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«IAEA-TECDOC-1553 Low and Intermediate Level Waste Repositories: Socioeconomic Aspects and Public Involvement Proceedings of a workshop held in ...»

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1.5 Regulatory agencies

The relationship of the State of South Carolina to the operation and management of the Barnwell Facility is a complex one. The State is involved with the Barnwell Facility on a number of levels and has established environmental and economic requirements and controls over the facility.

The State, through DHEC, licenses and regulates operations at the Barnwell Facility. In addition, the State owns the property on which the disposal site is located. In 1971, a 99-year lease was established with the State Budget and Control Board (B&CB). The land was originally purchased by Chem-Nuclear and deeded to the State, as required by State law. In 1976, the Lease was substantially revised, and the leased area was expanded to the current 235-acre site. The Lease provides for the establishment of the Long Term Care Fund, sometimes referred to as the Extended Care Fund, to provide for maintenance and monitoring of the site during post-closure and during the 100-year institutional control period. The Long Term Care Fund also provides funds if any remedial or corrective action needs to be taken.

The Long Term Care Fund is currently funded by a charge of $2.80 on each cubic foot of waste disposed of at the Barnwell Facility. The current balance in the Long Term Care Fund is about $29 million.

The Decommissioning Trust Fund was established pursuant to a trust agreement executed in 1981 by Chem-Nuclear as Grantor, the State Treasurer as Trustee, and the Budget and Control Board as Beneficiary. The purpose of the Decommissioning Trust Fund is to provide funds for site stabilization and closure. Expenditures from the Fund must be approved by the Budget and Control Board. This Fund has already provided funding for installation of final caps on approximately 80% of the disposal trenches. This Fund is also funded by a per cubic foot charge, currently set at $4.20. The Decommissioning Trust Fund is considered fully funded with a balance of about $19 million.

With the enactment of the Atlantic Compact Act in 2000, the State became even more closely involved in the operation and management of the Barnwell Facility. In addition to providing for South Carolina to join the Atlantic Compact, the Act provides for extensive economic regulation of the Barnwell Facility. The Act authorizes the Budget and Control Board to approve disposal rates for waste generators and shippers. Declining annual waste volume limits are also specified for the Facility.

The Act requires the South Carolina Public Service Commission (PSC) to determine annually the allowable costs for operating the Barnwell Facility. The Budget and Control Board is directed to participate in the PSC proceeding as a party representing the interests of the State.

Allowable costs, by statute, include the cost of activities necessary for construction of disposal trenches and vaults, and construction and maintenance of necessary physical facilities.

All revenue from operations of the Barnwell Facility is paid annually to the State minus allowable costs as determined by the PSC, the statutorily-allowed operating margin of 29% (on some of the allowable costs), and certain other payments already made to the State to pay for State agency activities and the Atlantic Compact Commission. The revenue to the State is allocated among Barnwell County, in-state generator rebates, and the Children’s Education Endowment Fund.

1.6 Safety and compliance record

The Barnwell Facility has an excellent record of safety and compliance. Over 28,000,000 cubic feet of LLRW from United States generators have been safely disposed at the site. In the history of site operations, there have been no environmental releases above regulatory limits and no actual or potential radiation exposures to the public from operations above regulatory limits. The last lost-time injury at the Barnwell Facility was in 1993. No notices of violation or items of noncompliance have been issued against our operating license since

1983. Duratek has worked diligently with SC DHEC to implement improvements to waste forms, waste containers, trench designs, vault designs, cap designs, and disposal techniques in order to maintain the Barnwell Facility in full compliance with State and federal requirements.

1.7 Barnwell facility financial impacts

Over its operational history, the Barnwell Facility has been a tremendous financial asset to the State of South Carolina, Barnwell County, and the company. Since the implementation of the Atlantic Compact Act, these assets have decreased, in part due to the lower volumes of LLRW allowed, and partly due to the lower generation rates of LLRW. Table 1 shows the last five fiscal years’ costs, revenues and profits from the Facility. The State has received an average of $28 million per year most of which goes to education. The Long Term Care (LTC) fund and the Closure fund contributions are based on the waste volume received. The costs of the Atlantic Compact Commission, SC B&CB support and SC DHEC support to regulate the facility are also paid from site-generated revenue. The direct cost of operating the Barnwell Facility during the last five years has ranged from about $12 - $15 million per year. The Duratek net profit after income taxes is only about $1.2 million per year.

