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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 12. Health
Agency 5. Department of Health
Chapter 481. Virginia Radiation Protection Regulations
8/11/2020

12VAC5-481-450. General Requirements for the Issuance of Specific Licenses.

A. A license application will be approved if the agency determines that:

1. The applicant is qualified by reason of training and experience to use the material in question for the purpose requested in accordance with these regulations in such a manner as to minimize danger to public health and safety or property;

2. The applicant's proposed equipment, facilities, and procedures are adequate to minimize danger to public health and safety or property;

3. The issuance of the license will not be inimical to the health and safety of the public;

4. The applicant has described in the application how facility design and procedures for operation will minimize, to the extent practicable, contamination of the facility and the environment, facilitate eventual decommissioning, and minimize, to the extent practicable, the generation of radioactive waste;

5. Licensees shall, to the extent practical, conduct operations to minimize the introduction of residual radioactivity into the site, including the subsurface, in accordance with this chapter; and

6.The applicant satisfies any applicable special requirements in 12VAC5-481-460, 12VAC5-481-470, 12VAC5-481-480, or Part V (12VAC5-481-1170 et seq.), Part VII (12VAC5-481-1660 et seq.), Part XI (12VAC5-481-2330 et seq.), Part XII (12VAC5-481-2660 et seq.), Part XIV (12VAC5-481-3140 et seq.), or Part XVI (12VAC5-281-3460 et seq.) of this chapter.

B. Environmental report, commencement of construction. In the case of an application for a license to receive and possess radioactive material for commercial waste disposal by land burial, or for the conduct of any other activity that the agency determines will significantly affect the quality of the environment, the agency, before commencement of construction of the plant or facility in which the activity will be conducted, has concluded, after weighing the environmental, economic, technical and other benefits against environmental costs and considering available alternatives, that the action called for is the issuance of the proposed license, with any appropriate conditions to protect environmental values. Commencement of construction prior to such conclusion shall be grounds for denial of a license to receive and possess radioactive material in such plant or facility. As used in this subsection the term "commencement of construction" means any clearing of land, excavation, or other substantial action that would adversely affect the environment of a site. The term does not mean site exploration, necessary roads for site exploration, borings to determine foundation conditions, or other preconstruction monitoring or testing to establish background information related to the suitability of the site or the protection of environmental values.

C. Financial assurance and records for decommissioning.

1. A person applying for a specific license authorizing the possession and use of unsealed radioactive material shall submit a decommissioning funding plan as described in subdivision 6 of this subsection with the license application for any of the following types of materials:

a. Unsealed radioactive material with a half-life greater than 120 days and in quantities greater than 105 times the applicable quantities listed in 12VAC5-481-3750.

b. Unsealed radioactive material involving a combination of isotopes with R divided by 105 being greater than one, where R is defined as the sum of the ratios of the quantity of each isotope to the applicable value in 12VAC5-481-3750.

2. A person applying for a specific license authorizing the possession and use of radioactive material not covered by subdivision 1 of this subsection with a half-life greater than 120 days and in quantities specified in subdivision 5 of this subsection shall do either of the following:

a. Submit a decommissioning funding plan as described in subdivision 6 of this subsection.

b. Submit a written certification, signed by the chief financial officer or other individual designated by management to represent the licensee, that financial assurance has been provided in the amount prescribed in subdivision 5 of this subsection using one of the methods described in subdivision 6 of this subsection and a signed original of the financial instrument obtained to satisfy the requirements of subdivision 7 of this subsection. The written certification may state that the appropriate assurance will be obtained after the application has been approved and the license issued by the agency but before receipt of radioactive material by the applicant. If the applicant defers execution of the financial instrument until after the license has been issued, the applicant shall submit to the agency a signed original of the financial instrument obtained before receipt of licensed material.

3. The following are exempt from the requirements of this subsection:

a. A state, local or other government agency, except for a government agency licensed to handle or process radioactive waste.

b. A person authorized to possess only radioactive materials with a half-life of 65 days or less.

c. Other persons exempted by the agency based on a review of the license application.

4. Implementation.

a. A person who possesses a specific license authorizing the possession and use of radioactive material issued on or after the effective date as stated in 12VAC5-481-160 that is of a type described in subdivision 1 of this subsection, shall provide financial assurance for decommissioning under this section.

b. A person who possesses a specific license issued before the effective date as stated in 12VAC5-481-160 shall do one of the following:

(1) For a license authorizing the use of radioactive material meeting the criteria of subdivision 1 of this subsection, submit a decommissioning funding plan as described in subdivision 6 of this subsection and a certification of financial assurance for at least $1,125,000, under the criteria in subdivision 5 of this subsection, with any application for license renewal.

