United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Regarding Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 2 and 3 - Final Report, Public Comments (NUREG-1437, Supplement 38, Volume 2)

This NUREG publication has been issued for public comment. Comment period is now closed.

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: November 2010
Date Published:
December 2010

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 for a 20-year period in NUREG-1437, Volumes 1 and 2, “Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants” (hereafter referred to as the GEIS),(1) and codified the results in Title 10, Part 51, “Environmental Protection Regulations for Domestic Licensing and Related Regulatory Functions,” of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 51). In the GEIS (and its Addendum 1), the NRC 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 to the NRC by Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. (Entergy), Entergy Nuclear Indian Point 2, LLC, and Entergy Nuclear Indian Point 3, LLC (all applicants will be jointly referred to as Entergy) to renew the operating licenses for Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 2 and 3 (IP2 and IP3) for an additional 20 years under 10 CFR Part 54, “Requirements for Renewal of Operating Licenses for Nuclear Power Plants.” This SEIS includes the NRC staff's analysis which 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 NRC staff's recommendation regarding the proposed action.

Regarding the 69 issues for which the GEIS reached generic conclusions, neither Entergy nor the NRC staff has identified information that is both new and significant for any issues that apply to IP2 and/or IP3. In addition, the NRC staff determined that information provided during the scoping process was not new and significant with respect to the conclusions in the GEIS. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the impacts of renewing the operating licenses for IP2 and IP3 will not be greater than the impacts identified for these issues in the GEIS. For each of these issues, the NRC staff's conclusion in the GEIS is that the impact is of SMALL(2) significance (except for the 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 IP2 and IP3 are addressed in this SEIS. The NRC staff determined that several of these issues were not applicable because of the type of facility cooling system or other reasons detailed within this SEIS. For the remaining applicable issues, the NRC staff concludes that the significance of potential environmental impacts related to operating license renewal is SMALL, with three exceptions—entrainment, impingement, and heat shock from the facility's heated discharge. Overall effects from entrainment and impingement are likely to be MODERATE. Impacts from heat shock potentially range from SMALL to LARGE depending on the conclusions of thermal studies proposed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Based on corrected data received since completing the draft SEIS, NRC staff concludes that impacts to the endangered shortnose sturgeon – which ranged from SMALL to LARGE in the draft SEIS – are likely to be SMALL.

The NRC staff's recommendation is that the Commission determine that the adverse environmental impacts of license renewals for IP2 and IP3 are not so great that preserving the option of license renewal for energy planning decision makers would be unreasonable. This recommendation is based on (1) the analysis and findings in the GEIS, (2) the environmental report and other information submitted by Entergy, (3) consultation with other Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies, (4) the NRC staff's own independent review, and (5) the NRC staff's consideration of public comments received during the scoping process and in response to the draft SEIS.

(1) The GEIS was originally issued in 1996. Addendum 1 to the GEIS was issued in 1999. Hereafter, all references to the “GEIS” include the GEIS and its Addendum 1.

(2) 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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