The Legislative Auditor General’s Office released a Performance Audit (4 MB) on September 11, 2012, expressing concerns about the Division of Radiation Control’s (DRC) implementation of its low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) oversight program. Concerns included the degree and method of independent sampling for incoming LLRW prior to disposal at EnergySolutions sampling and independent verification measures for waste classification purposes for LLRW from waste generators.
The Report recommendations focus heavily on pre-disposal oversight at the approximately 140 generator sites across the country that ship waste to Utah. State law currently requires waste generators wishing to dispose of LLRW in the state to obtain a site access permit (Generator Site Access permit or GSA) and comply with all associated laws, rules, and requirements. The Auditor’s recommendations seek to expand that oversight to include onsite sampling of waste at generator sites to ensure that waste entering Utah does not exceed current Class A requirements.
The DRC, reaffirming its commitment to protect public health and safety and the environment through the thorough implementation of state and federal laws and interstate compact resolutions governing low-level radioactive waste (LLRW), including waste classification, is making the comprehensive evaluation of current oversight procedures and subsequent implementation of audit recommendations for independent verification of waste classification an agency priority.
The DRC is working diligently with staff, the Radiation Control Board, the Legislature, the Northwest Interstate Compact (NWIC), and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to look for ways to incorporate the auditor’s recommendations into its current oversight compliance and monitoring program, using a balanced approach that maximizes the DRC’s ability to protect public health and safety and meet essential program commitments with the NRC.
Areas for further DRC study, evaluation, and possible program implementation include the following Action Items:
For actions prior to disposal at EnergySolutions:
- Increase the frequency of observation of waste sampling and analysis.
- Validate waste classification using computational methods.
- Optimize the frequency of compliance monitoring and oversight to prevent disposal of Class B and C waste at the Clive facility by incorporating additional waste classification reviews into on-site inspections.
- Increase the frequency of waste sampling and analysis by EnergySolutions.
For compliance and monitoring at generator sites:
- Work with the Radiation Control Board regarding rule changes for the GSA permit program that would grant full authority to the DRC to review onsite operations and conduct onsite sampling of waste before shipment in order to validate waste classification.
For reporting requirements:
- Work with the Northwest Interstate Compact (NWIC) on possible improvements to EnergySolutions monthly waste shipment reports to more completely encompass the full management cycle of foreign LLRW.
Rusty Lundberg (801) 536-4257