(2) For a license authorizing the use of radioactive material meeting the criteria of subdivision 2 of this subsection, submit a decommissioning funding plan as described in subdivision 6 of this subsection or a certification of financial assurance for decommissioning according to the criteria of subdivision 5 of this subsection with any application for license renewal.

c. The term of the financial assurance shall be from the issuance or renewal of the license until the agency terminates the license.

d. A licensee's financial assurance arrangements may be reviewed annually by the agency to recognize any increases or decreases resulting from inflation or deflation, changes in engineering plans, activities performed or any other condition affecting costs for decommissioning to ensure that sufficient funding is available to cover liability that remains until license termination.

5. Required amounts for financial assurance.

a. A licensee shall provide the following minimum amounts of financial assurance for decommissioning, unless otherwise specified by the agency:

(1) $1,125,000 if the quantity of material is greater than 104 but less than or equal to 105 times the applicable quantities of 12VAC5-481-3750 in unsealed form. For a combination of isotopes, R divided by 104 is greater than one but R divided by 105 is less than or equal to one.

(2) $225,000 if the quantity of material is greater than 103 but less than or equal to 104 times the applicable quantities of 12VAC5-481-3750 in unsealed form. For a combination of isotopes, R divided by 103 is greater than one but R divided by 104 is less than or equal to one.

(3) $113,000 if the quantity of material is greater than 1010 times the applicable quantities of 12VAC5-481-3750 in sealed sources or plated foils. For a combination of isotopes, R divided by 1010 is greater than one.

b. The agency may eliminate, reduce or raise the required amount of financial assurance under subdivision 5 a of this subsection for an individual applicant or licensee based on the cost estimate for decommissioning included in the decommissioning funding plan required under subdivision 6 a of this subsection.

6. Each decommissioning funding plan (DFP) shall be submitted for review and approval by the agency.

a. The DFP shall include a detailed cost estimate for decommissioning, in an amount reflecting:

(1) The cost of an independent contractor to perform all decommissioning activities;

(2) The cost of meeting the criteria for unrestricted use in 12VAC5-481-1161 B provided that if the applicant or licensee can demonstrate its ability to meet the provisions of 12VAC5-481-1161 C, the cost estimate may be based on meeting the criteria in 12VAC5-481-1161 C;

(3) The volume of onsite subsurface material containing residual radioactivity that will require remediation to meet the criteria for license termination; and

(4) An adequate contingency factor;

b. The DFP shall include identification of and justification for using the key assumptions contained in the decommissioning cost estimate (DCE);

c. The DFP shall include a description of the method of assuring funds for decommissioning from subdivision 7 of this subsection, including means for adjusting cost estimates and associated funding levels periodically over the life of the facility;

d. The DFP shall include a certification by the licensee that financial assurance for decommissioning has been provided in the amount of the cost estimate for decommissioning;

e. The DFP shall include a signed original of the financial instrument obtained to satisfy the requirements of subdivision 7 of this subsection (unless a previously submitted and accepted financial instrument continues to cover the cost estimate for decommissioning); and

f. The DFP shall (i) be submitted with license renewal and at intervals not to exceed three years and (ii) contain adjustments as necessary to account for changes in costs and the extent of contamination. If the amount of financial assurance will be adjusted downward, this cannot be done until the updated decommissioning funding plan is approved. The DFP shall update the information submitted with the original or prior approved plan and shall specifically consider the effect of the following events on decommissioning costs:

(1) Spills of radioactive material producing additional residual radioactivity in onsite subsurface material;

(2) Waste inventory increasing above the amount previously estimated;

(3) Waste disposal costs increasing above the amount previously estimated;

(4) Facility modifications;

(5) Changes in authorized possession limits;

(6) Actual remediation costs that exceed the previous cost estimate;

(7) Onsite disposal; and

(8) Use of a settling pond.

