Gaseous Release of Carbon-14: Why the High Level Waste Regulations Should be Changed

by R. A. Van Konynenburg, Lawrence Livermore Natl Lab, Livermore, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: High Level Radioactive Waste Management 1991


The high-level nuclear waste regulations pertaining to gaseous release of carbon-14 from a repository should be changed to allow greater release, for several reasons. Some of them are as follows. First, the total amount of carbon-14 that would be placed in a repository is small compared to that produced naturally in the atmosphere by cosmic rays. Second, the dose that would result to an individual from total release of repository carbon-14 would be very small compared to that from natural radiation sources and would be well below the 'Below Regulatory Concern' criterion. Third, the limits on gaseous carbon-14 release from a repository have been set unreasonably low compared to the limits set for carbon-14 release from other fuel cycle facilities. Fourth, the additional cost for waste packages to attempt to meet the regulations for carbon-14 release would likely be of the order of a billion dollars or more, too high to be justified by the small reduction in dose that might result.

Subject Headings: Radioactive wastes | Laws and regulations | Waste disposal | Radioactive materials | Hazardous substances | Underground storage | Waste management | Radiation | Nevada | United States

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