[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 231 (Monday, December 6, 2021)]
[Pages 69103-69104]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-26408]



[Docket No. 40-8907; NRC-2019-0026]

Draft Programmatic Agreement Between the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Navajo Nation Tribal 
Historic Preservation Office, New Mexico State Historic Preservation 
Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and United Nuclear Corporation 
Regarding the United Nuclear Corporation Mill Site and Northeast Church 
Rock Mine Site Located in McKinley County, New Mexico

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Request for comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is requesting 
comment on a draft Programmatic Agreement (PA) between the NRC, U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), Navajo Nation Tribal Historic 
Preservation Office (NNTHPO), New Mexico State Historic Preservation 
Office (NMSHPO), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and United Nuclear 
Corporation (UNC). The purpose of this draft PA is to resolve any 
adverse effects to historic properties identified during consultation 
for a proposed license amendment application for the UNC Mill Site.

DATES: Submit comments by January 20, 2022. Comments received after 
this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the 
Commission is able to ensure consideration only for comments received 
before this date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods; 
however, the NRC encourages electronic comment submission through the 
Federal Rulemaking website:
     Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2019-0026. Address 
questions about Docket IDs in Regulations.gov to Stacy Schumann; 
telephone: 301-415-0624; email: [email protected]. For technical 
questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT section of this document.
     Mail comments to: Office of Administration, Mail Stop: 
TWFN-7-A60M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-
0001, ATTN: Program Management, Announcements and Editing Staff.
    For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting 
comments, see ``Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments'' in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.
     Email comments to: [email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ashley Waldron, Office of Nuclear 
Materials Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001, telephone: 301-415-7317, email: 
[email protected].


I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments

A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2019-0026 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain 
publicly available information related to this action by any of the 
following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Website: Go to https://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2019-0026.
     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]. 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 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents, by appointment, at the NRC's PDR, Room P1 B35, One White 
Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. To make 
an appointment to visit the PDR, please send an email to 
[email protected] or call 1-800-397-4209 or 301-415-4737, between 
8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday, except Federal 

B. Submitting Comments

    The NRC encourages electronic comment submission through the 
Federal Rulemaking website (https://www.regulations.gov). Please 
include Docket ID NRC-2019-0026 in your comment submission.
    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 will post all comment submissions at 
https://www.regulations.gov as well as enter 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 into ADAMS.

II. Discussion

    On September 24, 2018, UNC submitted a license amendment 
application (ADAMS Package Accession No. ML18267A235) to amend its 
Source Material License No. SUA-1475 for the former UNC Church Rock 
Mill Site in accordance with part 40 of title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR), ``Domestic Licensing of Source Material.'' UNC is 
requesting that the NRC grant a license amendment that would allow 
disposal of Northeast Church Rock (NECR) mine waste on top of the 
tailings impoundment at the UNC Church Rock Mill Site (UNC Mill Site) 
in McKinley County, New Mexico. The NECR Mine Site is located on Navajo 
Nation trust land and the adjacent UNC Mill Site is located on private 
land owned by UNC.
    Pursuant to 36 CFR 800.8, the NRC is using its National 
Environmental Policy Act process for developing the Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) to facilitate consultation pursuant to Section 
106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).
    On November 13, 2020, the NRC requested comment (85 FR 72706) on 
its draft EIS that includes the preliminary analysis that evaluates the 
environmental impacts from the proposed action and alternatives to the 
proposed action. After comparing the impacts of the proposed action to 

[[Page 69104]]

no-action alternative, the NRC staff, in accordance with the 
requirements in 10 CFR part 51, preliminarily recommended the proposed 
action which would authorize UNC to transfer and dispose the waste from 
the NECR Mine on top of the UNC tailings impoundment. The comment 
period on the draft EIS closed on October 31, 2021 (86 FR 32285).
    Four archaeological sites fall within the area of potential effect 
(APE) for direct effects: Sites LA 11617, NM-Q-20-69, NM-Q-20-70, and 
NM-Q-20-71. Each of the four sites within the direct APE includes 
Anasazi-period artifact scatters and/or habitation sites. A fifth site, 
NM-Q-20-72, includes historic and Anasazi-period pictographs and is 
located fully outside the proposed action's direct APE but within 10 m 
[33 ft] of the direct APE (i.e., the indirect APE), warranting 
consideration of the proposed action's indirect effects on the setting 
of this cultural site. The NRC conducted a site visit with the NNTHPO 
on December 12, 2019 (ADAMS Accession No. ML21328A180). As part of its 
consultation pursuant to NHPA Section 106, NRC staff discussed the 
recommended eligibility, potential impacts, and recommendations for 
avoidance and mitigation measures for each of the five sites. The 
NMSHPO (ADAMS Accession No. ML20107F771 and ML21312A473); and NNTHPO 
have concurred with the NRC staff's eligibility recommendations (ADAMS 
Accession No. ML20167A115). Due to the presence of historic properties 
located within the direct and indirect APE, the NRC staff concluded 
that historic properties would be adversely affected by the proposed 
    The NRC met with US EPA, BIA, NNTHPO, the NMSHPO, and UNC to 
discuss how to address the adverse effects. The NRC proceeded with 
development of a PA to resolve adverse effects. Pursuant to this 
agreement, once this agreement is executed, the US EPA will become the 
lead agency for implementation of the PA.
    The draft PA addresses the potential direct and indirect adverse 
effects from the movement of waste from the NECR Mine to the UNC Mill 
Site and ensures that appropriate mitigation measures are implemented. 
The final EIS will reflect the PA once finalized and therefore conclude 
NHPA Section 106 consultation.

III. Request for Public Comment

    The NRC is requesting public comment on the draft PA. The NRC will 
consider these comments before finalizing the PA, which will be 
published as an appendix in the final EIS. The draft PA is available in 
ADAMS under Accession No. ML21302A221.

    Dated: December 1, 2021.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Christine L. Pineda,
Acting Chief, Environmental Review Materials Branch, Division of 
Rulemaking, Environmental, and Financial Support, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety, and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 2021-26408 Filed 12-3-21; 8:45 am]