[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 210 (Thursday, October 30, 2014)]
[Pages 64629-64631]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-25853]



[Docket No. 040-8943; NRC-2008-0208]

License Renewal of Crow Butte ISR, Uranium In Situ Recovery 

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact; 


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
renewal of Crow Butte Resources, Inc. (CBR or the applicant), Source 
Materials License SUA-1534 for continued uranium production operations 
and in situ recovery (ISR) of uranium at the Crow Butte Project in 
Crawford, Nebraska.

DATES: The environmental assessment and finding of no significant 
impact are available as of October 30, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2008-0208 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You 
may obtain publicly-available information related to this document 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2008-0208. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-287-
3422; email: [email protected]. For technical questions, contact 
the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of 
this document.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the 
ADAMS Public Documents collection 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]. The 
ADAMS accession number for each document referenced in this document 
(if that document is available in ADAMS) is provided the first time 
that a document is referenced. For the convenience of the reader, the 
ADAMS accession numbers are provided in a table in the ``Availability 
of Documents'' 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: Nathan Goodman, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards, telephone: 301-415-2703, email: 
[email protected]; U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.


I. Introduction

    The NRC is considering renewal of CBR's Source Materials License 
SUA-1534 for continued uranium production operations and ISR of uranium 
at the Crow Butte Project in Crawford, Nebraska. The applicant is 
proposing continued ISR operations and processing materials into 
yellowcake to be shipped for conversion. The NRC staff has prepared an 
Environmental Assessment (EA) in support of this proposed license 
renewal, in accordance with the requirements in Part 51 of Title 10 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR). The NRC staff has also 
completed a safety evaluation of the proposed license renewal, pursuant 
to 10 CFR Part 40, and the results of the safety evaluation are 
documented in a separate Safety Evaluation Report (SER), ADAMS 
Accession No. ML14149A433. If approved, the NRC will issue the renewed 
license following the publication of this notice. The new license will 
also be made publicly available in ADAMS.

II. Environmental Assessment Summary

    On November 27, 2007, CBR submitted an application to the NRC to 
extend the current NRC License SUA-1534 for an additional 10 years of 
operation (ADAMS Accession Nos. ML073480266, ML073480272, ML073480274, 
and ML073480267). The proposed action would permit CBR to continue ISR 
operations and yellowcake production at the CBR facility. The ISR 
operations require an extraction step and a uranium recovery step. 
Extraction is accomplished by installing a series of injection wells 
through which barren lixiviant (a mixture of groundwater charged with 
oxygen and bicarbonate) is pumped into an underground geological 
formation containing uranium deposits (the ore body). Corresponding 
production wells and pumps promote flow through the ore body and allow 
for the collection of uranium-rich pregnant lixiviant. Uranium is 
removed from the pregnant lixiviant by ion exchange, and then from the 
ion exchange resin by elution. After the uranium is removed, the 
lixiviant can then be recharged and

[[Page 64630]]

