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§ 51.71 Draft environmental impact statement—contents

(a) Scope. The draft environmental impact statement will be prepared in accordance with the scope decided upon in the scoping process required by §§ 51.26 and 51.29. As appropriate and to the extent required by the scope, the draft statement will address the topics in paragraphs (b), (c), (d) and (e) of this section and the matters specified in §§ 51.45, 51.50, 51.51, 51.52, 51.53, 51.54, 51.61 and 51.62.

(b) Analysis of major points of view. To the extent sufficient information is available, the draft environmental impact statement will include consideration of major points of view concerning the environmental impacts of the proposed action and the alternatives, and contain an analysis of significant problems and objections raised by other Federal, State, and local agencies, by any affected Indian tribes, and by other interested persons.

(c) Status of compliance. The draft environmental impact statement will list all Federal permits, licenses, approvals, and other entitlements which must be obtained in implementing the proposed action and will describe the status of compliance with those requirements. If it is uncertain whether a Federal permit, license, approval, or other entitlement is necessary, the draft environmental impact statement will so indicate.

(d) Analysis. Unless excepted in this paragraph or § 51.75, the draft environmental impact statement will include a preliminary analysis that considers and weighs the environmental effects, including any cumulative effects, of the proposed action; the environmental impacts of alternatives to the proposed action; and alternatives available for reducing or avoiding adverse environmental effects. Additionally, the draft environmental impact statement will include a consideration of the economic, technical, and other benefits and costs of the proposed action and alternatives. The draft environmental impact statement will indicate what other interests and considerations of Federal policy, including factors not related to environmental quality, if applicable, are relevant to the consideration of environmental effects of the proposed action identified under paragraph (a) of this section. The draft supplemental environmental impact statement prepared at the license renewal stage under § 51.95(c) need not discuss the economic or technical benefits and costs of either the proposed action or alternatives except if benefits and costs are either essential for a determination regarding the inclusion of an alternative in the range of alternatives considered or relevant to mitigation. In addition, the supplemental environmental impact statement prepared at the license renewal stage need not discuss other issues not related to the environmental effects of the proposed action and associated alternatives. The draft supplemental environmental impact statement for license renewal prepared under § 51.95(c) will rely on conclusions as amplified by the supporting information in the GEIS for issues designated as Category 1 in appendix B to subpart A of this part. The draft supplemental environmental impact statement must contain an analysis of those issues identified as Category 2 in appendix B to subpart A of this part that are open for the proposed action. The analysis for all draft environmental impact statements will, to the fullest extent practicable, quantify the various factors considered. To the extent that there are important qualitative considerations or factors that cannot be quantified, these considerations or factors will be discussed in qualitative terms. Consideration will be given to compliance with environmental quality standards and requirements that have been imposed by Federal, State, regional, and local agencies having responsibility for environmental protection, including applicable zoning and land-use regulations and water pollution limitations or requirements issued or imposed under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. The environmental impact of the proposed action will be considered in the analysis with respect to matters covered by environmental quality standards and requirements irrespective of whether a certification or license from the appropriate authority has been obtained. 3 While satisfaction of Commission standards and criteria pertaining to radiological effects will be necessary to meet the licensing requirements of the Atomic Energy Act, the analysis will, for the purposes of NEPA, consider the radiological effects of the proposed action and alternatives.

(e) Effect of limited work authorization. If a limited work authorization was issued either in connection with or subsequent to an early site permit, or in connection with a construction permit or combined license application, then the environmental impact statement for the construction permit or combined license application will not address or consider the sunk costs associated with the limited work authorization.

(f) Preliminary recommendation. The draft environmental impact statement normally will include a preliminary recommendation by the NRC staff respecting the proposed action. This preliminary recommendation will be based on the information and analysis described in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section and §§ 51.75, 51.76, 51.80, 51.85, and 51.95, as appropriate, and will be reached after considering the environmental effects of the proposed action and reasonable alternatives,4 and, except for supplemental environmental impact statements for the operating license renewal stage prepared pursuant to § 51.95(c), after weighing the costs and benefits of the proposed action. In lieu of a recommendation, the NRC staff may indicate in the draft statement that two or more alternatives remain under consideration.

[49 FR 9381, Mar. 12, 1984, as amended at 61 FR 28488, June 5, 1996; 61 FR 66544, Dec. 18, 1996; 72 FR 49514, Aug. 28, 2007; 72 FR 57445, Oct. 9, 2007; 78 FR 37317, June 20, 2013]

3Compliance with the environmental quality standards and requirements of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (imposed by EPA or designated permitting states) is not a substitute for, and does not negate the requirement for NRC to weigh all environmental effects of the proposed action, including the degradation, if any, of water quality, and to consider alternatives to the proposed action that are available for reducing adverse effects. Where an environmental assessment of aquatic impact from plant discharges is available from the permitting authority, the NRC will consider the assessment in its determination of the magnitude of environmental impacts for striking an overall cost-benefit balance at the construction permit and operating license and early site permit and combined license stages, and in its determination of whether the adverse environmental impacts of license renewal are so great that preserving the option of license renewal for energy planning decision-makers would be unreasonable at the license renewal stage. When no such assessment of aquatic impacts is available from the permitting authority, NRC will establish on its own, or in conjunction with the permitting authority and other agencies having relevant expertise, the magnitude of potential impacts for striking an overall cost benefit balance for the facility at the construction permit and operating license and early site permit and combined license stages, and in its determination of whether the adverse environmental impacts of license renewal are so great that preserving the option of license renewal for energy planning decision-makers would be unreasonable at the license renewal stage.

4 The consideration of reasonable alternatives to a proposed action involving nuclear power reactors (e.g., alternative energy sources) is intended to assist the NRC in meeting its NEPA obligations and does not preclude any State authority from making separate determinations with respect to these alternatives and in no way preempts, displaces, or affects the authority of States or other Federal agencies to address these issues.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, July 25, 2013