Policy Regarding Submittal of Amendments for Processing of Equivalent Feed at Licensed Uranium Recovery Facilities, 60941-60945 [2011-25243]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 190 / Friday, September 30, 2011 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES with the algebraic summation of three orthogonal moment vectors. At the conclusion of the audit, the staff determined, as described in its audit report (ADAMS Accession No. ML110871243), that the license renewal applicant’s use of this computer software package demonstrated (1) that it produced calculations of stresses and cumulative usage factors that are consistent with the methodology in ASME Code, Section III, Subsection NB, Subarticle NB–3200, (2) that the analyst’s judgment in manually modifying peak and valley times/ stresses in these calculations was reasonable and can be appropriately justified and documented, though justification of any user intervention should be documented, (3) that this applicant did not use this software to perform fatigue calculations as described in ASME Code, Section III, Subsection NB, Subarticle NB–3600, and (4) future use of this software should be accompanied by an acceptable demonstration that it performs fatigue calculations in accordance with ASME Code, Section III, Subsection NB, Subarticle NB–3600. This license renewal applicant performed evaluations on two of its components: A pressurized water reactor (PWR) pressurizer surge nozzle and a PWR safety injection boron injection tank nozzle. When considering the effects of the reactor water environment on fatigue life, these evaluations indicated a cumulative usage factor that was less than the ASME Code design limit of 1.0, provided that there was sufficient and clear records of justification for analyst intervention. The staff acknowledges that addressees may have used, or will make use of, other computer software packages in performing ASME Code fatigue calculations. Thus, the NRC encourages addressees to review the documents discussed above and to consider actions, as appropriate, to ensure compliance with the requirements for ASME Code fatigue calculations and QA programs, as described in 10 CFR 50.55a and Appendix B to 10 CFR part 50, respectively. Backfit Discussion This RIS informs addressees of potential concerns with the use of computer software packages to perform ASME Code fatigue calculations and reminds them that they should perform these calculations in accordance with ASME Code requirements. The regulations at 10 CFR 50.55a specify the ASME Code requirements. Regulatory VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:19 Sep 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 Guide 1.28 describes methods for establishing and implementing a QA program for the design and construction of nuclear power plants. For license renewal, metal fatigue is evaluated as a time-limited aging analysis in accordance with 10 CFR 54.21(c). Section 4.3, ‘‘Metal Fatigue,’’ of NUREG–1800 provides the associated staff review guidance. This RIS does not impose a new or different regulatory staff position. It requires no action or written response and, therefore, is not a backfit under 10 CFR 50.109, ‘‘Backfitting.’’ Consequently, the NRC staff did not perform a backfit analysis. Federal Register Notification To be done after the public comment period. Congressional Review Act The NRC has determined that this RIS is not a rule as designated by the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801–808) and, therefore, is not subject to the Act. Paperwork Reduction Act Statement This RIS does not contain any information collections and, therefore, is not subject to the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Existing collection requirements under 10 CFR Part 54 were approved by the Office of Management and Budget, control number 3150–0155. Public Protection Notification The NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a request for information or an information collection requirement unless the requesting document displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget control number. Contact Please direct any questions about this matter to the technical contact listed below: Timothy J. McGinty, Director, Division of Policy and Rulemaking, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. Laura A. Dudes, Director, Division of Construction Inspection and Operational Programs, Office of New Reactors. Technical Contact: On Yee, NRR, 301–415–1905. E-mail: on.yee@nrc.gov. Note: NRC generic communications may be found on the NRC public Web site, http:// www.nrc.gov, under NRC Library/Document Collections. PO 00000 Frm 00143 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 60941 END OF DRAFT REGULATORY ISSUE SUMMARY Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 22nd day of September 2011. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Melanie A. Galloway, Acting Director, Division of License Renewal, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. [FR Doc. 2011–25242 Filed 9–29–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [NRC–2011–0217] Policy Regarding Submittal of Amendments for Processing of Equivalent Feed at Licensed Uranium Recovery Facilities Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Regulatory issue summary; request for comment. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing to issue a regulatory issue summary (RIS) to inform addressees of the NRC’s policy regarding receipt and processing, without a license amendment, of equivalent feed at an NRC and Agreement State-licensed uranium recovery site, either conventional, heap leach, or in situ recovery. DATES: Submit comments by October 31, 2011. Comments submitted after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but assurance of consideration cannot be given except for comments received on or before this date. ADDRESSES: Please include Docket ID NRC–2011–0217 in the subject line of your comments. For additional instructions on submitting comments and instructions on accessing documents related to this action, see ‘‘Submitting Comments and Accessing Information’’ in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. You may submit comments by any one of the following methods: • Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for documents filed under Docket ID NRC–2011–0217. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher, telephone: 301–492–3668; e-mail: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. • Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, Announcements, and Directives Branch (RADB), Office of Administration, Mail Stop: TWB–05– B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555– 0001. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 60942 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 190 / Friday, September 30, 2011 / Notices searching on Docket ID NRC–2011– 0217. The NRC’s generic communications may be found on the NRC public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/ doc-collections/gen-comm/. Submitting Comments and Accessing Information mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES • Fax comments to: RADB at 301– 492–3446. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Ted Carter, Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555– 0001, telephone: 301–415–5543 or e-mail: Ted.Carter@nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensed uranium recovery facilities; all holders of NRC operating licenses for water treatment; all companies that have submitted applications to construct all types of new uranium recovery facilities (conventional mills, heap leach facilities, and in situ recovery (ISR) facilities); and all Radiation Control Program Directors and State Liaison Officers. Comments submitted in writing or in electronic form will be posted on the NRC Web site and on the Federal rulemaking Web site, http:// www.regulations.gov. Because your comments will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact information, the NRC cautions you against including any information in your submission that you do not want to be publicly disclosed. The NRC requests that any party soliciting or aggregating comments received from other persons for submission to the NRC inform those persons that the NRC will not edit their comments to remove any identifying or contact information, and therefore, they should not include any information in their comments that they do not want publicly disclosed. You can access publicly available documents related to this document using the following methods: • NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR): The public may examine and have copied, for a fee, publicly available documents at the NRC’s PDR, O1–F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. • NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): Publicly