[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 235 (Monday, December 8, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 72661-72663]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-28695]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


Excess Uranium Management: Effects of DOE Transfers of Excess 
Uranium on Domestic Uranium Mining, Conversion, and Enrichment 
Industries; Request for Information

AGENCY: Office of Nuclear Energy, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Request for information (RFI).

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is planning to issue a new 
Secretarial Determination covering continued transfers of uranium for 
cleanup services at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant and for 
down-blending of highly-enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium (LEU). 
This RFI solicits information from the public about the effects of the 
proposed transfers in the uranium markets and possible consequences for 
the domestic uranium mining, conversion and enrichment industries. The 
RFI also solicits recommendations about factors that the Department 
should consider and/or the methodology it should use in assessing the 
possible impacts of transfers. DOE will then consider this information 
as part of its analysis to determine whether its transfers would have 
an adverse material impact on the domestic uranium mining, conversion, 
or enrichment industry.

DATES: DOE will accept comments, data, and information responding to 
this RFI submitted on or before January 7, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Interested persons may submit comments by any of the 
following methods.
    1. Email: [email protected]. Submit electronic 
comments in WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, PDF, or ASCII file format, and 
avoid the use of special characters or any form of encryption.
    2. Postal Mail: Mr. David Henderson, U.S. Department of Energy, 
Office of

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Nuclear Energy, Mailstop NE-52, 19901 Germantown Rd., Germantown, MD 
20874-1290. If possible, please submit all items on a compact disk 
(CD), in which case it is not necessary to include printed copies.
    3. Hand Delivery/Courier: Mr. David Henderson, U.S. Department of 
Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, Mailstop NE-52, 19901 Germantown Rd., 
Germantown, MD 20874-1290. Phone: (301) 903-2590. If possible, please 
submit all items on a CD, in which case it is not necessary to include 
printed copies.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
for this request for information. No facsimiles (faxes) will be 
accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Requests for additional information 
may be sent to: Mr. David Henderson, U.S. Department of Energy, Office 
of Nuclear Energy, Mailstop NE-52, 19901 Germantown Rd., Germantown, MD 
20874-1290. Phone: (301) 903-2590. Email: 
[email protected].
    For further information on how to submit a comment, contact Mr. 
David Henderson at (301) 903-2590 or by email: 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Authority and Background
II. Issues on Which DOE Seeks Comment and Information
III. Submission of Comments
IV. Confidential Business Information

I. Authority and Background

    Title I, Chapters 6-7, 14, of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42 
U.S.C. 2011 et seq., ``AEA'') authorizes the Department of Energy to 
transfer special nuclear material and source material. Enriched uranium 
and natural uranium are types of special nuclear material and source 
material, respectively. In 1996, Congress enacted the USEC 
Privatization Act (Pub. L. 104-134, 42 U.S.C. 2297h et seq.), which 
places certain limitations on DOE's authority to transfer uranium from 
its excess uranium inventory. Specifically, under section 3112(d)(2)(B) 
of the USEC Privatization Act (42 U.S.C. 2297h-10(d)(2)(B)), DOE may 
make certain transfers of natural or low-enriched uranium if the 
Secretary determines that the transfers ``will not have an adverse 
material impact on the domestic uranium mining, conversion or 
enrichment industry, taking into account the sales of uranium under the 
Russian Highly Enriched Uranium Agreement and the Suspension 
Agreement.'' Section 306(a) of Division D, Title III of the 
Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (Pub. L. 113-76), limits the 
validity of any determination by the Secretary under Section 
3112(d)(2)(B) of the USEC Privatization Act to no more than two 
calendar years subsequent to the determination.
    In recent years, DOE has transferred uranium for cleanup services 
at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant and for down-blending of 
highly-enriched uranium to low-enriched uranium (LEU). In May 2012, the 
Secretary determined that transfers of up to 2,400 metric tons of 
natural uranium equivalent (MTU) per year for cleanup services and up 
to 400 MTU (contained in LEU) for down-blending would not have an 
adverse material impact on domestic uranium industries. In May 2014, 
the Secretary determined that transfers of up to a total of 2,705 MTU 
per calendar year for these programs will not have an adverse material 
impact on the domestic uranium mining, conversion, or enrichment 
industry (the ``2014 Secretarial Determination'').\1\ The 2014 
determination covers up to 2,055 MTU per year of natural uranium 
hexafluoride and off-specification non-uranium hexafluoride for cleanup 
services and up to 650 MTU per year (contained in LEU) for down-
blending of highly-enriched uranium.
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    \1\ The 2014 Secretarial Determination and a market analysis the 
Department used in developing the Determination, are available at 
http://www.energy.gov/articles/energy-department-announces-secretarial-determination-no-adverse-material-impact-uranium.
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    DOE is planning to issue a new Secretarial Determination that would 
cover the continued transfer of uranium for cleanup services at the 
Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant and for down-blending of highly-
enriched uranium to LEU. DOE anticipates that a new Secretarial 
Determination would be finalized in Spring 2015. DOE is initiating this 
process by publishing this RFI. DOE will evaluate comments received in 
response to this RFI along with other information and analysis.

