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URANIUM MILL TAILINGS RADIATION CONTROL ACT STANDARDS UPDATE. DOE 2010 Long-Term Surveillance and Maintenance Conference November 17, 2010. Loren W. Setlow, CPG E-mail: UraniumReview@epa.gov . Office of Radiation and Indoor Air (6608J) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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URANIUM MILL TAILINGS RADIATION CONTROL ACT STANDARDS UPDATE

DOE 2010 Long-Term Surveillance and Maintenance Conference

November 17, 2010

Loren W. Setlow, CPG

E-mail: UraniumReview@epa.gov

Office of Radiation and Indoor Air (6608J)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

Washington, DC 20460

existing regulations 40 cfr part 192
Existing Regulations 40 CFR Part 192

Regulations issued under authority of Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act (UMTRCA) Section 206--Section 275 of the Atomic Energy Act (AEA)

EPA develops standards

Utilized by NRC and its Agreement States, and DOE

Regulations applied to byproduct material from conventional mills, In Situ Leach/Recovery (ISL/ISR) facilities, and heap leach facilities

Existing Regulations 40 CFR Part 192

Health and Environmental Protection Standards for Uraniumand Thorium Mill Tailings

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existing regulations 40 cfr part 1923
Existing Regulations 40 CFR Part 192

Health and Environmental Protection Standards for Uranium and Thorium Mill Tailings

  • AEA “Title I” specific inactive (and abandoned mills)
  • Tailings contaminated soil and buildings
  • AEA “Title II” mills in operation in 1978 or which might be licensed in the future by NRC (or Agreement States)
existing regulations 40 cfr part 1924
Existing Regulations 40 CFR Part 192

Health and Environmental Protection Standards for Uranium

and Thorium Mill Tailings

  • Standards must generally conform with requirements of Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended (now the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)) for non-radiological hazards
  • Statute allows the Agency discretion in setting standards for controlling radiological hazards
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Existing Regulations 40 CFR Part 192

Health and Environmental Protection Standards for Uraniumand Thorium Mill Tailings

  • Many standards for mill tailings impoundments cross- reference RCRA Subtitle C requirements for hazardous waste facilities
  • Radon emission standards
  • Limits on groundwater concentrations of hazardous substances including radionuclides
  • Remediation standards for contaminated soils/buildings
  • Monitoring, corrective action, post-closure monitoring
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Over 25 years since originally finalized, 15 years since last update for groundwater protection

Lack explicit provisions for ISL/ISR facilities, now principal means of uranium recovery in U.S., and for heap leach facilities

Changes in EPA protective standards for hazardous substances in groundwater and drinking water

Changes in economics of extraction & site remediation

Reasons for Review

Health and Environmental Protection Standards for Uraniumand Thorium Mill Tailings

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Changes in dose and risk factors for radiation/radon,

Principal scenarios for exposure

Subsistence and cultural lifestyles of affected communities

Potential impacts on children’s health

Potential for uranium extraction in different geographic locations than those considered in risk assessments in original standards

Reasons for Review

Health and Environmental Protection Standards for Uraniumand Thorium Mill Tailings

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EPA Work Group is conducting analysis of standards in regulations

Work Group comparison of existing rule standards with

History of performance of Title I and II facilities

Implementation of standards by regulatory agencies

Impacts on Tribes, environmental justice communities, children’s health, general public

Changes in EPA standards, new Executive Orders, new statutes, other national and international protectiveness standards

Review Process

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review process
Review Process
  • Should the review determine a need for new standards EPA will take into consideration:
  • How to balance environmental compliance costs and benefits
    • Public health, environmental protection and safety benefits
    • Impacts on implementing agencies
    • Impacts on industry
    • Economic and societal impacts
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Review Process
  • Input from:
  • Federal Agency Coordination
  • Industry
  • States
  • Tribes – EJ
  • Environmental and other NGO’s
  • General Public
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Interactive Internet Site – Discussion Forumhttp://blog.epa.gov/milltailingblog/

Site for public input on discussion topics for this review

Calendar of events

Library of relevant documents

Email address for additional public input:UraniumReview@epa.gov

Review Process

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