[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 23 (Wednesday, February 4, 2004)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E4-179]
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for
the Proposed LES Gas Centrifuge Uranium Enrichment Facility
ACTION: Notice of Intent (NOI).
SUMMARY: Louisiana Energy Services (LES) submitted a license
application on December 12, 2003, that proposes the construction,
operation and decommissioning of a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment
facility to be located near Eunice, New Mexico. The U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission (NRC), in accordance with the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its regulations at 10 CFR part 51,
announces its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement
(EIS). The EIS will examine the potential environmental impacts of the
proposed LES facility.
DATES: The public scoping process required by NEPA begins with
publication of this NOI and continues until March 18, 2004. Written
comments submitted by mail should be postmarked by that date to ensure
consideration. Comments mailed after that date will be considered to
the extent practical.
The NRC will conduct a public scoping meeting to assist in defining
the appropriate scope of the EIS, including the significant
environmental issues to be addressed. The meeting date, times and
location are listed below:
Meeting date: March 4, 2004.
Meeting location: Eunice Community Center, 1115
Avenue I, Eunice, NM.
Scoping meeting time: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
ADDRESSES: Members of the public are invited and encouraged to submit
comments to the Chief, Rules and Directives Branch, Mail Stop T6-D59,
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001. Please
note Docket No. 70-3103 when submitting comments. Due to the current
mail situation in the Washington, DC area, commentors are encouraged to
send comments electronically to LES_EIS@nrc.gov or by facsimile to
(301) 415-5398, ATTN.: Melanie Wong.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general or technical information
associated with the license review of the LES application, please
contact: Tim Johnson at (301) 415-7299. For general information on the
NRC NEPA process, or the environmental review process related to the
LES application, please contact: Melanie Wong at (301) 415-6262.
Information and documents associated with the LES project,
including the LES license application (submitted on December 12, 2003),
are available for public review through our electronic reading room:
http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. Documents may also be
obtained from NRC's Public Document Room at U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission Headquarters, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville,
LES submitted a license application and an environmental report for
a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment facility to the NRC on December 12,
2003. The NRC will evaluate the potential environmental impacts
associated with LES enrichment facility in parallel with the review of
the license application. This environmental evaluation will be
documented in draft and final Environmental Impact Statements in
accordance with NEPA and NRC's implementing regulations at 10 CFR part
2.0 LES Enrichment Facility
The LES facility, if licensed, would enrich uranium for use in
manufacturing commercial nuclear fuel for use in power reactors. Feed
material would be natural (not enriched) uranium in the form of uranium
hexafluoride (UF6). LES proposes to use centrifuge technology to enrich
uranium-235 in the uranium hexafluoride to up to 5 percent. The
centrifuge would operate at below atomospheric pressure. The capacity
of the plant would be up to 3 million separative work units (SWU) (SWU
relates to a measure of the work used to enrich uranium). The enriched
UF6 would be transported to a fuel fabrication facility. The
depleted UF6 would be stored on site until it can be sold or
disposed of commercially, or by the Department of Energy.
3.0 Alternatives To Be Evaluated
No-Action--The no-action alternative would be to not build the
proposed LES gas centrifuge uranium enrichment facility. Under this
alternative, the NRC would not approve the license application. This
serves as a baseline for comparison.
Proposed action--The proposed action involves the construction,
operation, and decommissioning of a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment
facility located near Eunice, NM. The applicant would be issued an NRC
license under the provisions of 10 CFR parts 30, 40, and 70.
Other alternatives not listed here may be identified through the
4.0 Environmental Impact Areas To Be Analyzed
The following areas have been tentatively identified for analysis
in the EIS:
Land Use: Plans, policies and controls;
Transportation: Transportation modes, routes,
quantities, and risk estimates;
Geology and Soils: Physical geography,
topography, geology and soil characteristics;
Water Resources: Surface and groundwater
hydrology, water use and quality, and the potential for degradation;
Ecology: Wetlands, aquatic, terrestrial,
economically and recreationally important species, and threatened and
Air Quality: Meteorological conditions, ambient
background, pollutant sources, and the potential for degradation;
Noise: Ambient, sources, and sensitive
Historical and Cultural Resources: Historical,
archaeological, and traditional cultural resources
Visual and Scenic Resources: Landscape
characteristics, manmade features and viewshed;
Socioeconomics: Demography, economic base, labor
pool, housing, transportation, utilities, public services/facilities,
education, recreation, and cultural resources;
Environmental Justice: Potential
disproportionately high and adverse impacts to minority and low-income
Public and Occupational Health: Potential public
and occupational consequences from construction, routine operation,
transportation, and credible accident scenarios (including natural
Waste Management: Types of wastes expected to be
generated, handled, and stored; and
Cumulative Effects: Impacts from past, present
and reasonably foreseeable actions at, and near the site(s).
This list is not intended to be all inclusive, nor is it a
predetermination of potential environmental impacts. The list is
presented to facilitate comments on the scope of the EIS. Additions to,
or deletions from this list may occur as a result of the public scoping
5.0 Scoping Meeting
One purpose of this NOI is to encourage public involvement in the
EIS process, and to solicit public comments on the proposed scope and
content of the EIS. The NRC will hold a public scoping meeting in
Eunice, New Mexico, to solicit both oral and written comments from
Scoping is an early and open process designed to determine the
range of actions, alternatives, and potential impacts to be considered
in the EIS, and to identify the significant issues related to the
proposed action. It is intended to solicit input from the public and
other agencies so that the analysis can be more clearly focused on
issues of genuine concern. The principal goals of the scoping process
Ensure that concerns are identified early and
are properly studied;
Identify alternatives that will be examined;
Identify significant issues that need to be
Eliminate unimportant issues; and
Identify public concerns.
The scoping meeting will begin with NRC staff providing a
description of the NRC's role and mission. A brief overview of the
licensing process will be followed by a brief description of the
environmental review process. The bulk of the meeting will be allotted
for attendees to make oral comments.
6.0 Scoping Comments
Written comments should be mailed to the address listed above in
the ADDRESSES section.
The NRC staff will make the scoping summaries and project-related
materials available for public review through our electronic reading
room: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. The scoping meeting
summaries and project-related materials will also be available on the
NRC's LES Web page: http://www.nrc.gov/materials/fuel-cycle-fac/lesfacility.html (case sensitive).
7.0 The NEPA Process
The EIS for the LES facility will be prepared according to the
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and the NRC's NEPA
Regulations at 10 CFR part 51.
After the scoping process is complete, the NRC and it's contractor
will prepare a draft EIS. A 45-day comment period on the draft EIS is
planned, and public meetings to receive comments will be held
approximately three weeks after distribution of the draft EIS.
Availability of the draft EIS, the dates of the public comment period,
and information about the public meetings will be announced in the
Federal Register, on NRC's LES Web page, and in the local news media
when the draft EIS is distributed. The final EIS will incorporate
public comments received on the draft EIS.
Signed in Rockville, MD this 16th day of January, 2004.
For The Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Lawrence E. Kokajko,
Chief, Environmental and Performance Assessment Branch, Division of
Waste Management, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. E4-179 Filed 2-3-04; 8:45 am]
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