Revised Notice of Intent To Prepare a Generic Environmental Impact Statement for Uranium Milling Facilities, 54947-54949 [E7-19081]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 187 / Thursday, September 27, 2007 / Notices or critical habitat. Therefore, no further consultation is required under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The NRC staff has also determined that the proposed action is not the type of activity that has the potential to cause effects on historic properties. Therefore, no further consultation is required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES III. Finding of No Significant Impact The NRC staff has prepared this EA in support of the proposed action. On the basis of this EA, the NRC finds that there are no significant environmental impacts from the proposed action, and that preparation of an environmental impact statement is not warranted. Accordingly, the NRC has determined that a Finding of No Significant Impact is appropriate. IV. Further Information Documents related to this action, including the application for license amendment and supporting documentation, are available electronically at the NRC’s Electronic Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/ reading-rm/adams.html. From this site, you can access the NRC’s Agencywide Document Access and Management System (ADAMS), which provides text and image files of NRC’s public documents. The documents related to this action are listed below, along with their ADAMS accession numbers. 1. NUREG–1757, ‘‘Consolidated NMSS Decommissioning Guidance;’’ 2. Title 10 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20, Subpart E, ‘‘Radiological Criteria for License Termination;’’ 3. Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 51, ‘‘Environmental Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and Related Regulatory Functions;’’ 4. NUREG–1496, ‘‘Generic Environmental Impact Statement in Support of Rulemaking on Radiological Criteria for License Termination of NRCLicensed Nuclear Facilities;’’ 5. Franklin & Marshall College, Amendment Request Letter dated June 28, 2007 [ML071860199]; 6. Franklin & Marshall College, Deficiency Response Letter dated August 7, 2007 [ML072210540]; 7. Franklin & Marshall College, Deficiency Response Letter dated August 24, 2007 [ML072410250]. If you do not have access to ADAMS, or if there are problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC Public Document Room (PDR) Reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, 301– 415–4737, or by e-mail to pdr@nrc.gov. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:40 Sep 26, 2007 Jkt 211001 These documents may also be viewed electronically on the public computers located at the NRC’s PDR, O 1 F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The PDR reproduction contractor will copy documents for a fee. Dated at Region I, 475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia this 20th day of September 2007. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. James P. Dwyer, Chief, Commercial and R&D Branch, Division of Nuclear Materials Safety, Region I. [FR Doc. E7–19078 Filed 9–26–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION Revised Notice of Intent To Prepare a Generic Environmental Impact Statement for Uranium Milling Facilities United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). ACTION: Revised Notice of Intent (NOI). AGENCY: SUMMARY: This notice revises a notice published on August 31, 2007 in the Federal Register (72 FR 50414) which announced that an additional scoping meeting for the NRC’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) would be held in Gallup, New Mexico on September 27, 2007, and that the GEIS scoping comment period was extended to October 8, 2007. The GEIS will assess the potential environmental impacts associated with uranium recovery at milling facilities employing the in-situ leach (ISL) process. The GEIS may also assess the potential environmental impacts of alternative methods of uranium recovery (including the conventional milling process). The purpose of this revised notice is to: (1) Reiterate that an additional scoping meeting will be held in Gallup, New Mexico on September 27, 2007; (2) extend the scoping comment period to October 31, 2007; and (3) announce that site-specific environmental assessments (EAs) that incorporate conclusions from the GEIS (i.e., tiered off the GEIS) will be issued for public comment. DATES: The NRC has recently held public meetings in Casper, Wyoming, and Albuquerque, New Mexico as part of the public scoping process required by NEPA. In response to public requests, the public scoping period for the GEIS has been extended to October 31, 2007. Written comments submitted by mail should be postmarked by that date to ensure consideration. Comments PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 54947 mailed after that date will be considered to the extent possible. In addition, the NRC will conduct a third public meeting in Gallup, New Mexico to assist in defining the appropriate scope of the GEIS, including the significant environmental issues to be addressed. The meeting date, time, and location are listed below: Meeting Date: September 27, 2007, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Meeting Location: Best Western Inn and Suites, 3009 West Hwy 66, Gallup, NM 87301–6813, Phone (505) 722–2221. For this