bemr

U.S. Military: General Bibliography United States Department of Energy

http://ping.fm/2vMZQ A. U.S. Military: General Bibliography United States Department of Energy. (June 1996). The 1996 baseline environmental management report (BEMR). Vol. 1-3. Office of Strategic Planning and Analysis, Office of Environmental Management, U.S. DOE, Washington, D.C. A comprehensive survey of the major US military source points of radioactive contamination now under the supervision of the Environmental Management activities of the Department of Energy as required by the 1995 National Defense Authorization Act as well as other remedial action programs including the CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, also known as the Superfund). This unpagenated three volume report is approximately 1000 pages and is the most inclusive summary of weapons production source points of radioactive contamination available from the US government. The emphasis of this publication is on the annual and total costs for 3 groups of activities: nuclear material and facilities stabilization, environmental restoration, and waste management. This report includes excellent summaries of sites being remediated under the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978 (UMTRA) as well as the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) 1974. This component of the BEMR addresses those source points resulting from the mining, milling, and processing of uranium prior to weapons production which had the greatest impact on the Native American communities of the American Southwest. This 3 volume report is an excellent starting point for persons interested in documenting the environmental impact of this particular component of the arms race. Table 4.1 in Vol. 1 (pg. 4-12 to 4-14) provides a complete list of DOE environmental management sites in a state by state listing that also includes base case life cycle cost estimates. A total of 108 sites, all potential source points for the release of anthropogenic radioactivity, are listed in the BEMR report and carry life cycle remediation cost estimates of $226,950,000,000. “Based on definitions contained in regulations, waste is divided into categories that include high-level, transuranic, mixed transuranic, low-level, low-level mixed, uranium mill tailings, hazardous, sanitary, and special case waste.” (Vol. 1, pg. 2-4). Mention of greater than class C wastes (reactor vessel components, highly contaminated resins, etc.) is avoided. It is important that this report be evaluated hand in hand with the latest DOE Integrated Database Report (US Spent Nuclear Fuel And Radioactive Waste Inventories, Projections and Characteristics), referred to as IDB in the following comments. High-level waste inventories in the IDB are noted as of Dec. 31, 1994 at 958.8 million curies at only 4 specific locations: Savannah River, Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Hanford and the former West Valley, New York reprocessing site. In view of the missing inventories of spent fuel and high-level waste discussed elsewhere in this section of RADNET, it is essential that the following footnote on page 15 in the IDB be noted by anyone concerned about the environmental remediation of source points of radioactive contamination documented in this report: “DOE IS UNDERTAKING SEVERAL INITIATIVES TO BETTER DEFINE THE VOLUMES AND TYPES OF WASTES CURRENTLY IN STORAGE AT ENVIRONMENTAL RESTORATION SITES AND THOSE WHICH MAY BE GENERATED DURING FUTURE REMEDIATION ACTIVITIES ACROSS THE ENTIRE DOE COMPLEX. THIS INFORMATION, WHICH SHOULD BECOME AVAILABLE IN A FEW YEARS, WILL BE INCLUDED IN FUTURE REVISIONS OF THIS REPORT.” (pg. 15). This means that the inventories of high-level waste (958.8 x 106Ci), transuranic wastes (2.67 x 106Ci), and low-level waste (23.5 x 106Ci) listed in the IBD DO NOT INCLUDE THE HUGE VOLUMES OF UNCONTAINED WASTES OF EVERY DESCRIPTION GENERATED AND DISCHARGED at the many DOE environmental restoration sites listed in this publication. While the IDB provides a preliminary summary of the amounts (in curies as well as volume, mass and thermal power) of contained high-level wastes and buried transuranic and low-level waste excluding uncontained wastes discharged from these DOE EM sites, the baseline Environmental Management Report contains no inventory of the radioactive content (in curies) of any wastes being treated at any of the sites in the DOE EM program. With respect to contained high-level wastes the BEMR makes this comment: “Based on regulatory requirements, liquid high-level waste must be converted to a durable, stable, solid form for disposal. The preferred treatment for most high-level waste is vitrification (that is, mixing liquid high-level waste with glass frit and heating to create glass that is solidified inside steel canisters). A vitrification facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina recently began operations, and a facility at the West Valley Demonstration Project in western New York plans to begin operating in 1996.” (Vol. 1, pg. 2-5). A summary of sites included in the BEMR is located in Vol. 1, Fig. 3.1, pages 3.6-3.7, and is slightly different from the listing in Table 4.1. Figure 3.1 lists 150 sites including 3 main catagories: 1. individually reported sites: 107 including 5 sites with no contamination. 2. aggregated sites: 17, included in the cost estimates of other sites. 