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Notice

Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for License Amendment to Byproduct Materials License No. 09-10672-03, for Unrestricted Release of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Buildings 15, 16 and 17 in Gulf Breeze, FL

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION:

Issuance of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for License Amendment.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Steve Hammann, Health Physicist, Commercial and R&D Branch, Division of Nuclear Materials Safety, Region I, 475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 19406; telephone (610) 337-5399; fax number (610) 337-5269; or by e-mail: sth2@nrc.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the issuance of a license amendment to Byproduct Materials License No. 09-10672-03. This license is held by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the Licensee), for its Gulf Ecology Division Facility, located at 1 Sabine Island Drive in Gulf Breeze, Florida (the Facility). Issuance of the amendment would authorize release of Buildings 15, 16 and 17, which are part of the Facility, for unrestricted use. The Licensee requested this action in a letter dated March 14, 2006. The NRC has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) in support of this proposed action in accordance with the requirements of Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 51 (10 CFR Part 51). Based on the EA, the NRC has concluded that a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is appropriate with respect to the proposed action. The amendment will be issued to the Licensee following the publication of this FONSI and EA in the Federal Register.

II. Environmental Assessment

Identification of Proposed Action

The proposed action would approve the Licensee's March 14, 2006, license amendment request resulting in release of Buildings 15, 16 and 17 for unrestricted use. License No. 09-10672-03 was issued on November 2, 1992, pursuant to 10 CFR part 30, and has been amended periodically since that time. License No. 09-10672-03 superceded License No. 09-10672-02 which was issued in 1965 for this Facility. This license authorized the Licensee to use sealed and unsealed byproduct material for purposes of conducting research and development activities on laboratory bench tops and in hoods.

Buildings 15, 16 and 17 have a total of 2,690 square feet and consist of office space, laboratories, and storage space. The Buildings are located in a mixed residential/commercial area. The Licensee has not conducted licensed activities in Buildings 15, 16 and 17 since 1997. Based on the Licensee's historical knowledge of the site and the condition of the Buildings, the Licensee determined that only routine decontamination activities, in accordance with its NRC-approved, operating radiation safety procedures, were required. The Licensee was not required to submit a decommissioning plan to the NRC because worker cleanup activities and procedures are consistent with those approved for routine operations. The Licensee conducted surveys of Buildings 15, 16 and 17 and provided information to the NRC to demonstrate that they meet the criteria in subpart E of 10 CFR part 20 for unrestricted release.

Need for the Proposed Action

The Licensee has ceased conducting licensed activities at Buildings 15, 16 and 17 and seeks the unrestricted use of this portion of the Facility.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

The historical review of licensed activities conducted in Buildings 15, 16 and 17 shows that such activities involved use of the following radionuclides with half-lives greater than 120 days: hydrogen-3 and carbon-14. Prior to performing the final status survey, the Licensee conducted decontamination activities, as necessary, in the areas of Buildings 15, 16 and 17 affected by these radionuclides.

The Licensee conducted a final status survey on March 5, 2006. This survey covered Buildings 15, 16 and 17. The final status survey report was attached to the Licensee's amendment request dated March 14, 2006. The Licensee elected to demonstrate compliance with the radiological criteria for unrestricted release as specified in 10 CFR 20.1402 by using the screening approach described in NUREG-1757, “Consolidated NMSS Decommissioning Guidance,” Volume 2. The Licensee used the radionuclide-specific derived concentration guideline levels (DCGLs), developed there by the NRC, which comply with the dose criterion in 10 CFR 20.1402. These DCGLs define the maximum amount of residual radioactivity on building surfaces, equipment, and materials, and in soils, that will satisfy the NRC requirements in subpart E of 10 CFR part 20 for unrestricted release. The Licensee's final status survey results were below these DCGLs and are in compliance with the As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) requirement of 10 CFR 20.1402. The NRC thus finds that the Licensee's final status survey results are acceptable. Based on its review, the staff has determined that the affected environment and any environmental impacts associated with the proposed action are bounded by the impacts evaluated by the (ML042330385). The staff finds there were no significant environmental impacts from the use of radioactive material in Buildings 15, 16 and 17. The NRC staff reviewed the docket file records and the final status survey report to identify any non-radiological hazards that may have impacted the environment surrounding the Buildings. No such hazards or impacts to the environment were identified. The NRC has identified no other radiological or non-radiological activities in the area that could result in cumulative environmental impacts.

