Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Issuance of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for License Amendment.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Dennis Lawyer, Health Physicist, Commercial and R&D Branch, Division of Nuclear Materials Safety, Region I, 475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; telephone 610-337-5366; fax number 610-337-5393; or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the issuance of a license amendment to Byproduct Materials License No. 29-00117-06. This license is held by Merck & Co., Inc. (the Licensee), for its Branchburg Farm, located at 203 River Road in Branchburg Township, New Jersey (the Facility). Issuance of the amendment would authorize release of the Facility for unrestricted use. The Licensee requested this action in a letter dated August 24, 2007. 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 August 24, 2007, license amendment request, resulting in release of the Facility for unrestricted use. License No. 29-00117-06 was issued on January 22, 1990, pursuant to 10 CFR Part 30, and has been amended periodically since that time. This license authorized the Licensee to use unsealed byproduct material at the Facility for purposes of conducting research and development activities on laboratory bench tops and in hoods, animal studies and instrument calibration. The proposed action pertains only to the cessation of licensed activities at the Facility. The license authorizes use of licensed material at other locations that will not be affected by this action and the license will thus not be terminated if the proposal is approved.
The Facility is situated on 223 acres, and consists of office, laboratory, and animal areas. Within the Facility, use of licensed materials was confined to Building 71 and Building 91. The area of use totaled 29,000 square feet. The Facility is located in a residential area. Within the Facility, the radionuclides of concern were hydrogen-3 and carbon-14 because the half-life of these isotopes is greater than 120 days.
In January 2007, the Licensee ceased licensed activities at the Facility and initiated survey and decontamination actions there. Based on the Licensee's historical knowledge of the site and the conditions of the Facility, the Licensee determined that only routine decontamination activities, in accordance with their 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 the Facility and provided information to the NRC to demonstrate that it meets 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 the Facility, and seeks the unrestricted use of its Facility.
Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action
The historical review of licensed activities conducted at the Facility 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 the Facility affected by these radionuclides.
The Licensee conducted final status surveys on April 9-11, May 1, and May 22, 2007. This survey covered 13 laboratories and an incinerator used within Building 71 and 91. The final status survey report was attached to the Licensee's amendment request dated August 24, 2007. 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, 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 “Generic Environmental Impact Statement in Support of Rulemaking on Radiological Criteria for License Termination of NRC-Licensed Nuclear Facilities” (NUREG-1496) Volumes 1-3 (ML042310492, ML042320379, and ML042330385). The staff finds there were no significant environmental impacts from the use of radioactive material at the Facility. 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 Facility. 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 the Facility for unrestricted use and the termination of the NRC materials license is in compliance with 10 CFR 20.1402. Based on its review, the staff considered the impact of the Start Printed Page 71977residual radioactivity at the Facility 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 the Facility meets 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.
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 State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Health for review on November 8, 2007. On November 26, 2007, the Department of Environmental Health responded by letter. 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. NUREG-1757, “Consolidated NMSS Decommissioning Guidance;”
2. Title 10 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20, Subpart E, “Radiological Criteria for License Termination;”
3. Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 51, “Environmental Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and Related Regulatory Functions;”
4. NUREG-1496, “Generic Environmental Impact Statement in Support of Rulemaking on Radiological Criteria for License Termination of NRC-Licensed Nuclear Facilities;” and
5. Merck & Co. Inc. Amendment Request Letter dated August 24, 2007. [ML072550100]
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 email@example.com. 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.Start Signature
Dated at 475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia this 11th day of December 2007.
For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
James P. Dwyer,
Chief, Commercial and R&D Branch, Division of Nuclear Materials Safety, Region I.
[FR Doc. E7-24657 Filed 12-18-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P