Glossary

This glossary of terms and acronyms is intended to help the reader understand the issues the Citizen Task Force addresses. Other organizations, including DOE and NYSERDA, maintain glossaries of terms relating to nuclear waste.


Click on the letter below to go to that portion of the Glossary. Click on the shaded area to expand it and view definitions.

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A

  • ACOE: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • Administrative Procedure Act: (APA) U.S. Federal Law which governs the way Federal Administrative Agencies may propose and establish regulations.  The APA also sets up a process for federal courts to directly review agency decisions.
  • AEA: Atomic Energy Act.  U.S. Federal Law that regulates both the civilian and the military uses of nuclear weapons, covers development and regulates the use of nuclear materials and facilities in the U.S.
    AEC: Atomic Energy Commission.  Now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  • ALARA: As Low As Reasonably Achievable.  An approach to radiation protection that advocates controlling or managing exposures (both individual and collective) to the work force and the general public and releases of radioactive material to the environment as low as social, technical, economic, practical, and public policy considerations permit.  As used in United States Department of Energy (DOE) Order 5400.5, ALARA is not a dose limit but, rather, a process that has as its objective the attainment of dose levels as far below the applicable limits of the Order as practicable.
  • Annual Site Environmental Report: (ASER) conducted by the West Valley Environmental Services, provides a historical record of radionuclide and radiation levels from natural and manmade sources in the survey area, and also documents the quality of groundwater on and around the WVDP and the quality of the air and water discharged by the WVDP.
  • APA: Administrative Procedure Act.  U.S. Federal Law that governs the way Federal Administrative Agencies may propose and establish regulations.  The APA also sets up a process for federal courts to directly review agency decisions.
  • As Low As Reasonably Achievable: (ALARA)  An approach to radiation protection that advocates controlling or managing exposures (both individual and collective) to the work force and the general public and releases of radioactive material to the environment as low as social, technical, economic, practical, and public policy considerations permit.  As used in United States Department of Energy (DOE) Order 5400.5, ALARA is not a dose limit but, rather, a process that has as its objective the attainment of dose levels as far below the applicable limits of the Order as practicable.
  • ASER: Annual Site Environmental Report, conducted by the West Valley Environmental Services, provides a historical record of radionuclide and radiation levels from natural and manmade sources in the survey area, and documents the quality of groundwater on and around the WVDP and the quality of the air and water discharged by the WVDP.
  • Atomic Energy Act: (AEA) U.S. Federal Law that regulates both the civilian and the military uses of nuclear weapons, covers development and regulates the use of nuclear materials and facilities in the U.S.
  • Atomic Energy Commission: (AEC) Now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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B

  • BGS: Below Ground Surface, the depth below the ground surface.
  • BOSF: Balance of Site Facilities.

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C

  • Cattaraugus County Health Department: CCHD
  • CCHD: Cattaraugus County Health Department.
  • CDDL: Construction and Demolition Debris Landfill, specially licensed facilities that accept construction and demolition debris — usually non-hazardous, uncontaminated material resulting from construction, remodeling, repair, or demolition of utilities, structures and roads.
  • CDP: Comprehensive Decommissioning Plan
  • CEQ: Council on Environmental Quality coordinates federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental policies and initiatives.
  • CERCLA: Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund).  U.S. environmental law created to protect people, families, communities and others from heavily contaminated toxic waste sites that have been abandoned.  Common name is Superfund.
  • CFR: Code of Federal Regulations, the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive department and agencies of the Federal Government.
  • CHBWV: CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley, LLC, the contractor currently performing Phase 1 decommissioning activities at WVDP.
  • CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley, LLC: (CHBWV) The contractor currently performing Phase 1 decommissioning activities at WVDP.
  • Chain Reaction: A nuclear reaction that initiates its own repetition.  In a fission chain reaction, a fissionable nucleus absorbs a neutron and fissions spontaneously, releasing additional nuclei These, in turn, can be absorbed by other fissionable nuclei, releasing still more neutrons.
  • Clean Water Act: (CWA) The primary federal U.S. law governing water pollution, establishes the goals of eliminating releases to water of high amounts of toxic substances.
  • CMS: Corrective Measures Study, develops and evaluates the corrective action alternatives and recommends the corrective measures to be taken at a facility.
  • Code of Federal Regulations: (CFR) the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive department and agencies of the Federal Government.
  • Comprehensive Decommissioning Plan: (CDP)
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act: (CERCLA) U.S. environmental law created to protect people, families, communities and others from heavily contaminated toxic waste sites that have been abandoned.  Common name is Superfund.
  • Construction and Demolition Debris Landfill: (CDDL) Special licensed facilities that accept construction and demolition debris –usually non-hazardous, uncontaminated material resulting from construction, remodeling, repair or demolition of utilities, structures or roads.
  • Core Team: The “core team approach” to environmental cleanup is a formalized, consensus-based process in which agencies with decision-making authority, including the DOE, the EPA, and State remedial project manager, work together to reach an agreement on key remediation decisions.  In August 2006, the DOE-West Valley Demonstration Project requested that the New York State Department of Health, the NRC, the Environmental Protection Agency, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and NYSERDA participate in a collaborative process to resolve technical issues associated with the “Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Decommissioning and/or Long-Term Stewardship at the WVDP and Western New York Nuclear Service Center.”  The WVDP Core Team has been participating in this process since then.
  • Corrective Measures Study: (CMS) develops and evaluates the corrective action alternatives and to recommends the corrective measures to be taken at the facility.
  • Cosmic Radiation: High-energy charged particles from outer space that bombard the earth’s atmosphere.  Cosmic radiation is part of natural background radiation.
  • Council on Environmental Quality: (CEQ) coordinates federal environmental efforts and works closely with agencies and other White House offices in the development of environmental policies and initiatives.
  • CPC: (Chemical Process Cell) an electrochemical energy conservation device where generally reactants flow in and reaction products flow out while electrolyte remains in the cell.
  • CTF: West Valley Citizen Task Force.
  • Curie (Ci): A unit of radioactivity equal to 37 billion (3.7 x 1010) nuclear transformations per second that is approximately the activity of 1 gram of radium.  A curie is also a quantity of any radionuclide that decays at a rate of 37 billion disintegrations per second.
  • CWA: Clean Water Act.  The primary U.S. federal law governing water pollution, establishes the goal of eliminating releases to water of high amounts of toxic substances.

