Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
8/18/2022

Article 4. Technical Requirements for Land Disposal Facilities

12VAC5-481-2530. Disposal site suitability requirements for land disposal.

Article 4
Technical Requirements for Land Disposal Facilities

Disposal site suitability for near-surface disposal. The primary emphasis in disposal site suitability is given to isolation of wastes and to disposal site features that ensure that the long-term performance objectives are met.

1. The disposal site shall be capable of being characterized, modeled, analyzed and monitored.

2. Within the region where the facility is to be located, a disposal site should be selected so that projected population growth and future developments are not likely to affect the ability of the disposal facility to meet the performance objectives of this part.

3. Areas shall be avoided having known natural resources which, if exploited, would result in failure to meet the performance objectives of this part.

4. The disposal site shall be generally well drained and free of areas of flooding or frequent ponding. Waste disposal shall not take place in a 100-year flood plain, coastal high-hazard area or wetland, as defined in federal Executive Order 11988, "Floodplain Management Guidelines."

5. Upstream drainage areas shall be minimized to decrease the amount of runoff which could erode or inundate waste disposal units.

6. The disposal site shall provide sufficient depth to the water table that ground water intrusion, perennial or otherwise, into the waste will not occur. The agency will consider an exception to this requirement to allow disposal below the water table if it can be conclusively shown that disposal site characteristics will result in molecular diffusion being the predominant means of radionuclide movement and the rate of movement will result in the performance objectives being met. In no case will waste disposal be permitted in the zone of fluctuation of the water table.

7. The hydrogeologic unit used for disposal shall not discharge ground water to the surface within the disposal site.

8. Areas shall be avoided where tectonic processes such as faulting, folding, seismic activity, or vulcanism may occur with such frequency and extent to significantly affect the ability of the disposal site to meet the performance objectives of this part or may preclude defensible modeling and prediction of long-term impacts.

9. Areas shall be avoided where surface geologic processes such as mass wasting, erosion, slumping, landsliding, or weathering occur with such frequency and extent to significantly affect the ability of the disposal site to meet the performance objectives of this part, or may preclude defensible modeling and prediction of long-term impacts.

10. The disposal site must not be located where nearby facilities or activities could adversely impact the ability of the site to meet the performance objectives of this part or significantly mask the environmental monitoring program.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008.

12VAC5-481-2540. Disposal site design for land disposal.

Disposal site design for near-surface disposal.

1. Site design features shall be directed toward long-term isolation and avoidance of the need for continuing active maintenance after site closure.

2. The disposal site design and operation shall be compatible with the disposal site closure and stabilization plan and lead to disposal site closure that provides reasonable assurance that the performance objectives will be met.

3. The disposal site shall be designed to complement and improve, where appropriate, the ability of the disposal site's natural characteristics to assure that the performance objectives will be met.

4. Covers shall be designed to minimize to the extent practicable water infiltration, to direct percolating or surface water away from the disposed waste, and to resist degradation by surface geologic processes and biotic activity.

5. Surface features shall direct surface water drainage away from disposal units at velocities and gradients that will not result in erosion that will require ongoing active maintenance in the future.

6. The disposal site shall be designed to minimize to the extent practicable the contact of water with waste during storage, the contact of standing water with waste during disposal, and the contact of percolating or standing water with wastes after disposal.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008.

12VAC5-481-2550. Land disposal facility operation and disposal site closure.

Near-surface disposal facility operation and disposal site closure.

1. Wastes designated as Class A pursuant to these regulations shall be segregated from other wastes by placing in disposal units which are sufficiently separated from disposal units for the other waste classes so that any interaction between Class A wastes and other wastes will not result in the failure to meet the performance objectives of this part. This segregation is not necessary for Class A wastes if they meet the stability requirements of these regulations.

2. Wastes designated as Class C pursuant to these regulations shall be disposed of so that the top of the waste is a minimum of 5 meters below the top surface of the cover or must be disposed of with intruder barriers that are designed to protect against an inadvertent intrusion for at least 500 years.

3. Except as provided in subdivision 12 of this subsection, only waste classified as Class A, B, or C shall be acceptable for near-surface disposal. All waste shall be disposed of in accordance with requirements of 4 through 11 of this subsection.

4. Wastes shall be emplaced in a manner that maintains the package integrity during emplacement, minimizes the void spaces between packages, and permits the void spaces to be filled.

5. Void spaces between waste packages shall be filled with earth or other material to reduce future subsidence within the fill.

