Excess Uranium Management: Secretarial Determination of No Adverse Impact on the Domestic Uranium Mining, Conversion, and Enrichment Industries, 65727-65730 [2015-27303]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 207 / Tuesday, October 27, 2015 / Notices provide in the on-line registration form will be used to forward instructions on how to join the meeting using WebEx. WebEx requires a computer, web browser and an installed application (free). Instructions for joining the webcast will be sent to you two days in advance of the meeting. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Dr. Robert J. Wright, U.S. Department of Energy, 4G–036/Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585–0001; Telephone: 202–586–0429. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose of the Council: The National Coal Council provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Energy, on general policy matters relating to coal and the coal industry. Purpose of Meeting: The National Coal Council (the Council) will hold a virtual meeting via WebEx beginning at 11:00 a.m. (EST) on Thursday, November 12, 2015, for acceptance and discussion of the white paper, ‘‘Leveling the Playing Field for Low Carbon Coal’’, from the National Coal Council Coal Policy Committee. After deliberation, the white paper will be forwarded to the Secretary of Energy. A draft of the white paper will be available five days before the WebEx (November 5, 2015) on the National Coal Council Web site at the following URL: http:// www.nationalcoalcouncil.org/studies/ 2015/Leveling-the-Playing-Field-forLow-Carbon-Coal-Fall-2015.pdf. Tentative Agenda tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 1. Call to Order 2. Report of the Coal Policy Committee on the White Paper 3. Motion on the Fate of the White Paper 4. Adjourn Public Participation: The virtual meeting is open to the public. If you would like to file a written statement with the Council, you may do so either before or within 5 days after the meeting. Minutes: A link to the audio/video recording of the meeting will be posted within 10-days on the NCC Web site at: http://www.nationalcoalcouncil.org/. Issued at Washington, DC, on October 21, 2015. LaTanya R. Butler, Deputy Committee Management Officer. [FR Doc. 2015–27299 Filed 10–26–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Oct 26, 2015 Jkt 238001 Environmental Management SiteSpecific Advisory Board, Northern New Mexico Department of Energy. Notice of open meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: This notice announces a meeting of the Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board (EM SSAB), Northern New Mexico. The Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92–463, 86 Stat. 770) requires that public notice of this meeting be announced in the Federal Register. Wednesday, November 18, 2015; 1:00 p.m.–5:15 p.m. ADDRESSES: New Mexico Highlands University Campus; 800 National Avenue; Las Vegas, New Mexico 87701. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Menice Santistevan, Northern New Mexico Citizens’ Advisory Board (NNMCAB), 94 Cities of Gold Road, Santa Fe, NM 87506. Phone (505) 995– 0393; Fax (505) 989–1752 or Email: Menice.Santistevan@em.doe.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose of the Board: The purpose of the Board is to make recommendations to DOE–EM and site management in the areas of environmental restoration, waste management, and related activities. Tentative Agenda • Call to Order • Welcome and Introductions • Approval of Agenda and Meeting Minutes of September 30, 2015 • Old Business • New Business • DOE Updates and Presentations • Update from NNMCAB Liaisons • Public Comment Period • Wrap-Up Comments from NNMCAB Members • Adjourn Public Participation: The EM SSAB, Northern New Mexico, welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with physical disabilities or special needs. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Menice Santistevan at least seven days in advance of the meeting at the telephone number listed above. Written statements may be filed with the Board either before or after the meeting. Individuals who wish to make oral statements pertaining to agenda items should contact Menice Santistevan at the address or telephone number listed above. Requests must be DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 65727 received five days prior to the meeting and reasonable provision will be made to include the presentation in the agenda. The Deputy Designated Federal Officer is empowered to conduct the meeting in a fashion that will facilitate the orderly conduct of business. Individuals wishing to make public comments will be provided a maximum of five minutes to present their comments. Minutes: Minutes will be available by writing or calling Menice Santistevan at the address or phone number listed above. Minutes and other Board documents are on the Internet at: http://www.nnmcab.energy.gov/. Issued at Washington, DC, on October 21, 2015. LaTanya R. Butler, Deputy Committee Management Officer. [FR Doc. 2015–27298 Filed 