[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 135 (Thursday, July 15, 2010)]
[Pages 41242-41244]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-17253]




Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Proposed International Isotopes Uranium Processing Facility

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of Intent.


SUMMARY: International Isotopes Fluorine Products, Inc. (IIFP), a 
wholly owned subsidiary of International Isotopes, Inc. (INIS), 
submitted a license application, which included an Environmental Report 
(ER) on December 30, 2009, that proposes the construction, operation, 
and decommissioning of a fluorine extraction and depleted uranium de-
conversion facility to be located near Hobbs in Lea County, New Mexico. 
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), in accordance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its regulations in 10 Code 
of Federal Regulations 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 INIS facility.

DATES: NRC invites public comments on the appropriate scope of issues 
to be considered in the EIS. The public scoping process required by 
NEPA begins with publication of this Notice of Intent. Written comments 
submitted by mail should be postmarked by no later than August 30, 2010 
to ensure consideration. Comments mailed after that date will be 
considered to the extent practical.
    The NRC will conduct a public scoping meeting in Hobbs, New Mexico, 
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, time, and location are listed below:

Meeting Date: July 29, 2010.
Meeting Time: 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Meeting Location: Lea County Event Center, 5101 Lovington Highway, 
Hobbs, New Mexico 88240.

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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 submitted by any one of the methods described 
below. Please include Docket ID NRC-2010-0143 in the subject line of 
your comments. Comments submitted in writing or in electronic form will 
be posted on the NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management 
System (ADAMS) Web site http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html and on 
the Federal rulemaking Web site http://www.regulations.gov. Because 
your 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. Also, 
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.
    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
search for documents filed under Docket ID NRC-2010-0143. Comments may 
be submitted electronically through this Web site. Address questions 
about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher at 301-492-3668, or e-mail at 
[email protected].
    Mail/fax comments to: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, Announcements, 
and Directives, and Branch (RADB), Division of Administrative Services, 
Office of Administration, Mail Stop: TWB-05-B01M, U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001. Commenters may also 
send comments electronically to [email protected] or by fax to (301) 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general or technical information 
associated with the licensing review of the INIS application, please 
contact Matthew Bartlett at (301) 492-3119 or [email protected]. 
For general information on the NRC NEPA process or the environmental 
review process related to the INIS application, please contact Asimios 
Malliakos at (301) 415-6458 or [email protected]
    Information and documents associated with the INIS project, 
including the application and ER, are available for public review 
through our electronic reading room: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. Members of the public may access the applicant's ER in the 
NRC's (ADAMS) at accession number ML100120758.
    A copy of the applicant's ER is available for public inspection at 
the Hobbs Public Library located at 509 North Shipp, Hobbs, New Mexico 
88240. Documents may also be obtained from NRC's Public Document Room 
at U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Headquarters, 11555 Rockville 
Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland 20852.


1.0 Background

    On December 30, 2009, INIS submitted an ER to the NRC as part of 
its license application for authorization to construct, operate, and 
decommission a proposed fluorine extraction process and depleted 
uranium de-conversion facility. The EIS will evaluate the potential 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed INIS uranium 
processing facility. The environmental evaluation will be documented in 
the draft and final EISs in accordance with NEPA and NRC's implementing 
regulations at 10 CFR part 51.

2.0 INIS Uranium Processing Facility

    The INIS facility, if licensed, would provide services to the 
uranium enrichment industry for de-conversion of depleted uranium 
hexafluoride (DUF6) into uranium oxides for long-term stable 
disposal. The proposed facility would also produce high-purity 
inorganic fluorides for applications in the electronic, solar panel, 
and semiconductor markets and anhydrous hydrofluoric acid for various 
industrial applications. The proposed facility is projected to be 
capable of deconverting up to 7.5 million pounds per year of 
DUF6 provided by commercial enrichment facilities throughout 
the United States.

3.0 Alternatives To Be Evaluated

    No-Action--The no-action alternative would be to not build the 
proposed INIS uranium processing facility. Under this alternative, the 
NRC would not approve the license application. This alternative serves 
as a baseline for comparison.
    Proposed action--The proposed action involves the construction, 
operation, and decommissioning of a uranium processing facility to be 
located near Hobbs, New Mexico. 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 
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 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 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 
     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. Additions to, 
or deletions from this list may occur as a result of the public scoping 

5.0 Scoping Meeting

    One purpose of this notice is to encourage public involvement in 
the EIS process and to solicit public comments on the proposed scope 
and content of the EIS. Scoping is an early

[[Page 41244]]

and open process designed to determine the range of actions, 
alternatives, and potential impacts to be considered in the EIS and to 
identify the 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 
     Identify alternatives to be examined;
     Identify significant issues to be analyzed;
     Eliminate unimportant issues from detailed consideration; 
     Identify public concerns.
    On July 29, 2010, the NRC will hold a public scoping meeting at the 
Lea County Event Center in Hobbs, New Mexico, to solicit both oral and 
written comments from interested parties. The meeting will be 
transcribed to record public comments. The meeting will convene at 5:30 
p.m. and will continue until approximately 8:30 p.m.
    The meeting 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 1 
hour prior to the start of the 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 the 
transcribed public meeting or in writing, as discussed below.
    Persons may register to attend or present oral comments at the 
scoping meeting by contacting Tarsha Moon at (301) 415-6745, or by 
sending an e-mail to [email protected] no later than July 22, 2010. 
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 Tarsha Moon no later than July 19, 2010, 
so that the NRC staff can determine whether the request can be 

6.0 Scoping Comments

    Members of the public may provide comments orally at the 
transcribed public meeting or in writing. Written comments may be sent 
by e-mail to [email protected] or mailed/faxed 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 the 
NRC's INIS Web page: http://www.nrc.gov/materials/fuel-cycle-fac/inisfacility.html.

7.0 The NEPA Process

    The EIS for the INIS facility will be prepared pursuant to the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 as amended and the NRC's NEPA 
Regulations at 10 CFR part 51. After the scoping process is complete, 
the NRC will prepare a draft EIS. There will be a 45-day comment period 
on the draft EIS and a public meeting to receive comments. Availability 
of the draft EIS, the dates of the public comment period, and 
information about the public meeting will be announced in the Federal 
Register, on NRC's INIS web page, and in the local news media. The 
final EIS will include responses to any comments received on the draft 

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 8th day of July, 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
David Skeen,
Acting Deputy Director, Decommissioning and Uranium Recovery Licensing 
Directorate, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, 
Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management 
[FR Doc. 2010-17253 Filed 7-14-10; 8:45 am]