Risk Insights for Use in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Program for the Potential Yucca Mountain Repository (PSAM-0289)


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff has completed the risk insights baseline in support of and in preparation for its regulatory review activities outlined in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982. The risk insights baseline provides a system-level perspective on the relative significance of features, events, and processes and associated uncertainties via their potential effect on the waste isolation capabilities of the repository system during the post-closure period, and the potential effect on public health and safety. The staff develops risk insights from experience gained through the development and exercise of its independent performance assessment; technical analyses to support pre-licensing interactions with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE); and analyses conducted by the DOE and others. For the NRC high-level radioactive waste program, performance assessment is defined as the risk-assessment methodology used to assess risks associated with post-closure performance of a repository system.

The NRC staff has conducted further risk analyses in key areas identified in the risk insights baseline, including: (i) waste package corrosion and repository near-field chemical environment, (ii) radionuclide transport in the saturated zone, and (iii) inhalation of resuspended volcanic ash. The NRC staff uses the results of these analyses to risk-inform enhancements to its performance assessment.

The results of these analyses and subsequent enhancements to the performance assessment risk-inform ongoing pre-licensing activities and interactions with the DOE and other stakeholders. Performance assessment together with the risk insights baseline will complement information considered during a potential license application review. Independent analyses provide additional confidence for review of the strengths and limitations of a DOE demonstration of compliance with NRC regulations.

  • Summary/Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Risk Analyses for Risk Insights
  • Conclusions
  • Acknowledgments
  • References

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