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D

  • DAC: (Derived Air Concentration) the concentration of radioactive material in air and the time of exposure to that radionuclide in hours.  An NRC licensee may take 2,000 hours to represent one ALI, equivalent to a committed effective dose equivalent of 5 rems.
  • DCGL: (Derived Concentration Guideline Level) a radio nuclide-specific surface or volume residual radioactivity level that is related to a concentration or dose or risk criterion.  The regulator usually determines this criterion.
  • D & D: Decontamination and Decommissioning.
  • Decontamination: The reduction or removal of contaminating radioactive material from a structure, area, object, or person.  Accomplished by treating the surface to remove or decrease the contamination, letting the material stand so that the radioactivity is decreased as a result of natural radioactive decay, or covering the contamination to shield or attenuate the radiation emitted.
  • Decommissioning: The process of closing down a facility followed by reducing residual radioactivity to a level that permits the release of the property for unrestricted use.
  • Derived Air Concentration: The concentration of radioactive material in air and the time of exposure to that radionuclide in hours.  An NRC licensee may take 2,000 hours to represent one ALI, equivalent to a committed effective dose equivalent of 5 rems.
  • Derived Concentration Guideline Level: DCGL, a radio nuclide-specific surface or volume residual radioactivity level that is related to a concentration or dose or risk criterion.
  • Dispersion (airborne): The process whereby particulates or gases are spread and diluted in air as they move away from a source.
  • Dispersion (groundwater): The process whereby particulates or gases are spread or mixed as they are transported by groundwater as it moves through the ground.
  • DOE: Department of Energy.
  • DOT: Department of Transportation.
  • Dosimer: A portable device for measuring the total accumulated exposure to radiation.
  • Dry Shield Canister: (DSC) constructed from steel with a thick welded bottom plate and additional layers as a radiological shield.
  • DSC: Dry Shield Canister, constructed from steel with a thick welded bottom plate and additional layers as a radiological shield.

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E

  • EA: Environmental Assessment, an assessment of the positive or negative influence a project may have on the environment.  The purpose of an assessment is to ensure that decision makers consider environmental impacts before deciding whether to proceed with a project.
  • EDE: Effective Dose Equivalent, a way of converting the process of radioactive intake into a simplified concept of a uniform whole-body dose–that is, an equivalent of what an actual localized dose means to the overall body.
  • Effective Dose Equivalent: (EDE) a way of converting the process of radioactive intake into a simplified concept of a uniform whole-body dose–that is, an equivalent of what an actual localized dose means to the overall body.
  • Effluent Monitoring: Sampling or measuring specific liquid or gaseous effluent streams for the presence of pollutants to determine compliance with applicable standards, permit requirements, and administrative controls.
  • EID: Environmental Information Document, a full disclosure document that summarizes the public’s and resource agencies’ interests and concerns.  The document identifies evaluates and, if necessary, proposes mitigation measures for the project’s social, economic and environmental effects.
  • EIS: Environmental Impact Statement, a detailed statement that includes the environmental impact of the proposed action, any adverse environmental effects that cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented, and alternatives to the proposed action.  For more information see Section 102 (2) (C) of the National Environmental Policy Act and in 40 CFR 1508.11.
  • EM: Environmental Management, the Office of Environmental Management, a branch of the DOE, is responsible for the risk reduction and cleanup of the environmental legacy of the nation’s nuclear weapons program.
  • Environmental Assessment: (EA) An assessment of the positive or negative influence a project may have on the environment.  The purpose of the assessment is to ensure that decision makers consider environmental impacts before deciding whether to proceed with new projects.
  • Environmental Impact Statement: (EIS) A detailed statement that includes the environmental impact of the proposed action, any adverse environmental effects that cannot be avoided should the proposal be implemented, and alternatives to the proposed action.  For more information see Section 102 (2) (C) of the National Environmental Policy Act and in 40 CFR 1508.11.
  • Environmental Information Document: (EID) A full disclosure document that summarizes the public’s and resource agencies’ interests and concerns.  The document identifies evaluates and, if necessary, proposes mitigation measures for the project’s social, economic and environmental effects.
  • Environmental Management: (EM) The Office of Environmental Management, a branch of the DOE, is responsible for the risk reduction and clean up of the environmental legacy of the nation’s nuclear weapons program.
  • Environmental Protection Agency: (EPA) Whose mission is to protect the human health and the environment and leads the nation’s environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts.
  • EPA: Environmental Protection Agency, whose mission is to protect the human health and the environment and leads the nation’s environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts.
  • Erg: A small but measurable amount of energy, one-billionth (1E-09) of the energy released by a 100-watt bulb in one second.  One dyne-cm.
  • Evapotranspiration: The combined precipitation returned to the air through direct evaporation and by transpiration of vegetation.
  • Exposure: The subjection of a target (usually living tissue or radiation).

