The primary goals of the Churchill County Oversight Program are to focus limited resources to:
The program is actively managed by Churchill County Administration and staff. The County utilizes existing staff resources for program related activities. A management consultant provides planning and assessment services for the County. County staff are responsible for coordinating the public information program.
General Program Monitoring
Program oversight and monitoring activities are guided by the County's Monitoring and Oversight Plan. This plan directs oversight resources to key repository issues and activities. Status reports are prepared for elements identified in the Plan.
General program monitoring is achieved through a cooperative arrangement with Lander County. Both Counties utilize the services of one consultant to attend meetings, review correspondence and reports, and provide analysis of program activities and issues.
Socioeconomic Monitoring and Impact Assessment
In previous years, Churchill County had investigated potential social and economic impacts associated with the repository program. Potential fiscal impacts including impacts to local government revenue sources, and property values were identified and analyzed. The County will continue to monitor risk related behavior, its affects on tourism, and the associated economic and fiscal impacts.
Churchill County does not have adequate financial resources to engage in independent scientific evaluations of the repository program. The County does, however, review key technical issues which will be included in the site suitability analysis and the viability assessment. Status reports on key issues will be prepared. The County will monitor activities of technical groups such as the NRC, and the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board.
Environmental and Radiological Monitoring
Churchill County has taken an active role in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance activities of the Department of Energy. Churchill County has retained the services of an environmental consultant to review the upcoming Yucca Mountain Draft Environmental Impact Statement and provide input into this decision making process.
Transportation and Emergency Management
Churchill County is in the process of completing a comprehensive review of federal and state emergency response resources, and identifying applicable local emergency response standards. The County has actively participated in a separate planning and oversight program related to low level waste shipments to the Nevada Test Site.
Churchill County has an active public information program. The County provides annual public tours of the Yucca Mountain site and high school field trips. Additionally, the County produces newsletters which are distributed as inserts to nearly 6,000 subscribers. The County will produce its first newsletter this Spring. Public presentations will be scheduled for this year. In the past, the County sponsored several presentations to groups such as Churchill County High School, local governments, and community and civic organizations.
Completed or Planned Activities for 1998-99:
Since Clark County's 1988 designation by the DOE as an affected unit of local government, the Department of Comprehensive Planning, Nuclear Waste Division, (NWD) has maintained an active and comprehensive program to address key Yucca Mountain Program (YMP) issues. Our range of interests include specific concerns regarding potential impacts to the public health and safety of Clark County's citizens, as well as possible adverse effects to Clark County's vibrant tourist-based economy. The evaluation of transportation, public safety, and related impacts will dominate our study program for FY 1998. Maintaining the health of the Clark County economy is of significant importance to all Nevadans. In addition to these local concerns, Clark County also has a strong commitment to ensuring that technical studies and analyses accurately and comprehensively determine the suitability of the Yucca Mountain site. To meet these responsibilities Clark County will continue to be engaged in monitoring the complex technical and policy issues surrounding site characterization.
The 1998 Clark County Work Program
The restoration of funding by Congress for FY 1998 to the affected units of local government, will enable Clark County to once again begin to consider in a comprehensive fashion potential impacts to our 1.2 million residents and 32 million annual visitors from Yucca Mountain Program activities. The Clark County work program will concentrate on the following issues during FY 1998 and 1999.
1. The DOE Privatization of Transportation Program. DOE has proposed privatizing many aspects of the YMP. In this "market driven approach," it is conceivable that up to eight private contractors would be responsible for all aspects of the transportation program. The transportation of waste could begin by private carrier in the year 2001 if interim storage legislation being considered by Congress is approved in 1998 or 1999. Having the private sector manage transportation operations will require more active involvement by Clark County in planning for routing, emergency response and other aspects of waste transportation. The market-driven approach introduces additional uncertainty to an already potentially complex transport program.
2. The Viability Assessment (VA). The VA is an important interim product in the site characterization process. The Total System Performance Assessment (TSPA) is of particular interest to Clark County. It is designed to provide an assessment of the current state of the site characterization program. Clark County will be concentrating its efforts on reviewing the various components of the TSPA. Another key VA document that is of interest to Clark County is the plan for the license application. The information that accompanies the licensing application will be used to support site suitability decisions.
3. Impact Assessment Determination. Clark County's selection as an affected unit of local government in 1988 was based on the realization that the County was at risk for potential socioeconomic, transportation and cultural impacts. A major objective of the NWD's program is determining the effects and costs to the community from potential YMP impacts.
4. The Yucca Mountain Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). A key impact assessment element for Clark County in 1998 is DOE development of the Yucca Mountain Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). DOE has retained a contractor to complete the EIS, with a draft expected for release in July of 1999. Many of the potential impacts to Clark County (e.g. transportation, service demands, environmental justice issues and others) will be defined in the EIS. Close involvement by the County is necessary to generate data and prepare analyses for input to the EIS, and to ensure that potential impacts to Clark County are accurately described.
5. Proposed Interim Storage Legislation. An immediate concern is the current efforts by Congress to legislate the development of an interim facility for storage (ISF) of spent commercial nuclear fuel at Area 25 of the Nevada Test Site. An ISF could be completed by 2002 with a potential operational life expectancy of up to 100 years. Part of Clark County's plan for 1998 is to consider the need to plan for contingencies in case the legislation is approved and an ISF constructed.
Should interim storage legislation be successful in 1998 or 1999, Clark County could be faced with a number of problems. The use of private carriers still raises concerns about the mode of transport [a large number of shipments could still occur by truck] and routing issues [traditionally the practice has been for radioactive waste shipments destined for the Nevada Test Site to be transported through the Las Vegas Valley].
