[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 67 (Thursday, April 9, 2009)]
[Pages 16237-16238]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-8062]

[[Page 16237]]




Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Proposed General Electric--Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment Uranium 
Enrichment Facility

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of Intent (NOI).


SUMMARY: General Electric--Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment, LLC (GLE) 
submitted an Environmental Report (ER) on January 30, 2009, that 
proposes the construction, operation, and decommissioning of a laser-
based uranium enrichment facility. GLE proposes to locate the facility 
on the existing General Electric Company (GE)/Global Nuclear Fuel--
Americas (GNF-A) site near Wilmington, North Carolina. The U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission (NRC), in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its regulations at 10 CFR Part 51, 
announces its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 
evaluating this proposed action. The EIS will examine the potential 
environmental impacts of the proposed GLE facility.

DATES: NRC invites public comments on the appropriate scope of issues 
to be considered in the EIS. The public scoping process begins with 
publication of this NOI. Written comments submitted by mail should be 
postmarked by no later than June 8, 2009, to ensure consideration. 
Comments mailed after that date will be considered to the extent 
    The NRC will conduct two public scoping meetings in Wilmington, 
North Carolina, to assist in defining the appropriate scope of the EIS, 
and to help identify the significant environmental issues that need to 
be addressed in detail. The meeting date, times, and location are 
listed below:

--Date: May 19, 2009.
--Times: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
--Location: Warwick Center, Ballroom 1, University of North Carolina at 
Wilmington, North Carolina 28403.

ADDRESSES: Members of the public are invited and encouraged to submit 
written comments regarding the appropriate scope and content of the 
EIS. Comments may be sent to the Chief, Rules and Directives Branch, 
Mail Stop TWB 5B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001. Please note Docket No. 70-7016 when submitting comments. 
Commenters also may send comments electronically to [email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general or technical information 
associated with the licensing review of the GLE application, please 
contact Tim Johnson at (301) 492-3121 or [email protected]. For 
general information on the NRC NEPA process, or the environmental 
review process related to the GLE application, please contact 
Christianne Ridge at (301) 415-5673 or [email protected].
    Information and documents associated with the GLE project, 
including the GLE ER (submitted on January 30, 2009), are available for 
public review through NRC's electronic reading room at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. Members of the public may access the 
applicant's ER in NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management 
System (ADAMS) at accession number ML090910573.
    A copy of the applicant's ER is available for public inspection at 
the New Hanover County Library, located at 201 Chestnut Street, 
Wilmington, North Carolina 28401. Documents also may be obtained from 
NRC's Public Document Room at U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
Headquarters, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland.


1.0 Background

    On January 30, 2009, GLE submitted an ER to NRC as part of its 
application for authorization to construct and operate a laser-based 
uranium enrichment facility. To complete its license application, GLE 
must submit additional information related to facility safety in 
accordance with the Atomic Energy Act. The EIS will evaluate the 
potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed GLE 
enrichment facility. The results of the NRC's safety review will be 
documented separately in a Safety Evaluation Report. The environmental 
evaluation will be documented in draft and final EISs in accordance 
with NEPA and NRC's implementing regulations at 10 CFR Part 51.
    If NRC later finds GLE's complete license application to be 
acceptable for review, a Notice of Hearing and Opportunity to Petition 
for Leave to Intervene will be published in a future Federal Register 
notice. The purpose of the present notice is to inform the public that 
the NRC staff will prepare an EIS as part of the review of the 
application, and to encourage the public to participate in the 
environmental scoping process as defined in 10 CFR 51.29.

2.0 Proposed GLE Enrichment Facility

    The GLE facility, if licensed, would enrich uranium for use in 
manufacturing commercial nuclear fuel for use in power reactors. Feed 
material would be natural (not enriched) uranium in the form of uranium 
hexafluoride (UF6) which contains the uranium-235 isotope. 
GLE proposes to use a laser-based technology to enrich this isotope in 
the UF6 to up to 8 percent by weight. The capacity of the 
plant would be up to 6 million separative work units (SWU) [SWU relates 
to a measure of the work used to enrich uranium]. The enriched 
UF6 would be used on-site by GNF-A in its fuel fabrication 
facility and transported off-site to additional fuel fabrication 
facilities. The depleted UF6 would be stored on site until 
it is either sold, disposed of commercially, or taken by the Department 
of Energy.

3.0 Alternatives to be Evaluated

    No-Action--The no-action alternative would be to not build the 
proposed uranium enrichment facility. Under this alternative, the NRC 
would not approve the license application. This serves as a baseline 
for comparison.
    Proposed Action--The proposed action involves the construction, 
operation, and decommissioning of a laser-based uranium enrichment 
facility to be located near Wilmington, North Carolina. The applicant 
would be issued an NRC license under the provisions of 10 CFR Parts 30, 
40, and 70.
    Other alternatives not listed here may be identified through the 
scoping process.