reinjected into the ore body to repeat the extraction cycle. The 
elution liquid containing the uranium (the ``pregnant'' eluant) is then 
processed by precipitation, dewatering, and drying to produce a 
transportable form of uranium (yellowcake).
    The NRC staff has assessed the environmental impacts associated 
with the request from CBR to renew its Source Materials License No. 
SUA-1534 for CBR's ISR facility located in Crawford, Nebraska, as well 
as the no action alternative, and has documented the results in this 
EA. The NRC staff performed its environmental review in accordance with 
the requirements in 10 CFR Part 51. In conducting the environmental 
review, the NRC staff considered information in the license renewal 
application (LRA); information in the responses to the NRC staff's 
requests for additional information (RAIs); communications with CBR, 
the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), and the 
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ); information from 
the NRC staff site visits and inspections; consultation with Native 
American Tribes and the public; and the NRC staff's independent 
    In this EA, the NRC staff evaluated the potential environmental 
impacts of the proposed action and the no action alternative on the 
affected environment, specifically: land use; historical and cultural 
resources; visual and scenic resources; air quality; geology and soils; 
water resources; ecological resources; socioeconomics; environmental 
justice; noise; transportation; and public and occupational health and 
    The NRC staff evaluated the potential impacts and categorized the 
impacts as follows:
     SMALL--environmental effects are not detectable or are so 
minor that they will neither destabilize nor noticeably alter any 
important attribute of the resource.
     MODERATE--environmental effects are sufficient to alter 
noticeably, but not to destabilize, important attributes of the 
     LARGE--environmental effects are clearly noticeable and 
are sufficient to destabilize important attributes of the resource.
    Additionally, the NRC staff analyzed the cumulative impacts from 
past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions when combined 
with the environmental impacts from the proposed action. For cumulative 
impacts, the NRC staff evaluated whether these actions would have a 
significant impact on each resource area.
    The NRC staff has determined that renewal of Source Material 
License SUA-1534 will be consistent with the requirements of 10 CFR 
Part 40 and will not have long-term detrimental impacts on the 
environment. The following statements summarize the conclusions 
resulting from the staff's environmental assessment:
    (1) Impacts for all resource areas were determined to be SMALL.
    (2) Approval of the proposed action would not alter the current 
land use at the CBR facility. No new construction, including roads, at 
the CBR facility is anticipated. Traffic is not expected to increase 
from current conditions.
    (3) The NRC staff has determined that impacts to water resources, 
discussed in detail in Sections 4.6 and 4.13.6 of the EA, would not be 
significant from the relicensing of the CBR facility. Under the license 
renewal, the facility would continue to operate in accordance with the 
State and Federal requirements that minimize impacts to water 
    (4) The proposed action would have SMALL impacts to cultural 
resources. Consultation was completed between the NRC and Native 
American Tribes in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act (NHPA), and there were no sites considered eligible 
for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, 
there will be no disproportionally high and adverse impacts on minority 
and low-income populations.
    (5) Impacts to threatened and endangered species are not expected 
from the relicensing of the CBR facility because no new construction or 
land disturbance is anticipated.
    (6) There would be no impacts to the public pertaining to 
radiological and non-radiological health associated with relicensing 
the CBR facility. Under the license renewal, the facility would 
continue to operate in accordance with the State and Federal 
requirements that minimize radiological and non-radiological impacts.
    (7) The NRC staff analyzed potential cumulative impacts and 
concluded that there would not be significant adverse cumulative 
impacts to any resource area.

III. Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)

    Based on its review of the proposed action, in accordance with the 
requirements in 10 CFR Part 51, the NRC staff has concluded that the 
proposed action, renewal of NRC Source Materials License No. SUA-1534 
for CBR's ISR facility located in Crawford, Nebraska, will not have a 
significant impact on the resource areas discussed in this EA and will 
not significantly affect the quality of the human environment. 
Therefore, the NRC staff has determined, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.31, that 
preparation of an environmental impact statement is not required for 
the proposed action and a FONSI is appropriate.

IV. Availability of Documents

    The documents identified in the following table are available to 
interested persons as indicated. For additional information on 
accessing ADAMS, see the ADDRESSES section of this document.

                    Document                                           ADAMS Accession No.
License Renewal Application....................  ML073480266, ML073480272,
                                                 ML073480274, ML073480267
Applicant's Response to Environmental RAIs.....  ML091980473
Section 106 Documents:
    NRC Staff Documentation of Section 106       ML13260A566
     Review Findings.
    Traditional Cultural Property Survey Report  ML13093A123
     by Santee Sioux Nation and Crow Nation.
    NRC Staff letter to Nebraska SHPO            ML13105A359
     requesting concurrence on completion of
     Section 106 process.
    Nebraska SHPO response to concurrence        ML13266A266
Environmental Assessment.......................  ML14288A517
Safety Evaluation Report.......................  ML14149A433

[[Page 64631]]

    The Section 106 documents listed in the above table are also 
publicly available on the NRC Web site at: http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/materials/uranium/licensed-facilities/crow-butte/section-106-license-renewal-docs.html.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 24th day of October, 2014.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Marissa G. Bailey,
Director, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety, Safeguards and Environmental 
Review, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2014-25853 Filed 10-29-14; 8:45 am]