6. Waste shall be placed and covered in a manner that limits the radiation dose rate at the surface of the cover to levels that at a minimum will permit the licensee to comply with all provisions of 12VAC5-481-640 at the time the license is transferred pursuant to 12VAC5-481-2460.

7. The boundaries and locations of each disposal unit shall be accurately located and mapped by means of a land survey. Near-surface disposal units shall be marked in such a way that the boundaries of each unit can be easily defined. Three permanent survey marker control points, referenced to United States Geological Survey (USGS) or National Geodetic Survey (NGS) survey control stations, shall be established on the site to facilitate surveys. The USGS or NGS control stations shall provide horizontal and vertical controls as checked against USGS or NGS record files.

8. A buffer zone of land shall be maintained between any buried waste and the disposal site boundary and beneath the disposed waste. The buffer zone shall be of adequate dimensions to carry out environmental monitoring activities specified in 12VAC5-481-2560 C and take mitigative measures if needed.

9. Closure and stabilization measures as set forth in the approved site closure plan shall be carried out as each disposal unit is filled and covered.

10. Active waste disposal operations shall not have an adverse effect on completed closure and stabilization measures.

11. Only wastes containing or contaminated with radioactive material shall be disposed of at the disposal site.

12. Proposals for disposal of waste that is not generally acceptable for near-surface disposal because the waste form and disposal methods must be different and, in general, more stringent than those specified for Class C waste, may be submitted to the agency for approval.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006; amended, Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008.

12VAC5-481-2560. Environmental monitoring.

A. At the time a license application is submitted, the applicant shall have conducted a preoperational monitoring program to provide basic environmental data on the disposal site characteristics. The applicant shall obtain information about the ecology, meteorology, climate, hydrology, geology including geophysics and geotechnical engineering, geochemistry, and seismology of the disposal site. For those characteristics that are subject to seasonal variation, data must cover at least a 12-month period.

B. During the land disposal facility site construction and operation, the licensee shall maintain an environmental monitoring program. Measurements and observations must be made and recorded to provide data to evaluate the potential health and environmental impacts during both the construction and the operation of the facility and to enable the evaluation of long-term effects and the need for mitigative measures. The monitoring system must be capable of providing early warning of releases of waste from the disposal site before they leave the site boundary.

C. After the disposal site is closed, the licensee responsible for post-operational surveillance of the disposal site shall maintain a monitoring system based on the operating history and the closure and stabilization of the disposal site. The monitoring system must be capable of providing early warning of releases of waste from the disposal site before they leave the site boundary.

D. The licensee shall have plans for taking corrective measures if the environmental monitoring program detects migration of waste which would indicate that the performance objectives may not be met.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006.

12VAC5-481-2570. Alternative requirements for design and operations.

The agency may, upon request or on its own initiative, authorize provisions other than those set forth in 12VAC5-481-2540 through 12VAC5-481-2560 for the segregation and disposal of waste and for the design and operation of a land disposal facility on a specific basis, if it finds reasonable assurance of compliance with the performance objectives of this part.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006.

12VAC5-481-2571. Waste classification.

A. Considerations. Determination of the classification of radioactive waste involves two considerations. First, consideration must be given to the concentration of long-lived radionuclides (and their shorter-lived precursors) whose potential hazard will persist long after such precautions as institutional controls, improved waste form, and deeper disposal have ceased to be effective. These precautions delay the time when long-lived radionuclides could cause exposures. In addition, the magnitude of the potential dose is limited by the concentration and availability of the radionuclide at the time of exposure. Second, consideration must be given to the concentration of shorter-lived radionuclides for which requirements on institutional controls, waste form, and disposal methods are effective.

B. Classes of waste.

1. Class A waste is waste that is usually segregated from other waste classes at the disposal site. The physical form and characteristics of Class A waste must meet the minimum requirements set forth in 12VAC5-481-2572 A. If Class A waste also meets the stability requirements set forth in 12VAC5-481-2572 B, it is not necessary to segregate the waste for disposal.

2. Class B waste is waste that must meet more rigorous requirements on waste form to ensure stability after disposal. The physical form and characteristics of Class B waste must meet both the minimum and stability requirements set forth in 12VAC5-481-2572.

3. Class C waste is waste that not only must meet more rigorous requirements on waste form to ensure stability but also requires additional measures at the disposal facility to protect against inadvertent intrusion. The physical form and characteristics of Class C waste must meet both the minimum and stability requirements set forth 12VAC5-481-2572.

