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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations
Title 40: Protection of Environment
(a) Standards for application during processing operations and prior to the end of the closure period. (1) Surface impoundments (except for an existing portion) subject to this subpart must be designed, constructed, and installed in such manner as to conform to the requirements of §264.221 of this chapter, except that at sites where the annual precipitation falling on the impoundment and any drainage area contributing surface runoff to the impoundment is less than the annual evaporation from the impoundment, the requirements of §264.228(a)(2) (iii)(E) referenced in §264.221 do not apply.
(2) Uranium byproduct materials shall be managed so as to conform to the ground water protection standard in §264.92 of this chapter, except that for the purposes of this subpart:
(i) To the list of hazardous constituents referenced in §264.93 of this chapter are added the chemical elements molybdenum and uranium,
(ii) To the concentration limits provided in Table 1 of §264.94 of this chapter are added the radioactivity limits in Table A of this subpart,
(iii) Detection monitoring programs required under §264.98 to establish the standards required under §264.92 shall be completed within one (1) year of promulgation,
(iv) The regulatory agency may establish alternate concentration limits (to be satisfied at the point of compliance specified under §264.95) under the criteria of §264.94(b), provided that, after considering practicable corrective actions, these limits are as low as reasonably achievable, and that, in any case, the standards of §264.94(a) are satisfied at all points at a greater distance than 500 meters from the edge of the disposal area and/or outside the site boundary, and
(v) The functions and responsibilities designated in Part 264 of this chapter as those of the “Regional Administrator” with respect to “facility permits” shall be carried out by the regulatory agency, except that exemptions of hazardous constituents under §264.93 (b) and (c) of this chapter and alternate concentration limits established under §264.94 (b) and (c) of this chapter (except as otherwise provided in §192.32(a)(2)(iv)) shall not be effective until EPA has concurred therein.
(3)(i) Uranium mill tailings piles or impoundments that are nonoperational and subject to a license by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or an Agreement State shall limit releases of radon-222 by emplacing a permanent radon barrier. This permanent radon barrier shall be constructed as expeditiously as practicable considering technological feasibility (including factors beyond the control of the licensee) after the pile or impoundment ceases to be operational. Such control shall be carried out in accordance with a written tailings closure plan (radon) to be incorporated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Agreement State into individual site licenses.
(ii) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Agreement State may approve a licensee's request to extend the time for performance of milestones if, after providing an opportunity for public participation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Agreement State finds that compliance with the 20 pCi/m2−s flux standard has been demonstrated using a method approved by the NRC, in the manner required in 192.32(a)(4)(i). Only under these circumstances and during the period of the extension must compliance with the 20 pCi/m2−s flux standard be demonstrated each year.
(iii) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Agreement State may extend the final compliance date for emplacement of the permanent radon barrier, or relevant milestone, based upon cost if the new date is established after a finding by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Agreement State, after providing an opportunity for public participation, that the licensee is making good faith efforts to emplace a permanent radon barrier; the delay is consistent with the definition of “available technology” in §192.31(m); and the delay will not result in radon releases that are determined to result in significant incremental risk to the public health.
(iv) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Agreement State may, in response to a request from a licensee, authorize by license or license amendment a portion of the site to remain accessible during the closure process to accept uranium byproduct material as defined in section 11(e)(2) of the Atomic Energy Act, 42 U.S.C. 2014(e)(2), or to accept materials similar to the physical, chemical and radiological characteristics of the in situ uranium mill tailings and associated wastes, from other sources. No such authorization may be used as a means for delaying or otherwise impeding emplacement of the permanent radon barrier over the remainder of the pile or impoundment in a manner that will achieve compliance with the 20 pCi/m2−s flux standard, averaged over the entire pile or impoundment.
(v) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Agreement State may, in response to a request from a licensee, authorize by license or license amendment a portion of a pile or impoundment to remain accessible after emplacement of a permanent radon barrier to accept uranium byproduct material as defined in section 11(e)(2) of the Atomic Energy Act, 42 U.S.C. 2014(e)(2), if compliance with the 20 pCi/m2−s flux standard of §192.32(b)(1)(ii) is demonstrated by the licensee's monitoring conducted in a manner consistent with §192.32(a)(4)(i). Such authorization may be provided only if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Agreement State makes a finding, constituting final agency action and after providing an opportunity for public participation, that the site will continue to achieve the 20 pCi/m2−s flux standard when averaged over the entire impoundment.
(4)(i) Upon emplacement of the permanent radon barrier pursuant to 40 CFR 192.32(a)(3), the licensee shall conduct appropriate monitoring and analysis of the radon-222 releases to demonstrate that the design of the permanent radon barrier is effective in limiting releases of radon-222 to a level not exceeding 20 pCi/m2−s as required by 40 CFR 192.32(b)(1)(ii). This monitoring shall be conducted using the procedures described in 40 CFR part 61, Appendix B, Method 115, or any other measurement method proposed by a licensee that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Agreement State approves as being at least as effective as EPA Method 115 in demonstrating the effectiveness of the permanent radon barrier in achieving compliance with the 20 pCi/m2−s flux standard.
(ii) When phased emplacement of the permanent radon barrier is included in the applicable tailings closure plan (radon), then radon flux monitoring required under §192.32(a)(4)(i) shall be conducted, however the licensee shall be allowed to conduct such monitoring for each portion of the pile or impoundment on which the radon barrier has been emplaced by conducting flux monitoring on the closed portion.
(5) Uranium byproduct materials shall be managed so as to conform to the provisions of:
(i) Part 190 of this chapter, “Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations” and
(ii) Part 440 of this chapter, “Ore Mining and Dressing Point Source Category: Effluent Limitations Guidelines and New Source Performance Standards, Subpart C, Uranium, Radium, and Vanadium Ores Subcategory.”
(6) The regulatory agency, in conformity with Federal Radiation Protection Guidance (FR, May 18, 1960, pgs. 4402-4403), shall make every effort to maintain radiation doses from radon emissions from surface impoundments of uranium byproduct materials as far below the Federal Radiation Protection Guides as is practicable at each licensed site.
(b) Standards for application after the closure period. At the end of the closure period:
(1) Disposal areas shall each comply with the closure performance standard in §264.111 of this chapter with respect to nonradiological hazards and shall be designed1 to provide reasonable assurance of control of radiological hazards to
1The standard applies to design with a monitoring requirement as specified in §192.32(a)(4).
(i) Be effective for one thousand years, to the extent reasonably achievable, and, in any case, for at least 200 years, and,
(ii) Limit releases of radon-222 from uranium byproduct materials to the atmosphere so as to not exceed an average2 release rate of 20 picocuries per square meter per second (pCi/m2s).
2This average shall apply to the entire surface of each disposal area over periods of at least one year, but short compared to 100 years. Radon will come from both uranium byproduct materials and from covering materials. Radon emissions from covering materials should be estimated as part of developing a closure plan for each site. The standard, however, applies only to emissions from uranium byproduct materials to the atmosphere.
(2) The requirements of §192.32(b)(1) shall not apply to any portion of a licensed and/or disposal site which contains a concentration of radium-226 in land, averaged over areas of 100 square meters, which, as a result of uranium byproduct material, does not exceed the background level by more than:
(i) 5 picocuries per gram (pCi/g), averaged over the first 15 centimeters (cm) below the surface, and
(ii) 15 pCi/g, averaged over 15 cm thick layers more than 15 cm below the surface.
[48 FR 45946, Oct. 7, 1983, as amended at 58 FR 60355-60356, Nov. 15, 1993]