[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 106 (Tuesday, June 3, 1997)]
[Notices]
[Pages 30355-30356]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-14401]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 40-8943]


Crow Butte Resources Inc.

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Final finding of no significant impact notice of opportunity 
for hearing.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission proposes to amend NRC 
Source Material License SUA-1534 to allow the licensee, Crow Butte 
Resources, Inc., to process the approved maximum production flow rate 
of 5000 gallons per minute using existing upflow ion exchange (IX) 
columns, rather than the previously-approved combination of upflow and 
pressurized downflow IX columns, at its in-situ leach uranium mining 
facility in Dawes County, Nebraska. An Environmental Assessment was 
performed by the NRC staff in accordance with the requirements of 10 
CFR Part 51. The conclusion of the Environmental Assessment is a 
Finding of No Significant Impact for the proposed licensing action.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. James R. Park, Uranium Recovery 
Branch, Mail Stop TWFN 7-J9, Division of Waste Management, Office of 
Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555. Telephone 301/415-6699.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    During April 1991, Crow Butte Resources, Inc. (CBR) commenced 
uranium recovery operations at its Crow Butte in-situ leach (ISL) 
uranium mining facility in Dawes County, Nebraska. These activities are 
authorized by NRC Source Material License SUA-1534. The NRC staff 
prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) based on its review of CBR's 
original license application and environmental report (ER); a final 
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) concerning the issuance of 
SUA-1534 was published in the Federal Register on December 27, 1989 (54 
FR 53200). Since the issuance of SUA-1534, the NRC staff has prepared 
supplemental EAs and published FONSIs based on its review of CBR's 
amendment requests to: (1) increase its maximum processing flow rate 
from 2500 gallons per minute (gpm) to 3500 gpm (58 FR 13561; March 12, 
1993); (2) increase the processing flow rate from 3500 gpm to the 
currently approved level of 5000 gpm and the approved restoration flow 
rate from 1893 lpm (500 gpm) to 3785 lpm (1000 gpm) (61 FR 7541; 
February 28, 1996); and (3) increase the concentrations of radioactive 
and non-radioactive constituents in waste streams disposed of through 
deep well injection (61 FR 34451; July 2, 1996).

Summary of the Environmental Assessment

Identification of the Proposed Action

    The proposed action is an amendment to SUA-1534 to allow Crow Butte 
to process at the approved maximum flow rate using existing upflow IX 
columns. The NRC staff's review was conducted in accordance with the 
requirements of 10 CFR 40.32 and 10 CFR 40.45.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    There will be no construction impacts or land disturbance 
associated with the proposed action, because CBR will be using existing 
IX columns, and no increase in the amounts or concentrations of liquid 
effluents beyond the levels previously assessed. Liquid effluents will 
be disposed by any of three waste disposal options (in solar 
evaporation ponds, by deep disposal well, or by land application), all 
of which have been previously approved for use at the Crow Butte 
facility.
    The proposed action will result in an increase in annual radon 
emissions to the environment. However, the NRC staff's review found 
that the results of modeling satisfactorily show that the potential 
impacts to offsite individuals remain well below the 1 millisievert per 
year (mSv/yr) (100 millirem per year (mrem/yr)) public dose limit of 10 
CFR 20.1301. The largest dose estimate was 0.23 mSv/yr (23 mrem/yr) for 
the receptor located approximately 1.0 kilometer from the processing 
plant vent location.

Conclusion

    The NRC staff concludes that approval of Crow Butte's amendment 
request to process its maximum production flow rate using existing 
upflow IX columns will not cause significant environmental impacts. The 
following statements summarize the conclusions resulting from the 
environmental assessment:
    (1) In-plant radiological impacts from the proposed amendment 
request will be negligible. Radiological impacts to the public will 
remain well below the applicable NRC regulatory limits;
    (2) The proposed amendment will not affect CBR's yellowcake 
possession limits at the facility.
    (3) No additional lands will be disturbed by the proposed action;
    (4) There will be no increase in the amounts or concentrations of 
liquid effluents; and
    (5) Because the staff has determined that there will be no 
significant impacts associated with approval of the amendment request, 
there can be no disproportionately high and adverse effects or impacts 
on minority and low-income populations. Consequently, further 
evaluation of `Environmental Justice' concerns, as outlined in 
Executive Order 12898 and NRC's Office of Nuclear Material Safety and 
Safeguards Policy and Procedures Letter 1-50, Rev.1, is not warranted.

