[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 147 (Thursday, July 31, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 44472-44474]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-18050]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 04008502; NRC-2014-0177]


License Exemption for Uranium One USA, Inc.

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 Uranium One USA, Inc., (Uranium One) in response to its annual 
financial assurance update for the Willow Creek uranium in-situ 
recovery (ISR) Project. Issuance of this temporary exemption will not 
remove the requirement for Uranium One 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-2014-0177 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-2014-0177. 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

[[Page 44473]]

(ADAMS): You may access publicly available documents online in the 
ADAMS Public Documents collection 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 C. 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

    Criterion 9 of 10 CFR Part 40, Appendix A and NRC materials license 
SUA-1341, License Condition 9.5, requires Uranium One 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 Willow Creek ISR Project. The Willow Creek Project is located in 
Johnson and Campbell Counties, Wyoming. Contained within the Willow 
Creek Project, Irigaray and Christensen Ranch Annual Report dated 
August 22, 2013; Uranium One submitted to the NRC its annual surety 
update for 2013-2014 (ADAMS Accession No. ML13309B278). The NRC's staff 
reviewed the annual financial surety updates and found the values 
reasonable for the required reclamation activities (ADAMS Accession No. 
ML14141A487). Uranium One maintains an approved financial assurance 
instrument 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 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), Uranium One 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. Uranium One 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 Uranium One an exemption to the STA requirements in 10 CFR 
Part 40, Appendix A, Criterion 9, for the 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. 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 will 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 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 consolidated within a State's similar financial 
assurance instrument. 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 Uranium One 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 will 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 will 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 Uranium One's

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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 staff finds that the STA exemption 
involves surety, insurance and/or indemnity requirements and that 
granting Uranium One this temporary exemption from the requirement of 
establishing a STA 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 Uranium One a temporary exemption from the 
requirement in 10 CFR Part 40, Appendix A, Criterion 9, to set up a STA 
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 
December 31, 2016, for the Willow Creek ISR Project. At that time, 
Uranium One will be required to ensure that its financial assurance 
arrangement is in compliance with the NRC's STA requirements.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 21st day of July 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. 2014-18050 Filed 7-30-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P