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This position agreement does not appear to agree with the DOE
(a) We request a copy of all letters, memoranda, etc., leading up to
and subsequent to this Agreement. Please have EPA search their
(b) When did the Government change this joint position and why?
What effort was made as a result of this agreement to have the
The "Joint Federal Agency Position Regarding Control of Uranium Mill Tailings" which was furnished to the Committee by Union Carbide Corporation was consistent with the AEC's attitude toward mill tailings in 1966. We are providing a copy of the May 6, 1966, Hearings before the Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution of the Committee on Public Works, United States Senate, on the Problem of Radioactive Water Pollution in the Colorado River Basin. The statement of Dr. Peter A. Morris, Director, Division of Operational Safety of the AEC appearing on pages 15-20, reflects AEC attitudes at that time. He notes (page 20) that AEC contracts do not deal with the question of tailings management, and concludes that evidence at that time does not support a conclusion that uranium tailings piles represent a radiation hazard to the environment. He class if ied them as a nuisance, but saw no mechanism by which a hazard might develop
Shortly thereafter, the investigation of use of tailings for construction purposes in Grand Junction, Colorado, began to develop factual data on radiation exposure levels in these structures. The principal hazard was found to be a combination of direct gamma radiation, and radon gas and its decay products. The studies showed that radon, which is the initial product of the radioactive disintegration of radium, diffused readily through concrete floors into the enclosed space of the building. The daughter products of radon are solids, which largely remain within the lung when inhaled. This pattern of exposure was not anticipated by anyone.
Studies of radiation exposures in the vicinity of tailings piles up to 1966 were largely concerned with stream pollution, and with particulate matter blown from tailings piles being an inhalation hazard. It was largely to control these exposure pathways that AEC, HEW and DOE offered to provide advice and assistance under the agreement signed in 1966.
The results of the efforts made under this agreement are described in detail in the Phase I and II reports on the inactive sites. They are far from satisfactory.
The engineering assessment reports just completed contain the results
(a) We are not aware of any letters, memoranda, etc., leading up to
or subsequent to this agreement relating thereto.
(b) As noted above, change in Government attitude came about as new
evidence at Grand Junction and other sites indicated that radiation
To our knowledge this agreement has not really been implemented by the signatories except in the normal context of license activities. In effect it constitutes an agreement among three Federal agencies that the responsibility for mill tailings should belong to others who were not signers of the agreement.
Please provide to us a statement showing what revenues the public land
for supply to the U.S. under contract?
We are advised that uranium is not a mineral subject to the Mineral
Polls city, Texas
Ray Point, Texas
Total ulo Riverton (rounded)
N'NETY FIFTH CONGRESS
PHONE (202) 225-1090
CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
O O DINELL, MICH., CHAIRMAN
JAMO M. COLLINS, TU
DAVE STOCKMAN, MICK.
EDWARD , MADIGAN, ILL DANO L LATTOMOS IL, VA. SAMUEL L. DEVINE, ONIO TOT LA COLA
(ex ornicio) NONCE MALORE, NJ. DWMO LM, MASL DOVO VALORO PA NONTATO meg STAGE W. VA
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND POWER
COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20515
October 5, 1978
The Honorable John F.. O'Leary
Dear Mr. O'Leary:
Your October 4, 1978 letter concerning H. R. 13650, indicates that your understanding of the "present situation", relative to the bill, is that there are "four substantive areas of disagreement between the provisions of the bill reported" by the Commerce Committee and the Senate Committees.
In the first place, your analysis of the "present situation" is inaccurate. As of this moment, there are a number of specific differences between the House and the two Senate Committees. Our staff and that of the House Interior Committee have not yet met to discuss such differences, simply because, until Tuesday of this week, the House had not acted on H. R. 13650 and because our staff has been working on the National Energy Act legislation.
We have, however, seen a "wish list" of changes that your staff showed us last week, before the House acted on H. R. 13650. Strangely enough, that list is identical to one shown to us by a Senator and includes your "Attachment II". When that Senator briefly mentioned it to me, he indicated that the DOE supported those changes. That list apparently had been prepared by your staff without consultation with me or any member of our Subcommittee staff. It generally ignored our Committee's action on the bill. Your staff was then informed that they should stop trying to "broker" changes between the House and the Senate on this bill.
I want to reiterate that point for now and in all future cases. I will not countenance interference of this type in negotiations between the House and the Senate. If we ever need the Department of Energy to negotiate for us with the Senate, we will advise you.
When you and I briefly discussed this bill about a week ago in my office, all I urged was that the Administration make it clear to the Senate, just as you have to the House, that it did not support the 100 percent funding proposed by that body. I advised you that I would not support this legislation at that funding level. That continues to be my position and I have seen little persuasive evidence that it should be otherwise.
I have made a serious effort to obtain enactment of this bill because I believe it is meritorious, as currently drafted by the House. But the bill is not, in my judgment, so important that I will adopt any changes just to get a bill enacted. I am deeply concerned about its cost and any precedent it may establish and about the adequacy of the regulatory program. Unless I am fully satisfied that the costs are reasonable, that no undesirable precedents are being established, and that the regulatory program to be administered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the States is adequate and even-handed, I will not support final passage of this bill or a companion version in the NRC authorization passed by the Senate.
In regard to Attachment I, I do not agree with that suggestion. The legislative-type hearing you suggest is undesirable, and would set a precedent for other legislation which I find objectionable. As you correctly observe, no NRC license is now required for remedial action. The license requirement only applies after such action is completed and responsibility for the site has been transferred to the United States.
No one in the Senate has thus far raised the hearing problem that you mention. The Senate concerns, as I understand them, are quite different. They do not want DOE to be ordered by the NRC to spend further money on these sites beyond normal maintenance and monitoring without a new authorization from Congress. I fully agree with that concern and hope to work out an amendment with the Senate to meet it, if necessary.
In the case of Attachment II, I once again find it strange that the DOE is suggesting changes to amendments that relate to matters under the jurisdiction of the NRC and not the DOE. That independent agency must be allowed to formulate its own judgments. It does not need the DOE to speak for it. Even more serious is your support of an amendment that changes the House bill without consulting this Committee and the Interior Committee, particularly when it eliminates the NEPA language adopted by
our Committee. That suggestion is clearly not welcomed by me.
As to the merits, I fail to understand why a mill which is located in a non-agreement State should be faced with requirements emanating from the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 that are different than those required for a mill located in an agreement State. The accident of location should not be controlling from the standpoint of competition or public health and safety.
I strongly suggest that you let the House and Senate work out this legislation within the few days left to us. I assure you that our Committee, working closely with Chairman Udall's Committee, will seek to get the best bill possible. I presume that the Senate shares the same objectives.