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1/ Navajo Reservation. 2/ Being evaluated for tailings processing or residual values. 3 And Successor.

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We have not yet received the documents you promised to furnish us in your June 20 response to our question no. 14. Please provide them.

Answer:

Documents promised in our June 20 response are being provided.

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Please explain to us why section 5(h) of H.R. 12535 is necessary.
We realize it is a part of the Grand Junction legislation, but we
think State law would apply whether or not this provision is included.

Answer:

We agree that section 5(h) of H.R. 12535 is not essential.

6.

Question:

Section 5(8) requires that the State designate disposal sites and have ownership of the residual material and "retain ownership of the land on which they are located."

(a) What if a suitable disposal site does not exist in a State? Where

would these materials be deposited and who would own and control
them?

(b)

Do you intend that the States retain the site and materials
permanently? If so, what controls would be established? What
agency would establish them, and what would happen if the State,
for a lack of funds or some other reason, fails to adequately
maintain the site or materials or seeks to sell off the materials?

(c)

Should not the sites be Federally owned or at least licensed by the NRC?

(d)

Could not this provision result in multiple disposal sites which may cause future problems?

(e)

If the materials are removed to a disposal site, what will be done at that site to prevent future adverse environmental and health effects?

Answer:

(a)

As a practical matter, suitable disposal sites do exist in the eight
western States where inactive mill tailings sites are located. However,
a disposal site in Pennsylvania for tailings from the Canonsburg site
has not yet been identified. Under H. R. 12535, each state is limited
in selection of a disposal site to its own boundaries. We consider
this restriction to be reasonable.

(b)

It is our intention that the State be required to retain the disposal
site and the tailings thereon permanently. The monitoring and control
requirements will have to be contained in the cooperative agreement
entered into pursuant to section 5(a) of H.R. 12535. They would be
established by the Secretary in consultation with the State, the EPA,
and others as appropriate and receive the review and concurrence of
NRC.

In the event the State failed to perform in accordance with its
agreement the United States might be obliged to take whatever steps
are necessary and available under the agreement.

(c)

Federal ownership is a viable alternative to State ownership. However, we favor the latter. Licensing by NRC does not provide an effective control method for an inactive site. The only enforcement mechanism offered by a license is the threat of its cancellation, which has little significance for a shutdown site.

(d)

If the disposal sites are properly selected, they should not cause future problems, and can result in a smaller number of sites than presently exist. As an example, one option examined in Colorado was the removal of tailings from two sites in Rifle and one in Grand Junction to a single disposal site.

(e)

The action to be taken at a disposal site to prevent future adverse
environmental and health effects is, of necessity, very site specific.
The actions that can be taken and the results to be expected are
given for each alternative location in the 20 engineering assessment
reports prepared by the architect engineer.

As these reports indicate, the results to be achieved depend on a
number of interrelated factors including selection of a site with
suitable hydrology and topography, isolation, and the provision
of site lining and covering materials with chemical and physical
characteristics to contain the tailings and their potential
effluents. Because the covering required to reduce radon emanation
to levels approaching background is fairly thick, availability of
adequate cover is one factor in site selection.

7. Question:

In reply to our question 2(a), you estimate the total costs of
remedial action to range between $80 million to $1 26 million. But
in reply to question 11 you state that the DOE has not selected
an option. The reports by Ford, Bacon and Davis provide several
remedial options for each site.

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(c)

Please provide your estimates of the cost of each of the options
provided in the Bacon reports for each of the studies sites.

Answer:

(a)

In our estimates the $126 million represents the sum of the high
options for all of the sites. The $80 million figure is a
judgement of what might be selected. The most expensive option
that was evaluated for each site is not necessarily the best.
However, the $ 80 million figure does not provide for sufficient
cover to control radon emanation at sites in sparsely populated
areas where future exposure levels are expected to be low.

(b)

In

The estimates include no escalation figure. They represent
current costs at the time the reports were prepared. This was
largely during 1976 and 1977. For the purpose of adjusting
for escalation, a starting date of July 1, 1977, is reasonable.
Recently, escalation has been around 10 percent per year.
a remedial program estimated to require 8 years to conduct,
es calation becomes a major factor. It is a compelling reason
for starting and completing the work on each site at the
earliest possible date. Assuming remedial legislation were
to be enacted by October 1978, and the EPA standards and criteria
were promulgated in 6 months, DOE could begin remedial work by
July 1979. At 10 percent es calation, the estimated program
cost by then would become $97 to $152 million. The effect
of es ca lation thereafter will depend on the schedule on which
the work is performed.

(c)

The estimate of the cost of each of the options in the Ford,
Bacon and Davis engineering analysis reports is contained in
Chapter 9 of each report both in detail and in a summary table.
These are the estimates DOE is using to determine total program

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Enclosed is a copy of a July 10, 1978, letter we received from the Union Carbide Corporation. Attached to that letter is a 1966 "Joint Federal Agency Position Regarding Control of Uranium Mill Tailings" which clearly states that "the responsibility" for these piles rests with the "individual mill owners." It also states obtaining and enforcing plans to contain and stabilize the piles "should rest initially with the states concerned.'

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