3. completed sites: 26. The most interesting information contained in this report is summarized in Vol. 1, Table 3.1, page 3.9, “Examples Of Environmental Media Activities Excluded From The Base Case”. A whole series of locations are listed for which “no feasible remediation approach is available” or for which “no feasible remedy without causing collateral ecological damage” are available. These include the Columbia River and the Hanford Reach at Hanford, White Oak Creek and other locations at Oak Ridge including the “deep hydrofracture grout sheet”, Savannah River Plant lakes, swamps and ponds, the Great Miami River at the Fernald, Ohio plant, the Snake River plain aquifer at INEL, assorted Rocky Flats sites, the underground test areas at the Nevada test site, and the chemical waste landfill ground water at the Sandia National Laboratory, New Mexico. In a letter accompanying the receipt of these 3 volumes at the RADNET office December 9, 1996 and responding to RADNET inquiry about deep-well injection of high-level waste, the DOE responded “I would like to emphasize that the Department has never injected high-level radioactive waste resulting from weapons manufacturing or reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. … There are several sites where low-level and hazardous liquid wastes were injected as a method of isolated disposal. These are at Test Area North at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho, the Hydrofracturing Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and 200 area reverse wells at the Hanford Reservation in Richland, Washington. … In addition to the deep-well injection sites as source points, several sites had shallow burial, seepage basins, or spray irrigation methods of disposal.” William E. Wisenbaker, Director, Office of Program Integration, Environmental Restoration. It is the contention of RADNET that, the differential between the high-level waste derived from low burn-up spent fuel for weapons production versus that derived from high burn-up spent fuel for commercial nuclear electricity production not withstanding, there is a discrepancy in the IDB such that it appears that +/- 4 billion curies of high-level waste are unaccounted for. The BEMR provides clear evidence of many potential locations for the uncontained release of these missing wastes; if Mr. Wisenbaker is correct and no deep well injection of high-level wastes occurred, it would seem clear that the great majority of the curic inventories of the missing high-level waste can be accounted for by their dilution and subsequent reclassification as low-level wastes prior to deep well injection or other uncontained release. The IDB lists DOE cumulative stored and/or disposed low-level wastes at 23.5 million curies for all locations except uranium mill tailing sites (and environmental restoration program wastes). A typical commercial nuclear reactor contains +/- 4 million curies of greater than class C wastes (GTCC) and +/- 100,000 curies of low-level waste. Comparing these figures with the total acknowledged inventories of low-level wastes in the IDB indicates that the curic inventories of uncontained “low-level” wastes, including reprocessed and recategorized high-level wastes, must be in the billions of curies even though the Baseline Environmental Monitoring Report contains not one specific citation of the inventory of anthropogenic radioactivity at any of the 150 sites in the DOE Environmental Management Program. “Virtually all of the 10,500 potential release sites have been at least partially characterized, approximately 46 percent have been fully characterized and regulatory decisions have been made for substantially fewer sites.” (Vol. 1, pg. 3-13). Table 4.1, Vol. 1 contains base case life cycle cost estimates by state and site, with a total cost estimate of $226,950,000,000 for the environmental management program. The five highest cost sites are: Hanford: 50.2 billion; Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL): 18.6 billion; Oak Ridge Reservation: 25.1 billion; Rocky Flats: 17.3 billion; and the Savannah River site: 48.8 billion. These estimates include on site (contained) high-level waste management, but not off site geological depository costs for either Yucca Mountain, Nevada or the WIPP in New Mexico. A further breakdown of cost estimates is in Vol. 1, Fig. 4.7 as well as in charts throughout the report for each remediation site. It should be noted the 1996 cost estimates contained in this report are much lower than the 1995 estimates for reasons explained in Vol. 1, Sec. 5.3. In fact, the prime emphasis of this report is the often fluctuating costs of the environmental management program, and not the variety or amounts of the contamination being remediated. Assumed remedial strategies for a variety of remediation scenarios are listed in Vol. 1, Table 6.2, pg. 6.8. “This analysis does not account for any costs incurred by the civilian radioactive waste management program.” (Vol. 1, pg. 6-20). Vol. 1, Appendix B, contains a summary of sources of contamination including the following: uranium mining and milling; uranium enrichment; fuel and target fabrication; reactor irradiation; chemical separation; fabrication of weapons components; fabrication of non-nuclear weapons components; weapons assembly, disassembly, and maintenance; and research, development, and testing.“ Volumes 2 and 3 of the BEMR are site specific summaries of environmental restoration activities to which Vol. 1 is the general introduction. The following quotation best summarizes the enigma of missing US military high-level wastes. "The fission products and uranium and plutonium from spent fuel were reprocessed at chemical separation facilities in the States of Washington, Idaho, and South Carolina. This step in the production process generated approximately 385 million liters (100 million gallons) of highly radioactive and hazardous chemical waste. Some of this waste was discharged directly into the ground or stored in underground storage tanks. Some of the waste in underground storage subsequently leaked. This waste represents the vast majority of the radioactivity for which the Environmental Management program has responsibility. Many of the radioactive elements in this waste are long-lived and will pose risks to human health and the environment for tens of thousands of years. Contaminated facilities also have resulted from chemical separation.” (Vol. 1, pg. B-3). In view of this quotation, is William Wisenbaker correct in his assertion that the department has never used deep well injection to dispose of high-level radioactive wastes resulting from weapons manufacturing or reprocessing of spent fuel? Albright, D., et. al. (1992). Facing reality: the future of the U. S. nuclear weapons complex. Ed. Peter Gray. Tides Foundation, San Francisco. Cochran, T.B., Arkin, W.M. and Hoenig, M.M. (1984). Nuclear weapons databook, Vol. I: U.S. nuclear forces and capabilities. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., Ballinger Publishing Co., Cambridge, MA. Everything you ever wanted to know about nuclear weapons production and the types and quantities of warheads produced between 1945 and 1984. 1967 represented the peak year in weapons production with an inventory of 32,000 warheads, which include everything from inter-continental ballistic missiles to small 155 mm guns, from naval nuclear weapons to army demolition munitions and earth penetration weapons. Chapter 2 is a useful nuclear weapons primer describing fission weapons, their design, chain reactions and critical mass, as well as fusion weapons including thermonuclear weapon design. Chapter 3 gives detailed information about the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile; the remaining chapters elaborate on the use of nuclear weapons by all components of the armed forces. This text contains no specific data about nuclear waste source point inventories, but does contain enough data to verify the DOE/DOD figures about plutonium production for the nuclear weapons programs (The average nuclear weapon contains 3 kg of plutonium, with some smaller weapons containing much less and some larger weapons containing much more. The DOE/DOD produced a total of ~111 metric tons of plutonium (111,000 kg) for 30-40,000 warheads between 1944 and 1995. (Some recycling of plutonium took place during the weapons production years). The most interesting aspect of this report for RADNET is the continual references to the Los Alamos National Laboratory as that location playing the greatest role in the production of nuclear warheads once the plutonium used in these warheads was fabricated at the government reactors in Hanford, WA, Savannah River Plant in South Carolina, and at the Rocky Flats Colorado facility. For more information about Los Alamos as a source point of anthropogenic radioactivity see the citations under Los Alamos in this section of RADNET under Los Alamos National Laboratory. Cochran, T.B., Arkin, W.M., Norris, R.S. and Hoenig, M.M. (1987). Nuclear Weapons Databook: Vol. III, U.S. Nuclear Warhead Facility Profiles. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., Ballinger Publishing Co., Cambridge, MA. An excellent profile of the operating parameters, equipment, personnel, and funding of all the U.S. weapons production facilities. General information of every description pertaining to these weapon production facilities. Some interesting aerial photographs of the Savannah River Plant and elsewhere. See Table 8 for a complete range of operating characteristics of the Savannah River reactors (R, P, L, K, C), pg. 106, or see Table 12, pg. 109, for information on “Fuel Composition and Burnup for Current Assemblies”. This report contains no information on radioactive waste inventories produced at these facilities and expressed in curies or becquerels. Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. (April 14, 1994). Plutonium storage safety at major Department of Energy facilities. DNFSB/TECH-1. DNFSB, Washington, DC. “The great majority of the plutonium in the shut-down plants–Rocky Flats, Hanford, and Savannah River–is stored in conditions that are not safe for the long term. Most liquids remain in the same tanks and bottles where they happened to be located when the shutdown orders came. … Most of the plutonium in the shut-down plants has been declared by DOE to be surplus, but virtually none of it has been readied for permanent disposal or long-term storage. Some is in forms that are difficult to store safely even for short periods. The general conclusions are:” (Section I). “A. With careful preparation and packaging, plutonium metal and stabilized plutonium oxide can be stored safely over periods as long as a few decades. The draft DOE standard on storage of plutonium metal and oxide is a good guide to established storage practice for metal and oxide.” (Section I). “B. Most plutonium materials other than metal and oxide are not suitable for long-term storage, and there are significant quantities of such materials at all four sites.” (Section I). “C. The high-concentration plutonium solutions and reactive plutonium scrap stored at Rocky Flats pose the most severe and immediate safety risk of any stored plutonium in the DOE Weapons Complex (Complex). DOE is generally aware of the danger at Rocky Flats, but has done little so far to correct it.” (Section I). “D. Much of the plutonium at Hanford and Savannah River is reasonably safe for short-term storage, but DOE is rapidly foreclosing plutonium processing options at those sites. If that trend continues, Hanford and Savannah River may develop some of the same safety problems as Rocky Flats.” (Section I). The summary of the very dangerous situation at Rocky Flats in this report has been posted under Rocky Flats in Part 5 of this section of RADNET. “Aside from irradiated fuel, almost all of Hanford’s plutonium inventory is in the Plutonium Finishing Plant (PFP). There are more than 3,000 containers of plutonium oxides, 370 metal items, somewhat more than one thousand containers of plutonium scrap, and about 250 bottles of plutonium solution.” (Section II-B). “LANL stores a wide variety of plutonium materials, mostly in Technical Area (TA)-55. LANL has around a thousand containers of plutonium oxides and other compounds. They also have close to a thousand metal plutonium items, most of them high-purity ingots originally intended for shipment to Rocky Flats.” (Section II-C). “There are about 1200 containers of pyrochemical salt scrap, and a few hundred containers of miscellaneous scrap. LANL has active capabilities for processing nearly all forms of plutonium scrap and, with the exception of salts, has generally not allowed a large backlog to accumulate.” (Section II-C). “LANL has the only general purpose plutonium processing capability in the Complex that is fully operational at this time.” (Section IV-B). “SRS has a large quantity of plutonium solution in storage, far more than any