[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 87 (Thursday, May 7, 2009)]
[Pages 21414-21417]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-10620]



[Docket No. 030-10716; NRC-2008-0662]

Notice of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant 
Impact Related to the Issuance of a License Amendment to Byproduct 
Material License No. 24-16273-01, for the Sigma-Aldrich Company, St. 
Louis, MO

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

[[Page 21415]]

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


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mike McCann, Senior Health Physicist, 
Materials Control, ISFSI, and Decommissioning Branch, Division of 
Nuclear Materials Safety, Region III, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, 2443 Warrenville Road, Lisle, Illinois 60532; telephone: 
(630) 829-9856.


I. Introduction

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the 
issuance of an amendment to amend NRC Byproduct Materials License No. 
24-16273-01, which is held by The Sigma-Aldrich Company (licensee). The 
issuance of the amendment would approve the licensee's decommissioning 
plan (DP) (ML083010187), which describes decommissioning activities 
that will be performed at the licensee's Fort Mims Facility located at 
11542 Fort Mims Drive, City of Maryland Heights, Missouri (the 
    The NRC has prepared an 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). Based on 
the EA, the NRC has concluded that a Finding of No Significant Impact 
(FONSI) is appropriate with respect to the proposed action. The 
amendment will be issued to the licensee following the publication of 
this FONSI and EA in the Federal Register.

II. Environmental Assessment

Identification of Proposed Action

    On October 22, 2008, the licensee notified the NRC that it had 
permanently ceased operating activities at the Facility, and provided a 
decommissioning plan (DP) (ML083010187) for NRC approval to authorize 
decommissioning activities in accordance with the requirements of 10 
CFR 30.36 (g). The NRC issued a Federal Register Notice (FRN), 
announcing Sigma-Aldrich Company's license amendment request, and 
providing opportunity to request a hearing. 73 FR 79520 (Dec. 29, 
2008). No hearing requests were submitted.
    On December 10, 2008, and March 11, 2009, after review of the 
licensee's DP, the NRC staff requested additional information 
(ML090150318 and ML090770368, respectively), which resulted in 
revisions to the DP, (ML090500166, ML083510270, and ML090850311, 
respectively). The licensee proposes to decommission the Fort Mims 
Facility to permit the release of the site for unrestricted use, as 
governed by the License Termination Rule (LTR), Subpart E of Title 10 
of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 20.1402 ``Radiological 
Criteria for Unrestricted Use.''
    The NRC approved the licensee's Fort Mims Facility as an approved 
location of use on November 11, 1974. The NRC issued license no. 24-
16273-01 to Pathfinder Laboratories authorizing the possession of 
carbon-14 and hydrogen-3 for synthesis of labeled compounds for 
commercial distribution at the Fort Mims Facility. On July 22, 1987, 
the NRC issued Amendment No. 08 to License 24-16273-01, changing the 
licensee name and ownership of the Fort Mims Facility from Pathfinder 
Laboratories to Sigma Chemical Company. NRC License Amendment 15, dated 
March 13, 2002, changed the name from Sigma Chemical Company to Sigma-
Aldrich Company. The licensee is currently operating under Radioactive 
Materials License Amendment No.16, with an expiration date of March 31, 
    The Fort Mims Facility is approximately 3.3 miles east southeast 
and 16 miles west of the city center of the city of St. Louis, 
Missouri. The population of the cities of Maryland Heights and St. 
Louis are approximately 26,000 and 356,000, respectively. The Facility 
is bordered by Interstates 70 to the north, 270 to the west, 170 to the 
east, and 44 to the south. The current land use in the area is 
primarily industrial and urban components. Residential use of the 
Sigma-Aldrich site in the near future is considered unlikely due to 
local zoning restrictions. The facility was constructed in two phases 
beginning in the late 1960s. The Sigma-Aldrich Company expanded the 
original Pathfinder building in 1981 to its current configuration. The 
only effluent discharge points were via a facility exhaust stack, and a 
septic tank, which was buried under subsequent building additions. The 
use of the septic system stopped in July 1981 when the facility was 
connected to the Saint Louis Metropolitan Sewer district.
    The licensee's decommissioning project will transition through four 
major phases. The first phase involves the remediation of the Fort Mims 
building, which will include removal of all office and laboratory 
materials and equipment, and ventilation and waste disposal systems. 
The second phase involves the demolition of the Fort Mims building down 
to the building slab, which won't occur until verification that the 
building meets the NRC's unrestricted use dose limits specified in 10 
CFR Part 20, Sec.  20.1402. The third phase involves the licensee's 
decommissioning contractor performing soil borings to localize and 
characterize the nonfunctional septic tank. The contractor will remove 
the septic tank if characterization data determines that the 
radiological levels in the soil in and around the septic tank are above 
the NRC unrestricted use limits specified in NUREG-1757, Vol. 2, 
Appendix H, ``Screening Values pCi/g of Common Radionuclides for Soil 
Surface Contamination Levels'' (ML053260027). The final phase is the 
conduct of the final status survey. The licensee projects that the 
total remediation and decommissioning time will require approximately 
12 weeks after the licensee's decommissioning contractor has mobilized 
to the site.
    The licensee's objective for the decommissioning project, as 
described in the DP, is to remediate residual contamination in affected 
buildings or any other areas sufficiently to enable unrestricted use, 
while ensuring exposures to occupational workers and the public during 
the decommissioning are maintained as low as reasonably achievable 
(ALARA). The Sigma-Aldrich Company's DP proposes to use Derived 
Concentration Guideline Levels (DCGLs) that are screening values 
developed by NRC (65 FR 37186, June 13, 2000) to demonstrate compliance 
with the radiological criteria for unrestricted use in 10 CFR 20.1402. 
The 10CFR20.1402 criteria specifies that the Total Effective Dose 
Equivalent (TEDE) received by an average member of the critical group 
from residual radioactivity can not exceed 25 mrem per year (mrem/y) 
and that the residual radioactivity has been reduced to levels that are 
as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA). Two radionuclides (carbon-14 
and hydrogen-3) were identified as relevant to the decontamination 
activities at the Fort Mims Facility and site. The areas being 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 (ML082470583).
    The licensee established in the DP a commitment to use a lower 
administrative dose limit of 10 mrem/y as the basis for determining the 
site release criteria for decontamination and decommissioning of the 
Facility. To achieve this goal, the licensee committed to limiting 
contamination levels on building surfaces to approximately forty per 
cent of the NRC

