January 17, 2006
The Honorable A. J. Eggenberger
Chairman, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board
625 Indiana Avenue, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20004-2901
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Enclosed is the Department of Energy’s (DOE) revised Implementation Plan relative to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board’s Recommendation 2001-1, High-Level Waste Management at the Savannah River Site (SRS).
Due to substantial changes in the SRS salt disposition program as a result of the litigation concerning DOE’s authority to determine that certain waste incidental to reprocessing is not high level waste, the DOE performed a complete review of the original recommendations as they apply to the current program. The revised plan provides new dates for two overdue commitments and six new commitments.
The DOE remains committed to the timely disposition of wastes contained in the SRS tank farms. While it is recognized that risks similar to those experienced in the past have the potential to further impact this program, DOE remains convinced that the actions laid out in the Implementation Plan are the best combination of safety, schedule, and cost to meet the mission objectives. As you are aware, the proposed long-term solution is the Salt Waste Processing Facility and DOE is fully committed to funding and bringing this facility online. In the interim, contingencies continue to be pursued to improve the overall condition of the tank farms. The interim actinide removal and cesium removal systems are under construction and the Saltstone modifications and Deliquification, Dissolution, and Adjustment preparations are nearing completion.
The DOE fully expects to recover the last of the former In-Tank Precipitation tanks (Tank 48) to increase available tank space. These interim steps help to safely manage tank farm volumes, provide contingency options, and reduce risk.
If you have any further questions, please call me or Mr. James A. Rispoli, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management, at (202) 586-7709.
Samuel W. Bodman