[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 242 (Wednesday, December 16, 2020)]
[Pages 81525-81527]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-27608]



[Docket No. 70-1151; NRC-2020-0265]

Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC; Columbia Fuel Fabrication 
Facility; and US Ecology, Inc.; Idaho Resource Conservation and 
Recovery Act Subtitle C Hazardous Disposal Facility Located Near Grand 
View, Idaho

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: License amendment and exemption; issuance.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an 
exemption and associated license amendment related to a request from 
Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC (WEC) from NRC regulations with 
respect to a request for alternate disposal and exemption for specified 
low-activity radioactive waste from the Columbia Fuel Fabrication 

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(CFFF) in Hopkins, South Carolina for waste containing byproduct 
material and special nuclear material (SNM) under License Number SNM-
1107. Additionally, the NRC is taking the related action of approving 
exemptions to US Ecology, Inc. (USEI) from the applicable licensing 
requirements to allow USEI to receive and possess the material from 
CFFF without an NRC license. The USEI disposal facility, located near 
Grand View, Idaho, is a Subtitle C Resource Conservation and Recovery 
Act (RCRA) hazardous waste disposal facility permitted by the State of 
Idaho to receive low-level radioactive waste and is not licensed by the 
NRC. Approval of the alternate disposal request from WEC, the 
exemptions and license amendment requested by WEC and associated 
exemptions for USEI would allow WEC to transfer the specific waste from 
CFFF for disposal at USEI.

DATES: This exemption is effective on December 9, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2020-0265 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You 
may obtain publicly available information related to this document 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2020-0265. Address 
questions about Docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Jennifer Borges; 
telephone: 301-287-9127; email: [email protected]. For technical 
questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT section of this document.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may obtain publicly available documents online in the 
ADAMS Public Documents collection at https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, 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]. The Request for Alternate Disposal 
Approval and Exemption for Specific Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility 
Waste (License No. SNM-1197, Docket No. 70-1151) is available in ADAMS 
under Package Accession No. ML20129J934. The Response to Request for 
Additional Information--Alternate Disposal Approval and Exemptions for 
Specific Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility Waste (License No. SNM-
1107, Docket No. 70-1151) dated September 22, 2020 is available in 
ADAMS under Accession No. ML20266G551. The Response to Request for 
Additional Information--Alternate Disposal Approval and Exemptions for 
Specific Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility Waste (License No. SNM-
1107, Docket No. 70-1151) dated October 13, 2020 is available in ADAMS 
under Accession No. ML20287A545. The staff's Safety Evaluation Report 
dated November 30, 2020 is available in ADAMS under Package Accession 
No. ML20329A352.
     Attention: The PDR, where you may examine and order copies 
of public documents is currently closed. You may submit your request to 
the PDR via email at [email protected] or call 1-800-397-4209 
between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (EST), Monday through Friday, except 
Federal holidays.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Tiktinsky, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-8740, email: 
[email protected].


I. Background

    Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC (WEC) is the holder of a Special 
Nuclear Materials (SNM) License SNM-1107 under part 70 of title 10 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), which authorizes the 
fabrication of nuclear fuel at the Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility 
(CFFF). The US Ecology, Inc. (USEI) disposal facility near Grand View, 
Idaho is a Subtitle C Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) 
hazardous waste disposal facility permitted by the State of Idaho to 
receive radioactive waste that is not licensed or exempted from 
licensing by the NRC.

II. Request/Action

    The proposed action would approve the alternate disposal request 
and provide exemptions to 10 CFR 70.3 and 10 CFR 30.3, and an 
associated WEC license amendment, allowing WEC to transfer and USEI to 
receive and dispose specific wastes.
    The East Lagoon is a treatment/settling pond that is approximately 
160' x 130'. The East Lagoon receives liquid inputs such as effluent 
from the Deionized Water Building (primarily from regeneration water 
from resin beds) and rainwater from containment areas such as the 
chemical tank farm. The East Lagoon also provides extra capacity for 
overflow from other lagoons or for containment in the event of a spill 
or emergency. Current East Lagoon operations are regulated under 
Westinghouse's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit 
for the Columbia site. However, based on past wastewater treatment area 
operations and the age of the East Lagoon liner, a Wastewater Treatment 
Area Operable Unit was established under the South Carolina Department 
of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) Consent Agreement signed 
on February 26, 2019. As part of the Consent Agreement, the East Lagoon 
is planned for closure and remediation. The East Lagoon contains 
approximately 3 to 4 feet of radiologically contaminated sludge. The 
East Lagoon was originally lined in the early 1980's. While this liner 
is still in place, WEC assumes it may have lost some integrity. 
Therefore, there is the possibility of soil contamination under and 
around the East Lagoon due to leaching that would also be excavated and 
disposed of as part of this action. Approximately 45,000 ft\3\ of 
sludge, soil and debris will be generated from the closure of the East 
Lagoon. The waste from the East Lagoon being considered under this 
request is contaminated with SNM (low enriched uranium {<5 wt. % U-
235{time} ) and the fission product Technetium-99 (Tc-99). The SNM and 
Tc-99 contaminated wastes were generated from plant operations during 
the fabrication of nuclear fuel. Tc-99 is present in the process due to 
uranium feed that originated from sources of recycled uranium or down-
blended high enriched uranium. In addition to the material generated 
from the closure of the East Lagoon, WEC intends to dispose of 
approximately 1428 m\3\ (50,400 ft\3\) of solid CaF2 sludge 
previously dredged from the Calcium Fluoride Lagoons and subsequently 
placed in a storage pile. The CaF2 sludge was generated as a 
waste from uranium recovery waste treatment process and is contaminated 
with SNM (low enriched uranium {<5 wt. % U-235{time} ) as well.
    The sludge, soil, and debris associated with the closure of the 
East Lagoon will be shipped with the CaF2 sludge to USEI 
using a combination of trucks and railcars.
    WEC also intends to dispose of up to 526 obsolete UF6 
Cylinders, which represent a disposal volume of approximately 651 m\3\ 
(23,000 ft\3\) prior to downsizing. The UF6 Cylinders are 
transportation containers that are no longer in service. The 
UF6 Cylinders are solid form (steel), approximately 1.8 m (6 
ft) in length and 0.76 m (2.5 ft) in diameter. The UF6 
Cylinders are empty and have been through the UF6 Cylinder 
internal wash/rinse process following their last use and prior to being 
placed into storage pending disposal. The UF6

