[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 219 (Monday, November 14, 2016)]
[Pages 79531-79534]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-27353]



[Docket No. 72-1050; NRC-2016-0231]

Waste Control Specialists LLC's Consolidated Interim Spent Fuel 
Storage Facility Project

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) received a 
license application by letter dated April 28, 2016, from Waste Control 
Specialists LLC (WCS). By this application, WCS is requesting 
authorization to construct and operate a Consolidated Interim Storage 
Facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel at WCS's facility in Andrews 
County, Texas (the proposed action). The WCS intends to store up to 
40,000 metric tons uranium in the CISF. The NRC will prepare an 
environmental impact statement (EIS) to document the potential 
environmental impacts from the proposed action. As part of the EIS 
development process, the NRC is seeking comments on the scope of its 
environmental review.

DATES: The scoping period begins on November 14, 2016, and, if the 
application is docketed, will end 45 days after publication of a notice 
of docketing the WCS application.

ADDRESSES: You may submit scoping 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-2016-0231. 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 the closing date of the scoping period to ensure 
    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: James Park, Office of Nuclear Material 
Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington 
DC, 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-6954; email: [email protected].


I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments

A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2016-0231 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-2016-0231.
     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]. In 
addition, for the convenience of the reader, instructions about 
obtaining materials referenced in this document are provided in a table 
in Section VII 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 WCS CISF 
project can be accessed on the NRC's WCS CISF Web page at: http://www.nrc.gov/waste/spent-fuel-storage/cis/waste-control-specialist.html.

B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2016-0231 in your comment submission. 
Written comments may be submitted

[[Page 79532]]

during the scoping period as described in the ADDRESSES section of the 
    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

    By letter dated April 28, 2016, WCS submitted an application to the 
NRC for a specific license, pursuant to part 72 of title 10 of the Code 
of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), ``Licensing Requirements for the 
Independent Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel, High-Level Radioactive 
Waste, and Reactor-Related Greater Than Class C Waste.'' The WCS is 
seeking to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage 
facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel at WCS's facility in Andrews 
County, Texas. As proposed by WCS, the CISF would store up to 40,000 
metric tons uranium (MTU) for a 40-year license period. The WCS site is 
located on Texas Highway 176 West, approximately 32 miles west of 
Andrews, Texas and 5 miles east of Eunice, New Mexico.
    The NRC staff is conducting an acceptance review of WCS's license 
application to determine if it contains sufficient information for NRC 
to conduct a detailed technical review. By letter dated June 22, 2016, 
the NRC staff provided the results of its acceptance review to WCS and 
requested supplemental information in order to accept the application 
for detailed review. WCS, by letter dated July 6, 2016, provided its 
schedule for submitting the supplemental information, noting that it 
would provide information related to its environmental report (ER) by 
July 20, 2016. The WCS provided the supplemental information related to 
its ER and a revised ER on July 20, 2016. The ER can be found on the 
NRC's project-specific Web page at: http://www.nrc.gov/waste/spent-fuel-storage/cis/wcs/wcs-app-docs.html.
    In its July 6, 2016, letter, WCS also stated its intent to provide 
supplemental information for the safety analysis report (SAR), physical 
security plan (PSP), and emergency response plan (ERP) portions of the 
license application. If, after receiving and reviewing that 
supplemental information for the SAR, PSP, and ERP portions of the 
application, the NRC staff determines that it is sufficient to conduct 
the detailed technical review, the NRC will publish in the Federal 
Register a notice of docketing of WCS's license application and a 
notice of opportunity to request a hearing. Accordingly, no requests 
for hearing should be filed unless and until the NRC has accepted WCS's 
complete application for detailed review.
    By letter dated July 21, 2016, WCS requested that the NRC begin its 
EIS process as soon as practicable. In an October 7, 2016 response, the 
NRC staff stated that it would begin the EIS process in advance of its 
decision on whether to accept the WCS application, because it would 
further the purposes of the staff's NEPA review. The NRC staff also 
stated that this decision does not presuppose the outcome of its 
ongoing acceptance review of the WCS application.
    The purpose of this notice is to: (1) Inform the public that the 
NRC staff will prepare an EIS as part of its review of WCS's license 
application in accordance with 10 CFR part 51 ``Environmental 
Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and Related Regulatory 
Functions,'' and (2) provide the public with an opportunity to 
participate in the environmental scoping process as defined in 10 CFR 
51.29. In addition, as outlined in 36 CFR 800.8, ``Coordination with 
the National Environmental Policy Act,'' the NRC plans to coordinate 
compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act 
in meeting the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (NEPA). The NRC staff also will document its compliance with other 
applicable federal statutes, such as the Endangered Species Act, in the 

III. Environmental Review

    The EIS prepared by the NRC staff will examine the potential 
environmental impacts of the proposed action. The NRC staff will 
evaluate the potential impacts to various environmental resources, such 
as air quality, surface and ground water, transportation, geology and 
soils, and socioeconomics. The EIS will analyze potential impacts of 
WCS's proposed facility on historic and cultural resources and on 
threatened and endangered species. Additionally, the economic, 
technical, and other benefits and costs of the proposed action and 
alternatives will be considered in the EIS.
    If the application is accepted for a detailed technical review, the 
NRC staff will also conduct a safety review to determine WCS's 
compliance with NRC's regulations, including 10 CFR part 20, 
``Standards for Protection Against Radiation'' and 10 CFR part 72. The 
NRC staff's findings would be published in a safety evaluation report.