10–26–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY National Nuclear Security Administration Excess Uranium Management: Secretarial Determination of No Adverse Impact on the Domestic Uranium Mining, Conversion, and Enrichment Industries National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: On August 2, 2015, the Secretary of Energy issued a determination (‘‘Secretarial Determination’’) covering the sale or transfer of high-assay low enriched uranium for medical isotope development projects. The Secretarial Determination covers transfers of up to 25 kilograms uranium (kgU) per year of low enriched uranium (LEU) at up to 19.75 percent uranium-235 for transfers in the two years following approval of the determination to support molybdenum-99 producers in commercial research and isotope production applications. For the reasons set forth in the Department’s ‘‘Analysis of Potential Impacts of Uranium Transfers on the Domestic Uranium Mining, Conversion, and Enrichment Industries,’’ which is incorporated into the determination, the Secretary determined that these transfers will not have an adverse material impact on the domestic uranium mining, conversion, or enrichment industry. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Randy Howell, NNSA Mo-99 Domestic Project Support, U.S. Department of SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\27OCN1.SGM 27OCN1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 65728 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 207 / Tuesday, October 27, 2015 / Notices Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, telephone 202–586–8834, or email randy.howell@ nnsa.doe.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Department of Energy (DOE) holds inventories of uranium in various forms and quantities—including low-enriched uranium (LEU) and natural uranium— that have been declared as excess and are not dedicated to U.S. national security missions. Within DOE, the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), the Office of Environmental Management (EM), and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) coordinate the management of these excess uranium inventories. NNSA down-blends excess highly-enriched uranium to high-assay low-enriched uranium—above the commercial level of 5 wt-% and up to about 19.75 wt-% of the isotope U-235— in support of its nonproliferation objectives and missions. Common applications of such high-assay materials are as fuels for domestic and foreign research reactors and as target materials for the production of medical isotopes. This notice involves high-assay LEU transfers of this type to support molybdenum-99 producers in either and/or both of the above applications. These transfers fulfill a directive in the American Medical Isotope Production Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112–239, Division C, Title XXXI, Subtitle F, 42 U.S.C. 2065) for the Department to carry out a program of assistance for the development of fuels, targets, and processes for domestic molybdenum-99 production that do not use highly enriched uranium. These transfers also support U.S. nuclear nonproliferation initiatives, by providing a path for down-blended highly enriched uranium (HEU) and encouraging the use of LEU in civil applications in lieu of HEU. These transfers are conducted in accordance with the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq., ‘‘AEA’’) and other applicable law. Specifically, Title I, Chapters 6, 14, of the AEA authorize DOE to transfer special nuclear material; LEU is a type of special nuclear material. The USEC Privatization Act (Pub. L. 104–134, 42 U.S.C. 2297h et seq.) places certain limitations on DOE’s authority to transfer uranium from its excess uranium inventory. Specifically, under section 3112(d)(2)(B) of the USEC Privatization Act (42 U.S.C. 2297h– 10(d)(2)(B)), the Secretary must determine that the transfers ‘‘will not have an adverse material impact on the domestic uranium mining, conversion or enrichment industry, taking into VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Oct 26, 2015 Jkt 238001 account the sales of uranium under the Russian Highly Enriched Uranium Agreement and the Suspension Agreement’’ before DOE makes certain transfers of natural or low-enriched uranium under the AEA. On August 2, 2015, the Secretary of Energy issued a determination (‘‘Secretarial Determination’’) covering the sale or transfer of high-assay low enriched uranium for medical isotope development projects. The Secretarial Determination covers transfers of up to 25 kilograms per year of LEU at up to 19.75 percent uranium-235 for transfers in the two years following approval of the determination to support molybdenum-99 producers in commercial research and isotope production applications. The Secretary based his conclusion on the Department’s ‘‘Analysis of Potential Impacts of Uranium Transfers on the Domestic Uranium Mining, Conversion, and Enrichment Industries,’’ which is incorporated into the determination. The Secretary considered, inter alia, the requirements of the USEC