[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 212 (Monday, November 3, 2014)]
[Pages 65256-65258]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-26060]

[[Page 65256]]



[Docket No. 40-8838; License No. SUB-1435; NRC-2014-0097]

Jefferson Proving Ground License Amendment Application for Source 
Materials License

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement and conduct 
scoping process; public meeting and request for comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Army (Army) submitted a license amendment 
application, dated August 28, 2013, to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission (NRC), which included a Decommissioning Plan (DP) and an 
Environmental Report (ER). The Army submitted the DP and ER in support 
of its request that the NRC terminate Materials License SUB-1435 for 
the Depleted Uranium Impact Area at the Jefferson Proving Ground in 
Madison, Indiana, under restricted conditions.
    The NRC, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act 
of 1969, as amended (NEPA), and the NRC's regulations, announces its 
intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate 
the potential environmental impacts of the proposed license termination 
and to conduct a scoping process for the EIS. The NRC invites and 
encourages members of the public to submit comments on the appropriate 
scope of issues to be considered in, and the content of the EIS.

DATES: Submit comments by December 18, 2014. Comments received after 
this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC 
is able to ensure consideration only for comments received before this 
    In addition, the NRC will conduct a public scoping meeting in 
Madison, Indiana, 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 will be transcribed to 
record the NRC staff presentations and public comments. The meeting 
date, time, and location are listed below:
    Meeting Date: December 3, 2014.
    Meeting Time: 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (In addition, the NRC staff 
will host informal discussions for 1 hour prior to the start of the 
public meeting.)
    Meeting Location: The Livery Stable, 309 Broadway Street, Madison, 
Indiana 47250.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods 
(unless this document describes a different method for submitting 
comments on a specific subject):
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2014-0097. 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.
     Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, 
Mail Stop: 3WFN-06-A44M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001.
    For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting 
comments, see ``Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments'' in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen Lemont, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards, telephone: 301-415-5163, email: 
[email protected], U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.


I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments

A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2014-0097 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information regarding this action. You may 
obtain information related to this action by any of the following 
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2014-0097.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may obtain publicly-available documents online in the 
ADAMS Public Document collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm.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 (if it is available in 
ADAMS) is provided the first time that it is mentioned in the 
     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.
     Jefferson County Public Library: Documents are also 
available for public viewing at the Madison Branch of the Jefferson 
County Public Library, located at 420 W. Main Street, Madison, Indiana 

B. Submitting Comments.

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2014-0097 in the subject line of your 
comment submission, in order to ensure that the NRC is able to make 
your comment submission available to the public in this docket.
    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact 
information in comment submissions that you do not want to be publicly 
disclosed in your comment submission. The NRC will post all comment 
submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enter the comment 
submissions into ADAMS, and the NRC does not routinely edit comment 
submissions to remove identifying or contact information.
    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons 
for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to 
include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be 
publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should 
state that the NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to 
remove such information before making the comment submissions available 
to the public or entering the comment into ADAMS.

II. Additional Information

A. Background

    The NRC received, by letter dated August 28, 2013 (ADAMS accession 
number ML13247A549), the Army's application in support of its request 
to terminate Materials License SUB-1435 under restricted conditions, in 
accordance with section 20.1043 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR). Materials License SUB-1435 authorizes the 
licensee to possess depleted uranium (DU) \1\ at Jefferson Proving 
Ground (JPG), kept onsite in the restricted area known as the 
``Depleted Uranium Impact Area.''

    \1\ Depleted uranium (DU) is uranium with a percentage of the 
uranium-235 isotope lower than the 0.7 percent (by mass) contained 
in natural uranium. (The normal residual uranium-235 content in DU 
is 0.2-0.3 percent, with the uranium-238 isotope comprising the 
remaining 98.7-98.8 percent.)

    JPG is located in Jefferson, Jennings, and Ripley Counties in 
southeastern Indiana. The DU Impact Area at JPG is located entirely 
within Jefferson County.