4.0 Environmental Impact Areas to be Analyzed

    The following areas have been tentatively identified for detailed 
analysis in the EIS:

--Land Use: Plans, policies and controls;
--Transportation: Transportation modes, routes, quantities, and risk 
--Geology and Soils: Physical geography, topography, geology and soil 
--Water Resources: Surface and groundwater hydrology, water use and 
quality, and the potential for degradation;
--Ecology: Wetlands, aquatic, terrestrial, economically and 
recreationally important species, and threatened and endangered 
--Air Quality: Meteorological conditions, ambient background,

[[Page 16238]]

pollutant sources, and the potential for degradation;
--Noise: Ambient, sources, and sensitive receptors;
--Historical and Cultural Resources: Historical, archaeological, and 
traditional cultural resources;
--Visual and Scenic Resources: Landscape characteristics, manmade 
features, and viewshed;
--Socioeconomics: Demography, economic base, labor pool, housing, 
transportation, utilities, public services and facilities, education, 
recreation, and cultural resources;
--Environmental Justice: Potential disproportionately high and adverse 
impacts to minority and low-income populations;
--Public and Occupational Health: Potential public and occupational 
consequences from construction, routine operation, transportation, and 
credible accident scenarios (including natural events);
--Waste Management: Types of wastes expected to be generated, handled, 
and stored; and
--Cumulative Effects: Impacts from past, present and reasonably 
foreseeable actions at and near the site.

    This list is not intended to be all inclusive, nor is it a 
predetermination of potential environmental impacts. The list is 
presented to facilitate comments on the scope of the EIS. Changes to 
this list may occur as a result of the public scoping process.

5.0 Scoping Meetings

    One purpose of this notice is to solicit public comments on the 
proposed scope and content of the EIS. Scoping is an early and open 
process designed to determine the range of actions, alternatives, and 
potential impacts to be considered in the EIS, and to identify 
significant issues related to the proposed action. It is intended to 
solicit input from the public and other agencies so that the analysis 
can be more clearly focused on issues of genuine concern. The principal 
goals of the scoping process are to:

--Ensure that concerns are identified early and are properly studied;
--Identify alternatives to be examined;
--Identify significant issues to be analyzed;
--Eliminate unimportant issues from detailed consideration; and
--Identify public concerns.

    On May 19, 2009, the NRC will hold two public scoping meetings in 
Wilmington, North Carolina, to solicit both oral and written comments 
from interested parties. Both meetings will be transcribed to record 
public comments. The first meeting will convene at 1 p.m. and will 
continue until approximately 4 p.m. The second meeting will convene at 
7 p.m. and will continue until approximately 10 p.m. Both meetings will 
begin with NRC staff providing a description of the NRC's role and 
mission. A brief overview of the licensing process will be followed by 
a brief description of the environmental review process. Most of the 
meeting time will be allotted for attendees to make oral comments.
    In addition, the NRC staff will host informal discussions for one 
hour prior to the start of each public meeting. No formal comments on 
the proposed scope of the EIS will be accepted during the informal 
discussions. To be considered, comments must be provided either at one 
of the transcribed public meetings or in writing, as discussed below.
    Persons may register to attend or present oral comments at the 
scoping meetings by contacting Christianne Ridge at (301) 415-5673, or 
by sending e-mail to [email protected] no later than April 30, 2009. 
Members of the public may also register to speak at the meeting prior 
to the start of the session. Individual oral comments may be limited by 
the time available, depending on the number of persons who register. 
Members of the public who have not registered may also have an 
opportunity to speak, if time permits. If special equipment or 
accommodations are needed to attend or present information at the 
public meeting, please contact Christianne Ridge no later than April 
23, 2009, so that the NRC staff can determine whether the request can 
be accommodated.

6.0 Scoping Comments

    Members of the public may provide comments orally at one of the 
transcribed public scoping meetings or in writing. Written comments may 
be sent by e-mail to [email protected] or mailed to the address listed 
above in the ADDRESSES Section.
    At the conclusion of the scoping process, the NRC staff will 
prepare a summary of public comments regarding the scope of the 
environmental review and significant issues identified. NRC staff will 
send this summary to each participant in the scoping process for whom 
the staff has an address. This summary and project-related material 
will be available for public review through our electronic reading 
room: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. The scoping meeting 
summaries and project-related materials will also be available on NRC's 
GLE Web page: http://www.nrc.gov/materials/fuel-cycle-fac/laser.html 
(case sensitive).

7.0 The NEPA Process

    The EIS for the GLE facility will be prepared pursuant to the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and NRC's NEPA Regulations at 
10 CFR Part 51. After the scoping process is complete, NRC and its 
contractor will prepare and publish a draft EIS. A 45-day public 
comment period on the draft EIS is planned, and public meetings to 
receive comments will be held approximately three weeks after 
publication of the draft EIS. Availability of the draft EIS, the dates 
of the public comment period, and information about the public meetings 
will be announced in the Federal Register, on NRC's GLE Web page, and 
in the local news media. The final EIS will include responses to any 
comments received on the draft EIS.

    Signed in Rockville, Maryland, this 2nd day of April 2009.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Patrice M. Bubar,
Director, Environmental Protection and Performance Assessment 
Directorate, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, 
Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management 
 [FR Doc. E9-8062 Filed 4-8-09; 8:45 am]