US DOE (OCRWM)
The mission of the Office
of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM)is to manage and dispose of the Nation’s
military and civilian high-level radioactive waste and spent
nuclear fuel in a manner that protects the health and safety
of the public without harming the environment.
A brief history of the Department of Energy's Office of Civilian
Radioactive Waste Management
the mid-1950s, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) considered
the disposal of defense-related high-level radioactive waste
and recommended salt as a potentially suitable host rock for
geologic disposal. In 1957, the NAS concluded that radioactive
wastes could be disposed of safely in a variety of geologic
media within the United States. The NAS noted, however, the
technical and institutional uncertainties involved in implementing
a geologic repository strategy, and assumed that significant
research would be necessary and substantial costs incurred
before a final conclusion could be reached on the feasibility,
reliability, and safety of geologic disposal. At the same time,
preliminary nationwide screening for suitable repository sites
began and resulted in the identification of four
large potentially suitable regions underlain by rock salt:
salt domes of the Gulf Coastal Plain in Texas, Louisiana, and
• Bedded salt in the Paradox Basin of
Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico.
• Bedded salt
in the Permian Basin of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.
salt in the Michigan and Appalachian Basins of Michigan, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, and New York.
In 1970, the Atomic Energy Commission
proposed the salt deposits near Lyons, Kansas for a permanent
repository. This proposal was abandoned two years later for
political and technical reasons. Following the failure of the
Lyons siting proposal, the Energy Research and Development
Administration proposed the development of a retrievable surface
storage facility at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, in the
State of Washington. However, this proposal was also dropped
amid concerns it would defer geologic disposal efforts. The
rest of the story (pdf file)
OCRWM was established in 1982 under the Nuclear Waste Policy
Act. The OCRWM Program Director reports to Secretary of Energy
Samuel Bodman. The OCRWM Program includes:
- Program Management – Program management activities
are administered from Washington, DC. Responsibilities include
oversight of quality assurance, program planning and administration,
program management and integration, external interactions,
human resources, and the OCRWM budget.
- Yucca Mountain Project – The Yucca Mountain site
is located in Nye County, Nevada, approximately 100 miles
northwest of Las Vegas. For two decades, the OCRWM conducted
scientific and engineering investigations at Yucca Mountain
to determine its suitability as a nuclear waste repository.
- Science and Technology Program – The program explores
technological improvements that could enhance the performance,
safety, and efficiency of the repository at Yucca Mountain,
and/or reduce the costs of the civilian radioactive waste
- Waste Acceptance and Transportation – Headquartered
in Washington, DC., responsibilities include development
of waste acceptance, storage and transportation systems.
Activities also include interactions with other waste owners,
generators and international waste management programs.
Key Program and Milestone Documents
The DOE has submitted a license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The license application consists of a letter describing its purpose, accompanied by attachments that contain general information and a safety analysis report.
- The general information portion of the application will provide an overview of the repository's engineering design concept and will describe the natural features of the site.
- The safety analysis report (the main technical document in the licensing process) will demonstrate how the repository can be constructed, operated, and closed in a manner that protects public and worker health and safety and preserves the quality of the environment.
The NRC is the licensing and regulatory agency that will make the final decision on whether the DOE is allowed to proceed with construction and subsequent licensing to operate the repository.
Environmental Impact Statements
Environmental Impact Statements
- Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for a Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada (0250F-S1, PDF)
- Final Environmental Impact Statement for a Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada (0250, February 2002)
- Final Environmental Impact Statement for a Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada
- Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for a Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada - Nevada Rail Transportation Corridor and Final Environmental Impact Statement for a Rail Alignment for the Construction and Operation of a Railroad in Nevada to a Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada(DOE/EIS-0250F-S2 and DOE/EIS-0369) (PDF)
- Final Environmental Impact Statement Management of Commercially Generated Radioactive Waste Volume 1
Peer Review Documents
Total System Performance Assessment
Waste Package Materials Performance