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JPG was established in 1941, and was used by the Army as a proving 
ground between 1941 and 1995 for the test firing of a wide variety of 
conventional munitions. A firing line with 268 fixed-gun positions was 
used to test munitions. Approximately 1.5 million rounds did not 
detonate upon impact, remaining as unexploded ordnance (UXO) either on 
or beneath the ground surface. An additional 3 to 5 million rounds with 
live detonators, primers, or fuzes remain onsite north of the firing 
    As part of its munitions testing program at JPG, the Army test 
fired DU projectiles into the DU Impact Area, which is also located 
north of the firing line. The DU proof test firings were conducted 
under NRC Materials License SUB-1435. The test firing of DU projectiles 
began on March 18, 1984, and concluded on May 2, 1994. Approximately 
100,000 kilograms (kg) (220,462 pounds [lb]) of DU projectiles were 
fired at soft targets in the 8.4-square kilometer (km\2\) (2,080-acre 
[ac]) DU Impact Area. Approximately 26,500 kg (58,423 lb) of DU 
projectiles and projectile fragments were recovered during periodic 
surface sweeps of the DU Impact Area. Approximately 73,500 kg (162,040 
lb) of DU remain in the DU Impact Area. Also, specifically within the 
DU Impact Area, a ``very high'' density of high-explosive UXO (i.e., 85 
UXO/acre) is suspected by the Army to be present.
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) established the Big Oaks 
National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) at JPG in the area north of the firing 
line in June 2000. Under a negotiated Memorandum of Agreement between 
the Army, U.S. Air Force, and FWS, the Army retains ownership of the 
land and FWS operates the NWR on a 25-year lease with 10-year renewal 
options. The Big Oaks NWR encompasses approximately 206 km\2\ (51,000 
ac), including the DU Impact Area. Access to approximately 97 km\2\ 
(24,000 ac) of land is restricted by the FWS within the refuge 
primarily because of the occurrence of high levels of UXO, but also 
because of both UXO and DU in and near the DU Impact Area.
    The Army submitted a DP and an ER to the NRC in support of its 
request to terminate Materials License SUB-1435. Specifically, the Army 
proposes to decommission the DU Impact Area at the JPG facility under 
restricted conditions, leaving the DU and UXO in place, while the Army 
continues to maintain institutional controls in the area north of the 
firing line at JPG (which includes the DU Impact Area), based on Army 
ownership of the land and the existence of DU and UXO. According to the 
Army, since the DU is commingled with UXO, cleanup of the DU would be 
both hazardous and expensive. Institutional controls include physical 
access restrictions to prevent unauthorized entry into the area (e.g., 
perimeter chain-link fence with pad locked chain-link fence gates, 
security warning signs placed around the property to caution persons 
not to enter), as well as legal controls (e.g., the Army as an agency 
of the Federal Government and an enduring entity retains property 
ownership of JPG north of the firing line) and administrative controls 
(e.g., restricted and limited public access and hunting prohibitions) 
over the DU Impact Area.
    A notice of receipt of the application, solicitation of comments, 
and opportunity to request a hearing and petitions for leave to 
intervene was published in the Federal Register on April 28, 2014 (79 
FR 23384). The NRC staff intends to prepare an EIS, to include 
conducting a scoping process, to evaluate the potential environmental 
impacts of the proposed action and alternatives to the proposed action.