Privatization Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 2297h et seq.), the nature of uranium markets, and the current status of the domestic uranium industries, as well as sales of uranium under the Russian HEU Agreement and the Suspension Agreement. Issued in Washington, DC. Anne M. Harrington, Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, National Nuclear Security Administration. Set forth below is the full text of the Secretarial Determination. SECRETARIAL DETERMINATION FOR THE SALE OR TRANSFER OF URANIUM I determine that the transfer of up to the equivalent of 25 kgU of 19.75%assay low enriched uranium per calendar year to support the development and demonstration of molybdenum-99 production capabilities will not have an adverse material impact on the domestic mining, conversion, or enrichment industry. I base my conclusions on the Department’s ‘‘Analysis of Potential Impacts of Uranium Transfers on the Domestic Uranium Mining, Conversion, and Enrichment Industries,’’ which is incorporated herein. As explained in that document, I have considered, inter alia, the requirements of the USEC Privatization Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 2297h et seq.), the nature of uranium markets, and the current status of the domestic uranium industries. I have also taken into account the sales of uranium under the Russian HEU PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Agreement and the Suspension Agreement. Date: August 2, 2015. Ernest J. Moniz, Secretary of Energy Analysis of Potential Impacts of Uranium Transfers on the Domestic Uranium Mining, Conversion, and Enrichment Industries I. Introduction A. Legal Authority DOE manages its excess uranium inventory in accordance with the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq., ‘‘AEA’’) and related statutes. Specifically, Title I, Chapters 6–7, 14, of the AEA authorize DOE to transfer special nuclear material and source material. LEU and natural uranium are types of special nuclear material and source material, respectively. The USEC Privatization Act (Pub. L. 104–134, 42 U.S.C. 2297h et seq.) places certain limitations on DOE’s authority to transfer uranium from its excess uranium inventory. Specifically, under section 3112(d) of the USEC Privatization Act (42 U.S.C. 2297h– 10(d)), DOE may make certain transfers of natural or low-enriched uranium if the Secretary determines that the transfers ‘‘will not have an adverse material impact on the domestic uranium mining, conversion or enrichment industry, taking into account the sales of uranium under the Russian Highly Enriched Uranium Agreement and the Suspension Agreement.’’ (42 U.S.C. 2297h– 10(d)(2)(B)). The validity of any determination under this section is limited to no more than two calendar years subsequent to the determination (see Section 306(a) of Division D, Title III of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Pub. L. 113–235)). B. Transfers Considered in This Determination The American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112– 239, Division C, Title XXXI, Subtitle F, 42 U.S.C. 2065) directs the Department to carry out a program to provide assistance for the development of fuels, targets, and processes for domestic molybdenum-99 production that do not use highly enriched uranium (HEU). The transfer of small quantities of highassay low enriched uranium (LEU) (LEU enriched above 5 wt-%, but below 20 wt-% U-235) is appropriate and necessary to assist parties engaged in research and development (R&D) and E:\FR\FM\27OCN1.SGM 27OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 207 / Tuesday, October 27, 2015 / Notices commercial demonstrations of the aforementioned fuels, targets, and processes. Material transfers under this determination will occur primarily during calendar years 2015 and 2016 and consist of no more than 25 kgU of material enriched at up to 19.75 wt-% of the isotope U-235 in any calendar year.1 Assuming a tails assay of 0.20 wt% U-235, it would require approximately 1 MTU of natural uranium hexafluoride and approximately 1,100 separative work units (‘‘SWU’’) to produce that quantity of 19.75 wt-% LEU. II. Analytical Approach Consistent with the analytical approach outlined in the Department’s prior Analysis of Potential Impacts of Uranium Transfers, 80 FR 26,366, 26,379–84 (May 7, 2015), this analysis evaluates two forecasts: one reflecting the state of the domestic uranium industries if DOE goes forward with the transfer and one reflecting the state of the domestic uranium industries if DOE does not go forward with the transfer. DOE compares these two forecasts to determine the relevant impacts on the domestic uranium industries. In conducting this comparison, DOE has developed a set of factors that this analysis considers in assessing whether DOE’s uranium transfers will have an ‘‘adverse material impact’’ on the domestic uranium mining, conversion, or enrichment industries: 1. Prices 2. Production at existing facilities 3. Employment levels in the industry 4. Changes in capital improvement plans and development of future facilities 5. Long-term viability and health of the industry 6. Russian HEU Agreement and Suspension Agreement While no single factor is dispositive of the issue, DOE believes that these factors are representative of the types of impacts that the proposed transfers may have on the domestic uranium industries. Not every factor will necessarily be relevant on a given occasion or to a particular industry; DOE intends this list of factors only as a guide to its analysis. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES III. Assessment of Potential Impacts There is currently no domestic commercial supplier of high-assay LEU. In particular, with the closing of the 1 If any transfers include material at an assay other than 19.75 wt-%, the amount will be converted so that the total amount in any calendar year is equivalent to no more than 25 kgU at 19.75 wt-%. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Oct 26, 2015 Jkt 238001 Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in 2013, the only remaining operational uranium enrichment facility in the U.S. is that operated by Louisiana Energy Services, LLC, which is licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to possess LEU only up to 5 wt-% U-235,2 meaning no domestic commercial uranium enrichment facility is currently licensed to possess the high-assay LEU contemplated for transfer. Modern enrichment facilities are technologically able to produce such materials; however, due to the economics of enrichment, owners and operators of such enrichment facilities have thus far chosen not to pursue enrichment of high-assay LEU. To produce such LEU, a commercial supplier would need to secure an appropriate license or license amendment, a task that would require an investment of money and time. Projections of demand in the nuclear medicine industry lead to the forecast that the need for high-assay LEU in future years will range from tens to hundreds of kilograms. Compared to the thousands of metric tons of enriched uranium required by the commercial power industry, and given the costs required for licensing, the production of such small quantities of high-assay materials is not likely to be economically viable for private industry. There also does not exist currently a foreign commercial producer or supplier of high-assay low enriched uranium for use in domestic research reactors or medical isotope production applications; what high-assay LEU is produced internationally, for example to convert Russian-supplied reactors from highly enriched uranium (HEU) cores, is produced by a state-owned enterprise for official purposes via down-blending excess HEU. Given the specialized uses, designs, and regulatory requirements of the fuels and targets used for these isotope production purposes, it is not feasible to replace the DOE-sourced high-assay LEU used in research reactor fuel or targets with commercial-assay LEU because fuel or targets fabricated from commercial-assay LEU would generally not serve the intended purposes. Given the lack of commercial production or supply of such materials, an analysis of the impact of transfers based on an assessment of the six factors listed in Section II is straightforward: since the transfer of DOE material would not displace primary production 2 U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Materials License. License Number SNM–2010, Amendment 57, Docket Number 70–3103. PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 65729 of uranium concentrates, conversion services, or enrichment services, there is no impact on the domestic uranium industries with respect to any of the factors. Even if the DOE transfers would displace production among the domestic uranium mining, conversion, or enrichment industries, the amount is so small that the effects would be de minimis. With respect to the three uranium industries, in order to produce the amount of LEU in DOE transfers from primary production, it would require about 2500 pounds of uranium concentrates, 950 kgU of conversion services, and approximately 1,100 SWU of enrichment services. By comparison, the entire global fleet of nuclear reactors is expected to need in 2015 approximately 160 million pounds U3O8, 56 million kgU of conversion services, and about 45 million SWU.3 For further comparison, the U.S. uranium mining industry produced approximately 4.9 million pounds of U3O8 in 2014.4 The domestic conversion industry consists of only one facility. In recent years, that facility has produced between 11 and 12 million kgU. As mentioned above, there is only one currently operating enrichment facility in the U.S. The total capacity of that facility is currently about 3.7 million SWU. Given how small DOE transfers are compared to either global reactor requirements or domestic production, DOE concludes that transfers at this level would have almost no impact on the domestic uranium mining, conversion, or enrichment industries with respect to any of the six factors listed in Section II. DOE recently issued a determination that certain transfers of natural uranium in exchange for cleanup services