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 12)

7.0 Environmental Impacts of Decommissioning



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Environmental issues associated with decommissioning resulting from continued plant operation during the renewal term were discussed in the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Power Plants, NUREG-1437 (NRC 1996). The GEIS included a determination of whether the analysis of the environmental issue could be applied to all plants and whether additional mitigation measures would be warranted. Issues were then assigned a Category 1 or a Category 2 designation. As set forth in the GEIS, Category 1 issues are those that meet all of the following criteria:

(1) the environmental impacts associated with the issue have been determined to apply either to all plants or, for some issues, to plants having a specific type of cooling system or other specified plant or site characteristics
(2) a single significance level (i.e., SMALL, MODERATE, or LARGE) has been assigned to the impacts (except for collective offsite radiological impacts from the fuel cycle and from HLW and spent fuel disposal)
(3) mitigation of adverse impacts associated with the issue has been considered in the analysis, and it has been determined that additional plant-specific mitigation measures are not likely to be sufficiently beneficial to warrant implementation.

For issues that meet the three Category 1 criteria, no additional plant-specific analysis is required unless new and significant information is identified.

Category 2 issues are those that do not meet one or more of the criteria of Category 1, and therefore, additional plant-specific review for these issues is required. There are no Category 2 issues related to decommissioning at ONS.

Category 1 issues in 10 CFR Part 51, Subpart A, Appendix B, Table B-1, that are applicable to ONS decommissioning following the renewal term are listed in Table 7-1. Duke stated in its Environmental Report (ER) (Duke 1998) that it is not aware of any new and significant information associated with the renewal of the Oconee operating licenses. No significant new information has been identified by the staff in the review process and in the staff's independent review. Therefore, the staff concludes that there are no impacts related to these issues beyond those discussed in the GEIS. For all of those issues, the staff concluded in the GEIS that the impacts are SMALL, and plant-specific mitigation measures are not likely to be sufficiently beneficial to be warranted.

Table 7-1. Category 1 Issues Applicable to the Decommissioning of the ONS Following the Renewal Term

ISSUE--10 CFR Part 51, Subpart A, Appendix B, Table B-1 GEIS Sections
Decommissioning
Radiation Doses 7.3.1; 7.4
Waste Management 7.3.2; 7.4
Air Quality 7.3.3; 7.4
Water Quality 7.3.4; 7.4
Ecological Resources 7.3.5; 7.4
Socioeconomic Impacts 7.3.7; 7.4

A brief description of the staff's review and the GEIS conclusions, as codified in Table B-1, for each of the issues follows:

  • Radiation doses: Based on information in the GEIS, the Commission found that "Doses to the public will be well below applicable regulatory standards regardless of which decommissioning method is used. Occupational doses would increase no more than 1 man-rem (0.01 person-SV) caused by buildup of long-lived radionuclides during the license renewal term." The staff has not identified any significant new information during its independent review of the Duke ER, the staff's site visit, the scoping process, its review of public comments on the draft SEIS, or its evaluation of other available information. Therefore, the staff concludes that there are no radiation doses associated with decommissioning following license renewal beyond those discussed in the GEIS.
  • Waste management: Based on information in the GEIS, the Commission found that "Decommissioning at the end of a 20-year license renewal period would generate no more solid wastes than at the end of the current license term. No increase in the quantities of Class C or greater than Class C wastes would be expected." The staff has not identified any significant new information during its independent review of the Duke ER, the staff's site visit, the scoping process, its review of public comment on the draft SEIS, or its evaluation of other available information. Therefore, the staff concludes that there are no impacts of solid waste associated with decommissioning following the license renewal term beyond those discussed in the GEIS.
  • Air quality: Based on information in the GEIS, the Commission found that "Air quality impacts of decommissioning are expected to be negligible either at the end of the current operating term or at the end of the license renewal term." The staff has not identified any significant new information during its independent review of the Duke ER, the staff's site visit, the scoping process, its review of public comments on the draft SEIS, or its evaluation of other available information. Therefore, the staff concludes that there are no impacts of license renewal on air quality during decommissioning beyond those discussed in the GEIS.
  • Water quality: Based on information in the GEIS, the Commission found that "The potential for significant water quality impacts from erosion or spills is no greater whether decommissioning occurs after a 20-year license renewal period or after the original 40-year operation period, and measures are readily available to avoid such impacts." The staff has not identified any significant new information during its independent review of the Duke ER, the staff's site visit, the scoping process, its review of public comments on the draft SEIS, or its evaluation of other available information. Therefore, the staff concludes that there are no impacts of the license renewal term on water quality during decommissioning beyond those discussed in the GEIS.
  • Ecological resources: Based on information in the GEIS, the Commission found that "Decommissioning after either the initial operating period or after a 20-year license renewal period is not expected to have any direct ecological impacts." The staff has not identified any significant new information during its independent review of the Duke ER, the staff's site visit, the scoping process, its review of public comments on the draft SEIS, or its evaluation of other available information. Therefore, the staff concludes that there are no impacts of the license renewal term on ecological resources during decommissioning beyond those discussed in the GEIS.
  • Socioeconomic Impacts: Based on information in the GEIS, the Commission found that "Decommissioning would have some short-term socioeconomic impacts. The impacts would not be increased by delaying decommissioning until the end of a 20-year relicense period, but they might be decreased by population and economic growth." The staff has not identified any significant new information during its independent review of the Duke ER, the staff's site visit, the scoping process, its review of public comments on the draft SEIS, or its evaluation of other available information. Therefore, the staff concludes that there are no impacts of license renewal on the socioeconomic impacts of decommissioning beyond those discussed in the GEIS.

7.1 References

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10 CFR Part 51, Subpart A, Appendix B, "Environmental effect of renewing the operating license of a nuclear power plant."

Duke Energy Corporation. 1998. Application for Renewed Operating Licenses--Oconee Nuclear Station, Units 1, 2 and 3. Volume IV-Environmental Report.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 1996. Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plant (GEIS), NUREG-1437. Washington, D.C.

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