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Envirocare’s Containerized Waste Facility (CWF) is the first commercial low-level radioactive waste disposal facility to be licensed in the 21st century and the first new site to be opened and operated since the late 1970’s. The licensing of this facility has been the culmination of over a decade’s effort by Envirocare of Utah at their Clive, Utah site. With the authorization to receive and dispose of higher activity containerized Class A low-level radioactive waste (LLRW), this facility has provided critical access to disposal for the nuclear power industry, as well as the related research and medical communities. This paper chronicles the licensing history and operational efforts designed to address the disposal of containerized LLRW in accordance with state and federal regulations. The Clive, Utah facility was initially licensed for naturally-occurring radioactive material wastes (NORM) in 1988. The facility has expanded in size and capabilities over the years. Currently, in addition to NORM, the facility is licensed to receive Class A LLRW, low-activity radioactive wastes (LARW), mixed radioactive and hazardous wastes (MW), and 11e.(2) byproduct wastes, also known as uranium mill tailings and similar materials. Envirocare received a new license to dispose of all classes of LLRW (Class A, B and C) on June 9, 2001. Prior to implementation of the Class A, B, and C license, the Utah State Legislature and Governor must approve operation. Envirocare’s Class “A” LLRW disposal license reflects many years of operations, as well as over 40-years of experience derived from the nation’s commercial LLRW disposal industry. Envirocare has applied lessons learned from previous and ongoing disposal operations at other low-level disposal sites. These lessons, combined with Envirocare’s superior siting criteria, ensure maximum protectiveness of human health and the environment throughout the design life of the disposal facility. The above grade disposal operation reflects a distinct break from prior commercial LLRW disposal facility design. This type of disposal is more typical of the European LLRW disposal facility design. It presents both long-term isolation and maintenance advantages as well as current operational challenges. The current challenges are related to the management of personnel and public exposure from the higher activity waste materials. This involves dose modeling for direct dose and skyshine. These exposure challenges have been identified and addressed with engineering, radiological and procedural controls. With continued experience, Envirocare’s management and CWF staff is defining its upper limits of activity and dose that the site can receive while continuing to meet the personnel and public exposure criteria.


WM'02 Conference, February 24-28, 2002, Tucson, AZ