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F

  • Federal Register: (FR) A daily publication by the U.S. Government containing most routine publications and public notices of government agencies.
  • Finding of No Significant Impact: FONSI.
  • Fiscal Year: (FY) The 12 month period from October 1 to September 30, used by the federal government in budget formulation and execution.  The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends.
  • Fission: The act or process of splitting into parts.  A nuclear reaction in which an atomic nucleus splits into fragments.
  • FONSI: Finding of No Significant Impact.
  • FR: Federal Register, a daily publication by the U.S. Government containing most routine publications and public notices of government agencies.
  • FRS: Fuel Receiving and Storage. The first phase of decontaminating the WVDP Fuel Receiving and Storage facility entailed the removal of 149 canisters that previously contained spent fuel assemblies from the pool.  In 2002, nuclear divers began removing canister storage racks from the FRS pool.
  • Fuel Assembly: A cluster of fuel rods (or plates).  Also called a fuel element.  Many fuel assemblies make up a reactor core.
  • Fuel Receiving and Storage: (FRS) the first phase of decontaminating the WVDP Fuel Receiving and Storage facility entailed the removal of 149 canisters which previously contained spent fuel assemblies from the pool.  In 2002, nuclear divers began removing canister storage racks from the FRS pool.
  • Fuel Reprocessing: The processing of reactor fuel to separate the unused fissionable material from waste material.
  • FY: Fiscal Year.  The 12 month period from October 1 to September 30, used by the Federal Government in budget formulation and execution.  The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends.

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G

  • Geographic Information System: (GIS) A system for capturing, storing, analyzing and managing data and associated attributes that are spatially referenced to the Earth.  Used for scientific investigations, resource management, asset management, Environmental Impact, urban planning, cartography, criminology, history, sales, marketing and logistics.
  • GIS: Geographic Information System, a system for capturing, storing, analyzing and managing data and associated attributes that are spatially referenced to the Earth.  Used for scientific investigations, resource management, asset management, Environmental Improvement, urban planning, cartography, criminology, history, sales, marketing and logistics.
  • Gray: (Gy) The international system (SI) unit of absorbed dose.  One gray is equal to an absorbed dose of 1 joule / kilogram.  One gray is the equivalent of 100 rads.
  • Greater than Class C Waste: (GTCC) Low-level radioactive waste that exceeds the concentration limits of radio nuclides established by NRC for Class C waste in 10 CFR 61.55.
  • Groundwater: Subsurface water in the pore spaces between soil and bedrock.
  • GTCC: Greater than Class C Waste, low-level radioactive waste that exceeds the concentration limits of radio nuclides established by NRC for Class C waste in 10 CFR 61.55.
  • Gy: Gray, the international system (SI) unit of absorbed dose.  One gray is equal to an absorbed dose of 1 joule/ kilogram.  One gray is the equivalent of 100 rads.

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H

  • Half-Life: The time in which half the atoms of a radionuclide to disintegrate into another nuclear form.  Half-lives vary from a fraction of a second to billions of years.
  • Hazardous Waste: A waste or combination of wastes that because of quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical, or infectious characteristics may:
    cause or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible or incapacitating reversible illness; or
    pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, disposed of, or otherwise managed.
  • HIC: High Intensity Container, has a three-layer structure that is suitable for storage and disposal of radioactive or industrial wastes.
  • High Intensity Container: (HIC) has a three-layer structure that is suitable for storage and disposal of radioactive or industrial wastes.
  • High-Level Waste: (HLW)  The highly radioactive waste material that results from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, including waste produced directly in reprocessing and solid waste derived from the liquid, that contains a combination of transuranic waste and fission products in concentrations sufficient to require permanent isolation.
  • HLW: High-Level Radioactive Waste (HLRW), the highly radioactive waste material that results from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, including waste produced directly in reprocessing and solid waste derived from the liquid, that contains a combination of transuranic waste and fission products in concentrations sufficient to require permanent isolation.
  • Hydraulic Conductivity: A ratio describing the rate at which water can move through a permeable medium.

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I

  • Interim End State: The state that DOE wants to achieve at the site in the years before the Environmental Impact Statement and a final decision regarding the long-term management of the site is made.  Measures DOE proposes include:  decontaminating the Main Processing Plant and getting it demolition-ready, shipping legacy waste, removing ancillary facilities, making the Remote Handled Waste Facility and the vitrification facility demolition-ready, covering the NDA burial area, drying the waste tanks, mitigating the North Plateau groundwater plume, and evaluating the relocation of the HLW canisters on-site.
  • IM: Interim Measure, a temporary or provisional arrangement.
  • Interim Measure: (IM) A temporary or provisional arraignment.
  • Ion: An atom or group of atoms with an electric charge.
  • Ion Exchange: A common method for concentrating uranium from a solution.
  • Isotope: Different forms of the same chemical element that are distinguished by having the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons in the nucleus.  An element can have many isotopes.

