United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Regarding Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station - Final Report, Main Report (NUREG-1437, Supplement 29, Volume 1)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: July 2007
Date Published:
July 2007

Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

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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 identified 92 environmental issues and reached 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 by Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. (Entergy), a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation, to the NRC to renew the OL for Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (PNPS) 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.

Regarding the 69 issues for which the GEIS reached generic conclusions, neither Entergy nor the staff has identified information that is both new and significant for any issue that applies to PNPS. In addition, the staff determined that information provided during the scoping process was not new and significant with respect to the conclusions in the GEIS. Therefore, the staff concludes that the impacts of renewing the OL for PNPS would 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 would be of SMALL(a) significance (except for collective off-site 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 PNPS are addressed in this SEIS. For each applicable issue, the staff concludes that the significance of the potential environmental impacts of renewal of the OL would be SMALL, with the exception of marine aquatic resources. Due to entrainment and impingement, the continued operation of the cooling water system would have MODERATE(b) impacts on the local winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus) population, and the Jones River population of rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax). Continued operation of the cooling water system would have SMALL to MODERATE impingement and entrainment impacts on other marine aquatic species as well. Cumulative impacts on the local winter flounder population and Jones River population of rainbow smelt would be MODERATE, and cumulative impacts on other marine aquatic species would be SMALL to MODERATE.

The NRC staff's recommendation is that the Commission determine that the adverse environmental impacts of license renewal for PNPS 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 Entergy; (3) consultations 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 will neither destabilize nor noticeably alter any important attribute of the resource.

(b)Environmental effects are sufficient to alter noticeably but not to destabilize important attributes of the resource.

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