Other Clark County Work Activities for 1998 and beyond
1. Policy Development and Monitoring The Yucca Mountain Program ("the Program") is national in scope with many decisions being made by the federal government and Congress. Many of these decisions affect Clark County and its citizens, and the State of Nevada. Clark County's status as an affected unit of local government under the constraints of current legislation helps assure that Clark County policy interests are included in all aspects of the Yucca Mountain Program. A number of the policy development and review committees on which NWD staff participates are listed in the Coordination section below. Clark County's long involvement in the Yucca Mountain has provided the opportunity for input into policy development at a number of governmental levels.
2. Participation in activities and attendance at meetings of governmental entities, regional organizations and other groups.
A unique aspect of the Yucca Mountain Program is the large number of organizations and committees overseeing the multitude of tasks required for site characterization. Clark County, as an affected local government, has actively participated with these groups on policy, technical and information issues. Program coordination will be on a number of governmental levels.Also important is providing funding and resources to other incorporated communities to enable them to assist Clark County in determining community-wide impacts. Clark County's responsibilities, of course, are in the unincorporated area. As in the past, funding will be provided to the cities of Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mesquite and North Las Vegas. Funding support has also been offered to the Moapa Band of Paiutes.
3. Public Information Activities for 1998:
Because Clark County concentrates its governmental responsibilities in the unincorporated parts of the County, Clark County has since 1989 provided resources and funds to the incorporated cities of Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mesquite and North Las Vegas to enable them to participate in advising the County on potential impacts to their communities. Also, Clark County will probably reconstitute our newsletter during 1988.
Clark County also has had an Advisory Steering Committee since 1988 to assist Clark County in evaluating Yucca Mountain Program activities. Membership includes representatives from the incorporated cities, noted above, the Regional Transportation Commission, UNLV, and seven citizen members.
4. Technical Oversight and Evaluation
The Viability Assessment noted earlier the County will continue to engage in any monitoring , testing, or evaluation activities with respect to the Yucca Mountain site characterization programs. Key issues regarding VA are:
5. Impact Assessment and Review activities for 1998
Develop a comprehensive plan for a community-based Clark County impact identification and assessment process. Complete prototype study for one community.
Clark County this year will begin preparation of a plan that will contain, at the minimum, a rationale, statement of policy, purpose, scope and limitations, a description of planned methodology and task schedule, a review of data/ information requirements, collection/management procedures and analytical models, and plans for assimilation of each community's results into a presentation of county-wide impacts. Impacts to be addressed will include:
Staff will also continue to review and comment on DOE and other documents such as environmental impact statements, environmental analyses, and program plans related to Yucca Mountain and the Nevada Test Site. Comments would focus on issues that may have effects in any or all of the areas listed in Work Task IA-1, above.
6. Transportation Analysis and Monitoring
An important part will be participation in appropriate meetings, seminars and conferences. This task will be implemented by participation in conferences on the issue of transporting high level waste. The task will include a data collection program targeted at obtaining the specific information needed by the County. The task will be coordinated with other staff members to ensure the group's data requirements are fulfilled.
7. Unique Support Activities for 1998
Esmeralda County has been overseeing the site characterization of Yucca Mountain since 1988 even though Esmeralda County was not granted "affected" status by the U.S. Department of Energy until 1991 after successful joint petition with Inyo County, California, to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Esmeralda County's proximity to the proposed repository in neighboring Nye County and its location on a potential highway route and on three of the proposed rail routes make it vitally interested in the environmental, health and safety impacts of the project and in the socioeconomic effects arising from siting, construction and operation of the proposed repository.
Esmeralda County seeks to ensure that repository siting activities, and subsequent transportation of wastes through the County do not cause adverse impact n the public health, safety or welfare of County citizens. To this end, the County has established a Repository Oversight Program (ROP) to review, monitor and evaluate federal siting activities at Yucca Mountain. The objectives of this program are:
Eureka County's Nuclear Waste Repository Oversight Program is designed to ensure that the public's health and safety are safeguarded and that impacts to the county are identified. The program also endeavors to keep county residents informed about repository developments, and ensures that the County's voice is heard on repository-related matters that could impact the County. The county is committed to cooperating with other counties where practical and cost effective on activities related to Yucca Mountain project oversight.
Eureka County has a duty to its citizens to provide oversight of the DOE's Yucca Mountain nuclear waste activities and plans. The impacts, effects, and risks of proposed transportation routes and other repository-related activity require a full level of involvement and oversight by Eureka County. DOE continues to consider a number of possible rail routes to transport nuclear spent fuel and high- level radioactive waste to Yucca Mountain from the nation's nuclear power plants and defense facilities, including rail routing through Eureka County.
Eureka County has approached the development of its repository program conservatively because of the many uncertainties surrounding repository development and schedules. The county has established a basic program that 1) informs the public about the repository project; 2) collects and analyzes baseline socioeconomic and transportation data; and 3) provides oversight and monitors site characterization, planning, and the regulatory process.
Since the inception of Eureka County's nuclear waste program in 1992, the county has initiated and established a program to provide monitoring and oversight of the Yucca Mountain project, and to gather and analyze data related to possible impacts to Eureka County. Activities have included designing and implementation of a public involvement and education program, establishing an information office, monitoring repository related developments, initiating the Town History program, and developing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) capacity to collect and analyze data. The county has also studied socioeconomic conditions and trends, transportation impacts, emergency management conditions and needs, and data about past radioactive fallout in Eureka County.
