[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 23 (Wednesday, February 4, 2004)]
[Notices]
[Pages 5374-5375]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E4-179]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION


Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Proposed LES Gas Centrifuge Uranium Enrichment Facility

ACTION: Notice of Intent (NOI).

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SUMMARY: Louisiana Energy Services (LES) submitted a license 
application on December 12, 2003, that proposes the construction, 
operation and decommissioning of a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment 
facility to be located near Eunice, New Mexico. The U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission (NRC), in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its regulations at 10 CFR part 51, 
announces its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS). The EIS will examine the potential environmental impacts of the 
proposed LES facility.

DATES: The public scoping process required by NEPA begins with 
publication of this NOI and continues until March 18, 2004. Written 
comments submitted by mail should be postmarked by that date to ensure 
consideration. Comments mailed after that date will be considered to 
the extent practical.
    The NRC will conduct a public scoping meeting to assist in defining 
the appropriate scope of the EIS, including the significant 
environmental issues to be addressed. The meeting date, times and 
location are listed below:
     Meeting date: March 4, 2004.
     Meeting location: Eunice Community Center, 1115 
Avenue I, Eunice, NM.
     Scoping meeting time: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

ADDRESSES: Members of the public are invited and encouraged to submit 
comments to the Chief, Rules and Directives Branch, Mail Stop T6-D59, 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001. Please 
note Docket No. 70-3103 when submitting comments. Due to the current 
mail situation in the Washington, DC area, commentors are encouraged to 
send comments electronically to LES--EIS@nrc.gov or by facsimile to 
(301) 415-5398, ATTN.: Melanie Wong.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general or technical information 
associated with the license review of the LES application, please 
contact: Tim Johnson at (301) 415-7299. For general information on the 
NRC NEPA process, or the environmental review process related to the 
LES application, please contact: Melanie Wong at (301) 415-6262.
    Information and documents associated with the LES project, 
including the LES license application (submitted on December 12, 2003), 
are available for public review through our electronic reading room: 
http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. Documents may also be 
obtained from NRC's Public Document Room at U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission Headquarters, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, 
Maryland.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

1.0 Background

    LES submitted a license application and an environmental report for 
a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment facility to the NRC on December 12, 
2003. The NRC will evaluate the potential environmental impacts 
associated with LES enrichment facility in parallel with the review of 
the license application. This environmental evaluation will be 
documented in draft and final Environmental Impact Statements in 
accordance with NEPA and NRC's implementing regulations at 10 CFR part 
51.

2.0 LES Enrichment Facility

    The LES facility, if licensed, would enrich uranium for use in 
manufacturing commercial nuclear fuel for use in power reactors. Feed 
material would be natural (not enriched) uranium in the form of uranium 
hexafluoride (UF6). LES proposes to use centrifuge technology to enrich 
isotope

[[Page 5375]]

uranium-235 in the uranium hexafluoride to up to 5 percent. The 
centrifuge would operate at below atomospheric pressure. The capacity 
of the plant would be up to 3 million separative work units (SWU) (SWU 
relates to a measure of the work used to enrich uranium). The enriched 
UF6 would be transported to a fuel fabrication facility. The 
depleted UF6 would be stored on site until it can be sold or 
disposed of commercially, or by the Department of Energy.

3.0 Alternatives To Be Evaluated

    No-Action--The no-action alternative would be to not build the 
proposed LES gas centrifuge uranium enrichment facility. Under this 
alternative, the NRC would not approve the license application. This 
serves as a baseline for comparison.
    Proposed action--The proposed action involves the construction, 
operation, and decommissioning of a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment 
facility located near Eunice, NM. The applicant would be issued an NRC 
license under the provisions of 10 CFR parts 30, 40, and 70.
    Other alternatives not listed here may be identified through the 
scoping process.