at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant and of LEU in exchange for downblending services will not have an adverse material impact on the domestic uranium industries. The analysis supporting that determination also considered various other past transfers, 3 These estimates of global requirements come from an analysis prepared by Energy Resources International, Inc. (ERI), dated February 20, 2015. This report is available at http://www.energy.gov/ ne/downloads/excess-uranium-management. DOE tasked ERI to prepare this analysis to assess the potential effects on the domestic uranium mining, conversion, and enrichment industries of the introduction into the market of uranium transfers that are not the subject of this assessment. ERI develops its requirements forecasts for various customers. Because of ERI’s general expertise in the uranium markets and contacts with market participants, DOE believes ERI’s general market information is reliable. 4 EIA, Domestic Uranium Production Report Q4 2014, 2 (January 2015). E:\FR\FM\27OCN1.SGM 27OCN1 65730 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 207 / Tuesday, October 27, 2015 / Notices the uranium from which may still be affecting markets. 80 FR at 26,385. In reaching the conclusion that transfers of up to 25 kg per year of high-assay LEU will have at most de minimis impacts on the domestic uranium industries, DOE takes account of the various transfers assessed for its recent determination. IV. Conclusion For the reasons discussed above, these transfers will not have an adverse material impact on the domestic uranium mining, conversion, or enrichment industry taking into account sales under the Russian HEU Agreement and Suspension Agreement. [FR Doc. 2015–27303 Filed 10–26–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER16–90–000] Dated: October 20, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Golden Hills Interconnection, LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization [FR Doc. 2015–27174 Filed 10–26–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Golden Hills Interconnection, LLC.’s application for market-based rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability. Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant. Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant’s request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is November 9, 2015. The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http:// www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:58 Oct 26, 2015 Jkt 238001 eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission’s eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission’s Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. or call (866) 208–3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502–8659. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER16–91–000] Blythe Solar 110, LLC; Supplemental Notice that Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding Blythe Solar 110 LLC.’s application for marketbased rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability. Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant. Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant’s request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 assumptions of liability, is November 9, 2015. The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http:// www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with Internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests. Persons unable to file electronically should submit an original and 5 copies of the intervention or protest to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426. The filings in the above-referenced proceeding are accessible in the Commission’s eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for electronic review in the Commission’s Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive email notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please email FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. or call (866) 208–3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502–8659. Dated: October 20, 2015. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2015–27175 Filed 10–26–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. CP16–2–000] Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC; Notice of Request Under Blanket Authorization October 19, 2015. Take notice that on October 7, 2015, Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC (FGT), 1300 Main St., Houston, TX 77002 filed a prior notice request pursuant to sections 157.205, 157.208 (b) and 157.216(b) of the Commission’s regulations under the Natural Gas Act for authorization to replace approximately 3.39 miles of 8-inch lateral pipe and approximately 3.08 miles of 10-inch lateral pipe, and appurtenant facilities, with approximately 3.78 miles of new 12- E:\FR\FM\27OCN1.SGM 27OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 207 (Tuesday, October 27, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65727-65730]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-27303]


