On December 21, 2021 (86 FR 72220), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a notice in the federal register affirming its interpretation of the statutory term “high-level radioactive waste” (HLW) as defined in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (AEA), and the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended (NWPA). The HLW interpretation (HLWI) is consistent with the law, the best available science and data, and the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. In developing the HLWI, the views of members of the public and the scientific community were considered. DOE interprets the statutory term “HLW” to mean that not all wastes from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel (reprocessing wastes) are HLW. DOE interprets the statutory term such that some reprocessing wastes may be classified as not HLW (non-HLW) and may be safely disposed of in accordance with its radiological characteristics.
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