Radioactive Waste: Answers to Questions Related to the Proposed Ward Valley Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility: RCED-98-40R

May 1998
GAO Reports;5/22/1998, p1
Government Document
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the proposed facility for disposing of commercially generated low-level radioactive waste at a site in Ward Valley, California, focusing on: (1) the laws and regulations governing the Department of the Interior's preparation of supplements to environmental impact statements; (2) the laws and regulations on federal land transfers to states; (3) a May 1995 report on Ward Valley issues by the National Academy of Sciences; (4) a former low-level waste disposal facility at Beatty, Nevada; (5) an investigation by Interior's Inspector General into the activities of the U.S. Geological Survey related to the Beatty facility; (6) the plan and design for the proposed Ward Valley facility; and (7) the track record of U.S. Ecology in operating disposal facilities. GAO noted that: (1) the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended, governs the preparation of environmental impact statements by federal agencies; (2) the final impact statement recognizes the possibility of links between the aquifer beneath Ward Valley and neighboring aquifers but does not assess the potential for the contamination of the Colorado River by this means; (3) the statement did not address the issues of upward migration and release into the atmosphere of soluble radionuclides; (4) in negotiations with California, the Department of the Interior maintained its position that it would transfer the land if the state would accept, as a condition of the transfer, Interior's authority to enforce, in the courts, the state's compliance with the National Academy of Sciences' recommendations; (5) California refused Interior's offer, asserting that the recommendations concerned radiological safety, which is the state's responsibility; (6) at the request of the Secretary of the Interior, a 17-member committee of the National Academy of Sciences studied seven radiological and environmental issues pertaining to the proposed Ward Valley project that had been raised by three U.S. Geological Survey geologists in a report they had prepared as individuals rather than for an official Geological Survey report; (7) the committee generally did not agree with the concerns about the safety of the site raised by the scientists; (8) both California and U.S. Ecology have considered the Beatty disposal site analagous to the Ward Valley site, but there are dissimilarities between the two sites; (9) Interior's Inspector General is investigating three matters related to the Geological Survey's research activities adjacent to the Beatty disposal facility, (10) the Nuclear Engineering Company operated three land disposal facilities: (a) the Sheffield and Maxey Flats sites, neither of which contained radioactive wastes as expected; and (b) the Beatty site, which measured greater than expected levels of tritium and carbon-14; and (11) in the 1995 through 1997 annual reports of American Ecology, independent public accountants concluded that there was substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern.


Related Articles

  • Decision on Nuke Dump At Canyonlands Close.  // National Parks;Sep/Oct84, Vol. 58 Issue 9/10, p39 

    Reports on the U.S. Department of Energy's issuance of its draft environmental assessments on potential nuclear waste dump sites in September 1984. Scientific site selection guidelines used the Department's Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Background on the nominated sites; Test programs to be...

  • Canyonlands Not Off Hook As Nuke Dump Target.  // National Parks;Mar/Apr85, Vol. 59 Issue 3/4, p36 

    Reports on the U.S. Department of Energy's top three candidates for first high-level nuclear waste dump. Strength of support for protecting Canyonlands; Three sites that the department chose for further testing; Environmental impact assessment.

  • SITE SELECTION OF A GEOLOGICAL REPOSITORY FOR THE SAFE DISPOSAL OF HIGH-LEVEL WASTE IN THE STATE OF RIO DE JANEIRO. Silva, Corbiniano; da Costa Pereira Lavalle Heilbron, Monica; Heilbron Filho, Paulo Fernando Lavalle // Revista Internacional de Ciências;Jan-Jun2015, Vol. 5 Issue 1, p83 

    The choice of candidates sites for final disposal of high-level radioactive wastes has been a complicated process worldwide, mainly due to the complexity of the environments that are adequate to receive this type of repositories, whose disposal may have several implications related to...

  • Mercury and Radioactive Waste Disposal in Sweden: Political Handling at the Local Level. Uggla, Ylva // Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy & Management;Dec2002, Vol. 4 Issue 4, p425 

    The paper analyses the political handling of mercury and radioactive waste disposal at the local level, and includes a case study of a Swedish community where there is a conflict concerning a planned deep repository of mercury. The analysis is based on two contrasting lines of planning theory,...

  • Torrens system of recording eliminated.  // Long Island Business News (7/1993 to 5/2009);8/12/96, Vol. 43 Issue 33, p29 

    Reports that New York Governor George Pataki signed a bill that will gradually phase out the state's Torrens system of land registration. Methods for recording real property in New York; Commendations on the bill's sponsors.

  • The time tunnel. Montano, Agnes J. // Caribbean Business;5/26/1994, Vol. 22 Issue 21, p1 

    Reports on the automation of property registration in Puerto Rico. Registration as backbone of all real-estate transactions; Description and limitations of present registration system; Incentive program; Improvement of working conditions; Increase of staff; Automation of Monacillo and Sabana...

  • Fielding boundary disputes. Colby, Allyson // EG: Estates Gazette;3/24/2012, Issue 1212, p15 

    The article discusses the provisions of the Land Registration Act 2002 dealing with adverse possession claims relating to boundary disputes in Great Britain.

  • Athens County land transfers...  // Athens News;6/25/2015, p13 

    The article presents a list of land transfers in Athens, Ohio in June 2015.

  • Notices: DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.  // Federal Register (National Archives & Records Service, Office of;7/5/2013, Vol. 78 Issue 129, p40425 

    The article presents a notice of the Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the proposed transfer of 1,070 acres of land at the J. Phil Campbell, Senior, Natural Resource Conservation Center (NRCC) in Watkinsville, Georgia. The EA was...


Read the Article

Other Topics