meeting, members of the NRC staff will be available for informal discussions with members of the public from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The formal meeting and associated NRC presentation will begin at 7 p.m. For planning purposes, those who wish to present oral comments at the meeting are encouraged to pre-register by contacting Carol Walls of the NRC by telephone at 1 (800) 368–5642, Extension 8028, or by e-mail at CAW@nrc.gov no later than September 21, 2007. Interested persons may also register to speak at the meetings. Depending on the number of speakers, each speaker may be limited in the amount of time allocated for their comments so that all speakers have an opportunity to offer comments. ADDRESSES: Members of the public and interested parties are invited, and encouraged to submit comments to the Chief, Rules Review and Directives Branch, Mail Stop T–6D59, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001. Also, the NRC encourages comments to be submitted electronically to URLGEIS@nrc.gov. Please refer to the ‘‘Uranium Recovery GEIS’’ when submitting comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information on the NRC NEPA process, or the environmental review process related to this GEIS, please contact: Paul Michalak, Project Manager, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection (DWMEP), Mail Stop T–8F5, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001, by phone at 1 (800) 368–5642, extension 7612, or by e-mail at PXM2@nrc.gov. For general or technical information associated with the safety and licensing of uranium milling facilities, please contact: William Von Till, Branch Chief, Uranium Recovery Branch, DWMEP, Mail Stop T–8F5, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001, by phone at 1 (800) 368–5642, extension 0598, or by e-mail at RWV@nrc.gov. E:\FR\FM\27SEN1.SGM 27SEN1 54948 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 187 / Thursday, September 27, 2007 / Notices rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES Information and documents associated with the GEIS are available for public review through the NRC electronic reading room: http:// www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. Documents may also be obtained from the NRC Public Document Room at U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Headquarters, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, MD 20852–2738. GEIS related documents can also be found at the following public libraries: Albuquerque Main Library, 501 Copper NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102, 505–768–5141. Mother Whiteside Memorial Library, 525 West High Street, Grants, New Mexico 87020, 505–287–4793. Natrona County Public Library, 307 East Second Street, Casper, Wyoming 82601, 307–237–4935. Octavia Fellin Public Library, 115 W Hill Avenue, Gallup, New Mexico 87301, 505–863–1291. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 1.0 Background The NRC is expecting numerous license applications for in-situ leach (ISL) uranium milling facilities in the coming 2–3 years. This GEIS is intended to address the common issues associated with environmental reviews of such milling facilities located in the western United States. Due to environmental issues common to ISL milling facilities, the NRC staff will be addressing these common issues generically to aid in a more efficient environmental review for each separate license application, if and when these applications are submitted. ISL milling facilities recover uranium from low grade ores that may not be economically recoverable by other methods. In this process, a leaching agent, such as oxygen with sodium bicarbonate, is added to native ground water for injection through wells into the subsurface ore body to dissolve the uranium. The leach solution, containing the dissolved uranium, is pumped back to the surface and sent to the processing plant, where ion exchange is used to separate the uranium from the solution. The underground leaching of the uranium also frees other metals and minerals from the host rock. Operators of ISL facilities are required to restore the ground water affected by the leaching operations. The milling process concentrates the recovered uranium into the product known as ‘‘yellowcake’’ (U3O8). This yellowcake is then shipped to uranium conversion facilities for further processing in the overall uranium fuel cycle. One alternative to ISL milling is the conventional uranium milling process VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:40 Sep 26, 2007 Jkt 211001 that extracts uranium from mined ore. At conventional mills, the ore arrives via truck and is crushed, ground, and leached. In most cases, sulfuric acid is the leaching agent, but alkaline leaching can also be done. The leaching agent not only extracts uranium from the ore but also several other constituents (e.g., vanadium, selenium, iron, lead, and arsenic). Conventional mills extract 90 to 95 percent of the uranium from the ore. These mills are typically in areas of low population density, and they typically process ores from mines within 50 kilometers (30 miles). Conventional mills may also produce significant quantities of waste materials, known as mill tailings, from the ore processing. These tailings are contained in impoundments which can be as large as 250 to 300 acres in extent. It is estimated that roughly 95 percent of the incoming ore ends as mill tailings. These mill tailings contain most of the radioactive progeny of uranium and may be a significant source of radon and radon progeny releases to the environment. The GEIS will focus on the construction, operation, and decommissioning of ISL mills and also assesses alternative methods of uranium recovery. It is noted that the hardrock mining associated with conventional uranium milling is regulated by other entities (e.g., the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and various state agencies). For more information on the uranium fuel cycle, please see Regulating Nuclear Fuel, NUREG/BR–0280, Rev. 1 (which can be found online at: http:// www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collect ions/nuregs/brochures/br0280/). 