available documents created or received at the NRC are available online in the NRC Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/ adams.html. From this page, the public can gain entry into ADAMS, which provides text and image files of the NRC’s public documents. If you do not have access to ADAMS or if there are problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC’s PDR reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, 301–415–4737, or by e-mail to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. This Federal Register notice is available through ADAMS under Accession Number ML112290011. • Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Public comments and supporting materials related to this notice can be found at http://www.regulations.gov by VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:19 Sep 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 Draft NRC Regulatory Issue Summary 2011–xxxx: NRC Policy Regarding Submittal of Amendments for Processing of Equivalent Feed at Licensed Uranium Recovery Facilities Addressees Intent In 2000, the NRC developed RIS 00– 23, ‘‘Recent Changes to Uranium Recovery Policy,’’ (ADAMS Accession No. MLXXXXXXXX) to address licensing issues related to processing of alternate feed at uranium recovery sites. The NRC is issuing this RIS to clarify the agency’s policy that receipt and processing, of ‘‘equivalent feed’’ 1 (resin media) at an NRC-licensed uranium recovery facility, whether conventional, heap leach, or ISR does not require a license amendment when the resin being used is chemically and physically essentially the same and would be processed using existing equipment at the facility. It is not the intent of this RIS to change the policy expressed in RIS 00–23 or redefine the definition of alternate feed. Rather, it clarifies that inclusion of resin media into the alternate feed category is inconsistent with the original intent of RIS 00–23 and with technology now in existence in the uranium recovery industry. Background As stated above, the NRC is issuing this RIS to clarify the NRC’s policy regarding alternate feed. In SECY–99– 01, ‘‘Use of Uranium Mill Tailings Impoundments for the Disposal of Other Than 11e.(2) Byproduct Materials, and Reviews of Applications to Process Material Other Than Natural Uranium Ores,’’ (ADAMS Accession No. 1 For the purposes of this RIS, equivalent feed is: ion exchange (IX) resin that is loaded with uranium at a facility other than a licensed uranium recovery facility, such as water treatment plants or mine dewatering operations. PO 00000 Frm 00144 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 MLXXXXXXXX) the staff defines alternate feed as material other than natural uranium ores. Alternate feed can, therefore, be certain wastes, including sludges or soils, from other sites that contains recoverable amounts of uranium. The RIS 00–23 provided guidance on evaluating requests for a license amendment for a uranium recovery facility (i.e., conventional mill) to accept this material, recover the uranium, and dispose of the tailings (i.e., waste material) as byproduct material in the mill tailings impoundment. However, the NRC staff finds the resin from certain source material operations, such as community water treatment facilities and mine dewatering operations, are equivalent to the resin being used at uranium recovery facilities (e.g. ISRs or conventional mills/heap leach facilities using ion exchange circuits). In the ISR method, ore is not extracted from the ground for processing at a mill. Rather, the ore is processed in-situ with the resulting uranium-bearing fluids being passed through IX resins to extract the uranium. The NRC staff based this finding on the fact that the resins are chemically and physically essentially the same, and would be processed in the same way, as resins used in normal uranium recovery operations. In December 2003, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enacted a drinking water limit of 30 mg/ L of uranium in drinking water. This limit applied to Community Water Systems (CWSs), which the EPA defines as public water systems that supply water to the same population yearround. For small CWSs that are required to remove uranium from drinking water to meet EPA standards, the transport, treatment, and disposal of treatment residuals (e.g., uranium loaded treatment resin) can be a significant cost. It has been noted by the EPA that for small-scale CWSs, handling of treatment residuals such as uraniumloaded resin may account for 50 percent of their total operating budget.2 This financial burden has led some stake holders to urge the EPA to reconsider its regulations related to uranium in drinking water, including the waste disposal requirements for such materials. Related to the issue above, the NRC staff has been queried by representatives of the uranium recovery industry and 2 The EPA currently defines uranium-loaded resin generated by drinking water treatment to remove the uranium as a Technically-Enhanced NaturallyOccurring Radioactive Material (TENORM) that requires disposal at a facility permitted under Subtitle C or D of the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA). E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 190 / Friday, September 30, 2011 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES uranium water treatment suppliers/ operators about the potential for uranium recovery facilities to accept and process uranium-loaded resin (ULR) generated by drinking water treatment because the ULR can be processed in an ISR operator’s ion exchange recovery circuit. However, in the absence of this clarification provided by this RIS, the ISR uranium recovery facility would be required to submit, and have the NRC approve, an amendment to its NRC license prior to receiving and processing such resins. An amendment would be required because without this clarification these resins would be considered an alternate feed, despite the fact that such resins are essentially the same as those resins currently used at ISR facilities during uranium recovery operations. Summary of Issue Currently, the only options for the disposition of resins generated from operations other than uranium recovery operations (i.e., treating drinking water sources and mine dewatering) are processing as alternate feed at a mill or disposal in landfills permitted under the RCRA or licensed by the NRC or an Agreement State. Under past interpretations of RIS 00–23, a license amendment would be required for an NRC-licensed uranium recovery facility to accept uranium-bearing resins resulting from treatment of community water supplies. The staff has determined that this interpretation does not reflect present day operating practices in the uranium recovery industry and is not consistent with the Commission’s intent in issuing RIS 00–23. In particular, the NRC staff has determined that NRC and Agreement State-licensed uranium recovery facilities should be permitted to accept these resins as equivalent feed without the need for a license amendment so long as the receiving facility can demonstrate that processing the equivalent feed stays within the facilities’ existing safety and environmental review envelope. The basis for the staff’s position relates to the original intent of RIS 00– 23. The RIS 00–23, and the underlying Commission decision, was intended to address a concern that without restrictions on the processing of material other than natural ore, a conventional uranium recovery mill could process any material containing uranium and dispose the waste in the ‘‘tailings pile’’ (see Page A2 of SECY– 99–011, [INSERT TITLE AND ADAMS ML]) resulting in what was then-termed ‘‘sham-disposal’’ (see SECY–09–012, [INSERT TITLE AND ADAMS ML]) (i.e. waste material that would otherwise VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:19 Sep 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 have to be disposed of as radioactive or mixed waste would be proposed for processing at a uranium mill primarily to be able to dispose that material in the tailings pile as 11e.(2) byproduct material). Thus, material very dissimilar to the material normally processed at a conventional mill, would be processed largely to allow disposal as 11e.(2) byproduct material. In the case of ULR, the concern addressed in RIS 00–23 is not at issue. The ULRs are essentially the same as resins used to extract uranium at an in-situ recovery facility and the resulting processing and waste products would be the same as those associated with normal in-situ uranium recovery operations. Also similar to ISR resin, ULR is designed to only capture uranium and not other hazardous constituents. Consequently, in this guidance, the staff is defining the term ‘‘equivalent feed’’ to apply to those circumstances where the feed material is essentially the same in physical form and radiological content as the source material that is normally processed at a uranium recovery facility. For the purpose of this RIS, equivalent feed is IX resin that is loaded with uranium at a facility other than a licensed uranium recovery facility, such as water treatment plants or mine dewatering operations. However, it should be noted that processing of these resins for source material would need to occur before any waste would be considered as 11e.