U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board

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NWTRB Reports
 
Note: The list provided below is in reverse chronological order listing the most recent reports first.  These files are provided in PDF format for reading by Adobe Acrobat reader, which can be downloaded free from Adobe File sizes are provided..


Review of U.S. Department of Energy Activities to Preserve Records Created by the Yucca Mountain Repository Project.
August 2013.

In August 2013, the Board submitted this Report, Review of U.S. Department of Energy’s Activities to Preserve Records Created by the Yucca Mountain Repository Project, on the Board’s evaluation of Department of Energy (DOE) activities related to archiving and preserving materials developed over almost 30 years by the Yucca Mountain repository project. In 2010, funding for Yucca Mountain was eliminated, and DOE notified the NRC of its intention to withdraw the Yucca Mountain license application. At that point, responsibility for archiving and preserving Yucca Mountain scientific and engineering information was transferred to DOE’s Office of Legacy Management. The Board began evaluating DOE activities related to archiving and preserving Yucca Mountain data and information in 2010, as part of its ongoing technical and scientific review and in response to direction by the House Committee on Appropriations.

Available as:
NWTRB Legacy Managment Report - August 2013 (PDF format - 5.9KB)



Nuclear Waste Assessment System for Technical Evaluation (NUWASTE): Status and Initial Results.
June 2011.

The report describes work being performed by the Board to evaluate the effects on the management of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste of various fuel-cycle options being considered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Of particular interest to the Board are the types and quantities of the radioactive waste streams that would be generated. The Board has developed a computer-based systems analysis tool (NUWASTE) to support its technical evaluation of DOE activities in this area. Included in the report are initial findings from NUWASTE analyses.

Available as:
NUWASTE Report - June 2011 (PDF format - 3.8MB)



Technical Advancements and Issues Associated with the Permanent Disposal of High-Activity Wastes: Lessons Learned from Yucca Mountain and Other Programs.
June 2011.

The purpose of this report is to extract knowledge while it is still available from experiences to date of the Yucca Mountain deep geologic repository program and other management programs for high-activity waste. In this report, the Board examines from a technical perspective the history of the Yucca Mountain program and some other nuclear waste programs and discusses technical information and insights that may be useful for future U.S. high-activity waste management and disposal efforts.

Available as:
Technical Advancements and Issues Report - June 2011 (PDF format - 2.1MB)



FINAL VERSION: Experience Gained from Programs to Manage High-Level Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel in the United States and Other Countries.
April 2011.

This report explores the efforts of 13 nations to find a permanent solution for isolating high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel generated within their borders. It builds on information in the Board's 2009 Survey of National Programs for Managing High-Level Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel. Unlike the earlier document, however, this report describes the programs and their histories and discusses inferences that can be drawn from their experiences.

SPECIAL PRINTING INSTRUCTIONS: If you plan to print this report, please note that pages 37, 41, 45, and 47 need to be printed on 11x17" inch paper.

Available as:
Experience Gained Report - April 2011 (PDF format - 762KB)



Evaluation of the Technical Basis for Extended Dry Storage and Transportation of Used Nuclear Fuel - Executive Summary.
December 2010.

This report was prepared to inform DOE and Congress about the current state of the technical basis for extended dry storage of used nuclear fuel and its transportation following storage.

Available as:
Executive Summary - December 2010 (PDF format - 762KB)



Evaluation of the Technical Basis for Extended Dry Storage and Transportation of Used Nuclear Fuel.
December 2010.

This report reviews available public literature on storage and handling of used nuclear fuel related to the safety of extended-term dry storage and subsequent transportation of U.S. commercial used nuclear fuel after long storage periods.

Available as:
Report - December 2010 (PDF format - 1,808 KB)



Survey of National Programs for Managing High-Level Radioactive Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel.
October 2009.

The report describes 30 technical and institutional attributes of nuclear waste programs in 13 countries. It does not make judgements, rather the report provides factual information for Congress and the Secretary that can be used for evaluating waste management options.

Available as:
Survey Report - October 2009 (1262KB)



Letter Report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
October 27, 2009.

This letter report updates Congress and the Secretary of Energy on the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board’s mission, continuing role, and refocused goals as the U.S. approach to managing spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste (HLW) is evolving.