Transportation Assessment Program
One of the likely Yucca Mountain impacts would be transportation of nuclear waste by rail, truck, or both, through Eureka County. To assess the impacts that such transportation scenarios would have on the county, it is necessary to develop baseline transportation data for rail and truck movement. Designation of a rail corridor by DOE continues to be open ended; thus, the county's program is designed to respond to other routing configurations that could impact the County. For FY-98, the county is gathering and analyzing baseline data related to the proposed rail routes and truck routes in Eureka County. Data development includes refinement of baseline mapping using a Geographic Information System (GIS), and map development.
The Carlin Rail Route Issues Identification Report, prepared in FY-93, identified the key issues that the county must be concerned about related to the proposed rail route. The county intends to develop a data analysis plan, a first step toward development of a model to analyze the impacts of potential transportation alternatives in Eureka County. The county also will conduct a land use parcel analysis of current proposed rail options within the county.
Geographic Information System Development
The county is committed to developing a geographic information system at the county level, accessible and usable to track and analyze data related to possible Yucca Mountain project impacts on Eureka County. The GIS development is integrated into the county's overall program. Data collected as part of the various activities undertaken by the county will be incorporated into the GIS, and the GIS database will be refined and edited to enhance route analysis and emergency response. The program includes ongoing training to ensure that county personnel are proficient in the use of the county's GIS.
Public Involvement and Education Program
Eureka County is committed to ensuring that county residents are informed about the proposed repository project and the potential impacts that the repository could have on the county and its residents. The county will conduct community town meetings on the repository project as needed to inform residents and answer questions. The county will produce periodic information to inform residents about current repository developments and to answer their questions about nuclear waste and the repository program. The county intends to continue working with the school district to ensure that the youth of Eureka County are informed about the repository project. The county will assist civic groups and other organizations to find speakers and information on the repository project.
Emergency Management Assessment Program
The county will establish an Emergency Management Assessment program in FY-98. An emergency management needs assessment based on the inventory survey conducted by University of Nevada, Reno was done in FY-93. The needs assessment identified a need to educate the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) about the Yucca Mountain issue, and to encourage regional coordination among emergency management programs in neighboring counties. Eureka plans to foster communication with emergency management directors and LEPCs to improve coordination related to the projected demand for emergency services from the Yucca Mountain project. The county intends to participate in emergency management planning meetings at the state, regional, and national level in order to improve local emergency management capabilities and have input into DOE emergency management policy, such as the implementation of section 180(c) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act.
Yucca Mountain Environmental Impact Statement Oversight/Participation
DOE has completed the scoping for the Yucca Mountain EIS, and is in the process of preparation. During this time it is crucial for the county to be able to participate fully in the oversight of the EIS preparation. The county also intends to prepare itself so that it will be able to fully participate in the draft EIS hearings. The county's program over the years has been geared toward the goal of fully participation on the EIS. We will continue toward this goal in FY-98.
Repository Monitoring and Oversight
It is the county's responsibility to monitor developments related to the repository in order to be able to protect the interests of the county and to keep residents informed about the project. The county intends to monitor and oversee DOE's implementation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act as amended to ensure that the health and safety of citizens of the county are protected. This would include participation in meetings of the DOE, State of Nevada, NRC, Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, EPA and other regulatory and oversight agencies and groups involved in the issue, and attendance at meetings on any related topic. The county may also participate in coordinated activities where appropriate with other counties or the State.
Nuclear Waste Repository Program Management
The county is responsible for managing the grant from the DOE to the county. Management activities anticipated in FY-98 include the development of applications for funding, oversight and coordination of contracts and consultants, and documentation and reporting on program and fiscal activities of the DOE funds.
List of publications and reports:
Mission and Program Goals
Inyo County's oversight program began in 1988, when the County requested designation as an "affected unit of local government" (AULG). After initial denial of its request, Inyo County successfully petitioned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and was designated as an AULG on May 20, 1991. In October, 1991 the County received its first funding under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act as Amended, to perform oversight and impact assessment activities as described in the Act. Prior to this time, County oversight activities were funded through the general fund of the County.
Inyo County is the sole local jurisdiction outside the State of Nevada that has a recognized oversight role, and as such must view certain issues from a different perspective. The State of Nevada and its political subdivisions may ultimately benefit from provisions in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act as Amended, which provide for benefits to the host state. Inyo County receives no such consideration and must therefore make every effort to identify, quantify and mitigate any potential impacts to the County or its residents, acting solely in its capacity as an Affected Unit of Local Government.
Inyo County's Repository Assessment Office seeks to ensure that repository siting and subsequent repository activities do not adversely impact the public health, safety, or welfare of County residents. The County has established a Yucca Mountain Repository Assessment Office to review, monitor and evaluate siting activities at Yucca Mountain, and to perform such activities as are required to assess the potential impact of repository activities on the County. The objectives of this program are:
Yucca Mountain repository site characterization activities are extremely complex, involving many different organizations at the national, state, and local levels. Inyo County must provide meaningful input to the many organizations involved, while determining the impact of their actions on the County. These impacts include impacts to community services and facilities, population impacts, fiscal effects, environmental hazards, transportation impacts, impacts to emergency response capabilities, social and cultural effects, stigma effects, and impacts due to the perception of risk. The near term tasks are described by category below.
This effort has been made more difficult by intermittent funding availability. The decision by Congress not to provide funding in federal fiscal years 1996 and 1997 resulted in considerable inefficiencies in the conduct of oversight and impact assessment activities. However, with the resumption of funding in federal fiscal year 1998, programs and study efforts that had been deferred, have been reinstated.