(2) byproduct material. To constitute equivalent feed, resin must be chemically and physically essentially the same to that which is currently used at licensed uranium recovery facilities and must not result in additional waste streams or risks not assessed during the process of licensing the receiving uranium recovery facility. For example, a typical uranium treatment resin for drinking water (Z– 92®) is produced by Lanxess (also known as Sybron Chemicals). The Z– 92® resin is essentially the same in composition and function to the Dow 21K resin, the typical ion exchange resin used at most uranium recovery facilities. A comparison of the product information of Z–92® resin to that of Dow 21K resin indicates the following: —Both are a strong-base, Type I anion exchange resin; —The composition of both is divynylbenzene (dvb) styrene; —The functional group of both is a quarternary amine; —The physical form of both is resin beads with essentially the same bulk weight, color, and amine odor; PO 00000 Frm 00145 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 60943 —The Z–92® resin is available in a similar bead-size range to that of Dow 21K; —Water Remediation Technologies, Inc. identifies the Z–92® resin as selective for uranium; the Dow 21K resin is also selective for uranium. The primary difference between the Z–92® and the typical uranium recovery IX resin is that the water treatment resin is marked and packaged specifically for use in potable water systems and, therefore, undergoes an additional step of the Water Quality Association testing for certification to ANSI/NSF Standard 61. Given that ULRs are essentially the same as those resins processed at an insitu recovery central processing plant; the staff sees no basis for requiring that an in-situ mill operator obtain a license amendment to process this essentially same material. The same process is also used for eluting or recovering uranium from water treatment and ISR resins. Therefore, the NRC staff believes that water treatment resins should be defined as equivalent feed. Thus, the processing of equivalent feed at a licensed in-situ recovery facility will not require an amendment to an existing license so long as the existing limits on production of uranium in the license are not exceeded and that the processing is within the existing safety and environmental review envelope. Mine dewatering operations involve the extraction of water from surface or underground mines and, when necessary, the treatment of extracted water to remove pollutants prior to discharge. Mine dewatering is often necessary to allow miners to safely extract ore. In the case of uranium mine dewatering, extracted water is often treated by ion exchange to remove uranium prior to discharge. These ion exchange resins must either be disposed in a landfill or could be eluted at a uranium recovery facility. It should be noted that in the past, mine dewatering resins have been treated as alternate feed at conventional mills (57 FR 20532). These license amendments were required because at that time, the staff considered the mine dewatering resins to be processed or refined ore distinct from natural ore normally processed at a conventional mill. However, if a conventional mill has an existing IX processing circuit, either as part of its conventional milling process or a separate process line, it may accept equivalent feed without a license amendment. For example, upon staff inquiry, Kennecott Uranium Company stated that its mine dewatering resin is the E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 60944 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 190 / Friday, September 30, 2011 / Notices Dow 21K resin that is discussed above, which is the same resin used at ISR facilities. Therefore, the staff determined that mine dewatering resins, like loaded resins from CWSs, can be more appropriately classified as equivalent feed when they are sent for processing at a uranium recovery facility. After processing the equivalent feed, the spent resin can be disposed as byproduct material in the same manner as the resin used in the primary uranium recovery activity. Disposal sites could either be existing mill tailings impoundments or other disposal facilities licensed by the NRC or Agreement States. No additional disposal requirements are necessary. This approach benefits our national interest by recovering a valuable resource and the environment by providing additional options instead of disposal for this material. Alternately, the unloaded resin may be returned to the water treatment facility, a mine dewatering facility, or a licensed uranium recovery facility for reuse. This is an economic benefit to the treatment facility (particularly CWSs) since operating costs are reduced and also results in less overall disposal of resin. Enclosure 1 to this RIS offers additional information, which addressees may find useful, about uranium recovery processing of equivalent feed. Enclosure 2 contains procedures which the NRC finds satisfactory for accepting equivalent feed. Voluntary Response All addresses and the public may voluntarily submit comments on the policy regarding submittal of amendments for processing of equivalent feed at licensed uranium recovery facilities presented in this RIS. To be of use to the NRC, responses should be submitted by October 31, 2011. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Backfit Discussion This RIS requires no action or written response. Any action that addressees take to implement changes or procedures in accordance with the information contained in this RIS ensures compliance with current regulations, is strictly voluntary, and, therefore, is not a backfit under any of the backfitting provisions contained in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) 50.109, 70.76, 72.62, 76.76, or the issue finality provision of 10 CFR part 52. Consequently, the staff did not perform a backfit analysis. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:19 Sep 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 Federal Register Notice To be done after the public comment period. Congressional Review Act This RIS is a rule as designated in the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801–886) and, therefore, is subject to the Act. Related Generic Communications RIS 00–23, ‘‘Recent Changes to Uranium Recovery Policy.’’ Paperwork Reduction Act Statement This RIS references information collection requirements that are subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). These information collection requirements were approved by the Office of Management and Budget, approval numbers 3150–0020. Public Protection Notification The NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a request for information or an information collection requirement unless the requesting document displays a currently valid OMB control number. Enclosures 1. Uranium Recovery Processing of Equivalent Feed: Additional Information. 2. Procedure for Accepting Equivalent Feed. Uranium Recovery Processing of Equivalent Feed: Additional Information Processing of equivalent feed from water treatment plants and mine dewatering operations at uranium recovery facilities (e.g. in-situ recovery (ISR) or conventional mills/heap leach facilities with ion exchange circuits) results in a lower overall environmental impact and is the preferred option when compared to disposal of these resins in a Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA)-permitted landfill or NRC and Agreement State licensed landfill. Transportation impacts are similar since in either option, the resin is trucked to an isolated location away from population centers (RCRA-permitted or NRC/Agreement State licensed landfill or a uranium recovery facility). Although disposal of equivalent feed in a lined RCRA-permitted landfill or NRC/Agreement State licensed landfill provides short term isolation, the long term environmental and financial liability associated with potential landfill failure coupled with the societal benefit of putting the uranium into the PO 00000 Frm 00146 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 nuclear fuel cycle results in uranium recovery facility processing of equivalent feed, such as uranium-loaded water treatment and mine dewatering resin, as the preferred environmental option. Processing