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

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

National Nuclear Security Administration


Excess Uranium Management: Secretarial Determination of No 
Adverse Impact on the Domestic Uranium Mining, Conversion, and 
Enrichment Industries

AGENCY: National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy

ACTION: Notice.

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

SUMMARY: On August 2, 2015, the Secretary of Energy issued a 
determination (``Secretarial Determination'') covering the sale or 
transfer of high-assay low enriched uranium for medical isotope 
development projects. The Secretarial Determination covers transfers of 
up to 25 kilograms uranium (kgU) per year of low enriched uranium (LEU) 
at up to 19.75 percent uranium-235 for transfers in the two years 
following approval of the determination to support molybdenum-99 
producers in commercial research and isotope production applications. 
For the reasons set forth in the Department's ``Analysis of Potential 
Impacts of Uranium Transfers on the Domestic Uranium Mining, 
Conversion, and Enrichment Industries,'' which is incorporated into the 
determination, the Secretary determined that these transfers will not 
have an adverse material impact on the domestic uranium mining, 
conversion, or enrichment industry.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Randy Howell, NNSA Mo-99 Domestic 
Project Support, U.S. Department of

[[Page 65728]]

Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585, telephone 
202-586-8834, or email randy.howell@nnsa.doe.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Department of Energy (DOE) holds 
inventories of uranium in various forms and quantities--including low-
enriched uranium (LEU) and natural uranium--that have been declared as 
excess and are not dedicated to U.S. national security missions. Within 
DOE, the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE), the Office of Environmental 
Management (EM), and the National Nuclear Security Administration 
(NNSA) coordinate the management of these excess uranium inventories. 
NNSA down-blends excess highly-enriched uranium to high-assay low-
enriched uranium--above the commercial level of 5 wt-% and up to about 
19.75 wt-% of the isotope U-235--in support of its nonproliferation 
objectives and missions. Common applications of such high-assay 
materials are as fuels for domestic and foreign research reactors and 
as target materials for the production of medical isotopes.
    This notice involves high-assay LEU transfers of this type to 
support molybdenum-99 producers in either and/or both of the above 
applications. These transfers fulfill a directive in the American 
Medical Isotope Production Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-239, Division C, 
Title XXXI, Subtitle F, 42 U.S.C. 2065) for the Department to carry out 
a program of assistance for the development of fuels, targets, and 
processes for domestic molybdenum-99 production that do not use highly 
enriched uranium. These transfers also support U.S. nuclear 
nonproliferation initiatives, by providing a path for down-blended 
highly enriched uranium (HEU) and encouraging the use of LEU in civil 
applications in lieu of HEU.
    These transfers are conducted in accordance with the Atomic Energy 
Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq., ``AEA'') and other applicable law. 
Specifically, Title I, Chapters 6, 14, of the AEA authorize DOE to 
transfer special nuclear material; LEU is a type of special nuclear 
material. The USEC Privatization Act (Pub. L. 104-134, 42 U.S.C. 2297h 
et seq.) places certain limitations on DOE's authority to transfer 
uranium from its excess uranium inventory. Specifically, under section 
3112(d)(2)(B) of the USEC Privatization Act (42 U.S.C. 2297h-
10(d)(2)(B)), the Secretary must determine that the transfers ``will 
not have an adverse material impact on the domestic uranium mining, 
conversion or enrichment industry, taking into account the sales of 
uranium under the Russian Highly Enriched Uranium Agreement and the 
Suspension Agreement'' before DOE makes certain transfers of natural or 
low-enriched uranium under the AEA.
    On August 2, 2015, the Secretary of Energy issued a determination 
(``Secretarial Determination'') covering the sale or transfer of high-
assay low enriched uranium for medical isotope development projects. 
The Secretarial Determination covers transfers of up to 25 kilograms 
per year of LEU at up to 19.75 percent uranium-235 for transfers in the 
two years following approval of the determination to support 
molybdenum-99 producers in commercial research and isotope production 
applications. The Secretary based his conclusion on the Department's 
``Analysis of Potential Impacts of Uranium Transfers on the Domestic 
Uranium Mining, Conversion, and Enrichment Industries,'' which is 
incorporated into the determination. The Secretary considered, inter 
alia, the requirements of the USEC Privatization Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 
2297h et seq.), the nature of uranium markets, and the current status 
of the domestic uranium industries, as well as sales of uranium under 
the Russian HEU Agreement and the Suspension Agreement.

    Issued in Washington, DC.
Anne M. Harrington,
Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, National 
Nuclear Security Administration.
    Set forth below is the full text of the Secretarial Determination.

SECRETARIAL DETERMINATION FOR THE SALE OR TRANSFER OF URANIUM

    I determine that the transfer of up to the equivalent of 25 kgU of 
19.75%-assay low enriched uranium per calendar year to support the 
development and demonstration of molybdenum-99 production capabilities 
will not have an adverse material impact on the domestic mining, 
conversion, or enrichment industry. I base my conclusions on the 
Department's ``Analysis of Potential Impacts of Uranium Transfers on 
the Domestic Uranium Mining, Conversion, and Enrichment Industries,'' 
which is incorporated herein. As explained in that document, I have 
considered, inter alia, the requirements of the USEC Privatization Act 
of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 2297h et seq.), the nature of uranium markets, and 
the current status of the domestic uranium industries. I have also 
taken into account the sales of uranium under the Russian HEU Agreement 
and the Suspension Agreement.

Date: August 2, 2015.

