[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 12 (Wednesday, January 20, 2010)]
[Pages 3261-3262]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-955]



[Docket No. 40-9075; NRC-2009-0575]

Powertech (USA) Inc.; Dewey-Burdock Project; New Source Material 
License Application; Notice of Intent To Prepare a Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of Intent (NOI).


SUMMARY: By letter dated August 10, 2009, Powertech (USA) (Powertech) 
submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) an 
application for a new source material license. The requested license, 
or the proposed action, would authorize the construction, operation, 
and decommissioning of Powertech's proposed in-situ uranium recovery 
(ISR, also known as in-situ leach) facilities, and would require 
restoration of the aquifer from which the uranium would be extracted. 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 January 05, 2010 (75 
FR 467-471).
    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) regarding the proposed action. The SEIS will 
tier off of the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for In-Situ 
Leach Uranium Milling Facilities (ISR GEIS) that was published in 2009. 
As outlined in 36 CFR 800.8, ``Coordination with the National 
Environmental Policy Act,'' the NRC plans to use the environmental 
review process set forth in its 10 CFR Part 51 regulations to 
coordinate compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information on the NRC 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process or the environmental 
review process related to the Dewey- Burdock Uranium Project 
application, please contact the NRC Environmental Project Manager, 
Haimanot Yilma, at (301) 415-8029 or [email protected].
    Information and documents associated with the Dewey-Burdock Uranium 
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 Dewey-Burdock Uranium Project web page: 
http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/materials/uranium/apps-in-review/dewey-burdock-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.


1.0 Background

    Powertech submitted its application for a 10 CFR Part 40 license by 
letter dated August 10, 2009. 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 January 5, 2010 (75 FR 
    The NRC is required by 10 CFR 51.20(b)(8) to prepare an 
environmental impact statement (EIS) or 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 will meet this 
regulatory requirement. The purpose of this NOI is to inform the public 
that the

[[Page 3262]]

NRC staff, as part of its review of Powertech's application, is 
preparing a draft SEIS for public comment that will tier off of the ISR 
GEIS (NUREG-1910). While NRC's Part 51 regulations do not require 
scoping for SEISs, the NRC staff is planning to place ads in newspapers 
serving communities near the proposed site, requesting information and 
comments from the public regarding the proposed action. NRC staff may 
also use relevant information gathered during scoping for the GEIS to 
define the scope of the SEIS. In preparing the SEIS, the NRC staff is 
consulting with Bureau of Land Management; Region 8 Environmental 
Protection Agency; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers; South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural 
Resources; South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office; potentially 
interested Tribes and public interest groups; South Dakota Game and 
Fish Department; and the Forest Service.
    The NRC has begun evaluating the potential environmental impacts 
associated with the proposed ISR facility in parallel with the ongoing 
safety review of the license application. The environmental evaluation 
will be documented in draft and final SEISs in accordance with NEPA and 
NRC's implementing regulations contained in 10 CFR Part 51.

2.0 Dewey-Burdock ISR Facilities

    The facilities, if licensed, would include a central processing 
plant, satellite facility, accompanying wellfields (including injection 
and production wells), and ion exchange columns. The ISR 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 injection wells. The uranium-rich solution is transferred from 
production wells to either the central processing plant or satellite 
facility for uranium concentration using ion exchange columns. Final 
processing is conducted in the central processing plant to produce 
yellowcake, which would be sold to offsite facilities for further 
processing and eventual use as commercial fuel in nuclear power 

3.0 Alternatives To Be Evaluated

    No-Action--The no-action alternative would be to deny the license 
application. Under this alternative, the NRC would not issue the 
license. This serves as a baseline for comparison.
    Proposed action--The proposed federal action is to issue a license 
authorizing the possession and use of source material at the proposed 
ISR facilities. The license review process analyzes the safety and 
environmental issues related to the construction, operation, and 
decommissioning of the ISR facilities, and the restoration of the 
aquifer from which the uranium would be extracted. The ISR facilities 
would be located near Edgemont, South Dakota in Custer and Fall River 
Counties. 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 
     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 
     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 
     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 Dewey-Burdock Uranium Project will be prepared 
pursuant to the NRC's NEPA regulations at 10 CFR Part 51. The NRC will 
conduct its environmental review of the application and as soon as 
practicable, the NRC and its contractor will prepare and publish a 
draft SEIS. The 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 12th day of January, 2010.
    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 
[FR Doc. 2010-955 Filed 1-19-10; 8:45 am]