II. Issues on Which DOE Seeks Comment and Information

    This RFI seeks information from interested parties regarding the 
effects of DOE's planned transfers on the uranium markets and possible 
consequences for domestic uranium industries. DOE will then use that 
information to help determine whether its planned transfers would have 
an adverse material impact on the domestic uranium mining, conversion, 
or enrichment industry. For all comments, DOE requests that interested 
parties fully explain any assumptions that underlie their reasoning. 
DOE also requests that commenters provide underlying data or other 
information sufficient to allow DOE to review and verify any of the 
assumptions, calculations or views expressed by the commenters.
    DOE specifically invites public comment on the following questions:
    (1) What factors should DOE consider in assessing whether transfers 
will have adverse material impacts?
    (2) With respect to transfers from DOE's excess uranium inventory 
in calendar years 2012, 2013, and 2014, what have been the effects of 
transfers in uranium markets and the consequences for the domestic 
uranium mining, conversion, and enrichment industries relative to other 
market factors?
    (3) What market effects and industry consequences could DOE expect 
from continued transfers at annual rates comparable to the transfers 
described in the 2014 Secretarial Determination?
    (4) Would transfers at a lower annual rate significantly change 
these effects, and if so, how?
    (5) Are there actions DOE could take other than altering the annual 
rate of transfers that would mitigate any negative effects on these 
industries?
    (6) Are there actions DOE could take with respect to the transfers 
that would have positive effects on these industries?
    (7) Are there any anticipated changes in these markets that may 
significantly change how DOE transfers affect the domestic uranium 
industries?
    Although comment is particularly welcome on the issues discussed 
above, DOE also requests comments on other topics that commenters 
consider significant for a new Secretarial Determination.

III. Submission of Comments

    DOE invites all interested parties to submit, in writing by January 
7, 2015, comments and information on matters addressed in this notice. 
Any information that may be confidential and exempt by law from public 
disclosure should be submitted as described below. After the close of 
the comment period, DOE will continue collecting data, conducting 
analyses, and reviewing the public comments, as needed.

IV. Confidential Business Information

    Pursuant to 10 CFR 1004.11, any person submitting information he or 
she believes to be confidential and exempt by law from public 
disclosure should

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submit via email, postal mail, or hand delivery/courier two well-marked 
copies: One copy of the document marked ``confidential'' including all 
the information believed to be confidential, and one copy of the 
document marked ``non-confidential'' with the information believed to 
be confidential deleted. Submit these documents via email or on a CD, 
if feasible. DOE will make its own determination about the confidential 
status of the information and treat it according to its determination. 
Factors of interest to DOE when evaluating requests to treat submitted 
information as confidential include: (1) A description of the items; 
(2) whether and why such items are customarily treated as confidential 
within the industry; (3) whether the information is generally known by 
or available from other sources; (4) whether the information has 
previously been made available to others without obligation concerning 
its confidentiality; (5) an explanation of the competitive injury to 
the submitting person which would result from public disclosure; (6) 
when such information might lose its confidential character due to the 
passage of time; and (7) why disclosure of the information would be 
contrary to the public interest.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 2, 2014.
Peter B. Lyons,
Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy.
[FR Doc. 2014-28695 Filed 12-5-14; 8:45 am]
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