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E-M:/ thorium cleanup in Bay City -- Dow Chemical NRC License



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[Federal Register: July 25, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 141)]
[Notices]
[Page 42593-42595]
 From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr25jy05-66]

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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
[Docket No. 40-00017]
 
Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact 
Related to Issuance of Amendment No. 11 to Materials License No. STB-
527, the Dow Chemical Company (TDCC), Bay City, MI Site (TAC #L60463)

AGENCY: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
ACTION: Notice of availability.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Nelson, Project Manager, 
Materials Decommissioning Section, Decommissioning Directorate, 
Division of Waste Management and Environmental Protection, Office of 
Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Mail Stop T7E18, Washington, DC 20555. Telephone: (301) 
415-6626; fax number: (301) 415-5397; e-mail: <A HREF="mailto:dwn@nrc.gov";>dwn@nrc.gov</A>.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the 
issuance of a license amendment to the Dow Chemical Company's (TDCC) 
Material License, No. STB-527. The amendment would allow an alternate 
method for conducting surveys, would add two plans to the license, and 
would expand the scope of onsite decommissioning activities.
    NRC has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) in support of 
this amendment in accordance with the

[[Page 42594]]

requirements of 10 CFR Part 51. Based on the EA, the NRC has concluded 
that a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is appropriate. The 
amendment will be issued following the publication of this Notice.

II. Environmental Assessment

Background

    TDCC is the current holder of NRC radioactive source materials 
license STB-527 (NRC Docket 040-00017). The license authorizes TDCC, to 
possess and use licensed materials (materials contaminated with source 
material) during activities leading to their removal from the Bay City, 
MI site. License STB-527 continues in effect until the Commission 
notifies the licensee in writing that the license is terminated. The 
source material (radiological contamination) consists of thorium and 
its daughter products. The license authorizes the removal and transport 
of contaminated materials from the site in accordance with an approved 
decommissioning plan (DP). The DP for TDCC Bay City, MI site was 
approved in License Amendment No. 7 dated July 21, 1997 (See ADAMS 
ML050750212). The NRC is considering a license amendment (License 
Amendment No. 11) to approve the following:
    1. An alternate method (AAR Method as described in Revision 2 to 
the Supplement to the DP) for conducting final status radiological 
surveys at its Bay City, MI site, (See ADAMS ML051040383), and
    2. The addition of four structures and two small pieces of land 
adjacent to the property to the scope of decommissioning activities 
(See ADAMS ML051040383), and
    3. The incorporation of the Groundwater Monitoring Plan (GMP) for 
TDCC Bay City site into the license (See ADAMS ML051040383), and
    4. The incorporation of Revision 3 of TDCC Thorad Project 
Radiological Health and Safety Plan into the license (See ADAMS 
ML051290296).
    The objective of decommissioning at TDCC's Bay City, MI site is to 
remediate radiological constituents, to the extent required, to allow 
the NRC to release the property for unrestricted use and terminate 
TDCC's license for the site (STB-527).

The Proposed Action

    The proposed action is to allow TDCC to more accurately determine 
the spatial distribution of the radiological contamination in the 
subsurface soil using an alternate surveying method (AAR Method) to 
that described in the Final Survey Plan. The amendment would also 
incorporate a formal GMP and Revision 3 of the Radiological Health and 
Safety Plan into the license and add four structures and two small 
plots of land to the scope of decommissioning activities.

Purpose and Need for the Proposed Action

    Through the proposed action, the licensee believes the alternate 
survey method would more accurately characterize the radiological 
contamination in the subsurface soil. By more accurately characterizing 
the subsurface soil, the licensee believes that the volume of soil 
excavated would be reduced thus reducing the cost of decommissioning. 
The original DP did not address the four structures and two small plots 
of land in the scope of decommissioning activities. In order to release 
the whole site for unrestricted use, the four structures and two plots 
of land need to be formally addressed in the DP. The license has 
routinely collected ground water samples on-site without an approved 
GMP and the amendment would formally incorporate the GMP into the 
license. Revision 3 of the Radiological Health and Safety Plan 
addresses administrative issues that have arisen since its last revision.

Alternative to the Proposed Action

    The ``no-action'' alternative would be to require TDCC to continue 
to conduct surveys using the method described in License Amendment No. 
7. This could result in the licensee unnecessarily excavating soil that 
exceeded the approved release criteria.
    The inclusion of the GMP into the license is not required. However, 
inclusion does formally commit the licensee to all of the provisions of 
the GMP and may prevent misunderstandings between the NRC and TDCC 
regarding its implementation.
    To release the entire site for unrestricted use, all buildings and 
plots of land must be surveyed and remediated to the levels required in 
License Amendment No. 7. The staff compares survey results to the 
release criteria before concluding that the site is suitable for 
license termination and can be released for unrestricted use. If the 
buildings and plots of land are not addressed in the DP and, therefore, 
not released for unrestricted use, TDCC would be required to maintain 
control of them in the license. This would place an unnecessary 
regulatory burden on TDCC.

