[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 237 (Wednesday, December 9, 2020)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-26973]
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
[Docket No. 70-1151; NRC-2020-0263]
Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC; Columbia Fuel Fabrication
Facility; and US Ecology, Inc.; Idaho Resource Conservation and
Recovery Act Subtitle C Hazardous Disposal Facility Located Near Grand
AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
ACTION: Environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact;
SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an
environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact
(FONSI) related to a request for alternate disposal, exemptions, and
associated license amendment for the disposition of waste containing
byproduct material and special nuclear material (SNM) from the
Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC's (WEC) Columbia Fuel Fabrication
Facility (CFFF) in Hopkins, South Carolina, under License Number SNM-
1107. Additionally, the NRC is considering the related action of
approving exemptions to US Ecology, Inc. (USEI) from the NRC licensing
requirements to allow USEI to receive and dispose the material from
CFFF without an NRC license. The USEI disposal facility, located near
Grand View, Idaho, is a Subtitle C Resource Conservation and Recovery
Act (RCRA) hazardous waste disposal facility permitted by the State of
Idaho to receive low-level radioactive waste and is not licensed.
Approval of the alternate disposal request from WEC and the exemptions
requested by WEC and USEI would allow WEC to transfer the specific
waste from CFFF for disposal at USEI.
DATES: The EA and FONSI referenced in this document are available on
December 9, 2020.
ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2020-0263 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 Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2020-0263. Address
questions about Docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Jennifer Borges;
telephone: 301-287-9127; 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 https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, 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].
Attention: The PDR, where you may examine and order copies
of public documents is currently closed. You may submit your request to
the PDR via email at [email protected] or call 1-800-397-4209
between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (EST), Monday through Friday, except
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Tiktinsky, Office of Nuclear
Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission,
Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-8740, email:
By letter dated May 8, 2020 (ADAMS Accession No. ML20129J935;
Package No. ML20129J934), as supplemented on September 22, 2020 (ADAMS
Accession No. ML20266G551), and October 13, 2020 (ADAMS Accession No.
ML20287A545), WEC requested an exemption and associated license
amendment to License SNM-1107, issued for the operation of CFFF located
in Hopkins, South Carolina. The requests are for NRC authorization for
an alternate disposal of specified NRC-licensed byproduct and SNM from
the CFFF. As required by section 51.21 of title 10 of the Code of
Federal Regulations (10 CFR), the NRC conducted an EA. Based on the
results of the EA that follows, the NRC has determined that pursuant to
10 CFR 51.31, preparation of an environmental impact statement for the
exemption request is not required and pursuant to 10 CFR 51.32,
issuance of a FONSI is appropriate.
A corresponding exemption request from USEI, dated May 11, 2020
(ADAMS Accession No. ML20280A601), would allow for possession and
disposal of the byproduct and SNM materials at the USEI disposal site.
USEI is a RCRA Subtitle C hazardous waste disposal facility located
near Grand View, Idaho.
II. Environmental Assessment
Description of the Proposed Action
WEC and USEI requested NRC approval for a 10 CFR 20.2002 alternate
disposal request, exemptions to 10 CFR part 70.3 and 10 CFR 30.3, and a
conforming WEC license amendment to allow WEC to transfer specific
waste from CFFF for disposal at the USEI disposal facility.
Waste being considered in this request includes approximately 2,550
cubic meters (m\3\; 90,000 cubic feet (ft\3\)) of radiologically
contaminated soil, sludge, and debris associated with the East Lagoon,
a treatment/settling pond that received effluents from multiple sources
throughout the site. The East Lagoon is in the process of being closed
in accordance with a consent agreement and regulations set by the South
Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). In
addition to the material from the East Lagoon, the request also
includes approximately 1,430 m\3\ (50,400 ft\3\) of previously dredged
CaF2 sludge being stored on site. WEC proposes to mix these
materials with Portland cement to stabilize the material for shipping.
WEC proposes to transport this aggregated waste stream to USEI using a
combination of trucks and railcars.
In addition to this soil and sludge, the request also includes the
shipping and disposal of up to 526 obsolete UF6 cylinders
previously used for transportation. The cylinders are contaminated with
SNM and U-238, and represent a disposal volume of approximately 651
m\3\ (23,000 ft\3\) prior to downsizing. The UF6 Cylinders
are solid form (steel), approximately 1.8 m (6 ft) in length and 0.76 m
(2.5 ft) in diameter. The UF6 Cylinders are empty and have
been through the UF6 Cylinder internal wash/rinse process
following their last use. The UF6 Cylinders will be
downsized to eliminate void space prior to packaging for shipment
offsite for disposal. The UF6 Cylinders would be transported
to the USEI site by trucks, separate from the aggregated waste
Both waste streams would be transported from CFFF in South Carolina
to the USEI facility, Grand View, Idaho in the Owyhee Desert. The USEI
facility is a RCRA Subtitle C hazardous waste disposal facility
permitted by the State of Idaho. The USEI site has both natural and
engineered features that limit the transport of radioactive material.
The natural features include a low precipitation rate [i.e., 18.4 cm/
year (7.4 in./year)] and a long vertical distance to groundwater (i.e.,
61-meter (203-ft) thick on average unsaturated zone below the disposal
zone). The engineered features include an engineered cover, liners, and
leachate monitoring systems. Because the USEI facility is not licensed
by the NRC, this proposed action requires the NRC to exempt USEI from
the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, and NRC licensing requirements with
respect to USEI's requested receipt and disposal of this material.
