«IAEA-TECDOC-1553 Low and Intermediate Level Waste Repositories: Socioeconomic Aspects and Public Involvement Proceedings of a workshop held in ...»
An information office was opened up in the Sellafield area and a mobile exhibition was utilized within the region to explain Nirex’s work. A number of local liaison groups were established and a site visits programme ensued. Additionally, Nirex established a sponsorship programme, conducted opinion research and developed a purchasing policy aimed at utilizing local businesses where possible.
In 1994 Nirex submitted a planning application for a rock characterization facility in the vicinity of Sellafield. After the application was rejected at the public inquiry Nirex appealed to the Secretary of State and was turned down by the outgoing government at the time.
After the refusal of the planning permission Nirex talked with stakeholders to identify lessons that could be learned about the decision making process to help in future policy development.
A key finding was that the organization needed to be more transparent, so it implemented a Transparency Policy and took steps to engage stakeholders more. Another issue raised by stakeholders was that Nirex was owned and funded by the nuclear industry, since this time Nirex have been made independent of the nuclear industry and their current role includes the
⎯ Scientific, engineering and social science research ⎯ Setting specifications and standards for waste packaging ⎯ Maintaining an inventory of radioactive waste ⎯ Communicating with stakeholders on waste issues In 2001 the UK Government launched the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) programme to help to develop long term radioactive waste management policy in the UK.
They set up, as part of Stage 2 of the MRWS programme, the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM), as an independent body to oversee the consultation on long term options for the management of ILW and HLW in 2003. CoRWM has been asked to consult widely in an open, transparent and inclusive manner in order to inspire public confidence and report back its recommendations to Government in 2006. The Government will then make a decision about which options to implement. A discussion guide entitled “Managing Radioactive Waste in the UK – Your Views Matter” was produced and groups around the UK were able to express their views and concerns though responding to the guide via the CoRWM website or attending plenary committee meetings. A phase 2 public and stakeholder engagement exercise was completed on the 29 July 2005. This process allowed the discussion, assessment and elimination of long term waste management options. Four options have been short listed for retention;
⎯ Long term interim storage ⎯ Deep geological disposal ⎯ Phased deep geological disposal ⎯ Near surface (non geological) disposal – but with a limited range of wastes A detailed Phase 2 report is due out in late 2005 which will show how the options were rejected, criteria that will be used to assess the remaining options, and how CoRWM will interact with specialists, stakeholder groups and the wider public.
4. THE NUCLEAR DECOMMISSIONING AUTHORITY (NDA)The UK Government has made another major structural change in the nuclear industry. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) was established in April 2005 in order to ensure that the nuclear legacy in the UK is cleaned up safely, securely and cost effectively and in ways that protect the environment for current and future generations. The ownership of some twenty sites was transferred to the NDA with the previous owners, the tier 1 contractors, now responsible for the management and operation of those sites. The sites now owned by the NDA include for example the Magnox Power stations, Sellafield, Dounreay and the Low Level Waste Repository.
The NDA has recognized and openly stated the requirement to establish an open and interactive relationship with its many stakeholders. A charter has been specifically set up in order to accomplish this. This involves the formation of a national stakeholder group and the site licence companies are expected to establish stakeholder engagement practices at the site level. The Sellafield Local Liaison Committee, as it was known at the time, was recognized as being at the forefront of stakeholder engagement but it has since moved further in line with NDA requirements for greater transparency and openness.
5. WASTE MANAGEMENT AT DOUNREAYThe Dounreay site is located in Caithness, Scotland and is operated and managed by UKAEA under contract to the NDA. On site disposal of LLW has taken place in an authorized facility that is now full. This material has only been generated from the Dounreay site itself.
The authorized disposal of intermediate level waste (ILW) took place at Dounreay within a shaft, primarily between the years of 1958 and 1977. As a consequence of improved disposal practices coupled with the shafts close proximity to the sea UKAEA intend to remove the contents of the shaft.
As part of an overriding Site Restoration Plan, UKAEA launched in 2002 its public participation programme. Through this programme the public was invited to register interests toward specific site activities and become involved in the decision making processes of the site which are undertaken through a transparent Best Practical Environmental Option (BPEO) approach. Consultation exercises were held on both LLW disposal and the Dounreay Waste Shaft.
The consultation exercise on LLW disposal is now closed and the agreed strategy is currently being discussed with the regulators. The consultation exercise on the Dounreay Waste Shaft is also now closed and the chosen option of isolating the shaft by grouting incorporated stakeholder concerns. The process taken within both exercises is captured in stakeholder panel reports.
For LLW disposal in the UK, the original site chosen did not go through a site selection process and there was therefore no formal stakeholder engagement. However, healthy and successful stakeholder engagement has taken place and continues throughout the operational lifetime of the Low Level Waste Repository. There is now an increased emphasis on local concerns and economic benefit. In the near future, the Government will launch a national dialogue on the long term management of LLW.
For the long term management of ILW, the previous site selection and characterization phases included stakeholder engagement, and the lessons learned are now being taken on board. The rejection of the planning application back in 1997 stalled the process of finding a solution for ILW in the UK. Nirex has since become independent of the nuclear industry which should assist them in undertaking their work in a transparent manner. CoRWM has now been charged with making a recommendation on the most suitable option to Government, who will decide which option(s) to implement.
The NDA was formed in April 2005 and having taken on the ownership of 20 sites has made it clear that they expect a strong emphasis on stakeholder engagement across all areas, especially waste disposal.
UKAEA has engaged stakeholders extensively in order to determine a forward and improved programme for both its LLW and ILW authorized disposals.
It is clear that the successful siting, development and ultimate operation of repositories, whether they be for low or intermediate level waste relies on a sound programme of public involvement and consideration of socioeconomic issues.