IV. CISF Construction and Operation

    The NRC's Federal action is to either grant or deny WCS's request 
for a license. If the NRC approves WCS's request, then WCS could 
proceed with the proposed project--the construction and operation of 
the CISF--as described in its application and summarized here.
    The WCS proposes to construct the CISF on its approximately 60.3 
square kilometer (14,900 acre) site in western Andrews County, Texas. 
On this site, WCS currently operates facilities that process and store 
certain types of radioactive material, mainly Low-Level Waste (LLW) and 
Mixed Waste (i.e., waste that is both hazardous waste and LLW). The 
facility also disposes of hazardous and toxic waste.
    The WCS plans to construct the CISF in eight phases. Phase one of 
the CISF would be designed to provide storage for up to 5,000 MTU of 
spent nuclear fuel received from commercial nuclear power reactors 
across the United States. The WCS proposes that small amounts of mixed 
oxide spent fuels and Greater Than Class C (GTCC) LLW wastes also be 
stored at the CISF. The WCS stated that it would design each subsequent 
phase of the CISF to store up to an additional 5,000 MTU for a total of 
up to 40,000 MTU being stored at the site by the completion of the 
final phase. Each phase would require NRC review and approval.
    The WCS would receive canisters containing spent nuclear fuel from 
the reactor sites, and once accepted at its site, WCS would transfer 
them into onsite dry cask storage systems. The WCS stated that it would 
employ dry cask storage system technology that has been licensed by the 
NRC pursuant to 10 CFR part 72 at various commercial nuclear reactors 
across the country. The WCS stated that the dry cask storage systems 
proposed for use at the CISF would be passive systems (i.e., not

[[Page 79533]]

relying on any moving parts) and would provide physical protection, 
containment, nuclear criticality controls and radiation shielding 
required for the safe storage of the spent nuclear fuel. The WCS also 
stated that the dry cask storage systems would be located on top of the 
concrete pads constructed at the CISF. The WCS is requesting a license 
for a term of 40 years.

V. Alternatives To Be Evaluated

    The EIS 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 Alternative--The no-action alternative would be to deny 
the license application. Under this alternative, the NRC would not 
issue the license and WCS would not construct nor operate the CISF at 
its site in west Texas. Existing waste handling, storage, and disposal 
operations at the WCS site unrelated to storage of spent nuclear fuel 
would continue. This alternative serves as a baseline for the 
comparison of environmental impacts of the proposed action and the 
reasonable alternatives.
    Proposed action--The proposed Federal action is to issue a license 
to WCS authorizing the company to construct and operate the CISF. If 
the NRC approves the license application, it would issue WCS a specific 
license under the provisions of 10 CFR part 72, and WCS would proceed 
with the proposed activities.
    Alternatives to the Proposed Action--Other alternatives not listed 
here may be identified during scoping or through the environmental 
review process.

VI. Scope of the Environmental Review

    The NRC staff is conducting a scoping process for the WCS EIS, 
which begins on the day this notice appears in the Federal Register. In 
accordance with 10 CFR 51.29, the NRC seeks public input to help the 
NRC determine the appropriate scope of the EIS, including 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 WCS 
site, requesting information and comments during the scoping period 
from the public. Additionally, if WCS's application is found acceptable 
for detailed review, the NRC may hold public scoping meetings to 
receive comments in person in accordance with 10 CFR 51.26. The dates, 
times, and locations for any meetings will be provided in a future 
Federal Register notice.
    After the close of the scoping period, 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 
NRC's draft EIS as an appendix and sent to each participant in the 
scoping process for whom the staff has an address.
    The WCS EIS will address the potential impacts from the proposed 
action. The anticipated scope of the EIS will consider both 
radiological and non-radiological (including chemical) impacts 
associated with the proposed project and its alternatives. The EIS 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 WCS EIS: 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 EIS will describe the NRC staff's 
approach and methodology undertaken to determine the resource areas 
that will be studied in detail and the NRC staff's evaluation of 
potential impacts to those resource areas.
    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 scoping period as 
described in the ADDRESSES and SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of 
this document. Participation in the scoping process for the WCS EIS 
does not entitle participants to become parties to any proceeding to 
which the EIS relates.
    In addition to requesting scoping comments through this Federal 
Register notice, the NRC staff also intends to reach out to interested 
stakeholders, including other Federal and State agencies and Indian 
Tribes. 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 EIS.
    The NRC staff will continue its environmental review of WCS's 
license application, and with its contractor, prepare a draft EIS and, 
as soon as practicable, publish it for public comment. The NRC staff 
plans to have a public comment period for the draft EIS. Availability 
of the draft EIS and the dates of the public comment period will be 
announced in a future Federal Register notice. The final EIS will 
include NRC's responses to public comments received on the draft EIS.

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                          Accession  No.
WCS's CISF license application, with Environmental           ML16133A070
NRC request for supplemental information................     ML16175A277
WCS letter with schedule for response to NRC request for     ML16193A314
 supplemental information...............................
WCS submittal of initial responses to NRC request for        ML16229A537
 supplemental information...............................
WCS request for NRC to begin EIS process as soon as          ML16229A340
WCS submittal of second responses to NRC request for         ML16265A454
 supplemental information...............................
NRC response to WCS request to begin EIS process as soon     ML16285A317
 as practicable.........................................
WCS submittal of third responses to NRC request for          ML16294A134
 supplemental information...............................

[[Page 79534]]

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 4th day of November, 2016.

    For the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Brian W. Smith,
Deputy Director, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety, Safeguards, and 
Environmental Review, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2016-27353 Filed 11-10-16; 8:45 am]