Agreement in Principle (AIP)

The Agreement in Principle (AIP) is an agreement between the State of Nevada, acting by and through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP), Bureau of Federal Facilities (BFF), the Office of the Governor, and the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety through the Nevada Division of Emergency Management (DEM) and the United States Department of Energy (DOE), through the National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Field Office (NNSA/NFO) (Parties). The designated Program Coordinators for the Nevada Agencies are the Chief of the BFF and the Chief of the DEM. Nevada has designated the Office of the Governor as the Agency Integrator to coordinate and integrate state policy matters with respect to the various state program activities under the AIP. Nevada's Program Coordinators are responsible for coordinating with the appropriate NFO Program Coordinators to ensure that activities conducted pursuant to the AIP are accomplished in an efficient, cost-effective, and mutually beneficial manner.

The AIP reflects the understanding and commitments between the Parties regarding the NFO's provision of technical and financial support to Nevada for environmental, safety, and health oversight and associated monitoring activities for NFO operations located in Nevada. Through the AIP, the NFO also commits to assist in emergency management initiatives to further protect the health and safety of both NFO and contractor personnel as well as citizens in surrounding communities and areas in Nevada. Specifically, these operations occur at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), NFO sites on the Tonopah Test Range (TTR), and other NFO locations in Nevada, including the Project Shoal Area and the Central Nevada Test Area. The understanding between the Parties is further described in the attachments to the AIP, which are summarized below.

The intent of the AIP is to work cooperatively to assure citizens of Nevada that the public's health and safety, as well as the environment, are protected. Nevada officials are able to verify the protection efforts through independent monitoring and oversight. The oversight encompasses only environmental cleanup activities that fall outside those encompassed by the scope of the Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order (FFACO).

Legal Authority

The AIP has been entered into voluntarily by the National Nuclear Security Administration/Nevada Field Office (NNSA/NFO), under the authority of 42 U.S.C. 7101 et seq., and the State of Nevada (Nevada), under the authority of Nevada Revised Statues 41, 117, 118, 278, 414, 439, 444, 445, 459, 486, 590, and 461. The current AIP is in effect until June 30, 2016 unless otherwise extended or terminated pursuant to provisions of the AIP.

The State of Nevada, through NDEP, regulates conditions and activities which impact the water, air, and land of the state through its administration of the Nevada Water Pollution Control Law (NRS 445A.300 through 445A.730), the Nevada Air Pollution Control Law (NRS Ch. 445B) and the Nevada Hazardous Waste Law (NRS 459.400 through 459.600).

The NDEP regulates the disposal of mixed low level radioactive and hazardous waste (MLLW) pursuant to its EPA-delegated authority under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. §6901 et seq. (1976), incorporated into the Nevada Hazardous Waste Law and applied to federal facilities through the Federal Facility Compliance Act of 1992, P.L.102-386.

Although NDEP regulates the disposal of MLLW through federal and state statutes, the vast majority of the waste disposed of at NNSS is characterized as low level radioactive waste (LLW), a generic category of radioactive waste not otherwise classified as high-level radioactive waste, transuranic waste or uranium mill tailings. The NNSS currently functions as a major low-level radioactive waste disposal facility for both onsite and off-sited generated defense low-level waste.

Two waste management sites are located on NNSS: the Area 5 and Area 3 sites. The Area 5 Radioactive Waste Management Complex site occupies 723 acres (over 1 square mile) and is used to dispose of low-level radioactive waste (LLW) and mixed hazardous and low-level waste (MLLW) in an engineered, lined waste disposal cell. The Area 3 site occupies 125 acres and currently in stand-by mode but had been used to dispose of bulk and packaged low-level waste.

AIP Attachements

  • Attachment A - Nevada Division of Environmental Protection Activities
  • Attachment B - Nevada Division of Emergency Management Activities
  • Attachment C - Federal Grant Forms
  • Attachment X - Joint DOE/State Low-Level Waste (to Include MLLW) Oversight Program

Nevada's commitments are described in Attachments A-C and X. The intent of these commitments is to maintain public safety, environmental oversight, and emergency management programs that are comprehensive and coordinated with other federal and state agencies and public entities. Through independent oversight, Nevada identifies NFO activities that may adversely impact the public's health and safety, or the environment. Nevada will, in the interest of facilitating a better understanding, communicate with concerned local and tribal governments and the public about health risks and environmental impacts associated with operations at NFO sites in Nevada. The DEM will provide preparedness activities to include planning, training, and exercise functions for Nevada communities in responding to any emergency associated with issues related to any NFO incident.

The NFO's commitments are described in the body of the Agreement and in Attachment X. The intent of these commitments is to establish and maintain comprehensive and integrated environmental, safety, and health programs for NFO operations. These programs will be consistent with agreed-upon plans and schedules and will facilitate good communication among the NFO, the State, local governments, and Nevada citizens.

NDEP AIP Activities Activities are under way or will be implemented to support monitoring of air, groundwater, surface water, and waste management activities to provide an independent evaluation of environmental conditions for use in determining compliance with applicable state and federal requirements.

Agreement In Principle 2011-2016 — Download Document [17 Pages, PDF file]

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