[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 102 (Tuesday, May 29, 2007)]
[Pages 29552-29555]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-10260]



[Docket No. 040-08769]

Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for 
License Amendment to Source Materials License No. Sub-1382, for 
Termination of the License and Unrestricted Release of the Exxonmobil 
Refining & Supply C.O., Facility in Billings, Montana

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Issuance of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No 
Significant Impact for License Amendment.


Physicist, Nuclear Materials Licensing Branch, Division of Nuclear 
Materials Safety, Region IV, U.S. NRC, 611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, 
Arlington, Texas 76011; telephone (817) 276-6552; fax number (817) 860-
8188; or by e-mail: [email protected].


[[Page 29553]]

I. Introduction

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the 
issuance of a license amendment to NRC Source Materials License No. 
SUB-1382. This license is held by ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co., 
(the Licensee) for its ExxonMobil Billings Refinery (the Facility) 
located at 700 ExxonMobil Road, Billings, Montana. Issuance of the 
amendment would authorize release of the Facility for unrestricted use 
and termination of the NRC license. The Licensee requested this action 
by letters dated February 10 and July 6, 2006. The NRC has prepared 
this Environmental Assessment (EA) in support of this proposed action 
in accordance with the requirements of Title 10, Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR), Part 51 (10 CFR Part 51).