other site. There are about 380,000 liters stored in eighteen tanks in F-Canyon and two tanks in H-Canyon (compared to around 20,000 liters at Rocky Flats and no more than 3,000 liters at Hanford). SRS has a significant amount of Pu-238, Pu-242, Am-243, and Cm-244 stored in solution form as well. Solution is not a suitable form for long-term, plutonium storage because of the strong potential for leakage and corrosion, and because of the difficulty (due to radiolysis and evaporation) of controlling solution chemistry sufficiently to prevent precipitation or polymerization.” (Section II-D). This is the definitive DNFSB report on plutonium-239 safety and storage issues and includes a detailed overview of the chemistry, storage, processing and handling challenges of this legacy of the Cold War. This report can be downloaded in its entirety from URL http://ping.fm/SAc4e If the situation is as dangerous as described at RFETS, consider the challenges, hazards and dangers posed by unsafe plutonium storage conditions in the former Soviet Union. Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. (November 1998). Report to Congress on the role of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board regarding regulation of DOE’s defense nuclear facilities. DNFSB, Washington, DC. http://ping.fm/xeoqm A review and self-critique by the DNFSB of its history and policies as well as a statement of why it rejects NRC environmental oversight of DOE weapons production facilities. Energy Research and Development Agency. (1977). Report on strategic special nuclear material inventory differences. Report No. ERDA, 77-68. Energy Research and Development Agency, Washington D.C. This report provides information regarding some missing radioactive wastes, but only deals with tiny amounts of missing weapons production inventories. Fioravanti, M. and Makhijani, A. (1997). Containing the cold war mess. Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Takoma Park, Maryland. “More than half-a-century of nuclear weapons production in the United States has created tens of millions of cubic meters of long-lived radioactive waste, decommissioning problems associated with thousands of contaminated facilities, and environmental problems involving contaminated land and water. …the neglect and mismanagement of radioactive and toxic wastes has created problems that are far more costly than they might have been; some appear to be intractable with current technology.” (Summary). The main findings listed in the summary section of the report are: 1. Nuclear weapons production and associated activities have created tens of millions of cubic meters of dangerous wastes and roughly two billion cubic meters of contaminated soil and water. 2. Since 1989, DOE has made considerable progress in characterizing many of the crucial problems of environmental remediation and waste management in the nuclear weapons complex, but much remains to be done. 3. DOE is proceeding with the most expensive environmental program in history without national remediation standards to govern and guide the process. 4. Despite about $40 billion dollars in expenditures since 1989, DOE does not have a sound direction, plan, priorities, or implementation strategy for dealing with the remediation and waste management problems. Institutional factors are the single most crucial element in DOE’s failure to achieve a sound direction. 5. The U.S. waste classification system is an unsound basis for implementing waste management or environmental remediation decisions. 6. DOE is not holding contractors sufficiently accountable for project mismanagement and poor technical decisions. 7. A number of problems cannot be satisfactorily solved with presently available technology. Sound research and development and careful project planning will be needed over a long period. Detailed recommendations include findings from three special case studies. Parts of this report are available from the IEER Internet Website at URL: http://ping.fm/NsETd Kimball, D., Siegel, L. and Tyler, P. (May, 1993). Covering the map: a survey of military pollution sites in the United States. Physicians for Social Responsibility, Washington, D.C. and Military Toxics Project, Litchfield, Maine. Makhijani, A. and Fioravanti, M. (January 1999). Cleaning up the Cold War mess. Science for Democratic Action. IEER. 7(2). pg. 1-24. National Academy of Sciences. (1994). Management and disposition of excess weapons plutonium. Committee on International Security and Arms Control. National Academy Press, Washington, D.C. National Research Council. (1987). Safety issues at defense production reactors. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. U. S. Congress, OTA (Office of Technology Assessment). (February, 1991). Complex Cleanup: The environmental legacy of nuclear weapons production. OTA-O-484. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. The report that opened the Pandora’s box of environmental remediation issues at DOE’s weapons productions facilities. One of the most important reports ever issued by a government office or agency. The OTA (Office of Technology Assessment) has recently been discontinued due to budget cutbacks; a vivid illustration of the inevitable destiny of those messengers who bear ill tidings. “The waste and contamination problems at the DOE Weapons Complex are serious and complicated, and many public concerns about potential health and environmental impacts have not yet been addressed.” (Box A, pg. 7). “The environmental program now underway at the Weapons Complex is in the very early stages, and little actual cleanup has been done. It may be impossible with current technology to remove contaminants from many groundwater plumes and deeply buried soils within reasonable bounds of time and cost. Many sites may never be returned to a condition suitable for unrestricted public access.” (Box A, pg. 7). “Despite DOE statements about the lack of imminent off-site health threats due to the contamination, possible public health effects have not been investigated adequately. The current regulatory process is not sufficient to effectively identify