Revised Notice of Intent To Prepare a Generic Environmental Impact Statement for Uranium Milling Facilities, 61912-61913 [E7-21604]

Download as PDF 61912 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 211 / Thursday, November 1, 2007 / Notices 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). mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: This notice revises a notice published on September 27, 2007, in the Federal Register (72 FR 54947), which announced, in part, that the scoping period for the NRC’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for uranium recovery facilities was extended to October 31, 2007. The purpose of this revised notice is to further extend the scoping comment period to November 30, 2007. DATES: The NRC has received a letter dated October 16, 2007, from the National Mining Association (NMA) in which the NMA requested an extension of the date for submitting comments on the scope of the GEIS. In response, the NRC has determined that the public scoping period for the GEIS is extended to November 30, 2007. This is the 3rd extension of the comment period, which originally was to end on September 4, 2007. However, due to several requests, the period first was extended to October 8, 2007, and then again until October 31, 2007. With this current extension, the comment period will be approximately 130 days and greatly exceeds the typical length of NRC scoping comment periods. Thus NRC does not intend to provide any further extensions of the comment period. 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. ADDRESSES: Members of the public and interested parties are invited, and encouraged to submit comments to the Chief, Rulemaking, Directives and Editing Branch, Mail Stop T–6D59, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001. Also, the NRC encourages comments to be submitted electronically to NRCREP@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: James Park, Project Manager, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection (DWMEP), Mail Stop T–8F5, U.S. Nuclear VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:40 Oct 31, 2007 Jkt 214001 Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC, 20555–0001, by phone at 1 (800) 368–5642, extension 6935, or by e-mail at JRP@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. 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 will 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. Octavia Fellin Public Library, 115 W. Hill Avenue, Gallup, New Mexico 87301, 505–863–1291. Natrona County Public Library, 307 East Second Street, Casper, Wyoming 82601, 307–237–4935. Fremont County Public Library, 275 North 2nd Street, Lander, Wyoming 82520, 307–332–5194. Carbon County Public Library, 215 W Buffalo Street, Rawlins, Wyoming 82301, 307–328–2618. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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/doccollections/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. E:\FR\FM\01NON1.SGM 01NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 211 / Thursday, November 1, 2007 / Notices —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 examples under each resource areas are 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. 3.0 Environmental Impact Areas To Be Analyzed mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES 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. 4.0 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 or 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; VerDate Aug<31>2005 19:40 Oct 31, 2007 Jkt 214001 Tiering 61913 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 public comment period on the draft GEIS is planned, and public meetings to receive comments will be held approximately 3 weeks after publication of the draft GEIS. Availability of the draft GEIS, the dates of the public comment period on the draft GEIS, and information about the public comment meetings 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 address, as appropriate, the public comments received on the draft GEIS. 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 narrower 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. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 29th day of October, 2007. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Larry W. Camper, Director, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs. [FR Doc. E7–21604 Filed 10–31–07; 8:45 am] 5.0 [Release No. IC–28037] Scoping Comments 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. Written comments should be mailed to the address listed above in the ADDRESSES section. Scoping comments may also be submitted electronically via email to NRCREP@nrc.gov. Please refer to the ‘‘Uranium Recovery GEIS’’ when submitting comments. 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, along with other relevant information on the GEIS, available at an NRC Web site, http:// www.nrc.gov/materials/fuel-cycle-fac/ licensing/geis.html so that the public can keep abreast of the current schedule and progress on the development of the GEIS. PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 BILLING CODE 7590–01–P SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION Notice of Applications for Deregistration Under Section 8(f) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 October 26, 2007. The following is a notice of applications for deregistration under section 8(f) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 for the month of October, 2007. A copy of each application may be obtained for a fee at the SEC’s Public Reference Branch (tel. 202–551–5850). An order granting each application will be issued unless the SEC orders a hearing. Interested persons may request a hearing on any application by writing to the SEC’s Secretary at the address below and serving the relevant applicant with a copy of the request, personally or by mail. Hearing requests should be received by the SEC by 5:30 p.m. on November 19, 2007, and should be accompanied by proof of service on the applicant, in the form of an affidavit or, for lawyers, a certificate of service. Hearing requests should state the nature of the writer’s interest, the reason for the request, and the issues contested. Persons who wish to be notified of a E:\FR\FM\01NON1.SGM 01NON1

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[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 211 (Thursday, November 1, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 61912-61913]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-21604]



[[Page 61912]]

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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 September 27, 2007, 
in the Federal Register (72 FR 54947), which announced, in part, that 
the scoping period for the NRC's Generic Environmental Impact Statement 
(GEIS) for uranium recovery facilities was extended to October 31, 
2007. The purpose of this revised notice is to further extend the 
scoping comment period to November 30, 2007.

DATES: The NRC has received a letter dated October 16, 2007, from the 
National Mining Association (NMA) in which the NMA requested an 
extension of the date for submitting comments on the scope of the GEIS. 
In response, the NRC has determined that the public scoping period for 
the GEIS is extended to November 30, 2007. This is the 3rd extension of 
the comment period, which originally was to end on September 4, 2007. 
However, due to several requests, the period first was extended to 
October 8, 2007, and then again until October 31, 2007. With this 
current extension, the comment period will be approximately 130 days 
and greatly exceeds the typical length of NRC scoping comment periods. 
Thus NRC does not intend to provide any further extensions of the 
comment period. 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.

ADDRESSES: Members of the public and interested parties are invited, 
and encouraged to submit comments to the Chief, Rulemaking, Directives 
and Editing Branch, Mail Stop T-6D59, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001. Also, the NRC encourages 
comments to be submitted electronically to NRCREP@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: James Park, 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 6935, or by e-mail at JRP@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.
    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 will 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.
Octavia Fellin Public Library, 115 W. Hill Avenue, Gallup, New Mexico 
87301, 505-863-1291.
Natrona County Public Library, 307 East Second Street, Casper, Wyoming 
82601, 307-237-4935.
Fremont County Public Library, 275 North 2nd Street, Lander, Wyoming 
82520, 307-332-5194.
Carbon County Public Library, 215 W Buffalo Street, Rawlins, Wyoming 
82301, 307-328-2618.

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-collections/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.

[[Page 61913]]

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 or 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 examples under each resource areas are 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.

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 
narrower 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 Comments

    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.
    Written comments should be mailed to the address listed above in 
the ADDRESSES section. Scoping comments may also be submitted 
electronically via email to NRCREP@nrc.gov. Please refer to the 
``Uranium Recovery GEIS'' when submitting comments. 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, along with other relevant information on the GEIS, 
available at an NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.gov/materials/fuel-cycle-
fac/licensing/geis.html so that the public can keep abreast of the 
current schedule and progress on the development of the GEIS.

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 
public comment period on the draft GEIS is planned, and public meetings 
to receive comments will be held approximately 3 weeks after 
publication of the draft GEIS.
    Availability of the draft GEIS, the dates of the public comment 
period on the draft GEIS, and information about the public comment 
meetings 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 address, as appropriate, the public comments 
received on the draft GEIS.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 29th day of October, 2007.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Larry W. Camper,
Director, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, 
Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management 
Programs.
[FR Doc. E7-21604 Filed 10-31-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P