new transfer lines and processing of 
both vitrified LAW and secondary waste for disposal are part of tank 
waste treatment. Disposal activities include disposal of LAW on site 
and construction of IHLW Interim Storage Modules. SST closure 
operations include filling the tanks and ancillary equipment with grout 
to immobilize the residual waste. Disposal of contaminated equipment 
and soil would occur on site. Decisions on the extent of soil removal 
or treatment,, would be made on a tank farm or waste management area 
basis through the RCRA closure permitting process. The tanks would be 
stabilized, and an engineered modified RCRA Subtitle C barrier put in 
place followed by post-closure care.
    DOE does not have a preferred alternative regarding supplemental 
treatment for LAW; DOE believes it is beneficial to study further the 
potential cost, safety, and environmental performance of supplemental 
treatment technologies. When DOE is ready to identify its preferred 
alternative regarding supplemental treatment for LAW, it will provide a 
notice of its preferred alternative in the Federal Register.
    DOE identified its preference to consider options for retrieving, 
treating, and disposing of the candidate TRU waste evaluated in the 
TC&WM EIS and further clarified this preference in a Federal Register 
notice issued March 11, 2013 (78 FR 15358). As stated in that notice, 
DOE prefers to retrieve, treat, package, characterize and certify the 
wastes that are properly and legally classified as mixed TRU waste for 
disposal at WIPP. Initiating retrieval of tank waste for disposition as 
mixed TRU waste would be contingent on, among other things, DOE's 
obtaining the applicable and necessary permits, ensuring that the WIPP 
Waste Acceptance Criteria and all other applicable regulatory 
requirements are met, and making a determination that the waste is 
properly classified as mixed TRU waste. DOE is not deciding to 
implement its preferred or any other alternative associated with this 
matter in this ROD.
    As stated in the Final TC&WM EIS, for FFTF Decommissioning, DOE's 
preference is for Alternative 2 Entombment, which would remove all 
above-grade structures, including the reactor building. Below-grade 
structures would remain in place and be filled with grout to immobilize 
the remaining radioactive and hazardous constituents, then covered with 
an RCRA-compliant barrier. The RH-SCs would be processed at INL and 
returned to Hanford, while bulk sodium inventories would be processed 
at Hanford for use in the WTP.
    For waste management, DOE's preference is for a single IDF in 200-
East; the RPPDF is also included, as are upgrades to several waste 
management facilities as described above. The disposal facilities would 
be closed with RCRA-compliant barriers. As stated in the Final TC&WM 
EIS, DOE would continue to defer the importation of off-site waste at 
Hanford, at least until the

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WTP is operational. Any future decision to import off-site waste will 
be subject to appropriate NEPA review. The limitations and exemptions 
defined in DOE's January 6, 2006, Settlement Agreement with the State 
of Washington (as amended on June 5, 2008) in the case of State of 
Washington v. Bodman (Civil No. 2:03-cv-05018-AAM), will remain in 
place.

