[Federal Register Volume 68, Number 112 (Wednesday, June 11, 2003)]
[Pages 35013-35014]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 03-14683]

[[Page 35013]]



[Docket 72-16]

Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact 
Related to Virginia Electric and Power Company's Proposed Amendment to 
License No. SNM-2507

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or Commission) is 
considering issuance of an amendment, pursuant to 10 CFR 72.56, to 
Special Nuclear Material License No. 2507 (SNM-2507) held by Virginia 
Electric and Power Company (Dominion) for the North Anna independent 
spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI). The requested amendment would 
revise the Technical Specifications (TS) of SNM-2507 to specifically 
permit the use of the TN-32 storage cask to store spent fuel with a 
higher initial enrichment and burnup than currently specified in the TS 
for the North Anna ISFSI. An environmental assessment (EA) was 
performed by the NRC staff in support of its review of the license 
amendment request, in accordance with the requirements of 10 CFR part 
51. The conclusion of the EA is a Finding of No Significant Impact 

Environmental Assessment

    Identification of Proposed Action: By letter dated May 28, 2002, as 
supplemented, Dominion requested an amendment to revise the TS of SNM-
2507 for the North Anna ISFSI. The changes would specifically permit 
the use of the TN-32 storage cask to store spent fuel with a higher 
initial enrichment and burnup than currently specified in the TS. 
Currently, the TS for the North Anna ISFSI limit the fuel to be stored 
in the TN-32 to the following: initial enrichment of <=3.85% (wt U-
235), assembly average burnup of <=40,000 MWD/MTU, and heat generation 
of <=0.847 Kw/assembly. This amendment requests the limits be amended 
as follows: initial enrichment of <=4.35% (wt U-235), assembly average 
burnup <=45,000 MWD/MTU, and heat generation of <=1.02 Kw/assembly.
    Need for the Proposed Action: The proposed action is necessary to 
allow continued storage of spent fuel in dry casks at the North Anna 
ISFSI. Without this amendment, North Anna will be unable to load spent 
fuel in TN-32 casks because the remaining spent fuel at the site has 
the higher enrichment and burnup. If unable to store spent fuel in TN-
32 casks, North Anna will not be able to retain full core offload 
capability. North Anna would eventually have to find an alternate means 
to store fuel, or shut down.
    Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action: The NRC has completed 
its evaluation of the proposed action and concludes that granting the 
request for amendment to allow the storage of spent fuel assemblies 
with burnup and initial enrichment of up to 45,000 MWD/MTU and 4.35% 
(wt U-235), respectively, in TN-32 casks used at the North Anna ISFSI, 
will not increase the probability or consequence of accidents beyond 
that bounded by previous analysis. No changes are being made in the 
types of any effluents that may be released offsite. With regard to 
radiological impacts, the addition of higher burnup and initial 
enrichment spent fuel assemblies was calculated to yield an average 
surface dose rate of 218 mrem/hour at the TN-32 cask side surface. A 
re-evaluation of occupational doses based on actual operating 
experience and the revised surface dose rate, indicates that the 
overall exposure to workers during cask loading, transport, and 
emplacement will increase from the original estimate of 7.19 person-rem 
to 14.30 person-rem. The dose to the nearest permanent resident due to 
ISFSI operations was calculated to be 2.10 mrem/yr. If the proposed 
amendment is approved, the total annual dose for all site sources 
(ISFSI, Unit 1 and Unit 2) would be 5.10 mrem/yr. This is well below 
the 25 mrem/yr limit cited in 10 CFR 72.104(a). Based on the 
occupational and public dose analysis results, there are no significant 
radiological environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
    The amendment only affects the requirements associated with the 
contents of the casks and does not affect non-radiological plant 
effluents or any other aspects of the environment. Therefore, there are 
no significant non-radiological environmental impacts associated with 
the proposed action.
    Accordingly, the Commission concludes that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
    Environmental Impact of the Alternative to the Proposed Action: The 
alternative to the proposed action would be to deny the request for 
amendment (i.e., the ``no-action'' alternative). Denial of the proposed 
action would result in North Anna having to store its remaining spent 
fuel in the spent fuel pool. Without dry cask storage, North Anna would 
lose the capability to maintain full core offload and eventually both 
units would have to shut down due to lack of storage space. The 
electrical generating capacity lost would have to be replaced by 
another source of power, which could result in greater environmental 
impact and/or higher electricity rates for customers. Increased storage 
in the spent fuel pool could potentially lead to greater occupational 
exposure than dry cask storage due to the proximity of workers to the 
fuel. The environmental impacts of the alternative action could be 
greater than the proposed action.
    Given that the alternative action of denying the approval for the 
amendment has no lesser environmental impacts associated with it, the 
Commission concludes that the preferred alternative is to grant this 
    Agencies and Persons Consulted and Sources Used: On April 9, 2003, 
Mr. Les Foldese of the Virginia Department of Health, Radiological 
Health Programs, was contacted regarding the proposed action and had no 
concerns. The NRC staff have determined that the proposed amendment 
will not introduce any new effects on listed species, critical habitat, 
or historical properties. Therefore no further consultation is 
required. 10 CFR part 51 was used as a source.

Finding of No Significant Impact

    The environmental impacts of the proposed action have been reviewed 
in accordance with the requirements set forth in 10 CFR part 51. Based 
upon the foregoing Environmental Assessment, the Commission finds that 
the proposed action of granting an amendment to permit the use of the 
TN-32 dry storage casks to store spent fuel with a higher initial 
enrichment (<=4.35% wt U-235) and burnup (<=45,000 MWD/MTU) at the 
North Anna ISFSI will not significantly impact the quality of the human 
environment. Accordingly, the Commission has determined not to prepare 
an environmental impact statement for the proposed amendment.
    The request for the amendment was docketed under 10 CFR part 72, 
Docket 72-16. For further details with respect to this action, see the 
amendment application dated May 28, 2002, as supplemented, which is 
available for public inspection at the Commission's Public Document 
Room, One White Flint North Building, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, 
MD or from the publicly available records component of NRC's Agencywide 
Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS). The NRC maintains 
ADAMS, which provides text and image files of NRC's public documents. 
These documents may be accessed through the NRC's Public Electronic 
Reading Room on the Internet at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html.

[[Page 35014]]

    If you do not have access to ADAMS, or if there are problems in 
accessing the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC Public 
Document Room Reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by e-
mail to [email protected].

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 2nd day of June, 2003.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Mary Jane Ross-Lee,
Senior Project Manager, Spent Fuel Project Office, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 03-14683 Filed 6-10-03; 8:45 am]