urgent health-based remediation needs or to comprehensively evaluate possible public health impacts.” (Box A, pg. 7). “DOE’s stated goal–to clean up all weapons sites within 30 years–is unfounded because it is not based on meaningful estimates of work to be done, the level of cleanup to be accomplished, or the availability of technologies to achieve certain cleanup levels. Neither DOE nor any other agency has been able to prepare reliable cost estimates for the total cleanup.” (Box A, pg. 7). Appendix A contains a summary of hazardous substances released to the environment at 13 of the most important DOE remediation sites. This 1991 OTA report predates the more comprehensive BEMR issued by the DOE beginning in 1994 and is the first major government publication to address the legacy of nuclear weapons production. Table A-10 in Appendix A provides a summary of the primarily nonradioactive constituents of the Pinellas Plant plume in Largo, FL. Due to its location in a highly populated area, the Pinellas plume is among the most dangerous of all DOE complex plumes due to its proximity above and possibly within the principle aquifer in Florida, the Floridian Aquifer. The exact nature and extent of groundwater contamination is not known at this time. (pg. 163). U.S. Department of Energy. (April, 1994). Committed to results: DOE’s Environmental Management Program: An introduction. DOE/EM-0152P. DOE, Office of Environmental Restoration, Washington, D.C. U.S. Department of Energy. (1994). Drawing back the curtain of secrecy, restricted data declassification policy, 1946 to the present. (Report No. RDD-1). DOE, Office of Declassification, Washington D.C. “This document provides historical perspective on the sequence of declassification actions performed by the Department of Energy and its predecessor agencies.” (pg. i) This rather technical report provides lists of information pertaining to the technology, materials, isotope separation, reactors, and other information pertaining to previously classified weapons production information. This report contains no data whatsoever pertaining to the wastes generated during the production of nuclear weapons but does contain this revealing information about plant effluent disposal; “Care must be taken not to include data which by implication might reveal production rates or classified processes” (pg. 114); otherwise no other information is given about the environmental impact of weapons production technologies. U.S. Department of Energy. (August, 1994). Environmental Management Fact Sheets. DOE, Office of Environmental Management, Washington, D.C. This brief publication contains a list of DOE environmental management sites and provides a good quick introduction to DOE programs and activities and the legislative acts upon which they are based (Resource Conservation and Recover Act (RCRA, 1976); The Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, 1980); The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA, 1969)) as well as other statutes which affect DOE’s Environmental Management program. While this publication gives only the briefest summary of site specific environmental management activities, the following quote pertaining to the Fernald, Ohio Feed Materials Production Center is appropriate for any of the DOE sites undergoing remediation. “…waste generated as byproducts of operations at this facility was stored and disposed of on site. Many of the storage and disposal methods used, although believed to be safe and efficient at the time, have proved to be neither”. (pg. 0043P). U.S. Department of Energy. (1995). Closing the circle on the splitting of the atom. DOE, Office of Environmental Management, Washington D.C. This slick publication “describes environmental, safety and health problems throughout the nuclear weapons complex and what the DOE is doing to address them.” (from the “Forward”) The closest this report comes to providing specific data about actual levels of waste production is a graph presented (pg. 32) which shows waste production (one and a quarter inches = one million curies): “at this scale, this bar would be 100 feet high (as tall as a ten story building)”. The reader is then free to take a ruler, and measure the size of the boxes in this graph and with this information, and a pencil and a piece of paper, we find weapons production spent fuel wastes amount to 960,000,000 curies from reactor operation, 1,500,000 Ci from chemical separation, and a few more million Ci of waste from target and component fabrication and research development and testing. This chart is one palimpsest among many in the ritual of aversion about cold war radioactive waste inventories. Transuranic wastes are listed as slightly over 2,000,000 Ci. Other than this graph, this publication contains no specific data about waste production inventories. This publication does contain an interesting list of various defense and non-defense sites which are the subject of the U.S. DOE Environmental Management Program (pg. 74), all of which are potential plume source points. RADNET readers please note that while hundreds of locations involved in weapons production are now the subject of the U.S. DOE Environmental Management Program involving remediation of radioactive contamination, the DOE only lists 4 sites as containing high-level wastes. In reference to the missing military high-level wastes mentioned in this section of RADNET, what percentage of the sites listed in this publication undergoing DOE cleanup efforts contain small additional amounts of missing high-level wastes? This report includes a description of the evolution of health protection standards for nuclear workers, and includes the following note about the most recent standard: “1990: The National Academy of Sciences BIER V report asserts that radiation is almost 9 times as damaging as estimated in BIER I. Annual doses may no longer exceed 5 rem per year. The International Commission on Radiation Protection recommends that an average dose of 1-2 rem per year may not be exceeded.” (pg. 38) This report also notes that commercial nuclear power spent fuel currently