Nevada Test Site National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants Calendar Year 2008

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The Nevada Test Site (NTS) is operated by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office. From 1951 through 1992, the NTS was the continental testing location for U.S. nuclear weapons. The release of radionuclides from NTS activities has been monitored since the initiation of atmospheric testing. Limitation to under-ground detonations after 1962 greatly reduced radiation exposure to the public surrounding the NTS. After nuclear testing ended in 1992, NTS radiation monitoring focused on detecting airborne radionuclides from historically contaminated soils. These radionuclides are derived from re-suspension of soil (primarily by winds) and emission of tritium-contaminated ... continued below

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Grossman, Ronald Warren and Robert F. June 30, 2009.

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The Nevada Test Site (NTS) is operated by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office. From 1951 through 1992, the NTS was the continental testing location for U.S. nuclear weapons. The release of radionuclides from NTS activities has been monitored since the initiation of atmospheric testing. Limitation to under-ground detonations after 1962 greatly reduced radiation exposure to the public surrounding the NTS. After nuclear testing ended in 1992, NTS radiation monitoring focused on detecting airborne radionuclides from historically contaminated soils. These radionuclides are derived from re-suspension of soil (primarily by winds) and emission of tritium-contaminated soil moisture through evapotranspiration. Low amounts of tritium were also emitted to air at the North Las Vegas Facility (NLVF), an NTS support complex in the city of North Las Vegas. To protect the public from harmful levels of man-made radiation, the Clean Air Act, National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) (Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Part 61 Subpart H) (CFR, 2008a) limits the release of radioactivity from a U.S. Department of Energy facility (e.g., the NTS) to 10 millirem per year (mrem/yr) effective dose equivalent to any member of the public. This limit does not include radiation not related to NTS activities. Unrelated doses could come from naturally occurring radioactive elements or from other man-made sources such as medical treatments. The NTS demonstrates compliance with the NESHAP limit by using environmental measurements of radionuclide air concentrations at critical receptor locations. This method was approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on the NTS in 2001 and has been the sole method used since 2005. Six locations on the NTS have been established to act as critical receptor locations to demonstrate compliance with the NESHAP limit. These locations are actually pseudo-critical receptor stations, because no member of the public actually resides at these onsite locations. Compliance is demonstrated if the measured annual average concentration of each detected radionuclide at each of these locations is less than the NESHAP Concentration Levels (CLs) for Environmental Compliance listed in 40 CFR 61, Appendix E, Table 2 (CFR, 2008a). At any one location, if multiple radionuclides are detected then compliance with NESHAP is demonstrated when the sum of the fractions (determined by dividing each radionuclide's concentration by its CL and then adding the fractions together) is less than 1.0. In 2008, the potential dose from radiological emissions to air, from both current and past NTS activities, at onsite compliance monitoring stations was a maximum of 1.9 mrem/yr; well below the 10 mrem/yr dose limit. Air sampling data collected at all six pseudo-critical receptor stations had average concentrations of radioactivity that were a fraction of the CL values listed in Table 2 in Appendix E of 40 CFR 61 (CFR, 2008a). Concentrations ranged from less than 1 percent to a maximum of 19 percent of the allowed NESHAP limit. Because the nearest member of the public resides approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) from the NTS boundary, concentrations at this location would be only a small fraction of that measured on the NTS. Potential dose to the public from NLVF was also very low at 0.00006 mrem/yr; more than 160,000 times lower than the 10 mrem/yr limit.

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  • Report No.: DOE/NV/25946--742
  • Grant Number: DE-AC52-06NA25946
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 963425
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc927287

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  • June 30, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Feb. 20, 2017, 2:10 p.m.

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Grossman, Ronald Warren and Robert F. Nevada Test Site National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants Calendar Year 2008, report, June 30, 2009; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc927287/: accessed July 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.