General Program Monitoring, Review and Comment
Repository siting efforts are national in scope, involving the U.S. Congress, the Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Accounting Office, nuclear utilities and their representatives, utility ratepayers, public utilities, state and local governments and their representative organizations, the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, and others. In order to maintain an understanding of the current and future direction of the program, the County will continue to monitor the activities of these key policy, implementation, regulatory and oversight organizations through attendance at meetings and periodic interactions with their representatives. Requests for comments on program documents, especially as DOE seeks to enhance public participation, continues to absorb significant program resources.
Geotechnical Analysis, Independent Scientific Investigations, Regulatory and Licensing Analysis
The carbonate aquifer underlying Yucca Mountain also provides water for southeastern Inyo County, including Death Valley National Park. In addition to its status as a unique natural resource, the area contributes significantly to the County's economic base. The County has begun a cooperative effort with Nye County to collect data on the hydrology of the area, and will closely monitor the ground water transport studies being done by DOE. Specific tasks include:
Transportation and Emergency Management
With both mode and route designation yet to occur, Inyo County is developing the baseline information needed to be an effective participant. Specific tasks include:
Public Information, Involvement and Education
The residents of Inyo County need access to balanced, comprehensible information in order to develop an informed opinion on the Yucca Mountain repository siting program. Specific tasks designed to facilitate access to this information include:
Accomplishments to Date
The county has developed the capacity to provide effective oversight of the various policy and programmatic areas of the repository siting effort, commensurate with the funding available.
As part of the County's examination of the hydrology of the region, a report was released (An Evaluation of the Hydrology at Yucca Mountain: The Lower Carbonate Aquifer and Amargosa River, Hydrodynamics Group, February 1, 1996) synthesizing available information on the carbonate aquifer and recommending future study. The spring sampling program is a direct result of the analysis of hydrologic data gaps in this report.
Using information gathered in a series of origin and destination surveys, the County is preparing a report describing the traffic mix, volume, and special considerations along State Route 127. In cooperation with the California Department of Transportation, the County has also assisted in the preparation of a Route Concept Report, which examines the need for improvements in State Route 127 in the future as two cases: with shipments to Yucca Mountain; and without. This information will allow the County to make initial assessments of potential impact upon this transportation route, given the estimated number and types of shipments.
Program Management and Administration
The Lander County repository oversight program office is located in Austin with a smaller office maintained in Battle Mountain for the Board of County Commissioners. Primary tasks include: grant administration, financial management, and overall program implementation, communication and coordination with other Lander County departments. The Program Administrator coordinates Lander County's public information program and is responsible for distribution and notification of upcoming events and activities. A planning consultant has been retained to provide assistance on an as needed basis.
During FY98, Lander County anticipates the acquisition of new computer equipment, office furniture and telephones for program related activities. Other expenditures to support program management activities include wages and benefits, office supplies, rent, utilities and miscellaneous.
Program Oversight Activities
The primary function of oversight activities is to attend program related meetings, conferences and workshops, monitor program activities, review studies and other related information and provide periodic reports to the Board of County Commissioners. Oversight functions will be administered by county staff, elected officials and the planning consultant.
Lander County anticipates coordination with or attendance at meetings with the following entities:
Lander County will participate in tours of related facilities such as the following:
Lander County intends to continue to study and analyze the Viability Assessment which is of concern that Congress may plan to utilize this document to prematurely confirm the suitability of Yucca Mountain.
Proposed Interim Storage Facility
Lander County recognizes the need to follow and monitor all legislation pertaining to the proposed Interim Storage Facility. In the event that this legislation is passed, Lander County intends to be prepared to deal with all impacts that will effect the County and its residents.
One of the rail routes that is currently identified in the Yucca Mountain EIS travels from the north end of Lander County continuing south to the Lander County boundary line. Lander County will monitor and study impacts on the on the county and it's residents in the event that this railway is constructed as well as:
NRC Licensing And Siting Guidelines
Oversight and Monitoring Activities:
The public information function provides current information on repository related events through the publication of periodic newsletters, Yucca Mountain tours and coordination with community groups and Lander County residents. Proposed activities to include:
The quarterly newsletter will provide articles pertaining to Yucca Mountain related events as well as general Lander County governmental activities. Lander County will contribute local tax revenues to this project to cover the cost of newsletter articles related to these issues.
The following impact assessment activities are being undertaken in FY 1998:
There are several transportation routes currently identified in the proposed action for the Yucca Mountain environmental impact statement. One rail transportation route traverses Lander County leaving the UP/SP mainline at Beowawe passing through Crescent Valley along the eastern border of Lander County south through Big Smokey valley. A GIS system would be used to identify potential impacts, provide recommendations of specific alignments and provide the basis for a mitigation request.
Oversight funds have been used to acquire digital databases, computer equipment and produce impact analysis. Technical expertise will be needed to establish this system.
Fiscal Impact Analysis Update:
In 1995, Lander County completed a fiscal linkages study based upon work completed by the State of Nevada and Clark County. The study identified potential local government revenue sources which could be affected by the development of Yucca Mountain. The study also identified potential service related expenditures required by Lander County as a result of Yucca Mountain development. The proposed update will provide specific estimates of revenue and expenditure impacts potentially incurred by Lander County. A computer model will be developed to assist in revenue/expenditure projections. the update may also consider fiscal impacts related to the development of a transportation route through Lander County.
Population Estimates Covered Under Environmental Justice:
The preparation of the Yucca Mountain environmental impact statement requires DOE to address impacts to minority and low income groups. Lander county will identify and estimate the total population of these groups which will be derived through a variety of techniques including local surveys, census tract, block information and other available economic demographic information.