Available as:
2009 Letter Report - October 2009 (99 KB)



Report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
September 2008.

Between March 1, 2006, and December 31, 2007, the period covered by this report, the Board focused its evaluation on five critical technical issues dealing with preclosure opera-tions of the waste management system and on six critical technical issues dealing with post-closure performance of the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. The Board also explored in depth the crosscutting issue of thermal management. The Board’s views on these issues are summarized below and are explained in greater detail in the body of this report.

Available as:
2007 Report (5,529 KB)
Appendices A thru D (1,030 KB)
Appendix E (51,720 KB)
Appendices F thru H (2,973 KB)
Entire Report- September 2008 (19,281 KB)



Technical Evaluation of U.S. Department of Energy Yucca Mountain Infiltration Estimates: A Report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
December 2007.

In this report, the U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board presents its evaluation of revised DOE estimates of water infiltration at Yucca Mountain. The infiltration estimates were revised because violations of quality assurance procedures were alleged to have been committed by U.S. Geological Survey employees involved in gathering and analyzing infiltration data at Yucca Mountain in the 1990's.

Available as:
Infiltration Report - December 2007 (4129KB)



Report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
January 2007.

This report, which is the Board's second report of 2006, contains summaries of Board findings and recommendations contained in the following: letters to the Director of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) following Board meetings held in February, May, and September 2006, a letter and enclosures sent to the Director of OCRWM following a Board workshop on deliquescence-induced localized corrosion in September 2006, and testimony presented in May 2006 by the Board's Chairman before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Available as:
Board's second report for 2006 - January 2007 (42KB)



Report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
June 2006.

In this report, the Board summarizes its major activities from January 1, 2005, through February 28, 2006. During that period, the Board focused its attention on the Project's efforts to develop post-closure performance estimates for the repository it proposes to construct at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Correspondence and related materials are included in the appendices to the report along with the Board's strategic plan for fiscal years 2004-2009, its performance plans for fiscal years 2005-2006, and its performance evaluation for 2005.

Available as:
2005 Report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy (63KB)
Appendices A thru D (291 KB)
Appendix E (1,961KB)
Appendix F (879KB)
Appendix G thru H (354KB)
Addendum A thru B (223KB)
Appendix I (224KB)
Entire Report - June 2006 (4,240 KB)



Letter report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
December 2005.

In this letter report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy, the Board presents its views on the status of some important issues related to the technical basis for DOE activities related to the waste management system, the engineered system, the natural system, the repository system, and the assessment of the performance of the systems. The Board also outlines issues that it expects may continue to be of interest in the future.

Available as:
2005 Letter report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy - December 2005 (63KB)



Report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
May 2005.

In this report, the Board summarizes its major activities from January 1, 2004, through December 31, 2004. During that period, the Board focused on the Department of Energy's efforts to develop a system for accepting, transporting, and handling high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel before disposal in the repository proposed for Yucca Mountain. Correspondence and related materials are included in the appendices to the report along with the Board's strategic plan for fiscal years 2004-2009, its performance plans for 2005, and its performance evaluation for 2004.

Available as:
Transmittal Letter, Table of Contents & Report (386KB)
Appendices A thru D (196 KB)
Appendix E (6,312KB)
Appendix F (316KB)
Entire Report - May 2005 (7,033 KB)



Letter report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
December 2004.

This letter and enclosure comprise the Board's second report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy for calendar year 2004. The letter briefly summarizes areas where the Board believes the DOE has made progress, areas requiring attention, and the Board's priorities for the coming year. The enclosure contains a more detailed discussion of these topics.

Available as:
Letter report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy - December 2004 (54KB)

Errata: For both the letter (page 2) and the enclosure (page 5) "incompressible flow" should read "compressible flow".



Report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
May 2004.

In this report, the Board summarizes its major activities from January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2003. During that period, the Board continued its evaluation and held meetings on a range of technical and scientific issues, including seismicity, DOE plans for transporting spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, the design and operation of facilities at the proposed repository site, performance-confirmation activities, and the potential for localized corrosion. Correspondence and related materials are included in the appendices to the report along with the Board's strategic plan for fiscal years 2004-2009, its performance plans for 2004 and 2005, and its performance evaluation for 2003.