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K

  • Kent Recessional Sequence: A fine-grained lacustrine unit of interbedded clay and silty clay layers locally overlain by coarse-grained sands and gravels.
  • KRS: Kent Recessional Sequence, a fine-grained lacustrine unit of interbedded clay and silty clay layers locally overlain by coarse-grained sands and gravels.

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L

  • Laboratory Information Management System: (LIMS) Computer software used in the lab for the management of samples, lab users, instruments, standards and other lab functions such as invoicing, plate management, and work flow automation
  • Lacustrine Sediments: a sedimentary deposit consisting of material pertaining to, produced by, or formed in a lake or lakes.
  • Lagoons: Approximately six on site, used for settling contaminated effluent from old NFS plant contaminated groundwater at the site.
  • Lag Storage Area: (LSA) for spent fuel storage.
  • Lag Storage Building: (LSB) A building where low level radioactive waste is stored.
  • Land Disposal Restrictions: (LDR) Regulations promulgated by the EPA and NYSDEC governing the land disposal of hazardous waste.  The wastes must be treated using the best demonstrated available technology or must meet certain treatment standards before being disposed.
  • LDR: Land Disposal Restrictions, regulations promulgated by the EPA and NYSDEC governing the land disposal of hazardous waste.  The wastes must be treated using the best demonstrated available technology or must meet certain treatment standards before being disposed.
  • Leachate Treatment Facility: (LTF) The facility used to process leachate to improve water quality before discharge.
  • Legacy Waste: The stored waste remaining from the development and production of U.S. nuclear weapons, about which a permanent disposal determination remains to be made: i.e., waste that is currently in storage, retrievable storage on bermed pads, or buried in trenches.
  • License Termination Rule: (LTR) A rule of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, published in 62 Federal Register 39058, that sets forth guidance regarding the decommissioning of nuclear sites. The LTR codifies radiological criteria for the unrestricted and restricted release of land and structures or buildings with residual levels of radioactive contamination upon license termination.
  • LIMS: Laboratory Information Management System, computer software used in the lab for the management of samples, lab users, instruments, standards and other lab functions such as invoicing, plate management, and work flow automation.
  • LLD: Lower Limit of Detection.  The lowest limit of a given parameter that an instrument is capable of detecting.
  • LLW: Low-Level Radioactive Waste (LLRW). Radioactive waste not classified as high-level waste, transuranic waste, spent fuel, or uranium mill tailings.  Has a low-level of radioactivity per mass.  Low-level radioactive waste can be disposed at commercial facilities that are licensed by NRC or by state program approved by NRC.
  • LLW2: Low Level Waste Water Treatment Facility
  • Low-Level Waste: (LLW) Radioactive waste not classified as high-level waste, transuranic waste, spent fuel, or uranium mill tailings.  Has a low-level of radioactivity per mass. Low-level radioactive waste can be disposed at commercial facilities that are licensed by NRC or by state program approved by NRC.
  • Lower Limit of Detection: (LLD) The lowest limit of a given parameter that an instrument is capable of detecting.
  • LSA: Lag Storage Area, for spent fuel storage.
  • LSB: Lag Storage Building, a building where low level radioactive waste is stored.
  • LTR: License Termination Rule, A rule of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, published in 62 Federal Register 39058, that sets forth guidance regarding the decommissioning of nuclear sites. The LTR codifies radiological criteria for the unrestricted and restricted release of land and structures or buildings with residual levels of radioactive contamination upon license termination.

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M

  • Main Plant Processing Building: MPPB.
  • MARSSIM: Multi-Agency Radiation Survey and Site Investigation Manual.
  • Maximum Concentration Level: (MCL) A limit of concentration for a substance, which is set for environmental protection.
  • Maximally Exposed Individual: (MEI) A hypothetical individual who because of proximity, activities, or living habits, could potentially receive the maximum possible dose of radiation or of a hazardous chemical from a given event or process.
  • MCL: Maximum Concentration Level, a limit of concentration for a substance, which is set for environmental protection.
  • MEI: Maximally Exposed Individual, a hypothetical individual who because of proximity, activities, or living habits, could potentially receive the maximum possible dose of radiation or of a hazardous chemical from a given event or process.
  • meq/g: Milliequivalent per Gram.
  • Millirem (mrem): A unit of radiation dose equivalent that is equal to one one-thousandth of a rem.  A person can receive up to 500 mrem per year according to DOE standards.  This limit does not include radiation received for medical treatment or the roughly 360 mrem, on average, that people receive annually from background radiation.
  • Milliequivalent per Gram: (meq/g)
  • Mixed Waste: (MW) Waste that is both radioactive and hazardous as defined in RCRA.
  • MPPB: Main Plant Processing Building
  • mrem: Millirem, a unit of radiation dose equivalent that is equal to one one-thousandth of a rem.  An individual member of the public can receive up to 500 mrem per year according to DOE standards.  This limit does not include radiation received for medical treatment or the roughly 360 mrem, on average, that people receive annually from background radiation.
  • Multi-Agency Radiation Survey and Site Investigation Manual: MARSSIM.
  • MW: Mixed Waste, Waste that is both radioactive and hazardous as defined in RCRA.

