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Title: Targeted Health Assessment for Wastes Contained at the Niagara Falls Storage Site to Guide Planning for Remedial Action Alternatives - 13428

Abstract

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is evaluating potential remedial alternatives at the 191-acre Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS) in Lewiston, New York, under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). The Manhattan Engineer District (MED) and Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) brought radioactive wastes to the site during the 1940's and 1950's, and the U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) consolidated these wastes into a 10-acre interim waste containment structure (IWCS) in the southwest portion of the site during the 1980's. The USACE is evaluating remedial alternatives for radioactive waste contained within the IWCS at the NFSS under the Feasibility Study phase of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) process. A preliminary evaluation of the IWCS has been conducted to assess potential airborne releases associated with uncovered wastes, particularly during waste excavation, as well as direct exposures to uncovered wastes. Key technical issues for this assessment include: (1) limitations in waste characterization data; (2) representative receptors and exposure routes; (3) estimates of contaminant emissions at an early stage of the evaluation process; (4) consideration of candidate meteorological data and air dispersion modeling approaches; and (5) estimates of health effects from potential exposures to both radionuclidesmore » and chemicals that account for recent updates of exposure and toxicity factors. Results of this preliminary health risk assessment indicate if the wastes were uncovered and someone stayed at the IWCS for a number of days to weeks, substantial doses and serious health effects could be incurred. Current controls prevent such exposures, and the controls that would be applied to protect onsite workers during remedial action at the IWCS would also effectively protect the public nearby. This evaluation provides framing context for the upcoming development and detailed evaluation of remedial alternatives for the IWCS. (authors)« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1]; ; ; ;  [2]
  1. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Buffalo District, 1776 Niagara Street, Buffalo, NY (United States)
  2. Argonne National Laboratory, Environmental Science Division, 9700 S. Cass Ave., Argonne, IL 60439 (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
WM Symposia, 1628 E. Southern Avenue, Suite 9-332, Tempe, AZ 85282 (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
22221399
Report Number(s):
INIS-US-13-WM-13428
TRN: US14V0593042354
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Waste Management 2013 - WM2013 Conference: International collaboration and continuous improvement, Phoenix, AZ (United States), 24-28 Feb 2013; Other Information: Country of input: France; 14 refs.
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; EVALUATION; HEALTH HAZARDS; RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL; RADIOACTIVE WASTE STORAGE; RADIOACTIVE WASTES; REMEDIAL ACTION; US CORPS OF ENGINEERS; US SUPERFUND

Citation Formats

Busse, John, Keil, Karen, Staten, Jane, Miller, Neil, Barker, Michelle, MacDonell, Margaret, Peterson, John, Chang, Young-Soo, and Durham, Lisa. Targeted Health Assessment for Wastes Contained at the Niagara Falls Storage Site to Guide Planning for Remedial Action Alternatives - 13428. United States: N. p., 2013. Web.
Busse, John, Keil, Karen, Staten, Jane, Miller, Neil, Barker, Michelle, MacDonell, Margaret, Peterson, John, Chang, Young-Soo, & Durham, Lisa. Targeted Health Assessment for Wastes Contained at the Niagara Falls Storage Site to Guide Planning for Remedial Action Alternatives - 13428. United States.
Busse, John, Keil, Karen, Staten, Jane, Miller, Neil, Barker, Michelle, MacDonell, Margaret, Peterson, John, Chang, Young-Soo, and Durham, Lisa. 2013. "Targeted Health Assessment for Wastes Contained at the Niagara Falls Storage Site to Guide Planning for Remedial Action Alternatives - 13428". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_22221399,
title = {Targeted Health Assessment for Wastes Contained at the Niagara Falls Storage Site to Guide Planning for Remedial Action Alternatives - 13428},
author = {Busse, John and Keil, Karen and Staten, Jane and Miller, Neil and Barker, Michelle and MacDonell, Margaret and Peterson, John and Chang, Young-Soo and Durham, Lisa},
abstractNote = {The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is evaluating potential remedial alternatives at the 191-acre Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS) in Lewiston, New York, under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). The Manhattan Engineer District (MED) and Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) brought radioactive wastes to the site during the 1940's and 1950's, and the U.S. Department of Energy (US DOE) consolidated these wastes into a 10-acre interim waste containment structure (IWCS) in the southwest portion of the site during the 1980's. The USACE is evaluating remedial alternatives for radioactive waste contained within the IWCS at the NFSS under the Feasibility Study phase of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) process. A preliminary evaluation of the IWCS has been conducted to assess potential airborne releases associated with uncovered wastes, particularly during waste excavation, as well as direct exposures to uncovered wastes. Key technical issues for this assessment include: (1) limitations in waste characterization data; (2) representative receptors and exposure routes; (3) estimates of contaminant emissions at an early stage of the evaluation process; (4) consideration of candidate meteorological data and air dispersion modeling approaches; and (5) estimates of health effects from potential exposures to both radionuclides and chemicals that account for recent updates of exposure and toxicity factors. Results of this preliminary health risk assessment indicate if the wastes were uncovered and someone stayed at the IWCS for a number of days to weeks, substantial doses and serious health effects could be incurred. Current controls prevent such exposures, and the controls that would be applied to protect onsite workers during remedial action at the IWCS would also effectively protect the public nearby. This evaluation provides framing context for the upcoming development and detailed evaluation of remedial alternatives for the IWCS. (authors)},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2013,
month = 7
}