4. Waste that is not generally acceptable for near-surface disposal is waste for which form and disposal methods must be different, and in general more stringent, than those specified for Class C waste. In the absence of specific requirements in this part, such waste must be disposed of in a geologic repository as defined in 10 CFR Part 60 or 63 unless proposals for disposal of such waste in a disposal site licensed pursuant to this part are approved by the agency.

C. Classification determined by long-lived radionuclides. If radioactive waste contains only radionuclides listed in Table 2, classification shall be determined as follows:

1. If the concentration does not exceed 0.1 times the value in Table 2, the waste is Class A.

2. If the concentration exceeds 0.1 times the value in Table 2 but does not exceed the value in Table 3, the waste is Class C.

3. If the concentration exceeds the value in Table 2, the waste is not generally acceptable for near-surface disposal.

4. For wastes containing mixtures of radionuclides listed in Table 2, the total concentration shall be determined by the sum of fractions rule described in subsection G of this section.

Table 2
Long Lived Radionuclides Waste Concentration

Radionuclide

Concentration curies per cubic meter

C-14

8

C-14 in activated metal

80

Ni-59 in activated metal

220

Nb-94 in activated metal

0.2

Tc-99

3

I-129

0.08

Alpha emitting transuranic nuclides with half-life greater than 5 years

1100

Pu-241

13,500

Cm-242

120,000

1Units are nanocuries per gram.

D. Classification determined by short-lived radionuclides. If radioactive waste does not contain any of the radionuclides listed in Table 2, classification shall be determined based on the concentrations shown in Table 3. However, as specified in subsection F of this section, if radioactive waste does not contain any nuclides listed in either Table 2 or 3, it is Class A.

1. If the concentration does not exceed the value in Column 1, the waste is Class A.

2. If the concentration exceeds the value in Column 1, but does not exceed the value in Column 2, the waste is Class B.

3. If the concentration exceeds the value in Column 2, but does not exceed the value in Column 3, the waste is Class C.

4. If the concentration exceeds the value in Column 3, the waste is not generally acceptable for near-surface disposal.

5. For wastes containing mixtures of the nuclides listed in Table 3, the total concentration shall be determined by the sum of fractions rule described in subsection G of this section.

Table 3
Short Lived Radionuclide Waste Concentration

Radionuclide

Concentration, curies per cubic meter

Col. 1

Col. 2

Col. 3

Total of all nuclides with less than 5 year half-life

700

(1)

(1)

H-3

40

(1)

(1)

Co-60

700

(1)

(1)

Ni-63

3.5

70

700

Ni-63 in activated metal

35

700

7000

Sr-90

0.04

150

7000

Cs-137

1

44

4600

1There are no limits established for these radionuclides in Class B or C wastes. Practical considerations such as the effects of external radiation and internal heat generation on transportation, handling, and disposal will limit the concentrations for these wastes. These wastes shall be Class B unless the concentrations of other nuclides in Table 3 determine the waste to the Class C independent of these nuclides.

E. Classification determined by both long- and short-lived radionuclides. If radioactive waste contains a mixture of radionuclides, some of which are listed in Table 2, and some of which are listed in Table 3, classification shall be determined as follows:

1. If the concentration of a nuclide listed in Table 2 does not exceed 0.1 times the value listed in Table 2, the class shall be that determined by the concentration of nuclides listed in Table 3.

2. If the concentration of a nuclide listed in Table 2 exceeds 0.1 times the value listed in Table 2 but does not exceed the value in Table 2, the waste shall be Class C, provided the concentration of nuclides listed in Table 3 does not exceed the value shown in Column 3 of Table 3.

F. Classification of wastes with radionuclides other than those listed in Tables 2 and 3. If radioactive waste does not contain any nuclides listed in either Table 2 or 3, it is Class A.

G. The sum of the fractions rule for mixtures of radionuclides. For determining classification for waste that contains a mixture of radionuclides, it is necessary to determine the sum of fractions by dividing each nuclide's concentration by the appropriate limit and adding the resulting values. The appropriate limits must all be taken from the same column of the same table. The sum of the fractions for the column must be less than 1.0 if the waste class is to be determined by that column. Example: A waste contains Sr-90 in a concentration of 50 Ci/m3 and Cs-137 in a concentration of 22 Ci/m3. Since the concentrations both exceed the values in Column 1, Table 2, they must be compared to Column 2 values. For Sr-90 fraction 50/150=0.33; for Cs-137 fraction, 22/44=0.5; the sum of the fractions=0.83. Since the sum is less than 1.0, the waste is Class B.

