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Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for License Amendment to Byproduct Materials License No. 06-20971-01, for Unrestricted Release of the Eastern Connecticut State University's Facility in Willimantic, CT

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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:

Betsy Ullrich, Senior Health Physicist, Commercial and R&D Branch, Division of Nuclear Materials Safety, Region I, 475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania 10406; telephone (610) 337-5040; fax number (610) 337-5269; or by e-mail: elizabeth.ullrich@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. 06-20971-01. This license is held by Eastern Connecticut State University (the Licensee), for its campus located in Willimantic, Connecticut. Issuance of the amendment would authorize release of two campus facilities, Goddard Hall and the Media Center, for unrestricted use. The Licensee requested this action in a letter dated May 18, 2009. 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 May 18, 2009, license amendment request, resulting in release of Goddard Hall and the Media Center for unrestricted use. License No. 06-20971-01 was issued on March 18, 1986, pursuant to 10 CFR part 30, and has been amended periodically since Start Printed Page 59014that time. This license authorizes the Licensee to use unsealed byproduct material for purposes of conducting research and development activities on laboratory bench tops and in hoods, and the teaching and training of students.

Goddard Hall is a multi-story building situated on approximately 8,300 square feet of land. The Media Center is a multi-story building situated on approximately 13,000 square feet of land. Both buildings contain office space, classroom space, and laboratories. Goddard Hall and the Media Center are located in a residential area. The use of licensed materials was confined to four rooms in Goddard Hall (a total of approximately 2,600 square feet of space) and five rooms in the Media Center (a total of approximately 1,300 square feet of space).

In February 2008, the Licensee ceased licensed activities in Goddard Hall and the Media Center, and initiated a survey and decontamination of Goddard Hall and the Media Center. Based on the Licensee's historical knowledge of the site and the conditions of the Goddard Hall and the Media Center, 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 Goddard Hall and the Media Center 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 in Goddard Hall and the Media Center, and seeks the unrestricted use of these buildings.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

The historical review of licensed activities conducted in Goddard Hall and the Media Center shows that such activities involved use of the following radionuclides with half-lives greater than 120 days: hydrogen-3, carbon-14, several generally-licensed sealed sources, and several exempt sealed sources. Prior to performing the final status survey, the Licensee conducted decontamination activities, as necessary, in the areas of Goddard Hall and the Media Center affected by these radionuclides. The Licensee conducted a final status survey on June 29, July 7, 13, and 14, 2009. This survey covered all rooms in Goddard Hall and the Media Center where licensed materials were used or stored. The final status survey report was attached to the Licensee's letter dated July 24, 2009. 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 ``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 in Goddard Hall and the Media Center. 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 Goddard Hall and the Media Center. 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 Goddard Hall and the Media Center for unrestricted use is in compliance with 10 CFR 20.1402. Because the Licensee will continue to perform licensed activities in other campus facilities, the Licensee must ensure that Goddard Hall and the Media Center do not later become recontaminated. Before the license can be terminated, the Licensee will be required to show that the all campus facilities, including previously-released areas, comply with the radiological criteria in 10 CFR 20.1402. Based on its review, the staff considered the impact of the residual radioactivity in Goddard Hall and the Media Center 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 separate buildings containing byproduct material be completed and approved by the NRC after licensed activities in those separate buildings cease. The NRC's analysis of the Licensee's final status survey data confirmed that Goddard Hall and the Media Center 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 State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection for review on August 3, 2009. On September 10, 2009, the State of Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection 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 Start Printed Page 59015of 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]. Licensee letters dated May 18, 2009 (ML091470608) and July 24, 2009 (ML092090686).

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, O1 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 Region I, 475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, PA, this 6th day of November 2009.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

James Dwyer,

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

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[FR Doc. E9-27424 Filed 11-13-09; 8:45 am]

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