Final Environmental Impact Statement for an Early Site Permit (ESP) at the Vogtle ESP Electric Generating Plant Site (NUREG-1872)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: July 2008
Manuscript Published: August 2008

Division of Site and Environmental Reviews
Office of New Reactors
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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This environmental impact statement (EIS) has been prepared pursuant to the review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of an application submitted by Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc. (Southern) for an early site permit (ESP). The proposed action requested in Southern's application is for the NRC to (1) approve a site within the existing Vogtle Electric Generating Plant (VEGP) boundaries as suitable for the construction and operation of a new nuclear power generating facility and (2) issue an ESP for the proposed location at the VEGP site, adjacent to the existing VEGP Units 1 and 2.

In its application, Southern proposes a plan for redressing the environmental effects of certain construction activities performed by an ESP holder under the additional authorization (in a limited work authorization) that may be sought pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 52.25). These construction activities are defined by 50.10(a). In accordance with the plan, the construction activities would be redressed if the NRC issues the requested ESP (including the site redress plan), the ESP holder performs these construction activities, the ESP is not referenced in an application for a construction permit or combined operating license, and no alternative use is found for the site.

This EIS includes the NRC staff's analysis that considers and weighs the environmental impacts of constructing and operating new units at the VEGP site or at alternative sites, and mitigation measures available for reducing or avoiding adverse impacts. It also includes the staff's recommendation to the Commission regarding the proposed action. The NRC staff's recommendation to the Commission related to the environmental aspects of the proposed action is that the ESP should be issued as proposed. The staff's evaluation of the site safety and emergency preparedness aspects of the proposed action will be addressed in the staff's Safety Evaluation Report. This recommendation is based on (1) the application and supporting documentation, including the Environmental Report (ER), submitted by Southern; (2) consultation with Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies; (3) the staff's independent review; (4) the staff's consideration of comments related to the environmental review that were received during the public scoping process and the draft EIS; and (5) the assessments summarized in this EIS, including the potential mitigation measures identified in the ER and this EIS. In addition, in making its recommendation, the staff determined that there are no environmentally preferable or obviously superior sites. Finally, the staff has concluded that the construction activities defined by 10 CFR 50.10(a)(1) requested by Southern in its application will not result in any significant adverse environmental impact that cannot be redressed.

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