Public Involvement in the Development of the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for In Situ Leach Uranium Milling Facilities

In preparing the Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for In Situ Leach Uranium Milling Facilities, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) followed the process described in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as well as the NRC's NEPA implementing regulations contained in Title 10, Part 51, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 51). To promote public involvement, this process involved the following steps, as described below:

  1. Public Scoping Process
  2. Draft GEIS Publication and Comment Period
  3. Public Meetings for the Draft GEIS
  4. Final GEIS Publication

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Public Scoping Process

The NEPA public scoping process begins with publication of a notice of intent (NOI) in the Federal Register. The NRC staff published its NOI regarding preparation of the GEIS on July 24, 2007 (72 FR 40344).

Scoping is an early and open process designed to achieve the following objectives:

  • Determine the range of actions, alternatives, and potential impacts to be considered in the GEIS.
  • Identify public concerns.
  • Identify significant issues for future analysis regarding the proposed action.
  • Solicit information from the public and other agencies to more clearly focus the analysis on issues of genuine concern.
  • Ensure that concerns are identified early and are properly studied.
  • Identify alternatives to be examined.
  • Eliminate unimportant issues.

The NRC encouraged public involvement in the GEIS process and solicited public comments on the proposed scope and content of the GEIS. As part of the GEIS process, the NRC held three public scoping meetings to solicit both oral and written comments from interested parties. During these meetings, the NRC staff briefly described the NRC's role and mission, its environmental review process, and the goals of the meeting. The remainder of each meeting was reserved for attendees to make oral comments. The following table lists these public scoping meetings and provides links to the related transcripts and presentation slides.

Date Location

Casper, Wyoming


Albuquerque, New Mexico


Gallup, New Mexico

Interested parties, including members of the public, provided comments on the scope of the GEIS at the public scoping meetings, as well as in writing (submitted by regular mail, email, or using an electronic form). The scoping comment period closed on November 30, 2007; however, comments received after that date were considered to the extent possible. On the basis of the comments received, the NRC has prepared a scoping summary report.

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Draft GEIS Publication and Comment Period

On July 28, 2008, the NRC issued a Federal Register notice (73 FR 43795) to announce the publication of the draft GEIS, and its availability for public comment until October 7, 2008. Then, in a subsequent notice (73 FR 57687), the NRC extended the comment period until November 7, 2008.

Public Meetings for the Draft GEIS

During the public comment period for the draft GEIS, the NRC scheduled a series of public meetings, as detailed in the following table, to aid the public in providing comments.

Date Location

Spearfish, South Dakota


Chadron, Nebraska


Newcastle, Wyoming


Gallup, New Mexico


Grants, New Mexico


Albuquerque, New Mexico


Gillette, Wyoming


Casper, Wyoming

Final GEIS Publication

The NRC issued the final GEIS in May 2009, and issued a Federal Register notice (74 FR 27052) on June 5, 2009, to announce its availability. The final GEIS addresses, as appropriate, the public comments received on the draft. See Appendix G for a summary of the comments received and the NRC's related responses.

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