Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for License Amendment for the United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD, 77118-77121 [2012-31418]

Download as PDF 77118 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select ‘‘ADAMS Public Documents’’ and then select ‘‘Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.’’ For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, 301–415–4737, or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The ADAMS Accession number for the proposed revision of SRP 13.6.4 on ‘‘Access Authorization—Operational Program,’’ is available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML12125A098. • NRC’s PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC’s PDR, Room O1–F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with B. Submitting Comments Please include Docket ID NRC–2012– 0314 in the subject line of your comment submission, in order to ensure that the NRC is able to make your comment submission available to the public in this docket. The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact information in comment submissions that you do not want to be publicly disclosed. The NRC posts all comment submissions at http:// www.regulations.gov as well as enters the comment submissions into ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove identifying or contact information. If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to include identifying or contact information in their comment submissions that they do not want to be publicly disclosed. Your request should state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove such information before making the comment submissions available to the public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS. II Further Information The NRC seeks public comment on a proposed a new section of the SRP Section 13.6.4, ‘‘Access Authorization— Operational Program,’’ (ADAMS Accession No. ML12125A098). This section has been developed to assist NRC staff with the review of applications for certain construction permits, early site permits, licenses, license amendments, and combined licenses and to inform new reactor applicants and other affected entities of proposed SRP guidance regarding an acceptable method by which to evaluate a proposed access authorization program for compliance with 10 CFR Part 26, 10 CFR 73.56 and 73.57. Following NRC staff evaluation of VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 public comments, the NRC intends to incorporate the final approved guidance into the next revision of NUREG–0800. The SRP is guidance for the NRC staff. The SRP is not a substitute for the NRC regulations, and compliance with the SRP is not required. Accordingly, issuance of the SRP does not constitute ‘‘backfitting’’ as defined in 10 CFR 50.109(a)(1) of the Backfit Rule and is not otherwise inconsistent with the applicable issue finality provisions in 10 CFR Part 52. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 21st day of December 2012. Amy E. Cubbage, Chief, Policy Branch, Division of Advanced Reactors and Rulemaking, Office of New Reactor. [FR Doc. 2012–31419 Filed 12–28–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. 030–04530; NRC–2012–0313] Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for License Amendment for the United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Notice of availability. AGENCY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark C. Roberts, Senior Health Physicist, Decommissioning Branch, Division of Nuclear Materials Safety, Region I, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, King of Prussia, PA 19406; telephone: 610–337–5094; fax number: 610–337–5269; email: Mark.Roberts@nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the issuance of a license amendment to NRC License No. 19–00915–03, issued to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA or the licensee), to authorize decommissioning of its Low-Level Radiation Burial Site at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (or the Site) in Beltsville, Maryland, so that the residual radioactivity at the site can be reduced to a level that meets the criteria for release for unrestricted use. The USDA license would not be terminated at the time of release for unrestricted use because the USDA would continue to conduct authorized activities under PO 00000 Frm 00116 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 this license at other locations. The NRC has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) in support of this amendment in accordance with the requirements of Part 51, ‘‘Environmental Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and Related Regulatory Functions,’’ to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), which implements the NRC’s environmental protection program under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA). Based on the EA, the NRC has concluded that a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is appropriate. The amendment approving the Decommissioning Plan would be issued following completion of a Safety Evaluation Report. II. Environmental Assessment Background In 1949, the USDA initiated disposal of low-level radioactive waste from research laboratory operations at the USDA’s Low-Level Radiation Burial Site at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland under agreement with the USDA and the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) (predecessor of the NRC). The authorization for onsite disposal by burial in soil was subsequently established in AEC and NRC regulations (10 CFR 20.304, ‘‘Disposal by Burial in Soil’’). In January 1981, the NRC rescinded the regulations