H. Determination of concentrations in wastes. The concentration of a radionuclide may be determined by indirect methods such as use of scaling factors that relate the inferred concentration of one radionuclide to another that is measured, or radionuclide material accountability, if there is reasonable assurance that the indirect methods can be correlated with actual measurements. The concentration of a radionuclide may be averaged over the volume of the waste, or weight of the waste if the units are expressed as nanocuries per gram.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008.

12VAC5-481-2572. Waste characteristics.

A. The following requirements are minimum requirements for all classes of waste and are intended to facilitate handling at the disposal site and provide protection of health and safety of personnel at the disposal site.

1. Waste must not be packaged for disposal in cardboard or fiberboard boxes.

2. Liquid waste must be solidified or packaged in sufficient absorbent material to absorb twice the volume of the liquid.

3. Solid waste containing liquid shall contain as little freestanding and noncorrosive liquid as is reasonably achievable, but in no case shall the liquid exceed 1.0% of the volume.

4. Waste must not be readily capable of detonation or of explosive decomposition or reaction at normal pressures and temperatures, or of explosive reaction with water.

5. Waste must not contain, or be capable of generating, quantities of toxic gases, vapors, or fumes harmful to persons transporting, handling, or disposing of the waste. This does not apply to radioactive gaseous waste packaged in accordance with subdivision 7 of this subsection.

6. Waste must not be pyrophoric. Pyrophoric materials contained in waste shall be treated, prepared, and packaged to be nonflammable.

7. Waste in a gaseous form must be packaged at a pressure that does not exceed 1.5 atmospheres at 20°C. Total activity must not exceed 100 curies per container.

8. Waste containing hazardous, biological, pathogenic, or infectious material must be treated to reduce to the maximum extent practicable the potential hazard from the nonradiological materials.

B. The requirements in this section are intended to provide stability of the waste. Stability is intended to ensure that the waste does not structurally degrade and affect overall stability of the site through slumping, collapse, or other failure of the disposal unit and thereby lead to water infiltration. Stability is also a factor in limiting exposure to an inadvertent intruder, since it provides a recognizable and nondispersible waste.

1. Waste must have structural stability. A structurally stable waste form will generally maintain its physical dimensions and its form, under the expected disposal conditions such as weight of overburden and compaction equipment, the presence of moisture, and microbial activity, and internal factors such as radiation effects and chemical changes. Structural stability can be provided by the waste form itself, processing the waste to a stable form, or placing the waste in a disposal container or structure that provides stability after disposal.

2. Notwithstanding the provisions in subdivision A 2 and A 3 of this section, liquid wastes, or wastes containing liquid, must be converted into a form that contains as little freestanding and noncorrosive liquid as is reasonably achievable, but in no case shall the liquid exceed 1.0% of the volume of the waste when the waste is in a disposal container designed to ensure stability, or 0.5% of the volume of the waste for waste processed to a stable form.

3. Void spaces within the waste and between the waste and its package must be reduced to the extent practicable.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008.

12VAC5-481-2573. Labeling.

Each package of waste must be clearly labeled to identify whether it is Class A waste, Class B waste, or Class C waste, in accordance with 12VAC5-481-2571.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 24, Issue 18, eff. June 12, 2008.

12VAC5-481-2580. Institutional requirements.

A. Land ownership. Disposal of waste received from other persons may be permitted only on land owned in fee by the federal or a state government.

B. Institutional control. The land owner or custodial agency shall conduct an institutional control program to physically control access to the disposal site following transfer of control of the disposal site from the disposal site operator. The institutional control program shall also include, but not be limited to, conducting an environmental monitoring program at the disposal site, periodic surveillance, minor custodial care, and other requirements as determined by the agency; and administration of funds to cover the costs for these activities. The period of institutional controls will be determined by the agency, but institutional controls may not be relied upon for more than 100 years following transfer of control of the disposal site to the owner.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006.

12VAC5-481-2590. Alternative requirements for waste classification and characteristics.

The agency licensing a low-level disposal facility may, upon request or on its own initiative, authorize other provisions for the classification and characteristics of waste on a specific basis, if, after evaluation of the specific characteristics of the waste, disposal site, method of disposal, it finds reasonable assurance of compliance with the performance objectives specified in this part.

Statutory Authority

§ 32.1-229 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 22, Issue 25, eff. September 20, 2006.

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