Cimarron (Kerr-McGee)

1.0 Site Identification

Type of Site: Complex Decommissioning Site
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
License No.: SNM-928
Docket No.: 70-0925
License Status: Active License
Project Manager: James Smith

2.0 Site Status Summary

The Cimarron site is located close to Cimarron City, Oklahoma. The 340-ha [840-ac] site is along the southern bank of the Cimarron River about 1 km [0.5 mi] north of the Oklahoma State Highways #33 and #74 intersection and 40 km [25 mi] north of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The area is primarily rural with rolling hills and incised drainages. Vegetation in the area consists of native grasses and various stands of trees along and near drainages. The Cimarron site was used to fabricate enriched uranium and mixed oxide fuels for nuclear reactors from 1965–1975. On site, there were several buildings, collection ponds, sanitary lagoons, storage areas, and burial areas. Originally, the complex was owned and operated by Kerr-McGee Corporation (KMC). Later, Cimarron Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of KMC, became responsible for the site. In 2005, ownership of Cimarron Corporation was transferred to Tronox Incorporated, who filed for bankruptcy in 2009. In 2011, Cimarron Environmental Response Trust assumed responsibilities for the Cimarron site, including completion of the decommissioning activities.

The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) issued Radioactive Materials License SNM-928 in 1965 to KMC for the uranium fuel fabrication facilities at the Cimarron site. Later, AEC issued Radioactive Materials License SNM-1174 in 1970 to KMC for the mixed oxide fuel fabrication (MOFF) facilities at the Cimarron site. Production of nuclear fuels continued until 1975 when all production operations ceased. Less than 20 percent of the 340-ha [840-ac] site were impacted by the nuclear activities.

Decommissioning efforts were initiated in 1976. Characterization activities and decommissioning were first conducted for the MOFF building and associated areas, which included evaporation ponds, emergency ponds, sanitary lagoons, underground tanks, a septic tank, and a fenced area around the MOFF building. In 1990, Cimarron Corporation submitted a final survey of the MOFF building and associated areas to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which is the successor of the AEC, and requested termination of the Radioactive Materials License SNW-1174. NRC had a final confirmatory survey conducted and, based on the results, terminated the MOFF License, SNW-1174, consistent with regulations at the time in 1993. However, the land and the exterior of the MOFF building were not released for unrestricted use because they were within the bounds of the uranium fuel fabrication license, Radioactive Materials License SNM-928.

In the following years, characterization activities continued and decommissioning plans were developed and approved by NRC for the facilities associated with the Radioactive Materials License SNM-928. The site was divided into three areas that included affected and unaffected areas. The areas were further subdivided into subareas. Cimarron Corporation submitted a Final Status Survey Report (FSSR) for each subarea when the decommissioning activities were complete for each subarea. Following NRC review and acceptance, the subareas were released for unrestricted use and removed from Radioactive Materials License SNW-928. By early 2000s, the majority of the site has been released by NRC for unrestricted use.

Monitored Natural Attenuation was used to remediate uranium in the groundwater at the site. However, unrestricted release standards were not achieved. Uranium concentrations in groundwater were in excess of release criteria for the Burial Area #1, Western Alluvial Area, and the Western Upland Area. Plans were developed to lower the uranium concentration through groundwater remediation and bioremediation was proposed as an alternative in 2008. The NRC staff had concerns about the use of bioremediation at the site and progress resolving these concerns was delayed because Tronox Incorporated filed for bankruptcy in 2009. After Cimarron Environmental Response Trust became the trustee and licensee for Radioactive Materials License SNW-928 in 2011, discussions with NRC were conducted to evaluate alternative remediation methodologies.