Ernest J. Moniz,

Secretary of Energy

Analysis of Potential Impacts of Uranium Transfers on the Domestic 
Uranium Mining, Conversion, and Enrichment Industries

I. Introduction

A. Legal Authority

    DOE manages its excess uranium inventory in accordance with the 
Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 U.S.C. 2011 et seq., ``AEA'') and related 
statutes. Specifically, Title I, Chapters 6-7, 14, of the AEA authorize 
DOE to transfer special nuclear material and source material. LEU and 
natural uranium are types of special nuclear material and source 
material, respectively.
    The USEC Privatization Act (Pub. L. 104-134, 42 U.S.C. 2297h et 
seq.) places certain limitations on DOE's authority to transfer uranium 
from its excess uranium inventory. Specifically, under section 3112(d) 
of the USEC Privatization Act (42 U.S.C. 2297h-10(d)), DOE may make 
certain transfers of natural or low-enriched uranium if the Secretary 
determines that the transfers ``will not have an adverse material 
impact on the domestic uranium mining, conversion or enrichment 
industry, taking into account the sales of uranium under the Russian 
Highly Enriched Uranium Agreement and the Suspension Agreement.'' (42 
U.S.C. 2297h-10(d)(2)(B)). The validity of any determination under this 
section is limited to no more than two calendar years subsequent to the 
determination (see Section 306(a) of Division D, Title III of the 
Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Pub. L. 
113-235)).

B. Transfers Considered in This Determination

    The American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2012 (Pub. L. 112-
239, Division C, Title XXXI, Subtitle F, 42 U.S.C. 2065) directs the 
Department to carry out a program to provide assistance for the 
development of fuels, targets, and processes for domestic molybdenum-99 
production that do not use highly enriched uranium (HEU). The transfer 
of small quantities of high-assay low enriched uranium (LEU) (LEU 
enriched above 5 wt-%, but below 20 wt-% U-235) is appropriate and 
necessary to assist parties engaged in research and development (R&D) 
and

[[Page 65729]]

commercial demonstrations of the aforementioned fuels, targets, and 
processes. Material transfers under this determination will occur 
primarily during calendar years 2015 and 2016 and consist of no more 
than 25 kgU of material enriched at up to 19.75 wt-% of the isotope U-
235 in any calendar year.\1\ Assuming a tails assay of 0.20 wt-% U-235, 
it would require approximately 1 MTU of natural uranium hexafluoride 
and approximately 1,100 separative work units (``SWU'') to produce that 
quantity of 19.75 wt-% LEU.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ If any transfers include material at an assay other than 
19.75 wt-%, the amount will be converted so that the total amount in 
any calendar year is equivalent to no more than 25 kgU at 19.75 wt-
%.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

II. Analytical Approach

    Consistent with the analytical approach outlined in the 
Department's prior Analysis of Potential Impacts of Uranium Transfers, 
80 FR 26,366, 26,379-84 (May 7, 2015), this analysis evaluates two 
forecasts: one reflecting the state of the domestic uranium industries 
if DOE goes forward with the transfer and one reflecting the state of 
the domestic uranium industries if DOE does not go forward with the 
transfer. DOE compares these two forecasts to determine the relevant 
impacts on the domestic uranium industries. In conducting this 
comparison, DOE has developed a set of factors that this analysis 
considers in assessing whether DOE's uranium transfers will have an 
``adverse material impact'' on the domestic uranium mining, conversion, 
or enrichment industries:

1. Prices
2. Production at existing facilities
3. Employment levels in the industry
4. Changes in capital improvement plans and development of future 
facilities
5. Long-term viability and health of the industry
6. Russian HEU Agreement and Suspension Agreement

    While no single factor is dispositive of the issue, DOE believes 
that these factors are representative of the types of impacts that the 
proposed transfers may have on the domestic uranium industries. Not 
every factor will necessarily be relevant on a given occasion or to a 
particular industry; DOE intends this list of factors only as a guide 
to its analysis.

