[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 12 (Wednesday, January 20, 2016)]
[Pages 3166-3167]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-00972]




Concentration Averaging and Encapsulation Branch Technical 

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Branch technical position; request for comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is requesting 
comments on whether the NRC staff should formally document a position 
on contaminated material and contaminated trash. The NRC issued 
Revision 1 of the Branch Technical Position on Concentration Averaging 
and Encapsulation (CA BTP) in February of 2015. The CA BTP provides 
acceptable methods that can be used to perform concentration averaging 
of Low-Level Radioactive Waste (LLRW) for the purpose of determining 
its waste class for disposal. When the NRC issued the revised CA BTP, 
it noted that one issue, distinguishing contaminated materials from 
contaminated trash, may need further clarification. The NRC also stated 
that it would consider whether additional guidance, such as a 
Regulatory Issue Summary (RIS), would be warranted for distinguishing 
contaminated materials from contaminated trash.

DATES: Submit comments by March 21, 2016. Comments received after this 
date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the Commission 
is able to ensure consideration only for comments received before this 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods 
(unless this document describes a different method for submitting 
comments on a specific subject):
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2011-0022. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-
3463; email: [email protected]. For technical questions, contact 
the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of 
this document.
     Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, 
Mail Stop: OWFN-12-H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.
    For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting 
comments, see ``Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments'' in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Don Lowman, Office of Nuclear Material 
Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-5452; email: [email protected].


I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments

A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2011-0022 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain 
publicly-available information related to this action by any of the 
following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2011-0022.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the 
ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and 
then select ``Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, 
please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 
1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to [email protected]. 
Volume 1 and Volume 2 of the revised CA BTP are available in ADAMS 
under Accession Nos. ML12254B065 and ML12326A611, respectively.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2011-0022 in the subject line of your 
comment submission. The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or 
contact information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in 
you comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at 
http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment submissions 
into ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to 
remove identifying or contact information.
    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons 
for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to 
include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be 
publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should 
state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to 
remove such information before making the comment submissions available 
to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.

II. Background

    The NRC issued Revision 1 of the CA BTP (``Revised CA BTP'') on 
February 25, 2015, (80 FR 10165). This revision provided updated 
guidance on the interpretation of Sec.  61.55(a)(8) of title 10 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), ``Determination of concentrations 
in wastes,'' as it applies to the classification (as Class A, B, or C 
waste) of a variety of different types and forms of LLW. Section 
61.55(a)(8) states that radionuclide concentrations can be averaged 
over the volume of the waste or its weight if the units are expressed 
as nanocuries per gram. The average radionuclide concentrations are 
compared with the waste classification tables in Sec.  61.55 to 
determine the class of the waste. The waste class determines the 
minimum safety measures to be applied in order to provide reasonable 
assurance of safe disposal of the waste. The previous version of the CA 
BTP was published in 1995 (ADAMS Accession No. ML033630732).
    In developing the Revised CA BTP, the staff identified one issue 
that may need further clarification. One of the categories of discrete 
wastes that are subject to additional concentration averaging 
constraints is ``contaminated materials.'' Both the 1995 and Revised CA 
BTPs define contaminated materials as components or metals on which 
radioactivity resides on or near the surface in a fixed or removable 
condition. To demonstrate compliance with these averaging constraints, 

[[Page 3167]]

radiological characteristics and volumes of individual items are 
typically determined. However, items with surface contamination may 
also be categorized as contaminated trash which has fewer averaging 
constraints. Both the 1995 and the Revised CA BTP used the term 
contaminated trash which is intended to be the equivalent of waste 
descriptor codes 39 and 40 (i.e., Compactible Trash and Noncompactible 
Trash) of NRC Form 541, ``Uniform Low-Level Radioactive Waste 
Manifest--Container and Waste Description.'' Items in contaminated 
trash do not need to be individually characterized. Instead, a 
container of contaminated trash can be surveyed to determine its 
overall radioactivity and its classification determined by dividing the 
overall activity by the waste volume. Neither the 1995 CA BTP nor draft 
revisions published for public comment provided guidance for 
categorizing items as either contaminated materials or contaminated 
trash. In addition, the NRC received no comments from stakeholders on 
this issue. The NRC is now addressing whether additional guidance, such 
as a Regulatory Issue Summary (RIS), is warranted for distinguishing 
contaminated materials from contaminated trash.

III. Specific Request for Comments

    The NRC is trying to determine what items that could be defined as 
contaminated material per the CA BTP, if any, are currently being 
disposed of as contaminated trash. The NRC is requesting that persons 
consider and address the following questions as they develop and 
provide their comments:
    1. Is additional guidance needed to clarify the distinction between 
contaminated trash and contaminated material?
    2. When filling out the Uniform Waste Manifest (UWM)(NRC Forms 540, 
541, and 542), how is contaminated equipment (UWM code 33) currently 
distinguished from contaminated trash (UWM codes 39 and 40)?
    3. Should numerical constraints be developed to clarify the 
distinction between contaminated materials and contaminated trash? If 
so, what basis should be used to develop the numerical constraints? If 
not, what qualitative factors should be considered?
    4. If numerical values are developed, would activity or 
concentration constraints be preferable? Would an option to use either 
be feasible to implement?
    5. What challenges, if any, do you foresee with implementing 
numerical thresholds for distinguishing between contaminated trash and 
contaminated materials? How could these challenges be ameliorated?
    6. Would an emphasis on using process knowledge be sufficient to 
avoid the unintended consequence of causing licensees to characterize 
individual pieces of trash that have radionuclide concentrations 
significantly less than the class limits?
    7. The NRC understands that items referred to as ``high rad trash'' 
are placed in containers of contaminated trash and averaged. The NRC 
also understands that this practice reduces worker exposure as compared 
to evaluating each item of trash. Please provide examples of ``high rad 
trash,'' estimated annual volume, areas of the facilities where this 
waste is generated, and typical contact dose rates (if available).
    8. When classifying contaminated trash, is the same sample data 
(e.g., scaling factors) for determining the radionuclide content of 
``normal'' contaminated trash used for classifying the ``high rad 
    9. What process currently is used to determine whether items of 
``high rad trash'' can be disposed of with lower-activity contaminated 
trash or whether items are treated as contaminated materials and 
averaged with the constraints described for contaminated materials 
under the 1995 CA BTP?
    10. Is clarification needed for the term ``component'' in the 
definition of contaminated materials used in the 1995 and 2015 CA BTP?

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 12th day of January 2016.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Andrew Persinko,
Deputy Director, Division of Decommissioning, Uranium Recovery and 
Waste Programs, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2016-00972 Filed 1-19-16; 8:45 am]