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North Dakota shows how to deter any plan for nuclear waste dumping

The Legislature passed a bill into law in 2019 that prohibits the disposal of high-level radioactive waste in North Dakota. For the rules to even take effect, “the first thing you have to do is get that law overturned or thrown out,” State Geologist Ed Murphy said.

What’s in the rules
If the ban is ever struck down and an entity were to approach the state about  establishing a storage facility for high-level radioactive waste, officials would look to the 13 pages of rules passed by the Industrial Commission, a three-member panel chaired by Gov. Doug Burgum.

Regulators prep for an industry few want: nuclear waste disposal, Bismarck Tribune, AMY R. SISK, 10 Aug, 20

 North Dakota is imposing its first comprehensive rules for nuclear waste disposal more than four years after Pierce County residents were caught off-guard by a proposal to drill test wells near Rugby.

The state Industrial Commission approved the regulations in late July, as well as new rules surrounding deep geothermal wells, another industry that does not exist in North Dakota but could emerge one day.

The waste disposal rules spell out all the steps an entity would have to go through if it were to propose storing “high-level radioactive waste” in North Dakota. Such waste is highly radioactive material generated from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, for example, and it requires permanent isolation……

The Legislature passed a bill into law in 2019 that prohibits the disposal of high-level radioactive waste in North Dakota. For the rules to even take effect, “the first thing you have to do is get that law overturned or thrown out,” State Geologist Ed Murphy said.

“We were writing rules for a program that, by law, is prohibited,” he said.

Roers said the thinking behind establishing the rules in light of the ban is that if the federal government were ever to try to trump North Dakota’s prohibition, it might still agree to follow the regulations established by the state.

What’s in the rules
If the ban is ever struck down and an entity were to approach the state about  establishing a storage facility for high-level radioactive waste, officials would look to the 13 pages of rules passed by the Industrial Commission, a three-member panel chaired by Gov. Doug Burgum.
The rules require that anyone looking to study the feasibility of storing the waste in North Dakota obtain an “exploration permit” from the state and secure financial assurance, such as a bond, in order to drill a test well. The state would have up to six months to make a permitting decision and would hold a public hearing. Along with the application, an entity would have to show that it had notified county officials about the project and given them a chance to take a position on it.

If the entity wanted to move forward with a project, it would then need a “facility permit,” which would prompt a similar vetting process. Officials would have up to a year to decide whether to issue a permit.

Before granting a permit, the operator would need to deposit at least $100 million in a new state fund.

“The half-lives of some of the radioactive waste will be dangerous much longer than any sign, monument, or avoidance structures would remain unless they are maintained in perpetuity,” the regulations state. “This money is to be used to ensure the passive institutional controls are maintained for thousands of years.”

If a facility were to make it through the permitting process, it would have to pay an annual operating fee of at least $1 million to the state. It also would need to provide monthly reports on activities at the site and comply with reclamation rules when the site is no longer in use.

Documents regarding the location and depth of the site, as well as details about the half-life of the radioactive waste buried there, must be stored in local, state and national archives — an effort to ensure they last in perpetuity in case the information is needed hundreds or thousands of years down the road, Murphy said.

While counties cannot outright impose a ban on the disposal of the materials, any project would need to adhere to local zoning regulations as to the size, scope and location of the site.

Murphy said the state examined the regulations of 13 other states in developing its rules…………..

The new rules for high-level radioactive waste and deep geothermal energy have one final hurdle to clear before they become official — they will go to a legislative Administrative Rules Committee for approval. …..   https://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/regulators-prep-for-an-industry-few-want-nuclear-waste-disposal/article_5afd3c76-9ac1-556f-be69-50f6c9811642.html

August 11, 2020 - Posted by | politics, USA, wastes

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