The Radioactive Waste Disposal Program administers the following responsibilities for the Barnwell disposal site:
- Approving the release of money from the Decommissioning Trust Fund for the closure of the disposal site, as authorized by the Office of Regulatory Staff and the State Fiscal Accountability Authority;
- Financial planning for post-closure monitoring and maintenance of the site;
- Recommending charges and fees for disposal of waste for approval by the Office of Regulatory Staff.
The Barnwell site is the regional disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste generated in the Atlantic Compact region. Formerly known as the Northeast Compact, the Atlantic Compact was approved by Congress in 1985. South Carolina joined Connecticut and New Jersey as the third member state in 2000.
The Barnwell site is limited to the disposal of Class A, B and C radioactive waste as defined by federal regulations. Waste that exceeds Class C concentration limits for radioactivity cannot be disposed at the Barnwell site and must await the development by the federal government of a deep geologic repository.
Chem-Nuclear, LLC, a subsidiary of EnergySolutions, Inc., operates the disposal site under a lease with the State Fiscal Accountability Authority. The Department of Health and Environmental Control licenses and regulates the site and oversees the safety of disposal operations. The Office of Regulatory Staff approves rates and makes recommendations regarding other aspects of site operations. The South Carolina Public Service Commission approves compensation for the disposal site operator to cover its costs of operating the site.