[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 139 (Wednesday, July 21, 2010)]
[Pages 42466-42469]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-17788]




Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Impact Statement 
and Public Meeting for the AREVA Enrichment Services, LLC Proposed 
Eagle Rock 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 the Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed AREVA Enrichment Services LLC 
(AES) Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility (EREF). On December 30, 2008, AES 
submitted a license application to the NRC that proposes the 
construction, operation, and decommissioning of a gas centrifuge-based 
uranium enrichment facility on a presently undeveloped site near Idaho 
Falls in Bonneville County, Idaho (the ``proposed action''). The 
license application included an Environmental Report (ER) regarding the 
proposed action.
    AES subsequently submitted revisions to the license application on 
April 23, 2009 (Revision 1) and April 30, 2010 (Revision 2), which 
included ER Revision 1 and ER Revision 2, respectively. License 
application Revision 1 addresses the expansion of the proposed EREF to 
increase its production capacity from 3.3 million Separative Work Units 
(SWUs) per year to 6.6 million SWUs per year; and ER Revision 1 
includes information on the environmental impacts of the proposed

[[Page 42467]]

6.6-million-SWU EREF. Revision 2 to the license application and the ER 
incorporates into Revision 1 additional information that was previously 
provided by AES to NRC in response to NRC staff Requests for Additional 
Information for its safety and environmental reviews, as well as 
supplemental information on a proposed electrical transmission line 
required to power the proposed EREF. On March 17, 2010, the NRC granted 
an exemption authorizing AES to conduct certain preconstruction 
activities (e.g., site preparation) on the proposed EREF site prior to 
issuance of the NRC license.
    This Draft EIS is being issued as part of the NRC's process to 
decide whether to issue a license to AES, pursuant to Title 10 of the 
U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Parts 30, 40, and 70 to build 
and operate the proposed uranium enrichment facility. Specifically, AES 
proposes to use gas centrifuge technology to enrich the uranium-235 
isotope found in natural uranium to concentrations up to 5 percent by 
weight. The enriched uranium would be used to manufacture nuclear fuel 
for commercial nuclear power reactors.
    The NRC staff will hold a public meeting on August 12, 2010, to 
present an overview of the licensing process and the contents of the 
Draft EIS, and to accept oral and written public comments on the Draft 
EIS. The meetings will take place at The Red Lion Hotel on the Falls 
Convention Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho. For one hour prior to the 
public meeting, the NRC staff will be available to informally discuss 
the proposed EREF 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 Draft EIS. The 
Draft EIS public meeting will officially begin at 7:30 p.m. The meeting 
will include the following agenda items: (1) A brief presentation 
summarizing NRC's roles and responsibilities and the licensing process, 
(2) a presentation summarizing the contents of the Draft EIS, and (3) 
an opportunity for interested government agencies, Tribal governments, 
organizations, and individuals to provide comments on the Draft EIS. 
The public meeting will be transcribed by a court reporter, and the 
meeting transcript will be made publicly available at a later date.
    Persons wishing to provide oral comments at the public meeting may 
register in advance by contacting Ms. Tarsha Moon at (800) 362-5642, 
ext. 6745, no later than August 6, 2010. Those who wish to present 
comments may also register at the meeting. Individual oral comments may 
have to be limited by the time available, depending upon the number of 
persons who register. Written comments can also be provided at the 
meeting, and should be given to an NRC staff person at the registration 
desk at the meeting entrance. If special equipment or accommodations 
are needed to attend or present information at the public meeting, the 
need should be brought to the attention of Ms. Tarsha Moon at (800) 
362-5642, ext. 6745, no later than August 6, 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 meeting 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 Draft EIS for consideration 
by NRC staff. Comments may be submitted by any of the methods described 
in the ADDRESSES section of this notice.

DATES: The public comment period on the Draft EIS begins on the date of 
publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) 
Federal Register (FR) Notice of Filing and ends on September 13, 2010. 
To ensure consideration, comments on the Draft EIS and the proposed 
action must be received or postmarked by September 13, 2010. The NRC 
staff will consider comments received or postmarked after that date to 
the extent practical.
    The NRC will conduct a public meeting in Idaho Falls, Idaho. The 
meeting date, time, and location are listed below:
    Meeting Date: August 12, 2010.
    Meeting Location: Red Lion Hotel on the Falls Convention Center, 
475 River Parkway, Idaho Falls, ID 83402.
    Informal Open House Session: 6:30-7:30 p.m.
    Draft EIS Comment Meeting: 7:30-10 p.m.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any one of the following methods. 
Please include Docket ID NRC-2009-0187 in the subject line of your 
    Electronic Mail: Comments may be e-mailed to EagleRock.EIS@nrc.gov.
    Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and 
search for documents filed under Docket ID NRC-2009-0187. 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 
    Mail comments 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-
    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. Unless your comments contain sensitive information 
typically not released to the public by NRC policy, the NRC will make 
all comments publically available. Because your comments will not be 
edited to remove any identifying 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 of the methods described in this 
section. One appendix of the Draft EIS 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): The public may examine and have 
copied, for a fee, publicly available documents related to the EREF 
project at the NRC's 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 
pdr.resource@nrc.gov. Hard copies of the documents are available from 
the PDR for a fee.

