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Summary of Express Terms- 6 NYCRR Part 380

Proposed Amendments to 6 NYCRR Part 380 - Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Radioactive Materials

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) proposes to amend 6 NYCRR Part 380, which regulates the disposal and release of radioactive material to the environment pursuant to Articles 1, 3, 17, 19, 27, 29, and 37 of the Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) and the State of New York's agreement with the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The current Part 380 contributes to meeting the legislative goals of conserving, improving, and protecting the State's natural resources and environment and preventing, abating and controlling water, land, and air pollution. This is done through several provisions in the rule. Part 380 sets limits on the radiation dose to members of the public due to releases of radioactive material to the environment. It requires parties to obtain permits for most releases of radioactive material made directly to the environment. Radiation exposures in uncontrolled areas in the environment are required to be kept as low as reasonably achievable. The regulations also restrict the disposal of radioactive material to only those methods approved in the regulations or by DEC in a permit.

The proposed amendments would not change the general requirements for disposal of radioactive material or obtaining permits, or the requirement that exposures be kept as low as reasonably achievable. New provisions that would contribute to meeting the legislative goals include applying a constraint on emissions to the air, which is lower than the current limit.

The proposed amendments to Part 380 would update several provisions that are required for compatibility with federal regulations, simplify and update language, and add several needed provisions that have been absent from the regulations. The following outline highlights the proposed changes.

In subpart 380-1, several changes to the general provisions will be made for the purpose of improving clarity and to fill regulatory gaps. Reference to Article 37 of the ECL has been added, as it had been previously inadvertently omitted. Applicability has been expanded to include the use of licensed radioactive material in the environment (e.g., in environmental studies). Because the use of radioactive material in the environment is not currently specifically identified in regulation as being subject to Part 380, DEC cannot issue Radiation Control Permits for such uses until the proposed amendment is adopted. This subpart has also been expanded to clarify that certain types of radioactive materials are not subject to Part 380, such as intact smoke detectors, household waste containing excreted residues of radiopharmaceuticals, or naturally occurring radioactive material in natural isotopic abundance. This clarification should help avoid confusion about the disposal of radioactive materials that are not subject to regulatory control. In addition, a paragraph has been added to clarify that sites containing buried radioactive waste are subject to Part 380.

In subpart 380-2, several additions and changes in definitions will be made to maintain compatibility with federal regulations, improve clarity, and incorporate commonly used terms of art. The definition changes are highlighted below.

"Disposal" has been added, as it is not currently defined in Part 380. "Release" has been added, as it replaces the former use of the term "discharges" throughout the regulation. "Discharge" has been revised to apply only to the release of material to ground or surface water. The term currently applies to the release of radioactive material to both air and water. "Emission" has been added for the release of material to the air. "Effluent" has been added to mean material released to air or water, as this term appears in the Table of Concentrations in section 380-11.7. "Effluent treatment" has been added as it is referenced in section 380-3.4. "Incineration" is defined as a process, instead of the equipment used. "Incinerator" has been deleted. "Permit" has been expanded to apply to the use of radioactive material in the environment, and for the maintenance of a former radioactive waste land burial site. "Permittee" has been updated for consistency with language used in other DEC regulations. "Loss of control of radioactive material" has been revised because the previous definition was limited to licensed radioactive material. "Uncontrolled release" has been added for unplanned releases of radioactive material to the environment. This term is referenced in section 380-9.2 and is needed to differentiate from controlled releases of radioactive material to the environment as authorized under the Part 380 regulations. "TENORM" has been added to clarify that technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (TENORM) is the same as processed and concentrated naturally occurring radioactive material, which is regulated radioactive material.

Other definitions will be added or revised as required for compatibility with federal regulations issued by the NRC in 10 CFR 20. Definitions for "dose constraint" and "public dose" will be added. Likewise, the definitions for "total effective dose equivalent" and "member of the public" will be revised as required to maintain compatibility with federal rules.

In subpart 380-3, permit requirements will be clarified to identify each type of disposal or release of radioactive material that can only be undertaken as authorized by DEC in a permit. Also, the required content of permit applications has been expanded to establish in regulation the minimum information that must be included in a permit application. These criteria have already been used to evaluate the sufficiency of submitted permit applications for many years.

In subpart 380-4, language has been added so that all allowed waste disposal methods for radioactive material are now referenced in this subpart. The disposal of a specific category of wastes (the "biomedical exemption") has been expanded to include animal bedding meeting certain criteria, which supports the longstanding disposal exemption that exists for animal tissue containing small amounts of radioactive material.

In subpart 380-5, which pertains to radiation dose limits for individual members of the public, a 10 millirem (mrem) constraint on airborne emissions has been added to maintain compatibility with federal rules. This dose constraint has already been implemented by permit condition for several years. Also, the reference to 40 CFR 190 has been deleted because it was inappropriately included in Part 380.

In subpart 380-6, annual calibrations are now required for instruments used to measure effluent flow rates. This requirement has already been implemented by permit condition for several years.

No significant changes were made to subpart 380-7, Release Minimization Programs.

In subpart 380-8, which pertains to records, regulated persons are now authorized to record quantities of radioactivity in the International System of Units (also known as SI). Two new requirements will be added: (1) data maintained in electronic format must be made available to DEC via hardcopy upon request; and (2) records required by Part 380 must be transferred from the old permittee to the new permittee when a permit is transferred. These requirements would ensure that inspectors can obtain information and raw data that may only exist on a computer system, and would ensure that records relevant to Part 380 compliance are properly transferred when a permit is transferred.

In subpart 380-9, which pertains to reports, the requirement for a permittee to submit annual reports has been expanded to require reporting of environmental dosimeter results when the acquisition of such data is required by the permit. This requirement has already been implemented by permit condition for several years. Several requirements have changed regarding Notification of Incidents; some changes were required to maintain compatibility with federal regulations, and other changes were added to lower the reporting thresholds because the federal rules requiring notification of incidents only involve large exposures. Reports are now required for: (1) uncontrolled releases or events that could cause releases; (2) exceedance of any permit or regulatory limit (this requirement has already been implemented by permit condition for several years); or (3) exceedance of the dose constraint. The contents of reports and timeframes are specified.

In subpart 380-10, which includes the "General Regulatory Requirements," several additions will be made. The new prohibition of engaging in deliberate misconduct is required for compatibility with federal rules. This prohibits the deliberate submission of inaccurate or incomplete information to DEC, and applies to permittees, applicants and contractors. Also, information submitted to DEC must be complete and accurate, and a prohibition has been added against uncontrolled releases, unauthorized transfers, or abandonment of radioactive material or failure to comply with any requirement in Part 380. These additions would strengthen DEC's enforcement capabilities in the event that violations of Part 380 are identified.

In subpart 380-11, two new isotopes will be added to the Tables of Concentrations: N-13 and O-15. These additions are required to maintain compatibility with the federal rules issued by NRC in 10 CFR 20.

In summary, the proposed amendment to Part 380 would: (1) update several provisions that are required for compatibility with federal regulations; (2) simplify, clarify and update language; and (3) add several needed provisions that have been absent from the regulations when it was previously promulgated.


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