Emergency Response Training Case Study
Lander County is the only affected unit of local government currently undergoing emergency response training for high level nuclear waste shipments. Although these shipments are not directly related to the Yucca Mountain Project, documentation of the overall training and coordination experience will be useful for local governments and tribes participating in the Yucca Mountain Program. Lander County proposes to prepare a case study based on their interactions with the DOE for the shipping campaign. The case study will document local, state and federal interactions, the success of training programs and the overall strengths and weaknesses of the DOE efforts to prepare local responders. This is an important issue for the affected units of local government since many of them are opposed to the implementation of 180 (c) which provides funding directly to States instead of local governments. This proposed case study will provide justification for recommendations related to local responder training for Yucca Mountain shipments.
Beginning in 1984, the State of Nevada provided Lincoln County with a modest grant to enable County monitoring of Department of Energy (DOE) activities to evaluate numerous sites across the United States as a site for the nation's first deep-geologic repository for high-level radioactive waste. In later years Lincoln County has received funds directly from the federal government. To facilitate a coordinated effort, the Board of Lincoln County Commissioners entered into a memorandum of understanding with the City of Caliente to establish a joint repository oversight and impact alleviation planning program. Between 1984 and 1994, repository activities of the County and City were largely focused upon identifying and understanding possible implications of the proposed facility locally in the event a Nevada site were selected. Current activities are focused on increased public information and involvement and the implementation of models previously developed for evaluating impacts. As the DOE moves closer to making a decision on the suitability of Yucca Mountain and Congress considers legislation to develop an interim storage facility in Nevada, Lincoln County has actively sought to minimize adverse consequences and maximize favorable impacts associated with these potential outcomes. Transportation issues are of particular interest to Lincoln County. The County has been an active stakeholder in policy discussions concerning transportation and the possible development of new transportation approaches and infrastructure.
Program Activities 1984-1998
During the past fifteen years, Lincoln County and the City of Caliente have established and maintained an effective repository oversight and impact alleviation planning program. The Board of Lincoln County Commissioners and the Caliente City Council have vested their Joint County/City Impact Alleviation Committee with the responsibility of providing guidance on all aspects of the program. The Committee currently meets monthly. Committee representatives provide important programmatic linkages to residents of communities throughout Lincoln County.
The Lincoln County repository oversight and impact alleviation planning program has undertaken a wide variety of studies and program initiative as a means to establish baseline information and evaluate repository system implications locally. An elemental description of past and anticipated work follows:
Transportation - The mainline Union Pacific rail line crosses Lincoln County and bisects the City of Caliente. DOE has identified the mainline as a likely route for shipments of spent nuclear fuel. Proposals being advanced by Congress to develop an intermodal transfer facility in Lincoln County have the potential of causing the vast majority of shipments to go through local communities. In addition, DOE has identified and evaluated a proposed rail spur across Lincoln County which would afford rail access to Yucca Mountain without having to pass through or near to the Las Vegas metropolitan area. The State of Nevada Department of Transportation has also identified a possible preferred highway route for transporting radioactive waste which traverses Lincoln County. Transportation of radioactive wastes is then a key issue for the County and City.
Anticipated Work - Lincoln County plans to play a key role as a stakeholder in addressing and reaching resolution on a number of major transportation issues including: privatization, 180(c) implementation, mode of transport/routing, full scale cask testing, and standardized inspection, escort and notification programs.
Socioeconomic and Impact Alleviation - Lincoln County has collected baseline socioeconomic information required to evaluate prospective impacts of the repository system. Industry, employment, income, and population trend data are being compiled and organized into automated environments. Fiscal information for the County and City are being collected in a similar manner. Capacities of local infrastructure to assimilate additional demands induced by prospective population growth have also been considered.
Social characteristics of County residents have and are being compiled and supplemented by historical perspective gleaned through oral histories. Collectively, this information is being used to shed light on important strands of the social fabric which has been woven over time.
Work in establishing a PC-based geographic information system (GIS) capability for evaluating repository system implications to area land-use and environmental resources and in an aid to public information has been an important element in the County's repository program.
An important component of the Lincoln County program is to maximize potential favorable economic impacts which would bring additional revenue to local communities and job opportunities for area residents.
Anticipated Work - Beginning in 1998 Lincoln County with the support of the University of Nevada, Reno will initiate an economic/demographic and fiscal model. The specific objective is to inform Lincoln County decision makers regarding economic-fiscal linkages within and between the City of Caliente and the rest of Lincoln County. The resulting information will be used in developing alternative economic development strategies which are related to the repository program.
Efforts to enhance the preparedness of local communities to respond to economic opportunities will include cooperative efforts with trade unions to prepare local school children interested in entering apprenticeship programs. In addition, workshops and program will be conducted to better prepare and assist those who are interested in providing goods and services to the federal government and its contractors.
Government Monitoring and Program Reviews - Under this element the County and City have typically participated in a variety of local, regional, and national forum and meetings concerning the civilian radioactive waste management program. Participation at these meetings is designed to ensure that the perspectives and concerns of the County and City are integrally considered by federal, state and other local government publications pertaining to nuclear waste management. Elected representatives of the County, City, and members of the impact alleviation committee have also sought during recent years to meet with their counterparts at locations of existing DOE or nuclear facilities. In addition, Lincoln County reviews and comments on a vast array of documents.
Anticipated Work - Lincoln County expects to continue all of the above mentioned items in proper proportion with the DOE level of effort.
Public Information - It has been said that one could control the federal radioactive waste management program by controlling paper supplies within the United States. The repository program is literally awash in published information. Surveys by the State of Nevada have shown County and City residents to be particularly concerned about transportation and water quality risks associated with the repository program. The goal of the County and City public information is to provide information from all sides of the issue encouraging the formation of informed decisions in response to the Yucca Mountain issue.
