Environmental Impact Statement for the Ross ISR Project in Crook County, Wyoming: Supplement to the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for In-Situ Leach Uranium Milling Facilities: Draft Report for Comment (NUREG-1910, Supplement 5)
This NUREG publication was issued for public comment. The comment period is now closed.
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Manuscript Completed: February 2013
Date Published: March 2013
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 and byproduct materials provided that 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 the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 10, Part 51, which implement the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), issuance of a license to possess and use source and byproduct materials during uranium recovery and milling requires an environmental impact statement (EIS) or a supplement to an EIS (SEIS).
In May 2009, the NRC issued NUREG–1910, Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for In-Situ Leach Uranium Milling Facilities. In the GEIS, the NRC assessed the potential environmental impacts from the construction, operation, aquifer restoration, and decommissioning of in situ recovery (ISR) facilities located in four specific geographic regions of the western U.S. As part of this assessment, the NRC determined which potential impacts would be essentially the same for all ISR facilities and which would result in varying levels of impacts for different facilities and would therefore require further site-specific information to determine potential impacts. The GEIS provides a starting point for the NRC’s NEPA analyses for site-specific license applications for new ISR facilities as well as for applications to amend or to renew existing ISR licenses.
By a letter dated January 4, 2011, Strata Energy Inc. (referred to herein as Strata or the “Applicant”) submitted a license application to the NRC for a new source and byproduct materials license for the proposed Ross Project. The Ross Project would be located in Crook County, Wyoming, which is in the Nebraska-South Dakota-Wyoming Uranium Milling Region identified in the GEIS. The NRC staff prepared this SEIS to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the Applicant’s proposal to construct, operate, conduct aquifer restoration, and decommission an ISR facility at the Ross Project. This SEIS describes the environment that could be affected by the proposed Ross Project activities, estimates the potential environmental impacts resulting from the Proposed Action and two Alternatives, discusses the corresponding proposed mitigation measures, and describes the Applicant’s environmental-monitoring program. In conducting its analysis for this SEIS, the NRC staff evaluated site-specific data and information to determine whether the site characteristics and the Applicant’s proposed activities were consistent with those evaluated in the GEIS. The NRC staff then determined relevant sections, findings, and conclusions in the GEIS that could be incorporated by reference, and identified the areas that needed additional analysis. Based on its environmental review, the preliminary NRC staff recommendation is that, unless safety issues mandate otherwise, the source and byproduct materials license be issued as requested.