[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 78 (Wednesday, April 23, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 22707-22708]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-09267]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 04008964; NRC-2014-0092]


Cameco Resources

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Temporary exemption; issuance.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing a 
temporary exemption from certain NRC financial assurance requirements 
to Cameco Resources (Cameco) in response to its annual financial 
assurance update for the Smith Ranch Highland uranium in-situ recovery 
(ISR) project. Issuance of this temporary exemption will not remove the 
requirement for Cameco to provide adequate financial assurance through 
an approved mechanism, but will allow the NRC staff to further evaluate 
whether the State of Wyoming's separate account provision for financial 
assurance instruments it holds is consistent with the NRC's requirement 
for a standby trust agreement.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2014-0092 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:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2014-0092. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-287-
3422; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact 
the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of 
this document.
     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: Douglas Mandeville, Office of Federal 
and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs; U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-
0724; email: mailto: Douglas.Mandeville@nrc.gov.

I. Background

    NRC materials license SUA-1548, License Condition 9.5, requires 
Cameco to submit to the 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 Part 40, Appendix A, Criterion 9, 
for the Smith Ranch Highland ISR project and its related satellite 
facilities at Gas Hills, North Butte, and Ruth. Smith Ranch Highland is 
located in Converse County, Wyoming and its related satellite 
facilities are located in Natrona and Fremont; Campbell; and Johnson 
Counties, Wyoming, respectively. By letters dated July 30 and August 5, 
2013, Cameco submitted to the NRC its Smith Ranch annual surety update 
for 2013-2014 (ADAMS Accession No. ML13225A115) and its Gas Hills 
annual surety update (ADAMS Accession No. ML13225A012). The NRC's staff 
reviewed the annual financial surety updates and found the values 
reasonable for the required reclamation activities (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML14016A054). Cameco maintains approved financial assurance instruments 
in favor of the State of Wyoming; however, it does not have a standby 
trust agreement (STA) in place, as required by 10 CFR Part 40, Appendix 
A, Criterion 9.

II. Description of Action

    As of December 17, 2012, the NRC's uranium milling licensees, which 
are regulated under 10 CFR Part 40, Appendix A, Criterion 9, are 
required to have an STA in place. Criterion 9 provides that if a 
licensee does not use a trust as its financial assurance mechanism, 
then the licensee is required to establish a standby trust fund to 
receive funds in the event the Commission or State regulatory agency 
exercises its right to collect the funds provided for by surety or 
letter of credit. The purpose of an STA is to provide a separate 
account to hold decommissioning funds in the event of a default. Cameco 
has not established an STA, nor has it requested an exemption from the 
requirement to do so. However, the NRC has the discretion, under 10 CFR 
40.14(a), to grant an exemption from the requirements of a regulation 
in 10 CFR Part 40 on its own initiative, if the NRC 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.
    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(a) of the Code of Wyoming states that ``[a]ll 
forfeitures collected under the provisions of this act shall be 
deposited with the State treasurer in a separate account for 
reclamation purposes.'' Under Wyoming Department of Environmental 
Quality (WDEQ) financial assurance requirements, 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 Cameco an exemption to the STA 
requirements in 10 CFR Part 40, Appendix A, Criterion 9, for the 
current surety arrangement until the 2015 review cycle to allow the NRC 
to evaluate whether the financial assurance standby trust requirements 
in the NRC regulations and the financial assurance requirements in 
Wyoming regulations are comparable.

III. Discussion

A. The Exemption Is Authorized by Law

    The NRC staff concluded that the proposed exemption is authorized 
by law as 10 CFR 40.14(a) expressly allows for an exemption to the 
requirements of the regulation in 10 CFR Part 40, Appendix A, Criterion 
9, and the proposed exemption would not be contrary to any provision of 
the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended.

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

    The exemption is related to the financial surety. The requirement 
that the licensee provide adequate financial assurance through an 
approved

[[Page 22708]]

mechanism (e.g., a surety bond, irrevocable letter of credit) would 
remain unaffected by the exemption. Rather, the exemption would only 
pertain to the establishment of a dedicated trust in which funds could 
be deposited in the event that the financial assurance mechanism would 
be need to be liquidated. The regulations in 10 CFR Part 40, Appendix 
A, Criterion 9(d), allow for the financial or surety arrangements to be 
held by the State. NRC has determined that while the WDEQ does not 
require an STA, the special revenue account may serve 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. Because the licensee remains obligated to establish an 
adequate financial assurance mechanism for its licensed sites, and the 
NRC has approved such a mechanism, sufficient funds are available in 
the event that the site would need to be decommissioned. A temporary 
delay in establishing an STA does not impact the present availability 
and adequacy of the actual financial assurance mechanism. Therefore, 
the limited exemption being issued by the NRC herein presents no undue 
risk to public health and safety.

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

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

D. The Exemption Is in the Public Interest

    The proposed exemption would enable the NRC staff to evaluate the 
State of Wyoming's separate account provision and the NRC's STA 
requirement to determine if they are comparable. The evaluation process 
will allow the NRC to determine whether the licensee's compliance with 
the state law provision will sufficiently address the NRC requirement 
as well, and therefore provide clarity on the implementation of the NRC 
regulation in this instance. Therefore, granting the exemption is in 
the public interest.

E. Environmental Considerations

    The NRC staff has determined that granting of an exemption from the 
requirements of 10 CFR Part 40, Appendix A, Criterion 9 belongs to a 
category of regulatory actions which the NRC, by regulation, has 
determined do not individually or cumulatively have a significant 
effect on the environment, and as such 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)(iv)(H), 
which provides that exemptions from surety, insurance, or 
indemnification requirements are categorically excluded if the 
exemption would not result in any significant hazards consideration; 
change or increase in the amount of any offsite effluents; increase in 
individual or cumulative public or occupational radiation exposure; 
construction impacts; or increase in the potential for or consequence 
from radiological accidents. The staff finds that the STA exemption 
involves surety, insurance and/or indemnity requirements and that 
granting Cameco this temporary exemption from the requirement of 
establishing a standby trust arrangement would not result in any 
significant hazards or increases in offsite effluents, radiation 
exposure, construction impacts, or potential radiological accidents. 
Therefore, an environmental assessment is not required.

IV. Conclusions

    Accordingly, the NRC has determined that, pursuant to 10 CFR 
40.14(a), the proposed exemption is authorized by law, will not present 
an undue risk to the public health and safety, is consistent with the 
common defense and security, and is in the public interest. NRC hereby 
grants Cameco Resources an exemption from the requirement in 10 CFR 
Part 40, Appendix A, Criterion 9 to set up a standby trust to receive 
funds in the event the NRC or the State regulatory agency exercises is 
right to collect the surety. This exemption will expire on July 2, 
2015, for Smith Ranch-Highland Uranium Project and on August 10, 2015, 
for the Gas Hills Project. At that time, Cameco Resources will be 
required to ensure that its financial assurance arrangement includes an 
STA to receive decommissioning funds.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 15th day of April 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. 2014-09267 Filed 4-22-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P