[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 9 (Friday, January 13, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 2096-2098]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-548]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[NRC-2010-0143]


Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Impact Statement 
for the Proposed International Isotopes Fluorine Extraction Process and 
Depleted Uranium Deconversion Plant in Lea County, NM

AGENCY: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Draft environmental impact statement; request for comment.

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SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission (NRC) is issuing for public comment the Draft Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) for the Proposed Fluorine Extraction Process and 
Depleted Uranium Deconversion Plant. By letter dated December 30, 2009, 
International Isotopes Fluorine Products, Inc. (IIFP), a wholly-owned 
subsidiary of International Isotopes, Inc., submitted a license 
application, which included an Environmental Report that proposes the 
construction, operation, and decommissioning of a fluoride extraction 
and depleted uranium deconversion facility to be located in Lea County, 
New Mexico (the ``proposed action'').
    This Draft EIS is being issued as part of the NRC's process to 
decide whether to issue a license to IIFP, pursuant to Title 10 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 40, to build and operate the 
proposed depleted uranium deconversion facility. Specifically, IIFP 
proposed to deconvert depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) 
into uranium oxide compounds for long-term disposal.
    The NRC staff will hold a public meeting on February 2, 2012, to 
present an overview of the licensing process and the contents of the 
Draft EIS, and to accept oral and written public comments on the Draft 
EIS. The meeting will take place at the Lea County Event Center, 5101 
Lovington Highway in Hobbs, New Mexico. For 1 hour prior to the public 
meeting, the NRC staff will be available to informally discuss the 
proposed IIFP project and answer questions in an ``open house'' format. 
This ``open house'' format provides for one-on-one discussions with the 
NRC staff involved with the preparation of the Draft EIS. The Draft EIS 
public meeting will officially begin at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will 
include the following agenda items: (1) A brief presentation of NRC's 
roles and responsibilities and the licensing process; (2) a 
presentation summarizing the contents of the Draft EIS; and (3) an 
opportunity for interested government agencies, Tribal governments, 
organizations, and individuals to provide comments on the draft EIS. 
The public meeting will be transcribed by a court reporter, and the 
meeting transcript will be made publicly available at a later date.
    Persons wishing to provide oral comments at the public meeting may 
register in advance by contacting Ms. Antoinette Walker-Smith at (800) 
368-5642, ext. 6390 no later than January 26, 2012. Those who wish to 
present comments may also register at the meeting. Individual oral 
comments may have to be limited by the time available, depending upon 
the number of persons who register. Written comments can also be 
provided at the meeting, and should be given to an NRC staff person at 
the registration desk at the meeting entrance. If special equipment or 
accommodations are needed to attend or present information at the 
public meeting, the need should be brought to the attention of Ms. 
Antoinette Walker-Smith at (800) 368-5642, ext.6390, no later than 
January 26, 2012, to provide NRC staff with adequate notice to 
determine whether the request can be accommodated. Please note that 
comments do not have to be provided at the public meeting and may be 
submitted at any time during the comment period, as described in the 
DATES section of this notice. Any interested party may submit comments 
on the Draft EIS for consideration by NRC staff. Comments may be 
submitted by any of the methods described in the ADDRESSES section of 
this notice.

DATES: The public comment period on the Draft EIS begins on the date of 
publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Federal 
Register (FR) Notice of Filing and ends on February 27, 2012. To ensure 
consideration, comments on the Draft EIS and the proposed action must 
be received or postmarked by February 27, 2012. The NRC staff will 
consider comments received or postmarked after that date to the extent 
practical.
    The NRC will conduct a public meeting in Hobbs, New Mexico. The 
meeting date, location, and time are listed below:
    Meeting Date: Thursday, February 2, 2012.
    Meeting Location: Lea County Event Center, 5101 Lovington Highway 
in Hobbs, New Mexico.
    Informal Open House Session: 4:30-5:30 p.m.
    Draft EIS Comment Meeting: 5:30-8:30 p.m.

ADDRESSES: Please include Docket ID NRC-2010-0143 in the subject line 
of

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your comments. For additional instructions on submitting comments and 
instructions on accessing documents related to this action, see 
``Submitting Comments and Accessing Information'' in the SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION section of this document. You may submit comments by any 
one of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for documents filed under Docket ID NRC-
2010-0143. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher, 
telephone: (301) 492-3668; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov.
     Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules, 
Announcements, and Directives Branch (RADB), Office of Administration, 
Mail Stop: TWB-05-B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.
     Fax comments to: RADB at (301) 492-3446.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Submitting Comments and Accessing Information