Anticipated Work - Program elements planned for the County Public information program include the continuation of a periodic newsletter and distribution of same to all households within the County, further development of a speakers program including the use of respected outside speakers, development of cooperative educational programs with the School District, maintenance of an information office, and development of a County home page.
A special emphasis will be placed on radiological risk communication. Risk related information will be woven into all local communications. Educational tours of Yucca Mountain and other relevant facilities will be conducted on a regular basis.
Program Management - This element has typically involved several sub-activities including maintenance of federal fund account and reporting procedures; audit functions; procurement of contractors; agenda development and noticing of items for commission, council and Committee consideration; hiring and training of program staff; development of program scopes of work budgets, and deliverable schedules; development and maintenance of inter-jurisdictional memorandums of agreement; and maintenance of normal office capabilities.
Anticipated Work - All of these activities are expected to continue in future programmatic administration. During 1998, this element will also involve establishing a electronic information network for the affected local governments in an effort to reduce redundancy and maximize resources.
Licensing Issues Oversight - Lincoln County intends to continue its work on determining the potential for atmospheric migration of radionuclides and their relation to health and safety issues. In addition, Lincoln County plans to continue its cooperation with the Nye County geotechnical program, especially in areas that focus on potential impacts to off-site populace.
Anticipated Work - Lincoln County plans to pursue completion of the cumulative assessment of NTS weapons and repository system radiological risks. The County hopes to identify and characterize the actual risk associated with the two operations in order to correctly plan for mitigation and compensation efforts and guide public perceptions towards the actual risk rather than those of perception.
A special emphasis will be placed on tracking the progress and process of the DOE's Viability Assessment. The actual role of the Viability Assessment in the site characterization and, ultimately, the licensing process is somewhat uncertain. The Assessment seems intended to be a management tool for the program aimed at integrating components of the ongoing activities taking place within the site characterization process. Lincoln County will be an active participant in the review of the Assessment and in the determination of its best application.
Environmental Impact Statement Oversight - While the actual role of the Viability Assessment in the site characterization, and ultimately, the licensing process of Yucca Mountain is somewhat uncertain, the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is well defined and important.
Anticipated Work - Lincoln County will monitor the process and track DOE's response to the Lincoln County/City of Caliente Repository EIS Scoping report to assure that DOE is addressing the interests and concerns of local communities. The draft EIS will commence later this year and Lincoln County will play an active stakeholder role in the development of this document.
Taken together, these elements represent the continuation of an ambitious yet necessary program of credible oversight and impact alleviation by Lincoln County and the City of Caliente.
Mineral County's Office of Nuclear Projects performs the monitoring and oversight activities of the Yucca Mountain Project and other related issues on behalf of Mineral County. The County is in the process of establishing an oversight program that informs the county residents about the repository project, monitors the site characterization activities taking place at Yucca Mountain and prepares the County to be able to review and comment on documents, study plans and progress reports generated by the Department of Energy.
The program goals for the Mineral County Office of Nuclear Projects are to:
The Yucca Mountain Project site and most of the Nevada Test Site are located within Nye County. As the host county to these facilities, Nye County receives and accepts certain "special status" rights and responsibilities. As the situs jurisdiction, Nye County must be prepared to address potentially serious and irreversible threats to public health, safety and the environment. These threats include potential negative impacts to the well being, economic future and quality of life for Nye County residents.
Nye County has legal standing under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (NWPA), as amended, to undertake oversight initiatives and to maintain on-site representation at the Yucca Mountain Project. The County's oversight program is administered through the Nuclear Waste Repository Office (NWRPO), established in FY1986. The NWRPO is managed by the manager of the Nye County Department of Natural Resources and Federal Facilities (DNRFF), on behalf of the County Commission. NWRPO's On-Site Representative reports directly to the manager of the DNRFF.
Nye County's on-site activities at Yucca Mountain range from monitoring DOE site characterization and quality assurance program implementation, to collecting data under its Independent Scientific Investigations Program (ISIP). ISIP activities include borehole drilling for independent data collection, and verification and maintenance of pressure and humidity instrumentation in the Exploratory Study Facility (ESF) tunnel.
Oversight Activities for FY99 and Beyond
Nye County's oversight program consists of the following elements:
The County plans to retain these program elements during FY99 and beyond, though the relative emphasis may change to reflect new program direction and fluctuating funding levels. The following sections highlight the County's key issues and activities under each program element.
1. Independent Scientific Investigations
Purpose: Nye County has established an innovative Independent Scientific Investigation Program (ISIP). Under this program, the County gathers its own data for independent analysis of geologic and hydrologic conditions at the site and otherwise monitors and reviews DOE's overall scientific characterization of Yucca Mountain. Nye has also developed on-site' representation protocols with the DOE and has designated an on-site representative, as provided in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, as amended. The on-site representative directs the ISIP and maintains a regular presence at the Yucca Mountain site, at DOE's Summerlin offices, and represents the county at a wide variety of Yucca Mountain- related meetings, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board.
Activities & Accomplishments:
1) Through innovative analysis of pressure, temperature and gas data taken from the unsaturated zone in Nye County well ONC#1 and the ESF temperature, pressure and relative humidity data, Nye County has been able to further define air-flow patterns and mechanisms that exist within Yucca Mountain. This analysis has created a better understanding of the unsaturated zone and has led to important alternative repository design scenarios. During FY98, representatives from Nye County's ISIP were invited by the NWTRB and Nuclear Regulatory Commission to present their views on alternative repository designs.
