case study 3 disposal requirements for the waste isolation pilot plant wipp
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Case Study 3: Disposal Requirements for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

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Case Study 3: Disposal Requirements for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). Meeting the RCRA Challenge.

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Presentation Transcript
meeting the rcra challenge
Meeting the RCRA Challenge
  • RCRA is one of the principal regulatory statutes of concern to EM managers because it regulates the mixed waste found at many facilities . . . its dual regulation by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Atomic Energy Act cause some challenges in its management.

Case S-3 (WIPP)

meeting the rcra challenge1
Meeting the RCRA Challenge
  • Land disposal restrictions (LDRs) require waste to be treated to certain standards before disposal
  • Treatment capacity for mixed waste is limited

Case S-3 (WIPP)

meeting the rcra challenge2
Meeting the RCRA Challenge
  • Considerable difficulties occur in the attempt to implement RCRA at EM sites:
    • According to RCRA standards, considerable amounts of mixed waste cannot be:
      • Treated
      • Stored, or
      • Disposed of

Case S-3 (WIPP)

em guiding principles
EM Guiding Principles
  • Safety First
  • Risk Reduction
  • Scientific Orientation
  • Management Accountability
  • Decision Transparency
  • Stewardship

Case S-3 (WIPP)

case study introduction
Case Study Introduction
  • Disposal Requirements for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) explores:
    • Applying for the first No-Migration Variance (NMV) ever submitted in the history of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    • Demonstrating regulatory compliance for a transuranic (TRU) waste repository

Case S-3 (WIPP)

the wipp
WIPP The WIPP
  • The WIPP is an underground geologic repository for the permanent disposal of TRU waste.

Case S-3 (WIPP)

wipp facility
WIPP Facility

Case S-3 (WIPP)

the wipp1
The Hazardous and

Solid Waste

Amendments

The Hazardous and

Solid Waste

Amendments

The WIPP
  • In 1984, Congress enacted the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments prohibiting land disposal of hazardous waste unless:
    • Waste is treated to meetEPA requirements
    • The EPA determinesthat the LDRs arenot applicable

Case S-3 (WIPP)

the wipp2
The WIPP
  • For the EPA to determine that the LDRs are not applicable, it must be demonstrated to a “reasonable degree of certainty that there will be no migration of hazardous constituents from the disposal unit for as long the waste remains hazardous.”

Case S-3 (WIPP)

the wipp3
The WIPP
  • Under the NMV, the EPA must consider:
    • Long-term land disposal
    • Management of the hazardous waste
    • Persistence, toxicity, mobility, and bioaccumulative potential of the waste

Case S-3 (WIPP)

the wipp4
The WIPP
  • A NMV was required because the wastes shipped to the facility will be radioactive mixed wastes that contain:
    • Transuranic radioisotopes
    • RCRA-listed or -identifiedchemical constituents

Case S-3 (WIPP)

the wipp5
The WIPP
  • On November 14, 1990, the EPA’s NMD concluded . . . that the DOE had demonstrated . . . that hazardous constituents will not migrate from the WIPP disposal unit during the Test Phase . . . .

Case S-3 (WIPP)

wipp and new mexico regulations
WIPP and New Mexico Regulations
  • In 1996, DOE submitted a RCRA Part B Permit to the State of New Mexico
  • In 1998, New Mexico issued a revised Draft RCRA Part B permit

Case S-3 (WIPP)

wipp and the nmv
WIPP and the NMV
  • In 1993, DOE’s approach for the test phase changed and the NMV issued by EPA in 1990 became immaterial
  • In June 1996, DOE submitted a new NMV to EPA
  • In September 1996, Congress amended the WIPP Land Withdrawal Act deleting the need for NMV

Case S-3 (WIPP)

the wipp6
The WIPP
  • This case study illustrates the regulatory process for WIPP, which culminated in the first shipment of waste to the site on March 26, 1999

Case S-3 (WIPP)

review question
Review Question
  • WIPP did not have to obtain a “No Migration Variance” to begin operation because:

a. The “No Migration Determination” received from EPA for the test phase also addressed the operation of the facility.

b. Congress removed the requirement to obtain a “No Migration Determination” in the FY 1997 Defense Authorization Bill.

c. As a deep geologic repository, WIPP is not considered land disposal, and therefore RCRA does not apply.

Case S-3 (WIPP)

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