By mid-2014, the trustee had determined that pump and treat was the best option for groundwater remediation. In June 2015, NRC staff met with the trustee and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) to discuss the trustee's conceptual model for groundwater remediation. The trustee submitted its license amendment request to approve a remediation plan was submitted in December 2015. NRC staff reviewed the submittal and transmitted requests for additional information. In response to this request, the trustee conducted additional studies related to groundwater remediation and submitted a revised remediation plan in November 2018. The licensee retracted this remediation plan on August 28, 2020, based on a cost analysis of remediating both the NRC licensed material and the biomass concerns of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

Revision 2 of the Decommissioning plan was submitted February 26, 2021, incorporating a phased approach to cleaning the site, first to address the NRC licensed material, and secondly to address any remaining biomass issues at the site if sufficient funding was available. NRC rejected the Revision 2 to the Decommissioning Plan on August 11, 2021, based on lack of adequate and complete information for the NRC staff to begin a detailed technical review and that supplemental information was needed.

A draft of Revision 3 of the Decommissioning Plan was submitted to the NRC in December 2021 for a pre-application Audit on January 7, 2022. The NRC provided comments on the draft on January 31, 2022. On March 29, 2022, the licensee requested further clarification and the NRC responded on April 5, 2022 and May 18, 2022. During the Monthly teleconference call on May 25, 2022, the licensee stated that it planned to provide the Revision 3, of the Decommissioning Plan to the NRC for review in September 2022.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff received the Cimarron Environmental Response Trust’s (CERT), in a letter dated October 7, 2022, requesting to amend special nuclear materials license SNM-928 for the CERT Cimarron site near Crescent, Oklahoma (Agency wide Documents Access Management System (ADAMS) Accession No. ML22284A145) as well as other supporting documents, submitted October 7, 2022 – February 3, 2023, listed in the Table below. In its amendment request, CERT requested approval of its Revised Facility Decommissioning Plan – Rev. 3 (DP) for the Cimarron site.

Table: Documents comprising the license amendment request.

Document Title and Description ADAMS Accession Number
2022-10-07 EPM - Letter of Submittal ML22284A145
  Cimarron Environmental Response Trust, Cimarron Site Decommissioning Plan
D-Plan Rev 3 - Text ML22284A150
  Cimarron Environmental Response Trust, Facility Decommissioning Plan, Rev 3
D-Plan Rev 3 - Figures - Sections 1-5 ML22285A091
  Environmental Properties Management, LLC, Figures, Decommissioning Plan, Rev 3, Sections 1 Through 5
D-Plan Rev 3 - Figures - Sections 6-10 ML22285A100
  Burns & McDonnell/Environmental Properties Management, LLC, Figures, Decommission Plan, Revision 3
D-Plan Rev 3 - Tables ML22285A109
  Burns & McDonnell/Environmental Properties Management, LLC, Figures, Decommission Plan, Revision 3 0 Tables, Revision 0
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix A - Geotechnical Investigation Report ML22285A135
  Geotechnical Engineering Report, Cimarron Water Treatment Facility
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix B - SWP3 and General Permit - 1 of 2 ML22285A139
  Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co, Inc, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix B - SWP3 and General Permit - 2 of 2 ML22307A296
  Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co, Inc, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix C - Ecological Resources ML22285A151
  Burns & McDonnell, Protected Species Habitat Assessment for the Cimarron Environmental Response Trust Site in Logan County, Oklahoma
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix D - Noise Level Report ML22285A153
  Burns & McDonnell, CERT Groundwater Remediation Project- Noise Analysis
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix E - Historical and Cultural Resources ML22285A165
Not Publicly Available
  Sensitive - Fed, State, Foreign Gov't, International Agency Controlled Info
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix F - Visual and Scenic Resources ML22285A166
  Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co, Inc., Appendix F -
Visual and Scenic Resources, Chapter 1, Viewshed Analysis
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix G - Floodplain Development ML22285A169
  Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co, Inc., Development Permit Application
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix H - Exemption from U-235 Possession Limit ML22285A189
  Burns & McDonnell, Facility Decommissioning Plan - Rev 3 - Appendix H, Exemption of Packaged Fissile Exempt Material from U-235 Possession Limit
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendices I-1 & I-2 - Remediation Infrastructure Design ML22285A208
  Burns & McDonnell, Cimarron Environmental Response Trust Groundwater Remediation Logan County, Oklahoma
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendices I-3 & I-4 - Remediation Infrastructure Design ML22285A210
  Burns & McDonnell, Cimarron Environmental Response Trust - Drawings
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendices I-5 & I-6 - Remediation Infrastructure Design ML22307A307
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix J - Water Treatment Design ML22299A119
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix K - Basis of Design Text & Attachments 1-4 ML22308A076
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix K - Basis of Design Attachments 5 - 15 ML22286A225
  Attachments 5 - 14, Drawings and Tables
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix L - Groundwater Flow Model Report ML22308A183
  Cimarron Environmental Response Trust -
Groundwater Flow Model Report Cimarron Remediation Site
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix M - Radiation Protection Plan ML22286A230
  Cimarron Environmental Response Trust -
RPP-001, Rev 5, "Radiation Protection Plan"
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix N - Criticality & Uranium Loading Calculations ML22286A244
  Facility Decommissioning Plan, Rev 3: Appendix N -
Criticality and Uranium Loading Calculations
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix O - Quality Assurance Program Plan ML22307A316
D-Plan Rev 3 - Appendix P - Financial Certification Statement ML22286A247
  Cimarron Environmental Response Trust -
Certification of Financial Assurance
D-Plan Rev 3 – Supplement, dated February 3, 2023 ML23034A168
  Cimarron Environmental Response Trust - Addressing 10 CFR Part 74 in the CERT Decommissioning Plan.
D-Plan Rev 3, Supplement, dated July 12, 2023 ML23193A843
  Cimarron Environmental Response Trust Revision of License Amendment Requests in Section 6 of Decommissioning Plan - Rev 3
D-Plan Rev 3, Supplement, dated July 21, 2023 ML23205A179
  Cimarron Environmental Response Trust Revision of License Amendment Request, Decommissioning Plan – Rev. 3, supplement regarding Bounding Conditions for Fissile Exempt Material
D-Plan Rev 3, Supplement, dated August 8, 2023 ML23222A134
  Environmental Properties Management, LLC, Cimarron Environmental Response Trust, Determination of Distribution Coefficients for Use in the Cimarron Decommissioning Plan

