Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Combined License (COLs) for Vogtle Electric Generating Plant Unit 3 and 4 (NUREG-1947)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: March 2011
Date Published: March 2011

Prepared by:

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

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This supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) documents the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff's analysis and conclusions regarding the environmental impacts of constructing and operating two new nuclear units (Units 3 and 4) at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant (VEGP) site near Waynesboro, Georgia, and the mitigation measures available for reducing or avoiding adverse environmental impacts.

On August 26, 2009, NRC issued Early Site Permit (ESP)-004 to Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc. (Southern) and several co-applicants (i.e., Georgia Power Company, Oglethorpe Power Corporation, Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, and the City of Dalton, Georgia) for the VEGP ESP site (the site of the proposed Units 3 and 4). An ESP is an NRC approval of a site as suitable for construction and operation of one or more new nuclear units. As requested in the ESP application, the VEGP ESP also included a Limited Work Authorization (LWA) that authorized certain limited construction activities at the site in accordance with Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Subparts 50.10 and 52.24(c). In response to subsequent license amendment applications from Southern relating to the activities authorized by the ESP LWA, the NRC issued three amendments to the ESP in May, June, and July 2010, respectively. These amendments authorized Southern to use Category-1 and Category-2 backfill material from additional onsite sources and to use engineered granular backfill over the side slopes of the Units 3 and 4 excavations.

On March 31, 2008, Southern (on behalf of itself and its four co-applicants) submitted an application for combined licenses (COLs) for two new units at the VEGP site, referencing the VEGP ESP. A COL is a Commission approval for the construction and operation of one or more nuclear power facilities. Southern subsequently updated its COL application to reference the issued ESP-004.

For a COL application that references an ESP, the NRC staff, pursuant to 10 CFR 51.75(c), prepares a supplement to the ESP EIS in accordance with 10 CFR 51.92(e). NRC regulations related to the environmental review of COL applications are in 10 CFR Part 51 and 10 CFR Part 52, Subpart C. Pursuant to NRC regulations in 10 CFR 51.50(c)(1), a COL applicant referencing an ESP need not submit information or analyses regarding environmental issues that were resolved in the ESP EIS, except to the extent the COL applicant has identified new and significant information regarding such issues. In addition, pursuant to 10 CFR 52.39, matters resolved in the ESP proceedings are considered to be resolved in any subsequent proceedings, absent identification of new and significant information. NUREG-1947 iv March 2011

In October 2009, Southern supplemented its COL application to include a second request for an LWA. The second LWA, in accordance with 10 CFR 50.10 (d), would authorize installation of reinforcing steel, sumps, drain lines, and other embedded items along with placement of concrete for the nuclear island foundation base slab.

After considering the environmental aspects of the proposed action, the NRC staff's recommendation to the Commission is that the COLs and LWA be issued. This recommendation is based on (1) the application, including the environmental report and responses to staff requests for additional information, submitted by Southern; (2) the staff's review conducted for the ESP application and documented in the ESP EIS; (3) the staff's review conducted for the ESP license amendments as documented in the staff's Environmental Assessments; (4) consultation with Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies; (5) the staff's own independent review of potential new and significant information available since preparation and publication of the ESP EIS; and (6) the assessments summarized in this SEIS, including the potential mitigation measures identified and consideration of public comments received on the draft SEIS. The staff's evaluation of the safety and security aspects of the proposed action will be addressed in the staff's Safety Evaluation Report.

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