[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 2 (Tuesday, January 4, 2000)]
[Pages 308-309]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-77]



[Docket No. 40-8681]

International Uranium (USA) Corporation

AGENCY: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Final Finding of No Significant Impact; Notice of Opportunity 
for Hearing.


SUMMARY: The International Uranium (USA) Corporation (IUC) requested 
that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) amend its NRC Source 
Material License SUA-1358, to approve its Reclamation Plan, as amended, 
for the White Mesa Uranium Mill near Blanding, Utah. An Environmental 
Assessment (EA) was performed by the NRC staff in accordance with the 
requirements of 10 CFR Part 51. The conclusion of the EA is a Finding 
of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the proposed licensing action.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. William von Till, Uranium Recovery 
and Low-Level Waste Branch, Division of Waste Management, Office of 
Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Mail Stop T7-J8, Washington, DC 20555. Telephone (301) 415-



    Materials License SUA-1358 was originally issued by NRC on August 
7, 1979, pursuant to Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), 
Part 40, ``Domestic Licensing of Source Material.'' The IUC site is 
licensed by the NRC under Materials License SUA-1358 to possess 
byproduct material in the form of uranium waste tailings and other 
uranium byproduct waste generated by the licensee's milling operations, 
as well as other source material from multiple locations. Some of these 
locations include material from Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action 
Program (FUSRAP) sites managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
(USACE). These materials generally have similar chemical, physical, and 
radiological composition to conventional mill tailings. The mill is 
currently operating. The license amendment would approve IUC's 
reclamation plan (RP). The proposed action is needed to minimize 
exposure of contaminated materials, once the mill operations have 
ceased, by reclaiming contaminated areas and stabilizing wastes. The 
goal of the reclamation plan is to permanently isolate and stabilize 
the tailings and associated contamination by minimizing disturbances by 
natural forces, and to do so without ongoing maintenance. The design 
objective is to be effective for up to one thousand years, to the 
extent reasonable, and, in any case for at least 200 years; to provide 
reasonable assurance that releases of radon-222 from the residual 
radioactive material will be minimized, and to provide reasonable 
assurances to protect groundwater resources.
    The facilities to be reclaimed include the following:
    (1) Cell 1 (evaporative), Cells 2 and 3 (tailings), and Cell 4A 
(not currently used).
    (2) Mill buildings and equipment.
    (3) On-site contaminated areas.
    (4) Off-site contaminated areas (i.e., potential areas affected by 
windblown tailings).
    The reclamation of the above facilities will include the following:
    (1) Placement of materials and debris from the mill decommissioning 
in tailings Cells 2 and 3.
    (2) Placement of contaminated soils, crystals, and synthetic liner 
material from Cell 1 in tailings Cells 2 and 3.
    (3) Placement of contaminated soils, crystals, and synthetic liner 
material from Cell 4A in tailings Cells 2 and 3.
    (4) Placement of an engineered multi-layer cover on Cells 2 and 3.
    (5) Construction of runoff control and diversion channels as 
    (6) Reconditioning of mill and ancillary areas.
    (7) Reclamation of borrow sources.
    The plan further describes the designs, activities, schedule, and 
estimated costs for reclaiming IUC's White Mesa Uranium Mill Site and 
Tailing Impoundment, for bonding and surety coverage requirements. The 
actual final reclamation design and cost analyses will depend on the 
quantity and depth of the tailings actually placed in the impoundment 
area and the surface area that they occupy. All conditions and 
commitments in the reclamation plan are subject to NRC inspection. 
Violation of the plan may result in enforcement action.
    IUC submitted the RP in a letter dated February 28, 1997, and 
amended by letters of December 16, 1997, September 11, 1998, October 
23, 1998, May 26, 1999, and June 22, 1999.

Summary of the Environmental Assessment

    The NRC staff performed an appraisal of the environmental impacts 
associated with the RP for the White Mesa mill, in accordance with 10 
CFR Part 51, Licensing and Regulatory Policy Procedure for 
Environmental Protection. In conducting its appraisal, the NRC staff 
considered the following: (1) Information contained in the previous 
environmental evaluations of the White Mesa project; (2) information 
contained in IUC's reclamation plan; (3) information contained in IUC's 
license amendment request submitted subsequent to its reclamation plan, 
and NRC staff approvals of such requests; (4) land use and 
environmental monitoring reports; and (5) information derived from NRC 
staff site visits and inspections of the White Mesa mill site and from 
communications with IUC, the State of Utah Department of Environmental 
Quality, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, the State of Utah

[[Page 309]]

Historic Preservation Officer, and the White Mesa Ute Tribal Historic 
Preservation Officer. The results of the staff's appraisal are 
documented in an Environmental Assessment placed in the docket file. 
Based on its review, the NRC staff has concluded that there are no 
significant environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.


