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Title: EFFECTIVE ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE STRATEGY FOR THE CLEANUP OF K BASINS AT HANFORD SITE WASHINGTON

Abstract

K Basins, consisting of two water-filled storage basins (KW and KE) for spent nuclear fuel (SNF), are part of the 100-K Area of the Hanford Site, along the shoreline of the Columbia River, situated approximately 40 km (25 miles) northwest of the City of Richland, Washington. The KW contained 964 metric tons of SNF in sealed canisters and the KE contained 1152 metric tons of SNF under water in open canisters. The cladding on much of the fuel was damaged allowing the fuel to corrode and degrade during storage underwater. An estimated 1,700 cubic feet of sludge, containing radionuclides and sediments, have accumulated in the KE basin. Various alternatives for removing and processing the SNF, sludge, debris and water were originally evaluated, by USDOE (DOE), in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with a preferred alternative identified in the Record of Decision. The SNF, sludge, debris and water are ''hazardous substances'' under the Comprehensive, Environmental, Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). Leakage of radiologically contaminated water from one of the basins and subsequent detection of increased contamination in a down-gradient monitoring well helped to form the regulatory bases for cleanup action under CERCLA. The realization that actual or threatenedmore » release of hazardous substances from the waste sites and K Basins, if not addressed in a timely manner, may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health, welfare and environment led to action under CERCLA, with EPA as the lead regulatory agency. Clean-up of the K Basins as a CERCLA site required SNF retrieval, processing, packaging, vacuum drying and transport to a vaulted storage facility for storage, in conformance with a quality assurance program approved by the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM). Excluding the facilities built for SNF drying and vaulted storage, the scope of CERCLA interim remedial action was limited to the removal of fuel, sludge, debris and water. At present, almost all of the spent fuel has been removed from the basins and other activities to remove sludge, debris and water are scheduled to be completed in 2007. Developing environmental documentation and obtaining regulatory approvals for a project which was initiated outside CERCLA and came under CERCLA during execution, was a significant priority to the successful completion of the SNF retrieval, transfer, drying, transport and storage of fuel, within the purview of strong conduct-of-operations culture associated with nuclear facilities. Environmental requirements promulgated in the state regulations by Washington Department of Public Health for radiation were recognized as ''applicable or relevant and appropriate.'' Effective implementation of the environmental compliance strategy in a project that transitioned to CERCLA became a significant challenge involving multiple contractors. This paper provides an overview of the development and implementation of an environmental permitting and surveillance strategy that enabled us to achieve full compliance in a challenging environment, with milestones and cost constraints, while meeting the high safety standards. The details of the strategy as to how continuous rapport with the regulators, facility operators and surveillance groups helped to avoid impacts on the clean-up schedule are discussed. Highlighted are the role of engineered controls, surveillance protocols and triggers for monitoring and reporting, and active administrative controls that were established for the control of emissions, water loss and transport of waste shipments, during the different phases of the project.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
FGG (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT (US)
OSTI Identifier:
834859
Report Number(s):
HNF-22567-FP, Rev.0
TRN: US0407364
DOE Contract Number:  
AC06-96RL13200
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Waste Management 2005, Tucson, AZ (US), 02/27/2005; Other Information: PBD: 1 Dec 2004
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; COLUMBIA RIVER; COMPLIANCE; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS; NUCLEAR FACILITIES; NUCLEAR FUELS; PUBLIC HEALTH; QUALITY ASSURANCE; RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT; RADIOISOTOPES; REMEDIAL ACTION; SAFETY STANDARDS; SPENT FUELS; US EPA; US SUPERFUND; WASHINGTON

Citation Formats

AMBALAM, T. EFFECTIVE ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE STRATEGY FOR THE CLEANUP OF K BASINS AT HANFORD SITE WASHINGTON. United States: N. p., 2004. Web.
AMBALAM, T. EFFECTIVE ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE STRATEGY FOR THE CLEANUP OF K BASINS AT HANFORD SITE WASHINGTON. United States.
AMBALAM, T. Wed . "EFFECTIVE ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE STRATEGY FOR THE CLEANUP OF K BASINS AT HANFORD SITE WASHINGTON". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/834859.
@article{osti_834859,
title = {EFFECTIVE ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE STRATEGY FOR THE CLEANUP OF K BASINS AT HANFORD SITE WASHINGTON},
author = {AMBALAM, T},
abstractNote = {K Basins, consisting of two water-filled storage basins (KW and KE) for spent nuclear fuel (SNF), are part of the 100-K Area of the Hanford Site, along the shoreline of the Columbia River, situated approximately 40 km (25 miles) northwest of the City of Richland, Washington. The KW contained 964 metric tons of SNF in sealed canisters and the KE contained 1152 metric tons of SNF under water in open canisters. The cladding on much of the fuel was damaged allowing the fuel to corrode and degrade during storage underwater. An estimated 1,700 cubic feet of sludge, containing radionuclides and sediments, have accumulated in the KE basin. Various alternatives for removing and processing the SNF, sludge, debris and water were originally evaluated, by USDOE (DOE), in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with a preferred alternative identified in the Record of Decision. The SNF, sludge, debris and water are ''hazardous substances'' under the Comprehensive, Environmental, Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). Leakage of radiologically contaminated water from one of the basins and subsequent detection of increased contamination in a down-gradient monitoring well helped to form the regulatory bases for cleanup action under CERCLA. The realization that actual or threatened release of hazardous substances from the waste sites and K Basins, if not addressed in a timely manner, may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health, welfare and environment led to action under CERCLA, with EPA as the lead regulatory agency. Clean-up of the K Basins as a CERCLA site required SNF retrieval, processing, packaging, vacuum drying and transport to a vaulted storage facility for storage, in conformance with a quality assurance program approved by the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM). Excluding the facilities built for SNF drying and vaulted storage, the scope of CERCLA interim remedial action was limited to the removal of fuel, sludge, debris and water. At present, almost all of the spent fuel has been removed from the basins and other activities to remove sludge, debris and water are scheduled to be completed in 2007. Developing environmental documentation and obtaining regulatory approvals for a project which was initiated outside CERCLA and came under CERCLA during execution, was a significant priority to the successful completion of the SNF retrieval, transfer, drying, transport and storage of fuel, within the purview of strong conduct-of-operations culture associated with nuclear facilities. Environmental requirements promulgated in the state regulations by Washington Department of Public Health for radiation were recognized as ''applicable or relevant and appropriate.'' Effective implementation of the environmental compliance strategy in a project that transitioned to CERCLA became a significant challenge involving multiple contractors. This paper provides an overview of the development and implementation of an environmental permitting and surveillance strategy that enabled us to achieve full compliance in a challenging environment, with milestones and cost constraints, while meeting the high safety standards. The details of the strategy as to how continuous rapport with the regulators, facility operators and surveillance groups helped to avoid impacts on the clean-up schedule are discussed. Highlighted are the role of engineered controls, surveillance protocols and triggers for monitoring and reporting, and active administrative controls that were established for the control of emissions, water loss and transport of waste shipments, during the different phases of the project.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2004},
month = {12}
}

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