[[Page 42468]]

    EREF Web site: Documents related to this notice are also available 
on the NRC's AREVA Enrichment services, LLC Gas Centrifuge Facility Web 
site at http://www.nrc.gov/materials/fuel-cycle-fac/arevanc.html.
    NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): 
Members of the public can access the NRC's ADAMS at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this Web site, enter the accession numbers 
included here for AES's license application and ER Revision 2 (ADAMS 
Accession Number: ML101610549), the exemption authorizing certain 
preconstruction activities (ADAMS Accession Number: ML093090152), and 
NRC's Draft EIS (ADAMS Accession Number: ML101890384).
    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-2009-0187.
    The Draft EIS for the EREF also may be accessed on the Internet at 
http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/ by 
selecting ``NUREG-1945.'' Additionally, a copy of the Draft EIS will be 
available at the Idaho Falls Public Library, 457 West Broadway, Idaho 
Falls, ID 83402, (208) 612-8460.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about the Draft EIS or 
the environmental review process, please contact Stephen Lemont at 
(301) 415-5163 or Stephen.Lemont@nrc.gov. For general or technical 
information associated with the licensing review of the EREF 
application, please contact Breeda Reilly at (301) 492-3110 or 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Draft EIS was prepared in response to an 
application submitted by AES dated December 30, 2008, and application 
revisions dated April 23, 2009, and April 30, 2010. The application and 
revisions propose the construction, operation, and decommissioning of 
the proposed EREF, to be located near Idaho Falls, Idaho. The Draft EIS 
was prepared by the NRC and its contractor, Argonne National Laboratory 
(Argonne), 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 application AES submitted to the NRC is for a license to 
possess and use byproduct material, source material, and special 
nuclear material at a proposed gas centrifuge uranium enrichment 
facility near Idaho Falls, which is located 20 miles east-southeast of 
the site in Bonneville County, Idaho. The proposed EREF would be 
located on an approximately 460-acre section of a 4200-acre undeveloped 
parcel of land that it intends to purchase from a single private 
    The Draft EIS is being issued as part of the NRC's process to 
decide whether to issue a license to AES, pursuant to 10 CFR Parts 30, 
40, and 70. In this Draft EIS, the NRC staff has assessed the potential 
environmental impacts from the preconstruction, construction, 
operation, and decommissioning of the proposed EREF. Specifically, AES 
proposes to use gas centrifuge-based technology to enrich the uranium-
235 isotope found in natural uranium to concentrations up to 5 percent 
by weight. The enriched uranium would be used to manufacture nuclear 
fuel for commercial nuclear power reactors.
    The NRC staff published a Notice of Intent to prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed EREF and to conduct a 
scoping process in the Federal Register on May 4, 2009 (74 FR 20508). 
The NRC staff accepted comments through June 19, 2009. The NRC staff 
issued a Scoping Summary Report in September 2009 (ADAMS Accession 
Number: ML092540617).
    The NRC staff assessed the impacts of the proposed action on land 
use, historical and cultural resources, visual and scenic resources, 
air quality, geology and soils, water resources, ecological resources, 
noise, transportation, public and occupational health, waste 
management, socioeconomics, and environmental justice. Additionally, 
the Draft EIS analyzes and compares the benefits and costs of the 
proposed action.
    Based on the preliminary evaluation in the Draft EIS, the NRC 
environmental review staff has concluded that the environmental impacts 
that would result from the proposed action and associated 
preconstruction activities on the physical environment and human 
communities would mostly be small, with the exception of: (1) Moderate 
impacts on an historic and cultural resource associated with ground 
disturbance; (2) moderate impacts on visual and scenic resources due to 
the contrast of facility structures with the surrounding visual 
environment; (3) moderate impacts on vegetation and wildlife due 
primarily to removal of sagebrush steppe and pasture vegetation; (4) 
small to moderate impacts related to increased traffic density 
(primarily from commuting workers) on US Highway 20; and (5) short-
term, moderate to large impacts associated with fugitive dust released 
to the air during ground disturbing activities.
    In addition to the action proposed by AES, the NRC staff considered 
the no-action alternative and other alternatives considered but 
eliminated from further analysis. Under the no-action alternative, the 
NRC would deny AES's request to construct and operate a uranium 
enrichment facility at the EREF site. The no-action alternative serves 
as a baseline for comparison of the potential environmental impacts of 
the proposed action. The alternatives considered but eliminated from 
further analysis include: (1) Alternative sites other than the proposed 
Bonneville County site; (2) alternative sources of enriched uranium; 
and (3) alternative technologies available for uranium enrichment. 
These alternatives were eliminated from further analysis due to 
economic, environmental, national security, technological maturity, or 
other reasons. The Draft EIS also discusses alternatives for the 
disposition of depleted uranium hexafluoride (UF6) resulting 
from enrichment operations over the lifetime of the proposed EREF.
    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 Draft EIS 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 Draft EIS have been received and 
evaluated. Comments received on the Draft EIS 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 
issued 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 AES's license application. The safety 
review is currently scheduled for completion in August 2010.
    This Draft EIS is being issued for public comment. The public 
comment period on the Draft EIS begins with publication of the EPA 
Notice of Filing discussed earlier and continues until September 13, 
2010. Written comments should be submitted as described in the 
ADDRESSES section of this notice. The NRC will consider comments 

[[Page 42469]]

or postmarked after that date to the extent practical.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 14th day of July 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Keith I. McConnell,
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. 2010-17788 Filed 7-20-10; 8:45 am]