2.0 Alternatives To Be Evaluated No action—The no-action alternative would be to not build nor license potential uranium milling facilities. Under this alternative the NRC would not approve future license applications. This alternative serves as a baseline for comparison of the potential environmental impacts. Proposed action—The proposed action is the construction, operation, and decommissioning of an ISL uranium mill. Implementation of the proposed action would require the issuance of an NRC license under the provisions of 10 CFR Part 40. Alternatives—The conventional milling process is one alternative. Other alternatives not listed in this notice may be identified through the scoping process. PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 3.0 Environmental Impact Areas To Be Analyzed The following resource areas have been tentatively identified for analysis in the GEIS: —Public and Occupational Health: Addressing the potential public and occupational consequences from construction, routine operation, transportation, and credible accident scenarios (including natural events), and decommissioning; —Waste Management: Addressing the types of wastes expected to be generated, handled, stored are subject to re-use or disposal; —Land Use: Addressing land use plans, policies and controls; —Transportation: Addressing the transportation modes, routes, quantities, and risk estimates; —Geology and Soils: Addressing the physical geography, topography, geology and soil characteristics; —Water Resources: Addressing the surface and ground water hydrology, water use and quality, and the potential for degradation; —Ecology: Addressing wetlands, aquatic, terrestrial, economically and recreationally important species, and threatened and endangered species; —Air Quality: Addressing meteorological conditions, ambient background, pollutant sources, and the potential for degradation; —Noise: Addressing ambient noises, sources, and sensitive receptors; —Historical and Cultural Resources: Addressing historical, archaeological, and traditional cultural resources; —Visual and Scenic Resources: Addressing landscape characteristics, man-made features and viewshed; —Socioeconomics: Addressing the demography, economic base, labor pool, housing, transportation, utilities, public services/facilities, education, recreation, and cultural resources; —Environmental Justice: Addressing the potential disproportionately high and adverse impacts to minority and lowincome populations; and —Cumulative Effects: Addressing the impacts from past, present, and reasonably foreseeable actions at and near the site. The example under each resource areas is not intended to be all inclusive, nor is this list an indication that environmental impacts will occur. The list is presented to facilitate comments on the scope of the GEIS. Additions to, or deletions from, this list may occur as a result of the public scoping process. E:\FR\FM\27SEN1.SGM 27SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 187 / Thursday, September 27, 2007 / Notices 4.0 Tiering Tiering refers to the coverage of general matters in broader environmental impact statements with subsequent narrower statements or environmental analyses incorporating by reference the general discussions and concentrating solely on the issues specific to the statement (40 CFR 1508.28). The NRC intends to use the GEIS to address common issues associated with environmental reviews of ISL uranium milling facilities located in the western United States and then develop site-specific environmental assessments or site-specific environmental impact statements which will tier off the common issues identified and evaluated in the GEIS. 5.0 Scoping Meetings This NOI is to encourage public involvement in the GEIS process and to solicit public comments on the proposed scope and content of the GEIS. NRC will hold public scoping meetings as described above to solicit both oral and written comments from interested parties. Scoping is an early and open process designed to determine the range of actions, alternatives, and potential impacts to be considered in the GEIS, and to identify the significant issues related to the proposed action. Scoping is intended to solicit input from the public and other agencies so that the analysis can be more clearly focused on issues of genuine concern. The principal goals of the scoping process are to: —Identify public concerns; —Ensure that concerns are identified early and are properly studied; —Identify alternatives that will be examined; —Identify significant issues that need to be analyzed; and —Eliminate unimportant issues. The scoping meetings will begin with NRC staff providing a description of NRC’s role and mission followed by a brief overview of NRC’s environmental review process and goals of the scoping meeting. The bulk of the meeting will be allotted for attendees to make oral comments. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES 6.0 Scoping Comments Written comments should be mailed to the address listed above in the ADDRESSES section. Scoping comments may also be submitted electronically via e-mail to URLGEIS@nrc.gov. The NRC staff will prepare a scoping summary report, in which it will summarize public comments. The NRC will make the scoping summary report and projectrelated materials available for public VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:40 Sep 26, 2007 Jkt 211001 review through its electronic reading room: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/ adams.html. Further, an NRC Web site will be established in the near future to keep the public abreast of the current schedule and to post important documents. 6.0 The NEPA Process The GEIS will be prepared according to NEPA and NRC’s NEPA implementing regulations contained in 10 CFR part 51. After the scoping process is complete, the NRC will prepare a draft GEIS. The draft GEIS is scheduled to be published by April 2008. A 45-day comment period on the draft GEIS is planned, and a public meeting(s) to receive comments will be held approximately three weeks after publication of the draft GEIS. Availability of the draft GEIS, the dates of the public comment period, and information about the public meeting will be announced in the Federal Register, on NRC’s web page, and in the local news media. The final GEIS is expected to be published in January 2009 and will be incorporate, as appropriate, public comments received on the draft GEIS. Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 21st day of September, 2007. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Gregory Suber, Branch Chief, Environmental Review Branch, Environmental Protection and Performance Assessment Directorate, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs. [FR Doc. E7–19081 Filed 9–26–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. 030–04578] Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for License Amendment to Byproduct Materials License No. 20–00315–02, for Termination of the License and Unrestricted Release of the Department of the Army, Natick Soldier Center’s Facility in Natick, MA Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Issuance of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for License Amendment. AGENCY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Betsy Ullrich, Commercial and R&D Branch, Division of Nuclear Materials PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 54949 Safety, Region I, 475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406; telephone (610) 337–5040; fax number (610) 337–5269; or by e-mail: exu@nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the issuance of a license amendment to Byproduct Materials License No. 20– 00315–02. This license is held by the Department of the Army, Natick Soldier Center, Research, Development and Engineering Command (the Licensee), for its Soldier Systems Center, located at Kansas Street in Natick, Massachusetts (the Facility). Issuance of the amendment would authorize release of the Facility for unrestricted use and termination of the NRC license. The Licensee requested this action in a letter dated May 31, 2007. The NRC has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) in support of this proposed action in accordance with the requirements of title 10, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), part 51 (10 CFR part 51). Based on the EA, the NRC has concluded that a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is appropriate with respect to the proposed action. The amendment will be issued to the License following the publication of this FONSI and EA in the Federal Register. II. Environmental Assessment Identification of Proposed Action The proposed action would approve the Licensee’s May 31, 2007, license amendment request, resulting in release of the Facility for unrestricted use and the termination of its NRC materials license. License No. 20–00315–02 was issued on April 23, 1958, pursuant to 10 CFR part 30, and has been amended periodically since that time. This license authorized the Licensee to use unsealed byproduct material for purposes of conducting research and development activities on laboratory bench tops and in hoods. The Facility is situated on 76 acres and consists of office space and laboratories. The Facility is located in a residential and recreational area. Within the Facility, use of licensed materials was confined to Buildings 3, 4, 30, and 89. In 2004, the Licensee ceased licensed activities and initiated a survey and decontamination of the Facility. Based on the Licensee’s historical knowledge of the site and the conditions of the Facility, the Licensee determined that only routine decontamination activities, in accordance with their NRC-approved, E:\FR\FM\27SEN1.SGM 27SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 187 (Thursday, September 27, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 54947-54949]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-19081]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION


Revised Notice of Intent To Prepare a Generic Environmental 
Impact Statement for Uranium Milling Facilities

AGENCY: United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

ACTION: Revised Notice of Intent (NOI).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This notice revises a notice published on August 31, 2007 in 
the Federal Register (72 FR 50414) which announced that an additional 
scoping meeting for the NRC's Generic Environmental Impact Statement 
(GEIS) would be held in Gallup, New Mexico on September 27, 2007, and 
that the GEIS scoping comment period was extended to October 8, 2007. 
The GEIS will assess the potential environmental impacts associated 
with uranium recovery at milling facilities employing the in-situ leach 
(ISL) process. The GEIS may also assess the potential environmental 
impacts of alternative methods of uranium recovery (including the 
conventional milling process). The purpose of this revised notice is 
to: (1) Reiterate that an additional scoping meeting will be held in 
Gallup, New Mexico on September 27, 2007; (2) extend the scoping 
comment period to October 31, 2007; and (3) announce that site-specific 
environmental assessments (EAs) that incorporate conclusions from the 
GEIS (i.e., tiered off the GEIS) will be issued for public comment.

DATES: The NRC has recently held public meetings in Casper, Wyoming, 
and Albuquerque, New Mexico as part of the public scoping process 
required by NEPA. In response to public requests, the public scoping 
period for the GEIS has been extended to October 31, 2007. Written 
comments submitted by mail should be postmarked by that date to ensure 
consideration. Comments mailed after that date will be considered to 
the extent possible.
    In addition, the NRC will conduct a third public meeting in Gallup, 
New Mexico to assist in defining the appropriate scope of the GEIS, 
including the significant environmental issues to be addressed. The 
meeting date, time, and location are listed below:
    Meeting Date: September 27, 2007, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
    Meeting Location: Best Western Inn and Suites, 3009 West Hwy 66, 
Gallup, NM 87301-6813, Phone (505) 722-2221.
    For this meeting, members of the NRC staff will be available for 
informal discussions with members of the public from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. 
The formal meeting and associated NRC presentation will begin at 7 p.m. 
For planning purposes, those who wish to present oral comments at the 
meeting are encouraged to pre-register by contacting Carol Walls of the 
NRC by telephone at 1 (800) 368-5642, Extension 8028, or by e-mail at 
CAW@nrc.gov no later than September 21, 2007. Interested persons may 
also register to speak at the meetings. Depending on the number of 
speakers, each speaker may be limited in the amount of time allocated 
for their comments so that all speakers have an opportunity to offer 
comments.

ADDRESSES: Members of the public and interested parties are invited, 
and encouraged to submit comments to the Chief, Rules Review and 
Directives Branch, Mail Stop T-6D59, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001. Also, the NRC encourages 
comments to be submitted electronically to URLGEIS@nrc.gov. Please 
refer to the ``Uranium Recovery GEIS'' when submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information on the NRC 
NEPA process, or the environmental review process related to this GEIS, 
please contact: Paul Michalak, Project Manager, Division of Waste 
Management and Environmental Protection (DWMEP), Mail Stop T-8F5, U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, by phone at 1 
(800) 368-5642, extension 7612, or by e-mail at PXM2@nrc.gov. For 
general or technical information associated with the safety and 
licensing of uranium milling facilities, please contact: William Von 
Till, Branch Chief, Uranium Recovery Branch, DWMEP, Mail Stop T-8F5, 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, by phone 
at 1 (800) 368-5642, extension 0598, or by e-mail at RWV@nrc.gov.

[[Page 54948]]

    Information and documents associated with the GEIS are available 
for public review through the NRC electronic reading room: http://
www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. Documents may also be obtained from 
the NRC Public Document Room at U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
Headquarters, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, MD 20852-
2738.
    GEIS related documents can also be found at the following public 
libraries:

Albuquerque Main Library, 501 Copper NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87102, 
505-768-5141.
Mother Whiteside Memorial Library, 525 West High Street, Grants, New 
Mexico 87020, 505-287-4793.
Natrona County Public Library, 307 East Second Street, Casper, Wyoming 
82601, 307-237-4935.
Octavia Fellin Public Library, 115 W Hill Avenue, Gallup, New Mexico 
87301, 505-863-1291.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

