[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 45 (Tuesday, March 8, 2016)]
[Pages 12143-12146]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-05127]



[Docket No. 40-9091; NRC-2011-0148]

Strata Energy, Inc, Kendrick Expansion Area In Situ Uranium 
Recovery Project

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Intent to prepare a supplemental environmental impact statement 
and conduct a scoping process; request for comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) received a 
license amendment application for License SUA-1601, by letters dated 
March 20, 2015, and April 24, 2015, from Strata Energy, Inc. (Strata). 
The amendment application requested authorization to expand its Ross In 
Situ Uranium Recovery (ISR) Project (Ross) to include the Kendrick 
expansion area (Kendrick). The requested amendment would allow Strata 
to construct and operate additional uranium recovery wells at Kendrick. 
Kendrick covers approximately 3,186 hectares (7,784 acres) adjacent to 
Ross. Ross is located in Crook County, Wyoming, 43 kilometers (27 
miles) northeast of Gillette, Wyoming and 46 kilometers (29 miles) 
northwest of Sundance, Wyoming. A notice of license

[[Page 12144]]

amendment request and opportunity to request a hearing was published in 
the Federal Register on February 29, 2016.

DATES: The scoping period begins March 8, 2016 and ends April 22, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2011-0148 when providing 
scoping comments or contacting the NRC about the availability of 
information regarding this document. You may submit scoping comments by 
the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2011-0148. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-
3463; 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: OWFN-12-H08, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.
     Email Comments to: You may email scoping comments to the 
Project's email address: [email protected].
    Comments must be submitted by April 22, 2016 to ensure 
consideration. For additional direction on accessing information and 
submitting comments, see ``Obtaining Information and Submitting 
Comments'' in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jessie Muir Quintero, Office of 
Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-7476; email: 
[email protected].


I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments

A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2011-0148 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information regarding this document. You may 
obtain publicly-available information related to this action by the 
following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2011-0148.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
    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]. For 
the convenience of the reader, instructions about obtaining materials 
referenced in this document are provided in a table in the section of 
this notice entitle, Availability of Documents.
     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.
     Project Web page: Information related to the Kendrick 
project can be accessed on the NRC's Kendrick Project Web page at: 

B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2011-0148 in your comment submission. 
Written comments may be submitted during the 45-day scoping period as 
described in the ADDRESSES section of the document.
    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact 
information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your 
comment submission. The NRC posts all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as entering the comment submissions into 
ADAMS. 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 submissions into ADAMS.

II. Background

    On April 24, 2014, the NRC staff issued Strata a source and 
byproduct material license, SUA-1601, pursuant to part 40 of title 10 
of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR). License SUA-1601 
authorizes Strata to construct and operate its Ross ISR project, which 
includes ISR wellfields, a central processing plant (CPP), and 
ancillary facilities within the 696-hectare (1,721-acre) Ross site 
located in Crook County, Wyoming. Prior to granting Strata SUA-1601, 
the NRC staff conducted an environmental review of the proposed project 
and issued a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the 
Ross ISR Project (Ross SEIS, NUREG-1910, Supplement 5), in February 
2014. The Ross SEIS tiered off the ISR Generic Environmental Impact 
Statement (GEIS, NUREG-1910).
    By letters dated March 20, 2015, and April 24, 2015, Strata 
requested that the NRC amend License SUA-1601. The requested amendment, 
if granted, would expand the area of ISR activities to include the 
Kendrick expansion area, which is adjacent to Ross, and allow Strata to 
construct and operate additional uranium ISR wellfields at Kendrick.
    The NRC accepted the license amendment application for technical 
review on January 14, 2016, and published a notice of opportunity to 
request a hearing in the Federal Register on February 29, 2016 (81 FR 
10285). Strata's license amendment application, including an 
Environmental Report, can be found on the NRC's Kendrick project Web 
page at: http://www.nrc.gov/materials/uranium-recovery/license-apps/kendrick.html.
    The purpose of this notice is to: (1) Inform the public that the 
NRC staff will prepare a SEIS to the GEIS as part of its review of the 
license amendment request, and (2) provide the public with an 
opportunity to participate in the environmental scoping process as 
defined in 10 CFR 51.29.

