USING RISK-BASED CORRECTIVE ACTION (RBCA) TO ASSESS (THEORETICAL) CANCER DEATHS AVERTED COMPARED TO THE (REAL) COST OF ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION

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In 1978, on the basis of existing health studies at the time, the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project legislation was proposed that would authorize remedial action at inactive uranium processing sites and vicinity properties. The cost of the program to the Federal Government was expected to be $180 million. With the completion of this project, approximately 1300 theoretical cancer deaths were prevented in the next 100 years at a cost of $1.45 billion, based on the Fiscal Year 1998 Federal UMTRA budget. The individual site costs ranged from $0.2 million up to $18 billion spent per theoretical cancer ... continued below

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7 pages

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Miller, M. L. & Hylko, J. M. February 25, 2002.

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In 1978, on the basis of existing health studies at the time, the Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action (UMTRA) Project legislation was proposed that would authorize remedial action at inactive uranium processing sites and vicinity properties. The cost of the program to the Federal Government was expected to be $180 million. With the completion of this project, approximately 1300 theoretical cancer deaths were prevented in the next 100 years at a cost of $1.45 billion, based on the Fiscal Year 1998 Federal UMTRA budget. The individual site costs ranged from $0.2 million up to $18 billion spent per theoretical cancer death averted over the next 100 years. Resources required to sustain remediation activities such as this are subject to reduction over time, and are originally based on conservative assumptions that tend to overestimate risks to the general public. This evaluation used a process incorporating risk-based corrective action (RBCA); a three-tiered, decision-making process tailoring corrective action activities according to site-specific conditions and risks. If RBCA had been applied at the start of the UMTRA Project, and using a criterion of >1 excess cancer death prevented as justification to remediate the site, only 50% of the existing sites would have been remediated, yielding a cost savings of $303.6 million to the Federal Government and affected States, which share 10% of the cost. This cost savings equates to 21% of the overall project budget. In addition, only 22% of the vicinity properties had structural contamination contributing to elevated interior gamma exposure and radon levels. Focusing only on these particular properties could have saved an additional $269.3 million, yielding a total savings of $573 million; 40% of the overall project budget. As operational experience is acquired, including greater understanding of the radiological and nonradiological risks, decisions should be based on the RBCA process, rather than relying on conservative assumptions that tend to overestimate risks to the general public.

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7 pages

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  • Waste Management 2002 Symposium, Tucson, AZ (US), 02/24/2002--02/28/2002

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  • Report No.: none
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 828217
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc785006

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  • February 25, 2002

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  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • April 27, 2016, 1:14 p.m.

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Miller, M. L. & Hylko, J. M. USING RISK-BASED CORRECTIVE ACTION (RBCA) TO ASSESS (THEORETICAL) CANCER DEATHS AVERTED COMPARED TO THE (REAL) COST OF ENVIRONMENTAL REMEDIATION, article, February 25, 2002; Tucson, Arizona. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc785006/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.