7. A licensee may use any of the following methods to provide financial assurance for decommissioning:

a. Prepayment. Prepayment is the deposit prior to operation into an account segregated from licensee assets and outside the licensee's administrative control of cash or liquid assets in an amount sufficient to pay decommissioning costs. Prepayment may be in the form of a trust, escrow account, government fund, certificate of deposit or deposit of government securities. Funds placed into a trust segregated from the licensee's assets and outside the licensee's administrative control, and in which the adequacy of the trust funds is to be assessed based on an assumed annual 1.0% real rate of return on investment.

b. Surety method, insurance or other guarantee. Payment of future decommissioning costs shall be guaranteed by a surety method, insurance or other guarantee. A surety method may be in the form of a surety bond, letter of credit or line of credit. Self insurance, or any method that essentially constitutes self-insurance, may not be used as a method of providing financial assurance. Any surety method or insurance used to provide financial assurance for decommissioning shall meet all of the following criteria:

(1) The surety method or insurance shall be open-ended or, if written for a specified term, renewed automatically unless 90 days or more prior to the renewal date, the issuer notifies the agency, the beneficiary and the licensee of its intention not to renew. The surety method or insurance shall also provide that the full face amount be paid to the beneficiary automatically prior to the expiration without proof of forfeiture if the licensee fails to provide a replacement acceptable to the agency within 30 days after receipt of notification of cancellation.

(2) The surety method or insurance shall be payable to a trust established for decommissioning costs. The agency shall approve the trustee and the trust.

(3) The surety method or insurance shall remain in effect until the agency terminates the license.

c. External sinking fund. An external sinking fund may be used in which deposits are made at least annually, coupled with a surety method or insurance, the value of which may decrease by the amount being accumulated in the sinking fund. An external sinking fund may be in the form of a trust, escrow account, government fund, certificate of deposit or deposit of government securities. The surety or insurance provisions shall meet the requirements of subdivision 7 b of this subsection.

d. Statement of intent. A state or local government licensee exempt under subdivision 3 of this subsection shall submit a written statement of intent containing a cost estimate for decommissioning or an amount based on subdivision 5 of this subsection. The cost estimate shall indicate that funds for decommissioning will be obtained when necessary.

8. A licensee shall keep the following records of information related to decommissioning of a facility in an identified location until the site is released for unrestricted use:

a. Records of spills or other unusual occurrences involving the spread of radioactive contamination in and around the facility, equipment or site. The records may be limited to instances where contamination remains after any cleanup procedures or when there is reasonable likelihood that radioactive contaminants may have spread to inaccessible areas or into porous materials such as concrete. The records shall include any known information on identification of involved nuclides, quantities, forms and concentrations.

b. As-built drawings and modifications of structures and equipment in restricted areas where radioactive materials are used or stored, and of locations of possible inaccessible contamination such as buried pipes that may contain radioactive contaminants. If required drawings are referenced, each relevant document does not need to be indexed individually. If drawings are not available, a licensee shall substitute appropriate records of available information concerning the areas and locations of inaccessible contamination.

Note: As-built architectural and engineering drawings need to reflect the final details of the structures and equipment as they were constructed.

c. Except for areas containing only sealed sources that have not leaked or where no contamination remains after a leak, or byproduct materials with half-lives of less than 65 days, a list containing all the following:

(1) All areas currently and formerly designated as restricted areas.

(2) All areas outside of restricted areas that require documentation under subdivision 8 (c) 1 of this subsection.

(3) All areas outside of restricted areas where current and previous wastes have been buried as documented under 12VAC5-481-1060.

(4) All areas outside of restricted areas that contain radioactive material such that, if the license expired, the licensee would be required to either decontaminate the area to meet the criteria for decommissioning in 12VAC5-481-510 or apply for approval for disposal under 12VAC5-481-920.

d. Records of the cost estimate performed for the decommissioning funding plan or the amount certified for decommissioning and records of the funding method used for assuring funds.

9. A licensee shall keep the records in subdivision 8 of this subsection until the site is decommissioned and approved by the agency for unrestricted use.

10. Prior to a licensed activity being transferred to another licensee under 12VAC5-481-500 B, the original licensee shall transfer all records under subdivision 8 of this subsection to the new licensee. The new licensee shall be responsible for maintaining the records until their license is terminated by the agency.

11. A person applying for a specific license authorizing the possession and use of more than 100 mCi of source material in a readily dispersible form shall submit a decommissioning funding plan as described in subdivision 6 of this subsection.

12. A person applying for a specific license authorizing the possession and use of quantities of source material greater than 10 mCi but less than or equal to 100 mCi in a readily dispersible form shall either:

a. Submit a decommissioning funding plan as described in subdivision 6 of this subsection; or

b. Submit a certification that financial assurance for decommissioning has been provided in the amount of $225,000 using one of the methods described in subdivision 7 of this subsection.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008; Volume 25, Issue 02, eff. November 1, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 24, eff. August 25, 2016.

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