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Title: Regulatory issues for deep borehole plutonium disposition

Abstract

As a result of recent changes throughout the world, a substantial inventory of excess separated plutonium is expected to result from dismantlement of US nuclear weapons. The safe and secure management and eventual disposition of this plutonium, and of a similar inventory in Russia, is a high priority. A variety of options (both interim and permanent) are under consideration to manage this material. The permanent solutions can be categorized into two broad groups: direct disposal and utilization. The deep borehole disposition concept involves placing excess plutonium deep into old stable rock formations with little free water present. Issues of concern include the regulatory, statutory and policy status of such a facility, the availability of sites with desirable characteristics and the technologies required for drilling deep holes, characterizing them, emplacing excess plutonium and sealing the holes. This white paper discusses the regulatory issues. Regulatory issues concerning construction, operation and decommissioning of the surface facility do not appear to be controversial, with existing regulations providing adequate coverage. It is in the areas of siting, licensing and long term environmental protection that current regulations may be inappropriate. This is because many current regulations are by intent or by default specific to waste forms,more » facilities or missions significantly different from deep borehole disposition of excess weapons usable fissile material. It is expected that custom regulations can be evolved in the context of this mission.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab., CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
86953
Report Number(s):
UCRL-JC-120593; CONF-9503166-1
ON: DE95014161; TRN: 95:017275
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Fluor Daniel at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA (United States), 29 Mar 1995; Other Information: PBD: Mar 1995
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
05 NUCLEAR FUELS; 29 ENERGY PLANNING AND POLICY; 45 MILITARY TECHNOLOGY, WEAPONRY, AND NATIONAL DEFENSE; NUCLEAR WEAPONS DISMANTLEMENT; NUCLEAR MATERIALS MANAGEMENT; PLUTONIUM; UNDERGROUND DISPOSAL; RADIOACTIVE WASTE FACILITIES; LICENSING REGULATIONS; CONTAMINATION REGULATIONS; BOREHOLES; SITE SELECTION; USA; RUSSIAN FEDERATION; WASTE FORMS; WELL DRILLING; SEALS; SAFETY ENGINEERING; RADIONUCLIDE MIGRATION; CRITICALITY

Citation Formats

Halsey, W.G. Regulatory issues for deep borehole plutonium disposition. United States: N. p., 1995. Web.
Halsey, W.G. Regulatory issues for deep borehole plutonium disposition. United States.
Halsey, W.G. Wed . "Regulatory issues for deep borehole plutonium disposition". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/86953.
@article{osti_86953,
title = {Regulatory issues for deep borehole plutonium disposition},
author = {Halsey, W.G.},
abstractNote = {As a result of recent changes throughout the world, a substantial inventory of excess separated plutonium is expected to result from dismantlement of US nuclear weapons. The safe and secure management and eventual disposition of this plutonium, and of a similar inventory in Russia, is a high priority. A variety of options (both interim and permanent) are under consideration to manage this material. The permanent solutions can be categorized into two broad groups: direct disposal and utilization. The deep borehole disposition concept involves placing excess plutonium deep into old stable rock formations with little free water present. Issues of concern include the regulatory, statutory and policy status of such a facility, the availability of sites with desirable characteristics and the technologies required for drilling deep holes, characterizing them, emplacing excess plutonium and sealing the holes. This white paper discusses the regulatory issues. Regulatory issues concerning construction, operation and decommissioning of the surface facility do not appear to be controversial, with existing regulations providing adequate coverage. It is in the areas of siting, licensing and long term environmental protection that current regulations may be inappropriate. This is because many current regulations are by intent or by default specific to waste forms, facilities or missions significantly different from deep borehole disposition of excess weapons usable fissile material. It is expected that custom regulations can be evolved in the context of this mission.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Mar 01 00:00:00 EST 1995},
month = {Wed Mar 01 00:00:00 EST 1995}
}

Conference:
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  • Control and disposition of excess weapons plutonium is a growing issue as both the US and Russia retire a large number of nuclear weapons. A variety of options are under consideration to ultimately dispose of this material. Permanent disposition includes tow broad categories: direct Pu disposal where the material is considered waste and disposed of, and Pu utilization, where the potential energy content of the material is exploited via fissioning. The primary alternative to a high-level radioactive waste repository for the ultimate disposal of plutonium is development of a custom geologic facility. A variety of geologic facility types have beenmore » considered, but the concept currently being assessed is the deep borehole.« less
  • This paper presents the results of a statutory/regulatory investigation of two plutonium waste forms under consideration for disposal in an Nuclear Waste Policy Act repository. The study was conducted to determine if plutonium would be precluded for disposal in a geologic repository or if additional requirements would be imposed on the repository system for plutonium disposal. No regulatory provisions were found that would preclude disposal in an NWPA repository. Several regulatory issues are identified and mitigating options are proposed.
  • The US Department of Energy (DOE) is examining options for disposing of excess weapons-usable nuclear materials [principally plutonium (Pu) and highly enriched uranium (HEU)] in a form or condition that is substantially and inherently more difficult to recover and reuse in weapons production. This report is the data input report for the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS). The PEIS examines the environmental, safety, and health impacts of implementing each disposition alternative on land use, facility operations, and site infrastructure; air quality and noise; water, geology, and soils; biotic, cultural, and paleontological resources; socioeconomics; human health; normal operations and facility accidents;more » waste management; and transportation. This data report is prepared to assist in estimating the environmental effects associated with the construction and operation of a Deep Borehole Disposal Facility, an alternative currently included in the PEIS. The facility projects under consideration are, not site specific. This report therefore concentrates on environmental, safety, and health impacts at a generic site appropriate for siting a Deep Borehole Disposal Facility.« less
  • Virtually all plutonium disposition options generate a waste stream which will require disposal as transuranic waste or high-level radioactive waste (HLW). These wastes must be assessed for disposal suitability and potential impacts. A primary alternative for HLW disposal for the ultimate disposal of plutonium is a geologic facility just for plutonium such as a deep borehole. This concept is discussed.
  • Following President Clinton`s Non-Proliferation Initiative, launched in September, 1993, an Interagency Working Group (IWG) was established to conduct a comprehensive review of the options for the disposition of weapons-usable fissile materials from nuclear weapons dismantlement activities in the United States and the former Soviet Union. The IWG review process will consider technical, nonproliferation, environmental budgetary, and economic considerations in the disposal of plutonium. The IWG is co-chaired by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Security Council. The Department of Energy (DOE) is directly responsible for the management, storage, and disposition of all weapons-usable fissilemore » material. The Department of Energy has been directed to prepare a comprehensive review of long-term options for Surplus Fissile Material (SFM) disposition, taking into account technical, nonproliferation, environmental, budgetary, and economic considerations.« less