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Materials Licenses

§ 51.109 Public hearings in proceedings for issuance of materials license with respect to a geologic repository.

(a)(1) In a proceeding for issuance of a construction authorization for a high-level radioactive waste repository at a geologic repository operations area under parts 60 and 63 of this chapter, and in a proceeding for issuance of a license to receive and possess source, special nuclear, and byproduct material at a geologic repository operations area under parts 60 and 63 of this chapter, the NRC staff shall, upon the publication of the notice of hearing in the Federal Register, present its position on whether it is practicable to adopt, without further supplementation, the environmental impact statement (including any supplement thereto) prepared by the Secretary of Energy. If the position of the staff is that supplementation of the environmental impact statement by NRC is required, it shall file its final supplemental environmental impact statement with the Environmental Protection Agency, furnish that statement to commenting agencies, and make it available to the public, before presenting its position, or as soon thereafter as may be practicable. In discharging its responsibilities under this paragraph, the staff shall be guided by the principles set forth in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section.

(2) Any other party to the proceeding who contends that it is not practicable to adopt the DOE environmental impact statement, as it may have been supplemented, shall file a contention to that effect within thirty (30) days after the publication of the notice of hearing in the Federal Register. Such contention must be accompanied by one or more affidavits which set forth factual and/or technical bases for the claim that, under the principles set forth in paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, it is not practicable to adopt the DOE environmental impact statement, as it may have been supplemented. The presiding officer shall resolve disputes concerning adoption of the DOE environmental impact statement by using, to the extent possible, the criteria and procedures that are followed in ruling on motions to reopen under § 2.326 of this chapter.

(b) In any such proceeding, the presiding officer will determine those matters in controversy among the parties within the scope of NEPA and this subpart, specifically including whether, and to what extent, it is practicable to adopt the environmental impact statement prepared by the Secretary of Energy in connection with the issuance of a construction authorization and license for such repository.

(c) The presiding officer will find that it is practicable to adopt any environmental impact statement prepared by the Secretary of Energy in connection with a geologic repository proposed to be constructed under Title I of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, unless:

(1)(i) The action proposed to be taken by the Commission differs from the action proposed in the license application submitted by the Secretary of Energy; and

(ii) The difference may significantly affect the quality of the human environment; or

(2) Significant and substantial new information or new considerations render such environmental impact statement inadequate.

(d) To the extent that the presiding officer determines it to be practicable, in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section, to adopt the environmental impact statement prepared by the Secretary of Energy, such adoption shall be deemed to satisfy all responsibilities of the Commission under NEPA and no further consideration under NEPA or this subpart shall be required.

(e) To the extent that it is not practicable, in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section, to adopt the environmental impact statement prepared by the Secretary of Energy, the presiding officer will:

(1) Determine whether the requirements of section 102(2) (A), (C), and (E) of NEPA and the regulations in this subpart have been met;

(2) Independently consider the final balance among conflicting factors contained in the record of the proceeding with a view to determining the appropriate action to be taken;

(3) Determine, after weighing the environmental, economic, technical and other benefits against environmental and other costs, whether the construction authorization or license should be issued, denied, or appropriately conditioned to protect environmental values;

(4) Determine, in an uncontested proceeding, whether the NEPA review conducted by the NRC staff has been adequate; and

(5) Determine, in a contested proceeding, whether in accordance with the regulations in this subpart, the construction authorization or license should be issued as proposed.

(f) In making the determinations described in paragraph (e) of this section, the environmental impact statement will be deemed modified to the extent that findings and conclusions differ from those in the final statement prepared by the Secretary of Energy, as it may have been supplemented. The initial decision will be distributed to any persons not otherwise entitled to receive it who responded to the request in the notice of docketing, as described in § 51.26(c). If the Commission reaches conclusions different from those of the presiding officer with respect to such matters, the final environmental impact statement will be deemed modified to that extent and the decision will be similarly distributed.

(g) The provisions of this section shall be followed, in place of those set out in § 51.104, in any proceedings for the issuance of a license to receive and possess source, special nuclear, and byproduct material at a geologic repository operations area.

[54 FR 27870, July 3, 1989; 69 FR 2276, Jan. 14, 2004; 77 FR 46600, Aug. 3, 2012]

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, July 25, 2013