II. Environmental Assessment

Identification of Proposed Action

    The proposed action would release the Facility for unrestricted 
use. NRC License No. SUB-1382 was issued on September 9, 1980, pursuant 
to 10 CFR Part 40, and has been amended periodically since that time. 
This license authorized the Licensee to use depleted uranium (DU) 
catalysts in 84 furnace tubes of a F-551 Reformer Furnace (furnace) at 
a hydrogen manufacturing plant. Hydrogen carbon gas was passed through 
the tubes with the rings acting as a catalyst, to produce hydrogen and 
carbon dioxide. The Licensee used this process from 1980 to 1986.
    In 1986, all of the furnace tubes were removed and surveyed. The 
tubes were replaced with a non-radioactive nickel-molybdenum catalyst. 
Residual radioactivity was detected at the bottom of some of the 
furnace tubes that had previously contained the DU catalysts. Those 
areas were decontaminated and a survey was subsequently performed. The 
survey results indicated that the residual radioactivity had been 
reduced to less than 83 becquerels per 100-square centimeter (Bq/100 
cm2). The tubes were internally sandblasted and returned to 
    In 2005, the Licensee replaced all of the tubes during furnace 
maintenance. During the 2005 maintenance, several areas of the furnace 
were made accessible which were normally not accessible during 
operations. The Licensee performed surveys based on process knowledge 
of the system. The highest survey readings were found in the manifold 
that carried the product from the furnace tubes to the collection basin 
refractory drum. A pipe elbow was removed from the manifold which 
allowed access to the manifold piping near the removal point. Four 
residual radioactivity measurements were taken upstream of the elbow. 
The mean of the measurements was 220 Bq/100 cm2 (13,200 dpm/
100 cm2), with the highest concentration measured as 645 Bq/
100 cm2 (38,700 dpm/100 cm2). There was no residual 
contamination that was distinguishable from background detected on the 
downstream side of the elbow or along the interior of the refractory 
drum. The elbow was disposed of as radioactive waste and replaced with 
a new elbow component. The licensee performed 100% surveys on the 
attachment points upstream of the manifold and downstream of the pipe 
elbow and did not measure any areas with concentrations exceeding the 
highest concentration observed in the accessible area of the manifold. 
Therefore, the NRC staff concluded that the highest measured 
concentration taken by the Licensee bounded the total activity in the 
    Based on process knowledge of the system and the conditions of the 
Facility, the Licensee determined that only routine decontamination 
activities, in accordance with their radiation safety procedures, were 
required. The Licensee was not required to submit a decommissioning 
plan to the NRC. The Licensee conducted surveys of the Facility and 
provided information to the NRC to demonstrate that the furnace 
component contributed less than 0.01 millisievert/year (mSv/yr) (1 
millirem(mrem)/year) and therefore, the Facility meets the criteria in 
Subpart E of 10 CFR Part 20 for unrestricted release and for license 
termination. By letters of February 10 and July 6, 2006, the Licensee 
requested termination of its NRC source materials license.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    The Licensee has ceased conducting licensed activities at the 
Facility and seeks the unrestricted use of its Facility which can be 
accomplished by the termination of its NRC source materials license.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Co., is located on a 778 acre site in 
Billings, Montana. This site is primarily considered a rural area and 
is bounded by the Montana Rail Link and Interstate-90 on the south side 
and the Yellowstone River on the north side. The furnace is located 
within the processing area of the refinery, which is a restricted site. 
Access to the area is given by permission only, and the area is 
actively monitored by security personnel.
    The Licensee elected to demonstrate compliance with the 
radiological criteria for unrestricted release as specified in 10 CFR 
20.1402 by developing derived concentration guideline levels (DCGLs) 
for its Facility. The Licensee considered two site-specific exposure 
scenarios and two generic exposure scenarios as documented in NUREG-
1640, ``Radiological Assessments for Clearance of Materials from 
Nuclear Facilities.'' The exposure scenarios were analyzed for the 
critical group to demonstrate that the residual radioactivity remaining 
on the furnace components at the facility was less than the derived 
concentration guideline level (DCGL) corresponding to 0.01 mSv/yr (1 
mrem/yr). The critical group is the group of individuals reasonably 
expected to receive the greatest exposure to residual radioactivity for 
any applicable set of circumstances.
    The two site-specific scenarios analyzed the potential exposure to: 
(1) A worker due to continued furnace operation and, (2) an on-site 
demolition worker who uses a torch-cutter to cut the manifold piping 
into shorter lengths for disposal or recycling. The two generic 
scenarios analyzed the exposure to: (1) A resident living near an 
industrial landfill and who drinks the groundwater contaminated with 
landfill leachate, and (2) workers handling and processing steel slag 
for road construction. Based on the evaluation of all four exposure 
scenarios, the Licensee concluded that the critical group was the 
workers handling or processing steel slag. Therefore, this scenario was 
used as the bounding scenario. The calculated DCGL that would result in 
a dose of 0.01 mSv/yr (1 mrem/yr) to the critical group of a worker 
handling or processing steel slag was determined to be 400 Bq/100 
cm2 (24,000 dpm/100 cm2).
    Based on surveys performed during 2005, the Licensee calculated 
that the residual low-level contamination within the furnace components 
remaining at the facility, were less than the calculated DCGL. There 
was one small area (100 cm2) inside the manifold that was 
contaminated at a concentration of 1.6 times the DCGL. The NRC staff 
determined that the elevated measurement still met the overall release 
criteria for the facility. The NRC reviewed the Licensee's methodology 
and proposed DCGL, and concluded that the proposed DCGL is acceptable 
for use as the release criteria at the Facility. The NRC confirmed the 
calculations, which substantiated that

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the dose to the public would be less than 0.01 mSv/yr (1 mrem/yr) total 
effective dose equivalent (TEDE).
    Based on its review, the staff has determined that the affected 
environment and any environmental impacts associated with the proposed 
action 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 Nuclear Facilities'' 
(NUREG-1496) Volumes 1-3 (ML042310492, ML042320379, and ML042330385). 
Further, no incidents were recorded involving spills or releases of 
radioactive material at the Facility. Accordingly, there were no 
significant environmental impacts from the use of radioactive material 
at the Facility. The NRC staff reviewed the docket file records and the 
final status survey report to identify any non-radiological hazards 
that may have impacted the environment surrounding the Facility. No 
such hazards or impacts to the environment were identified.
    The NRC staff finds that the proposed release of the Facility for 
unrestricted use and the termination of the NRC source materials 
license is in compliance with 10 CFR 20.1402. The NRC has found no 
other activities in the area that could result in cumulative 
environmental impacts. Based on its review, the staff considered the 
impact of the residual radioactivity at the Facility and concluded that 
the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the quality 
of the human environment.

Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    Due to the environmental impacts of the proposed action identified 
above, impact of alternatives to the proposed action must be 
considered. Alternatives to the proposed action discussed below are: 
(1) The no-action alternative, or (2) disposal of the low-level 
contaminated components at a low-level disposal facility and replace 
the respective equipment at the Licensee's facility.
    1. No-action alternative: As an alternative to the proposed action, 
the staff could leave the license in place by simply denying the 
amendment request. This no-action alternative is not feasible because 
it conflicts with 10 CFR 40.42(d), requiring that decommissioning of 
source material facilities be completed and approved by the NRC after 
licensed activities cease. Additionally, this denial of the application 
would result in no change in current environmental impacts. The 
environmental impacts of the proposed action and the no-action 
alternative are therefore similar, and the no-action alternative is 
accordingly not further considered.
    2. Environmental Impact of Alternative 2: Another alternative to 
the proposed action is to dispose of the low-level contaminated 
equipment at a low-level waste disposal facility and to replace the 
affected equipment at the Licensee's facility. This alternative would 
increase the environmental impacts as a result of the air quality, 
noise and additional work force required during the removal and 
replacement process of the affected furnace components. There should 
not be an increase in occupational exposure because the cutting and 
removal of the component was bounded by the scenario for the proposed 
action, which was less than 1 mrem/yr. The second alternative, to 
dispose of the low-level contaminated equipment at a low-level disposal 
facility and replace the respective equipment at the Licensee's 
facility, is not a cost-effective alternative. The approval of the 
proposed action is protective of the health and safety of the public 
and is consistent with as low as reasonably achievable, and is the most 
cost-effective alternative.


    The NRC staff has concluded that the proposed action is consistent 
with the NRC's unrestricted release criteria in 10 CFR 20.1402. Because 
the proposed action will not significantly impact the quality of the 
human environment, the NRC staff concludes that the propose action is 
the preferred alternative.

Agencies and Persons Contacted

    NRC provided a draft of the Environmental Assessment to Mr. Roy 
Kemp of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, 
Division of Quality Assurance, for review on February 6, 2007. Mr. Kemp 
declined the opportunity to comment on the draft EA.
    The NRC staff has determined that the proposed action is of a 
procedural nature, and will not affect listed species or critical 
habitat. Therefore, no further consultation is required under Section 7 
of the Endangered Species Act. The NRC staff has also determined that 
the proposed action is not the type of activity that has the potential 
to cause effects on historic properties. Therefore, no further 
consultation is required under Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act.

III. Finding of No Significant Impact

    On the basis of this EA, the NRC concludes that the proposed action 
will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human 
environment. Accordingly, the NRC has determined that preparation of an 
environmental impact statement is not warranted.

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 (ADAMS), which provides text and 
image files of NRC's public documents. The documents related to this 
action are listed below, along with their ADAMS accession numbers.
    1. NRC, ``Radiological Assessment for Clearance of Materials from 
Nuclear Facilities,'' NUREG-1640, Volume 1, June 2003 (ML032250178).
    2. Title 10 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20, Subpart K, 
``Waste Disposal.''
    3. Title 10 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 40, ``Domestic 
Licensing of Source Material.''
    4. Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 51, ``Environmental 
Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and Related Regulatory 
    5. ExxonMobil, ``Radiological Survey & Dose Modeling for 
Termination of License SUB-1382'' February 10, 2006, (ML060520239).
    6. ExxonMobil, ``Justification for Free Release of F-551 Furnace in 
Support of License Termination'' July 6, 2006, (ML061910360).
    7. Flanders, Scott D., Technical Review of Title 10 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations Part 20.2002 Request by ExxonMobil, Refining & 
Supply Company, October 6, 2006, (ML062760642).
    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 e-mail to [email protected]. These documents may also be viewed 
electronically on public computers located at the NRC's PDR, O 1 F21, 
One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The 
PDR reproduction contractor will copy documents for a fee.

    Dated at Arlington, Texas, this 21st day of May 2007.

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    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
D. Blair Spitzberg,
Chief, Fuel Cycle and Decommissioning Branch, Division of Nuclear 
Materials Safety, Region IV.
 [FR Doc. E7-10260 Filed 5-25-07; 8:45 am]