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WAC 246-235-086

Special requirements for environmentally significant licensing actions.

In addition to the requirements set forth in WAC 246-235-020, a specific license for any activity within the licensing authority of the department which the department determines will significantly affect the radiological quality of the human environment, including those specified in WAC 197-11-845(1) and 246-03-030 (1)(a)(ii) (i.e., licenses to operate low level waste burial facilities or licenses to operate or expand beyond the design capacity, mineral processing facilities or their tailings areas, whose products, or by-products, have concentrations of naturally occurring radioactive material in excess of exempt concentrations as specified in WAC 246-232-130, Schedule C), will be issued if the following conditions are met:
(1) Environmental impact statement.
(a) The application for a license or license amendment (other than administrative amendments) is accompanied or preceded by a final environmental impact statement or final declaration of nonsignificance completed in accordance with the SEPA procedures and guidelines specified in chapters 197-11 and 246-03 WAC. For any uranium or thorium mill in operation on or before the effective date of this regulation for which an environmental impact statement has not been prepared previously, an application for license renewal must be accompanied or preceded by a final environmental impact statement or final declaration of nonsignificance completed in accordance with SEPA guidelines.
No construction shall be commenced until the license has been issued or unless an emergency exemption from SEPA requirements is granted in accordance with WAC 197-11-880. For the purposes of this subsection, the terms "commencement of construction" and "construction" have the same meaning as that defined in WAC 246-220-010. In the case where an exemption is granted, the applicant shall assume all financial risk for construction activity; waive any claim of entitlement to the issuance of a license based solely upon the grant of the exemption or the commencement of construction pursuant thereto; and furnish, if the circumstances warrant and the department so requires, a financial surety arrangement to insure the protection of the public health, safety and the environment in the event of abandonment, default, or inability of the license applicant to meet the requirements of the act or these regulations.
(b) In addition to the information required in chapter 197-11 WAC, the following additional areas must be addressed in the final environmental impact statement:
(i) Alternative sites to those chosen by the applicant must include all alternative sites, whether or not those sites are under the control or ownership of the applicant.
(ii) Long-term impacts must include, but not be limited to, decommissioning, decontamination, reclamation impacts and material management associated with the proposed activities.
(iii) Environmental reviews, dose assessments, ecology, construction effects on biota, impact on the environment from the use of chemicals, and socioeconomic effects must be addressed.
(iv) Alternative disposal sites and techniques for disposal must be evaluated to determine if a site or technique is clearly superior.
(2) For uranium or thorium milling operations, a bond made payable to the department of health or other acceptable government agency, and in an amount specified by the department, must be posted to ensure the protection of the public health and safety in the event of abandonment, default or other inability of the licensee to meet the requirements for reclamation and disposal of tailings and for decommissioning the site. The bond, or a copy thereof when the bond is made payable to another government agency, must be received by the department prior to issuance of the license, or prior to license renewal for mills in operation on or before the effective date of this regulation. Other acceptable surety arrangements in addition to surety bonding include cash deposits, certificates of deposit, deposits of government securities, letters or lines of credit or combinations of the foregoing. The amount and mechanism of the surety arrangement may be reviewed by the department preceding each license renewal and adjustments may be required of the licensee prior to such renewal.
(3) The owner of the proposed uranium or thorium mill and tailings site(s) agrees to transfer or revert to the appropriate state or federal agency upon termination of the license, all lands, buildings and grounds, and any interest therein, necessary to fulfill the purposes of this subsection, except where the lands are held in trust for, or are owned by, any Indian tribe. For any uranium or thorium mill in operation on or before the effective date of this regulation, such an agreement will be required prior to license renewal.
(4) For all uranium and thorium milling operations, the owner or operator shall arrange to pay to the department or its designee a fee in accordance with WAC 246-254-150 for a special security fund for the further maintenance, surveillance or care which may be required after a licensee has ceased to operate.
A minimum fund of two hundred fifty thousand dollars must be provided by the licensee payable to the state. If a shortfall exists between the amount of money in the special security fund and the two hundred fifty thousand dollars minimum amount, a surety bond, or other acceptable surety instrument as defined above must be arranged.
(5) The application for a license includes a description of an appropriate program for effluent monitoring, environmental monitoring and data reporting. The description must encompass locations, frequency, and types of sampling, analytical plans and procedures, minimum detection levels, sampling equipment and quality assurance programs.
(6) All licensees or registrants required to meet the additional requirements set forth in this subsection shall establish environmental monitoring programs adequate to determine the impact of their activity on the natural environment around the site of their environmentally significant activity. The established environmental and effluent monitoring program must address all environmentally significant radionuclide releases and external radiation sources caused or threatened to be caused by the licensee's activities.
(a) Effluent and environmental monitoring results must include the following minimum information as pertinent:
(i) Information as to flow rates, total volume of effluent, peak concentration, concentration of each radionuclide in the effluent averaged over a period of one year at the point where the effluent leaves a stack, tube, pipe, or similar conduit;
(ii) A description of the properties of the effluents, including:
(A) Chemical composition;
(B) Physical characteristics, including suspended solids content in liquid effluents, and nature of gas aerosol for air effluents;
(C) The hydrogen ion concentrations (pH) of liquid effluents; and
(D) The size range of particulates in effluent released into air;
(iii) A description of the anticipated human occupancy in the unrestricted area where the highest concentration of radioactive material from the effluent is expected, and, in the case of a river or stream, a description of water uses downstream from the point of release of the effluent.
(iv) Information as to the highest concentration of each radionuclide in an unrestricted area, including anticipated concentrations averaged over a period of one year:
(A) In air at any point of human occupancy; or
(B) In water at points of use downstream from the point of release of the effluent;
(v) The background concentration of radionuclides in the receiving river or stream prior to the release of liquid effluent;
(vi) A description of the waste treatment facilities and procedures used to reduce the concentration of radionuclides in effluents prior to their release;
(vii) A written description of sampling techniques and sample analysis methods;
(viii) A written description of how all calculated results were obtained from sample analysis data. This explanation must include example calculations and estimates of the precision and sensitivity of monitoring results;
(ix) A written description of the licensee's quality control program including specification of control samples and standard samples used.
(b) The licensee shall submit in writing to the department within sixty days after January 1 and July 1 of each year, reports specifying the quantities of each of the principle radionuclides released to unrestricted areas in liquid and in gaseous effluent during the previous six months of operations. This data must be reported in a manner that will permit the department to confirm the potential annual radiation doses to the public. All data from the radiological and nonradiological environmental monitoring program will also be submitted for the same time period and frequency as specified above. The data must be reported in a manner which will allow the department to confirm the potential annual radiation doses to the public.
(7) For land disposal of radioactive material, the provisions of chapter 246-250 WAC must also be met.
(8) For operation of mineral processing facilities, the provisions of chapter 246-252 WAC must also be met.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 70.98.050. WSR 15-06-015, § 246-235-086, filed 2/23/15, effective 3/26/15; WSR 00-08-013, § 246-235-086, filed 3/24/00, effective 4/24/00.]
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