water treatment resins as equivalent feed provides a significant cost benefit to small Community Water Systems. For these small water treatment operators, disposal at RCRApermitted or NRC/Agreement State licensed landfills is cost prohibitive. Although, at this time, it is not possible to know the exact financial arrangements between the water treatment and uranium recovery facilities with respect to the processing of equivalent feed, it is reasonable to assume that the financial arrangements would be significantly more beneficial to the small water treatment operators than landfill disposal. Procedures for Accepting Equivalent Feed In situ recovery facilities (ISRs) or conventional mills with ion exchange circuits may accept equivalent feed, as defined in this regulatory issue summary, without a license amendment. The licensee should document that the received resins meet the equivalent feed criteria by being: (1) Chemically and physically essentially the same as the resins processed at the facility; (2) processed the same way as resins processed at the facility; and (3) processing the equivalent feed material stays within the existing safety and environmental review envelope for the facility. The NRC inspectors will review this documentation during the inspection process to verify that the received resins meet the equivalent feed criteria such that the licensee’s processing of the material can be considered consistent with their license. Following elution of the uraniumloaded equivalent feed (i.e., removal of the uranium from the treatment resin), the resulting unloaded resin can take two paths. Since the NRC is allowing equivalent feed to be processed at uranium recovery facilities, the wastes associated with processing equivalent feed (i.e., unloaded resin) are considered byproduct material, as defined in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations part 40. Therefore, these wastes may be disposed of at an NRC-licensed facility without further documentation. Alternately, the unloaded resin may be returned to a water treatment facility, a mine dewatering facility or a licensed uranium recovery facility for reuse. E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 76, No. 190 / Friday, September 30, 2011 / Notices Contact If you have any questions about this summary, please contact Mr. Ted Carter, Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555– 0001, telephone: 301–415–5543 or email: Ted.Carter@nrc.gov. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 22nd day of September 2011. 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. 2011–25243 Filed 9–29–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P PEACE CORPS Information Collection Request; Submission for OMB Review Peace Corps. 60-Day notice and request for comments. AGENCY: ACTION: The Peace Corps will submit the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval. The purpose of this notice is to allow 60 days for public comment in the Federal Register preceding submission to OMB. We are conducting this process in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35). DATES: Submit comments on or before November 29, 2011. ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Denora Miller, Freedom of Information Act Officer. Denora Miller can be contacted by telephone at 202– 692–1236 or e-mail at pcfr@peacecorps.gov. E-mail comments must be made in text and not in attachments. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Denora Miller at Peace Corps address above. It has been the Peace Corps’ longstanding policy to exclude from Peace Corps Volunteer service and Peace Corps employment any persons who have engaged in intelligence activity or related work or who have been employed by or connected with an intelligence Agency. It is crucial to the Peace Corps in carrying out its mission that there is a complete and total separation of Peace mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:19 Sep 29, 2011 Jkt 223001 Corps from the intelligence activities of the United States government, both in reality and appearance. Any semblance of a connection between Peace Corps and the intelligence community would seriously compromise the ability of the Peace Corps to develop and maintain the trust and confidence of the people of the host countries. It could also put Volunteers at risk in the countries in which they serve. Method: E-mailing the Intelligence Background Questionnaire to applicants or their relatives with an intelligence connection. The respondent returns the Intelligence Background Questionnaire by E-mail or fax. Title: Intelligence Background Questionnaire. OMB Control Number: 0420-pending. Type of information collection: New information collection. Affected public: Individuals or households. Respondents’ obligation to reply: Required to obtain or retain benefits. Burden to the public: (a) Estimated number of respondents: 100. (b) Frequency of response: One time. (c) Estimated average burden per response: 10 minutes. (d) Estimated total reporting burden: 16.67 hours. (e) Estimated annual cost to respondents: $0.00. General description of collection: Peace Corps’ Office of the General Counsel uses the form to determine what kind of intelligence connection an applicant or an applicant’s relative might have and how close an applicant and a relative with an intelligence connection are. The Office of the General Counsel uses the information to determine whether the intelligence connection is substantial enough to prevent the person from being employed at the Peace Corps or being a Volunteer for the Peace Corps permanently or for a set period of time from the last intelligence connection. If an applicant disagrees with the General Counsel’s determination, he or she may appeal the determination to the Director of the Peace Corps. Request for Comment: Peace Corps invites comments on whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for proper performance of the functions of the Peace Corps Response, including whether the information will have practical use; the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the information to be collected; and, ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to PO 00000 Frm 00147 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 60945 respond, including through the use of automated collection techniques, when appropriate, and other forms of information technology. This notice issued in Washington, DC, on September 23, 2011. Earl W. Yates, Associate Director, Management. [FR Doc. 2011–25200 Filed 9–29–11; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6051–01–P POSTAL REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. A2011–82; Order No. 872] Post Office Closing Postal Regulatory Commission. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: This document informs the public that an appeal of the closing of the Belk, Alabama post office has been filed. It identifies preliminary steps and provides a procedural schedule. Publication of this document will allow the Postal Service, petitioners, and others to take appropriate action. DATES: Administrative record due (from Postal Service): October 7, 2011; deadline for notices to intervene: October 21, 2011. See the Procedural Schedule in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for other dates of interest. SUMMARY: Submit comments electronically by accessing the ‘‘Filing Online’’ link in the banner at the top of the Commission’s Web site (http:// www.prc.gov) or by directly accessing the Commission’s Filing Online system at https://www.prc.gov/prc-pages/filingonline/login.aspx. Commenters who cannot submit their views electronically should contact the person identified in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section as the source for case-related information for advice on alternatives to electronic filing. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen L. Sharfman, General Counsel, at 202–789–6820 (case-related information) or DocketAdmins@prc.gov (electronic filing assistance). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Notice is hereby given that, pursuant to 39 U.S.C. 404(d), on September 22, 2011, the Commission received a petition for review of the Postal Service’s determination to close the Belk post office in Belk, Alabama. The petition was filed by Ronald Waldrop, Mayor on behalf of the Town of Belk (Petitioner) and is postmarked September 13, 2011. The Commission hereby institutes a proceeding under 39 U.S.C. 404(d)(5) and establishes Docket No. A2011–82 to ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\30SEN1.SGM 30SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 190 (Friday, September 30, 2011)]
[Notices]
[Pages 60941-60945]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-25243]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[NRC-2011-0217]