Public Comments on the Final TC&WM EIS

    DOE received six letters regarding the Final TC&WM EIS, which were 
considered in developing this ROD. These letters were from the 
following organizations: Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama 
Nation; the Nez Perce Tribe; the Oregon Department of Energy; the 
Hanford Advisory Board; Environmental Protection Agency Region 10; and 
a joint letter signed by the Natural Resource Defense Council, Hanford 
Challenge and Southwest Research and Information Center. Many of these 
comments are similar to those previously provided on the Draft TC&WM 
EIS and were discussed in the Comment Response Document of the Final 
TC&WM EIS.
    The Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation disagreed 
with DOE's position on: Open and unclaimed lands at Hanford; the 
reliance on barriers and institutional controls to reduce risk; closure 
of the tank farms; DOE's application and consideration of the Tribal 
Scenarios; and groundwater modeling. DOE recognizes the concerns with 
long-term site use and restrictions which may be required to protect 
long-term human health and the environment. DOE reviewed several 
closure configurations in the TC&WM EIS and made its decision based on 
a thorough evaluation of both short-and long-term risks, technical 
practicability and cost. DOE evaluated three different tribal exposure 
scenarios in the Final TC&WM EIS. One represented an exposure scenario 
agreed to between DOE and the three Tribes (the Confederated Tribes and 
Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the Confederated 
Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR)) in January 2005, 
which was evaluated in the Draft TC&WM EIS. In response to public 
comment from the Tribes, DOE revisited two other Tribal scenarios, the 
Yakama Nation Exposure Scenario for Hanford Site Risk Assessment, 
September 2007; and the Exposure Scenario for the CTUIR Traditional 
Subsistence Lifeways, September 2004. With respect to Tribal concerns 
about groundwater modeling, such as unproductive portions of the 
aquifer and uncertainty in selected actions, DOE carefully considered 
the comments and, as a result, made appropriate changes to inventory 
and data reporting and presentation as described in the Supplement 
Analysis of the ``Draft Tank Closure and Waste Management Environmental 
Impact Statement for the Hanford Site, Richland, Washington'' (DOE/EIS-
0391-SA-01, February 2012). The Yakama Nation expressed concern over 
unaccounted and unexplained revenue needs for supplemental technologies 
and future funding constraints. DOE has provided cost estimates of the 
alternatives evaluated in the TC&WM EIS (Section 2.11) to inform and 
support funding requests in the future. The Yakama Nation also 
expressed concern that there was no preferred alternative for the WTP 
secondary waste stream. DOE did include secondary waste streams in the 
Final EIS preferred alternative.
    The Oregon Department of Energy expressed dissatisfaction with many 
of DOE's responses in the Final TC&WM EIS to their comments during the 
public comment period on the Draft TC&WM EIS and stated that DOE had 
misrepresented the comments. The dissatisfaction largely appears to be 
related to DOE's rejection of Oregon's proposal to analyze a new tank 
waste alternative. In considering Oregon's comments, DOE concluded, as 
acknowledged in Oregon's letter, that Oregon's proposal merely 
contained a different combination of very similar actions to those DOE 
was already analyzing in other alternatives. That is, DOE concluded 
that the alternatives evaluated in the TC&WM EIS included all of the 
elements in the Oregon proposal except in cases such as soil 
remediation beneath the tanks, remediation of cribs and trenches, and 
use of iron phosphate glass and fractional crystallization to remove 
hazardous constituents. DOE notes that remediation actions such as 
those for contaminated groundwater at Hanford are ongoing in accordance 
with CERCLA. DOE included its assumptions about the efficacy of such 
remediation actions in Chapter 7 and Appendix U of the Final TC&WM EIS 
for the purposes of analysis only in order to better inform specific 
tank-related decisions. In the Final TC&WM EIS, DOE explained in its 
response to Oregon's comment regarding iron phosphate and fractional 
crystallization that these technologies were not sufficiently mature 
for practical consideration in the evaluations. On the other hand, DOE 
added a number of features of the Oregon proposal to the Final TC&WM 
EIS: additional tank waste storage capacity, dry storage of cesium and 
strontium capsules, on-site interim storage of IHLW and the concept of 
risk-based decisions on tank farm closures. The letter from Oregon also 
included comments on Ecology's views on a number of issues, and DOE 
will work with Oregon and Ecology to consider Oregon's perspectives in 
developing tank-related strategies that are appropriately protective of 
health and the environment at Hanford.
    EPA's comments on the Final TC&WM EIS included support for many 
aspects of DOE's preferred alternative for tank closure, accompanied by 
concern regarding treatment of contamination in the vadose zone and 
potential impacts to groundwater. EPA recommended that DOE consider 
including opportunities for public comment in developing a Mitigation 
Action Plan. EPA also expressed a need for additional NEPA analyses for 
a future decision on supplemental treatment of LAW. In the Final TC&WM 
EIS, DOE included changes as a result of comments received during the 
185-day public comment period, including mitigation actions which could 
be taken. Mitigation actions, such as potential soil remediation for 
SST closure identified in the Final TC&WM EIS preferred alternative 
that are subject to RCRA permitting, will involve a public comment 
process. When DOE is ready to identify its preferred alternative 
regarding supplemental treatment for LAW, DOE intends to follow 
established NEPA regulations and guidance and conduct the appropriate 
NEPA review.
    The Nez Perce Tribe expressed concerns regarding the NEPA process 
in relation to DOE policies associated with consultation and 
communication with the Tribes. The Nez Perce Tribe acknowledged its 
involvement in the EIS development process and that the Tribe offered 
many perspectives on the document. The Nez Perce expressed concerns 
that DOE did not effectively utilize DOE's policies to consult with the 
Tribe, asked how DOE Order 144.1, Department of Energy American Indian 
Tribal Government Interactions and Policy, was implemented in the EIS 
process and expressed concern that DOE was ``checking the box'' during 
the EIS process. DOE recognizes there may be differing perspectives 
among the parties on the level of consultation needed for various 
activities. In preparing the Final TC&WM EIS, DOE focused on the 
Tribal-specific meetings and specific Tribal concerns. Information on 
communication and consultation with the Nez Perce Tribe can be found in 
Appendix C of the Final TC&WM EIS,