[[Page 21416]]

default screening values specified in NUREG-1757, Volume 2, Appendix H. 
The acceptable screening levels for unrestricted release for carbon-14 
and hydrogen-3, specified in Appendix H are 3.7 E+6 and 1.2E+8 
disintegrations per minute per 100 centimeters squared (dpm/100 cm\2\), 
respectively. The licensee's administrative limits for carbon-14 and 
hydrogen-3 are 1.48 E+6 and 4.8 E+7 dpm/100 cm\2\, respectively or 
evaluation and release of surface soils, the licensee provided DCGL 
values for carbon-14 and hydrogen-3, the only 2 radionuclides 
identified as potential soil contaminants for the Fort Mims site. Using 
the screening analysis approach, the DCGLs for carbon-14 and hydrogen-3 
were taken directly from Appendix H of NUREG-1757, Vol. 2, Table H.2. 
The default screening values were 12 and 110 picocuries per gram (pCi/
g) for carbon-14 and hydrogen-3, respectively. As with the building 
surface DCGL values each of the above default surface soil DCGL values 
represents the activity equivalent to a dose of 25 mrem/year.

Need for the Proposed Action

    The purpose of the proposed action is to reduce residual 
radioactivity at the Sigma-Aldrich Company's Fort Mims Facility and 
site to a level that permits release of the property for unrestricted 
use. The NRC is fulfilling its responsibility under the Atomic Energy 
Act to make a decision on a proposed action for decommissioning that 
ensures protection of the public health and safety and the environment. 
The application for license amendment and NRC approval is necessary for 
the licensee to proceed with the decommissioning activities as required 
by the timeliness requirements of 10 CFR 30.36(g). A change to the 
current license is necessary, since no decommissioning activities are 
presently authorized.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC staff has reviewed the decommissioning plan for the Sigma-
Aldrich Company's Facility 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 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). Additionally, no non-radiological impacts 
were identified. The staff also finds that the proposed decommissioning 
of the Sigma-Aldrich Company's Fort Mims site is in compliance with 10 
CFR 20.1402, the radiological criteria for unrestricted use.
    Contamination controls will be implemented during decommissioning 
to prevent airborne and surface contamination from escaping the 
remediation work areas, and therefore, no release of airborne 
contamination is anticipated. However, the potential will exist for 
generating airborne effluents during removal and handling of 
contaminated materials. If produced, any effluents from the proposed 
decommissioning activities would be treated to meet the requirements in 
10 CFR Part 20. Radioactive waste (e.g., HEPA filters, metals and 
concrete cuttings, etc.) will be containerized onsite pending shipment 
to a licensed radioactive waste treatment or disposal facility. No 
liquid effluents are expected to be generated during decommissioning.
    The Sigma-Aldrich Company will use a decommissioning subcontractor 
to perform remediation activities at the Facility. The contractor will 
perform these activities under the authority of an NRC Agreement State 
license issued by the State of Massachusetts (Massachusetts Materials 
License No. 56-0543). The Sigma-Aldrich Company will oversee the 
activities and will maintain primary responsibility for the 
decommissioning project. The contractor has developed adequate 
radiation protection procedures and capabilities and will implement an 
acceptable program to keep exposure to radioactive materials ALARA. As 
noted above, Sigma-Aldrich Company has prepared a DP describing the 
work to be performed, and work activities are not anticipated to result 
in a dose to workers or the public in excess of the 10 CFR Part 20 
limits. NRC's past experience with decommissioning activities at sites 
similar to the Sigma-Aldrich Company site indicate that public and 
worker exposure will be far below the limits in 10 CFR Part 20, 
``Standards for Protection Against Radiation.''

Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    The no action alternative would leave the site in its existing 
condition without decommissioning, which would keep the licensed 
material onsite, without disposal. This alternative would increase the 
radiological risk to the local community and the environment. This 
alternative is not acceptable because it will result in violation of 
NRC's Timeliness Rule (10 CFR 30.36), which requires licensees to 
remove licensed materials onsite during decommissioning of their 
facilities when licensed activities cease, and to request termination 
of their radioactive materials license.


    The NRC staff has concluded that the proposed action complies with 
10 CFR Part 20 ``Standards for Protection Against Radiation.'' Further, 
the decommissioning of the Fort Mims Facility and site to the DCGLs 
proposed for this action reduces the residual contamination levels at 
the site, enabling release of the site for unrestricted use and will 
allow the termination of the radioactive materials license. The NRC 
does not expect any radiologically contaminated effluents to be 
released during the decommissioning. The occupational doses to 
decommissioning workers are expected to be low and well within the 
limits of 10 CFR Part 20. No radiation exposure to any member of the 
public is expected, and public exposure would therefore, also be less 
than the applicable public exposure limits of 10 CFR Part 20.
    Because the proposed action will not significantly impact the 
quality of the human environment, the NRC staff concludes that the 
proposed action is the preferred alternative.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    The NRC staff consulted with the Missouri Department of Health and 
Senior Services on December 1, 2008, regarding review of the DP, and on 
April 15, 2009, regarding this Environmental Assessment (EA) for the 
license amendment to authorize decommissioning activities. The State 
Department of Health and Senior Services is the State's Radiation 
Protection Agency, and has been routinely informed of NRC's intention 
to approve the completion of decommissioning at the Sigma-Aldrich 
Company Site. The State informed the NRC on April 15, 2009, that they 
had no comments on either the Sigma-Aldrich Company DP or EA.
    The NRC staff consulted with the Missouri Department of 
Conservation, Wildlife Division, Endangered Species, on March 5, 2009, 
(ML090640890) as required by Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. 
The purpose of the call was to ensure that the licensing action is 
``not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered 
species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of the habitat of such species.'' The

[[Page 21417]]

Missouri Wildlife Division staff indicated that based on their review 
and knowledge of current documents relating to possible endangered 
species that the decommissioning and release of the Sigma Aldrich 
Company building located in Maryland Heights, Missouri as discussed 
would not affect any endangered species.
    The NRC staff consulted with the Missouri Department of Natural 
Resources, as required by Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act. The Act requires the NRC to meet certain requirements 
in the protection of cultural and historical resources. In a March 19, 
2009 (ML090860375) letter from the Department of Natural Resource's 
State Historic Preservation Office, Director and Deputy State Historic 
Preservation Officer, the State indicated that ``We have reviewed the 
information provided concerning the above referenced project. Based on 
this review we concur that the Sigma Aldrich Chemical Company is not 
eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. In 
our opinion, the property has been extensively disturbed, and there is 
little potential for the occurrence of archaeological sites. We concur 
that there will be no historic properties affected and we have no 
objection to the initiation of project activities.''

III. Finding of No Significant Impact

    The NRC staff has prepared this EA in support of the proposed 
action. On the basis of this EA, the NRC finds that there are no 
significant environmental impacts from the proposed action, and that 
preparation of an environmental impact statement is not warranted. 
Accordingly, the NRC has determined that a Finding of No Significant 
Impact is appropriate.

