[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 239 (Wednesday, December 12, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 73996-73997]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-30028]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


Notice of Availability for the Draft Programmatic Environmental 
Assessment for the Recycling of Scrap Metals Originating From 
Radiological Areas

AGENCY: Department of Energy.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Energy (DOE) announces the availability for 
public review and comment of the Draft Programmatic Environmental 
Assessment (PEA) for the Recycling of Scrap Metals Originating from 
Radiological Areas. On September 28, 2011, the Secretary of Energy 
approved a recommendation, contingent on the completion of the 
appropriate National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review, to 
delegate authority to manage radiological clearance and release of 
scrap metal from radiological areas to each Under Secretary for sites 
under his or her cognizance, in accordance with the processes contained 
in DOE Order 458.1 (which replaces the order previously governing 
release procedures). This Draft PEA for the Recycling of Scrap Metals 
Originating from Radiological Areas analyzes the potential 
environmental impacts associated with resuming the clearance of scrap 
metal, originating from DOE radiological areas, for recycling pursuant 
to improved procedures designed to assure that clearance for release is 
limited to metals meeting stringent criteria. This Draft PEA also 
analyzes the reasonable alternatives to this proposal. Metals with 
volumetric radiological contamination, and scrap metals resulting from 
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Comprehensive 
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), are 
not included in the scope of this PEA.

DATES: DOE invites Federal agencies, state and local governments, 
Native American tribes, industry, other interested organizations, and 
members of the public to submit comments on the Draft PEA during the 
public comment period which starts with the publication of the Notice 
of Availability in the Federal Register and extends for 30 days until 
January 11, 2013. DOE will consider comments received after this date 
to the extent practicable.

ADDRESSES: The Draft PEA for the Recycle of Scrap Metal Originating 
from Radiological Areas is available for review on the DOE NEPA Web 
site at: http://www.energy.gov/nepa and on the National Nuclear 
Security Administration (NNSA) NEPA Web site at: http://nnsa.energy.gov/nepa. Comments on the Draft PEA for the Recycle of 
Scrap Metal Originating from Radiological Areas may be submitted 
electronically via email to Scrap--PEA comments@hq.doe.gov. 
Alternatively, written comments may be sent by postal mail to: Dr. Jane 
Summerson, DOE NNSA, P.O. Box 5400, Bldg 401, K.AFB East, Albuquerque, 
NM 87185.
    For general information about the DOE NEPA process, please contact: 
Ms. Carol Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance 
(GC-54), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC 20585, telephone (202) 586-4600, or leave a message at 
1-800-472-2756. Additional information regarding DOE NEPA activities 
and access to many of DOE's NEPA documents are available on the 
Internet through the DOE NEPA Web site at http://www.energy.gov/nepa.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: DOE has prepared the Draft PEA for Recycling 
of Scrap Metals Originating from Radiological Areas in accordance with 
Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR Parts 1500--1508) 
that implement NEPA and DOE's NEPA Implementing Procedures (10 CFR Part 
1021).
    Background: On July 13, 2000, the Secretary of Energy imposed an 
agency-wide suspension on the unrestricted release of scrap metal 
originating from radiological areas at DOE facilities for the purpose 
of recycling. The suspension was imposed in response to public concerns 
about the potential effects of radioactivity in or on metal recycled 
from the Department's facilities. Other materials continued to be 
controlled and cleared for release under the requirements of DOE Order 
5400.5, Radiation Protection of the Public and the Environment. 
Initially, the suspension was to remain in effect until December 31, 
2000, while the Department developed and implemented improvements, 
revised its directives and associated guidance documents applicable to 
scrap metal releases, and engaged the public in a dialogue regarding 
DOE radiological release practices through the NEPA process. In 2001, 
DOE announced its

[[Page 73997]]

intention to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement 
(PEIS) on the policy alternatives for disposition of metals from its 
sites. Although the suspension was considered to be a temporary 
measure, it has been in force since 2000, and the PEIS was not 
completed. From 2008 through 2010, the Department, through an effort 
lead by the NNSA and supported by the Offices of Health, Safety and 
Security; Science; and Environmental Management, reviewed numerous DOE 
programs across the complex that involved improved monitoring and 
proposed release practices to determine how these practices could be 
implemented. In April 2010, NNSA hosted an inter-site workshop that 
developed a DOE wide consensus regarding how sites would implement 
these practices. In February 2011, in part to implement the improved 
monitoring and release practices recommended in 2001, DOE replaced DOE 
Order 5400.5 with DOE Order 458.1, Radiation Protection of the Public 
and the Environment, which incorporated an improved scrap metals 
clearance process. Consequently, DOE has determined that a Programmatic 
Environmental Assessment (PEA) is appropriate to consider the 
alternatives for the disposition of uncontaminated scrap metal 
originating from these areas.
    Purpose and Need for Agency Action: The purpose and need for agency 
action is to allow DOE to better manage materials no longer needed by 
the Department and to allow for the recycle, where appropriate, of 
materials originating from DOE radiological areas. These scrap metals 
have, and continue to be, accumulated at DOE sites since the 2000 
Department-wide suspension on any unrestricted release for recycle of 
scrap metals originating from radiological areas at DOE facilities (DOE 
2000). The proposed action is consistent with the principles of 
sustainable materials management as presented in Executive Order (E.O.) 
13423, Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation 
Management (January 27, 2007) and E.O. 13514, Federal Leadership in 
Environmental Energy, and Economic Performance (October 5, 2009).
    Alternatives Analyzed: This PEA analyzes the potential human health 
and environmental impacts associated with the proposed action, a 
disposal alternative, and a no-action (continued storage) alternative.
    Potential Outcome: The proposed action would allow DOE to modify 
its policy to allow the delegation of authority from the Secretary to 
the Under Secretaries to manage the radiological clearance process for 
uncontaminated scrap metals originating in DOE radiological areas for 
sites demonstrated to have robust monitoring and release practices in 
place. Scrap metal that meets these robust practices for unrestricted 
release would be candidates for recycle. Scrap metal that does not meet 
these requirements would be identified as contaminated and maintained 
by DOE or disposed of as waste in an appropriate manner. This PEA also 
evaluates potential human health and environmental impacts associated 
with a disposal alternative, and a no-action (continued storage) 
alternative.
    Metal with volumetric radiological contamination, and scrap metal 
resulting from RCRA and CERCLA clean-up activities, are not included in 
the scope of the PEA. Impacts associated with scrap metal releases from 
any such clean-up activities would be evaluated separately under NEPA 
as appropriate. In addition, sites under the Office of Legacy 
Management are not included since these facilities do not generate 
potentially radiologically contaminated scrap metal that would be 
recycled.
    Following the end of the public comment period, DOE will consider 
all comments received while completing the PEA, and as appropriate, 
issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) or prepare a PEIS 
prior to deciding whether to implement a revision to the policy for 
clearance and release of scrap metal from radiological areas.

    Issued in Washington, DC, on December 6, 2012.
Thomas P. D'Agostino,
Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator, National 
Nuclear Security Administration.
[FR Doc. 2012-30028 Filed 12-11-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P