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On the county and local level, the site pays taxes and fees during the last five years as shown in Table 2. Property taxes are paid by anyone owning real property. The business license tax is levied by Barnwell County, unique to Duratek, and 15% of that tax goes to the town of Snelling, SC. The school district fees and the county general fund contribution come from the total amount received by the State. The economic development fund contribution is from the monies Connecticut and New Jersey paid to establish the Atlantic Compact and have assess to the Barnwell Facility.

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1.8 Facility operating costs The operating costs for the Barnwell Facility for the last five years are summarized in Table 3.

The employee payroll averages about $2.5 million per year. The fringe benefits of the employees are about $1.0 million per year. The direct and indirect costs are also shown in the table. Approximately 80% of the Facility Equipment & Disposal Vaults expense is the cost of the vaults. A private contractor set up a facility adjacent to the disposal facility to fabricate the vaults.

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2. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS

Barnwell County is an average size county in the State of South Carolina. Of the 557 square miles of land area, about one third of the county is owned by the US DOE Savannah River Site. The population density is low and mostly rural, but only a small percentage of the people are considered farmers. Employment consists of light industrial / manufacturing, Savannah River Site, government and services. Table 4 provides the comparative census data for the Site, Barnwell County and South Carolina. About three fourths of the site employees live in a three county area local to the facility. Site employee’s average pay is higher than the County average pay and much higher than the State. However, the number of employees at the Site is small.

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2.1 Open door policy Grade school through college classes, industrial groups, and members of the general public visit the Barnwell Facility on a regular basis. After a short film and the safety and security briefings, visitors are escorted throughout the tour. Visitors are encouraged to ask questions and are allowed to take pictures. About 900 visitors per year have toured the facility over the past few years, and during the past decade, visitors from 25 foreign countries have been welcomed at the Site. The local community leaders visit regularly and are kept informed of site activities at civic meetings or direct contact by company management.

SC DHEC, the environmental regulator of the facility, is continually present. The on-site inspector is available daily and inspects each waste shipment arriving for disposal. SC DHEC engineers join company managers for the weekly site inspection to evaluate environmental, engineering, radiological, and security aspects at the Site. SC DHEC engineers also inspect each disposal trench during various construction phases. Additionally, the SC DHEC staff performs semi-annual license inspections at the facility.

2.2 Duratek corporate involvement

The company has been involved in the community since activities at the site began and is a sponsor and financial contributor to many activities and groups in the county. Duratek is a major financial contributor to the Barnwell County Arts Council, the annual Hooked on Fishing – not on Drugs Fishing Rodeo, and the local baseball and soccer teams. Also, many employees devote their time and talents to these activities. Annually Duratek holds a day of appreciation (Barnwell Appreciation Day) for the community and state leaders for hosting the disposal facility. It is an all-day event with a golf tournament, skeet shooting and an evening reception.

In 2002, Duratek dedicated Craigs Pond as a new South Carolina Heritage Preserve. This 264acre natural area features two Carolina bays. Craigs Pond is an undisturbed savanna bay with a clay-based meadow environment. Carolina bays are elliptical wetlands supporting abundant wildlife and some threatened or endangered plants and animals. The company also donated land to the town of Snelling to locate their fire main pump and store other fire fighting equipment. Duratek supports a number of state and county organizations including the SC Water Fowl Association and Barnwell County Disaster Preparedness Agency, Historical Committee, and the county libraries.

2.3 Employee community involvement

The employees are part of the community and donate their time, talent and money to many worthwhile organizations. They serve in many capacities including board members of the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Board, American Cancer Society, United Way, Rotary Club, Library Board, Town Council, School Board, and Airport Commission.

2.4 Barnwell community support

The Barnwell community and local leaders are appreciative of the facility and its benefits to the community and the state. The leaders and supporters routinely meet with visitor groups and government organizations interested in the site. Delegations from the community have been present and supported Duratek at the allowable cost hearings and the license renewal hearings. Certain leaders have given telephone and personal interviews to national newspapers and television networks.

3. CONCLUSION

Because of the Barnwell Facility, the company has had major involvement in the legislative, regulatory, and financial aspects of radioactive waste management in the United States, South Carolina, and Barnwell County. The financial contributions to the county and local community have been significant over the years and continue to be a substantial portion of their operating funds. The continued dedication of the local management and employees and the willingness of the community to support and speak out in favour of the facility have been a mainstay of our existence.

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