4.0 Environmental Impact Areas To Be Analyzed

    The following areas have been tentatively identified for analysis 
in the EIS:
     Land Use: Plans, policies and controls;
     Transportation: Transportation modes, routes, 
quantities, and risk estimates;
     Geology and Soils: Physical geography, 
topography, geology and soil characteristics;
     Water Resources: Surface and groundwater 
hydrology, water use and quality, and the potential for degradation;
     Ecology: Wetlands, aquatic, terrestrial, 
economically and recreationally important species, and threatened and 
endangered species;
     Air Quality: Meteorological conditions, ambient 
background, pollutant sources, and the potential for degradation;
     Noise: Ambient, sources, and sensitive 
receptors;
     Historical and Cultural Resources: Historical, 
archaeological, and traditional cultural resources
     Visual and Scenic Resources: Landscape 
characteristics, manmade features and viewshed;
     Socioeconomics: Demography, economic base, labor 
pool, housing, transportation, utilities, public services/facilities, 
education, recreation, and cultural resources;
     Environmental Justice: Potential 
disproportionately high and adverse impacts to minority and low-income 
populations;
     Public and Occupational Health: Potential public 
and occupational consequences from construction, routine operation, 
transportation, and credible accident scenarios (including natural 
events);
     Waste Management: Types of wastes expected to be 
generated, handled, and stored; and
     Cumulative Effects: Impacts from past, present 
and reasonably foreseeable actions at, and near the site(s).
    This list is not intended to be all inclusive, nor is it a 
predetermination of potential environmental impacts. The list is 
presented to facilitate comments on the scope of the EIS. Additions to, 
or deletions from this list may occur as a result of the public scoping 
process.

5.0 Scoping Meeting

    One purpose of this NOI is to encourage public involvement in the 
EIS process, and to solicit public comments on the proposed scope and 
content of the EIS. The NRC will hold a public scoping meeting in 
Eunice, New Mexico, to solicit both oral and written comments from 
interested parties.
    Scoping is an early and open process designed to determine the 
range of actions, alternatives, and potential impacts to be considered 
in the EIS, and to identify the significant issues related to the 
proposed action. It is intended to solicit input from the public and 
other agencies so that the analysis can be more clearly focused on 
issues of genuine concern. The principal goals of the scoping process 
are to:
     Ensure that concerns are identified early and 
are properly studied;
     Identify alternatives that will be examined;
     Identify significant issues that need to be 
analyzed;
     Eliminate unimportant issues; and
     Identify public concerns.
    The scoping meeting will begin with NRC staff providing a 
description of the NRC's role and mission. A brief overview of the 
licensing process will be followed by a brief description of the 
environmental review process. The bulk of the meeting will be allotted 
for attendees to make oral comments.

6.0 Scoping Comments

    Written comments should be mailed to the address listed above in 
the ADDRESSES section.
    The NRC staff will make the scoping summaries and project-related 
materials available for public review through our electronic reading 
room: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. The scoping meeting 
summaries and project-related materials will also be available on the 
NRC's LES Web page: http://www.nrc.gov/materials/fuel-cycle-fac/
lesfacility.html (case sensitive).

7.0 The NEPA Process

    The EIS for the LES facility will be prepared according to the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the NRC's NEPA 
Regulations at 10 CFR part 51.
    After the scoping process is complete, the NRC and it's contractor 
will prepare a draft EIS. A 45-day comment period on the draft EIS is 
planned, and public meetings to receive comments will be held 
approximately three weeks after distribution of the draft EIS. 
Availability of the draft EIS, the dates of the public comment period, 
and information about the public meetings will be announced in the 
Federal Register, on NRC's LES Web page, and in the local news media 
when the draft EIS is distributed. The final EIS will incorporate 
public comments received on the draft EIS.

    Signed in Rockville, MD this 16th day of January, 2004.

    For The Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Lawrence E. Kokajko,
Chief, Environmental and Performance Assessment Branch, Division of 
Waste Management, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. E4-179 Filed 2-3-04; 8:45 am]
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