[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 186 (Friday, September 25, 1998)]
[Pages 51380-51381]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-25692]



[Docket Nos. 50-313 and 50-368]

Entergy Operations, Inc.; Arkansas Nuclear One, Units 1 and 2, 
Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) is 
considering issuance of an exemption from certain requirements of its 
regulations for Facility Operating License Nos. DPR-51 and NPF-6 issued 
to Entergy Operations, Inc. (the licensee), for operation of Arkansas 
Nuclear One, Units 1 and 2 (ANO-1 and ANO-2), located in Pope County, 

Environmental Assessment

Identification of Proposed Action

    The proposed action would exempt the licensee from the requirements 
of 10 CFR 70.24(a) as it pertains to the handling and storage of 
unirradiated fuel at ANO-1 and ANO-2. The requirements of 10 CFR 
70.24(a) include (1) having a monitoring system that will energize 
clear audible alarms if accidental criticality occurs in each area in 
which special nuclear material is handled, used, or stored and (2) 
having emergency procedures and conducting related drills to 
familiarize personnel with the evacuation plan, for each area in which 
this licensed special nuclear material is handled, used, or stored.
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application for exemption dated October 31, 1997.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    The purpose of 10 CFR 70.24 is to ensure that if a criticality 
event (or accident) were to occur during the handling of special 
nuclear material, personnel would be alerted to that fact and would 
take appropriate action. At a commercial nuclear power plant the 
inadvertent criticality with which 10 CFR 70.24 is concerned could 
occur during fuel handling operations. The special nuclear material 
that could be assembled into a critical mass at a commercial nuclear 
power plant is in the form of nuclear fuel; the quantity of other forms 
of special nuclear material that is stored on site in any given 
location is small enough to preclude achieving a critical mass. Because 
the fuel is not enriched beyond 5.0 weight percent Uranium-235 and 
because commercial nuclear plant licensees have procedures and design 
features that prevent inadvertent criticality, the staff has determined 
that it is unlikely that an inadvertent criticality could occur due to 
the handling of special nuclear material at a commercial power reactor. 
The requirements of 10 CFR 70.24, therefore, are not necessary to 
ensure the safety of personnel during the handling of special nuclear 
materials at commercial power reactors.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The Commission has completed its evaluation of the proposed action 
and concludes that there is no significant environmental impact if the 
exemption is granted. Inadvertent or accidental criticality will be 
precluded through compliance with the ANO-1 and ANO-2 Technical 
Specifications (TSs), the design of the new fuel storage area, and 
administrative controls imposed on fuel handling procedures. TSs 
requirements specify reactivity limits for new fuel assemblies and key 
design features for the new fuel storage racks, including the minimum 
spacing between the unirradiated fuel assemblies.
    Appendix A of 10 CFR Part 50, ``General Design Criteria for Nuclear 
Power Plants,'' Criterion 62, requires the criticality in the fuel 
storage and handling system shall be prevented by physical systems or 
processes, preferably by use of geometrically-safe configurations. This 
is met at ANO-1 and ANO-2, as identified in the TSs and the Updated 
Safety Analysis Reports (USARs). The TSs for storage racks and limits 
on fuel enrichment for ANO-1 and ANO-2 are such that the ratio of 
neutron production to neutron absorption and leakage (k-effective) will 
not exceed 0.98 assuming optimum moderation by an aqueous foam and will 
not exceed 0.95 when the storage area is flooded with unborated water.
    The proposed exemption would not result in any significant 
radiological impacts. The proposed exemption would not affect 
radiological plant effluents since the handling and storage of new fuel 
does not impact the normal operations of the plant that generate 
radioactive wastes and design and administrative controls previously 
described provide adequate controls to preclude accidental releases 
from an inadvertent criticality. The proposed exemption would not cause 
any significant occupational exposures since the TSs, design controls 
(including geometric spacing of fuel assembly storage spaces) and 
administrative controls preclude inadvertent criticality. Existing 
programs at ANO-1 and ANO-2 also provide reasonable confidence that 
personnel would be alerted to and would know how to respond to a 
radiological accident involving the handling and storage of fuel 
assemblies. The amount of radioactive waste would not be changed by the 
proposed exemption.
    The proposed exemption does not result in any significant 
nonradiological environmental impacts. The proposed exemption involves 
features located entirely within the restricted area as defined in 10 
CFR Part 20. It does not affect non-radiological plant effluents and 
has no other environmental impact. Accordingly, the Commission 
concludes that there are no significant non-radiological environmental 
impacts associated with the proposed action.

Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    Since the Commission has concluded that there is no measurable 
environmental impact associated with the proposed action, any 
alternatives with equal or greater environmental impact need not be 
evaluated. As an alternative to the proposed exemption, the staff 
considered denial of the requested exemption (no-action alternative). 
Denial of the request would result in no change in current 
environmental impacts. The environmental impacts of the proposed action 
and the alternative action are similar.

Alternative Use of Resources

    This action does not involve the use of any resources not 
previously considered in the Final Environmental Statement for Arkansas 
Nuclear One, Units 1 and 2.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with its stated policy, on August 19, 1998, the staff 
consulted with Mr. Bernie Bevell, Director, Division of Radiation 
Control and Emergency Management, regarding the environmental impact of 
the proposed action. The State official had no comments.

[[Page 51381]]

Finding of No Significant Impact

    Based upon the environmental assessment, the Commission concludes 
that the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the 
quality of the human environment. Accordingly, the Commission has 
determined not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the 
proposed action.
    For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the 
licensee's letter dated October 31, 1997, which is available for public 
inspection at the Commission's Public Document Room, which is located 
at The Gelman Building, 2120 L Street, NW., Washington, DC, and at the 
local public document room located at the Tomlinson Library, Arkansas 
Tech University, Russellville, AR 72801.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 18th day of September 1998.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
William D. Reckley,
Senior Project Manager, Project Directorate IV-1, Division of Reactor 
Projects III/IV, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 98-25692 Filed 9-24-98; 8:45 am]