Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Regarding Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station - Final Report (NUREG-1437, Supplement 28, Volume 1)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: December 2006
Date Published: January 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 Title 10, Part 51, of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR Part 51). In the GEIS (and its Addendum 1), the NRC 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 AmerGen Energy Company, LLC (AmerGen), to renew the OL for Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station (OCNGS) 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 NRC staff's recommendation regarding the proposed action.

Regarding the 69 issues for which the GEIS reached generic conclusions, neither AmerGen nor the NRC staff has identified information that is both new and significant for any issue that applies to OCNGS. In addition, the NRC staff determined that information provided during the scoping process did not call into question the conclusions in the GEIS. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the impacts of renewing the OCNGS OL would 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 would be 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 OCNGS are addressed in this SEIS. For most issues, the NRC staff concludes that the significance of the potential environmental impacts of renewal of the OL would be SMALL. The NRC staff also concludes that no additional mitigation is warranted. The NRC staff determined that information provided during the scoping process did not identify any new issue that has a significant environmental impact. For aquatic resources, the NRC staff determined that the impacts of continued operation of the once-through cooling system during the license renewal term could, for some species, be MODERATE if species composition and abundance of aquatic organisms in Barnegat Bay have changed substantially from the 1970s and 1980s when the last studies of the effects of OCNGS operations were conducted. Alternatives to continued operation of the existing once-through cooling system that would mitigate impacts on aquatic resources were evaluated.

The NRC staff's recommendation is that the Commission determine that the adverse environmental impacts of license renewal for OCNGS 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 AmerGen; (3) consultation with Federal, State, 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.

(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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