GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 171-8
Presentation Time: 3:30 PM


BAHR, Jean1, BECKER, Steven1, BRANTLEY, Susan L.2, CROFF, Allen1, FOUFOULA-GEORGIOU, Efi3, ILLANGASEKARE, Tissa1, PEDDICORD, K. Lee1, TURINSKY, Paul1 and ZOBACK, Mary Lou4, (1)U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, 2300 Clarendon Blvd, Suite 1300, Arlington, VA 22201, (2)Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, (3)Dept. of Civil and Env. Eng. and Earth System Science, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, (4)Stanford, CA 94305

The U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board was established by Congress in 1987 to evaluate the technical and scientific validity of activities undertaken by the Secretary of Energy related to management of spent nuclear fuel and high level radioactive waste including repository site characterization and activities relating to packaging and transportation of these materials. Board members are nominated by the National Academies and appointed by the President. Most of the current Board members were appointed in 2012 and, thus, have nearly a decade of experience reviewing U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) activities and how they contribute to meeting the grand scientific and technological challenge of managing and permanently disposing of nuclear waste in the United States. The Board members also have had opportunities to observe and learn from waste management programs in other countries facing a similar challenge. Through this experience, Board members have seen the complex interplay between technical issues and societal and institutional factors that affect progress towards implementing a successful geologic repository program. Drawing on this collective experience, the Board prepared a report, issued in April 2021, designed to offer a broad set of high-level recommendations to DOE that, if adopted as core principles, will support the creation of a robust, safe, and effective nuclear waste management capability and lay the groundwork for a successful geologic repository. The six overarching recommendations and associated action items in the report relate to (i) ensuring an integrated organizational approach, (ii) anticipating required infrastructure and personnel needs, (iii) expanding the research paradigm to embrace hypothesis testing, (iv) applying an iterative, adaptive waste management program approach, (v) expanding engagement with the international community, and (vi) embracing openness, transparency, and engagement to build public trust and confidence.