Environmental Impact Statement for the Dewey-Burdock Project in Custer and Fall River Counties, South Dakota: Supplement to the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for In-Situ Leach Uranium Milling Facilities — Draft Report for Comment (NUREG-1910, Supplement 4, Volume 2)
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Manuscript Completed: October 2012
Date Published: November 2012
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Office of Federal and State Materials and
Environmental Management Programs
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issues licenses for the possession and use of source material provided that proposed facilities meet NRC regulatory requirements and will be operated in a manner that is protective of public health and safety and the environment. Under the NRC environmental protection regulations in 10 CFR Part 51, which implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), issuance of a license to possess and use source material for uranium milling, as defined in 10 CFR Part 40, requires an environmental impact statement (EIS) or a supplement to an EIS.
In May 2009, NRC issued NUREG–1910, the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for In-Situ Leach Uranium Facilities (GEIS) (NRC, 2009). In the GEIS, NRC assessed the potential environmental impacts from the construction, operation, aquifer restoration, and decommissioning of an in-situ leach uranium recovery facility [also known as an in-situ recovery (ISR) facility] located in four specified geographic regions of the western United States. As part of this assessment, NRC determined which potential impacts will be essentially the same for all ISR facilities and which will result in varying levels of impact for different facilities, thus requiring further site-specific information to determine potential impacts. The GEIS provides a starting point for NRC NEPA analyses for site-specific license applications for new ISR facilities, as well as for applications to amend or renew existing ISR licenses.
By letter dated August 10, 2009, Powertech (USA), Inc. (Powertech, referred to herein as the applicant) submitted a license application to NRC for a new source and byproduct material license for the Dewey-Burdock ISR Project. The proposed Dewey-Burdock ISR Project will be located in Fall River and Custer Counties, South Dakota, which is in the Nebraska-South Dakota-Wyoming Uranium Milling Region identified in the GEIS. The NRC staff prepared this draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts from the applicant proposal to construct, operate, conduct aquifer restoration, and decommission an ISR uranium facility at the proposed Dewey-Burdock ISR Project. This draft SEIS describes the environment potentially affected by the proposed site activities, presents the potential environmental impacts resulting from reasonable alternatives to the proposed action, and describes the applicant environmental monitoring program and proposed mitigation measures. In conducting its analysis in this draft SEIS, the NRC staff evaluated site-specific data and information to determine whether the applicant's proposed activities and site characteristics were consistent with those evaluated in the GEIS. NRC staff then determined relevant sections, findings, and conclusions in the GEIS that could be incorporated by reference and areas that required additional analysis. Based on its environmental review, the preliminary NRC staff recommendation is that a source and byproduct material license for the proposed action be issued as requested, unless safety issues mandate otherwise.