United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

NRC: Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants (NUREG-1437 Supplement 2, Part 2)

Abstract



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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) considered the environmental effects of renewing nuclear power plant operating licenses for a 20-year period in the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for Renewal of Nuclear Plants (GEIS), NUREG-1437, and codified the results in 10 CFR Part 51. The GEIS (and its Addendum 1) 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 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 Duke Energy Corporation (Duke) to renew the operating licenses (OLs) for Oconee Nuclear Station (ONS) Units 1, 2, and 3 for an additional 20 years under 10 CFR Part 54. This SEIS includes the staff's analysis that considers and weighs the environmental effects of the proposed action, the environmental impacts of alternatives to the proposed action, and alternatives available for reducing or avoiding adverse effects. It also includes the staff's recommendation regarding the proposed action.

Neither Duke nor the staff has identified significant new information for any of the 69 issues for which the GEIS reached generic conclusions and which apply to ONS. Therefore, the staff concludes for these issues that the impacts of renewing the ONS OLs will not be greater than impacts identified in the GEIS for these issues. For each of these issues, the GEIS conclusion is that the impact is of SMALL significance (except for collective offsite radiological impacts from the fuel cycle and from high-level waste and from spent fuel, which were not assigned a single significance level) and that additional mitigation measures are likely not to be sufficiently beneficial to be warranted.

Each of the remaining 23 issues that applies to ONS is addressed in this SEIS. For each applicable issue, the staff concludes that the significance of the potential environmental effects of renewal of the OL is small. The staff also concludes that additional mitigation measures are likely not to be sufficiently beneficial as to be warranted.

The NRC staff recommends that the Commission determine that the adverse environmental impacts of license renewal for ONS Units 1, 2, and 3 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 Duke; (3) consultation with Federal, State, and local agencies; (4) the staff's own independent review, and (5) the staff's consideration of public comments.

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