Safety Evaluation Report for an Early Site Permit (ESP) at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant (VEGP) ESP Site (NUREG-1923)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: February 2009
Date Published: July 2009

Office of New Reactors
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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This safety evaluation report1 (SER) documents the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff's technical review of the site safety analysis report (SSAR) and emergency planning information included in the early site permit (ESP) application submitted by Southern Nuclear Operating Company (SNC or the applicant), for the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant (Vogtle or VEGP) site. The SER also documents the NRC staff's technical review of the limited work authorization (LWA) activities for which SNC has requested approval.

By letter dated August 14, 2006, SNC submitted an ESP application for the VEGP site in accordance with Subpart A, Early Site Permits," of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 52, "Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants." The VEGP site is located in Burke County, Georgia, approximately 26 miles southeast of Augusta, Georgia. In its application, SNC seeks an ESP that could support a future application to construct and operate additional nuclear power reactors at the ESP site with a total nuclear generating capacity of up to 6800 megawatts thermal (MWt). The proposed ESP Units 3 and 4 would be built on the VEGP site adjacent to and west of two existing nuclear power reactors operated by SNC.

By letter dated August 16, 2007, SNC also submitted an LWA request in accordance with 10 CFR 52.17(c). The activities that SNC requested under its LWA are limited to placement of engineering backfill, retaining walls, lean concrete backfill, mudmats, and waterproof membrane.

This SER presents the results of the staff's review of information submitted in conjunction with the ESP and LWA application. The staff has identified in Appendix A to this SER, certain site-related items that will need to be addressed at the combined license (COL) or construction permit (CP) stage, should the applicant desire to construct one or more new nuclear reactors on the VEGP site. The staff determined that these items do not affect the staff's regulatory findings at the ESP or LWA stage and are, for reasons specified in Section 1.7 of the SER, more appropriately addressed at later stages in the licensing process. Appendix A to this SER also identifies the proposed permit conditions, site characteristics, bounding parameters, and inspections, tests, analyses and acceptance criteria (ITAAC) that the staff recommends the Commission impose, should an ESP and an LWA be issued to the applicant.

1This SER documents the NRC staff's position on all safety issues associated with the early site permit application and limited work authorization request. This SER has undergone a final review by the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS), and the results of the ACRS review are in a final letter report provided by the ACRS. This report is included as Appendix E to this SER.

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