IV. Further Information

    Documents related to this action, including the application for 
license 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 Documents 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.
    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 the 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.
    1. U.S. NRC, ``Consolidated NMSS Decommissioning Guidance, 
Decommissioning Process for Materials Licensees,'' NUREG-1757:
     Volume 1, Decommissioning Process for Materials Licensees 
     Volume 2, Characterization, Survey, and Determination of 
Radiological Criteria (ML053260027)
     Volume 3, Financial Assurance, Record Keeping, and 
Timeliness (ML032471471)
    2. U.S. NRC, ``Multi-Agency Radiation Survey and Site Investigation 
Manual (MARSSIM),'' NUREG-1575, Revision 1, August 2000 (ML082470583)
    3. October 22, 2008, Letter from Sigma-Aldrich Company to NRC 
Region III, ``Subject: Timely Notification of Cessation of Licensed 
Activities and Submittal of Decontamination and Decommissioning Plan'' 
    4. October 22, 2008, Document from Sigma-Aldrich Company to NRC 
Region III, ``Subject: Sigma-Aldrich--Health Physics and Instrument 
Operations Procedures--Table of Contents'' (ML083010203)
    5. October 22, 2008, Document from Sigma-Aldrich Company to NRC 
Region III, ``Subject: Sigma-Aldrich, Decommissioning Plan Checklist'' 
    6. October 23, 2008, NRC Region III Inspection Report for Sigma-
Aldrich Company, ``Subject: Form 591M IR 03010716-08-001 on 10/22-24/
2008, Sigma-Aldrich Company'' (ML083080152)
    7. November 24, 2008, NRC Region III letter to Sigma-Aldrich 
Company, ``Subject: Acknowledgement of Receipt of DP for the Fort Mims 
Facility and Acceptance for Technical Review for Amendment to License, 
Control No. 317645'' (ML083450660)
    8. December 10, 2008, NRC Region III Trip Report and Request for 
Additional Information (RAI) regarding Sigma-Aldrich Company, 
``Subject: December 10, 2008, Decommissioning Plan License Meeting and 
NRC RAI'' (ML090150318)
    9. December 15, 2008, Sigma-Aldrich Company letter to NRC Region 
III, ``Subject: Request to NRC for Permission to Proceed with the Open 
Land Soil Sampling and Analysis Plan'' (ML083510259)
    10. December 15, 2008, Sigma-Aldrich Company letter to NRC Region 
III, ``Subject: Notification of Revised Decommissioning Plan to 
Incorporate Phased Remediation'' (ML083510270)
    11. December 16, 2008, NRC Region III Inspection Report for Sigma-
Aldrich Company, ``Subject: Form 591M IR-03017016-08-002 on 12/10/08 & 
12/11/08, Sigma-Aldrich Company'' (ML083530478)
    12. December 19, 2008, NRC Region III issued Federal Register 
Notice, ``Subject: Notice of Amendment Request for Decommissioning of 
the Sigma-Aldrich Chemical Company's Fort Mims Facility, Maryland 
Heights, Missouri and Opportunity to Request a Hearing'' (ML083430580)
    13. January 23, 2009, NRC Region III letter to Sigma-Aldrich 
Company, ``Subject: Approval for Sigma-Aldrich Fort Mims facility to 
proceed with Soil Sampling and Analysis Plan under authority of 
Philotechnics license'' (ML090270093)
    14. February 6, 2009, Sigma-Aldrich Company letter to NRC Region 
III, ``Subject: Response to Request for Additional Information 
Regarding Staff Review of Decommissioning Plan Dated October 22, 2008'' 
    15. March 5, 2009, NRC Region III Telephone Conversation Record 
with State of Missouri Department of Conservation, ``Subject: 
Consultation with State of Missouri Department of Conservation, 
Regarding Endangered Species'' (ML090640890)
    16. March 6 & 11, 2009, NRC Region III Telephone Conversation 
Record with Sigma-Aldrich Company, ``Subject: Discussion Regarding 
Request for Additional Information Responses from Sigma-Aldrich for 
Review of Decommissioning Plan'' (ML090770368)
    17. March 19, 2009, State of Missouri Department of Natural 
Resources letter to NRC Region III, ``Subject: Completion of the 
Section 106 Review for Sigma-Aldrich Decommissioning Project by the 
State Historic Preservation Office with No Findings of Historic 
Properties Affected'' (ML090860375)

    Dated at Lisle, Illinois, this 28th day of April 2009.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
William G. Snell,
Acting Chief, Materials Control, ISFSI, and Decommissioning Branch, 
Division of Nuclear Materials Safety, Region III.
[FR Doc. E9-10620 Filed 5-6-09; 8:45 am]