in 10 CFR 20.304 that authorized generic onsite disposals by burial in soil. However, the USDA continued authorized disposal of low-level radioactive wastes at the Site under the regulations in 10 CFR 20.302, ‘‘Method for Obtaining Approval of Proposed Disposal Procedures,’’ with specific prior approval of the NRC. In 1987, the USDA initiated use of a commercial service to have radioactive waste transported and disposed at a licensed disposal facility and terminated radioactive waste disposal at the Site. The low-level radioactive wastes generated by the USDA research laboratories included gloves, paper, liquid scintillation vials, small glass and plastic laboratory containers, metal and fiberboard drums, and decomposed small animal carcasses. The radioactive isotopes used at the USDA facilities and disposed as radioactive waste at the Site were primarily tritium and carbon-14, with significantly lesser quantities of chlorine-36, nickel-63, strontium-90, cesium-137, lead-210, and radium-226. In addition to the radioactive materials disposed as waste, non-radiological chemicals were included in the waste buried at the Site. The burials consisted E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices of 46 separate disposal pits in an area of approximately 0.7 acres. The pits are approximately 10 feet wide by 12 feet long by 10 feet deep and are separated approximately five feet horizontally from one another. The pits are located in gently sloping agricultural land with no wetlands or surface water features. After each pit was filled with waste, it was backfilled to surface grade with at least 5 feet of clean soil. The USDA estimates that as much as 33,000 cubic feet of waste may have been buried at the Site. Activities at the Site since termination of disposals have included monitoring groundwater contamination and performing characterization studies in four of the disposal pits. Measurements of groundwater samples in the immediate vicinity of the Site have identified migration of tritium and carbon-14 into the groundwater, but the current concentrations do not exceed the National Primary Drinking Water regulations of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (derived concentrations from 40 CFR 141.66, ‘‘Maximum Contaminant Levels for Radionuclides’’). In accordance with 10 CFR 30.36, ’’Expiration and Termination of Licenses and Decommissioning of Sites and Separate Buildings or Outdoor Areas,’’ the USDA is required to submit a Decommissioning Plan since principal licensed activities are no longer being performed at the Site. On August 20, 2009, the USDA requested that the NRC approve a Decommissioning Plan for the Site, which when completed, would allow the site to meet the radiological criteria for release for unrestricted use (Agencywide Document Access and Management System (ADAMS) Nos. ML092370149, ML092370159, and ML092370172). The NRC staff conducted reviews of the Decommissioning Plan and, in a September 14, 2010 letter (ADAMS No. ML102600244), requested additional information regarding the selection of input parameter values for the calculation of potential radiation dose from residual activity in the soil. The Revised Final Decommissioning Plan, Low Level Radioactive Burial Site, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland (including the Final Status Survey Plan), dated January 2012 (ADAMS No. ML120600551), and the Addendum Memorandum to the Decommissioning Plan, dated February 2012 (ADAMS No. ML120600526), reflect resolution of NRC staff questions. On July 11, 2012 (77 FR 40917), the NRC issued a Federal Register Notice (FRN), announcing the USDA license VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 amendment request and providing an opportunity for the public to provide comments, request a hearing and petition for leave to intervene. The NRC did not receive any comments, hearing requests or petitions for leave to intervene on the Decommissioning Plan. Proposed Action The proposed action is to amend NRC License No. 19–00915–03 to authorize the decommissioning of the Site so that the residual radioactivity at the Site can be reduced to a level that meets the criteria for release for unrestricted use found in 10 CFR 20.1402, ‘‘Radiological Criteria for Unrestricted Use.’’ Section 20.1402 allow unrestricted use of a site if the maximum Total Effective Dose Equivalent to an average member of the critical group is 25 millirem per year and the residual radioactivity has been reduced to levels that are as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). Because the USDA conducts authorized activities under this license at numerous other locations, the USDA is not requesting license termination. The USDA desires to remove the buried waste and thus eliminate the source of radioactive contamination. The planned remediation actions for the Site should also be effective in addressing the non-radiological contaminants. The USDA explains that regulatory authority regarding the acceptability of any residual quantities of the non-radiological contaminants in soil (and potentially groundwater) lies with the USEPA under the authority of their ongoing evaluation of the Site under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. The USDA proposes to exhume the waste from the burial pits and transport the waste and contaminated soil to authorized treatment or disposal facilities. Following completion of the removal and transportation activities, the USDA will conduct a final status survey of the remediated area. The area to be released under this decommissioning effort will be surveyed in accordance with the guidance contained in the ‘‘MultiAgency Radiation Survey and Site Investigation Manual (MARSSIM),’’ NUREG–1575, Rev. 1 (ADAMS No. ML082470583). The final approval that the Site meets the radiological criteria for release for unrestricted use would be contingent upon the NRC staff’s approval of the licensee’s final status survey report. Need for the Proposed Action The current USDA license does not authorize decommissioning activities to PO 00000 Frm 00117 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77119 be conducted. The NRC regulations in 10 CFR 30.36 (g)(1), in part, require a Decommissioning Plan to be submitted if the procedures and activities necessary to carry out decommissioning have not been approved by the Commission and these procedures could increase potential health and safety impacts to workers or the public. Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action The NRC staff has reviewed the Decommissioning Plan for the USDA’s Low-Level Radiation Burial Site and examined the impacts of decommissioning. Based on its review, the staff has determined that the affected environment and the environmental impacts associated with this decommissioning action (including waste transportation impacts) are bounded by information contained in the ‘‘Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) in Support of Rulemaking on Radiological Criteria for License Termination of NRC-Licensed Nuclear Facilities,’’ NUREG–1496, Vols. 1, 2 and 3 (ADAMS Nos. ML042310492, ML042320379, and ML042330385). The NRC staff determined that the contaminants, the potential dose scenarios or pathways, the physical size of the site, and the volumes of waste expected to be generated at USDA site are not sufficiently different from those in the GEIS reference facilities to change conclusions regarding environmental impacts. No additional non-radiological impacts were identified. A beneficial environmental impact of the proposed action is that there will no longer be migration of radioactive contamination to soil or groundwater because the source of the contamination will be removed. In the Decommissioning Plan, the USDA indicates that they will implement controls and perform radiological sampling and analysis to limit the potential release of radioactive material. Contamination controls, such as the use of containment structures, covers for loaded containers, or water sprays for dust control, will be implemented during decommissioning activities to prevent airborne contamination from escaping the remediation work areas; therefore, no significant release of airborne contamination is anticipated. Air sampling and analysis will be conducted to ensure regulatory criteria are met for air effluents. No liquid effluents are expected to be generated during decommissioning. Controls, such as silt fences and water diversion berms will be put in place to control water inflow or runoff due to precipitation. E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 77120 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with Radioactive waste will be placed in suitable transport containers that will be covered to prevent access and staged within the fenced property pending shipment to a licensed radioactive waste treatment or disposal facility. The USDA intends to use an NRClicensed decommissioning contractor to perform remediation activities at the Site. The contractor will perform these activities under the authority of its NRC license. The USDA will oversee the activities and will maintain primary responsibility for the decommissioning project. The USDA indicates that the contractor will have developed adequate radiation protection procedures and capabilities and will implement an acceptable program to keep exposure to workers and the public from radioactive materials to levels that are ALARA. As noted, the USDA has prepared a Decommissioning Plan describing the work to be performed, and, as explained by the licensee, work activities are not anticipated to result in a dose to workers or the public in excess of the limits in 10 CFR Part 20, ‘‘Standards for Protection Against Radiation.’’ The NRC’s past experience with decommissioning activities at sites similar to the USDA site indicates that public and worker exposure will be far below the limits in 10 CFR Part 20. The NRC staff will perform inspections at the site to confirm compliance with applicable regulations. The NRC staff has also extensively reviewed and requested revisions to the USDA’s dose analysis from residual contamination that may remain following decommissioning. Based on its review, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed Derived Concentration Guideline Levels developed for this project meet the relevant NRC requirements in 10 CFR 20.1402, ‘‘Radiological Criteria for Unrestricted Use.’’ Using the guidance in NUREG– 1757, Vol.1, Rev. 2, ‘‘Consolidated Decommissioning Guidance, Decommissioning Process for Materials Licensees’’ (ADAMS No. ML063000243), the staff documented their review of the health and safety and environmental aspects of the Decommissioning Plan, including the evaluation of the proposed Derived Concentration Guideline Levels, in a Safety Evaluation Report (ADAMS No. ML12314A076). Alternatives to the Proposed Action The alternative the NRC staff considered is the no-action alternative, under which the staff would deny the amendment request to initiate remediation activities at the Site. This approach is not acceptable because the VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 burial pits contain residual radioactive material exceeding NRC’s criteria for release for unrestricted use and the no action alternative is inconsistent with the requirements in 10 CFR 30.36,’’Expiration and Termination of Licenses and Decommissioning of Sites and Separate Buildings or Outdoor Areas,’’ for the decommissioning of sites where principal licensed activities are no longer being performed. the area to be remediated was under ‘‘Exclusive Federal Jurisdiction.’’ The NRC forwarded information provided by the USDA (ADAMS Nos. ML12325A201 and ML12325A228) to the MDE that confirmed that the area to be remediated was under ‘‘Exclusive Federal Jurisdiction.’’ On November 8, 2012, an MDE representative responded that the MDE had no additional comments on the EA (ADAMS No. ML12325A256). Agencies and Persons Contacted In accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, NRC staff provided a location map and a description of the decommissioning project to the Maryland Historical Trust requesting information on historic properties in the vicinity of the proposed decommissioning project. (The Trust serves as Maryland’s State Historic Preservation Office pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act). The Maryland Historical Trust provided a response identifying one nearby property and indicating there would be ‘‘No Adverse Effect’’ to this property as a result of the decommissioning project (ADAMS No. ML12237A250). Therefore, the NRC staff has determined that the proposed action would have no adverse effects on historic properties. In accordance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, the NRC staff contacted relevant wildlife agencies for information on rare, threatened or endangered species that could be present in the vicinity of the Site. The United States Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Wildlife and Heritage Service of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources provided responses indicating that there is no State or Federal records for rare, threatened or endangered species within the delineated boundaries of the project site (ADAMS Nos. ML12237A229 and ML12275A103, respectively). Therefore, the NRC staff has determined that the proposed action would not affect listed species or critical habitat. In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the USEPA and the NRC on ‘‘Consultation and Finality on Decommissioning and Decontamination of Contaminated Sites,’’ on March 22, 2012, the NRC provided a consultation letter to the USEPA regarding the planned level of residual radioactive soil concentrations in the proposed plan (ADAMS No. ML120760350). On October 23, 2012, the NRC staff provided a draft of the EA to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) for comment. MDE requested information confirming that III. Finding of No Significant Impact PO 00000 Frm 00118 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The NRC staff has prepared an EA in support of the proposed license amendment for decommissioning the USDA’s Low-Level Radiation Burial Site at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland to reduce residual radioactivity to levels consistent with the release for unrestricted use. The staff has found that the radiological environmental impacts from the proposed amendment are bounded by the impacts evaluated by the ‘‘Generic Environmental Impact Statement in Support of Rulemaking on Radiological Criteria for License termination of NRC-Licensed Facilities’’ (NUREG–1496) and that the relevant NRC requirements in 10 CFR 20.1402, ‘‘Radiological Criteria for Unrestricted Use,’’ will be met. The staff has also found that the non-radiological impacts are not significant. On the basis of the EA, NRC has concluded that there are no significant environmental impacts from the proposed amendment and has determined not to prepare an environmental impact statement. IV. Further Information Documents related to this action, including the application for 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, which provides text and image files of 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 Public Document Room (PDR) Reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, 301– 415–4737 or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. These documents may also be viewed electronically on the public computers located at the NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR), O 1 F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The PDR reproduction contractor will copy documents for a fee. E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM 31DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 250 / Monday, December 31, 2012 / Notices Dated at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania this 19th day of December 2012. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Marc S. Ferdas, Chief, Decommissioning Branch, Division of Nuclear Materials Safety, Region I. [FR Doc. 2012–31418 Filed 12–28–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Hispanic Council on Federal Employment Office of Personnel Management. ACTION: Renewal of advisory committee. AGENCY: The U.S. Office of Personnel Management announces the renewal of the Hispanic Council on Federal Employment (Council). The Commission shall advise the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) on the implementation of leading employment practices in an effort to remove any unnecessary barriers to the recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement of Hispanics in the Federal workplace. The Council is an advisory committee composed of Federal employees and Hispanic organizations. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Veronica E. Villalobos, Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, U.S. Office of Personnel Management, 1900 E St. NW., Suite 5H35, Washington, DC 20415. Phone (202) 606–0020 Fax (202) 606– 6042 or email at diversityandinclusion@opm.gov. SUMMARY: The charter for the Hispanic Council on Federal Employment publishes as follows: 1. Committee’s Official Designation (Title). The Hispanic Council on Federal Employment. 