[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 109 (Friday, June 6, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 32773-32775]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-13214]


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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 North Butte satellite to 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: Douglas.Mandeville@nrc.gov.

I. Background

    Pursuant to Part 40 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
(10 CFR), Appendix A, Criterion 9 and NRC materials license SUA-1548, 
License Condition 9.5, Cameco is required 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 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 letter dated January 30, 2014, Cameco 
submitted to the NRC its North Butte annual surety update for 2014-2015 
(ADAMS Accession No. ML14043A218). The NRC's staff reviewed the annual 
financial surety updates and found the values reasonable for the 
required reclamation activities (ADAMS Accession No. ML14115A219). 
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, in part, 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

[[Page 32774]]

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. Consistent with the 
provisions of 10 CFR Part 40, Appendix A, Criterion 9(d), Cameco has 
consolidated its NRC financial assurance sureties with those it is 
required to obtain by the State of Wyoming, and the financial 
instrument is held by the State of Wyoming. Cameco has not established 
an STA, nor has it requested an exemption from the requirement to do 
so.
    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 Wyoming 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, i.e., decommissioning, purposes.
    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. The 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 
2016 review cycle to allow the NRC an opportunity to evaluate whether 
the State of Wyoming's separate account requirements for financial 
assurance instruments it holds is consistent with the NRC's STA 
requirements.

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 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 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 requirement in 10 CFR Part 40, 
Appendix A, Criterion 9(d), allows for the financial or surety 
arrangements to be consolidated within a State's similar financial 
assurance instrument. The 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 site-specific reclamation, 
i.e., 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)(vi)(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 NRC 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 temporary 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 January 30, 2016, for North Butte satellite to 
the Smith Ranch Highland Uranium Project. At that time, Cameco 
Resources will be required to ensure compliance with the STA 
requirements.


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    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 29th day of May 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. 2014-13214 Filed 6-5-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P