United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Environmental Impact Statement for the Reno Creek In Situ Recovery Project in Campbell County, Wyoming: Supplement to the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for In-Situ Leach Uranium Milling Facilities, Final Report (NUREG-1910, Supplement 6)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: November 2016
Date Published
: December 2016

Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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Abstract

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issues licenses for the possession and use of source material (hereafter referred to as an "NRC license") provided that proposed facilities meet NRC regulatory requirements and would be operated in a manner that is protective of public health and safety and the environment. Under the NRC environmental protection regulations in Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 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, the NRC issued NUREG–1910, the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for In Situ Leach Uranium Facilities (GEIS) (NRC, 2009). In the GEIS, the NRC assessed the potential environmental impacts from the construction, operations, 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, the NRC determined which potential impacts would be essentially the same for all ISR facilities and which would 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 the 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 October 3, 2012, AUC, LLC (AUC, referred to herein as the applicant) submitted a license application to NRC for a new NRC license for the Reno Creek ISR Project. The proposed Reno Creek ISR Project would be located in Campbell County, Wyoming, which is in the Wyoming East Uranium Milling Region identified in the GEIS. The NRC staff prepared this Supplemental EIS (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 Reno Creek ISR Project area. This SEIS describes the environment potentially affected by the proposed project activities, and describes the applicant's environmental monitoring program and proposed mitigation measures. In conducting its analysis in this 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. The 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, unless safety issues mandate otherwise, environmental impacts of the proposed action (issuing an NRC license for the proposed Reno Creek ISR Project) are not so great as to make issuance of an NRC license an unreasonable licensing decision.

References

10 CFR Part 40. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 10, Energy, Part 40, "Domestic Licensing of Source Material." Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

10 CFR Part 51. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 10, Energy, Part 51, "Environmental Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and Related Regulatory Functions." Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

NRC. NUREG–1910, "Generic Environmental Impact Statement for In-Situ Leach Uranium Milling Facilities." ML091480244 and ML091480188. Washington, DC: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. May 2009.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, December 08, 2016