In February 2016, DOE publicly issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Disposal of Greater-Than-Class C (GTCC) Low-Level Radioactive Waste and GTCC-Like Waste (DOE/EIS-0375)(Final GTCC EIS) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed development, operation, and long-term management of a disposal facility or facilities for GTCC low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) and GTCC-like waste. The Final GTCC EIS evaluated five alternatives including a No Action Alternative, geologic repository at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), intermediate-depth borehole, enhanced near-surface trench, and above-grade vault facilities. The Final GTCC EIS evaluates at the Hanford Site, Idaho National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Nevada National Security Site, Savannah River Site, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and the WIPP vicinity. The Final EIS also evaluates generic commercial disposal sites in four regions of the United States.
The preferred alternative for the disposal of GTCC LLRW and GTCC-like waste in the Final GTCC EIS is the WIPP geologic repository (Alternative 2) and/or land disposal at generic commercial facilities (Alternatives 3-5). These land disposal conceptual designs at generic commercial sites could be altered or enhanced, as necessary, to provide the optimal application at a given location. In addition, there is presently no preference among the three land disposal technologies at the generic commercial sites. The analysis in this Final GTCC EIS has provided the Department with the integrated insight needed to identify a preferred alternative with the potential to enable the disposal of the entire waste inventory analyzed in this EIS. The Department has determined that the preferred alternative would satisfy the needs of the Department for the disposal of GTCC LLRW and GTCC-like waste.
Pursuant to Section 631 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58), prior to DOE making a final decision on the disposal alternative or alternatives to implement, DOE submitted a Report to Congress in November 2017 that describes the disposal alternatives under consideration and includes all the information required in the comprehensive report on ensuring the safe disposal of GTCC LLRW that was submitted by the Secretary of Energy to Congress in February 1987. Section 631 also requires DOE to await Congressional action after the Report to Congress is submitted.