    The NRC staff has examined the actual and potential environmental 
impacts associated with the reclamation plan and has determined that 
the action is: (1) Consistent with requirements of 10 CFR Part 40; (2) 
will not be inimical to the public health and safety; and (3) will not 
have long-term detrimental impacts on the environment. The following 
statements support the FONSI and summarize the conclusions resulting 
from the staff's environmental assessment:
    1. An acceptable environmental and effluent monitoring program is 
in place to monitor effluent releases and to detect if applicable 
regulatory limits are exceeded. Radiological effluents from site 
operations have been and are expected to continue to remain below the 
regulatory limits.
    2. Present and potential risks from the reclamation were assessed. 
Given the remote location, the small area of impact, and the past 
activities on the site, the staff has determined that the risk factors 
for health and environmental hazards are insignificant.

Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    The proposed action that the NRC is considering is approval of 
IUC's Reclamation Plan and the amendment to a source material license 
issued pursuant to 10 CFR Part 40. The principal alternatives available 
to the NRC are:
    1. Approve the license amendment request as submitted; or
    2. Amend the license with such additional conditions as are 
considered necessary or appropriate to protect public health and safety 
and the environment; or
    3. Deny the request.
    The NRC staff has concluded that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action. Therefore, 
alternatives with equal or greater impacts need not be evaluated. The 
staff considers that Alternative 1 is the appropriate alternative for 
selection. A technical evaluation report will be completed with respect 
to the criteria for reclamation, specified in 10 CFR Part 40, Appendix 

Finding of No Significant Impact

    The NRC staff has prepared an Environmental Assessment for the 
proposed reclamation plan for NRC Source Material License SUA-1358. On 
the basis of this assessment, the NRC staff has concluded that the 
environmental impact that may result for the proposed action would not 
be significant, and, therefore, preparation of an Environmental Impact 
Statement is not warranted.
    The Environmental Assessment and other documents related to this 
proposed action are available for public inspection and copying at the 
NRC Public Document Room, in the Gelman Building, 2120 L Street NW., 
Washington, DC 20555.

Notice of Opportunity for Hearing

    The Commission hereby provides notice that this is a proceeding on 
an application for a licensing action falling within the scope of 
Subpart L, ``Informal Hearing Procedures for Adjudications in Materials 
and Operator Licensing Proceedings,'' of the Commission's Rules of 
Practice for Domestic Licensing Proceedings in 10 CFR Part 2 (54 FR 
8269). Pursuant to Sec. 2.1205(a), any person whose interest may be 
affected by this proceeding may file a request for a hearing. In 
accordance with Sec. 2.1205(c), a request for a hearing must be filed 
within thirty (30) days from the date of publication of the Federal 
Register notice. The request for a hearing must be filed with the 
Office of the Secretary either:
    (1) By delivery to the Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff of the 
Office of the Secretary at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, 
Rockville, MD 20852; or
    (2) By mail or telegram addressed to the Secretary, U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555. Attention: Rulemaking and 
Adjudications Staff.
    Each request for a hearing must also be served, by delivering it 
personally or by mail to:
    (1) The applicant, International Uranium (USA) Corporation, 
Independence Plaza, Suite 950, 1050 Seventeenth Street, Denver, 
Colorado 80265;
    (2) The NRC staff, by delivery to the Executive Director of 
Operations, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 
20852, or by mail addressed to the Executive Director for Operations, 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555.
    In addition to meeting other applicable requirements of 10 CFR Part 
2 of the Commission's regulations, a request for a hearing filed by a 
person other than an applicant must describe in detail:
    (1) The interest of the requestor in the proceeding;
    (2) How that interest may be affected by the results of the 
proceedings, including the reasons why the requestor should be 
permitted a hearing, with particular reference to the factors set out 
in Sec. 2.1205(g);
    (3) The requestor's area of concern about the licensing activity 
that is the subject matter of the proceedings; and
    (4) The circumstances establishing that the request for a hearing 
is timely in accordance with Sec. 2.1205(c).
    Any hearing that is requested and granted will be held in 
accordance with the Commission's ``Informal Hearing Procedures for 
Adjudications in Materials and Operator Licensing Proceeding'' in 10 
CFR Part 2, Subpart L.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 23rd day of December 1999.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Thomas H. Essig,
Chief, Uranium Recovery and Low-Level Waste Branch, Division of Waste 
Management, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 00-77 Filed 1-3-00; 8:45 am]