2. Authority. This charter establishes the Hispanic Council on Federal Employment in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. App. The Commission is in the public interest and supports the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in performing its duties and responsibilities under 5 CFR part 950. 3. Objectives and Scope of Activities. The purpose of the Commission is to advise the Director of OPM on the implementation of leading employment practices in an effort to remove any unnecessary barriers to the recruitment, hiring, retention and advancement of Hispanics in the Federal workplace. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Mar<15>2010 21:28 Dec 28, 2012 Jkt 229001 4. Description of Duties. The Council shall provide recommendations to the Director of OPM on the implementation of initiatives involving the recruitment, hiring, and advancement of Hispanics in the Federal workforce. Its activities shall include, to the extent permitted by the law: a. Reviewing leading practices in strategic human resources management planning; b. Providing advice on ways to increase outreach to Hispanic communities, with a focus on Veterans, students, and people with disabilities; c. Recommending any further actions, as appropriate, to address the underrepresentation of Hispanics in the Federal workforce where it occurs; d. Recommending any further actions, as appropriate, to promote successful retention and advancement efforts including training of department and agency personnel; e. Implementing recommendations for innovative ways to improve the dissemination of information about Federal employment to the Hispanic communities; and f. Recommending any further actions, as appropriate, to address the underrepresentation of Hispanics in the Federal workforce where it occurs. 5. Agency Official to Whom the Commission Reports. The Commission will report recommendations to the OPM Director. 6. Support. OPM is responsible for providing administrative services and support to the Commission. 7. Estimated Annual Operating Costs and Staff Years. The estimated annual operating expenses of the Council are $12,000.00 (.25 FTE). These expenses include funds to cover actual staff time (including benefits) devoted to preparation for meetings and technical discussions at meetings, expenses for preparing and printing discussion materials and administrative costs for filing the charter, preparing Federal Register notices, preparing minutes of the meetings, etc. 8. Designated Federal Officer (DFO). The Director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, at OPM shall be appointed as the DFO of the Council. The DFO will approve or call all Council and subcommittee meetings, prepare and approve all meeting agendas, attend all Council and subcommittee meetings, adjourn any meeting when they determine adjournment to be in the public interest, and chair meetings when directed to do so by the official to whom the Council reports. 9. Estimated Number of Frequency of Meetings. The frequency of meetings PO 00000 Frm 00119 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 77121 will be determined by the Co-Chair of the Council with the approval of the DFO, and the committee is expected to convene once every two months. 10. Duration. It is expected that the Commission will conclude its work in approximately one year. 11. Termination. December 31, 2013. 12. Membership and Designation. The Council will include a total of approximately 22 Federal workers and non-government individuals, including Regular Government Employees and Representative Members. The Council members will represent various perspectives from Hispanic that have experience in working on Federal employee, Hispanic student, Veterans, persons with disabilities and/or employment issues affecting Hispanic communities, while other Council members will provide technical expertise regarding strategic human resources management planning and the merit systems principles. The Director of OPM may also designate other members of the Council. Such additional members may include, but are not limited to: (1) The Chief Human Capital Officers of other Executive agencies; and (2) Members who are designated on an ex officio basis and who may be invited to contribute to projects, as particular skills and expertise are needed. 13. Subcommittees. The Co-Chairs of the Council, with the Agency’s approval, are responsible for directing the work of the Council, including the creation of subcommittees necessary to carry out the Council’s mandate. All subcommittees will report to the Council and will not provide advice directly to the Agency. 14. Recordkeeping. The records of the Council, as well as any formally and informally established subcommittees, shall be maintained in accordance with General Records Schedule 26, Item 2 or other appropriate agency records disposition schedule. These records shall be available for public inspection and copying, subject to applicable exemptions of the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552. U.S. Office of Personnel Management. John Berry, Director. [FR Doc. 2012–31337 Filed 12–28–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6325–46–P POSTAL SERVICE Product Change—Priority Mail Negotiated Service Agreement AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\31DEN1.SGM Postal ServiceTM. 31DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 250 (Monday, December 31, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 77118-77121]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-31418]


