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§ 51.53 Postconstruction environmental reports

(a) General. Any environmental report prepared under the provisions of this section may incorporate by reference any information contained in a prior environmental report or supplement thereto that relates to the production or utilization facility or site, or any information contained in a final environmental document previously prepared by the NRC staff that relates to the production or utilization facility or site. Documents that may be referenced include, but are not limited to, the final environmental impact statement; supplements to the final environmental impact statement, including supplements prepared at the license renewal stage; NRC staff-prepared final generic environmental impact statements; and environmental assessments and records of decisions prepared in connection with the construction permit, operating license, early site permit, combined license and any license amendment for that facility.

(b) Operating license stage. Each applicant for a license to operate a production or utilization facility covered by § 51.20 shall submit with its application a separate document entitled "Supplement to Applicant's Environmental Report—Operating License Stage," which will update "Applicant's Environmental Report--Construction Permit Stage." Unless otherwise required by the Commission, the applicant for an operating license for a nuclear power reactor shall submit this report only in connection with the first licensing action authorizing full-power operation. In this report, the applicant shall discuss the same matters described in §§ 51.45, 51.51, and 51.52, but only to the extent that they differ from those discussed or reflect new information in addition to that discussed in the final environmental impact statement prepared by the Commission in connection with the construction permit. No discussion of need for power, or of alternative energy sources, or of alternative sites for the facility, or of any aspect of the storage of spent fuel for the facility within the scope of the generic determination in § 51.23(a) and in accordance with § 51.23(b) is required in this report.

(c) Operating license renewal stage. (1) Each applicant for renewal of a license to operate a nuclear power plant under part 54 of this chapter shall submit with its application a separate document entitled "Applicant's Environmental Report--Operating License Renewal Stage."

(2) The report must contain a description of the proposed action, including the applicant's plans to modify the facility or its administrative control procedures as described in accordance with § 54.21 of this chapter. This report must describe in detail the affected environment around the plant, the modifications directly affecting the environment or any plant effluents, and any planned refurbishment activities. In addition, the applicant shall discuss in this report the environmental impacts of alternatives and any other matters described in § 51.45. The report is not required to include discussion of need for power or the economic costs and economic benefits of the proposed action or of alternatives to the proposed action except insofar as such costs and benefits are either essential for a determination regarding the inclusion of an alternative in the range of alternatives considered or relevant to mitigation. The environmental report need not discuss other issues not related to the environmental effects of the proposed action and the alternatives. In addition, the environmental report need not discuss any aspect of the storage of spent fuel for the facility within the scope of the generic determination in § 51.23(a) and in accordance with § 51.23(b).

(3) For those applicants seeking an initial renewed license and holding an operating license, construction permit, or combined license as of June 30, 1995, the environmental report shall include the information required in paragraph (c)(2) of this section subject to the following conditions and considerations:

(i) The environmental report for the operating license renewal stage is not required to contain analyses of the environmental impacts of the license renewal issues identified as Category 1 issues in Appendix B to subpart A of this part.

(ii) The environmental report must contain analyses of the environmental impacts of the proposed action, including the impacts of refurbishment activities, if any, associated with license renewal and the impacts of operation during the renewal term, for those issues identified as Category 2 issues in Appendix B to subpart A of this part. The required analyses are as follows:

(A) If the applicant's plant utilizes cooling towers or cooling ponds and withdraws makeup water from a river, an assessment of the impact of the proposed action on water availability and competing water demands, the flow of the river, and related impacts on stream (aquatic) and riparian (terrestrial) ecological communities must be provided. The applicant shall also provide an assessment of the impacts of the withdrawal of water from the river on alluvial aquifers during low flow.

(B) If the applicant's plant utilizes once-through cooling or cooling pond heat dissipation systems, the applicant shall provide a copy of current Clean Water Act 316(b) determinations and, if necessary, a 316(a) variance in accordance with 40 CFR part 125, or equivalent State permits and supporting documentation. If the applicant cannot provide these documents, it shall assess the impact of the proposed action on fish and shellfish resources resulting from thermal changes and impingement and entrainment.