Policy Regarding Submittal of Amendments for Processing of 
Equivalent Feed at Licensed Uranium Recovery Facilities

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Regulatory issue summary; request for comment.

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

SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is proposing to 
issue a regulatory issue summary (RIS) to inform addressees of the 
NRC's policy regarding receipt and processing, without a license 
amendment, of equivalent feed at an NRC and Agreement State-licensed 
uranium recovery site, either conventional, heap leach, or in situ 
recovery.

DATES: Submit comments by October 31, 2011. Comments submitted after 
this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but assurance 
of consideration cannot be given except for comments received on or 
before this date.

ADDRESSES: Please include Docket ID NRC-2011-0217 in the subject line 
of your comments. For additional instructions on submitting comments 
and instructions on accessing documents related to this action, see 
``Submitting Comments and Accessing Information'' in the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document. You may submit comments by any 
one of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for documents filed under Docket ID NRC-
2011-0217. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher, 
telephone: 301-492-3668; e-mail: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov.
     Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, 
Announcements, and Directives Branch (RADB), Office of Administration, 
Mail Stop: TWB-05-B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.

[[Page 60942]]

     Fax comments to: RADB at 301-492-3446.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Mr. Ted Carter, Office of Federal and 
State Materials and Environmental Management Programs, Division of 
Waste Management and Environmental Protection, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555- 0001, telephone: 301-415-5543 or e-
mail: Ted.Carter@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/gen-comm/.

