9 research outputs found

    Consideration of nuclear criticality when disposing of transuranic waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

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    Based on general arguments presented in this report, nuclear criticality was eliminated from performance assessment calculations for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), a repository for waste contaminated with transuranic (TRU) radioisotopes, located in southeastern New Mexico. At the WIPP, the probability of criticality within the repository is low because mechanisms to concentrate the fissile radioisotopes dispersed throughout the waste are absent. In addition, following an inadvertent human intrusion into the repository (an event that must be considered because of safety regulations), the probability of nuclear criticality away from the repository is low because (1) the amount of fissile mass transported over 10,000 yr is predicted to be small, (2) often there are insufficient spaces in the advective pore space (e.g., macroscopic fractures) to provide sufficient thickness for precipitation of fissile material, and (3) there is no credible mechanism to counteract the natural tendency of the material to disperse during transport and instead concentrate fissile material in a small enough volume for it to form a critical concentration. Furthermore, before a criticality would have the potential to affect human health after closure of the repository--assuming that a criticality could occur--it would have to either (1) degrade the ability of the disposal system to contain nuclear waste or (2) produce significantly more radioisotopes than originally present. Neither of these situations can occur at the WIPP; thus, the consequences of a criticality are also low

    Milestones for disposal of radioactive waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in the United States

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    The opening of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant on March 26, 1999, was the culmination of a regulatory assessment process that had taken 25 years. National policy issues, negotiated agreements, and court settlements during the first 15 years of the project had a strong influence on the amount and type of scientific data collected up to this point. Assessment activities before the mid 1980s were undertaken primarily (1) to satisfy needs for environmental impact statements, (2) to satisfy negotiated agreements with the State of New Mexico, or (3) to develop general understanding of selected natural phenomena associated with nuclear waste disposal. In the last 10 years, federal compliance policy and actual regulations were sketched out, and continued to evolve until 1996. During this period, stochastic simulations were introduced as a tool for the assessment of the WIPP's performance, and four preliminary performance assessments, one compliance performance assessment, and one verification performance assessment were performed

    Historical Relationship Between Performance Assessment for Radioactive Waste Disposal and Other Types of Risk Assessment in the United States

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    This paper describes the evolution of the process for assessing the hazards of a geologic disposal system for radioactive waste and, similarly, nuclear power reactors, and the relationship of this process with other assessments of risk, particularly assessments of hazards from manufactured carcinogenic chemicals during use and disposal. This perspective reviews the common history of scientific concepts for risk assessment developed to the 1950s. Computational tools and techniques developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s to analyze the reliability of nuclear weapon delivery systems were adopted in the early 1970s for probabilistic risk assessment of nuclear power reactors, a technology for which behavior was unknown. In turn, these analyses became an important foundation for performance assessment of nuclear waste disposal in the late 1970s. The evaluation of risk to human health and the environment from chemical hazards is built upon methods for assessing the dose response of radionuclides in the 1950s. Despite a shared background, however, societal events, often in the form of legislation, have affected the development path for risk assessment for human health, producing dissimilarities between these risk assessments and those for nuclear facilities. An important difference is the regulator's interest in accounting for uncertainty and the tools used to evaluate it

    Historical Background on the Performance Assessment for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

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    In 1979, six years after selecting the Delaware Basin as a potential disposal area, Congress authorized the U.S. Department of Energy to build the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico, as a Research and development facility for the safe management storage, and disposal of waste contaminated with transuranic radioisotopes. In 1998, 19 years after authorization and after site selection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified that the WIPP disposal system complied with its regulations. The EPA's decision was primarily based on the results from a performance. assessment conducted in 1996, which is summarized in this special issue of Reliability Engineering and System Safety. This performance assessment was the culmination of four preliminary performance assessments conducted between 1989 and 1992. This paper provides a historical setting and context for how the performance of the deep geologic repository at the WIPP was analyzed. Also included is background on political forces acting on the project

    Annotated Bibliography of Publications Related to Teacher Evaluation

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    Performance assessment methodology demonstration : methodology development for evaluating compliance with EPA 40 CFR 191, Subpart B, for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant /

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    "SAND89-2027.""Printed December 1989.""Prepared by Sandia National Laboratories ... for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC04-76DP00789"--Cover."Sandia report."Cover title.Includes bibliographical references.Mode of access: Internet

    Parameter sensitivity studies of selected components of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant repository/shaft system /

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    "SAND89-2030.""Printed March 1990.""Prepared by Sandia National Laboratories ... for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC04-76DP00789"--Cover."Sandia report."Cover title.Includes bibliographical references (pages 187-191).Mode of access: Internet

    Centrifuge Simulations of Stable Tailings Dam

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