Classifying Radioactive Tank Waste

Safe, efficient and effective treatment of tank waste is a top priority for DOE.

Key Attributes

Tank Waste Classification Approaches1

 Waste Incidental to Reprocessing Evaluation2005 NDAA Section 3116HLW Interpretation
Where Applicable?
  • Hanford 
  • West Valley Demonstration Project 
  • Idaho Site2
  • Savannah River Site (SRS)2
  • Idaho Site
  • SRS
  • Currently, SRS Defense Waste Processing Facility Recycle Wastewater only
Key Technical Criteria
  • Remove highly radioactive radionuclides to the maximum extent practical
  • Comply with 10 CFR 61, Subpart C performance objectives 
  • Requires State-approved closure plan or permit
  • If regulatory concentration limits exceeded, requires plans developed by DOE in consultation with the NRC
  • NRC and State shall monitor disposal actions
  • Cannot be applied to waste transported out of state


Examples of Application
  • Hanford WM Area-C Tank Farm (ongoing)
  • Hanford Vitrified Low-Activity Waste (ongoing)
  • Hanford Test Bed Initiative (3-gal) (2016)
  • WVDP Concentrator Feed Makeup Tank and Melter Hold Tank (2013)
  • WVDP Melter (2012) 
  • SRS H Tank Farm (2014)
  • SRS F Tank Farm (2012)
  • SRS Saltstone Disposal Facility (2006)
  • Idaho Nuclear Technical and Engineering Center Tank Farm Facility (2006)
  • SRS DWPF Recycle Wastewater (ongoing)
Regulatory Oversight
  • Must comply with all applicable state and federal regulations
  • Optional NRC consultation
  • Must comply with all applicable state and federal regulations
  • Requires NRC consultation
  • Must comply with all applicable state and federal regulations
  • NRC consultation not required –DOE to maintain its strong relationship with NRC, and continue that relationship in the future

1A fourth approach is Waste Incidental to Reprocessing (WIR) citation under DOE Manual 435.1-1, Radioactive Waste Management Manual, Chapter II, Section B.(1).  This approach is not shown in the table.  It allows a limited number of secondary solid waste items to be excluded from HLW (e.g., contaminated clothing, tools, and equipment).

2For the Idaho Site and SRS, the WIR evaluation approach applies to tank waste that is transported from Idaho and South Carolina, respectively; 2005 NDAA Section 3116 applies when tank waste at these two sites is disposed in-state.  

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