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Greater-Than-Class-C Low-Level Radioactive Waste EIS
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Frequently Asked Questions

What's in the Final GTCC EIS

The Final Greater-Than-Class C Low-Level Radioactive Waste Environmental Impact Statement (GTCC EIS) evaluates potential environmental and human health impacts from the construction, operation, and post-closure activities related to the conceptual disposal facilities for GTCC waste.

Summary

The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985 (LLRWPAA, Public Law 99-240) makes the Federal Government responsible for the disposal of GTCC LLRW that results from activities licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Agreement States. The LLRWPAA also directed that such waste be disposed in a facility licensed by the NRC. There are no facilities currently licensed by NRC for disposal of GTCC LLRW. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is the Federal agency responsible for the disposal of GTCC LLRW, and evaluates a range of reasonable alternatives for disposal of this waste in the Final EIS. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is participating as a cooperating agency in the preparation of the EIS and the NRC is participating as a commenting agency.

What is analyzed in the Final EIS?

The scope of the EIS includes the assessment of the positive and negative environmental, social, and economic impacts of constructing, operating, and closure of a disposal facility or facilities for GTCC LLRW and GTCC-like waste. DOE evaluates several disposal methods to be applied at various DOE and generic commercial sites. The disposal methods include enhanced near surface disposal (trench and vault), intermediate depth borehole disposal, and disposal in a geologic repository. DOE site locations included in the EIS are:

  • Hanford Site,
  • Idaho National Laboratory,
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory,
  • Nevada National Security Site
  • Savannah River Site, and the
  • Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and vicinity.

Generic commercial sites are also analyzed in the EIS.

What impacts and issues are evaluated in the Final EIS?

DOE evaluated the following impacts and issues in the Final GTCC EIS.

  • Potential environmental impacts including air, noise and water quality.
  • Potential transportation impacts from the shipment of GTCC LLRW and GTCC-like waste to the disposal site(s).
  • Potential impacts from postulated accidents.
  • Cumulative impacts from past, present and reasonably foreseeable actions.
  • Impacts to involved and non-involved site workers.
  • Potential impacts to historical and cultural artifacts or sites of historical and cultural significance.
  • Potential disproportionately high and adverse effects on low income and minority populations (environmental justice).
  • Irretrievable and irreversible commitment of resources.
  • Short-term and long-term land use impacts.
  • Compliance with applicable federal, state, and local requirements.
  • Long-term site health and environmental impacts, including potential impacts to groundwater and surface water quality.
  • Long-term site suitability, including erosion and seismicity.
  • Potential impacts to endangered species.
  • Intentional destructive acts.