Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the issuance of a license amendment to Special Nuclear Materials License No. SNM-348. This license is held by Department of the Army, U.S. Army Research Center, Adelphi Laboratory Center (the Licensee), for its Harry Diamond Laboratories (the Facility), located at 2800 Powder Mill Road in Adelphi, Maryland. Issuance of the amendment would authorize release of the Facility for unrestricted use and termination of the NRC license. The Licensee requested this action in a letter dated February 20, 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
The proposed action would approve the Licensee's February 20, 2007 license amendment request, resulting in release of the Facility for unrestricted use and the termination of its NRC materials license. License No. SNM-348 was issued on February 3, 1960, pursuant to 10 CFR Part 70, and has been amended periodically since that time. The licensee moved from its original location into the Facility in 1977. This license authorized the Licensee to use special nuclear material for purposes of storage only.
The Facility is situated on approximately 160 acres of land. The building is 6000 square feet and consists of office space and laboratories. The Facility is located in a mixed residential/commercial area. Within the Facility, use of licensed materials was confined to a 310 square foot radiation storage area and a 40 square foot attached decontamination shower.
On January 27, 2005, the Licensee ceased licensed activities and initiated a survey and decontamination of the Facility. 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 and for license termination.
The Licensee has ceased conducting licensed activities at the Facility, and seeks the unrestricted use of its Facility and the termination of its NRC materials license.
The historical review of licensed activities conducted at the Facility shows that such activities involved use of various radionuclides with half-lives greater than 120 days. 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 completed a final status survey on February 26, 2007. This survey covered the radiation storage area/decontamination shower and the four thousand gallon underground storage tank. The final status survey report was attached to the Licensee's amendment request dated February 20, 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, 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 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 residual radioactivity at the Facility and concluded that the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment.
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 70.38(d), requiring that decommissioning of special nuclear 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 and for license termination. 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
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.
NRC provided a draft of this Environmental Assessment to the Maryland Department of Environmental Protection for review on June 12, 2007. On June 13, 2007, Maryland Department of the Environment responded by e-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.
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.
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
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;”
5. Notification Letter dated February 28, 2005 [ML051080172];
6. Termination Request and Final Status Survey [ML070660139].
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For The Nuclear Regulatory Commission.