United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2 - Final Report (NUREG-1437, Supplement 18)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: February 2005
Date Published:
March 2005

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 (OLs) 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 CFR 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 Southern Nuclear Operating Company (SNC) to renew the OLs for the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant Units 1 and 2 (Farley) for an additional 20 years under 10 CFR 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 the draft SEIS.

Regarding the 69 issues for which the GEIS reached generic conclusions, neither SNC nor the staff has identified information that is both new and significant for any issue that applies to Farley Units 1 and 2. In addition, the staff determined that information provided during the scoping process and the draft SEIS comment process did not call into question the conclusions in the GEIS. Therefore, the staff concludes that the impacts of renewing the Farley OLs 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).

Regarding the remaining 23 issues, those that apply to Farley Units 1 and 2 are addressed in this SEIS. With the exception of chronic effects of electromagnetic fields (for which the magnitude of impact is "uncertain"), the staff concludes that the significance of the potential environmental impacts of renewal of the OLs for each applicable issue 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 public comment period did not identify any new issue that requires site-specific assessment.

The NRC staff's recommendation is that the Commission determine that the adverse environmental impacts of license renewal for Farley Units 1 and 2 are not so great that NUREG-1437, Supplement 18 iv March 2005 preserving the option of license renewal for energy-planning decisionmakers would be unreasonable. This recommendation is based on the following: (1) the analysis and findings in the GEIS; (2) the Environmental Report submitted by SNC; (3) consultation with Federal, State, Tribal, 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 will neither destabilize nor noticeably alter any important attribute of the resource.

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