[[Page 30356]]

Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    Since the NRC staff has concluded that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action, any 
alternatives with equal or greater environmental impacts need not be 
evaluated. The principal alternative to the proposed action would be to 
deny the requested action. Because the environmental impacts of the 
proposed action and this no-action alternative are similar, there is no 
need to further evaluate alternatives to the proposed action.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    The NRC staff consulted with the State of Nebraska, Department of 
Environmental Quality (NDEQ), in the development of the Environmental 
Assessment. A facsimile copy of the final Environmental Assessment was 
transmitted to Mr. Frank Mills of the NDEQ on May 1, 1997. In a 
telephone conversation on May 6, 1997, Mr. Mills indicated that the 
NDEQ had no comments on the Environmental Assessment.

Finding of No Significant Impact

    The NRC staff has prepared an Environmental Assessment for the 
proposed amendment of NRC Source Material License SUA-1534. On the 
basis of this assessment, the NRC staff has concluded that the 
environmental impacts that may result from the proposed action would 
not be significant, and therefore, preparation of an Environmental 
Impact Statement is not warranted.
    The Environmental Assessment and other documents related to this 
proposed action are available for public inspection and copying at the 
NRC Public Document Room, in the Gelman Building, 2120 L Street NW., 
Washington, DC 20555.

Notice of Opportunity for Hearing

    The Commission hereby provides notice that this is a proceeding on 
an application for a licensing action falling within the scope of 
Subpart L, ``Informal Hearing Procedures for Adjudications in Materials 
and Operator Licensing Proceedings,'' of the Commission's Rules of 
Practice for Domestic Licensing Proceedings in 10 CFR Part 2 (54 FR 
8269). Pursuant to Sec. 2.1205(a), any person whose interest may be 
affected by this proceeding may file a request for a hearing. In 
accordance with Sec. 2.1205(c), a request for a hearing must be filed 
within thirty (30) days from the date of publication of this Federal 
Register notice. The request for a hearing must be filed with the 
Office of the Secretary either:
    (1) By delivery to the Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff of the 
Office of the Secretary at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, 
Rockville, MD 20852; or
    (2) By mail or telegram addressed to the Secretary, U.S. Nuclear 
Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555, Attention: Rulemakings and 
Adjudications Staff.
    Each request for a hearing must also be served, by delivering it 
personally or by mail to:
    (1) The applicant, Crow Butte Resources, 216 Sixteenth Street Mall, 
Suite 810, Denver, Colorado 80202; and
    (2) The NRC staff, by delivery to the Executive Director of 
Operations, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 
20852, or by mail addressed to the Executive Director for Operations, 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555.
    In addition to meeting other applicable requirements of 10 CFR Part 
2 of the Commission's regulations, a request for a hearing filed by a 
person other than an applicant must describe in detail:
    (1) The interest of the requestor in the proceeding;
    (2) How that interest may be affected by the results of the 
proceeding, including the reasons why the requestor should be permitted 
a hearing, with particular reference to the factors set out in 
Sec. 2.1205(g);
    (3) the requestor's areas of concern about the licensing activity 
that is the subject matter of the proceeding; and
    (4) The circumstances establishing that the request for a hearing 
is timely in accordance with Sec. 2.1205(c).
    Any hearing that is requested and granted will be held in 
accordance with the Commission's ``Informal Hearing Procedures for 
Adjudications in Materials and Operator Licensing Proceedings'' in 10 
CFR Part 2, Subpart L.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 23rd day of May 1997.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Joseph J. Holonich,
Chief, Uranium Recovery Branch, Division of Waste Management, Office of 
Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 97-14401 Filed 6-2-97; 8:45 am]
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