[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 92 (Wednesday, May 12, 2004)]
[Pages 26416-26417]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-10733]



[Docket No. 40-8084]

Finding of No Significant Impact and Notice of Availability of 
the Environmental Assessment Addressing a License Amendment Request To 
Approve Rio Algom Mining LLC's Erosion Protection Design at Its Lisbon 
Uranium Mill Tailings Impoundment Located in San Juan County, UT

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment and 
Finding of No Significant Impact.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jill Caverly, Fuel Cycle Facilities 
Branch, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Mail Stop T8-A33, Washington DC 20555-0001, telephone (301) 415-6699 
and e-mail [email protected].


I. Introduction

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the 
issuance of an amendment to Rio Algom Mining LLC's (Rio Algom) Source 
Materials License SUA-1119.
    The proposed action updates the erosion control design for 
reclamation of uranium mill tailings at Rio Algom's Lisbon uranium mill 
facility near La Sal, Utah. Appendix A, Title 10, U.S. Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR), Part 40, requires that former uranium mill sites 
provide protection for 1000 years against forces that will cause 
erosion or at a minimum of 200 years. Additionally, regulations require 
that the design should not require active maintenance. The proposed 
action is in accordance with the licensee's submittal dated September 
3, 2002. License Condition 52 of Source Materials License, SUA-1119, 
requires Rio Algom to provide plans addressing the overall site 
stability. This submittal is a response to that requirement.
    Pursuant to the requirements of 10 CFR Part 51, Environmental 
Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and Related Regulatory 
Functions, the NRC has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) to 
evaluate the environmental impacts associated with this request. Based 
on this evaluation, the NRC has concluded that a Finding of No 
Significant Impact (FONSI) is appropriate for the proposed licensing 

II. EA Summary

    The EA was prepared to evaluate the environmental impacts 
associated with Rio Algom's Erosion Control Facility Design for surface 
erosion at its Lisbon uranium mill facility. This action will result in 
an amendment to its Source Materials License, SUA-1119, License 
Condition 52.
    The proposed amendment to Source Materials License, SUA-1119, will 
amend License Condition 52F and verify that Rio Algom's design meets 
the requirements of 10 CFR Part 40, Appendix A. Criterion 6 of 10 CFR 
Part 40, Appendix A, requires that uranium mill tailings be disposed of 
in an area that provides reasonable assurance of control of 
radiological hazards and be effective for 1000 years to the extent 
reasonably achievable and, in any case, for at least 200 years. In 
order to meet this requirement, Rio Algom's design must meet the 
requirements of its license condition. This includes: (1) Addressing 
potential for erosive velocities in the soil portion of the spillway 
channel and rock erosion control design of the swale; (2) revising the 
erosion protection at the toe of the upper tailings dam; (3) 
considering scour; (4) reviewing rock apron design; (5) address 
sedimentation; (6) analyzing natural tributary inflows to the diversion 
channel; (7) reviewing riprap thickness; (8) analyzing strear stress 
effects; (9) analyzing rock durability and tests bedrock competency; 
and (10) devising an inspection for the filter and riprap placement.
    The EA evaluated the potential impacts of construction and 
placement of runoff control features including placement of rock 
riprap. In addition, the EA addressed environmental impacts for rock 
placement on the top and side slopes of the tailings impoundment, 
diversion channels, and transition aprons. Construction impacts due to 
placement and transport of the rock were also considered.
    The proposed action is necessary because the regulations and Rio 
Algom's license require that an engineered barrier be placed over 
tailings and byproduct material and that the design meets the 
requirements of 10 CFR Part 40, Appendix A.

III. Finding of No Significant Impact

    Pursuant to 10 CFR Part 51, the NRC has prepared the EA, summarized 
above. The staff has determined that no significant environmental 
impacts are expected when the erosion cover is constructed. There will 
be no significant or additional impacts to the surface features because 
the erosions protection will be placed on areas where tailings have 
been covered with an engineered soil barrier and will therefore have no 
significant effect to wildlife. In addition, the licensee will 
stabilize areas adjacent to the tailings impoundment where run-off from 
higher drainage areas enters onto the impoundment but no significant 
environmental impacts will result from this action.
    The proposed NRC approval of the action when combined with known 
effects on resource areas at the site, including further site 
remediation, is not anticipated to result in any cumulative impacts at 
the sites. Therefore, the NRC staff has concluded that there will be no 
significant environmental impacts on the quality of

[[Page 26417]]

the human environment and, accordingly, the staff has determined that 
preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement is not warranted.

IV. Further Information

    The EA for this proposed action, as well as the licensee's request, 
as supplemented, are available electronically for public inspection in 
the NRC's Public Document Room or from the Publicly Available Records 
(PARS) component of NRC's document system (ADAMS). ADAMS is accessible 
from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. The 
ADAMS Accession Numbers for the licensee's request, as supplemented, 
are: ML023020664, ML023020657 and ML040720561. The ADAMS Accession 
number for the EA is ML041190312. Most of the documents referenced in 
the EA are also available through ADAMS. Documents can also be viewed 
electronically on the public computers located at NRC's Public Document 
Room (PDR), O1 F21, One White Flint, 11555 Rockville Pike, MD 20852. 
The PDR reproduction contractors will copy documents for a fee. Persons 
who do not have access to ADAMS, should contact the NRC PDR Reference 
staff by telephone at 1-800-397-4209, or (301) 415-4737, or by e-mail 
at [email protected].

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 5th day of May, 2004.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Jill S. Caverly,
Fuel Cycle Facilities Branch, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and 
Safeguards, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 04-10733 Filed 5-11-04; 8:45 am]