Performance assessments (PAs) and risk assessments (RAs) evaluate the impact of a proposed remedial action on human health and the environment, and provide a demonstration of compliance and important technical inputs to meet regulatory requirements for: 1) waste form development and implementation; 2) tank closure activities; 3) waste site closure activities (e.g., cribs and trenches); 4) in-situ decontamination and decommissioning; 5) soil and groundwater remediation; and 6) management of disposal facilities (e.g., land-fills or near surface disposal facilities). The PAs and RAs or P&RAs become public documents upon completion. As such, the Department of Energy (DOE) needs to ensure that P&RAs continue to be performed and documented consistently and to high standards.
DOE EM sponsored the Performance Assessment Community of Practice in 2009, to:
a) provide means to address consistency early and throughout PA process;
b) foster early and sustained communication among CERCLA, NEPA, RCRA, and DOE O 435.1 activities involving LLW, tank closure, and D&D;
c) provide a forum to share information regarding state of the art and specific models, data and approaches; and
d) serve as an enduring data and modeling resource to minimize duplication of effort across DOE and train future generation of PA professionals
PA CoP held 3 technical exchange meetings between 2009 and 2011:
• July 13-14, 2009: Salt Lake City (http://www.cresp.org/education/workshops/pacop/)
• April 13-14, 2010: Richland, WA (http://srnl.doe.gov/copexchange/2010_pacop.htm)
• May 25-26, 2011: Atlanta. GA (http://srnl.doe.gov/copexchange/2011_pacop.htm)
In late 2013, the group was broadened as P&RA CoP to emphasize:
a) the need for an integrated regulatory framework when cleanup work at a given site is subject to overlapping environmental regulations (CERCLA, RCRA, NEPA, and DOE Order 435.1); and
b) the importance of risk assessments in non-DOE self-regulated cleanup activities
The goal of the Performance & Risk Assessment Community of Practice (P&RA CoP) is to foster exchange of information regarding preparation of performance assessments and risk analyses in support of environmental decisions across agencies and practitioners; enhance consistency in the preparation of P&RAs across the DOE; and to develop appropriate peer guidance and/or recommendations for P&RAs such that they are based on sound science and are defensible (see the P&RA CoP Charter of December, 2013).
An interagency steering committee was expanded in August 2013 to guide the activities for the P&RA CoP.