Draft NRC Regulatory Issue Summary 2011-xxxx: NRC Policy Regarding 
Submittal of Amendments for Processing of Equivalent Feed at Licensed 
Uranium Recovery Facilities

Addressees

    U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensed uranium recovery 
facilities; all holders of NRC operating licenses for water treatment; 
all companies that have submitted applications to construct all types 
of new uranium recovery facilities (conventional mills, heap leach 
facilities, and in situ recovery (ISR) facilities); and all Radiation 
Control Program Directors and State Liaison Officers.

Intent

    In 2000, the NRC developed RIS 00-23, ``Recent Changes to Uranium 
Recovery Policy,'' (ADAMS Accession No. MLXXXXXXXX) to address 
licensing issues related to processing of alternate feed at uranium 
recovery sites. The NRC is issuing this RIS to clarify the agency's 
policy that receipt and processing, of ``equivalent feed'' \1\ (resin 
media) at an NRC-licensed uranium recovery facility, whether 
conventional, heap leach, or ISR does not require a license amendment 
when the resin being used is chemically and physically essentially the 
same and would be processed using existing equipment at the facility. 
It is not the intent of this RIS to change the policy expressed in RIS 
00-23 or redefine the definition of alternate feed. Rather, it 
clarifies that inclusion of resin media into the alternate feed 
category is inconsistent with the original intent of RIS 00-23 and with 
technology now in existence in the uranium recovery industry.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ For the purposes of this RIS, equivalent feed is: ion 
exchange (IX) resin that is loaded with uranium at a facility other 
than a licensed uranium recovery facility, such as water treatment 
plants or mine dewatering operations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Background

    As stated above, the NRC is issuing this RIS to clarify the NRC's 
policy regarding alternate feed. In SECY-99-01, ``Use of Uranium Mill 
Tailings Impoundments for the Disposal of Other Than 11e.(2) Byproduct 
Materials, and Reviews of Applications to Process Material Other Than 
Natural Uranium Ores,'' (ADAMS Accession No. MLXXXXXXXX) the staff 
defines alternate feed as material other than natural uranium ores. 
Alternate feed can, therefore, be certain wastes, including sludges or 
soils, from other sites that contains recoverable amounts of uranium. 
The RIS 00-23 provided guidance on evaluating requests for a license 
amendment for a uranium recovery facility (i.e., conventional mill) to 
accept this material, recover the uranium, and dispose of the tailings 
(i.e., waste material) as byproduct material in the mill tailings 
impoundment. However, the NRC staff finds the resin from certain source 
material operations, such as community water treatment facilities and 
mine dewatering operations, are equivalent to the resin being used at 
uranium recovery facilities (e.g. ISRs or conventional mills/heap leach 
facilities using ion exchange circuits). In the ISR method, ore is not 
extracted from the ground for processing at a mill. Rather, the ore is 
processed in-situ with the resulting uranium-bearing fluids being 
passed through IX resins to extract the uranium. The NRC staff based 
this finding on the fact that the resins are chemically and physically 
essentially the same, and would be processed in the same way, as resins 
used in normal uranium recovery operations.
    In December 2003, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 
enacted a drinking water limit of 30 [mu]g/L of uranium in drinking 
water. This limit applied to Community Water Systems (CWSs), which the 
EPA defines as public water systems that supply water to the same 
population year-round. For small CWSs that are required to remove 
uranium from drinking water to meet EPA standards, the transport, 
treatment, and disposal of treatment residuals (e.g., uranium loaded 
treatment resin) can be a significant cost. It has been noted by the 
EPA that for small-scale CWSs, handling of treatment residuals such as 
uranium-loaded resin may account for 50 percent of their total 
operating budget.\2\ This financial burden has led some stake holders 
to urge the EPA to reconsider its regulations related to uranium in 
drinking water, including the waste disposal requirements for such 
materials.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The EPA currently defines uranium-loaded resin generated by 
drinking water treatment to remove the uranium as a Technically-
Enhanced Naturally-Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM) that 
requires disposal at a facility permitted under Subtitle C or D of 
the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Related to the issue above, the NRC staff has been queried by 
representatives of the uranium recovery industry and

[[Page 60943]]

uranium water treatment suppliers/operators about the potential for 
uranium recovery facilities to accept and process uranium-loaded resin 
(ULR) generated by drinking water treatment because the ULR can be 
processed in an ISR operator's ion exchange recovery circuit. However, 
in the absence of this clarification provided by this RIS, the ISR 
uranium recovery facility would be required to submit, and have the NRC 
approve, an amendment to its NRC license prior to receiving and 
processing such resins. An amendment would be required because without 
this clarification these resins would be considered an alternate feed, 
despite the fact that such resins are essentially the same as those 
resins currently used at ISR facilities during uranium recovery 
operations.

