Alternatives Evaluated in the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for In Situ Leach Uranium Milling Facilities

In anticipation of receiving numerous license applications for new in situ leach (ISL) uranium recovery facilities (commonly known as in situ recovery facilities) in 2008 through 2010, the staff of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has prepared a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS). In doing so, the NRC staff analyzed common environmental issues associated with the construction, operation, and decommissioning of ISL facilities, as well as the ground water restoration at such facilities, if they are located in particular regions of the western United States. (See Locations of Uranium Recovery Facilities for detail.) As a result, the GEIS will promote more efficient reviews of applications that may be received in the coming years. Toward that end, the NRC staff will use the GEIS as starting point for its site-specific environmental review of license applications for new ISL facilities, as well as applications to renew or amend existing ISL licenses.

In preparing the GEIS, the NRC staff evaluated the following alternatives:

  • No action. Deny the applicant's request for a new ISL facility license, or the licensee's request to renew or amend a current license. This alternative serves as a baseline for comparing the potential environmental impacts.

  • Proposed action. Grant the request to obtain, renew, or amend a source material license for an ISL facility. Implementation of the proposed action would require the issuance or amendment of an NRC license under the provisions of Title 10, Part 40, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 40), "Domestic Licensing of Source Material."