Available as:
Transmittal Letter, Table of Contents & Report (783KB)
Appendices A thru D (150 KB)
Appendix E (5,304KB)
Appendix F (1,149KB)
Appendices G thru J (233KB)
Entire Report - May 2004 (7,044 KB)



Report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
December 19, 2003.

This letter and attachments constitutes the Board's second report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy for calendar year 2003. This letter report is composed of letters on localized corrosion sent to the director of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) on October 21, 2003, and November 25, 2003.

Available as:
Cover letter, Oct. 21 letter, Nov. 25 letter - December 2003 (433KB)



Board Technical Report on Localized Corrosion.
November 25, 2003.

Technical report supporting Board conclusions in October 21, 2003 letter to the DOE related to the potential for localized corrosion of waste packages during the thermal pulse.

Available as:
Cover letter, Report, Additional Comments - November 2003 (239KB)



Report to the Secretary of Energy and the Congress.
April 2003.

This report summarizes the Board's major activities between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2002. During this period, the Board focused on evaluating the technical basis of the DOE's work related to analyzing a planned repository site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Included in an appendix to the report are letters to the DOE related to technical issues identified by the Board as part of its ongoing review in 2002. Also included in the appendices are the Board's strategic plan for fiscal years 2003-2008, its performance plans for FY 2003 and FY 2004, and its performance evaluation for FY 2002.

Available as:
Transmittal Letter, Table of Contents, Report - April 2003 (244KB)
Appendices A thru D (177KB)
Appendix E and F (3.56MB)
Appendices G thru J (254KB)



Report to the Secretary of Energy and the Congress.
April 2002.

This report summarizes the Board's major activities between February 1, 2001, and January 31, 2002. During this period, the Board focused on evaluating the technical basis of the DOE's work related to a site recommendation, including the DOE's characterization of the Yucca Mountain site, the DOE's design of the repository and waste package, and the DOE's estimates of how a repository system developed at the site might perform. The report includes a description of activities undertaken by the Board in developing its assessment of the technical basis for the DOE's current performance estimates.

Available as:
Transmittal Letter, Table of Contents, Report - April 2002 (388K)
Appendices A thru D (200K)
Appendix E (1.8M)
Appendix F (764K)
Appendices G thru J (372K)



Letter report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
January 24, 2002.

Letter report summarizing the Board's evaluation of the DOE's technical and scientific investigation of the Yucca Mountain site.

Available as:
Letter report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy - January 2002 (135K)



Proceedings from an International Workshop on Long-Term Extrapolation of Passive Behavior, July 19-20, 2001, Arlington, Virginia.
December 2001.

The Board conducted a workshop on issues related to predicting corrosion behavior for periods of unprecedented duration. The workshop was held on July 19 and 20, 2001, in Arlington, Virginia. The workshop consisted of a panel of 3 Board members and 14 internationally recognized corrosion scientists, 8 of whom were from outside the United States. Following the workshop, most panelists submitted brief papers giving their views on issues related to predicting very long term corrosion. This publication is a compilation of those submissions.

Available as:
Workshop Proceedings - December 2001 (2.4M)



Report to the Secretary of Energy and the Congress.
April 2001.

In this report, the Board summarizes its major activities in calendar year 2000. During 2000, the Board identified four priority areas for evaluating the potential repository at Yucca Mountain. The areas are the following:

  • meaningful quantification of conservatisms and uncertainties in the DOE's performance assessments
  • progress in understanding the underlying fundamental processes involved in predicting the rate of waste package corrosion
  • an evaluation and a comparison of the base-case repository design with a low-temperature design
  • development of multiple lines of evidence to support the safety case of the proposed repository, the lines of evidence being derived independently of performance assessment and thus not being subject to the limitations of performance assessment.

The report summarizes the Board's views on each priority area. A more detailed discussion of the priorities can be found in letters to the DOE included among the appendices to the report.

Available as:
Transmittal Letter, Table of Contents, Report - April 2001 (201K)
Appendices A thru D (58K)
Appendices E thru F (6M)
Appendices G thru J (92K)


Report by letter to the Secretary of Energy and the Congress.
December 2000.

This report, in the form of a letter, presents a brief update of the Board's views on the status of the DOE program.

Available as:
2000 Letter Report - December 2000 (52K)


Report to the U.S. Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
April 2000.

