United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Regarding Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station - Final Report (NUREG-1437, Supplement 15)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: February 2004
Date Published:
February 2004

Division of Regulatory Improvement Programs
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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Abstract

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) considered the environmental impacts of renewing nuclear power plant operating licenses for a 20-year period in its Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants (GEIS), NUREG-1437, Volumes 1 and 2, and codified the results in 10 Code of Federal Regulations Part 51. In the GEIS (and its Addendum 1), the staff identifies 92 environmental issues and reaches generic conclusions related to environmental impacts for 69 of these issues that apply to all plants or to plants with specific design or site characteristics. Additional plant-specific review is required for the remaining 23 issues. These plant-specific reviews are to be included in a supplement to the GEIS.

This Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) has been prepared in response to an application submitted to the NRC by the South Carolina Electric and Gas Company (SCE&G) to renew the operating license for the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station (V.C. Summer) for an additional 20 years under 10 Code of Federal Regulations Part 54. This SEIS includes the NRC staff's analysis that considers and weighs the environmental impacts of the proposed action, the environmental impacts of alternatives to the proposed action, and mitigation measures available for reducing or avoiding adverse impacts. It also includes the staff's recommendation regarding the proposed action and responses to comments received on the draft SEIS to the GEIS.

Regarding the 69 issues for which the GEIS reached generic conclusions, neither SCE&G nor the staff has identified information that is both new and significant for any issue that applies to V.C. Summer. The staff determined that information provided during the scoping and draft SEIS comment processes did not call into question the conclusions in the GEIS. Therefore, the staff concludes that the impacts of renewing the V.C. Summer operating license will not be greater than impacts identified for these issues in the GEIS. For each of these issues, the staff's conclusion in the GEIS is that the impact is of SMALL(a) significance (except for collective offsite radiological impacts from the fuel cycle and high-level waste and spent fuel, which were not assigned a single significance level).

The remaining issues that apply to V.C. Summer are addressed in this SEIS. For each applicable issue, the staff concludes that the significance of the potential environmental impacts of renewal of the operating license is SMALL. The staff also concludes that additional mitigation measures are not likely to be sufficiently beneficial as to be warranted. The staff determined that information provided during the scoping and draft SEIS comment processes did not identify any new issue that has a significant environmental impact.

The NRC staff recommends that the Commission determine that the adverse environmental impacts of license renewal for V.C. Summer are not so great that preserving the option of license renewal for energy-planning decisionmakers would be unreasonable. This recommendation is based on (1) the analysis and findings in the GEIS; (2) the Environmental Report submitted by SCE&G; (3) consultation with Federal, State, and local agencies; (4) the staff's own independent review; and (5) the staff's consideration of public comments.

(a) Environmental effects are not detectable or are so minor that they neither destabilize nor noticeably alter any important attribute of the resource.

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