Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Regarding Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station - Final Report (NUREG-1437, Supplement 30)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: August 2007
Date Published:
August 2007

Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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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 Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, LLC and Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. (Entergy), to renew the OL for Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station (VYNPS) 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 Entergy nor the NRC staff has identified information that is both new and significant for any issue that applies to VYNPS. In addition, the NRC staff determined that information provided during the scoping process and the public comments on the draft SEIS did not call into question the conclusions in the GEIS. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the impacts of renewing the VYNPS 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 is 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 VYNPS are addressed in this SEIS. For each applicable issue, the NRC staff concludes that the significance of the potential environmental impacts of renewal of the OL is SMALL. The NRC staff also concludes that no additional mitigation is warranted. However, under the provisions of the Clean Water Act 316(b) regulations, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation may impose further restrictions or require modifications to the cooling system to reduce the impacts on aquatic resources from entrainment and impingement under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permitting process. The NRC staff determined that information provided during the scoping process and the public comments on the draft SEIS did not identify any new issue that has a significant environmental impact.

The NRC staff's recommendation is that the Commission determine that the adverse environmental impacts of license renewal for VYNPS 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) 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 and the draft SEIS public comment period.

(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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