[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 44 (Tuesday, March 6, 2012)]
[Pages 13367-13368]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-5362]




General Electric-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment, LLC, Proposed 
Laser-Based Uranium Enrichment Facility, Wilmington, NC

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Final environmental impact statement; issuance.


SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission (NRC or the Commission) has published the Final 
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed General Electric-
Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment, LLC (GLE) Uranium Enrichment Facility. 
On June 26, 2009, GLE submitted a license application that proposes the 
construction, operation, and decommissioning of a laser-based uranium 
enrichment facility (the ``proposed action''). The GLE proposes to 
locate the facility on the existing General Electric Company (GE) site 
near Wilmington, North Carolina (Wilmington Site). This application is 
for a license to possess and use byproduct material, source material, 
and special nuclear material at the proposed uranium enrichment 

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2009-0157 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You 
may access information related to this document using the following 
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov. and search for Docket ID NRC-2009-0157. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-492-
3668; email: [email protected].
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may access publicly-available documents online in the NRC 
Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the 
search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and then select ``Begin Web-
based ADAMS Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's 
Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-
4737, or by email to [email protected]. Additional information 
regarding accessing materials related to this action is under the 
Document Availability heading in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section 
of this document.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about the Final EIS or 
the environmental review process, please contact Jennifer A. Davis, 
telephone: 301-415-3835; email: [email protected]. Office of 
Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs, U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001. For general 
or technical information associated with the licensing process as it 
relates to the GLE application, please

[[Page 13368]]

contact Tim Johnson, telephone: 301-492-3121; email: 
[email protected]; Office of Nuclear Material Safety and 
Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-



    The GLE submitted an Environmental Report (ER) in support of the 
proposed facility on January 30, 2009, and its license application on 
June 26, 2009. On May 8, 2009, the NRC granted an exemption to 
authorize GLE to conduct certain preconstruction activities (e.g., site 
preparation) on the Wilmington Site prior to the NRC's decision on 
whether to grant or deny a license. The GLE 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.
    The Final EIS is being issued as part of the NRC's process to 
decide whether to issue a license to GLE, pursuant to Title 10 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) parts 30, 40, and 70, to construct 
and operate the proposed uranium enrichment facility. Specifically, GLE 
proposes to use a 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. In the Final EIS, the NRC staff 
assessed the potential environmental impacts from the preconstruction, 
construction, operation, and decommissioning of the proposed GLE 
    The Final EIS was prepared in compliance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), and the NRC's 
regulations for implementing NEPA in 10 CFR part 51. The NRC staff 
assessed the impacts of the proposed action on land use, historic 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 NRC staff 
analyzed and compared the benefits and costs of the proposed action. In 
preparing this Final EIS, the NRC staff also reviewed, considered, 
evaluated, and addressed the public comments received on the Draft EIS.
    In addition to the proposed action, the NRC staff considered a 
reasonable range of alternatives, including the no-action alternative. 
Under the no-action alternative, the NRC would deny GLE's request to 
construct and operate a uranium enrichment facility at the Wilmington 
Site. The no-action alternative serves as a baseline for comparison of 
the potential environmental impacts of the proposed action. Other 
alternatives the NRC staff considered but eliminated from further 
analysis include: (1) Alternative sites; (2) alternative sources of 
enriched uranium; and (3) alternative technologies for uranium 
enrichment. These alternatives, except the gas centrifuge technology, 
were eliminated from further analysis due to economic, environmental, 
national security, technological maturity, or other reasons. The 
environmental impacts of gas centrifuge technology were qualitatively 
evaluated, relative to those of the proposed laser-based technology.
    The Final EIS also discusses alternatives for the disposition of 
depleted uranium hexafluoride (UF6) resulting from 
enrichment operations over the lifetime of the proposed project.
    After weighing the impacts of the proposed action and comparing 
alternatives, the NRC staff, in accordance with 10 CFR 51.91(d), sets 
forth its recommendation regarding the proposed action. The NRC staff 
recommends that, unless safety issues mandate otherwise, the proposed 
license be issued to GLE. In this regard, the NRC staff has concluded 
that the environmental impacts of the proposed action are generally 
small, and taken in combination with the proposed GLE environmental 
monitoring program and proposed mitigation measures discussed in the 
Final EIS would eliminate or substantially lessen any adverse 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.

Document Availability

    One appendix of the Final 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 Final EIS. Procedures for obtaining access to SUNSI were previously 
published in the NRC's Notice of Hearing and Commission Order related 
to GLE's license application. GE-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment LLC; 
(GLE Commercial Facility); Notice of Receipt of Application for 
License; Notice of Consideration of Issuance of License; Notice of 
Hearing and Commission Order; and Order Imposing Procedures for Access 
to Sensitive Unclassified Non-Safeguards Information and Safeguards 
Information for Contention Preparation, 75 FR 1819 (January 13, 2010).
    Documents related to this notice are available on the NRC's GE 
Laser Enrichment Facility Licensing Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/materials/fuel-cycle-fac/laser.html. The Final EIS for the proposed GLE 
project may also be accessed on the internet at by selecting ``NUREG-
    The GLE's license application, the exemption authorizing certain 
preconstruction activities, the GLE's Environmental Report, Supplement 
1 to the Environmental Report, Supplement 2 to the Environmental 
Report, and Volumes 1 and 2 of the NRC's Final EIS are available in 
ADAMS under Accession Numbers ML091871003, ML083510647, ML090910573, 
ML092100577, ML093240135, ML12047A040, and ML12047A042, respectively.
    A copy of the Final EIS will be available at the New Hanover County 
Library, 201 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, North Carolina, 28401.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 28th day of February, 2012.
Christepher McKenney,
Acting 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. 2012-5362 Filed 3-5-12; 8:45 am]