Environmental Impact Statement for Interim Storage Partners LLC's License Application for a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility for Spent Nuclear Fuel in Andrews County, Texas – Draft Report for Comment (NUREG-2239)

This NUREG-series publication was issued for public comment. The comment period is now closed.

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: May 2020
Date Published: May 2020

Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) prepared this draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in support of its environmental review of the Interim Storage Partners, LLC (ISP) license application to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and Greater–Than–Class C waste, along with a small quantity of spent mixed oxide fuel. The proposed CISF would be located at the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) site in Andrews County, Texas. This draft EIS provides the NRC staff's evaluation of the potential environmental impacts of the proposed action and the No–Action alternative. The proposed action is the issuance of an NRC license authorizing a CISF to store up to 5,000 metric tons of uranium (MTUs) [5,500 short tons] for a license period of 40 years. ISP plans to subsequently request amendments to the license, that, if approved, would authorize ISP to store an additional 5,000 MTUs [5,500 short tons] for each of seven planned expansion phases of the proposed CISF (a total of eight phases) to be completed over the course of 20 years, to expand the facility to eventually store up to 40,000 MTUs [44,000 short tons] of SNF.

ISP's expansion of the proposed project (i.e., Phases 2–8) is not part of the proposed action currently pending before the agency. However, as a matter of discretion, the NRC staff considered these expansion phases in its description of the affected environment and impact determinations in this draft EIS, where appropriate, when the environmental impacts of the potential future expansion can be determined so as to conduct a bounding analysis for the proposed CISF project. For the bounding analysis, the NRC staff assumes the storage of up to 40,000 MTUs [44,000 short tons] of SNF.

After weighing the impacts of the proposed action and comparing to the No–Action alternative, the NRC staff, in accordance with 10 CFR § 51.71(f), sets forth its preliminary National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) recommendation regarding the proposed action. The NRC staff preliminarily recommend that, unless safety issues mandate otherwise, the proposed license be issued to ISP to construct and operate a CISF at the proposed location to temporarily store up to 5,000 MTUs [5,500 short tons] of SNF for a licensing period of 40 years (Phase 1). This preliminary recommendation is based on (i) the license application, which includes the environmental report (ER) and supplemental documents and ISP’s responses to the NRC staff's requests for additional information; (ii) consultation with Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies and input from other stakeholders; (iii) independent NRC staff review; and (iv) the assessments provided in this EIS.

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