In this report, the Board summarizes its major activities in calendar year 1999. Among the activities discussed in the report is the Board’s 1999 review of the DOE’s viability assessment (VA) of the Yucca Mountain site. The Board’s evaluation of the VA concludes that Yucca Mountain continues to warrant study as the candidate site for a permanent geologic repository and that work should proceed to support a decision on whether to recommend the site for repository development. The Board suggests that the 2001 date for a decision is very ambitious, and focused study should continue on natural and engineered barriers. The Board states that a credible technical basis does not currently exist for the above-boiling repository design included in the VA. The Board recommends evaluation of alternative repository designs, including lower-temperature designs, as a potential way to help reduce the significance of uncertainties related to predictions of repository performance.

Available as:
Transmittal Letter, Table of Contents, Introduction, and Executive Summary - April 2000 (640K)
Report (1.5M)
Appendices (138K)
Appendix H - NWTRB/OCRWM correspondence(6.8M)


Report to the U.S. Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
April 1999.

In this report, the Board summarizes its major activities during calendar year 1998. The report discusses the research needs identified in the DOE’s recently issued Viability Assessment of the Yucca Mountain site, including plans to gather information on the amount of water that will eventually seep into repository drifts, whether formations under the repository will retard the migration of radionuclides, the flow-and-transport properties of the groundwater that lies approximately 200 meters beneath the repository horizon, and long-term corrosion rates of materials that may be used for the waste packages. The report describes other activities undertaken by the Board in 1998, including a review of the hypothesis that there were hydrothermal upwellings at Yucca Mountain, a workshop held to increase understanding of the range of expert opinion on waste package materials, and a review of the DOE’s draft environmental impact statement for the Yucca Mountain site.

Available as:
Transmittal Letter, Table of Contents, Introduction, and Executive Summary - April 1999 (127K)
Chapter 1 - Board Oversight of DOE's Activities at Yucca Mountain (1.5M)
Chapter 2 - Other Board Activities (89K)
Appendices (107K)
Appendix F - NWTRB/OCRWM correspondence (2.4M)


Report to the U.S. Congress and the Secretary of Energy: Moving Beyond the Viability Assessment.
April 1999.

In its report, the Board offers its views on the DOE’s December 1998 Viability-Assessment of the Yucca Mountain site in Nevada. The Yucca Mountain site is being characterized to determine its suitability as the location of a permanent repository for disposing of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The Board discusses the need to address key uncertainties that remain about the site, including the performance of the engineered and natural barriers. The Board addresses the DOE’s plans for reducing those uncertainties and suggests that consideration be given to alternative repository designs, including ventilated low-temperature designs that have the potential to reduce uncertainties and simplify the analytical bases for determining site suitably and for licensing. The Board also comments on the DOE’s total system performance assessment, the analytical tool that pulls together information on the performance of the repository system.

Available as:
Moving Beyond the Viability Assessment - April 1999 (36K)


Report to the U.S. Congress and The Secretary of Energy.
November 1998.

In its report, the Board offers its views on the direction of future scientific and technical research under way and planned by the DOE as part of its program for characterizing a site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as a potential repository for spent fuel and high-level radioactive waste. The Board discusses some of the remaining key scientific and technical uncertainties related to performance of a potential repository. The Board’s report addresses some of these uncertainties by examining information about the proposed repository system presented to it in meetings and other technical exchanges. The Board considers and comments on some of the important connections between the site’s natural properties and the current designs for the waste package and other engineered features of the repository.

Available as:
Transmittal Letter, Table of Contents, Executive Summary - November 1998 (104K)
Chapter 1 Overview (329K)
Chapter 2 Unsaturated Zone (101K)
Chapter 3 Engineered Barrier Systems (68K)
Chapter 4 Saturated Zone (176K)
Abbreviations and References (39K)


Board Completes Review of Material on Hydrothermal Activity.
July 24, 1998.

This series of documents concerns the Board’s review of material related to Mr. Jerry Szymanski’s hypothesis of ongoing, intermittent hydrothermal activity at Yucca Mountain and large earthquake-induced changes in the water table there. The series includes a cover letter, the Board’s review, and the reports of the four consultants the Board contracted with to assist in the review.

