May 26, 1999 Shirley Ann Jackson, Chairman U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Washington, D.C. 20555 Subject: Non-applicability of new rule, "Radiological Criteria for License Termination of Uranium Recovery Facilities" [69 FR 17506, April 12, 1999], to FUSRAP sites Dear Chairman Jackson: The purpose of this letter is to briefly outline to the Commission our position on the new rule "Radiological Criteria for License Termination of Uranium Recovery Facilities" [69 FR 17506, April 12, 1999]. We commented on the text of the original notice which requested comments on this rulemaking [62 FR 39093, July 21, 1997, appended to publication of the LTR] on February 9, 1998 (copy enclosed); we were not made aware of or given the opportunity to comment on SECY 98-084, April 15, 1998 (for details, refer to April 2, 1999 telcon with Steven Crockett and follow-up). Our position is that this rule can not be considered as an applicable regulation or an appropriate and relevant requirement for the cleanup of Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) sites. We say this because: 1) as a part of this rulemaking, a NEPA Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was issued. This FONSI claims a limited scope for the rule, specifically: a) the rule is stated to affect only four mill facilities and seven ISLs, b) the affected sites are located in the West (New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah) and in Nebraska, c) these sites are typically located in high desert, areas with low precipitation and low population density, where ranching and mining are the predominant land uses (even so, staff admits a wide range of possible doses at the various sites to be covered by the rule, that some doses may exceed the 10 CFR Part 20 standard of 100 millirem per year); 2) in contrast, major impacts have been associated with conditions at and cleanup of the FUSRAP sites (as an example, see DOE's 1993 DEIS for the Tonawanda Site). The FUSRAP includes at least 46 sites with over 2.3 million cubic yards of contamination (according to DOE documents); most of these sites are located in the East (the largest is at St. Louis, comprising several properties) in areas with both high population density and high precipitation; these are areas where application of the new rule, using plausible future use scenarios (residential, including, but not limited to, resident farmer) is likely to result in unrestricted use doses exceeding the 100 mrem per year standard. In summary, the FONSI for this new rule clearly does not support its application to FUSRAP sites. We do not expect the Commission to disagree with this position. If the Commission does disagree, we request a timely reply outlining the Commission's position. Sincerely, James Rauch
NOTE : By reply letter dated June 11, 1999 from NRC's John Greeves, NRC agreed that "the new [uranium recovery facilities] rule does not apply to the FUSRAP sites."
Return to West Valley Homepage