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

NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 030-04530; NRC-2012-0313]


Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment and Finding of 
No Significant Impact for License Amendment for the United States 
Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark C. Roberts, Senior Health 
Physicist, Decommissioning Branch, Division of Nuclear Materials 
Safety, Region I, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, King of Prussia, 
PA 19406; telephone: 610-337-5094; fax number: 610-337-5269; email: 
Mark.Roberts@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Introduction

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the 
issuance of a license amendment to NRC License No. 19-00915-03, issued 
to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA or the licensee), 
to authorize decommissioning of its Low-Level Radiation Burial Site at 
the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (or the Site) in 
Beltsville, Maryland, so that the residual radioactivity at the site 
can be reduced to a level that meets the criteria for release for 
unrestricted use. The USDA license would not be terminated at the time 
of release for unrestricted use because the USDA would continue to 
conduct authorized activities under this license at other locations. 
The NRC has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) in support of 
this amendment in accordance with the requirements of Part 51, 
``Environmental Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and 
Related Regulatory Functions,'' to Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR), which implements the NRC's environmental 
protection program under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, 
as amended (NEPA). Based on the EA, the NRC has concluded that a 
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is appropriate. The amendment 
approving the Decommissioning Plan would be issued following completion 
of a Safety Evaluation Report.

II. Environmental Assessment

Background

    In 1949, the USDA initiated disposal of low-level radioactive waste 
from research laboratory operations at the USDA's Low-Level Radiation 
Burial Site at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in 
Beltsville, Maryland under agreement with the USDA and the U.S. Atomic 
Energy Commission (AEC) (predecessor of the NRC). The authorization for 
onsite disposal by burial in soil was subsequently established in AEC 
and NRC regulations (10 CFR 20.304, ``Disposal by Burial in Soil''). In 
January 1981, the NRC rescinded the regulations in 10 CFR 20.304 that 
authorized generic onsite disposals by burial in soil. However, the 
USDA continued authorized disposal of low-level radioactive wastes at 
the Site under the regulations in 10 CFR 20.302, ``Method for Obtaining 
Approval of Proposed Disposal Procedures,'' with specific prior 
approval of the NRC. In 1987, the USDA initiated use of a commercial 
service to have radioactive waste transported and disposed at a 
licensed disposal facility and terminated radioactive waste disposal at 
the Site.
    The low-level radioactive wastes generated by the USDA research 
laboratories included gloves, paper, liquid scintillation vials, small 
glass and plastic laboratory containers, metal and fiberboard drums, 
and decomposed small animal carcasses. The radioactive isotopes used at 
the USDA facilities and disposed as radioactive waste at the Site were 
primarily tritium and carbon-14, with significantly lesser quantities 
of chlorine-36, nickel-63, strontium-90, cesium-137, lead-210, and 
radium-226. In addition to the radioactive materials disposed as waste, 
non-radiological chemicals were included in the waste buried at the 
Site. The burials consisted

[[Page 77119]]

of 46 separate disposal pits in an area of approximately 0.7 acres. The 
pits are approximately 10 feet wide by 12 feet long by 10 feet deep and 
are separated approximately five feet horizontally from one another. 
The pits are located in gently sloping agricultural land with no 
wetlands or surface water features. After each pit was filled with 
waste, it was backfilled to surface grade with at least 5 feet of clean 
soil. The USDA estimates that as much as 33,000 cubic feet of waste may 
have been buried at the Site. Activities at the Site since termination 
of disposals have included monitoring groundwater contamination and 
performing characterization studies in four of the disposal pits. 
Measurements of groundwater samples in the immediate vicinity of the 
Site have identified migration of tritium and carbon-14 into the 
groundwater, but the current concentrations do not exceed the National 
Primary Drinking Water regulations of the United States Environmental 
Protection Agency (USEPA) (derived concentrations from 40 CFR 141.66, 
``Maximum Contaminant Levels for Radionuclides'').
    In accordance with 10 CFR 30.36, ''Expiration and Termination of 
Licenses and Decommissioning of Sites and Separate Buildings or Outdoor 
Areas,'' the USDA is required to submit a Decommissioning Plan since 
principal licensed activities are no longer being performed at the 
Site. On August 20, 2009, the USDA requested that the NRC approve a 
Decommissioning Plan for the Site, which when completed, would allow 
the site to meet the radiological criteria for release for unrestricted 
use (Agencywide Document Access and Management System (ADAMS) Nos. 
ML092370149, ML092370159, and ML092370172). The NRC staff conducted 
reviews of the Decommissioning Plan and, in a September 14, 2010 letter 
(ADAMS No. ML102600244), requested additional information regarding the 
selection of input parameter values for the calculation of potential 
radiation dose from residual activity in the soil. The Revised Final 
Decommissioning Plan, Low Level Radioactive Burial Site, Beltsville 
Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, Maryland (including the Final 
Status Survey Plan), dated January 2012 (ADAMS No. ML120600551), and 
the Addendum Memorandum to the Decommissioning Plan, dated February 
2012 (ADAMS No. ML120600526), reflect resolution of NRC staff 
questions. On July 11, 2012 (77 FR 40917), the NRC issued a Federal 
Register Notice (FRN), announcing the USDA license amendment request 
and providing an opportunity for the public to provide comments, 
request a hearing and petition for leave to intervene. The NRC did not 
receive any comments, hearing requests or petitions for leave to 
intervene on the Decommissioning Plan.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action is to amend NRC License No. 19-00915-03 to 
authorize the decommissioning of the Site so that the residual 
radioactivity at the Site can be reduced to a level that meets the 
criteria for release for unrestricted use found in 10 CFR 20.1402, 
``Radiological Criteria for Unrestricted Use.'' Section 20.1402 allow 
unrestricted use of a site if the maximum Total Effective Dose 
Equivalent to an average member of the critical group is 25 millirem 
per year and the residual radioactivity has been reduced to levels that 
are as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). Because the USDA conducts 
authorized activities under this license at numerous other locations, 
the USDA is not requesting license termination.
    The USDA desires to remove the buried waste and thus eliminate the 
source of radioactive contamination. The planned remediation actions 
for the Site should also be effective in addressing the non-
radiological contaminants. The USDA explains that regulatory authority 
regarding the acceptability of any residual quantities of the non-
radiological contaminants in soil (and potentially groundwater) lies 
with the USEPA under the authority of their ongoing evaluation of the 
Site under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and 
Liability Act.
    The USDA proposes to exhume the waste from the burial pits and 
transport the waste and contaminated soil to authorized treatment or 
disposal facilities. Following completion of the removal and 
transportation activities, the USDA will conduct a final status survey 
of the remediated area. The area to be released under this 
decommissioning effort will be surveyed in accordance with the guidance 
contained in the ``Multi-Agency Radiation Survey and Site Investigation 
Manual (MARSSIM),'' NUREG-1575, Rev. 1 (ADAMS No. ML082470583). The 
final approval that the Site meets the radiological criteria for 
release for unrestricted use would be contingent upon the NRC staff's 
approval of the licensee's final status survey report.

