Report 2007-114 Recommendations and Responses in 2014-041

Report 2007-114: Low-Level Radioactive Waste: The State Has Limited Information That Hampers Its Ability to Assess the Need for a Disposal Facility and Must Improve Its Oversight to Better Protect the Public

Department Number of Years Reported As Not Fully Implemented Total Recommendations to Department Not Implemented After One Year Not Implemented as of 2013-041 Response Not Implemented as of Most Recent Response
Department of Public Health 6 9 9 6 6

Recommendation To: Public Health, Department of

To ensure that the branch uses sufficiently reliable data from its future data system to manage its inspection workload, the department should develop and maintain adequate documentation related to data storage, retrieval, and maintenance.

Response

The status of this recommendation is unchanged.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: 9/2015
  • Response Date: October 2014

Recommendation To: Public Health, Department of

To ensure that the branch can sufficiently demonstrate that the fees it assesses are reasonable, the department should evaluate the branch's current fee structure using analyses that consider fiscal and workload factors. These analyses should establish a reasonable link between fees charged and the branch's actual costs for regulating those that pay specific fees. Further, the analyses should demonstrate how the branch calculated specific fees.

Response

The status of this recommendation is unchanged.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: 9/2015
  • Response Date: October 2014

Recommendation To: Public Health, Department of

To make certain that it can identify and address existing work backlogs and comply with all of its federal and state obligations, the department should develop a staffing plan for the branch based on current, reliable data. The plan should involve a reevaluation of the branch's assumptions about workload factors, such as how many inspections an inspector can perform annually. The plan should also include the following components:
An assessment of all backlogged work and the human resources necessary to eliminate that backlog within a reasonable amount of time.
An assessment of all currently required work and the human resources necessary to accomplish it.

Response

The status of this recommendation is unchanged.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: 9/2015
  • Response Date: October 2014

Recommendation To: Public Health, Department of

To inform the Legislature when it is likely to receive the information to evaluate the State's need for its own disposal facility, the department should establish and communicate a timeline describing when the report required by Section 115000.1 of the Health and Safety Code will be available. The department should also see that its executive management and the branch discuss with appropriate members of the Legislature as soon as possible the specific information required by state law that it cannot provide. Further, to the extent that the department cannot provide the information required by law, it should seek legislation to amend the law.

Response

The status of this recommendation is unchanged.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Not Fully Implemented
  • Completion Date: 9/2015
  • Response Date: October 2014

Recommendation To: Public Health, Department of

To provide greater public transparency and accountability of its decommissioning practices, the department should begin complying with the Executive Order D-62-02 and develop dose-based decommissioning standards formally. If the department believes that doing so is not feasible, it should ask the governor to rescind this 2002 executive order.

Response

Developing a dose-based decommissioning standard following the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process will not enhance or improve current decommissioning standards upheld by the court in the Committee to Bridge the Gap lawsuit. A new, dose-based standard would likely result in protracted litigation and raise uncertainty about the effectiveness of the standards currently in place to protect public health. Following the Court's decision in Committee to Bridge the Gap, CDPH applied a decommissioning process standard under existing law that has consistently provided a more protective public health clean up outcome measure than the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) decommissioning standard of 25 millirem (mrem)/year. No cleanup levels following the CDPH process approach federal decommissioning standard. California has consistently achieved a decommissioning level of under 10 mrem/year, with a large majority of the analyses in the non-detectable range. The current process is protective of public health and has not faced legal challenges.

In 2003, CDPH explored the costs of developing and promulgating a CEQA dose-based decommissioning standard. The estimated cost at that time was $5 million, with additional annual costs likely. Because public and environmental health and safety are rigorously protected by the current decommissioning process, CDPH believes pursuing a CEQA-based decommissioning standard is unwarranted.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: October 2013

Recommendation To: Public Health, Department of

When the Radiologic Health Branch has an understanding of the disposal needs for generators in California, it should develop an updated low-level waste disposal plan.

Response

CDPH does not believe an update to the low level waste disposal plan is necessary. CDPH continues to collect data from California's low level radioactive waste (LLRW) producers across the State and makes that data available to legislators and interested parties. The Energy Solution disposal facility in Clive, Utah, is available for California generators of class A LLRW. The Waste Control Specialists LLRW disposal facility located near Andrews, TX is available for California generators of class A, B, and C LLRW. In August 2011, CDPH surveyed California generators about their storage capacity for class B and C LLRW. Based on the survey responses, the storage capacity for class B and C LLRW will last for the next 10 to 20 years provided the options for thermal destruction and the Texas LLRW disposal facility remain available. CDPH remains committed to collecting data and working with the regulated community to inform any future updates that may be necessary to the LLRW disposal plan.

  • California State Auditor's Assessment of Status: Will Not Implement
  • Response Date: October 2013

Current Status of Recommendations

All Recommendations in 2014-041