exceeds 30,000 MT … “about ten times the mass stored by the Energy Department.” (pg. 26) For further discussion of the topic of missing military spent fuel, please refer to Plutonium, the First Fifty Years reviewed in this section of RADNET. U.S. Department of Energy. (February, 1995). Environmental Management 1994: Progress and plans of the environmental management program. DOE/EM-0228. DOE, Washington, D.C. pp. 104. “Environmental Restoration is managed as 17 primary projects throughout the country, subdivided into smaller subprojects. These 850 subprojects include activities at National Priorities List sites, commonly referred to as Superfund sites; decontamination and decommissioning projects; Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action Project (UMTRA) sites; and Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) sites.” (pg. 5). “Most sites have insufficient information concerning the distribution and concentration of uncontained hazardous and radioactive contaminants present in soil and ground water throughout the Department’s weapons complex.” (pg. 6). “Many of the current characterization, containment, and treatment technologies are either ineffective or too costly. Improvements are needed in characterization and data interpretation methods, containment systems, and in situ treatment of waste.” (pg. 6). “The Department faces major technical challenges in the management of low-level radioactively contaminated mixed waste. Several conflicting regulations and a lack of definitive mixed-waste treatment standards hamper ongoing activities. In addition disposal capacity for mixed waste is expensive and severely limited.” (pg. 6-7). “Numerous Department of Energy landfills pose significant remediation challenges. Some existing landfills have contaminants that are migrating, therefore requiring interim containment prior to final remediation. Materials buried in ‘retrievable storage’ pose another problem – the need for retrieval systems that reduce worker exposure and the quantity of secondary waste. In addition development of in situ methods for both containment and treatment is a high-priority need.” (pg. 7). “It is not possible to immediately or simultaneously shut down, or decommission, all of the approximately 21,000 surplus facilities the Department manages due to the tremendous financial resources needed, health and safety measures involved, and the economic impact on surrounding communities.” (pg. 8). U.S. Department of Energy. (1995). Nuclear reactors built, being built, or planned. Report No. DOE/OSTI-8200, Rev. 58. DOE, Washington D.C. A complete listing of AEC, ERDA, DOE and DOD reactors including location, type, power, and operating time frames. U.S. Department of Energy. (September, 1996). Ninth annual report to Congress: Fiscal year 1995 progress in implementing Section 120 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. DOE, Washington, D.C. U.S. Department of Energy. (1996). Plutonium: The first 50 years: United States plutonium production, acquisition, and utilization from 1944 to 1994. DOE, Washington, D.C. This is a comprehensive report detailing United States plutonium production, acquisition and utilization from 1944 to 1994, and combines a summary of previously released data with newly released data pertaining to plutonium inventories at the Pantex site near Amarillo, Texas and in the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. This report provides the inventory of three types of plutonium: weapons grade, fuel grade, and power reactor grade, based on the percentage of 240Pu that is contained in the plutonium. “Weapon grade plutonium contains less than 7 percent Pu-240. Fuel grade plutonium contains from 7 percent to less than 19 percent Pu-240, and power reactor grade contains from 19 percent and greater Pu-240…. The U.S. Plutonium inventory is composed of 85.0 MT of weapon grade, 13.2 MT of fuel grade, and 1.3 MT of reactor grade.” (pg. 17) This report gives the following inventory of plutonium-239 in stock as of September 1994 in metric tons (MT): Rocky Flats: 12.7; Hanford: 11.0; Argonne National Laboratory-West: 4.0; Los Alamos National Laboratory: 2.7; Savannah River: 2.0; Idaho National Engineering Laboratory: 0.5; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory: 0.3; Others: 0.2; DOD and Pantex plant: 66.1; Total inventory: 99.5 metric tons (MT; one metric ton = 1000 kg); Figure 4, pg. 20. The large inventory of plutonium listing at the Pantex plant in Texas includes the total of all the plutonium in all U. S. weapons systems deployed anywhere in the world. National security considerations prompted the DOE to account for plutonium 239 inventories in weapons in active service situations in this general category without specifying the specific locations of atomic weapons not presently being dismantled at the Pantex site. A number of observations need to be made about this inventory: Most of the information used to create this report came from the Nuclear Materials Management and Safe Guards System (NMMSGS), the official U.S. nuclear materials accounting system, which tracks all special nuclear material. Special nuclear material does not include 238Pu, “used in general purpose heat sources and radio isotope thermoelectric generators [RTG’s] to produce electricity in spacecraft,” nor does it include 242Pu “used as target material for the production of other nuclear materials, and in nuclear physics research.” (pg. 17) This inventory of plutonium for weapons production also does not include 241Pu, a beta emitter with a half life of 14 years and the ninth most common constituent of LWR spent fuel at 150 days cooling. 