2) Nye County, through its evaluation of the Yucca Mountain saturated zone, completed a detailed assessment of present and future impacts on the water resources of the Southern Nye County groundwater system. The ISIP published a formal report based on this assessment and distributed it to all interested parties. To augment this study and its ground water modeling program, Nye County has proposed a comprehensive drilling, testing and sampling program for the region down gradient of Yucca Mountain.
3) The Nye County ISIP evaluated and commented on the strengths and weaknesses of the Yucca Mountain and NTS Regional flow models. Nye County is currently developing its own model of this flow system. In conjunction with these studies, Nye County hosted the annual Devils Hole Workshop in March. The Workshop brought together scientists, ranchers, government regulators and other interested publics to address groundwater issues related to the Death Valley Regional flow system.
4) Nye County developed a comprehensive database of geologic and hydrologic data to be used in its analysis of Yucca Mountain. This database includes data from ONC#1 and NRG-4 and the ESF, as well as data obtained from DOE contractors and scientists.
2. Socioeconomic, Transportation and Emergency Response
Purpose: To assure Nye County makes the best use of its limited financial resources, the County completed a protocol agreement with DOE for socioeconomic monitoring and assessment. The Protocol ensures that any party having access to specific data is responsible for collecting and distributing that data, and further guarantees that the YMP and NWRPO analysis and projection models are tested and compared using similar data inputs. This Protocol has resulted in the development and maintenance of a YMP employment and procurement monitoring system and in a number of analyses and databases which have been used and referenced in DOE assessment initiatives.Activities:
1) Identify and monitor Nye county socioeconomic conditions which could be affected by characterization, development and operation of facilities to transport, store and/or dispose of high level nuclear waste;
2) Develop the understanding of the Yucca Mountain program and its national and local context necessary to conduct reasonable analysis of its effects;
3) Maintain and operate a set of socioeconomic projection models which reflect Nye County conditions an potentials;
4) Conduct periodic assessments of current and potential future socioeconomic effect of Yucca Mountain activities;
5) Understand the current and potential future context for Yucca Mountain which will contribute to cumulative socioeconomic impacts; and
6) Advise NWRPO and Nye county officials on strategies to avoid, manage and/or mitigate potential socioeconomic effects.
1) Initiated revisions to the economic and demographic modeling capabilities as related to the Yucca Mountain impact assessment process;
2) Reviewed Nye County emergency management capabilities as related to high- level nuclear waste transportation; and
3) Reviewed socioeconomic issues which may be covered in the Yucca Mountain EIS and coordination with DOE on the EIS process.
B. Transportation & Emergency Response
Purpose: Regardless of which national transportation policy or option is implemented, all waste will ultimately be transported through Nye County to final sites in Nye County, at either Yucca Mountain or the Nevada Test Site. In the interest of protecting the health, safety and economic interests of the citizens of the County, NWRPO will continue to evaluate transportation options and scenarios. In addition, NWRPO will develop a final impact assessment and an emergency response plan.
1) Identify and monitor local community conditions which might be affected by transportation of high-level nuclear waste;
2) Understand the options for nuclear waste transportation in sufficient detail to allow reasonable analysis;
3) Conduct periodic assessments of potential effects of Yucca Mountain transportation activities;
4) Understand the current and potential future radioactive waste transportation context for Yucca Mountain which will contribute to cumulative transportation impacts; and
5) Advise NWRPO and Nye County officials on strategies to avoid, manage and/or mitigate potential transportation impacts.
1) Reviewed transportation issues and formulated Nye County policies on transportation of high-level nuclear waste within county borders; and
2) Completed preliminary collection and analysis of information related to the assessment of radioactive waste transportation potentials including Yucca Mountain and other DOE waste transportation programs, in anticipation of participation in the cumulative aspect of transportation issues which will be addressed by the Yucca Mountain EIS.
3. Regulatory Oversight and Licensing:
Purpose: Planning and implementation of an effective role for Nye County in oversight of Yucca Mountain repository program, specifically including DOE and NRC pre-licensing activities.
FY98 Activities & Accomplishments:
1) Tracked regulatory developments and pre-licensing activities during a time of no Congressional funding for the Nye County program. As a result, Nye County was able to reactivate an aggressive regulatory oversight program, without delay, after funding was restored.
4. Policy and Government Relations:
Purpose: To effectively participate in the waste management program, Nye County must understand a wide array of policy matters and interact with numerous other oversight organizations. NWRPO's Policy and Governmental Relations program element was created to facilitate this participation.
FY98 Activities & Accomplishments:
1) Monitored and analyzed DOE and congressional policy initiatives;
2) Supported Nye County's formal interactions with DOE under the Framework for Formal Interactions and related protocols and agreements;
3) Participated in program-related oversight activities of NWTRB, NRC and others;
4) Reviewed and commented on program-related documents and policy positions;
5) Monitored international waste management programs;
6) Defined and implemented strategies for obtaining maximum entitlement for Nye County as host to both high level and low level waste storage sites and facilities; and
7) Assisted in providing meaningful and effective opportunities for Nye County residents to understand waste management issues and participate in the County's oversight activities.
5. Program Management:
Purpose: Program Management includes all the activities and expenses necessary to operate and support oversight activities. These include Quality Assurance (QA), staff, salaries, rents, equipment, travel, printing, subscriptions, and certain capital costs.
A. Quality Assurance
Purpose: NQA-1 Quality Assurance for Nye County's Yucca Mountain independent scientific oversight program.
FY98 Activities & Accomplishments:
1) Developed a calibration system for scientific measuring and test equipment;
2) Completed the Quality Assurance Records Management system, including establishment of physical files and related electronic database management system; and
3) Initiated a Nonconformance Report and Suggested Corrective Actions related to calibration of environmental monitoring probes, including securing independent technical review of questionable probe data.