Available as:
Cover Letter and Board Review (15 pages) - July 1998 PDF format (42K)
Consultants Reports (46 pages) PDF format (5.2Mb)


1997 Findings and Recommendations.
April 1998.

This report details the Board’s activities in 1997 and covers, among other things, the DOE’s viability assessment, due later this year; underground exploration of the candidate repository site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada; thermal testing underway at the site; what happens when radioactive waste reaches the water table beneath Yucca Mountain; transportation of spent fuel; and the use of expert judgment. The Board makes four recommendations in the report concerning (1) the need for the DOE to begin now to develop alternative design concepts for a repository, (2) the need for the DOE to include estimates of the likely variation in doses for alternative candidate critical groups in its interim performance measure for Yucca Mountain, (3) the need for the DOE to evaluate whether site-specific biosphere data is needed for license application, and (4) the need for the DOE to make full and effective use of formally elicited expert judgment.

Available as:
1997 Findings and Recommendations - April 1998 PDF format (543K)
1997 Findings and Recommendations - Appendix PDF format (247K)


Report by letter to the Secretary of Energy and the Congress.
December 23, 1997.

This report, in the form of a letter, addresses several key issues, including the DOE’s viability assessment of the Yucca Mountain site, design of the potential repository and waste package, the total system performance assessment, and the enhanced characterization of the repository block (east-west crossing).

Available as:
1997 Report by letter - December 1997 PDF format (14K)


Report to the U.S. Congress and The Secretary of Energy: 1996 Findings and Recommendations.
March 1997.

This report summarizes Board activities during 1996. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the Department of Energy’s high-level nuclear waste management program from the Board’s perspective, including the viability assessment, program status, and progress in exploration and testing. The chapter ends with conclusions and recommendations. Chapter 2 examines the three technical issues-hydrology, radionuclide transport, and performance assessment-and provides conclusions and recommendations. Chapter 3 deals with design , including the concept for underground operations, repository layout and design alternatives, construction planning, thermal loading, and engineered barriers. The Board also makes conclusions and recommendations. Chapter 4 provides an overview of recent Board activities, including the international exchange of information, the Board’s visit to the River Mountains tunnel, and a presentation to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Appendices include information on Board members, the organization of the Board’s panels, meetings held in 1996 and scheduled for 1997, the DOE’s responses to previous Board recommendations, a list of Board publications, references for the report, and a glossary of technical terms.

Available as:
1996 Summary Report - March 1997 PDF format (777K)


Nuclear Waste Management in the United States - The Board's Perspective.
June 1996.

This publication was developed from remarks made by Dr. John Cantlon, Chairman of the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, at Topseal ’96, an international conference on nuclear waste management and disposal. The meeting was sponsored by the Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company (SKB) and the European Nuclear Society. The publication highlights the Board’s views on the status of the U.S. program for management and disposal of commercial spent nuclear fuel and provides a brief overview of the program’s organization. It summarizes the DOE’s efforts to characterize the Yucca Mountain site and to develop a waste isolation strategy for the site. The publication also outlines legislative and regulatory changes under consideration at that time and the Board’s views on the technical implications of those possible changes.

Available as: Nuclear Waste Management - June 1996 PDF format (40K)


Report to the U.S. Congress and the Secretary of Energy: 1995 Findings and Recommendations.
April 1996.

This report summarizes Board activities during 1995. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the DOE's high-level waste management program, including highlights, current status, legislative issues, milestones, and recommendations. Chapter 2 reports on Board Panel activities and Chapter 3 provides information on new Board members, meetings attended, interactions with Congress and congressional staff, Board presentations to other organizations, interactions with foreign programs, and a review of the Board’s report on interim storage of spent nuclear fuel. Appendices include Board testimony and statements before Congress, Board correspondence of note, and the Department of Energy’s responses to recommendations in previous Board reports.

Available as:
1995 Summary Report - April 1996 PDF format (587K)
1995 Summary Report Appendix PDF format (1MB)


Disposal and Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel - Finding the Right Balance.
March 1996.