The Affected Environment and Environmental Impacts

    An earlier and more extensive EA was prepared for License Amendment 
No. 7 (See ADAMS ML050750212). The amendment approved TDCC's 
unrestricted release criteria and final survey plan for the Bay City, 
MI site (See ADAMS ML050750212). The NRC staff determined that 
decommissioning of the site using the proposed release criteria and the 
final survey plan could be accomplished to demonstrate compliance with 
the NRC public and occupational dose limits, and effluent release 
limits. In addition, the staff concluded that the approval of the 
decommissioning activities at TDCC Bay City, MI site in accordance with 
the commitments in NRC license STB-527 Amendment No. 7, and employing 
the unrestricted release criteria and the final survey plan, would not 
result in a significant adverse impact on the environment. For more 
details on the facility description, operating history, radiological 
status, evaluation of decontamination, evaluation of decontamination of 
outdoor areas, radiation protection programs, and environmental 
impacts, refer to the EA prepared for License Amendment No. 7 (See 
ADAMS ML050750212).
    Radiological and non-radiological impacts are discussed in detail 
in the EA prepared for the decommissioning of the site in License 
Amendment No. 7. Since the release criteria remains the same for soils 
and surfaces, changing the survey methodology and adding four buildings 
and two small plots of land to the scope of decommissioning activities 
will not cause an increase the level of radiological and non-
radiological impacts. Compliance with the soil and surfaces release 
criteria ensures that the dose limit for the site will not be exceeded. 
Adding the GMP to the DP and revising the Health and Safety Plan are 
administrative issues that have no environmental impact.

Agencies and Persons Contacted

    NRC staff has consulted with Michigan Department of Environmental 
Quality (MDEQ), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Michigan 
State Historic Preservation Office in the preparation of this EA. The 
NRC staff has determined that Section 7 consultation is not required 
because listed/habitat are not present in the proposed action area, 
therefore the proposed action will not affect listed species or 
critical habitat. The NRC staff has determined that the proposed action 
is not a type of activity that has potential to cause effects on historic

[[Page 42595]]

properties because it is administrative/procedural action. Therefore no 
further consultation is required under Section 106 of the National 
Historic Preservation Act. The MDEQ had no comments on the proposed action.

List of References

A. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ``Issuance of License Amendment to 
the Dow Chemical Company to Approve the Decommissioning Criteria and 
Final Survey Plan for the Decommissioning of Thorium Contaminated 
Slag Storage Piles at the Dow Chemical Company's Sites in Midland 
and Bay City, Michigan.'' July 21, 1997, (ML050750212).
B. The Dow Chemical Company, ``Revised RAIs and Revision 2 of 
Supplement to the Decommissioning Plan for the TDCC Bay City, MI, 
Site.'' April 13, 2005, (ML051040383).
C. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ``Revised Radiological Health and 
Safety Plan for the TDCC Bay City, MI, Site.'' May 6, 2005, (ML051290296).
D. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ``Method for Surveying and 
Averaging Concentrations of Thorium in Contaminated Subsurface 
Soil'', February 1997.
E. UREG-5849, Manual for Conducting Radiological Surveys in Support 
of License Termination. June 1992.
F. NUREG-1757, Volume 1, Rev 1, Consolidated NMSS Decommissioning 
Guidance, Decommissioning Process for Materials Licensees, Final 
Report, September 2003.
G. Title 10 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20, Subpart E, 
``Radiological Criteria for License Termination.''
H. Title 10, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 51, ``Environmental 
Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and Related Regulatory 
Functions.''

III. Finding of No Significant Impact

    Based upon the analysis in this EA and the EA prepared for License 
Amendment No. 7; the NRC staff has concluded that there will be no 
significant environmental impacts from the proposed action and has 
determined not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the 
proposed action.

IV. Further Information

    Documents related to this action, including the application for 
amendment and supporting documentation, are available electronically at 
the NRC's Electronic Reading Room at <A HREF="http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html";>http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/
adams.html</A>. 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 ADAMS accession numbers for 
the document related to this notice are: ML050750212 for the July 21, 
2005, letter issuing Amendment No. 7; ML051040383 for the April 13, 
2005, letter requesting a license amendment to incorporate Revision 2 
of the Supplement to the DP into the license; ML051290296 for the May 
2, 2005, letter providing Revision 3 of the TDCC Radiological Health 
and Safety Plan; and ML050110068 for the letter dated December 31, 
2004, responding to a NRC request for additional information. If you do 
not have access to ADAMS or if there are problems accessing the 
documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC's Public Document Room 
(PDR) Reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, (301) 415-4737, or by e-mail 
to <A HREF="mailto:pdr@nrc.gov";>pdr@nrc.gov</A>.
    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.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 15th day of July, 2005.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Kimberly Gruss,
Acting Deputy Director, Decommissioning Directorate, Division of Waste 
Management and Environmental Protection, Office of Nuclear Material 
Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. E5-3940 Filed 7-22-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P



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