1.0 Background

    The NRC is expecting numerous license applications for in-situ 
leach (ISL) uranium milling facilities in the coming 2-3 years. This 
GEIS is intended to address the common issues associated with 
environmental reviews of such milling facilities located in the western 
United States. Due to environmental issues common to ISL milling 
facilities, the NRC staff will be addressing these common issues 
generically to aid in a more efficient environmental review for each 
separate license application, if and when these applications are 
submitted.
    ISL milling facilities recover uranium from low grade ores that may 
not be economically recoverable by other methods. In this process, a 
leaching agent, such as oxygen with sodium bicarbonate, is added to 
native ground water for injection through wells into the subsurface ore 
body to dissolve the uranium. The leach solution, containing the 
dissolved uranium, is pumped back to the surface and sent to the 
processing plant, where ion exchange is used to separate the uranium 
from the solution. The underground leaching of the uranium also frees 
other metals and minerals from the host rock. Operators of ISL 
facilities are required to restore the ground water affected by the 
leaching operations. The milling process concentrates the recovered 
uranium into the product known as ``yellowcake'' 
(U3O8). This yellowcake is then shipped to 
uranium conversion facilities for further processing in the overall 
uranium fuel cycle.
    One alternative to ISL milling is the conventional uranium milling 
process that extracts uranium from mined ore. At conventional mills, 
the ore arrives via truck and is crushed, ground, and leached. In most 
cases, sulfuric acid is the leaching agent, but alkaline leaching can 
also be done. The leaching agent not only extracts uranium from the ore 
but also several other constituents (e.g., vanadium, selenium, iron, 
lead, and arsenic). Conventional mills extract 90 to 95 percent of the 
uranium from the ore. These mills are typically in areas of low 
population density, and they typically process ores from mines within 
50 kilometers (30 miles). Conventional mills may also produce 
significant quantities of waste materials, known as mill tailings, from 
the ore processing. These tailings are contained in impoundments which 
can be as large as 250 to 300 acres in extent. It is estimated that 
roughly 95 percent of the incoming ore ends as mill tailings. These 
mill tailings contain most of the radioactive progeny of uranium and 
may be a significant source of radon and radon progeny releases to the 
environment.
    The GEIS will focus on the construction, operation, and 
decommissioning of ISL mills and also assesses alternative methods of 
uranium recovery. It is noted that the hardrock mining associated with 
conventional uranium milling is regulated by other entities (e.g., the 
U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and various state agencies).
    For more information on the uranium fuel cycle, please see 
Regulating Nuclear Fuel, NUREG/BR-0280, Rev. 1 (which can be found 
online at: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collect ions/nuregs/
brochures/br0280/).

2.0 Alternatives To Be Evaluated

    No action--The no-action alternative would be to not build nor 
license potential uranium milling facilities. Under this alternative 
the NRC would not approve future license applications. This alternative 
serves as a baseline for comparison of the potential environmental 
impacts.
    Proposed action--The proposed action is the construction, 
operation, and decommissioning of an ISL uranium mill. Implementation 
of the proposed action would require the issuance of an NRC license 
under the provisions of 10 CFR Part 40.
    Alternatives--The conventional milling process is one alternative. 
Other alternatives not listed in this notice may be identified through 
the scoping process.

3.0 Environmental Impact Areas To Be Analyzed

    The following resource areas have been tentatively identified for 
analysis in the GEIS:

--Public and Occupational Health: Addressing the potential public and 
occupational consequences from construction, routine operation, 
transportation, and credible accident scenarios (including natural 
events), and decommissioning;
--Waste Management: Addressing the types of wastes expected to be 
generated, handled, stored are subject to re-use or disposal;
--Land Use: Addressing land use plans, policies and controls;
--Transportation: Addressing the transportation modes, routes, 
quantities, and risk estimates;
--Geology and Soils: Addressing the physical geography, topography, 
geology and soil characteristics;
--Water Resources: Addressing the surface and ground water hydrology, 
water use and quality, and the potential for degradation;
--Ecology: Addressing wetlands, aquatic, terrestrial, economically and 
recreationally important species, and threatened and endangered 
species;
--Air Quality: Addressing meteorological conditions, ambient 
background, pollutant sources, and the potential for degradation;
--Noise: Addressing ambient noises, sources, and sensitive receptors;
--Historical and Cultural Resources: Addressing historical, 
archaeological, and traditional cultural resources;
--Visual and Scenic Resources: Addressing landscape characteristics, 
man-made features and viewshed;
--Socioeconomics: Addressing the demography, economic base, labor pool, 
housing, transportation, utilities, public services/facilities, 
education, recreation, and cultural resources;
--Environmental Justice: Addressing the potential disproportionately 
high and adverse impacts to minority and low-income populations; and
--Cumulative Effects: Addressing the impacts from past, present, and 
reasonably foreseeable actions at and near the site.

    The example under each resource areas is not intended to be all 
inclusive, nor is this list an indication that environmental impacts 
will occur. The list is presented to facilitate comments on the scope 
of the GEIS. Additions to, or deletions from, this list may occur as a 
result of the public scoping process.

[[Page 54949]]

4.0 Tiering

    Tiering refers to the coverage of general matters in broader 
environmental impact statements with subsequent narrower statements or 
environmental analyses incorporating by reference the general 
discussions and concentrating solely on the issues specific to the 
statement (40 CFR 1508.28). The NRC intends to use the GEIS to address 
common issues associated with environmental reviews of ISL uranium 
milling facilities located in the western United States and then 
develop site-specific environmental assessments or site-specific 
environmental impact statements which will tier off the common issues 
identified and evaluated in the GEIS.

5.0 Scoping Meetings

    This NOI is to encourage public involvement in the GEIS process and 
to solicit public comments on the proposed scope and content of the 
GEIS. NRC will hold public scoping meetings as described above to 
solicit both oral and written comments from interested parties.
    Scoping is an early and open process designed to determine the 
range of actions, alternatives, and potential impacts to be considered 
in the GEIS, and to identify the significant issues related to the 
proposed action. Scoping is intended to solicit input from the public 
and other agencies so that the analysis can be more clearly focused on 
issues of genuine concern. The principal goals of the scoping process 
are to:

--Identify public concerns;
--Ensure that concerns are identified early and are properly studied;
--Identify alternatives that will be examined;
--Identify significant issues that need to be analyzed; and
--Eliminate unimportant issues.

    The scoping meetings will begin with NRC staff providing a 
description of NRC's role and mission followed by a brief overview of 
NRC's environmental review process and goals of the scoping meeting. 
The bulk of the meeting will be allotted for attendees to make oral 
comments.

6.0 Scoping Comments

    Written comments should be mailed to the address listed above in 
the ADDRESSES section. Scoping comments may also be submitted 
electronically via e-mail to URLGEIS@nrc.gov. The NRC staff will 
prepare a scoping summary report, in which it will summarize public 
comments. The NRC will make the scoping summary report and project-
related materials available for public review through its electronic 
reading room: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. Further, an NRC 
Web site will be established in the near future to keep the public 
abreast of the current schedule and to post important documents.

6.0 The NEPA Process

    The GEIS will be prepared according to NEPA and NRC's NEPA 
implementing regulations contained in 10 CFR part 51.
    After the scoping process is complete, the NRC will prepare a draft 
GEIS. The draft GEIS is scheduled to be published by April 2008. A 45-
day comment period on the draft GEIS is planned, and a public 
meeting(s) to receive comments will be held approximately three weeks 
after publication of the draft GEIS.
    Availability of the draft GEIS, the dates of the public comment 
period, and information about the public meeting will be announced in 
the Federal Register, on NRC's web page, and in the local news media. 
The final GEIS is expected to be published in January 2009 and will be 
incorporate, as appropriate, public comments received on the draft 
GEIS.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 21st day of September, 2007.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Gregory Suber,
Branch Chief, Environmental Review Branch, Environmental Protection and 
Performance Assessment Directorate, Division of Waste Management and 
Environmental Protection, Office of Federal and State Materials and 
Environmental Management Programs.
 [FR Doc. E7-19081 Filed 9-26-07; 8:45 am]
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