III. Environmental Review

    Although the NRC typically prepares Environmental Assessments for 
source material license amendments, the NRC staff is preparing a SEIS 
for Kendrick because the Ross SEIS identified several potential 
significant impacts related to historic and cultural resources, 
groundwater, transportation, and visual resources. Therefore, the NRC 
has considered it prudent to prepare a SEIS for this particular license 
amendment. The SEIS for Kendrick will be prepared pursuant to the NRC's 
regulations that implement NEPA. These regulations are located in ``10 
CFR part 51.''
    The Kendrick SEIS will examine the potential environmental impacts 
of the proposed construction, operation, decommissioning, and aquifer 
restoration of the Kendrick expansion area. The Kendrick SEIS will tier 
from and incorporate by reference the GEIS and the Ross SEIS. The 
techniques of tiering and incorporation by reference are described in 
40 CFR 1502.20 and 1508.28, and 40 CFR 1502.21, respectively, of the 
Council on

[[Page 12145]]

Environmental Quality's NEPA regulations. Accordingly, the SEIS will 
rely on information and analyses in the GEIS and Ross SEIS where 
appropriate and focus its more detailed discussions on the issues 
specific to Kendrick.
    The SEIS will analyze potential impacts of the proposed action on 
historic and cultural resources. In accordance with 36 CFR 800.8, the 
NRC staff is using the NEPA process to comply with its obligations 
under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The NRC 
initiated Section 106 consultations beginning in July 2015, with 26 
Indian Tribes, the U.S. National Park Service--Devils Tower, the U.S. 
Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Advisory Council on Historic 
Preservation, and the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office.
    In parallel with the environmental review, the NRC will be 
conducting a safety review. Its findings will be published in a Safety 
Evaluation Report.

IV. Kendrick Expansion Area

    The NRC's Federal action is to either grant or deny Strata's 
request for a license amendment. If the NRC approves Strata's request 
to amend License SUA-1601, then Strata could proceed with the proposed 
project--the Kendrick expansion--as described in its license amendment 
application. With this expansion, Strata would extract uranium from the 
ore body at Kendrick through the ISR process.
    The ISR process involves the mobilization of uranium from the 
mineralized host sandstone rock by pumping native groundwater 
containing oxidants (oxygen or hydrogen peroxide) and other chemical 
compounds (e.g., sodium bicarbonate) through a series of injection 
wells, passing the fluids through the ore body and then being extracted 
to the surface through a series of production wells. After extraction, 
the solution, called ``lixiviant,'' would be transported by pipelines 
to the Ross CPP for processing. Strata does not propose to construct or 
operate processing plants at Kendrick. After removal of the uranium by 
an ion-exchange process at the Ross CPP, the resulting solution would 
be transported back to Kendrick by pipeline for re-use in ISR 
operations. Uranium removed at the Ross CPP would be further processed 
to produce ``yellowcake,'' either at the Ross CPP should the dryers be 
installed in the future or through the transfer of uranium-bearing 
resins for processing at another licensed facility. The yellowcake 
would then be shipped to a uranium conversion facility which is the 
next step in the fuel cycle process for developing fuel for commercial 
nuclear power plants. Kendrick wellfields that have completed 
operations would be decommissioned and the affected aquifers restored 
concurrently with operation of other active wellfields.

V. Alternatives To Be Evaluated

    The Kendrick SEIS will analyze the environmental impacts of the 
proposed action, the no-action alternative, and reasonable 
alternatives. A brief description of each is provided below.
    No-Action--The no-action alternative would be to deny the license 
amendment application. Under this alternative, the NRC would not issue 
the license amendment and no ISR activities would occur at Kendrick. 
This serves as a baseline for comparison.
    Proposed action--The proposed Federal action is to issue a license 
amendment authorizing the expansion of Ross ISR activities to Kendrick. 
If the NRC approves the amendment request, it would issue Strata an 
amended license (SUA-1601) under the provisions of 10 CFR part 40, and 
Strata would proceed with the proposed activities at Kendrick as 
described in its license amendment application and summarized in 
Section IV.
    Alternatives--In its Environmental Report, Strata identified a 
potential alternative involving the construction of a satellite ion-
exchange facility within Kendrick. Under this alternative, lixiviant 
from the proposed Kendrick wellfields would be pumped to a satellite 
facility within Kendrick rather than to the Ross CPP. At the Kendrick 
satellite facility, uranium would be extracted in ion-exchange columns 
and transported to either the Ross CPP or another licensed facility for 
processing into yellowcake. Other alternatives not listed here may be 
identified during scoping or through the environmental review process.