This special report caps more than two years of study and analysis by the Board into the issues surrounding the need for interim storage of commercial spent nuclear fuel and the advisability and timing of the development of a federal centralized storage facility. The Board concludes in the report that the DOE’s efforts should remain focused on permanent geologic disposal and the site investigations at Yucca Mountain, Nevada; that planning for a federal centralized spent fuel storage facility and the required transportation infrastructure be begun now, but actual construction delayed until after a site-suitability decision is made about the Yucca Mountain site; that storage should be developed incrementally; that limited, emergency backup storage capacity be authorized at an existing nuclear facility; and that, if the Yucca Mountain site proves unacceptable for repository development, other potential sites for both centralized storage and disposal be considered.

Available as:
Disposal and Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel - March 1996 PDF format (217K)


Report by letter to the Secretary of Energy and the Congress.
December 13, 1995.

This report, in the form of a letter, addresses the DOE’s progress in underground exploration with the tunnel boring machine, advances in the development of a waste isolation strategy, new work on engineered barriers, and progress being made in performance assessment.

Available as: 1995 Report by letter - December 1995 PDF format (16K)


Report to the U.S. Congress and the Secretary of Energy: 1994 Findings and Recommendations.
March 1995.

This report summarizes Board activities during 1994. It covers aspects of the DOE’s Program Approach, their emerging waste isolation strategy, and their transportation program. It also explores the Board’s views on minimum exploratory requirements and thermal-loading issues. The report<->focuses a chapter on the lessons that have been learned in site assessment from projects around the world. Another chapter deals with volcanism and resolution of difficult issues. The Board also details its observations from its visit to Japan and the Japanese nuclear waste disposal program. Findings and recommendations in the report centered around structural geology and geoengineering, hydrogeology and geochemistry, the engineered barrier system, and risk and performance analysis.

Available as:
1994 Summary Report - March 1995 PDF format (659K)
1994 Summary Report Appendix PDF format (1.1MB)


Report to The U.S. Congress and The Secretary of Energy: January to December 1993.
May 1994.

This report summarizes Board activities primarily during 1993. It reviews the nuclear waste disposal programs of Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom; elaborates on the Board’s understanding of the radiation protection standards being reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences; and, using “future climates” as an example, examines the DOE’s approach to “resolving difficult issues.” Recommendations center on the use of a systems approach in all of OCRWM’s programs, prioritization of site-suitability activities, appropriate use of total system performance assessment and expert judgment, and the dynamics of the Yucca Mountain ecosystem.

Available as:
1993 Summary Report - May 1994) PDF format (605K
1993 Summary Report Appendix PDF format (624K)


Letter Report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
February 1994.

This report is issued in letter format due to impending legislative hearings on the DOE’s fiscal year 1995 budget and new funding mechanisms sought by the Secretary of Energy. The 8-page report (ninth in the NWTRB series) restates a recommendation made in the Board’s Special Report, that an independent review of the OCRWM’s management and organizational structure be initiated as soon as possible. Also, it adds two additional recommendations: ensure sufficient and reliable funding for site characterization and performance assessment, whether the program budget remains level or is increased, and build on the Secretary of Energy’s new public involvement initiative by expanding current efforts to integrate the views of the various stakeholders during the decision-making process-not afterward.

Available as:
Letter Report - February 1994 PDF format (245K)


Underground Exploration and Testing at Yucca Mountain A Report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
October 1993.

This report (eighth in the NWTRB series) focuses on the exploratory studies facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada: the conceptual design, planned exploration and testing, and excavation plans and schedules. In addition to a number of detailed recommendations, the Board makes three general recommendations. First, the DOE should develop a comprehensive strategy that integrates exploration and testing priorities with the design and excavation approach for the exploratory facility. Second, underground thermal testing should be resumed as soon as possible. Third, the DOE should establish a geoengineering board with expertise in the engineering, construction, and management of large underground projects.

Available as:
Underground Exploration and Testing - October 1993 PDF format (160K)


Special Report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy.
March 1993.

The Board’s seventh report provides a nontechnical approach for those not familiar with the details of the DOE’s high-level nuclear waste management program. It highlights three important policy issues: the program is driven by unrealistic deadlines, there is no integrated waste management plan, and program management needs improvement. The Board makes three specific recommendations: amend the current schedule to include realistic intermediate milestones; develop a comprehensive, well-integrated plan for the overall management of all spent nuclear fuel and high-level defense waste from generation to disposal; and implement an independent evaluation of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management’s (OCRWM) organization and management. These recommendations should be implemented without slowing the progress of site-characterization activities at Yucca Mountain.