Conference:
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  • The U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) methods and protocols allow evaluation of remediation and final site conditions to determine if remediated sites remain protective. Two case studies are presented that involve the Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS) and associated vicinity properties (VPs), which are being remediated under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). These properties are a part of the former Lake Ontario Ordnance Works (LOOW). In response to stakeholders concerns about whether certain remediated NFSS VPs were putting them at risk, DOE met with stakeholders and agreed to evaluate protectiveness. Documentation in the DOE records collectionmore » adequately described assessed and final radiological conditions at the completed VPs. All FUSRAP wastes at the completed sites were cleaned up to meet DOE guidelines for unrestricted use. DOE compiled the results of the investigation in a report that was released for public comment. In conducting the review of site conditions, DOE found that stakeholders were also concerned about waste from the Separations Process Research Unit (SPRU) at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) that was handled at LOOW. DOE agreed to determine if SPRU waste remained at that needed to be remediated. DOE reviewed records of waste characterization, historical handling locations and methods, and assessment and remediation data. DOE concluded that the SPRU waste was remediated on the LOOW to levels that pose no unacceptable risk and allow unrestricted use and unlimited exposure. This work confirms the following points as tenets of an effective long-term surveillance and maintenance (LTS&M) program: Stakeholder interaction must be open and transparent, and DOE must respond promptly to stakeholder concerns. DOE, as the long-term custodian, must collect and preserve site records in order to demonstrate that remediated sites pose no unacceptable risk. DOE must continue to maintain constructive relationships with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state and federal regulators.« less
  • The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) methods and protocols allow evaluation of remediation and final site conditions to determine if remediated sites remain protective. Two case studies are presented that involve the Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS) and associated vicinity properties (VPs), which are being remediated under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). These properties are a part of the former Lake Ontario Ordnance Works (LOOW). In response to stakeholders concerns about whether certain remediated NFSS VPs were putting them at risk, DOE met with stakeholders and agreed to evaluate protectiveness. Documentation in the DOE records collection adequatelymore » described assessed and final radiological conditions at the completed VPs. All FUSRAP wastes at the completed sites were cleaned up to meet DOE guidelines for unrestricted use. DOE compiled the results of the investigation in a report that was released for public comment. In conducting the review of site conditions, DOE found that stakeholders were also concerned about waste from the Separations Process Research Unit (SPRU) at the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) that was handled at LOOW. DOE agreed to determine if SPRU waste remained at that needed to be remediated. DOE reviewed records of waste characterization, historical handling locations and methods, and assessment and remediation data. DOE concluded that the SPRU waste was remediated on the LOOW to levels that pose no unacceptable risk and allow unrestricted use and unlimited exposure. This work confirms the following points as tenets of an effective long-term surveillance and maintenance (LTS and M) program: - Stakeholder interaction must be open and transparent, and DOE must respond promptly to stakeholder concerns. - DOE, as the long-term custodian, must collect and preserve site records in order to demonstrate that remediated sites pose no unacceptable risk. - DOE must continue to maintain constructive relationships with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and state and federal regulators. After review of historical site documentation, DOE reports, and USACE radiological data, DOE concluded the following: - DOE had access to adequate documentation to evaluate site conditions at the former LOOW. This is important to confirm now, while institutional knowledge of early FUSRAP work remains available. - DOE remediated the completed VPs to conditions that are protective for unrestricted residential use. Sample and walkover gamma scan results indicate that no wastes remain that exceed cleanup criteria. - Process knowledge and field