[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 24 (Wednesday, February 5, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6935-6936]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-02477]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 040-09067; NRC-2014-0020]


License Exemption for Uranerz Energy Corporation

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Exemption; issuance.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an 
exemption to the financial assurance requirements to Uranerz Energy 
Corporation (Uranerz) in response to their annual financial assurance 
update for the Nichols Ranch uranium in situ recovery (ISR) project.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2014-0020 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You 
may access publicly-available information related to this document 
using any of the following methods:
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may access publicly available documents online in the NRC 
Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the 
search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and then 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 pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The ADAMS accession number 
for each document referenced in this document (if that document is 
available in ADAMS) is provided the first time that a document is 
referenced.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron Linton, Office of Federal and 
State Materials and Environmental Management Programs, U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-
7777; email: Ron.Linton@nrc.gov.

I. Background

    NRC materials license SUA-1597, License Condition 9.5, requires 
Uranerz to submit to NRC for review and approval an annual update of 
the financial surety to cover third-party costs for decommissioning and 
decontamination, pursuant to 10 CFR 40, Appendix A, Criterion 9, for 
the Nichols Ranch ISR project located in Johnson and Campbell Counties, 
Wyoming. By letter dated December 20, 2012, Uranerz submitted to the 
NRC its Nichols Ranch annual surety update for 2012-2013 (ADAMS 
Accession No ML13004A100). NRC staff reviewed the annual financial 
surety update and found the surety reclamation bond value reasonable 
for the required reclamation activities (See ADAMS Accession No 
ML13227A378). The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) 
holds the reclamation bond but does not have a standby trust agreement 
(STA) in place, as required by 10 CFR 40, Appendix A, Criterion 9.

II. Description of Action

    As of December 17, 2012, surety instruments for NRC uranium milling 
licensees regulated under 10 CFR 40, Appendix A, Criterion 9, are 
required to have a STA in place, pursuant to Criterion 9, which states, 
``[I]f a trust is not used, then a standby trust fund must be set up to 
receive funds in the event the Commission or State regulatory agency 
exercises its right to collect the surety.'' The purpose of an STA is 
to provide a separate account to hold decommissioning funds in the 
event of a default. Since an STA is not established, the NRC has to 
either require an STA or grant an exemption to the requirements of the 
regulation. The NRC has the discretion, under 10 CFR 40.14(a), to grant 
such exemptions from the requirements of a regulation in 10 CFR 40, if 
it determines the exemption is authorized by law and will not endanger 
life or property or the common defense and security and is otherwise in 
the public interest.
    The NRC staff has reviewed WDEQ financial assurance requirements. 
Wyoming law requires that a separate account be set up to receive 
forfeited decommissioning funds, but does not specifically require an 
STA. Section 35-11-424 of the Code of Wyoming states, ``(a) All 
forfeitures collected under the provisions of this act shall be 
deposited with the State treasurer in a separate account for 
reclamation purposes.'' WDEQ holds permit bonds in a fiduciary fund 
called an agency fund. If a bond is forfeited, the forfeited funds are 
moved to a special revenue account. Although the special revenue 
account is not an STA, the special revenue account serves a similar 
purpose in that forfeited funds are not deposited into the State 
treasury for general fund use, but instead are set aside in the special 
revenue account to be used exclusively for reclamation 
[decommissioning] purposes.
    NRC has elected to grant an exemption to the STA requirements in 10 
CFR 40, Appendix A, Criterion 9, for the current surety arrangement and 
for this surety cycle to allow time for further discussion with WDEQ. 
The NRC staff will further explore the financial assurance standby 
trust requirements in the NRC regulations and the financial assurance 
requirements in Wyoming regulations to determine if the State of 
Wyoming separate account provision is equivalent to NRC's requirement 
for a STA.

III. Discussion

A. The Exemption is Authorized by Law

    The NRC staff concluded that 10 CFR 40.14(a) allows for an 
exemption to the requirements of the regulation in 10 CFR 40, Appendix 
A, Criterion 9.

B. The Exemption Presents no Undue Risk to Public Health and Safety

    The exemption is related to the financial surety. The regulations 
in 10 CFR 40, Appendix A, Criterion 9(d), allows for the surety 
arrangements to be held by the State. NRC has determined that while the 
WDEQ does not require an STA, the special revenue account serves a 
similar purpose in that forfeited funds are not deposited into the 
State treasury for general fund use, but instead are set aside in the 
special revenue account to be used exclusively for reclamation 
[decommissioning] purposes. Therefore, the exemption presents no undue 
risk to public health and safety.

C. The Exemption is Consistent With the Common Defense and Security

    The exemption does not involve the common defense or security. 
Therefore, granting the exemption will have no effect on the common 
defense and security.

D. Environmental Considerations

    The NRC staff has determined that granting of an exemption from the 
requirements of 10 CFR 40.14(a) belongs

[[Page 6936]]

to a category of regulatory actions that are eligible for categorical 
exclusion (i.e., that do not require an environmental assessment). The 
exemption from the requirement to have an STA in place is eligible for 
categorical exclusion under 10 CFR 51.22(c)(25), which states:

    Granting of an exemption from the requirements of any regulation 
of this chapter, provided that * * * (vi) The requirements from 
which an exemption is sought involve: * * * (H) Surety, insurance, 
or indemnity requirements * * *
    The staff finds that the STA exemption involves surety, 
insurance and/or indemnity requirements and, therefore, an 
environmental assessment is not required.

IV. Conclusions

    Accordingly, the NRC has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 
40.14(a) the exemption is authorized by law, will not present an undue 
risk to the public health and safety, and is consistent with the common 
defense and security. Therefore, the NRC hereby grants Uranerz Energy 
Corporation an exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 40, Appendix 
A, Criterion 9 for the current surety cycle that an STA must be set up 
to receive decommissioning funds.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 28th day of January 2014.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Andrew Persinko,
Deputy Director, Decommissioning and Uranium Recovery Licensing 
Directorate, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, 
Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management 
Programs.
[FR Doc. 2014-02477 Filed 2-4-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P