White Pine County
The White Pine Nuclear Waste Project Office re-opened for business January 29, 1998, after being shut down for almost 2 years. Progress has been relatively slow, and the Project Office staff have concentrated on day-to-day activities to get acquainted with the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project, while also trying to re-implement several key oversight projects that were started prior to 1996.
Mission: White Pine County is located in the eastern portion of the State of Nevada, about 250 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. U.S. Highways 93 and 318 are the main transportation routes for tourists--especially winter snowbirds (retirees)--traveling to and from Idaho and the western part of Montana.
Originally, a proposed rail route as well as a highway transportation route through White Pine County were identified by the State of Nevada as possible shipping routes for high-level nuclear waste. The rail route was deleted from further consideration because this route would have been the longest route and the most hazardous route. A portion of the proposed highway route runs through treacherous mountain highways that receive considerable snow each winter.
The proposed highway routes: (A) south on Alternate Highway 93 from Wendover, through Ely, southwest on Highway 6 to Tonopah, east on Interstate 95 to the Yucca Mountain Project and; (B) south on Alternate Highway 93 from Wendover, through Ely, south on Highway 6 to SR Highway 318 to Highway 93, to Interstate 15, through Las Vegas, and then northwest on Highway 95 to the Yucca Mountain Project. These two routes are still considered preferred alternate routes for shipments of high-level radioactive wastes going to Yucca Mountain. The White Pine County Commissioners and Nuclear Waste Project Office staff diligently monitor the Yucca Mountain Project activities since the town of Ely has a population of about 5,000 people.
Residents of White Pine County want to ensure that possible transportation routes would not endangered the their health and welfare. Too many of these local residents remember the impacts of nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site in the early 1950s and the long-term atmospheric exposure pathway effects from this testing. If a catastrophic accident were to occur, potential atmospheric pathways could present the county residents with grave consequences. With mining and ranching being the main economic thrust for White Pine County, we can ill afford adverse impacts and the risk-induced stigma. Accidents from substandard shipping canisters, from poor road conditions, and from injuries associated with lack of proper emergency equipment and response training are just a few examples of possible accidents. This is one of the main reasons the Nuclear Waste Project Office and County Commissioners are diligently performing oversight activities in conjunction with the Yucca Mountain Project. All parties concerned want to ensure that high-level waste transportation through the County does not pose serious long-term health risks and does not adversely impact the county's socioeconomic and demographic conditions.
Accomplishments to Date: The White Pine Nuclear Waste Project Office has reviewed and commented on two important documents which will have National impacts: (1) proposed revisions to the Price-Anderson Act and; (2) Request for Proposal to revise Section 180(c) Implementation Policy.
Several County Commissioners and Project Office Staff toured the Yucca Mountain facility in mid-April. Plans are under way to tour related facilities such as the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in June, Hanford Reservation in July, and the Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant in August.
Mr. Max Powell, County Liaison with the Department of Energy (DOE), Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project, gave a presentation to the local Rotary Club on April 30 and will speak to two local high school Chemistry classes in late May. Staff are also working with DOE to try to get a few local teachers into a two-week class in Las Vegas on teaching techniques along with training materials for the Yucca Mountain Project and related projects.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is being updated so Project Office staff can occasionally use BLM's GIS equipment to share geographic information which will aid the County to project potential risks and impacts from heavy-haul transportation of spent nuclear fuel through White Pine County, and from possible atmospheric exposure pathways if a catastrophic accident occurs at the repository.
The Office Manager has attended several program-related meetings and conferences, including the Affected Units of Local Government (AULG) Meeting sponsored by the DOE in January, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Proposed New Rule for the Licensing Support Network (LSN), the Legislative Council Bureau Meeting concerning updates and concerns about the Quality Assurance programs being conducted for the Yucca Mountain Project, and the AULG Meetings held in Battle Mountain in April and in Las Vegas in May.
Program Goals: By the end of this fiscal year, White Pine County should have several key issues/steps finished to be able to have an effective Emergency Management Plan in place; the County's geographical information data and various input/output models will be loaded onto the computer to use as an illustrative model of possible effects of transporting high-level nuclear waste through White Pine County; DOE staff and Project Office staff will continue to educate county residents about the Yucca Mountain Project and transportation of high- level nuclear waste by making presentations, highlighting key work at Yucca Mountain through pictures, videos, and written materials; and reviewing reports for the Yucca Mountain Site Characterization Project such as the Viability Assessment, Environmental Impact Statement, and pre-licensing application oversight activities.
Project Office staff will review and submit their comments on the Viability Assessment (VA) that is due to be published later this year by DOE. The VA is considered to be one major milestone, in the line of many, for the DOE to finally get approval from the Secretary of Energy, Congress and the President for the Licensing Application which will be submitted in 2001.
Oversight of Funding for Program Offices: In late February, two White Pine County Commissioners met with Assistant Director Ron Milner of the Department of Energy, Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) in Washington, D.C., and in May four Commissioners met with the Acting Director of OCRWM, Lake Barrett. Their purpose was to establish the process of setting up "executive briefings" with the ten Affected Units of Local Government (AULG).
The Project Office is extremely interested in the outcome of the Bill before the Senate for the Interim Storage of high-level nuclear waste (HLW) at the Nevada Test Site, which is only 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. If this Bill is passed, HLW could be shipped through White Pine County by truck. Another option, which would not affect White Pine County residents directly could be the intermodel transfer point of HLW being located at Caliente, Nevada. Caliente is only 100 miles southwest of Ely, and is one of the major transportation routes for residents and tourists going to Las Vegas, Nevada.