    Comments submitted in writing or in electronic form will be posted 
on the NRC Web site and on the Federal rulemaking Web site, http://www.regulations.gov. Because your comments will not be edited to remove 
any identifying or contact information, the NRC cautions you against 
including any information in your submission that you do not want to be 
publicly disclosed.
    The NRC requests that any party soliciting or aggregating comments 
received from other persons for submission to the NRC inform those 
persons that the NRC will not edit their comments to remove any 
identifying or contact information, and therefore, they should not 
include any information in their comments that they do not want 
publicly disclosed.
    You can access publicly available documents related to this 
document using the following methods:
     NRC's Public Document Room (PDR): The public may examine 
and have copied, for a fee, publicly available documents at the NRC's 
PDR, O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 
Maryland 20852.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): Publicly available documents created or received at the NRC 
are available online in the NRC Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this page, the public can gain entry into ADAMS, 
which provides text and image files of the NRC's public documents. If 
you do not have access to ADAMS or if there are problems in accessing 
the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC's PDR reference staff 
at 1-(800) 397-4209, (301) 415-4737, or by email to 
pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The ``Draft Environmental Impact Statement for 
the Proposed Fluorine Extraction Process and Depleted Uranium 
Deconversion Plant in Lea County, New Mexico'' is available 
electronically under ADAMS Accession Number ML12001A000.
     Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Public comments and 
supporting materials related to this notice can be found at http://www.regulations.gov by searching on Docket ID NRC-2010-0143.
    The Draft EIS for the proposed Fluorine Extraction Process and 
Depleted Uranium Deconversion Plant also may be accessed on the 
Internet at www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/ by 
selecting ``NUREG-2113.'' Additionally, a copy of the Draft EIS will be 
available at the following public library: Hobbs Public Library, 509 
North Shipp, Hobbs, NM 88240, (575) 397-9328.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about the 
environmental review process or the Draft EIS for the proposed Fluorine 
Extraction Process and Depleted Uranium Deconversion Plant, please 
contact Asimios Malliakos, Project Manager, Environmental Review 
Branch, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection 
(DWMEP), Mail Stop T-8 F5, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-001, by phone at (301) 415-6458. For general or 
technical information associated with the safety and licensing of 
uranium deconversion facilities, please contact Matthew Bartlett, 
Project Manager, Conversion, Deconversion and Enrichment Branch, 
Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards (FCSS), Mail Stop E-2 C40, 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, by phone 
at (301) 492-3119.
    The Draft EIS was prepared in response to an application submitted 
by IIFP by letter dated December 30, 2009. The application proposes to 
construct, operate, and decommission a fluorine extraction and depleted 
uranium deconversion facility to deconvert commercially generated 
depleted DUF6 to DUO2 for long-term stable 
disposal as low-level waste. The fluoride extraction and depleted 
uranium deconversion facility would be located 14 miles west of Hobbs, 
New Mexico.
    The Draft EIS was prepared by the NRC and its contractor, Straughan 
Environmental Services, Inc. in compliance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), and the NRC's 
regulations for implementing NEPA (10 CFR Part 51).
    The site is located 22.5 kilometers (km) (14 miles [mi]) west of 
Hobbs, New Mexico. The proposed tract of land (IIFP site) occupies 259 
ha (640 ac), and the proposed facility would occupy an estimated 16 ha 
(40 ac) of the tract, not including roadways and other infrastructure 
improvements.
    The Draft EIS is being issued as part of the NRC's process to 
decide whether to issue a license to IIFP, pursuant to 10 CFR Part 40. 
In this Draft EIS, the NRC staff has assessed the potential 
environmental impacts from the preconstruction, construction, 
operation, and decommissioning of the proposed IIFP facility. If a 
license is granted, the IIFP facility would include a commercial plant 
to produce specialty fluoride gas products for sale and DUO2 
for disposal. IIFP would own the facility and be responsible for its 
operation and performance.
    The NRC staff published a Notice of Intent to prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed IIFP facility and to 
conduct a scoping process in the Federal Register on July 15, 2010 (75 
FR 41242). The NRC staff accepted comments through August 30, 2010. The 
NRC staff issued a Scoping Summary Report in November 2010 (ADAMS 
Accession Number: ML102871105).
    The NRC staff assessed the impacts of the proposed action on land 
use, historical and cultural resources, visual and scenic resources, 
climatology, meteorology and air quality, geology, minerals and soils, 
water resources, ecological resources, socioeconomics, environmental 
justice, noise, traffic and transportation, public and occupational 
health and safety, and waste management.
    Additionally, the Draft EIS analyzes and compares the benefits and 
costs of the proposed action. Based on the preliminary evaluation in 
the Draft EIS, the NRC environmental review staff has concluded that 
the environmental impacts that would result from the proposed action 
and associated preconstruction activities on the physical environment 
and human communities would mostly be small, with the exception of 
small to moderate impacts on climatology, meteorology, and air quality 
associated with vehicle emissions and temporary fugitive dust released 
to the air during construction.
    In addition to the action proposed by IIFP, the NRC staff addressed 
the no-action alternative and also a reasonable

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range of alternatives to the proposed action, including alternative 
sites for an IIFP facility, alternative technologies, shipment of the 
U.S.-generated DUF6 to overseas facilities, and the four 
U.S.-based enrichment companies to construct and operate their own 
deconversion facilities. These alternatives were eliminated from 
further analysis due to economic, environmental, or other reasons. The 
proposed action and the no-action alternative were analyzed in detail. 
The no-action alternative serves as a baseline for comparison of the 
potential environmental impacts of the proposed action.
    This DEIS is being issued for public comment. The public comment 
period on the Draft EIS begins with publication of this notice and 
continues until February 27, 2012. Written comments should be submitted 
as described in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. The NRC will 
consider comments received or postmarked after that date to the extent 
practical.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 5th day of January, 2012.

    For The Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Andrew Persinko,
Deputy Director, Environmental Protection and Performance Assessment 
Directorate, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, 
Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management 
Programs.
[FR Doc. 2012-548 Filed 1-12-12; 8:45 am]
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