III. Assessment of Potential Impacts

    There is currently no domestic commercial supplier of high-assay 
LEU. In particular, with the closing of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion 
Plant in 2013, the only remaining operational uranium enrichment 
facility in the U.S. is that operated by Louisiana Energy Services, 
LLC, which is licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to possess 
LEU only up to 5 wt-% U-235,\2\ meaning no domestic commercial uranium 
enrichment facility is currently licensed to possess the high-assay LEU 
contemplated for transfer.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Materials License. 
License Number SNM-2010, Amendment 57, Docket Number 70-3103.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Modern enrichment facilities are technologically able to produce 
such materials; however, due to the economics of enrichment, owners and 
operators of such enrichment facilities have thus far chosen not to 
pursue enrichment of high-assay LEU. To produce such LEU, a commercial 
supplier would need to secure an appropriate license or license 
amendment, a task that would require an investment of money and time. 
Projections of demand in the nuclear medicine industry lead to the 
forecast that the need for high-assay LEU in future years will range 
from tens to hundreds of kilograms. Compared to the thousands of metric 
tons of enriched uranium required by the commercial power industry, and 
given the costs required for licensing, the production of such small 
quantities of high-assay materials is not likely to be economically 
viable for private industry.
    There also does not exist currently a foreign commercial producer 
or supplier of high-assay low enriched uranium for use in domestic 
research reactors or medical isotope production applications; what 
high-assay LEU is produced internationally, for example to convert 
Russian-supplied reactors from highly enriched uranium (HEU) cores, is 
produced by a state-owned enterprise for official purposes via down-
blending excess HEU.
    Given the specialized uses, designs, and regulatory requirements of 
the fuels and targets used for these isotope production purposes, it is 
not feasible to replace the DOE-sourced high-assay LEU used in research 
reactor fuel or targets with commercial-assay LEU because fuel or 
targets fabricated from commercial-assay LEU would generally not serve 
the intended purposes.
    Given the lack of commercial production or supply of such 
materials, an analysis of the impact of transfers based on an 
assessment of the six factors listed in Section II is straightforward: 
since the transfer of DOE material would not displace primary 
production of uranium concentrates, conversion services, or enrichment 
services, there is no impact on the domestic uranium industries with 
respect to any of the factors.
    Even if the DOE transfers would displace production among the 
domestic uranium mining, conversion, or enrichment industries, the 
amount is so small that the effects would be de minimis. With respect 
to the three uranium industries, in order to produce the amount of LEU 
in DOE transfers from primary production, it would require about 2500 
pounds of uranium concentrates, 950 kgU of conversion services, and 
approximately 1,100 SWU of enrichment services. By comparison, the 
entire global fleet of nuclear reactors is expected to need in 2015 
approximately 160 million pounds U3O8, 56 million 
kgU of conversion services, and about 45 million SWU.\3\ For further 
comparison, the U.S. uranium mining industry produced approximately 4.9 
million pounds of U3O8 in 2014.\4\ The domestic 
conversion industry consists of only one facility. In recent years, 
that facility has produced between 11 and 12 million kgU. As mentioned 
above, there is only one currently operating enrichment facility in the 
U.S. The total capacity of that facility is currently about 3.7 million 
SWU.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ These estimates of global requirements come from an analysis 
prepared by Energy Resources International, Inc. (ERI), dated 
February 20, 2015. This report is available at http://www.energy.gov/ne/downloads/excess-uranium-management. DOE tasked 
ERI to prepare this analysis to assess the potential effects on the 
domestic uranium mining, conversion, and enrichment industries of 
the introduction into the market of uranium transfers that are not 
the subject of this assessment. ERI develops its requirements 
forecasts for various customers. Because of ERI's general expertise 
in the uranium markets and contacts with market participants, DOE 
believes ERI's general market information is reliable.
    \4\ EIA, Domestic Uranium Production Report Q4 2014, 2 (January 
2015).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Given how small DOE transfers are compared to either global reactor 
requirements or domestic production, DOE concludes that transfers at 
this level would have almost no impact on the domestic uranium mining, 
conversion, or enrichment industries with respect to any of the six 
factors listed in Section II.
    DOE recently issued a determination that certain transfers of 
natural uranium in exchange for cleanup services at the Portsmouth 
Gaseous Diffusion Plant and of LEU in exchange for downblending 
services will not have an adverse material impact on the domestic 
uranium industries. The analysis supporting that determination also 
considered various other past transfers,

[[Page 65730]]

the uranium from which may still be affecting markets. 80 FR at 26,385. 
In reaching the conclusion that transfers of up to 25 kg per year of 
high-assay LEU will have at most de minimis impacts on the domestic 
uranium industries, DOE takes account of the various transfers assessed 
for its recent determination.

IV. Conclusion

    For the reasons discussed above, these transfers will not have an 
adverse material impact on the domestic uranium mining, conversion, or 
enrichment industry taking into account sales under the Russian HEU 
Agreement and Suspension Agreement.

[FR Doc. 2015-27303 Filed 10-26-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P