The author would like to thank the following people for their input to the paper:
P. Osborne, R. Jarvis, B. Coombe and E. Dobinson from British Nuclear Group; E. Atherton and J. Dalton from Nirex; and L. Jones-Taylor from Nu-Tech Associates.
www.corwm.org.uk www.nda.gov.uk www.nirex.co.uk www.ukaea.org.uk/dounreay Socioeconomic impacts of the Barnwell South Carolina low level radioactive waste disposal facility W.B. House Chem-Nuclear Systems, Columbia, South Carolina, United States of America Abstract Chem-Nuclear Systems, LLC has operated the Barnwell Low level Radioactive Waste (LLRW) Disposal Facility in Barnwell County, South Carolina (SC) since 1971. The setting and brief history of the facility will be provided. The social and economic impacts of the Barnwell Site on the state, county, and local community can be summarized in quantitative and qualitative terms. The fiscal and human resources to the community from Duratek and its employees have been significant over the years. There are several key tenants of the company’s operating philosophy that have maintained positive community support for the facility. The Low level Waste Policy Act and the resultant compacting process have impacted the facility’s viability, and this has influenced the community involvement programmes and the overall socioeconomic impacts of the facility. As the regional facility for the three-state Atlantic Compact, the Barnwell facility will be restricted to receiving the small volumes of waste from only those states in 2008.
1.1 Location and description of the facility The Barnwell Facility is an LLRW disposal facility located approximately five miles west of the City of Barnwell, in Barnwell County, SC. The disposal site is located on approximately 235 acres of property owned by the State of South Carolina and leased by Chem-Nuclear from the State Budget and Control Board. The Barnwell Facility is located to the east of the US Department of Energy (DOE) Savannah River Site. It is also adjacent to the recently decommissioned Allied General Nuclear Services (AGNS) facility. The South Carolina Advanced Technology Park is now located on the AGNS property. The Site is located in the Atlantic Coastal Plain province with its gentle rolling terrain, sandy surface soils, and pine forests.
Chem-Nuclear Systems, Inc. established the facility in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and grew into various aspects of radioactive waste management. In 2000, Duratek, Inc. acquired Chem-Nuclear and continues to operate the Barnwell Disposal Facility.
1.2 Regulatory history The Barnwell Facility began disposal operations in 1971 pursuant to a South Carolina radioactive materials license authorizing operation of a shallow land burial facility. The regulatory authority of the state was derived from a formal agreement between the United States (US) government and the State of South Carolina. This agreement, codified in 1969, authorized the State to regulate certain nuclear materials in quantities not sufficient to form a critical mass.
The license has been amended 48 times to incorporate technical and administrative requirements. In 1983, the waste characterization, classification, waste form and packaging requirements of US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) 10 CFR Part 61 were implemented. In 1995, the requirements for concrete disposal vaults for all waste classes and enhanced engineered covers on all disposal trenches were included. The license has been renewed seven times since it was issued.
The most recent license renewal application was submitted to the regulatory agency, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) in 2000. Duratek and SC DHEC continue to complete and review the documents required to support the renewal of the license.
SC DHEC and their Blue Ribbon Panel of national and international experts agreed with the facility’s 2000-year site performance assessment, the Environmental Radiological Performance Verification (ERPV). The SC Sierra Club appealed the renewal of the license in
2004. After an extensive review and hearing in the SC Administrative Law Court, the Judge upheld the agency’s decision to renew the license.
1.3 LLRW interstate compact system
In 1980, the United States Congress passed the Low level Radioactive Waste Policy Act, Public Law 99-240 (“Policy Act” or LLRWPA). The Act established three major policies.
First, each state is responsible for the LLRW generated within its borders. Second, states could form interstate compacts to manage LLRW generated within the compact, including the authority to deny disposal of out-of-compact wastes at compact disposal facilities. Third, the Policy Act established the policy that compacts could not refuse to accept LLRW from other states until the United States Congress had ratified the compact. The Southeast Compact, consisting of eight south eastern states was formed in 1982. The Barnwell Facility was designated as the regional disposal facility. The LLRWPA was amended in 1985 (LLRWPAA) to provide incentives and penalties for states to comply with the Act.
In 1995, South Carolina withdrew from the Southeast Compact, and the Barnwell Facility began accepting waste from generators in all states except North Carolina and states in the Northwest Compact. North Carolina was prohibited from accessing the Barnwell Facility because of its failure to develop the next regional disposal facility. The Northwest Compact states disposed of their LLRW at the US Ecology facility in Washington. The SC General Assembly also imposed a $235 per cubic foot tax on all waste received for disposal at the Barnwell Facility. Proceeds from this tax went to the Children’s Education Endowment Fund that has been used for educational scholarships and school construction.
In 2000, the SC General Assembly enacted the Atlantic Compact Act, and South Carolina joined the Atlantic Compact, formerly the Northeast Compact. The other member states of the Atlantic Compact are Connecticut and New Jersey.
1.4 Waste volumes and radioactivity During the mid-1970’s through the 1980’s the Barnwell Facility received large volumes of LLRW. During this period the facility was receiving over half of the commercial LLRW generated in the United States. As the effects of the LLRWPAA, the increase in surcharges and fees, improved management techniques, and disposal competition came to play, the volumes of waste received at Barnwell declined. The implementation of the Atlantic Compact Act requires continued reduction of waste volumes through 2008.
The primary waste forms received in recent years are dewatered resins and filter media, compacted and incinerated dry active waste, sealed sources and irradiated hardware. The asreceived total radioactivity disposed at the site is approximately 12 million Curies. The total remaining Curies after radioactive decay is about three million Curies. After 100 years only about five percent of the buried radioactivity will remain.