Need for the Proposed Action
The need for the proposed action is to authorize a safe and
appropriate method of disposal for the subject waste material generated
during day-to-day activities and currently being stored at the CFFF.
Specifically, the East Lagoon is in the process of being closed in
accordance with a consent agreement and regulations set by the SCDHEC.
Thus, material associated with the East Lagoon must be removed from the
site in order to comply with regulatory requirements. The proposed
alternate disposal would also conserve low-level radioactive waste
disposal capacity at licensed low-level radioactive disposal sites
while ensuring that the material being considered is disposed of safely
in a regulated facility.
Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action
The NRC staff reviewed the information provided by WEC to support
their 10 CFR 20.2002 alternate disposal request and for the specific
exemptions from 10 CFR 30.3 and 10 CFR 70.3 in order to dispose of the
aggregated waste and UF6 cylinders at USEI. Under the 10 CFR
20.2002 criteria, a licensee may seek NRC authorization to dispose of
licensed material using procedures not otherwise authorized by NRC
regulations. The licensee's supporting analysis must show that the
radiological doses arising from the proposed 10 CFR 20.2002 disposal
will be as low as reasonably achievable and within the 10 CFR part 20
WEC performed a radiological assessment in consultation with USEI.
Based on this assessment, WEC concludes that potential doses to members
of the public, including transportation workers and USEI workers
involved in processing and disposing of the waste upon its arrival at
USEI, are less than 1 mrem/y, well within the ``few mrem'' criteria
that the NRC established (see NUREG-1757, Volume 1, Revision 2).
As documented in the Safety Evaluation Report (SER), the NRC staff
reviewed scenarios and related input parameters considered by WEC and
USEI and found that they are appropriate for the scenarios considered.
The NRC staff also reviewed the projected doses from the post-closure
and intruder scenarios at USEI and found them acceptable. NRC staff did
note that the inadvertent intruder construction scenario had potential
doses that were larger than the other inadvertent intruder scenarios
evaluated, but the NRC does not consider this scenario to be feasible
due to the configuration of the disposal cells and USEI's waste
disposal practices. NRC staff also notes that the proposed disposals
are also subject to regulation under RCRA.
Based upon its evaluation above and its assessment of the potential
impacts of the proposed action, in addition to focusing on the
potential radiological impacts discussed above, this EA next considers
potential environmental impacts from non-radiological materials. With
regard to potential non-radiological impacts, the NRC staff concludes
that approval of the proposed request to dispose of material with small
amounts of radioactive material would not have significant
environmental impacts, including effects on non-radiological effluents,
air quality, or noise. In addition, approval of the proposed action
will not significantly increase the probability or consequences of
accidents as well as occupational and public radiation exposure because
of the quantities and forms of material involved, as further evaluated
in the NRC's SER.
Therefore, due to the very small amounts of radioactive material
involved, the evaluation above, and the NRC staff's analysis in the
SER, the NRC staff finds that the environmental impacts of the proposed
action are not significant.
Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action
As an alternative to the proposed action, the NRC staff considered
the no-action alternative in which the NRC staff would deny the
disposal request. Denial of the request would require WEC to find
another disposal pathway for this material, and would ultimately only
change the location of the disposal site. All other factors would
remain the same or similar. Therefore, the no-action alternative was
not further considered. NRC staff also notes that pursuing the no-
action alternative would result in the licensee potentially violating
the SCDHEC requirements to remove the material from the East Lagoon so
that it can be remediated while it identifies another disposal option.
Agencies and Persons Consulted
In accordance with its stated policy, on November 23, 2020, the
staff consulted with SCDHEC and the Idaho Department of Environmental
Quality regarding the environmental impacts of the proposed action. The
state officials concurred with the EA and FONSI.
III. Finding of No Significant Impact
The proposed action consists of NRC approval of (a) WEC's and
USEI's alternate disposal requests under 10 CFR 20.2002, (b) WEC and
USEI's exemption requests under 10 CFR 30.11(a) and 10 CFR 70.11(a),
and (c) the issuance of a conforming license amendment to WEC. Based on
this EA, the NRC finds that there are no significant environmental
impacts from the proposed action. Therefore, the NRC 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 through one or more of the following methods, as
Document ADAMS accession No.
Request for Alternate Disposal Approval ML20129J934 (Package).
and Exemption for Specific Columbia
Fuel Fabrication Facility Waste
(License No. SNM-1197, Docket No. 70-
1151), dated May 8, 2020.
Request for Exemptions under 10 CFR ML20280A601.
30.11 and 10 CFR 70.17 for Alternate
Disposal of Wastes from Columbia Fuel
Fabrication Facility Under 10 CFR
20.2002, dated May 11, 2020.
Response to Request for Additional ML20266G551.
Approval and Exemptions for Specific
Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility
Waste (License No. SNM-1107, Docket No.
70-1151), dated September 22, 2020.
Response to Request for Additional ML20287A545.
Approval and Exemptions for Specific
Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility
Waste (License No. SNM-1107, Docket No.
70-1151), dated October 13, 2020.
Safety Evaluation Report................ ML20302A085.
NUREG-1757, Volume 1, Revision 2, ML063000243.
Dated: December 3, 2020.
For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Acting Chief, Fuel Facility Licensing Branch, Division of Fuel
Management, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2020-26973 Filed 12-8-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P