[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 9 (Friday, January 13, 2012)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-548]
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
Notice of Availability of Draft Environmental Impact Statement
for the Proposed International Isotopes Fluorine Extraction Process and
Depleted Uranium Deconversion Plant in Lea County, NM
AGENCY: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
ACTION: Draft environmental impact statement; request for comment.
SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC) is issuing for public comment the Draft Environmental
Impact Statement (EIS) for the Proposed Fluorine Extraction Process and
Depleted Uranium Deconversion Plant. By letter dated December 30, 2009,
International Isotopes Fluorine Products, Inc. (IIFP), a wholly-owned
subsidiary of International Isotopes, Inc., submitted a license
application, which included an Environmental Report that proposes the
construction, operation, and decommissioning of a fluoride extraction
and depleted uranium deconversion facility to be located in Lea County,
New Mexico (the ``proposed action'').
This Draft EIS is being issued as part of the NRC's process to
decide whether to issue a license to IIFP, pursuant to Title 10 of the
Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 40, to build and operate the
proposed depleted uranium deconversion facility. Specifically, IIFP
proposed to deconvert depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6)
into uranium oxide compounds for long-term disposal.
The NRC staff will hold a public meeting on February 2, 2012, to
present an overview of the licensing process and the contents of the
Draft EIS, and to accept oral and written public comments on the Draft
EIS. The meeting will take place at the Lea County Event Center, 5101
Lovington Highway in Hobbs, New Mexico. For 1 hour prior to the public
meeting, the NRC staff will be available to informally discuss the
proposed IIFP project and answer questions in an ``open house'' format.
This ``open house'' format provides for one-on-one discussions with the
NRC staff involved with the preparation of the Draft EIS. The Draft EIS
public meeting will officially begin at 5:30 p.m. The meeting will
include the following agenda items: (1) A brief presentation of NRC's
roles and responsibilities and the licensing process; (2) a
presentation summarizing the contents of the Draft EIS; and (3) an
opportunity for interested government agencies, Tribal governments,
organizations, and individuals to provide comments on the draft EIS.
The public meeting will be transcribed by a court reporter, and the
meeting transcript will be made publicly available at a later date.
Persons wishing to provide oral comments at the public meeting may
register in advance by contacting Ms. Antoinette Walker-Smith at (800)
368-5642, ext. 6390 no later than January 26, 2012. Those who wish to
present comments may also register at the meeting. Individual oral
comments may have to be limited by the time available, depending upon
the number of persons who register. Written comments can also be
provided at the meeting, and should be given to an NRC staff person at
the registration desk at the meeting entrance. If special equipment or
accommodations are needed to attend or present information at the
public meeting, the need should be brought to the attention of Ms.
Antoinette Walker-Smith at (800) 368-5642, ext.6390, no later than
January 26, 2012, to provide NRC staff with adequate notice to
determine whether the request can be accommodated. Please note that
comments do not have to be provided at the public meeting and may be
submitted at any time during the comment period, as described in the
DATES section of this notice. Any interested party may submit comments
on the Draft EIS for consideration by NRC staff. Comments may be
submitted by any of the methods described in the ADDRESSES section of
DATES: The public comment period on the Draft EIS begins on the date of
publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Federal
Register (FR) Notice of Filing and ends on February 27, 2012. To ensure
consideration, comments on the Draft EIS and the proposed action must
be received or postmarked by February 27, 2012. The NRC staff will
consider comments received or postmarked after that date to the extent
The NRC will conduct a public meeting in Hobbs, New Mexico. The
meeting date, location, and time are listed below:
Meeting Date: Thursday, February 2, 2012.
Meeting Location: Lea County Event Center, 5101 Lovington Highway
in Hobbs, New Mexico.
Informal Open House Session: 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Draft EIS Comment Meeting: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
ADDRESSES: Please include Docket ID NRC-2010-0143 in the subject line
your comments. For additional instructions on submitting comments and
instructions on accessing documents related to this action, see
``Submitting Comments and Accessing Information'' in the SUPPLEMENTARY
INFORMATION section of this document. You may submit comments by any
one of the following methods:
Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for documents filed under Docket ID NRC-
2010-0143. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher,
telephone: (301) 492-3668; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov.
Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Chief, Rules,
Announcements, and Directives Branch (RADB), Office of Administration,
Mail Stop: TWB-05-B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington,
Fax comments to: RADB at (301) 492-3446.
Submitting Comments and Accessing Information
Comments submitted in writing or in electronic form will be posted
on the NRC Web site and on the Federal rulemaking Web site, http://www.regulations.gov. Because your comments will not be edited to remove
any identifying or contact information, the NRC cautions you against
including any information in your submission that you do not want to be
The NRC requests that any party soliciting or aggregating comments
received from other persons for submission to the NRC inform those
persons that the NRC will not edit their comments to remove any
identifying or contact information, and therefore, they should not
include any information in their comments that they do not want
You can access publicly available documents related to this
document using the following methods:
NRC's Public Document Room (PDR): The public may examine
and have copied, for a fee, publicly available documents at the NRC's
PDR, O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville,
NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System
(ADAMS): Publicly available documents created or received at the NRC
are available online in the NRC Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this page, the public can gain entry into ADAMS,
which provides text and image files of the NRC's public documents. If
you do not have access to ADAMS or if there are problems in accessing
the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC's PDR reference staff
at 1-(800) 397-4209, (301) 415-4737, or by email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. The ``Draft Environmental Impact Statement for
the Proposed Fluorine Extraction Process and Depleted Uranium
Deconversion Plant in Lea County, New Mexico'' is available
electronically under ADAMS Accession Number ML12001A000.