241Pu is produced at a rate of 3,850 Ci per mw/yr; the annual production of 241Pu from commercial nuclear power production is: 250,000,000 Ci/yr, with the cumulative total as of Jan. 1, 1991 listed at 2,490,000,000 Ci. See ORNL Integrated Database, pg. 261. The daughter product of 241Pu is Americium-241. Table 1 (pg. 22) in this report divides the plutonium inventory into two groups: acquisitions (111.4 metric tons) and removals (12 metric tons): Table 1. Plutonium Material Balance All data expressed in metric tons of 239Pu Government Production Reactors 103.4 Government Nonproduction Reactors 0.6 U.S. Civilian Industry (excluding plutonium in commercial spent fuel) 1.7 Foreign Countries 5.7 Total 111.4 Removals Expended in Wartime and Tests 3.4 Inventory Differences 2.8 Waste (Normal Operating Losses) (NOL) 3.4 Fission and Transmutation 1.2 Decay and Other Removals 0.4 U.S. Civilian Industry 0.1 Foreign Countries 0.7 Total 12.0 Total Acquisitions 111.4 Total Removals -12.0 Classified Transactions & Rounding 0.1 Actual Inventory 99.5 According to reliable sources at the Natural Resources Defense Council, this DOE report is an accurate accounting of all the 239Pu produced for weapons production in the U.S. since 1944, and the data in this report is compatible with nuclear weapons production listed in the Nuclear Weapons Databook produced by the NRDC in 1984, and reviewed above in this section of RADNET. The NRDC report notes a 1983 nuclear weapons stockpile of 26,000 nuclear war heads; the rule of thumb of three kilograms of plutonium for a typical nuclear weapon would indicate that the DOD report does account for all special nuclear material (plutonium - excluding enriched uranium). 3 kg x 26,000 = 78,000 kg plutonium = 78 metric tons. An unknown but sizable amount of plutonium used in the fabrication of nuclear weapons between 1945 and 1960 has apparently been recycled into new weapons production; nuclear weapons inventories reached their peak in 1967 at 32,000 warheads and has been falling since then, so there is no reason to question the amount of plutonium produced for weapons production which is reported in this publication. Section 10.3 of this report discusses waste, defined as “normal operating losses” (NOL) which occur “when quantities of plutonium, determined by measurement, or estimated on the basis of measurement, are intentionally removed from inventory as waste because they are technically or economically unrecoverable…some examples of waste are discharges to cribs, tanks, settling ponds or to waste disposal facilities generically referred to as burial sites.” (pg. 55) This report lists Rocky Flats (1.0 MT), the Hanford site (1.1 MT), Los Alamos National Laboratory (0.6 MT) and the Savannah River site (0.5 MT) as the repositories of the largest amount of plutonium waste resulting from normal operating losses. This report goes on to qualify the 3.4 MT figure as actually being 3.9 metric tons due to a variety of bookkeeping discrepancies that are described in Appendix B of this report, giving a final figure 3,919 kg of plutonium in waste inventories. This contrasts with 99.5 metric tons (99,500 kg) of plutonium in nuclear weapons in active service, awaiting dismantling at Pantex or in storage as previously listed. This raises the following enigma: THE PLUTONIUM ENIGMA The Oak Ridge National Laboratory Integrated Data Base for 1994 (U.S. Spent Nuclear Fuel and Waste Inventories, Projections and Characteristics) lists the following annual and cumulative production of plutonium-239 in commercial nuclear power spent fuel (This is the same plutonium isotope the DOD report cited above has been tracking for weapons production plutonium inventories): Annual production of plutonium-239 in 1994: 585,000 curies Cummulative production of plutonium-239 as of Jan. 1, 1995: 9,000,000 curies Yearly average annual production of 239Pu for a model U.S. nuclear power plant: 5,367 Ci/year (585,000 curies divided by 109 reactors). The Integrated Data Base also provides the following inventories of weapons production high-level waste and transuranic waste: Military high-level waste (as of 12/31/94): 958,800,000 Ci Stored transuranic wastes: 1,840,000 Ci Buried transuranic wastes including potentially contaminated soil: >830,000 Ci The above data for weapons production wastes is too generalized to compare with the DOD data about 239Pu production contained in the report Plutonium: The First Fifty Years as no specific data about weapons production 239Pu is contained within the Integrated Data Base. Weapons production waste inventories contrast sharply with the huge quantities of spent fuel generated by the commercial nuclear power industry. RADNET readers, please consider the following: One curie of 239Pu = 16.2 g of 239Pu; the yearly plutonium-239 production of a model U.S. nuclear power plant is therefore 86.96 kg per year (5,367 curies x 16.2 g = 86.96 kg) The DOD report lists plutonium in waste inventory at 3,919 kg (= 242,000 Ci) The typical U.S. nuclear power plant would therefore create in forty-five years sufficient spent fuel 239Pu waste to approximately equal the total of all 239Pu in DOD waste inventories created since 1944. Not only does the DOD report not include inventories of 238Pu, 241Pu or 242Pu, it is unlikely that 3,919 kilograms (242,000 Ci) is the actual total of 239Pu waste created in the production of nuclear weapons, as a model U.S. commercial nuclear reactor has accumulated 82,568 curies of 239Pu as of Jan. 1, 1995 (1,337 kg). It takes 3 kg of 239Pu to produce an average size nuclear weapon, therefore sufficient plutonium-239 has accumulated in the typical U.S. commercial nuclear reactor to produce over 446 nuclear weapons. To produce 446 nuclear weapons, the reactor grade plutonium would have to be refined into weapons grade plutonium, but nonetheless, this data is sufficient to emphasize not only the great quantities of plutonium produced as waste by commercial nuclear reactors, but to illustrate the probability that weapons production has created large additional quantities of spent fuel, and other HLW, including wastes containing other plutonium isotopes which are not accounted for in the DOD report of Plutonium, the First 50 Years. THE PLUTONIUM ENIGMA: PART 2 Evaluation of U.S. military source points of radioactive waste must include the following discrepancy: The Oak Ridge National Laboratory Integrated Data Base for 1994 (U.S. Spent Nuclear Fuel and Waste Inventories, Projections and Characteristics) lists military high-level wastes as 957,900,000 curies as of Jan. 1, 1995, as well as an additional 