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N

  • National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: (NESHAP) The Clean Air Act requires EPA to regulate emissions of toxic air pollutants form a published list of industrial sources referred to as “source categories” and develop regulations for all industries that emit one or more pollutants.
  • National Environmental Policy Act: (NEPA) A U.S. environmental law, the focus of the law was the establishment of a U.S. national policy promoting the enhancement of the environment.  NEPA requires Environmental Impact Statements for major U.S. federal government actions.
  • National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System: (NPDES) Authorized by the Clean Water Act, the National Pollution Discharge System permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States.
  • NDA: NRC – Licensed Disposal Area within the West Valley Demonstration Project area, a 5-acre NRC licensed disposal area that received radioactive wastes from the reprocessing plant and associated facilities from 1966 to 1986.
  • NEPA: National Environmental Policy Act, a U.S. environmental law, the focus of the law was the establishment of a U.S. national policy promoting the enhancement of the environment.  NEPA requires Environmental Impact Statements for major U.S. federal government actions.
  • NESHAP: National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants.
  • Neutron: An elementary particle in the nucleus of an atom, carrying no electrical charge.
  • Nevada Test Site: (NTS) DOE reservation located in Nye County, Nevada.  The site was established in 1951 for nuclear weapons testing.
  • New York Code of Rules and Regulations: (NYCRR) state agency rules and regulations adopted under the state administrative procedure act.
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:NYSDEC.
  • New York State Department of Labor: NYSDOL.
  • New York State Energy Research and Development Authority:NYSERDA.
  • NFS: Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc., the former commercial operator of the spent fuel reprocessing facility.
  • NOI: Notice of Intent.
  • North Plateau: An area of the West Valley site that was used to process commercial nuclear fuel from 1966 to 1972.
  • North Plateau Groundwater Recovery System: (NPGRS)  A system to remove SR-90 from contaminated groundwater near the leading edge of the plume west of the Low Level Treatment Facility lagoons.
  • Notice of Intent: NOI.
  • NPDES: National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, authorized by the Clean Water Act, the National Pollution Discharge System permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States.
  • NPGRS: North Plateau Groundwater Recovery Commission.  Removes SR-90 from impacted groundwater near the leading edge of the plume west of the Low Level Treatment Facility lagoons.
  • NRC: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  The NRC sets radiological decommissioning criteria as the primary condition for eventual site closure and long-term site stewardship.
  • NTS: Nevada Test Site, a DOE reservation located in Nye County, Nevada.  The site was established in 1951 for nuclear weapons testing.
  • Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc.: (NFS), The former commercial operator of the spent fuel reprocessing facility.
  • Nuclear Radiation: Particles (alpha, beta, neutrons) or photons (gamma) emitted from the nucleus of unstable radioactive atoms as a result of radioactive decay.
  • Nuclear Reactor: A device in which nuclear fission may be sustained and controlled in a self-supporting nuclear reaction.  The reactor is the heart of the power plant.
  • Nuclear Reprocessing: Separates unstable elements, like uranium and plutonium from fission products and other materials in spent nuclear reactor fuels.
  • Nucleus: the positively-charged central part of an atom, made up of protons and neutrons containing almost all of the mass of the atom.
  • NYCRR: New York Code of Rules and Regulations, contains state agency rules and regulations adopted under the state administrative procedure act.
  • NYSDEC: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • NYSDOL: New York State Department of Labor.
  • NYSERDA: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

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O

  • O & M: Operation and Maintenance.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration: (OSHA) whose mission is to assure the safety and health of America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing outreach, training, and education; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.
  • OSHA: Occupational Safety and Health Administration whose mission is to assure the safety and health of America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing outreach, training, and education; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.

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P

  • Passive Reactive Barrier: (PRB) Removes contaminations from the ground-water flow system in a passive manner by physical, chemical or biological processes.
  • PCB’s: Polychlorinate biphenyls are organic compounds with 1 to 10 chlorine atoms attached to biphenyl.  Production was banned in the 1970’s.  PCB’s are classified as persistent organic pollutants which bioaccumulate in animals.
  • pCi/L: Picocuries per Liter.
  • Permanent Ventilation System: PVS.
  • Permeable Treatment Wall: PTW.
  • Person-rem: The sum of the individual radiation dose equivalents received by members of a certain group or population.  It may be calculated by multiplying the average dose per person by the number of persons exposed.  For example, a thousand people each exposed to one millirem would have a collective dose of one person-rem.
  • Phase 1 Studies: (P1S) During the Phase 1 decommissioning for WVDP, DOE & NYSERDA are conducting additional scientific studies to facilitate interagency consensus to complete decommissioning of the remaining facilities at the WVDP and WNYNSC during Phase 2.
  • Plutonium: (Pu) A heavy radioactive, manmade, metallic chemical element.
    Plutonium-241: Pu-241.
  • Polychlorinate biphenyls: (PCB’s) Organic compounds with 1 to 10 chlorine atoms attached to biphenyl.  Production was banned in the 1970’s.  PCB’s are classified as persistent organic pollutants which bioaccumulate in animals.
  • Power Reactor: A reactor designed to produce heat for electric generation (as opposed to reactors used for research).
  • PR: Press Release.
  • PRB: Passive Reactive Barrier, removes contaminations from the ground-water flow system in a passive manner by physical, chemical or biological processes.
  • Process Building: includes approximately 70 rooms and cells that comprise the NRC-licensed spent nuclear fuel reprocessing operations.
  • PTW: Permeable Treatment Wall.
  • Pu: Plutonium, a heavy radioactive, manmade, metallic chemical element.
  • Pu-241: Plutonium – 241.
  • PVS: Permanent Ventilation System.