[[Page 75918]]

while Appendix Q and Appendix W contain information on the Tribal 
Scenarios analyzed. DOE agrees with the Nez Perce that the Hanford 
Advisory Board (HAB) was not a direct Tribal forum, but DOE believes 
the Board provided opportunities for discussion of the EIS on a broad 
range of topics, and DOE considered Tribal participation and membership 
on the Board to be an important element of DOE's dialogue with 
stakeholders.
    The HAB requested that DOE not issue a ROD for 90 days to allow it 
time to review the final EIS. Other comments included support for a 
decision to build a second LAW plant and discontinue funding for bulk 
vitrification, cast stone and steam reforming technologies. The HAB 
expressed its view that supplemental waste treatment is needed to 
protect the groundwater and meet environmental regulations. In its tank 
closure preferred alternative, DOE has identified the process it will 
follow when it is ready to make a supplemental treatment decision. See 
the ``Preferred Alternative'' section. DOE agrees with the HAB's goals 
for protecting health and the environment at Hanford and will continue 
to work with the HAB in achieving these goals.
    The Natural Resource Defense Council, Hanford Challenge and 
Southwest Research and Information Center submitted a joint letter 
regarding DOE's March 11 Federal Register notice of its preferred 
alternative related to candidate TRU tank waste. DOE will address the 
letter at the appropriate time, i.e., should DOE be ready to issue a 
ROD addressing these wastes.

Decision

    This is the first in a series of RODs that DOE intends to issue 
pursuant to the Final TC&WM EIS. Decisions announced in this ROD 
pertain to each of the three main areas analyzed in the EIS, i.e. tank 
closure, FFTF, and waste management, as follows.

Tank Closure

    This TC&WM EIS ROD amends the 1997 TWRS EIS ROD concerning the 
decision to construct the WTP. Under this TC&WM EIS ROD, DOE will not 
construct the Phase II plant described in the 1997 TWRS ROD due to 
technical and financial impracticability as analyzed in the 2001 TWRS 
Supplement Analysis.
    DOE has decided to implement Tank Closure Alternative 2B, 
``Expanded WTP Vitrification and Landfill Closure,'' without 
supplemental treatment at WTP and without technetium-99 removal in the 
WTP Pretreatment facility. Additionally, DOE is not deciding on 
treatment of the cesium and strontium capsules in this ROD; when DOE is 
ready to make a decision, it will conduct an appropriate NEPA review 
and notify the public.
    This ROD includes decisions involving the following major 
activities from Tank Closure Alternative 2B: Retrieval of 99 percent of 
the tank waste by volume; use of liquid-based retrieval systems; leak 
detection monitoring and routine maintenance; new waste receiver 
facilities, as needed; additional storage facilities for canisters; 
operations and necessary maintenance, waste transfers and associated 
operations such as use of the ``hose in hose'' transfer lines or 
installation of new transfer lines, where needed; and upgrades to 
existing DST and SST systems, which includes piping and other ancillary 
equipment as needs are identified. Tank waste treatment includes 
pretreatment of all tank waste, with separation into LAW and HLW. New 
evaporation capacity, upgrades to the ETF, new transfer lines and 
processing of both vitrified LAW and secondary waste for disposal are 
included in this decision. Disposal activities include disposal of LAW 
onsite and construction of enough IHLW Interim Storage Modules to store 
all the IHLW generated by WTP treatment prior to disposal. SST closure 
operations include filling the tanks and ancillary equipment with grout 
to immobilize the residual waste. Disposal of contaminated equipment 
and soil will occur on site. The tanks will be grouted and contaminated 
soil may be removed. The SSTs will be landfill-closed, which means they 
will be stabilized, and an engineered modified RCRA Subtitle C barrier 
put in place followed by post-closure care.

FFTF

    DOE has decided to implement FFTF Alternative 2 Entombment. The RH-
SCs will have the sodium residuals removed by treatment at INL and 
returned to Hanford for disposal in the IDF. Bulk sodium inventories 
located at Hanford will be converted to caustic sodium hydroxide in a 
Sodium Reaction Facility at Hanford, and then stored for ultimate use 
in the WTP.

Waste Management

    DOE has decided to implement Waste Management Alternative 2, which 
includes disposal of LLW and MLLW at IDF-East from tank treatment 
operations, waste generated from WTP and ETF operations, on-site non-
CERCLA sources, FFTF decommissioning waste and on-site waste management 
waste. DOE will construct and operate the RPPDF for disposal of tank 
closure waste, as needed. Waste management activities will include 
continued operations at existing facilities as well as expansion of 
treatment capabilities at CWC, WRAP, and T plant. DOE will defer a 
decision on importing waste from other DOE sites (with limited 
exceptions as described in the Settlement Agreement with Ecology) for 
disposal at Hanford at least until the WTP is operational.