Federal Rulemaking Web Site: Public comments and
supporting materials related to this notice can be found at http://www.regulations.gov by searching on Docket ID NRC-2010-0143.
The Draft EIS for the proposed Fluorine Extraction Process and
Depleted Uranium Deconversion Plant also may be accessed on the
Internet at www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/ by
selecting ``NUREG-2113.'' Additionally, a copy of the Draft EIS will be
available at the following public library: Hobbs Public Library, 509
North Shipp, Hobbs, NM 88240, (575) 397-9328.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information about the
environmental review process or the Draft EIS for the proposed Fluorine
Extraction Process and Depleted Uranium Deconversion Plant, please
contact Asimios Malliakos, Project Manager, Environmental Review
Branch, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection
(DWMEP), Mail Stop T-8 F5, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission,
Washington, DC 20555-001, by phone at (301) 415-6458. For general or
technical information associated with the safety and licensing of
uranium deconversion facilities, please contact Matthew Bartlett,
Project Manager, Conversion, Deconversion and Enrichment Branch,
Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards (FCSS), Mail Stop E-2 C40,
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, by phone
at (301) 492-3119.
The Draft EIS was prepared in response to an application submitted
by IIFP by letter dated December 30, 2009. The application proposes to
construct, operate, and decommission a fluorine extraction and depleted
uranium deconversion facility to deconvert commercially generated
depleted DUF6 to DUO2 for long-term stable
disposal as low-level waste. The fluoride extraction and depleted
uranium deconversion facility would be located 14 miles west of Hobbs,
The Draft EIS was prepared by the NRC and its contractor, Straughan
Environmental Services, Inc. in compliance with the National
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA), and the NRC's
regulations for implementing NEPA (10 CFR Part 51).
The site is located 22.5 kilometers (km) (14 miles [mi]) west of
Hobbs, New Mexico. The proposed tract of land (IIFP site) occupies 259
ha (640 ac), and the proposed facility would occupy an estimated 16 ha
(40 ac) of the tract, not including roadways and other infrastructure
The Draft EIS is being issued as part of the NRC's process to
decide whether to issue a license to IIFP, pursuant to 10 CFR Part 40.
In this Draft EIS, the NRC staff has assessed the potential
environmental impacts from the preconstruction, construction,
operation, and decommissioning of the proposed IIFP facility. If a
license is granted, the IIFP facility would include a commercial plant
to produce specialty fluoride gas products for sale and DUO2
for disposal. IIFP would own the facility and be responsible for its
operation and performance.
The NRC staff published a Notice of Intent to prepare an
Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed IIFP facility and to
conduct a scoping process in the Federal Register on July 15, 2010 (75
FR 41242). The NRC staff accepted comments through August 30, 2010. The
NRC staff issued a Scoping Summary Report in November 2010 (ADAMS
Accession Number: ML102871105).
The NRC staff assessed the impacts of the proposed action on land
use, historical and cultural resources, visual and scenic resources,
climatology, meteorology and air quality, geology, minerals and soils,
water resources, ecological resources, socioeconomics, environmental
justice, noise, traffic and transportation, public and occupational
health and safety, and waste management.
Additionally, the Draft EIS analyzes and compares the benefits and
costs of the proposed action. Based on the preliminary evaluation in
the Draft EIS, the NRC environmental review staff has concluded that
the environmental impacts that would result from the proposed action
and associated preconstruction activities on the physical environment
and human communities would mostly be small, with the exception of
small to moderate impacts on climatology, meteorology, and air quality
associated with vehicle emissions and temporary fugitive dust released
to the air during construction.
In addition to the action proposed by IIFP, the NRC staff addressed
the no-action alternative and also a reasonable
range of alternatives to the proposed action, including alternative
sites for an IIFP facility, alternative technologies, shipment of the
U.S.-generated DUF6 to overseas facilities, and the four
U.S.-based enrichment companies to construct and operate their own
deconversion facilities. These alternatives were eliminated from
further analysis due to economic, environmental, or other reasons. The
proposed action and the no-action alternative were analyzed in detail.
The no-action alternative serves as a baseline for comparison of the
potential environmental impacts of the proposed action.
This DEIS is being issued for public comment. The public comment
period on the Draft EIS begins with publication of this notice and
continues until February 27, 2012. Written comments should be submitted
as described in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. The NRC will
consider comments received or postmarked after that date to the extent
Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 5th day of January, 2012.
For The Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Deputy Director, Environmental Protection and Performance Assessment
Directorate, Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection,
Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management
[FR Doc. 2012-548 Filed 1-12-12; 8:45 am]
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