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Q

QA: Quality Assurance.

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R

  • Rad: Radiation absorbed dose.  One hundred ergs of energy absorbed per gram of solid material.  One rad is equivalent to one gray.
  • Radiation: The process of emitting energy in the form of rays or particles that are thrown off by disintegrating atoms.  The rays or particles emitted may consist of alpha, beta, or gamma radiation.
    Alpha Radiation: The least penetrating type of radiation.  Alpha radiation (similar to helium nucleus) can be stopped by a sheet of paper or the outer dead layer of skin.
    Beta Radiation: Electrons emitted from a nucleus during fission and nuclear decay.  Beta radiation can be stopped by an inch of wood or a thin sheet of aluminum.
    Gamma Radiation: A form of electromagnetic, high-energy radiation emitted from a nucleus.  Gamma rays are essentially the same as X-rays and require heavy shielding such as lead, concrete, or steel to be stopped.
    Internal Radiation: Radiation originating from a source within the body as a result of the inhalation, ingestion, or implantation of natural or man-made radio nuclides in body tissue.
  • Radioactive Material License: (RML)
  • Radioactivity: A property possessed by some elements (such as uranium) whereby alpha, beta, or gamma rays are spontaneously emitted.  Also, the rate at which radioactive materials emits radiation.
  • Radioisotope: An unstable isotope of an element that decays or disintegrates spontaneously, emitting radiation.  Approximately 5,000 natural and artificial radioisotopes have been identified.
  • Radio nuclide: A radioactive nuclide.  Radio nuclides are various isotopes of elements.  They have the same number of protons and electrons but different numbers of neutrons, resulting in different atomic masses.  There are hundreds of known nuclides, both man-made and naturally occurring.
  • Radwaste Treatment System: (RTS) Where filter sludges and demineralizer resins are moved to large tanks and collected.  In doing so the wastes are pre-filtered and pre-demineralized, after which the waste waters are polished in the water treatment system and returned to a condensate storage tank.
  • RAO: Remedial Action Objectives.  Intended to address future site decommissioning actions, focuses on containment, not regulation.
  • RCRA: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, goals are to protect the public from harm caused by waste disposal, to encourage reuse, reduction and recycling, and to clean-up spilled or improperly stored wastes.
  • RCRA Facility Investigation: (RFI) Initiated in the early 1990’s, goal is to determine the nature and extent of releases of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents from regulated units, solid waste management units, and other source areas at West Valley.
  • Record of Decision: (ROD) A record of decision is a document that formalizes a decision made by a federal agency.
  • Rem: Roentgen Equivalent Man.  A unit of radiation exposure that indicates the potential effect of radiation on human cells.
  • Remedial Action Objectives: (RAO) Intended to address future site decommissioning actions, focuses on containment, not regulation.
  • Remote-handled waste: At the WVDP, waste that has an external surface dose rate that exceeds 100 millirem per hour or a high level of alpha and/or beta surface contamination and, therefore, must be handled in such a manner that it does not come into physical contact with workers.
  • Remote Handled Waste Facility: (RHWF) A facility used to process and package highly contaminated, high-activity, solid radioactive wastes.
  • Reprocessing: A process in which spent nuclear fuel is chopped, dissolved, and processed by a solvent extraction system to recover uranium and plutonium.
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act: (RCRA) Goals are to protect the public from harm caused by waste disposal, to encourage reuse, reduction and recycling, and to clean-up spilled or improperly stored wastes.
  • RFI: RCRA Facility Investigation, initiated in the early 1990’s, goal is to determine the nature and extent of releases of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents from regulated units, solid waste management units, and other source areas at West Valley.
  • RHWF: Remote Handled Waste Facility, a facility used to process and package highly contaminated, high-activity, solid radioactive wastes.
  • RML: Radioactive Materials License.
  • ROD: Record of Decision, decommissioning record of decision planned for 2008.
    Roentgen: A unit of exposure to ionization radiation.  It is that quantity of gamma or x-rays required to produce ions carrying one electrostatic unit of electrical charge in one cubic centimeter of dry air under standard conditions.
  • RTS: Radwaste Treatment System where filter sludges and demineralizer resins are moved to large tanks and collected.  In doing so the wastes are pre-filtered and pre-demineralized, after which the waste waters are polished in the water treatment system and returned to a condensate storage tank.

