[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 84 (Wednesday, May 1, 2013)]
[Pages 25484-25486]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-10265]



[Docket No.: 40-8452; NRC-2012-0095]

License Amendment for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, Bear Creek 
Facility, Converse County, Wyoming

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact; 


SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
the issuance of a license amendment to Source Materials License SUA-
1310 issued to Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (APC or the licensee) to 
authorize alternate concentration limits (ACLs) at its point of 
compliance (POC) wells and the deletion of License Condition (LC) No. 
47 for its Bear Creek Uranium Mill facility in Converse County, 
Wyoming. The NRC has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) for this 
proposed action in accordance with its regulations. Based

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on the EA, the NRC has concluded that a Finding of No Significant 
Impact (FONSI) is appropriate with respect to the proposed action. The 
amendment will be issued following the publication of this document.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2012-0095 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You 
may access information related to this document, which the NRC 
possesses and is publicly available, using any of the following 
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2012-0095. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-492-
3668; email: [email protected]. For technical questions, contact 
the individual(s) listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section 
of this document.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may access publicly available documents online in the NRC 
Library 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 [email protected]. The ADAMS accession numbers 
for the referenced documents are: The licensee's license amendment 
request and environmental evaluation dated November 28, 2011 (ADAMS 
Accession Nos. ML12046A858, ML12046A857, ML12046A856, and ML12046A854); 
and EA for License Amendment No. 51 dated February 27, 2013 (ADAMS 
Accession No. LML12145A264).
     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: Thomas McLaughlin, Project Manager, 
Materials Decommissioning Branch, Division of Waste Management and 
Environmental Protection, Office of Federal and State Materials and 
Environmental Management Programs, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-5869; email: 
[email protected].


I. Background

    The Bear Creek Uranium Mill operated from September 1977 until 
January 1986, and generated 4.7 million tons of uranium ore 
``tailings'' that were placed in an onsite earthen impoundment. 
Decommissioning of the mill occurred between August 1987 and March 
1989. Reclamation of the tailings impoundment began in June 1997 and 
was completed in November 1999. Following a final inspection of the 
completed tailings reclamation activities, in July 2001, the NRC staff 
concluded that reclamation of the facility had been completed in 
accordance with the requirements of part 40, Appendix A of Title 10 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) and the licensee's approved 
tailings reclamation plan (ADAMS Accession No. ML011910515). The 
licensee addressed, and the NRC approved, the remaining site-wide 
reclamation plan elements through separate licensing actions, including 
mill demolition, relocation of lined evaporation pond sediments, soil 
decommissioning plan, and ground water remediation. In November 2010, 
the NRC staff notified APC that assumptions contained in APC's 1997 ACL 
application were incorrect, and requested that a new ACL application be 
submitted (ADAMS Accession No. ML103280165). On November 28, 2011, APC 
submitted the license renewal application. The current licensing action 
is in preparation for the termination of the license and transfer of 
the site to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for Long-Term Care and 

II. Environmental Assessment Summary

    The purpose of the proposed amendment is to prepare the site for 
transfer to DOE. By letter dated November 28, 2011, the licensee 
submitted a request to the NRC for approval of ACLs for nickel, radium, 
and uranium for its POC wells and to establish new point of exposure 
(POE) wells at the northern edge of its boundary which will be part of 
the Long-Term Surveillance Boundary (LTSB). The elimination of LC No. 
47 is a necessary step for the transfer of the license to DOE. On April 
26, 2012, NRC issued a Federal Register Notice (77 FR 24993) requesting 
comments on the licensee's proposed amendment. No comments were 
    The NRC staff, in coordination with the Wyoming Department of 
Environmental Quality, has prepared the EA in support of the proposed 
license amendment. The EA assessed the potential environmental impacts 
associated with this request for a license amendment to establish ACLs 
at the POC wells and designate new POE wells at the LTSB, and 
documented the results of the assessment in this EA. The NRC staff 
performed this assessment in accordance with the requirements of part 
51 of 10 CFR, ``Environmental Protection Regulations for Domestic 
Licensing and Related Regulatory Functions.''
    In conducting the assessment, the NRC staff considered the 
     Information in the ACL application and supporting 
     Information in modeling reports and NRC staff review 
     Information in land use and environmental monitoring 
     Personal communications with licensee staff, the State of 
Wyoming, and Federal agencies;
     Information from NRC staff site visits and inspections;
     10 CFR Part 40, Appendix A, ``Criteria Relating to the 
Operation of Uranium Mills and the Disposition of Tailings or Wastes 
Produced by the Extraction or Concentration of Source Material From 
Ores Processed Primarily for Their Source Material Content'';
     NUREG-1620, Rev. 1, ``Standard Review Plan for the Review 
of a Reclamation Plan for Mill Tailings Sites Under Title II of the 
Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978'' (ADAMS Accession 
No. ML031550522); and
     NUREG-1748, ``Environmental Review Guidance for Licensing 
Actions Associated with NMSS Programs, Final Report'' (ADAMS Accession 
No. ML032540811).
    As an alternative to the proposed action, the NRC staff considered 
denial of the proposed action (i.e., the ``no-action alternative''). 
Denial of the proposed license amendment would result in no change in 
current environmental impacts. The environmental impacts of the 
proposed action and the alternative action, both of which involve 
ground water quality, are similar since the ACLs in both alternatives 
are the same, as the licensee has requested the same values for nickel, 
radium, and uranium at the POCs. For the proposed action, only the POE 
well locations (i.e., monitoring locations relocated to the northern 
site boundary) are changed. In either alternative, offsite ground water 
quality is either at or below the designated POE compliance values.

III. Finding of No Significant Impact

    Based on the analysis contained in the EA, the NRC staff concluded 
that there are no significant environmental impacts from the proposed 
action, and that the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement 
is not

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warranted. Accordingly, the NRC determined that a Finding of No 
Significant Impact is appropriate.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 22nd day of April 2013.

    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 
[FR Doc. 2013-10265 Filed 4-30-13; 8:45 am]