Need for the Proposed Action

    The current USDA license does not authorize decommissioning 
activities to be conducted. The NRC regulations in 10 CFR 30.36 (g)(1), 
in part, require a Decommissioning Plan to be submitted if the 
procedures and activities necessary to carry out decommissioning have 
not been approved by the Commission and these procedures could increase 
potential health and safety impacts to workers or the public.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC staff has reviewed the Decommissioning Plan for the USDA's 
Low-Level Radiation Burial Site and examined the impacts of 
decommissioning. Based on its review, the staff has determined that the 
affected environment and the environmental impacts associated with this 
decommissioning action (including waste transportation impacts) are 
bounded by information contained in the ``Generic Environmental Impact 
Statement (GEIS) in Support of Rulemaking on Radiological Criteria for 
License Termination of NRC-Licensed Nuclear Facilities,'' NUREG-1496, 
Vols. 1, 2 and 3 (ADAMS Nos. ML042310492, ML042320379, and 
ML042330385). The NRC staff determined that the contaminants, the 
potential dose scenarios or pathways, the physical size of the site, 
and the volumes of waste expected to be generated at USDA site are not 
sufficiently different from those in the GEIS reference facilities to 
change conclusions regarding environmental impacts. No additional non-
radiological impacts were identified. A beneficial environmental impact 
of the proposed action is that there will no longer be migration of 
radioactive contamination to soil or groundwater because the source of 
the contamination will be removed.
    In the Decommissioning Plan, the USDA indicates that they will 
implement controls and perform radiological sampling and analysis to 
limit the potential release of radioactive material. Contamination 
controls, such as the use of containment structures, covers for loaded 
containers, or water sprays for dust control, will be implemented 
during decommissioning activities to prevent airborne contamination 
from escaping the remediation work areas; therefore, no significant 
release of airborne contamination is anticipated. Air sampling and 
analysis will be conducted to ensure regulatory criteria are met for 
air effluents. No liquid effluents are expected to be generated during 
decommissioning. Controls, such as silt fences and water diversion 
berms will be put in place to control water inflow or runoff due to 
precipitation.

[[Page 77120]]

Radioactive waste will be placed in suitable transport containers that 
will be covered to prevent access and staged within the fenced property 
pending shipment to a licensed radioactive waste treatment or disposal 
facility.
    The USDA intends to use an NRC-licensed decommissioning contractor 
to perform remediation activities at the Site. The contractor will 
perform these activities under the authority of its NRC license. The 
USDA will oversee the activities and will maintain primary 
responsibility for the decommissioning project. The USDA indicates that 
the contractor will have developed adequate radiation protection 
procedures and capabilities and will implement an acceptable program to 
keep exposure to workers and the public from radioactive materials to 
levels that are ALARA. As noted, the USDA has prepared a 
Decommissioning Plan describing the work to be performed, and, as 
explained by the licensee, work activities are not anticipated to 
result in a dose to workers or the public in excess of the limits in 10 
CFR Part 20, ``Standards for Protection Against Radiation.'' The NRC's 
past experience with decommissioning activities at sites similar to the 
USDA site indicates that public and worker exposure will be far below 
the limits in 10 CFR Part 20. The NRC staff will perform inspections at 
the site to confirm compliance with applicable regulations.
    The NRC staff has also extensively reviewed and requested revisions 
to the USDA's dose analysis from residual contamination that may remain 
following decommissioning. Based on its review, the NRC staff concludes 
that the proposed Derived Concentration Guideline Levels developed for 
this project meet the relevant NRC requirements in 10 CFR 20.1402, 
``Radiological Criteria for Unrestricted Use.'' Using the guidance in 
NUREG-1757, Vol.1, Rev. 2, ``Consolidated Decommissioning Guidance, 
Decommissioning Process for Materials Licensees'' (ADAMS No. 
ML063000243), the staff documented their review of the health and 
safety and environmental aspects of the Decommissioning Plan, including 
the evaluation of the proposed Derived Concentration Guideline Levels, 
in a Safety Evaluation Report (ADAMS No. ML12314A076).

Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    The alternative the NRC staff considered is the no-action 
alternative, under which the staff would deny the amendment request to 
initiate remediation activities at the Site. This approach is not 
acceptable because the burial pits contain residual radioactive 
material exceeding NRC's criteria for release for unrestricted use and 
the no action alternative is inconsistent with the requirements in 10 
CFR 30.36,''Expiration and Termination of Licenses and Decommissioning 
of Sites and Separate Buildings or Outdoor Areas,'' for the 
decommissioning of sites where principal licensed activities are no 
longer being performed.

Agencies and Persons Contacted

    In accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act, NRC staff provided a location map and a description 
of the decommissioning project to the Maryland Historical Trust 
requesting information on historic properties in the vicinity of the 
proposed decommissioning project. (The Trust serves as Maryland's State 
Historic Preservation Office pursuant to the National Historic 
Preservation Act). The Maryland Historical Trust provided a response 
identifying one nearby property and indicating there would be ``No 
Adverse Effect'' to this property as a result of the decommissioning 
project (ADAMS No. ML12237A250). Therefore, the NRC staff has 
determined that the proposed action would have no adverse effects on 
historic properties.
    In accordance with Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, the NRC 
staff contacted relevant wildlife agencies for information on rare, 
threatened or endangered species that could be present in the vicinity 
of the Site. The United States Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish & 
Wildlife Service and the Wildlife and Heritage Service of the Maryland 
Department of Natural Resources provided responses indicating that 
there is no State or Federal records for rare, threatened or endangered 
species within the delineated boundaries of the project site (ADAMS 
Nos. ML12237A229 and ML12275A103, respectively). Therefore, the NRC 
staff has determined that the proposed action would not affect listed 
species or critical habitat.
    In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the 
USEPA and the NRC on ``Consultation and Finality on Decommissioning and 
Decontamination of Contaminated Sites,'' on March 22, 2012, the NRC 
provided a consultation letter to the USEPA regarding the planned level 
of residual radioactive soil concentrations in the proposed plan (ADAMS 
No. ML120760350).
    On October 23, 2012, the NRC staff provided a draft of the EA to 
the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) for comment. MDE 
requested information confirming that the area to be remediated was 
under ``Exclusive Federal Jurisdiction.'' The NRC forwarded information 
provided by the USDA (ADAMS Nos. ML12325A201 and ML12325A228) to the 
MDE that confirmed that the area to be remediated was under ``Exclusive 
Federal Jurisdiction.'' On November 8, 2012, an MDE representative 
responded that the MDE had no additional comments on the EA (ADAMS No. 
ML12325A256).

III. Finding of No Significant Impact

    The NRC staff has prepared an EA in support of the proposed license 
amendment for decommissioning the USDA's Low-Level Radiation Burial 
Site at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, 
Maryland to reduce residual radioactivity to levels consistent with the 
release for unrestricted use. The staff has found that the radiological 
environmental impacts from the proposed amendment are bounded by the 
impacts evaluated by the ``Generic Environmental Impact Statement in 
Support of Rulemaking on Radiological Criteria for License termination 
of NRC-Licensed Facilities'' (NUREG-1496) and that the relevant NRC 
requirements in 10 CFR 20.1402, ``Radiological Criteria for 
Unrestricted Use,'' will be met. The staff has also found that the non-
radiological impacts are not significant. On the basis of the EA, NRC 
has concluded that there are no significant environmental impacts from 
the proposed amendment and has determined not to prepare an 
environmental impact statement.

IV. Further Information

    Documents related to this action, including the application for 
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, which provides text and image 
files of 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 Public Document Room (PDR) Reference staff at 1-800-
397-4209, 301-415-4737 or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov.
    These documents may also be viewed electronically on the public 
computers located at the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR), O 1 F21, One 
White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The PDR 
reproduction contractor will copy documents for a fee.


[[Page 77121]]


    Dated at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania this 19th day of December 
2012.
    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Marc S. Ferdas,
Chief, Decommissioning Branch, Division of Nuclear Materials Safety, 
Region I.
[FR Doc. 2012-31418 Filed 12-28-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P