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Cylinders will be downsized to eliminate void space prior to packaging 
for shipment offsite for disposal. While emptied and cleaned, the 
UF6 Cylinders are still internally contaminated with SNM.
    The UF6 Cylinders will be transported to the USEI site 
by trucks, separate from the aggregated waste shipments described 

III. Discussion

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 70.17 and 10 CFR 30.11, the Commission may, upon 
application of any interested person or upon its own initiative, grant 
such exemptions from the requirements of 10 CFR part 70 and part 30 
respectively, 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 interest.

The Exemption Is Authorized by Law

    The proposal provides that the material described above would be 
transported in compliance with U.S. Department of Transportation 
regulations to USEI in Idaho, which is a Subtitle C RCRA hazardous 
waste disposal facility permitted by the State of Idaho. As such, the 
material will be removed per State and local regulations, will be 
shipped per existing Federal regulations to a location approved by the 
State of Idaho to receive the material, and such disposal is not 
otherwise contrary to NRC requirements, and is therefore authorized by 

The Exemption Will Not Endanger Life, Property and Is Consistent With 
the Common Defense and Security

    NRC staff reviewed the information provided by WEC to support their 
10 CFR 20.2002 alternate disposal request and for the specific 
exemptions from 10 CFR 30.3 and 10 CFR 70.3 and associated license 
amendment in order to dispose of aggregated waste and UF6 
Cylinders at USEI. As documented in the Safety Evaluation Report, the 
NRC staff concludes that, consistent with 10 CFR 20.2002, WEC provided 
an adequate description of the materials and the proposed manner and 
conditions of waste disposal. The NRC staff also concluded that the use 
of the site-specific dose assessment methodology to evaluate the 
projected doses associated with the transportation and disposal of the 
waste streams at USEI are acceptable. The NRC staff reviewed the input 
parameters included in this modeling and found that they are 
appropriate for the scenarios considered. The NRC staff also evaluated 
the potential doses associated with transportation, waste handling, and 
disposal and found that the projected doses have been appropriately 
estimated and are demonstrated to meet the NRC's alternate disposal 
standard of contributing a dose of not more than ``a few millirem per 
year'' to any member of the public and are as low as is reasonably 
achievable. The NRC staff also concluded that the projected doses from 
the post-closure and intruder scenarios at USEI are also within ``a few 
millirem per year'' over a period of 1,000 years. Lastly, because of 
the presence of SNM, the NRC evaluated potential criticality in its 
SER, and found no concerns. Therefore, the NRC concludes that issuance 
of the exemption is will not endanger life, property, and is consistent 
with the common defense and security.

The Exemption Is in the Public Interest

    Issuance of the exemptions to WEC and USEI is in the public 
interest because it would provide for the efficient and safe disposal 
for the subject waste material, would facilitate the decommissioning of 
the East Lagoon at the CFFF site consistent with the consent agreement 
between CFFF and SCDHEC, and would conserve low-level radioactive waste 
disposal capacity at licensed low-level radioactive disposal sites, 
while ensuring that the material being considered is disposed of safely 
in a regulated facility. Therefore, based upon the evaluation above, an 
exemption is appropriate pursuant to 10 CFR 30.11 and 10 CFR 70.17.

IV. Environmental Considerations

    As required by 10 CFR 51.21, the NRC performed an environmental 
assessment (EA) that analyzes the environmental impacts of the proposed 
exemption in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 and NRC implementing regulations in 10 CFR part 51. Based on that 
EA, the NRC staff has determined not to prepare an environmental impact 
statement for the proposed exemption and has issued a finding of no 
significant impact (FONSI). The EA and FONSI were published in the 
Federal Register on December 9, 2020 (85 FR 79228).

V. Conclusions

    Accordingly, the Commission has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 
70.17 and 10 CFR 30.11, the exemptions for WEC and USEI and associated 
WEC license amendment are authorized by law, will not present an undue 
risk to the public health and safety, is consistent with the common 
defense and security, and is in the public interest. Therefore, the 
Commission hereby grants WEC and USEI exemptions from 10 CFR 70.3 and 
10 CFR 30.3 to allow WEC to transfer the specifically identified 
byproduct material and SNM waste described above from the WEC CFFF for 
disposal at the USEI disposal facility located near Grand View, Idaho, 
and issues WEC a conforming license amendment.

    Dated: December 10, 2020.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Damaris Marcano,
Acting Chief, Fuel Facility Licensing Branch, Division of Fuel 
Management, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2020-27608 Filed 12-15-20; 8:45 am]