[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 122 (Friday, June 25, 2010)]
[Pages 36447-36449]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-15445]




Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Impact Statement 
and Public Meetings for the General Electric-Hitachi Global Laser 
Enrichment, LLC Proposed Laser-Based Uranium Enrichment Facility

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Impact Statement.


SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission (NRC) is issuing for public comment a Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed General Electric-Hitachi (GEH) 
Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) Uranium Enrichment Facility. On June 26, 
2009, GEH submitted a license application that proposes the 
construction, operation, and decommissioning of a laser-based uranium 
enrichment facility located near Wilmington, North Carolina. GEH 
proposes to locate the facility on the existing General Electric 
Company (GE) site near Wilmington, North Carolina (Wilmington Site).
    GEH submitted an Environmental Report (ER) in support of the 
proposed facility on January 30, 2009. On May 8, 2009, the NRC granted 
an exemption to authorize GEH to conduct certain preconstruction 
activities on the Wilmington Site. GEH submitted Supplement 1 to its ER 
on July 22, 2009, GLE Environmental Report Supplement 1--Early 
Construction. Supplement 1 distinguishes between the environmental 
impacts of preconstruction activities covered by the May 8, 2009, 
exemption and NRC-licensed construction activities, which cannot be 
undertaken unless a license is granted. On November 13, 2009, GLE 
submitted Supplement 2 to its ER, GLE Environmental Report Supplement 
2--Revised Roadway and Entrance. Supplement 2 provides information 
describing the environmental impacts associated with developing an 
entrance and roadway into the Wilmington Site that are different from 
those proposed in the original ER.
    This DEIS is being issued as part of the NRC's process to decide 
whether to issue a license to GEH, pursuant to Title 10 of the U.S. 
Code of Federal Regulations Parts 30, 40, and 70, to build and operate 
the proposed uranium enrichment facility. Specifically, GEH proposes to 
use laser-based technology to enrich the uranium-235 isotope found in 
natural uranium to concentrations up to 8 percent by weight. The 
enriched uranium would be used to manufacture nuclear fuel for 
commercial nuclear power reactors.
    The NRC staff will hold two public meetings on July 22, 2010 to 
present an overview of the licensing process and the contents of the 
DEIS, and to accept oral and written public comments on the DEIS. The 
meetings will take place in Ballroom 5 of the Warwick Center at the 
University of North Carolina Wilmington. Prior to each public meeting, 
the NRC staff will be available to informally discuss the proposed GLE 
project and answer questions in an ``open house'' format. This ``open 
house'' format provides for one-on-one discussions with the NRC staff 
involved with the preparation of the DEIS. The DEIS meetings officially 
begin at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The meetings will include the 
following agenda items: (1) A brief presentation summarizing the NRC 
licensing review, (2) a presentation summarizing the contents of the 
DEIS, and (3) an opportunity for interested government agencies, 
organizations, and individuals to provide comments on the DEIS. Both 
public meetings will be transcribed by a court reporter.
    Persons wishing to provide oral comments will be asked to register 
at the meeting entrance. Individual oral comments may have to be 
limited by the time available, depending upon the number of persons who 
register. If special equipment or accommodations are needed to attend 
or present information at the public meetings, the

[[Page 36448]]

need should be brought to the attention of Ms. Jennifer Davis no later 
than July 8, 2010, to provide NRC staff with adequate notice to 
determine whether the request can be accommodated. Please note that 
comments do not have to be provided at the public meetings and may be 
submitted at any time during the comment period, as described in the 
DATES section of this notice. Any interested party may submit comments 
on the DEIS for consideration by NRC staff. Comments may be submitted 
by any of the methods described in the ADDRESSES section of this 

