United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Environmental Impact Statement for the Combined License (COL) for the Bell Bend Nuclear Power Plant, Final Report, Chapters 1 to 8 (NUREG-2179, Volume 1)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: March 2016
Date Published:
April 2016

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

Regulatory Branch
Baltimore District
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
State College, PA 16801

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Abstract

This environmental impact statement (EIS) has been prepared in response to an application submitted on October 10, 2008 to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) by PPL Bell Bend, LLC (PPL) for a combined construction permit and operating license (combined license or COL). PPL notified the NRC of changes in its power generation business by letter dated May 12, 2015 (NRC Accession No. ML15146A095). PPL Bell Bend, LLC was renamed Bell Bend, LLC, and Bell Bend, LLC became a generation affiliate of Talen Energy Corporation (Talen Energy). The transaction became official on June 1, 2015. For purposes of this review, the abbreviation "PPL" will still be used to indicate the applicant. Bell Bend, LLC, under Talen Energy, is the applicant. The proposed actions related to the application are (1) NRC issuance of a COL for a new power reactor unit at the Bell Bend Nuclear Power Plant (BBNPP) site in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and (2) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) decision to issue, deny, or issue with modifications a Department of the Army (DA) permit to perform certain dredge and fill activities in waters of the United States and to construct structures in navigable waters of the United States related to the project. The NRC, contractors, and USACE make up the review team.

This EIS documents the review team's analysis, which considers and weighs the environmental impacts of constructing and operating one new nuclear unit at the BBNPP site and at alternative sites, including measures potentially available for reducing or avoiding adverse impacts.

The EIS includes the evaluation of the proposed action's impacts of construction and operation of BBNPP on waters of the United States pursuant to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and on navigable waters of the United States pursuant to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Appropriation Act of 1899. The USACE will base its evaluation of PPL's permit application on the requirements of USACE regulations, the Clean Water Act Section 404(b)(1) Guidelines, and the USACE public interest review process.

After considering the environmental aspects of the proposed action before the NRC, the NRC staff's recommendation to the Commission is that the COL be issued as proposed. This recommendation is based on (1) the application, including the environmental report (ER), submitted by PPL; (2) consultation with Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies; (3) the review team's independent review; (4) the consideration of public scoping comments; and (5) the assessments summarized in this EIS, including the potential mitigation measures identified in the ER and this EIS.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Friday, June 10, 2016