Summary of Issue

    Currently, the only options for the disposition of resins generated 
from operations other than uranium recovery operations (i.e., treating 
drinking water sources and mine dewatering) are processing as alternate 
feed at a mill or disposal in landfills permitted under the RCRA or 
licensed by the NRC or an Agreement State. Under past interpretations 
of RIS 00-23, a license amendment would be required for an NRC-licensed 
uranium recovery facility to accept uranium-bearing resins resulting 
from treatment of community water supplies. The staff has determined 
that this interpretation does not reflect present day operating 
practices in the uranium recovery industry and is not consistent with 
the Commission's intent in issuing RIS 00-23. In particular, the NRC 
staff has determined that NRC and Agreement State-licensed uranium 
recovery facilities should be permitted to accept these resins as 
equivalent feed without the need for a license amendment so long as the 
receiving facility can demonstrate that processing the equivalent feed 
stays within the facilities' existing safety and environmental review 
envelope.
    The basis for the staff's position relates to the original intent 
of RIS 00-23. The RIS 00-23, and the underlying Commission decision, 
was intended to address a concern that without restrictions on the 
processing of material other than natural ore, a conventional uranium 
recovery mill could process any material containing uranium and dispose 
the waste in the ``tailings pile'' (see Page A2 of SECY-99-011, [INSERT 
TITLE AND ADAMS ML]) resulting in what was then-termed ``sham-
disposal'' (see SECY-09-012, [INSERT TITLE AND ADAMS ML]) (i.e. waste 
material that would otherwise have to be disposed of as radioactive or 
mixed waste would be proposed for processing at a uranium mill 
primarily to be able to dispose that material in the tailings pile as 
11e.(2) byproduct material). Thus, material very dissimilar to the 
material normally processed at a conventional mill, would be processed 
largely to allow disposal as 11e.(2) byproduct material. In the case of 
ULR, the concern addressed in RIS 00-23 is not at issue. The ULRs are 
essentially the same as resins used to extract uranium at an in-situ 
recovery facility and the resulting processing and waste products would 
be the same as those associated with normal in-situ uranium recovery 
operations. Also similar to ISR resin, ULR is designed to only capture 
uranium and not other hazardous constituents.
    Consequently, in this guidance, the staff is defining the term 
``equivalent feed'' to apply to those circumstances where the feed 
material is essentially the same in physical form and radiological 
content as the source material that is normally processed at a uranium 
recovery facility. For the purpose of this RIS, equivalent feed is IX 
resin that is loaded with uranium at a facility other than a licensed 
uranium recovery facility, such as water treatment plants or mine 
dewatering operations. However, it should be noted that processing of 
these resins for source material would need to occur before any waste 
would be considered as 11e.(2) byproduct material.
    To constitute equivalent feed, resin must be chemically and 
physically essentially the same to that which is currently used at 
licensed uranium recovery facilities and must not result in additional 
waste streams or risks not assessed during the process of licensing the 
receiving uranium recovery facility. For example, a typical uranium 
treatment resin for drinking water (Z-92[reg]) is produced by Lanxess 
(also known as Sybron Chemicals). The Z-92[reg] resin is essentially 
the same in composition and function to the Dow 21K resin, the typical 
ion exchange resin used at most uranium recovery facilities. A 
comparison of the product information of Z-92[reg] resin to that of Dow 
21K resin indicates the following:

--Both are a strong-base, Type I anion exchange resin;
--The composition of both is divynylbenzene (dvb) styrene;
--The functional group of both is a quarternary amine;
--The physical form of both is resin beads with essentially the same 
bulk weight, color, and amine odor;
--The Z-92[reg] resin is available in a similar bead-size range to that 
of Dow 21K;
--Water Remediation Technologies, Inc. identifies the Z-92[reg] resin 
as selective for uranium; the Dow 21K resin is also selective for 
uranium.

    The primary difference between the Z-92[reg] and the typical 
uranium recovery IX resin is that the water treatment resin is marked 
and packaged specifically for use in potable water systems and, 
therefore, undergoes an additional step of the Water Quality 
Association testing for certification to ANSI/NSF Standard 61.
    Given that ULRs are essentially the same as those resins processed 
at an in-situ recovery central processing plant; the staff sees no 
basis for requiring that an in-situ mill operator obtain a license 
amendment to process this essentially same material. The same process 
is also used for eluting or recovering uranium from water treatment and 
ISR resins. Therefore, the NRC staff believes that water treatment 
resins should be defined as equivalent feed. Thus, the processing of 
equivalent feed at a licensed in-situ recovery facility will not 
require an amendment to an existing license so long as the existing 
limits on production of uranium in the license are not exceeded and 
that the processing is within the existing safety and environmental 
review envelope.
    Mine dewatering operations involve the extraction of water from 
surface or underground mines and, when necessary, the treatment of 
extracted water to remove pollutants prior to discharge. Mine 
dewatering is often necessary to allow miners to safely extract ore. In 
the case of uranium mine dewatering, extracted water is often treated 
by ion exchange to remove uranium prior to discharge. These ion 
exchange resins must either be disposed in a landfill or could be 
eluted at a uranium recovery facility. It should be noted that in the 
past, mine dewatering resins have been treated as alternate feed at 
conventional mills (57 FR 20532). These license amendments were 
required because at that time, the staff considered the mine dewatering 
resins to be processed or refined ore distinct from natural ore 
normally processed at a conventional mill. However, if a conventional 
mill has an existing IX processing circuit, either as part of its 
conventional milling process or a separate process line, it may accept 
equivalent feed without a license amendment.
    For example, upon staff inquiry, Kennecott Uranium Company stated 
that its mine dewatering resin is the

[[Page 60944]]

Dow 21K resin that is discussed above, which is the same resin used at 
ISR facilities. Therefore, the staff determined that mine dewatering 
resins, like loaded resins from CWSs, can be more appropriately 
classified as equivalent feed when they are sent for processing at a 
uranium recovery facility.
    After processing the equivalent feed, the spent resin can be 
disposed as byproduct material in the same manner as the resin used in 
the primary uranium recovery activity. Disposal sites could either be 
existing mill tailings impoundments or other disposal facilities 
licensed by the NRC or Agreement States. No additional disposal 
requirements are necessary. This approach benefits our national 
interest by recovering a valuable resource and the environment by 
providing additional options instead of disposal for this material. 
Alternately, the unloaded resin may be returned to the water treatment 
facility, a mine dewatering facility, or a licensed uranium recovery 
facility for reuse. This is an economic benefit to the treatment 
facility (particularly CWSs) since operating costs are reduced and also 
results in less overall disposal of resin.
    Enclosure 1 to this RIS offers additional information, which 
addressees may find useful, about uranium recovery processing of 
equivalent feed. Enclosure 2 contains procedures which the NRC finds 
satisfactory for accepting equivalent feed.