DATES: The public comment period on the DEIS begins on the date of 
publication of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's Federal 
Register Notice of Filing and ends on August 9, 2010. To ensure 
consideration, comments on the DEIS and the proposed action must be 
received or postmarked by August 9, 2010. The NRC staff will consider 
comments received or postmarked after that date to the extent 
    The NRC will conduct two public meetings in Wilmington, North 
Carolina. The meeting date, times, and location are listed below:
    Meeting Date: July 22, 2010.
    Meeting Location: Warwick Center, Ballroom 5, 601 S. College Rd., 
University of North Carolina Wilmington, North Carolina, 28403.
    Informal Open House Sessions: 1:30-2:30 p.m. and 6:30-7:30 p.m.
    DEIS Comment Meetings: 2:30-5 p.m. and 7:30-10 p.m.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any one of the following methods. 
Please include Docket ID NRC-2009-0157 in the subject line of your 
    Electronic mail: Comments may be mailed to [email protected].
    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Comments can be submitted 
electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. Search for documents 
filed under Docket ID NRC-2009-0157. Address questions about NRC 
dockets to Carol Gallagher 301-492-3668; e-mail 
[email protected].
    Mail: Comments may be submitted by sending mail to Cindy Bladey, 
Chief, Rules, Announcements, and Directives Branch (RADB), Division of 
Administrative Services, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: TWB-05-
B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, or 
by fax to RADB at (301) 492-3446.
    Comments submitted in writing or in electronic form will be posted 
on the NRC Web site and on the Federal Rulemaking Web site http://www.regulations.gov. Because comments will not be edited to remove any 
identifying or contact information, the NRC cautions you against 
including any information in your submission that you do not want to be 
publicly disclosed. The NRC requests that any party soliciting or 
aggregating comments received from other persons for submission to the 
NRC inform those persons that the NRC will not edit their comments to 
remove any identifying or contact information, and therefore, they 
should not include any information in their comments that they do not 
want publicly disclosed.
    Document Availability: Publicly available documents related to this 
notice can be accessed using any the methods described in this section. 
One appendix of the DEIS contains Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards 
Information (SUNSI) and has been withheld from public inspection in 
accordance with 10 CFR 2.390, Availability of Public Records. This 
appendix contains proprietary business information as well as security-
related information. The NRC staff has considered the information in 
this appendix in forming the conclusions presented in the publicly-
available version of the document. Procedures for obtaining access to 
SUNSI were published in the NRC's Notice of Hearing and Commission 
Order (75 FR 1819).
    NRC's Public Document Room (PDR): Publicly-available portions of 
GEH's application, safety analysis report, environmental report, 
supplements to its environmental report, and NRC's DEIS are available 
to the public at the Commission's Public Document Room (PDR), located 
at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), 
Rockville, Maryland, 20852. Members of the public can contact the NRC's 
PDR reference staff by calling 1-800-397-4209, by faxing a request to 
301-415-3548, or by e-mail to [email protected]. Hard copies of the 
documents are available from the PDR for a fee.
    GLE Web site: Documents related to this notice also are available 
on the NRC's GE Laser Enrichment Facility Licensing Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/materials/fuel-cycle-fac/laser.html#2a.
    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): 
Members of the public can access the NRC's Agencywide Documents Access 
and Management System (ADAMS) at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this Web site, enter the accession numbers included 
here for GEH's license application (ML091871003), the exemption 
authorizing certain preconstruction activities (ML083510647), GEH's 
Environmental Report (ML090910573), Supplement 1 to the Environmental 
Report (ML092100577), Supplement 2 to the Environmental Report 
(ML093240135), and NRC's DEIS (ML101680345).
    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Public comments and supporting 
materials related to this notice can be found at http://www.regulations.gov by searching on Docket ID: NRC-2009-0157.
    The DEIS for the proposed GLE Facility may be accessed on the 
internet at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/sr1938. Copies of the DEIS also will be available at the New Hanover 
County Library, 201 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, North Carolina, 28401.