On March 30, 2023, the NRC staff notified the licensee that it has completed its administrative acceptance review and has accepted the DP, Rev. 3, for detailed technical review (ML23074A100).

The NRC staff has prepared a schedule for review of this amendment request. The schedule shown below is based on several assumptions:

  • There is no hearing on the amendment request.
  • Timely resolution of any issues or concerns raised during consultations with other Federal, State, tribal, and local agencies, such as those required by Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
  • The number and complexity of comments provided by the State of Oklahoma does not require more time and effort than anticipated for resolution.
  • CERT will commit to provide the necessary information in response to the anticipated Requests for Additional Information to the NRC in accordance with this schedule, which will allow the NRC staff to complete its safety and environmental reviews by November 30, 2024, and issue the amended license by December 31, 2024.
  • There are no major modifications to the amendment request.

The schedule for the NRC staff review is as follows:

  • Issue environmental review Request for Additional Information - October 2, 2023.
  • Issue safety review RAIs - October 2, 2023.
  • Receive response from licensee to Safety review RAIs – January 1, 2024.
  • Receive response from licensee to Environmental review RAIs – January 1, 2024.
  • Issue draft Environmental Assessment (EA) to the State of Oklahoma - June 1, 2024.
  • Final Environmental Assessment - November 30, 2024.
  • Finalize Safety Evaluation Report - November 30, 2024.
  • Issue Amended License Acceptance - December 31, 2024.

3.0 Major Technical or Regulatory Issues

By letter dated January 12, 2009, Cimarron's parent company, Tronox, informed the NRC that it filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 in Federal Bankruptcy Court. The NRC staff responded by letter dated February 11, 2008 to acknowledge the bankruptcy and inform the licensee of its obligations to comply with NRC regulations regardless of the bankruptcy. On February 14, 2011, the Cimarron Environmental Response Trust became the trustee and licensee for the Cimarron site.

Since then, funds recovered from the Tronox bankruptcy and the Anadarko Settlement totaling more than 85 million dollars have been added to the Trust to be used for decommissioning activities.

4.0 Estimated Date For Closure


Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, August 11, 2023