[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 170 (Thursday, September 3, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 45656-45657]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-21285]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 40-9068; NRC-2008-0391]


Lost Creek ISR, LLC; Lost Creek In-Situ Recovery Project; New 
Source Material License Application; Notice of Intent To Prepare a 
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of Intent (NOI).

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SUMMARY: Lost Creek ISR, LLC (LCI) submitted an application for a new 
source material license for the Lost Creek In-Situ Recovery (ISR) 
Project to be located in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, approximately 70 
miles southeast of Lander, Wyoming and approximately 40 miles northwest 
of Rawlins, Wyoming. The application proposes the construction, 
operation, and decommissioning of ISR, also known as in-situ leach, 
facilities and restoration of the aquifer from which the uranium is 
being extracted. LCI submitted the application for the new source 
material license to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) by a 
letter dated March 31, 2008. A notice of receipt and availability of 
the license application, including the Environmental Report (ER), and 
opportunity to request a hearing was published in the Federal Register 
on July 10, 2008 (73 FR 39728). The purpose of this notice of intent is 
to inform the public that the NRC will be preparing a site-specific 
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to the Generic 
Environmental Impact Statement for In-Situ Leach Uranium Milling 
Facilities (ISR GEIS) for a new source material license for the Lost 
Creek ISR Project, as required by 10 CFR 51.26(d). In addition, as 
outlined in 36 CFR 800.8, ``Coordination with the National 
Environmental Policy Act,'' the NRC plans to use the environmental 
review process as reflected in 10 CFR Part 51 to coordinate compliance 
with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information on the NRC 
NEPA or the environmental review process related to the Lost Creek ISR 
Project application, please contact the NRC Environmental Project 
Manager, Alan B. Bjornsen, at (301) 415-1195 or Alan.Bjornsen@nrc.gov.
    Information and documents associated with the Lost Creek ISR 
Project, including the license application, are available for public 
review through our electronic reading room: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html and on the NRC's Lost Creek Site Web page: http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/materials/uranium/apps-in-review/lost creek-
new-app-review.html. Documents may also be obtained from NRC's Public 
Document Room at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Headquarters, 
11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

1.0 Background

    LCI submitted the application for the new source material license 
to the NRC for ISR facilities by a letter dated March 31, 2008. A 
notice of receipt and availability of the license application, 
including the ER, and opportunity to request a hearing was published in 
the Federal Register on July 10, 2008 (73 FR 39728). No requests for 
hearing were submitted.
    The NRC originally planned to document this environmental 
evaluation in draft and final Environmental Assessments (EAs). However, 
during the development of the final ISR GEIS, NRC decided to prepare an 
SEIS that will tier off of the ISR GEIS for applications to license new 
ISR facilities. This environmental evaluation for the Lost Creek ISR 
Project will now be documented in draft and final SEISs instead of an 
EA. While NRC regulations do not require scoping under 10 CFR Part 51 
for SEISs, NRC staff met with Federal (Bureau of Land Management--
Cheyenne, Casper, Rawlins; Bureau of Indian Affairs--Fort Washakie; 
Fish & Wildlife Service--Rawlins), State (Wyoming Department of 
Environmental Quality--Cheyenne, Lander; State Engineer's Office; 
Wyoming Department of Game & Fish--Lander; Governor's Planning Office; 
State Historic Preservation Office) and local government agencies 
(Sweetwater County Planning Department; Sweetwater County Engineers' 
Office; Fremont County Planning Department; Town of Bairoil) and public 
organizations (Lander Chamber of Commerce; Wyoming Community 
Development Authority) in January of 2009 as part of a site visit to 
gather site-specific information to assist in the preparation of the 
Lost Creek ISR Project environmental review. NRC also contacted 
potentially interested Tribes and local public interest groups via e-
mail and telephone to gather additional information.
    The NRC has begun evaluating the potential environmental impacts 
associated with the proposed ISR facility in parallel with the review 
of the license application. This environmental evaluation will be 
documented in draft and final SEISs in accordance with NRC's NEPA 
implementing regulations contained in 10 CFR Part 51. The NRC is 
required by 10 CFR 51.20(b)(8) to prepare an Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) or a supplement to an EIS for the issuance of a license 
to possess and use source material for uranium milling. The ISR GEIS 
and the site-specific SEIS fulfills this regulatory requirement. The 
purpose of the present notice is to inform the public that the NRC 
staff will prepare a site-specific supplement to the ISR GEIS (NUREG-
1910) as part of the review of the application.

2.0 Lost Creek ISR Facilities

    The facilities, if licensed, would include a central processing 
plant, accompanying wellfields, and ion exchange columns. The process 
involves the dissolution of the water-soluble uranium from the 
mineralized host sandstone rock by pumping oxidants (oxygen or hydrogen 
peroxide) and chemical compounds (sodium bicarbonate) through a series 
of production and extraction wells. The uranium-rich solution is 
transferred from the production wells to the central processing plant 
for uranium concentration using ion exchange columns. Processing is 
conducted in the central processing plant to produce a yellowcake 
slurry that will be transported to another ISR facility for final 
processing into a dry yellowcake.

[[Page 45657]]

3.0 Alternatives To Be Evaluated

    No-Action--The no-action alternative would be not to issue the 
license. Under this alternative, the NRC would not approve the license 
application for the proposed ISR facility. This serves as a baseline 
for comparison.
    Proposed action--The proposed Federal action is to issue a license 
to use or process source material at the proposed ISR facility. The 
license review process analyzes the construction, operation, and 
decommissioning of ISR facility and restoration of the aquifer from 
which the uranium is being extracted. The ISR facility would be located 
in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, approximately 70 miles southeast of 
Lander, Wyoming and approximately 40 miles northwest of Rawlins, 
Wyoming. The applicant would be issued an NRC license under the 
provisions of 10 CFR Part 40.
    Other alternatives not listed here may be identified through the 
environmental review process.

4.0 Environmental Impact Areas To Be Analyzed

    The following areas have been tentatively identified for analysis 
in the SEIS:
     Land Use: Plans, policies, and controls;
     Transportation: Transportation modes, routes, quantities, 
and risk estimates;
     Geology and Soils: Physical geography, topography, 
geology, and soil characteristics;
     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 
species;
     Air Quality: Meteorological conditions, ambient 
background, 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/facilities, and 
education;
     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(s).
    This list is not intended to be all inclusive, nor is it a 
predetermination of potential environmental impacts.

5.0 The NEPA Process

    The SEIS for the Lost Creek ISR Project will be prepared pursuant 
to the NRC's NEPA Regulations at 10 CFR Part 51. The NRC will continue 
its environmental review of the application and as soon as practicable, 
the NRC and its contractor will prepare and publish a draft SEIS. NRC 
currently plans to have a 45-day public comment period for the draft 
SEIS. Availability of the draft SEIS and the dates of the public 
comment period will be announced in the Federal Register and the NRC 
Web site: http://www.nrc.gov. The final SEIS will include responses to 
public comments received on the draft SEIS.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 25th day of August 2009.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Patrice M. Bubar,
Deputy Director, Environmental Protection and Performance Assessment 
Directorate, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, 
Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management 
Programs.
[FR Doc. E9-21285 Filed 9-2-09; 8:45 am]
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