Voluntary Response

    All addresses and the public may voluntarily submit comments on the 
policy regarding submittal of amendments for processing of equivalent 
feed at licensed uranium recovery facilities presented in this RIS. To 
be of use to the NRC, responses should be submitted by October 31, 
2011.

Backfit Discussion

    This RIS requires no action or written response. Any action that 
addressees take to implement changes or procedures in accordance with 
the information contained in this RIS ensures compliance with current 
regulations, is strictly voluntary, and, therefore, is not a backfit 
under any of the backfitting provisions contained in Title 10 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) 50.109, 70.76, 72.62, 76.76, or 
the issue finality provision of 10 CFR part 52. Consequently, the staff 
did not perform a backfit analysis.

Federal Register Notice

    To be done after the public comment period.

Congressional Review Act

    This RIS is a rule as designated in the Congressional Review Act (5 
U.S.C. 801-886) and, therefore, is subject to the Act.

Related Generic Communications

    RIS 00-23, ``Recent Changes to Uranium Recovery Policy.''

Paperwork Reduction Act Statement

    This RIS references information collection requirements that are 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et 
seq.). These information collection requirements were approved by the 
Office of Management and Budget, approval numbers 3150-0020.

Public Protection Notification

    The NRC may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to 
respond to, a request for information or an information collection 
requirement unless the requesting document displays a currently valid 
OMB control number.

Enclosures

    1. Uranium Recovery Processing of Equivalent Feed: Additional 
Information.
    2. Procedure for Accepting Equivalent Feed.

Uranium Recovery Processing of Equivalent Feed: Additional Information

    Processing of equivalent feed from water treatment plants and mine 
dewatering operations at uranium recovery facilities (e.g. in-situ 
recovery (ISR) or conventional mills/heap leach facilities with ion 
exchange circuits) results in a lower overall environmental impact and 
is the preferred option when compared to disposal of these resins in a 
Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA)-permitted landfill or NRC 
and Agreement State licensed landfill. Transportation impacts are 
similar since in either option, the resin is trucked to an isolated 
location away from population centers (RCRA-permitted or NRC/Agreement 
State licensed landfill or a uranium recovery facility). Although 
disposal of equivalent feed in a lined RCRA-permitted landfill or NRC/
Agreement State licensed landfill provides short term isolation, the 
long term environmental and financial liability associated with 
potential landfill failure coupled with the societal benefit of putting 
the uranium into the nuclear fuel cycle results in uranium recovery 
facility processing of equivalent feed, such as uranium-loaded water 
treatment and mine dewatering resin, as the preferred environmental 
option.
    Processing water treatment resins as equivalent feed provides a 
significant cost benefit to small Community Water Systems. For these 
small water treatment operators, disposal at RCRA-permitted or NRC/
Agreement State licensed landfills is cost prohibitive. Although, at 
this time, it is not possible to know the exact financial arrangements 
between the water treatment and uranium recovery facilities with 
respect to the processing of equivalent feed, it is reasonable to 
assume that the financial arrangements would be significantly more 
beneficial to the small water treatment operators than landfill 
disposal.

Procedures for Accepting Equivalent Feed

    In situ recovery facilities (ISRs) or conventional mills with ion 
exchange circuits may accept equivalent feed, as defined in this 
regulatory issue summary, without a license amendment. The licensee 
should document that the received resins meet the equivalent feed 
criteria by being: (1) Chemically and physically essentially the same 
as the resins processed at the facility; (2) processed the same way as 
resins processed at the facility; and (3) processing the equivalent 
feed material stays within the existing safety and environmental review 
envelope for the facility. The NRC inspectors will review this 
documentation during the inspection process to verify that the received 
resins meet the equivalent feed criteria such that the licensee's 
processing of the material can be considered consistent with their 
license.
    Following elution of the uranium-loaded equivalent feed (i.e., 
removal of the uranium from the treatment resin), the resulting 
unloaded resin can take two paths. Since the NRC is allowing equivalent 
feed to be processed at uranium recovery facilities, the wastes 
associated with processing equivalent feed (i.e., unloaded resin) are 
considered byproduct material, as defined in Title 10 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations part 40. Therefore, these wastes may be disposed of 
at an NRC-licensed facility without further documentation. Alternately, 
the unloaded resin may be returned to a water treatment facility, a 
mine dewatering facility or a licensed uranium recovery facility for 
reuse.

[[Page 60945]]

Contact

    If you have any questions about this summary, please contact Mr. 
Ted Carter, Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental 
Management Programs, Division of Waste Management and Environmental 
Protection, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555- 
0001, telephone: 301-415-5543 or e-mail: Ted.Carter@nrc.gov.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 22nd day of September 2011.

    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. 2011-25243 Filed 9-29-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P