observations establish that Cs-137 is the predominant radionuclide in the KAPL waste stream. Cs-137, a strong gamma emitter, was used as an indicator for remediation of KAPL waste. Other radionuclides were present in much lower relative concentrations and were likely also removed during remediation of the VPs. - KAPL contaminants were removed during remedial activities at the former LOOW as either co-located or co-mingled with other radionuclides. - For the active VPs (VP-E, VP-E', and VP-G), results of DOE's cleanup of the accessible portions of these properties indicate that KAPL waste does not remain at concentrations greater than the DOE cleanup limit: - Inaccessible areas were not associated with historic KAPL waste handling. Therefore, it is unlikely that KAPL waste remains on the active VPs. - Because gamma activity was used by DOE during remediation/verification activities for excavation control, additional USACE cleanup of FUSRAP wastes on these properties will likely result in the remediation of any co-located residual KAPL wastes to acceptable levels or identification of KAPL waste that is not co-located. - Although USACE has not established a cleanup level for Cs-137 on the active NFSS VPs, DOE assessment and remediation data indicate that assessed Cs-137 was remediated and significant Cs-137 is unlikely to remain. Because of the low likelihood of encountering significant KAPL waste on the active NFSS VPs, additional remediation is not anticipated at these properties. - USACE assessment soil sampling results on the NFSS proper indicate that KAPL waste does not exceed the DOE cleanup level for Cs-137. USACE has not established a cleanup level for Cs-137 on NFSS proper. The USACE cleanup of FUSRAP wastes on the NFSS proper will likely result in the remediation of any co-located residual KAPL wastes or identification of KAPL waste that is not co-located. DOE is drafting a report of the investigation of KAPL waste at LOOW. The report will be released to the public for comment when the draft is complete. DOE responses to stakeholder inquiries resulted in a common understanding of site conditions and site risk. DOE expects additional interaction with stakeholders at the former LOOW as USACE completes remediation of the active VPs and the NFSS proper, and these relationships will hopefully have built trust between DOE and the stakeholders that DOE will perform its duties in an open and transparent manner that includes stakeholders as stewards for remediated FUSRAP sites. (authors)« less
  • About 11,000 m/sup 3/ of uranium ore residues and 180,000 m/sup 3/ of wastes (mostly slightly contaminated soils) are consolidated within a diked containment area at the Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS) located about 30 km north of Buffalo, NY. The residues account for less than 6% of the total volume of contaminated materials but almost 99% of the radioactivty. The average /sup 226/Ra concentration in the residues is 67,000 pCi/g. Several alternatives for long-term management of the wastes and residues are being considered, including: improvement of the containment at NFSS, modification of the form of the residues, management ofmore » the residues separately from the wastes, management of the wastes and residues at another humid site (Oak Ridge, TN) or arid site (Hanford, WA), and dispersal of the wastes in the ocean. Potential radiological risks are expected to be smaller than the nonradiological risks of occupational and transportation-related injuries and deaths. Dispersal of the slightly contaminated wastes in the ocean is not expected to result in any significant impacts on the ocean environment or pose any significant radiological risk to humans. It will be necessary to take perpetual care of the near-surface burial sites because the residues and wastes will remain hazardous for thousands of years. If controls cease, the radioactive materials will eventually be dispersed in the environment. Predicted loss of the earthen covers over the buried materials ranges from several hundred to more than two million years, depending primarily on the use of the land surface. Groundwater will eventually be contaminated in all alternatives; however, the groundwater pathway is relatively insignificant with respect to radiological risks to the general population. A person intruding into the residues would incur an extremely high radiation dose.« less
  • There are 180,000 m/sup 3/ of slightly contaminated radioactive wastes (36 pCi/g radium-226) currently stored at the US Department of Energy's Niagara Falls Storage Site (NFSS), near Lewiston, New York. These wastes resulted from the cleanup of soils that were contaminated above the guidelines for unrestricted use of property. An alternative to long-term management of these wastes on land is dispersal in the ocean. A scenario for ocean disposal is present