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S

  • S & G: Sand and gravel.
  • Safety Analysis Report: (SAR) nuclear plant licensees are expected to maintain updated safety analysis reports on how the plant is designed, operated and maintained.
  • SAR: Safety Analysis Report that nuclear plant licensees are expected to maintain updated safety analysis reports on how the plant is designed, operated and maintained.
  • SDA: State-Licensed Disposal Area. An area of about 15 acres at the Western New York Nuclear Services Center adjacent to the DOE WVDP. The area was the site of a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility –or “burial grounds” operated from 1963-1975. It is managed by NYSERDA and regulated by NYSDEC and the New York Department of Labor.
  • Seneca Nation of Indians: (SNI) Established in 1848 by a constitutional convention of Seneca people residing in the Allegany and Cattaraugus counties, with a tripartite government structure.
  • SEQRA: State Environmental Quality Review Act for New York State requires all state and local government agencies to consider environmental impacts equally with social and economic factors during discretionary decision-making.
  • SHPO: State Historic Preservation Officer’s administer the national historic preservation program at the state level and are designated by the governor of their state or territory.
  • Slurry Wall: A type of wall used to build tunnels, to open cuts, and to lay foundations in areas of soft earth close to open water or with a high ground water table.
  • SNI: Seneca Nation of Indians, established in 1848 by a constitutional convention of Seneca people residing at the Allegany and Cattaraugus territories, with a tripartite government structure.
  • Solidify: To make or become solid, hard.
  • Solid Waste Management Unit: (SWMU) A unit located within a treatment, storage and disposal facility that typically contains stored hazardous wastes.
  • SPDES: (State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) NY State program that has been approved by the US EPA for the control of wastewater and storm water discharges in accordance with the Clean Water Act.
  • Spent fuel: Nuclear fuel that has been used in a nuclear reactor.  This fuel contains uranium, activation products, fission products, and plutonium.
  • Sr-90: Strontium-90.  An alkaline earth metal that is highly chemically reactive, present in radioactive fallout, with a half life of 29 years, contributes to gross beta concentration.
  • Stakeholder: A person or group that is likely to be affected by decisions or actions, or believe that they will be affected, and who want or ought to be involved.  At the West Valley Demonstration Project, stakeholders include local residents, project management, scientists, other employees, politicians, regulatory agencies, local and national interest groups, and members of the general public.
  • State Environmental Quality Review Act: (SEQRA) Requires all state and local government agencies to consider environmental impacts equally with social and economic factors during discretionary decision-making.
  • State Historic Preservation Officer: (SHPO) Designated by governor to administer the national historic preservation program at the state level.
  • State-Licensed Disposal Area: SDA
  • State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System: (SPDES) NY State Program which has been approved by the US EPA for the control of wastewater and storm water discharges in accordance with the Clean Water Act.
  • Strontium-90: (Sr-90) An alkaline earth metal that is highly chemically reactive, present in radioactive fallout, with a half life of 29 years, contributes to gross beta concentration.
  • STS: Supplemental Treatment System, waste water is filtered through sand filters, biofilter, constructed wetland, or aerobic treatment units.
  • Supplemental Treatment System: (STS) waste water is filtered through sand filters, biofilter, constructed wetland, or aerobic treatment units.
  • SWMU: Solid Waste Management Unit, a unit located with in a treatment, storage and disposal facility that typically contains or otherwise stores, or in the past has stored hazardous wastes.

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T

  • Tank Farm: Part of the area storing the waste, includes the underground HLW storage tanks.  The primary function of the tanks and auxiliary systems is to contain the waste and prevent release to the environment.
  • Tc-99: Technetium-99. An isotope of technetium that decays with a half life of 211,000 years and emits soft beta rays.  The primary hazard is inhalation of dust.
  • TEDE: Total Effective Dose Equivalent the sum of the deep-dose equivalent (for external exposures) and the committed effective dose equivalent (for internal exposure).
  • Technetium-99: (Tc-99) An isotope of technetium which decays with a half life of 211,000 years and emits soft beta rays.  The primary hazard is inhalation of dust.
  • Thermoluminescent dosimeter: (TLD) A device that luminesces upon heating after being exposed to radiation.  The amount of light emitted is proportional to the amount of radiation to which the luminescent material has been exposed.
  • TLD: Thermoluminescent dosimeter, a device that luminesces upon heating after being exposed to radiation.  The amount of light emitted is proportional to the amount of radiation to which the luminescent material has been exposed.
  • Toxic Substances Control Act: (TSCA) Authorizes the EPA to track the 75,000 industrial chemicals currently produced or imported into the U.S.
  • Total Effective Dose Equivalent: (TEDE) The sum of the deep-dose equivalent (for external exposures) and the committed effective dose equivalent (for internal exposure).
  • Transuranic Waste: (TRU) The term transuranic is derived from “trans,” meaning beyond, and “uranic,” which refers to uranium; thus, transuranic elements are beyond or “heavier” than uranium on the periodic table of the elements. These elements include plutonium, neptunium, americium, curium, and californium. Transuranic waste is produced during nuclear fuel assembly; during nuclear weapons research, production, and cleanup; and as a result of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel and consists of protective clothing, tools, glassware, equipment, soils, and sludge contaminated with manmade radioisotopes heavier than uranium.
  • TRU: Transuranic Waste, The term transuranic is derived from “trans,” meaning beyond, and “uranic,” which refers to uranium; thus, transuranic elements are beyond or “heavier” than uranium on the periodic table of the elements. These elements include plutonium, neptunium, americium, curium, and californium. Transuranic waste is produced during nuclear fuel assembly; during nuclear weapons research, production, and cleanup; and as a result of reprocessing spent nuclear fuel and consists of protective clothing, tools, glassware, equipment, soils, and sludge contaminated with manmade radioisotopes heavier than uranium.
  • TSCA: Toxic Substances Control Act, authorizes the EPA to track the 75,000 industrial chemicals currently produced or imported into the U.S.