VI. Scope of the Environmental Review

    The NRC will first conduct a scoping process for the SEIS and as 
soon as practicable thereafter, will publish a draft SEIS, pursuant to 
the NRC's NEPA regulations at 10 CFR part 51, for public comment. The 
NRC staff is conducting a 45-day scoping process for the Kendrick SEIS. 
The purpose of this scoping process is to seek public input to help the 
NRC determine the appropriate scope of the SEIS, including the 
alternatives and significant environmental issues to be analyzed in 
depth, as well as those that should be eliminated from detailed study 
because they are peripheral or are not significant. The NRC staff is 
planning to publish information related to this action in newspapers 
serving communities near the Kendrick site, requesting information and 
comments during the scoping period from the public. At this time, the 
NRC is not planning to hold a public scoping meeting. The NRC will 
prepare a concise summary of its scoping process, the comments 
received, as well as the NRC's responses. The Scoping Summary Report 
will be included in the draft SEIS as an appendix and sent to each 
participant in the scoping process for whom the staff has an address.
    The Kendrick SEIS will cover the potential impacts from all project 
phases: construction, operations, aquifer restoration, and 
decommissioning. The scope of the Kendrick SEIS will consider both 
radiological and nonradiological (including chemical) impacts 
associated with the proposed project and its alternatives. The Kendrick 
SEIS will also consider unavoidable adverse environmental impacts, the 
relationship between short-term uses of resources and long-term 
productivity, and irreversible and irretrievable commitments of 
resources. The following resource areas have been tentatively 
identified for analysis in the Kendrick SEIS: land use, transportation, 
geology and soils, water resources, ecological resources, air quality 
and climate change, noise, historical and cultural resources, visual 
and scenic resources, socioeconomics, public and occupational health, 
waste management, environmental justice, and cumulative impacts. This 
list is not intended to be exhaustive, nor is it a predetermination of 
potential environmental impacts. The Kendrick SEIS will describe the 
NRC's approach and methodology undertaken to determine the resource 
areas that will be studied in detail.
    The NRC encourages members of the public, local, State, Tribal, and 
Federal government agencies to participate in the scoping process. 
Written comments may be submitted during the 45-day scoping period as 
described in the ADDRESSES and SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of 
this document. To ensure that comments will be considered in the 
scoping process, written comments must be postmarked or delivered by 
April 22, 2016. The NRC staff may, at its discretion, consider comments 
after the end of the comment period. Participation in the scoping 
process for the Kendrick SEIS does not entitle participants to become 
parties to any proceeding to which the SEIS relates.
    In addition to requesting scoping comments through this Federal 
Register notice, the NRC staff also intends to

[[Page 12146]]

reach out to interested parties, including those identified during the 
environmental review for the Ross SEIS, as well as other Federal and 
State agencies and Indian Tribes identified during the Kendrick SEIS 
process. The NRC staff seeks to identify, among other things, all 
review and consultation requirements related to the proposed action, 
and agencies with jurisdiction by law or special expertise with respect 
to any environmental impact involved or which is authorized to develop 
and enforce relevant environmental standards. The NRC invites such 
agencies to participate in the scoping process and, as appropriate, 
cooperate in the preparation of the SEIS.
    The BLM has accepted the NRC's request to participate as a 
cooperating agency in the preparation of the SEIS. The BLM has 
expertise in mineral management and was a cooperating agency for the 
Ross SEIS. The agencies will cooperate according to the process set 
forth in the memorandum of understanding signed by the NRC and BLM and 
published in the Federal Register on April 01, 2013 (78 FR 19540).
    The NRC will continue its environmental review of Strata's license 
amendment application and, as soon as practicable, the NRC and its 
contractor will prepare and publish a draft SEIS. The NRC currently 
plans to have a 45-day public comment period for the draft SEIS. 
Availability of the draft SEIS and the dates of the public comment 
period will be announced in a future Federal Register notice. The final 
SEIS will include responses to public comments received on the draft 

VII. Availability of Documents

    The documents identified in this Federal Register notice are 
accessible to interested persons by the means indicated in either the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this notice or in the table below.

                Document                              Access
NUREG-1910, Generic Environmental        http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/
 Impact Statement for In-Situ Leach       doc-collections/nuregs/staff/
 Uranium Milling Facilities (GEIS).       sr1910/.
NUREG-1910, Supplement 5, Environmental  ML14056A096 or http://
 Impact Statement for the Ross ISR        www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-
 Project in Crook County, Wyoming (Ross   collections/nuregs/staff/
 SEIS).                                   sr1910/s5/.
Memorandum of Understanding between NRC  78 FR 19540.
 and BLM.
Federal Register Notice of License       (81 FR 10285).
 Amendment Request and Opportunity to
 Request a Hearing.
Strata Energy, LLC's Source Materials    ML14069A315, ML15181A246, and
 License SUA-1601 and Amendments.         ML15202A143 or http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/materials/uranium/licensed-facilities/ross.html.
Kendrick License Amendment Application.  ML15096A141 and ML15152A154 or

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 1st day of March, 2016.
    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Craig G. Erlanger,
Acting Director, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety, Safeguards and 
Environmental Review, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2016-05127 Filed 3-7-16; 8:45 am]