The NRC staff finds that the proposed release of Buildings 15, 16 and 17 for unrestricted use is in compliance with 10 CFR 20.1402. The Licensee will continue to perform licensed activities at other parts of the Gulf Ecology Division Facility, and must ensure that the decommissioned area does not become recontaminated. Before the license can be terminated, the Licensee will be required to show that the entire Facility, including previously-released Start Printed Page 42423areas, complies with the radiological criteria in 10 CFR 20.1402. Based on its review, the staff considered the impact of the residual radioactivity in Buildings 15, 16 and 17, and concluded that the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment.

Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action

Due to the largely administrative nature of the proposed action, its environmental impacts are small. Therefore, the only alternative the staff considered is the no-action alternative, under which the staff would leave things as they are by simply denying the amendment request. This no-action alternative is not feasible because it conflicts with 10 CFR 30.36(d), requiring that decommissioning of byproduct material facilities be completed and approved by the NRC after licensed activities cease. The NRC's analysis of the Licensee's final status survey data confirmed that Buildings 15, 16 and 17 meet the requirements of 10 CFR 20.1402 for unrestricted release. Additionally, denying the amendment request would result in no change in current environmental impacts. The environmental impacts of the proposed action and the no-action alternative are therefore similar, and the no-action alternative is accordingly not further considered.

Conclusion

The NRC staff has concluded that the proposed action is consistent with the NRC's unrestricted release criteria specified in 10 CFR 20.1402. Because the proposed action will not significantly impact the quality of the human environment, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed action is the preferred alternative.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

NRC provided a draft of this Environmental Assessment to the Florida Bureau of Radiation Control for review on April 4, 2006. On April 4, 2006, Florida Bureau of Radiation Control responded by electronic mail. The State agreed with the conclusions of the EA, and otherwise had no comments.

The NRC staff has determined that the proposed action is of a procedural nature, and will not affect listed species or critical habitat. Therefore, no further consultation is required under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. The NRC staff has also determined that the proposed action is not the type of activity that has the potential to cause effects on historic properties. Therefore, no further consultation is required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

III. Finding of No Significant Impact

The NRC staff has prepared this EA in support of the proposed action. On the basis of this EA, the NRC finds that there are no significant environmental impacts from the proposed action, and that preparation of an environmental impact statement is not warranted. Accordingly, the NRC has determined that a Finding of No Significant Impact is appropriate.

IV. Further Information

Documents related to this action, including the application for license amendment and supporting documentation, are available electronically at the NRC's Electronic Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/​reading-rm/​adams.html. From this site, you can access the NRC's Agencywide Document Access and Management System (ADAMS), which provides text and image files of NRC's public documents. The documents related to this action are listed below, along with their ADAMS accession numbers.

1. Amendment request and Final Status Survey Results for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Gulf Ecology Division, 1 Sabine Island Drive, Gulf Breeze, Florida, dated March 14, 2006 [ADAMS Accession No. ML060810415];

2. NUREG-1757, “Consolidated NMSS Decommissioning Guidance;”

3. Title 10 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20, Subpart E, “Radiological Criteria for License Termination;”

4. Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 51, “Environmental Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and Related Regulatory Functions;”

5. NUREG-1496, “Generic Environmental Impact Statement in Support of Rulemaking on Radiological Criteria for License Termination of NRC-Licensed Nuclear Facilities”.

If you do not have access to ADAMS, or if there are problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC Public Document Room (PDR) Reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by e-mail to pdr@nrc.gov. These documents may also be viewed electronically on the public computers located at the NRC's PDR, O 1 F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The PDR reproduction contractor will copy documents for a fee.

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Dated at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, this 18th day of July 2006.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

James P. Dwyer,

Chief, Commercial and R&D Branch, Division of Nuclear Materials Safety, Region I.

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[FR Doc. E6-11919 Filed 7-25-06; 8:45 am]

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