Available as:
Special Report - March 1993 PDF format (70K)


Sixth Report to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Secretary of Energy.
December 1992.

The sixth report begins by summarizing recent Board activities, congressional testimony, changes in Board makeup, and the Little Skull Mountain earthquake. Chapter 2 details panel activities and offers seven technical recommendations on the dangers of a schedule-driven program; the need for top-level systems studies; the impact of defense high-level waste; the use of high capacity, self-shielded waste package designs; and the need for prioritization among the numerous studies included in the site-characterization plans. In Chapter 3, the Board offers candid insights to the high-level waste management program in five countries, specifically those areas that might be applicable to the U.S. program, including program size and cost, utility responsibilities, repository construction schedules, and alternative approaches to licensing. Appendix F provides background on the Finnish and Swiss programs.

Available as:
Sixth Report - December 1992 PDF format (528K)
Sixth Report Appendix PDF format (1.1M)


Fifth Report to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Secretary of Energy.
June 1992.

The Board’s fifth report focuses on the cross-cutting issue of thermal loading. It explores thermal-loading strategies (U.S. and others) and the technical issues and uncertainties related to thermal loading. It also details the Board’s position on the implications of thermal loading for the U.S. radioactive waste management system. Also included are updates on Board and panel activities during the reporting period. The report offers fifteen recommendations to the DOE on the following subjects: ESF and repository design enhancements, repository sealing, seismic vulnerabilities (vibratory ground motion and fault displacement), the DOE approach to the engineered barrier system, and transportation and systems program status.

Available as:
Fifth Report - June 1992 PDF format (572K)
Fifth Report Appendix PDF format (275K)


Fourth Report to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Secretary of Energy.
December 1991.

The fourth report provides update on the Board’s activities and explores in depth the following areas: exploratory studies facility (ESF)construction; test prioritization; rock mechanics; tectonic features and processes; volcanism; hydrogeology and geochemistry in the unsaturated zone; the engineered barrier system; regulations promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the DOE; the DOE performance assessment program; and quality assurance in the Yucca Mountain project. Ten recommendations are made across these diverse subject areas. Chapter 3 offers insights from the Board’s visit with officials from the Canadian nuclear power and spent fuel disposal programs. Background on the Canadian program is in Appendix D.

Available as:
Fourth Report - December 1991 PDF format (425K)
Fourth Report Appendix PDF format (310K)


Third Report to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Secretary of Energy.
May 1991.

The third report briefly describes recent Board activities and congressional testimony. Substantive chapters cover exploratory shaft facility alternatives, repository design, risk-benefit analysis, waste package plans and funding, spent fuel corrosion performance, transportation and systems, environmental program concerns, more on the DOE task force studies on risk and performance assessment, federal quality assurance requirements for the repository program, and the measurement, modeling, and application of radionuclide sorption data. Fifteen specific recommendations are made to the DOE. Background information on the German and Swedish nuclear waste disposal programs is included in Appendix D.

Available as:
Third Report - May 1991 PDF format (361K)
Third Report Appendix PDF format (388K)


Second Report to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Secretary of Energy.
November 1990.

The Board’s second report begins with the background and framework for repository development and then opens areas of inquiry, making 20 specific recommendations concerning tectonic features and processes, geoengineering considerations, the engineered barrier system, transportation and systems, environmental and public health issues, and risk and performance analysis. The report also offers concluding perspectives on DOE progress, the state of Nevada’s role, the project’s regulatory framework, the nuclear waste negotiator, other oversight agencies, and the Board’s future plans.

Available as:
Second Report - November 1990 PDF format (450K)
Second Report Appendix PDF format (213K)


First Report to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Secretary of Energy.
March 1990
.

The first report sets the stage for the Board’s evaluation of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) program to manage the disposal of the nation’s spent fuel and high-level waste. The report outlines briefly the legislative history of the nation’s spent fuel and high-level waste management program including its legal and regulatory requirements. The Board’s evolution is described, along with its protocol, panel breakdown, and reporting requirements. The report identifies major issues based on the Board’s panel breakdown, and highlights five cross-cutting issues.

Available as:
First Report - March 1990 PDF Format (394K)


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