B. Alternatives To Be Evaluated

    The alternatives identified below will be evaluated in the EIS. 
Other alternatives not listed here may be identified through the 
scoping process.
    No-Action--Under the no-action alternative, NRC Materials License 
SUB-1435 would remain in effect. Licensed material would remain in the 
DU Impact Area; the Army's semi-annual Environmental Radiation 
Monitoring program for surface soil, groundwater, surface water, and 
sediment and associated reporting would continue; and the Army's 
existing Radiation Safety Plan would continue to be implemented to 
minimize unauthorized entries into the DU Impact Area. The no-action 
alternative serves as a baseline for comparison with other 
    Proposed Action--The proposed action is for the NRC to terminate 
Materials License SUB-1435 subject to the Army's commitments for 
institutional controls in the area north of the firing line at JPG, 
which includes the DU Impact Area. The material currently in the DU 
Impact Area would remain in place. Concurrent with license termination, 
the Army would discontinue implementation of its present Environmental 
Radiation Monitoring program.

C. 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;
     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;
     Ecological Resources: Wetlands, aquatic and terrestrial, 
economically and recreationally; important species; and threatened and 
endangered species;
     Air Quality: Meteorological and climatological conditions, 
ambient background, pollutant sources, and the potential for 
     Environmental Justice: Potential disproportionately high 
and adverse impacts to minority and low-income populations;
     Public and Occupational Health: Potential public and 
occupational health consequences from normal, expected case scenarios 
and abnormal or accidental scenarios; and
     Cumulative Effects: Potential impacts in the above areas 
resulting from the incremental impacts of the proposed action when 
added to the impacts of other past, present and reasonably foreseeable 
future 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 process. For example, additional areas for possible detailed 
consideration in the EIS may include one or more of the following: 
transportation, noise, historic and cultural resources, visual and 
scenic resources, socioeconomics, waste management.

D. Scoping Process and Scoping Meeting

    The NRC encourages public involvement in the EIS process and 
solicits public comments on the scope and content of the EIS. Scoping 
is an early and open process designed to determine the range of issues, 
alternatives, and potential environmental 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 
governmental and private sector agencies/organizations so that the 
analysis can be more clearly focused on

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issues of genuine concern. The principal goals of the scoping process 
are to:
     Ensure that important issues and concerns are identified 
early and are properly studied;
     Identify alternatives to be examined;
     Identify significant issues to be analyzed;
     Eliminate unimportant issues from detailed consideration; 
     Identify public concerns.
    In addition to submission of written comments as described in the 
ADDRESSES section of this notice, the NRC scoping process will include 
a transcribed public scoping meeting, to be held on December 3, 2014, 
at The Livery Stable in Madison, Indiana, to solicit both oral and 
written comments from interested parties. The meeting will convene at 
7:00 p.m. and will continue until approximately 10:00 p.m. In addition, 
the NRC staff will host informal discussions for 1 hour prior to the 
start of the public meeting. No formal oral comments on the proposed 
scope of the EIS will be accepted during the informal discussions.
    During the public meeting, a description of the NRC's role and 
mission and an overview of the license termination safety review 
process and of the environmental review process will be provided. Time 
will be allotted for attendees to make oral comments. To be considered, 
comments must be provided either at the transcribed public meeting or 
in writing.
    Persons may register to attend or present oral comments at the 
scoping meeting by contacting Antoinette Walker-Smith at 301-415-6390, 
or by email to [email protected], no later than November 
21, 2014. Members of the public may also register to attend or to speak 
at the meeting location 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 Antoinette Walker-
Smith no later than November 21, 2014, so that the NRC staff can 
determine whether the request can be accommodated.
    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. The NRC staff 
will send this summary to each participant in the scoping process for 
whom the staff has an address. Also, this summary and other project-
related material will be available for public review in ADAMS at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html.

E. The NEPA Process

    The EIS for the proposed JPG DU Impact Area license termination 
will be prepared pursuant to NEPA and the NRC's NEPA-implementing 
regulations at 10 CFR Part 51. After the scoping process is complete, 
the NRC staff 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, the local news media, and the NRC Web site: (http://www.nrc.gov). The final EIS will be prepared based on consideration of 
any comments received on the draft EIS and will include responses to 
the comments received.

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

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Marissa Bailey,
Director, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety, Safeguards, and Environmental 
Review, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2014-26060 Filed 10-31-14; 8:45 am]