(C) If the applicant's plant pumps more than 100 gallons (total onsite) of groundwater per minute, an assessment of the impact of the proposed action on groundwater must be provided.

(D) If the applicant's plant is located at an inland site and utilizes cooling ponds, an assessment of the impact of the proposed action on groundwater quality must be provided.

(E) All license renewal applicants shall assess the impact of refurbishment, continued operations, and other license renewal-related construction activities on important plant and animal habitats. Additionally, the applicant shall assess the impact of the proposed action on threatened or endangered species in accordance with Federal laws protecting wildlife, including but not limited to, the Endangered Species Act, and essential fish habitat in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

(F) Reserved.

(G) If the applicant's plant uses a cooling pond, lake, or canal or discharges into a river, an assessment of the impact of the proposed action on public health from thermophilic organisms in the affected water must be provided.

(H) If the applicant's transmission lines that were constructed for the specific purpose of connecting the plant to the transmission system do not meet the recommendations of the National Electric Safety Code for preventing electric shock from induced currents, an assessment of the impact of the proposed action on the potential shock hazard from the transmission lines must be provided.

(I) Reserved.

(J) Reserved.

(K) All applicants shall identify any potentially affected historic or archaeological properties and assess whether any of these properties will be affected by future plant operations and any planned refurbishment activities in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act.

(L) If the staff has not previously considered severe accident mitigation alternatives for the applicant's plant in an environmental impact statement or related supplement or in an environmental assessment, a consideration of alternatives to mitigate severe accidents must be provided.

(M) Reserved.

(N) Applicants shall provide information on the general demographic composition of minority and low income populations and communities (by race and ethnicity) residing in the immediate vicinity of the plant that could be affected by the renewal of the plant's operating license, including any planned refurbishment activities, and ongoing and future plant operations.

(O) Applicants shall provide information about other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions occurring in the vicinity of the nuclear plant that may result in a cumulative effect.

(P) An applicant shall assess the impact of any documented inadvertent releases of radionuclides into groundwater. The applicant shall include in its assessment a description of any groundwater protection program used for the surveillance of piping and components containing radioactive liquids for which a pathway to groundwater may exist. The assessment must also include a description of any past inadvertent releases and the projected impact to the environment (e.g., aquifers, rivers, lakes, ponds, ocean) during the license renewal term.

(iii) The report must contain a consideration of alternatives for reducing adverse impacts, as required by § 51.45(c), for all Category 2 license renewal issues in Appendix B to subpart A of this part. No such consideration is required for Category 1 issues in Appendix B to subpart A of this part.

(iv) The environmental report must contain any new and significant information regarding the environmental impacts of license renewal of which the applicant is aware.

(d) Postoperating license stage. Each applicant for a license amendment authorizing decommissioning activities for a production or utilization facility either for unrestricted use or based on continuing use restrictions applicable to the site; and each applicant for a license amendment approving a license termination plan or decommissioning plan under § 50.82 of this chapter either for unrestricted use or based on continuing use restrictions applicable to the site; and each applicant for a license or license amendment to store spent fuel at a nuclear power reactor after expiration of the operating license for the nuclear power reactor shall submit with its application a separate document, entitled "Supplement to Applicant's Environmental Report—Post Operating License Stage," which will update "Applicant's Environmental Report—Operating License Stage," as appropriate, to reflect any new information or significant environmental change associated with the applicant's proposed decommissioning activities or with the applicant's proposed activities with respect to the planned storage of spent fuel. Unless otherwise required by the Commission, in accordance with the generic determination in § 51.23(a) and the provisions in § 51.23(b), the applicant shall only address the environmental impact of spent fuel storage for the term of the license applied for. The ‘‘Supplement to Applicant’s Environmental Report—Post Operating License Stage’’ may incorporate by reference any information contained in ‘‘Applicants Environmental Report—Construction Permit Stage.

[61 FR 66543, Dec. 18, 1996, as amended at 64 FR 48506, Sept. 3, 1999; 68 FR 58810, Oct. 10, 2003; 72 FR 49513, Aug. 28, 2007; 78 FR 37316, June 20, 2013]

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, July 25, 2013