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 
information about the DEIS or environmental review process, please 
contact Jennifer A. Davis at (301) 415-3835 or [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This DEIS was prepared in response to an 
application submitted by GEH dated June 26, 2009. The application 
proposes the construction, operation, and decommissioning of the 
proposed GLE Facility, to be located near Wilmington, North Carolina. 
The DEIS was prepared by the NRC and its contractor, Argonne National 
Laboratory, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended, (NEPA) and the NRC's regulations for implementing 
NEPA (10 CFR Part 51).
    The DEIS is being issued as part of the NRC's process to decide 
whether to issue a license to GEH, pursuant to Title 10 of the U.S. 
Code of Federal Regulations Parts 30, 40, and 70. The scope of 
activities conducted under the license would include the construction, 
operation, and decommissioning of the proposed GLE Facility. 
Specifically, GLE proposes to use laser-based technology to enrich the 
uranium-235 isotope found in natural uranium to concentrations up to 8 
percent by weight. The enriched uranium would be used to manufacture 
nuclear fuel for commercial nuclear power reactors. GEH proposes to 
locate the facility on the existing GE site near Wilmington, North 

[[Page 36449]]

    The NRC staff published a Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS for 
the proposed GLE Facility and to conduct a scoping process in the 
Federal Register on April 9, 2009 (74 FR 16237). The NRC staff accepted 
comments through June 8, 2009, and subsequently extended the scoping 
comment period (74 FR 36781) to August 31, 2009, to accommodate public 
inspection of GEH's license application, submitted June 26, 2009. The 
NRC staff issued a Scoping Summary Report in November 2009 (ADAMS 
Accession Number: ML093280734).
    The NRC staff assessed the impacts of the proposed action and its 
alternatives on public and occupational health, air quality, water 
resources, waste management, geology and soils, noise, ecology 
resources, land use, transportation, historic and cultural resources, 
visual and scenic resources, socioeconomics, accidents, and 
environmental justice. Additionally, the DEIS analyzes and compares the 
costs and benefits of the proposed action.
    Based on the preliminary evaluation in the DEIS, the NRC 
environmental review staff has concluded that the proposed action and 
associated preconstruction activities would have small effects on the 
physical environment and human communities with the exception of: (1) 
Short-term moderate impacts associated with increases in particulate 
matter released to the air during road construction, land clearing, and 
building construction, (2) small to moderate impacts related to 
increased traffic congestion near the site entrance during 
preconstruction and construction activities, (3) small to moderate 
impacts on historic and cultural resources associated with potential 
facility expansion, (4) small to moderate impacts on vegetation and 
wildlife associated with preconstruction activities, and (5) moderate 
but temporary noise impacts during road construction.
    In addition to the action proposed by GEH, the NRC staff addressed 
two alternatives in the DEIS: A no-action alternative and use of gas 
centrifuge uranium enrichment technology. Under the no-action 
alternative, NRC would deny GEH's application for a license to 
construct and operate a laser-based uranium enrichment facility. The 
no-action alternative serves as a baseline for comparison of the 
potential environmental impacts of granting the license. Under the gas 
centrifuge alternative, GEH would implement gas centrifuge technology 
to enrich uranium at the Wilmington Site instead of using the proposed 
laser-based technology. Because specific design information for a gas 
centrifuge facility at the Wilmington Site does not exist, the gas 
centrifuge alternative was evaluated qualitatively and in less detail 
than the proposed alternative and the no-action alternative. Other 
alternatives (e.g., alternate locations, alternate technologies) also 
were considered but, for reasons discussed in the DEIS, were eliminated 
from detailed analysis.
    After weighing the impacts, costs, and benefits of the proposed 
action and comparing alternatives, the NRC staff, in accordance with 10 
CFR 51.71(e), set forth its preliminary recommendation regarding the 
proposed action. The NRC staff preliminarily recommends that, unless 
safety issues mandate otherwise, the proposed action should be approved 
(i.e., NRC should issue a license).
    The DEIS is a preliminary analysis of the environmental impacts of 
the proposed action and its alternatives. The Final EIS and any 
decision documentation regarding the proposed action will not be issued 
until public comments on the DEIS have been received and evaluated. 
Comments received on the DEIS will be addressed in the Final EIS. 
Notice of the availability of the Final EIS will be published in the 
Federal Register. The Final EIS is scheduled to be completed in 
February 2011.
    The NRC staff in the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and 
Safeguards, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards is currently 
completing the safety review of GEH's license application. The safety 
review is currently scheduled for completion in December 2010.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 17th day of June, 2010.

For the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Larry W. Camper,
Director, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, 
Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management 
[FR Doc. 2010-15445 Filed 6-24-10; 8:45 am]