2,670,000 curies of transuranic wastes (TRUW) (pg. 15). These wastes are listed primarily as tank wastes(liquid and solid) at four U.S. locations: Hanford, WA; Idaho National Engineering Laboratory; the Savannah River site; and the West Valley, New York former fuel reprocessing facility (24,700,000 Ci is still at this location). In view of the 30,200,000,000 Ci of spent nuclear fuel accumulated by the commercial nuclear industry as of Jan. 1, 1996, a question for the next millennium is: Where are the other billions of curies of spent nuclear fuel derived liquid high-level wastes which the U.S. military (Department of Energy) has generated since the production of nuclear weapons began in 1945? The ORNL data base only lists tank wastes; what happened to the millions of curies of high-level wastes discharged to waste ponds and holding lagoons at Savannah River, Hanford, and elsewhere which are not currently inside the tanks? What are the on site inventories of uncontained waste at other locations not noted in the ORNL data base, for example, in the canyons near Los Alamos, or at White Oak Canyon at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, itself a major dumping site in the early days of weapons production? The ORNL report clearly notes that it does not include “inventories of government production reactor spent nuclear fuels that have been reprocessed in the manufacture of nuclear weapons for national defense…” (ORNL Data Base, 1994, p. 2); it is highly unlikely that all 239Pu produced by government reactors from 1944 to 1994 have been recycled into weapons grade plutonium without creating more than 3,919 kg of waste as listed in the DOD report. Even more revealing is the following discrepancy: commercial nuclear power plants have created a cumulative total of 145.8 metric tons of 239Pu as of Jan. 1, 1996, while creating 30,200,000,000 curies of spent fuel HLW. Military weapons production has produced 111 metric tons of 239Pu, while producing only 957,900,000 curies of HLW. Additional hints about the widespread, uncontained disposal of radioactive wastes of every type and description can be gleaned from many of the U.S. military source point citations; the question now is what is the location and what are the quantities of other isotopes characterizing reprocessed spent fuel including 238Pu, 241Pu and 242Pu which have been produced as waste during the production of more than 30,000 nuclear weapons? When will the Department of Energy reconcile the ORNL Integrated Database (IDB) with the report Plutonium: The First 50 Years issued in February of this year? The necessity for this reconciliation is noted at the end of the report on page 79: “The Department has formed a working group to analyze NMMSS, IDB, and other Departmental tracking systems and to make recommendations on the appropriateness of integrating the various inventory systems or developing a new tracking system for all forms of plutonium.” For further comments on this topic see an update on the Integrated Database posted in 2002. RADNET browsers with any additional information pertaining to missing U.S. military (DOE) high-level wastes, including any interesting National Reconnaissance Office low-orbit satellite surveillance data, please contact the Center for Biological Monitoring . This article can be ordered directly from the DOE by calling (202) 586-5000. U. S. Department of Energy. (July 1998). Followup review of fissile material assurance in the Department of Energy complex. EH2PUB/07-98/12SR. Office of Oversight, Office of Environment, Safety and Health, U.S. DOE, Washington, D.C. http://ping.fm/0gEIk U. S. General Accounting Office. (August 1994). Environmental Cleanup–Better Data Needed for Radioactivity Contaminated Defense Sites. GAO/NSIAD-94-168. U.S. GAO, Washington, D.C. The DOE’s Integrated DataBase (IDB) Report from 1994 indicates this study documents as many as 420 DOD locations which “could be contaminated with radioactive wastes.” (IDB, pg. 1). This publication will be reviewed by RADNET as soon as a full copy is obtained from the DOE. Deepwell Injection Chia, Y., and Chiu, J. (1994). Groundwater monitoring for deep-well injection. Report no. ANL/ES/PP–73641. NTIS order no. DE94019291. Argonne National Laboratory, IL. “A groundwater monitoring system for detecting waste migration would not only enhance confidence in the long-term containment of injected waste, but would also provide early warnings of contamination for prompt responses to protect underground sources of drinking water (USDWs). Field experiences in Florida have demonstrated monitoring water quality and fluid pressure changes in overlying formations is useful in detecting the upward migration of injected waste.” (abstract). U.S. Department of Energy. (July, 1993). Recommended management practices for operation and closure of shallow injection wells at DOE facilities. Report no. ANL/EA/RP–80447. NTIS order no. DE93019531. Argonne National Laboratory, IL and the Ground Water Protection Council, Oklahoma City, OK. 143 pp. “The Safe Drinking Water Act established the Underground Injection Control (UIC) program to ensure that underground injection of wastes does not endanger an underground source of drinking water. Under UIC regulations, an injection well is a hole in the ground, deeper than it is wide, that receives wastes or other fluid substances. Types of injection wells range from deep cased wells to shallow sumps, drywells, and drainfields. The report describes the five classes of UIC wells and summarizes relevant regulations for each class of wells and for the UIC program.” (abstract). Veil, J.A. and Grunewald, B. (1993). Closure of shallow underground injection wells. Report no. ANL/EA/CP–79596. NTIS order no. DE94000445. Argonne National Laboratory, Washington, DC. pp. 11. “Shallow injection wells have long been used for disposing liquid wastes. Some of these wells have received hazardous or radioactive wastes. According to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, Class IV wells are those injection wells through which hazardous or radioactive wastes are injected into or above an un