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U

  • United States Geological Survey: USGS, a scientific agency that studies the landscape of the U.S., its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it.  USGS is a research organization with no regulatory responsibility.
  • Universal Wastes: Wastes subject to special management provisions that are intended to ease the management burden and facilitate recycling of such materials.  Four types of waste are currently covered under the universal waste regulations: hazardous waste batteries, hazardous waste thermostats, and hazardous waste lamps, and hazardous waste pesticides that are either recalled or collected in waste pesticide collection products.
  • Uranium: A very hard, heavy, silver-colored, radioactive, metallic chemical element used in work on atomic energy.  Has the ability to produce a sustained nuclear chain reaction.
  • USGS: United State Geological Survey, a scientific agency that studies the landscape of the U.S., its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it.  USGS is a research organization with no regulatory responsibility.
  • U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: (NRC) Sets radiological decommissioning criteria as the primary condition for eventual site closure and long-term site stewardship.

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V

  • Vitrification: A waste treatment process that encapsulates or immobilizes radioactive wastes in a glassy matrix to prevent them from reacting in disposal sites.  Vitrification involves adding chemicals, glass formers, and waste to a heated vessel and melting the mixture into a glass that is then poured into a canister.
  • Volatile Organic Compound: (VOC) Organic chemical compounds that have high enough vapor pressures under normal conditions to significantly vaporize and enter the atmosphere.
  • VOC: Volatile Organic Compound, organic chemical compounds that have high enough vapor pressures under normal conditions to significantly vaporize and enter the atmosphere.
  • WAC: Waste Acceptance Criteria, required categories are: controls on waste characterization; specific waste packaging requirements; certifications and approvals required prior to shipping waste; and quality assurance / quality control requirements.

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W

  • Waste Acceptance Criteria: (WAC) Required categories are: controls on waste characterization; specific waste packaging requirements; certifications and approvals required prior to shipping waste; and quality assurance / quality control requirements.
  • Waste Incidental to Reprocessing: (WIR) Includes low-level radioactive waste, transuranic waste, and high-level radioactive waste at the WVDP.
  • Waste Isolation Pilot Plant: (WIPP) Safely disposes of the nation’s defense related transuranic radioactive waste.  Located in the Chiuhuahan desert outside of Carlsbad, NM, it is a U.S. DOE managed facility.
  • Water table: the level below which the ground is saturated with water.
  • West Valley Citizen Task Force: CTF.
  • West Valley Demonstration Project: (WVDP) Located on the North Plateau, where high-level liquid radioactive waste is solidified using vitrification technology.
  • West Valley Demonstration Project Act: (WVDPA) Approximately 200 acres.
  • West Valley Environmental Services, LLC: (WVES) One of the contractors that previously performed clean up work at the WVDP.
  • West Valley Nuclear Service Co.: WVNSCO.
  • Western New York Nuclear Service Center: (WNYNSC)Approximately 3,330 acres, in rural Cattaraugaus County, 30 miles south of Buffalo, New York.
  • Waste Incidental to Reprocessing: Material that meets WIR requirements can be treated as low-level nuclear waste.  These requirements are set forth in Department of Energy (DOE) Order 435.1, “Radioactive Waste Management.” To meet WIR requirements, waste must:
    1. Be processed to remove key radionuclides to the maximum extent technically and
    economically practical,
    2. Meet safety requirements comparable to performance objectives set out by the Nuclear
    Regulatory Commission (NRC) in Title 10, Code of Federal Regulation, Part 61 (10 CFR
    61), Subpart C, and
    3. Be incorporated into a solid physical form at a concentration that does not exceed
    concentration limits established in 10 CFR 61.55 for NRC Class C, LLW or meet alternative requirements.
  • WIPP: Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, Located in the Chihuahuan Desert outside of Carlsbad, NM, it is a U.S. DOE managed facility for disposal of the nation’s defense related transuranic radioactive waste.
  • WIR: Waste Incidental to Reprocessing. Material that meets WIR requirements can be treated as low-level nuclear waste.  These requirements are set forth in Department of Energy (DOE) Order 435.1, “Radioactive Waste Management.”  To meet WIR requirements, waste must:
    1. Be processed to remove key radionuclides to the maximum extent technically and
    economically practical,
    2. Meet safety requirements comparable to performance objectives set out by the Nuclear
    Regulatory Commission (NRC) in Title 10, Code of Federal Regulation, Part 61 (10 CFR
    61), Subpart C, and
    3. Be incorporated into a solid physical form at a concentration that does not exceed concentration limits established in 10 CFR 61.55 for NRC Class C, LLW or meet alternative requirements.
  • WNYNSC: Western New York Nuclear Service Center.  Approximately 3,330 acres, in rural Cattaraugaus County, 30 miles south of Buffalo, New York.
  • WVDP: West Valley Demonstration Project.  Established to implement the WVDPA, located on the North Plateau, where high-level liquid radioactive waste is solidified using vitrification technology, includes the former NFS plant and related facilities.
  • WVDPA: West Valley Demonstration Project Act.  Public Law 90-368, October 1, 1980.
  • WVNSCO: West Valley Nuclear Service Co.

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Y

  • Y-90: Yttrium-90, daughter product of Strontium-90.  Contributes to gross beta concentrations.
  • Yttrium-90: (Y-90), daughter product of Strontium-90.  Contributes to gross beta concentrations.

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Upcoming meeting information
The next scheduled meeting of the Citizen Task Force is for June 28, 2017. For meeting information please visit: http://westvalleyctf.org/meeting-information/
For more information

on the West Valley Citizen Task Force, please contact:

Bill Logue, Facilitator
West Valley Citizen Task Force
c/o The Logue Group
PO Box 270270
West Hartford, CT 06127-0270

Phone: 860.521.9122

Bill@LogueGroup.com

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