 Basis for the Decision

    Consistent with the TWRS EIS ROD, DOE has determined that it is 
necessary to retrieve the 53 million gallons of waste from the tanks to 
meet regulatory requirements, avoid future long-term releases to the 
groundwater, and reduce health impacts to potential inadvertent 
intruders into the waste if administrative control were lost. DOE has 
determined, consistent with the current design and permit that the 
construction of WTP and treatment of the tank waste should proceed 
without technetium-99 removal in the WTP Pretreatment Facility. DOE has 
also determined that the tradeoffs regarding short-term impacts and 
resources, including worker exposure, and technical uncertainties 
outweigh the potential groundwater benefits that may be obtained by 
clean closure of the SST system. Therefore, DOE has determined landfill 
closure of the SST system, which would include corrective/mitigation 
actions that may require soil removal or treatment of the vadose zone, 
is a more appropriate approach for SST system closure than clean 
closure.
    DOE will implement FFTF Alternative 2, Entombment, because this 
alternative fulfills the programmatic objectives for closure of the 
FFTF facilities, it is the more cost effective of the two alternatives, 
and it is also the environmentally preferred alternative. 
Implementation of FFTF Alternative 2 would result in very low impacts 
to human health and the environment.
    In order to treat the tank waste in WTP and implement FFTF 
Alternative 2 disposal, capacity is needed for waste generated during 
those activities. For economic and operational efficiencies, DOE has 
decided to operate one IDF located in the 200-East Area, instead of two 
separate IDFs in 200-East and 200-West. In order to process waste 
generated during cleanup, upgrades to site infrastructure such as CWC, 
WRAP, and T plant will be implemented as cleanup progresses and needs 
for these upgrades are identified. The IDF disposal capacity is needed 
to dispose of waste from tank waste treatment and FFTF disposition 
activities.

[[Page 75919]]

Mitigation Measures

    In the Final Hanford Comprehensive Land-Use Plan Environmental 
Impact Statement (Hanford Comprehensive Land-Use Plan EIS (DOE/EIS-
0222, September 1, 1999) DOE identified specific mitigation measures, 
policies, and management controls that direct land use at Hanford. DOE 
committed to these mitigation measures, as documented in the Hanford 
Comprehensive Land-Use Plan EIS ROD (64 FR 61615 November 12, 1999), 
which were reaffirmed in the Supplement Analysis, Hanford Comprehensive 
Land-Use Plan EIS (EIS-0222-SA-02, June 2, 2008) and in the amended ROD 
(73 FR 55824, September 26, 2008). These mitigation measures will 
continue to be implemented, as applicable, for the tank waste retrieval 
and treatment activities discussed in the TC&WM EIS. The TC&WM EIS did 
not identify any mitigation measures for the short-term resource areas 
that are needed in addition to those in the Supplement Analysis, 
Hanford Comprehensive Land Use Plan EIS and its amended ROD.
    DOE has continued to evaluate potential mitigation measures for the 
contaminated soil at Hanford for several years. Most recently, DOE 
published the Long-Range Deep Vadose Zone Program Plan in October 2010. 
This program plan summarizes the current state of knowledge regarding 
deep vadose zone remediation challenges beneath the Central Plateau at 
Hanford and DOE's approach to solving these challenges. The challenges 
to implementing deep vadose zone remediation are the result of 
contaminant depth and spread; the presence of multiple contaminants and 
comingled waste chemistries; physical, chemical, and biological fate 
and transport mechanisms; uncertain contaminant behavior; limited 
availability and effectiveness of cleanup remedies; and the unknown 
efficacy of remediation performance over the periods and spatial scales 
needed for making decisions.
    Nevertheless, all practicable means to avoid or minimize 
environmental harm for the decisions identified have been adopted. DOE 
will prepare and implement a Mitigation Action Plan to address long-
term impact areas. Long-term mitigation measures related to SST closure 
will be refined and presented in the TC&WM EIS Mitigation Action Plan, 
which will be posted on the Hanford and DOE NEPA Web sites identified 
in ADDRESSES. DOE will periodically revisit and update the Mitigation 
Action Plan as appropriate prior to initiating actions pursuant to this 
ROD.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2013.
David Huizenga,
Senior Advisor for Environmental Management.
[FR Doc. 2013-29734 Filed 12-12-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P