[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 51 (Thursday, March 17, 2005)]
[Pages 13053-13055]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-5279]



[Docket No. 72-03]

Progress Energy Carolinas, Incorporated; Notice of Issuance of an 
Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact for 
License Renewal of the H.B. Robinson Steam Electric Plant, Unit 2 
Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Environmental assessment.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christopher M. Regan, Senior Project 
Manager, Mail Stop O 13D13, Spent Fuel Project Office, Office of 
Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555. Telephone: (301) 415-1179; fax 
number: (301) 415-1179; e-mail: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC 
or the Commission) is considering renewing Carolina Power and Light 
Company (CP&L) now doing business as Progress Energy Carolinas, Inc. 
(PEC's) (the applicant's) License No. SNM-2502 under the requirements 
of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 72 (10 CFR part 
72) authorizing the continued operation of the H.B. Robinson Steam 
Electric Plant, Unit 2 (HBRSEP) Independent Spent Fuel Storage 
Installation (ISFSI) located at the HBRSEP in Darlington County, South 
Carolina. The Commission's Office of Nuclear Material Safety and 
Safeguards has completed its review of the environmental report 
submitted by the applicant on February 27, 2004, in support of its 
application for a renewed materials license. The staff's 
``Environmental Assessment related to the renewal of the H.B. Robinson 
Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation'' has been issued in 
accordance with 10 CFR part 51.

I. Summary of Environmental Assessment (EA)

    Description of the Proposed Action: The proposed licensing action 
would authorize the applicant to continue operating a dry storage ISFSI 
at the HBRSEP site. The purpose of the ISFSI is to allow for interim 
spent fuel storage and, indirectly, power generation capability, beyond 
the term of the current ISFSI license to meet future power generation 
needs. The current license will expire August 31, 2006. The renewed 
ISFSI license would permit 40 additional years of storage beyond the 
current license period. The current ISFSI employs the NUHOMS[supreg] 
system for horizontal, dry storage of irradiated fuel assemblies in 
concrete modules licensed for use at the HBRSEP ISFSI. Currently, the 
facility is licensed to store 56 spent fuel assemblies contained in 8 
steel dry shielded canisters, 7 fuel assemblies to a canister, housed 
in 8 horizontal storage modules.
    Need for the Proposed Action: The HBRSEP ISFSI is needed to provide 
continued spent fuel storage capacity so that the HBRSEP can continue 
to generate electricity. This renewal is needed to provide an option 
that allows for interim spent fuel storage and, indirectly, power 
generation capability, beyond the term of the current ISFSI license to 
meet future system generating needs. The renewed ISFSI license would 
permit 40 additional years of storage beyond the current license

[[Page 13054]]

period and transfer to a Federal repository for permanent disposal of 
the waste. An exemption would allow an additional 20 years of storage 
beyond the renewal period for a total of 40 years beyond the original 
licensed period.
    Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action: The NRC staff has 
concluded that the license renewal of the HBRSEP ISFSI will not result 
in a significant impact to the environment. The prior NRC Environmental 
Assessment associated with the issuance of Materials License SNM-2502 
continues to form the basis for assessing the potential environmental 
impacts of the proposed license renewal action. The environmental 
impacts associated with the proposed action concentrate on only those 
impacts projected to occur during the requested 40 year license renewal 
time period. Environmental impacts include the potential direct effects 
on the ambient environment and its resources. These potential impacts 
can be categorized as non-radiological and radiological impacts.
    There will be no significant radiological or non-radiological 
environmental impacts from routine operation of the HBRSEP ISFSI during 
the extended period of operation. The ISFSI is essentially a passive 
facility with no liquid and gaseous effluents released from the ISFSI 
that exceed Federal regulatory limits. The continued operation of the 
HBRSEP ISFSI will result in no change to the current impact on land 
use, water resources, air quality, generation of wastewater, geology, 
biota, cultural resources, and area demographics and socio-economics. 
The HBRSEP ISFSI is in its completed configuration and as such there 
will be no environmental impacts from construction activities. The 
staff does not expect operation of the HBRSEP ISFSI for an additional 
period of 40 years to impact any threatened or endangered species. The 
radiological dose rates from the ISFSI will be limited by the design of 
the horizontal storage module. The total occupational dose to workers 
at the HBRSEP site resulting from continued ISFSI operation will have a 
small impact on workers or the public, but all occupational doses must 
be maintained below the limits specified in 10 CFR part 20. The annual 
dose to the nearest resident from HBRSEP ISFSI activities remains 
significantly below the annual dose limits specified in 10 CFR 72.104 
and 10 CFR 20.1301. The cumulative dose to an individual offsite from 
all site activities will be less than the limits specified in 10 CFR 
72.104 and 10 CFR 20.1301. These doses are also a small fraction of the 
doses resulting from naturally-occurring terrestrial and cosmic 
radiation of about 300 mrem/yr in the vicinity of the HBRSEP ISFSI. 
Additionally, occupational doses received by facility workers will not 
exceed the limits specified in 10 CFR 20.1201. For hypothetical 
accidents, the calculated dose to an individual at the nearest site 
boundary is well below the 5 rem limit for accidents set forth in 10 
CFR 72.106(b) and in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 
protective action guidelines.
    Radiological decommissioning of the ISFSI would be complete when 
the last dry shielded canister is removed from the site. Small 
occupational exposures to workers could occur during decontamination 
activities, but these exposures would be much less than those 
associated with cask loading and transfer operations. Due to the 
containment design of the sealed surface storage casks, no residual 
contamination is expected to be left behind on the horizontal storage 
module and concrete base pad. The horizontal storage modules, base pad, 
fence, and peripheral utility structures are defacto decommissioned 
when the last cask is removed.
    Alternatives to the Proposed Action: The applicant's Environmental 
Report and the staff's EA discuss several alternatives to the proposed 
ISFSI license renewal. These alternatives include shipment of spent 
fuel to a permanent Federal Repository, ship the spent fuel off-site, 
construct a new spent fuel storage pool at the site, and construct 
another on-site ISFSI, as well as the no action alternative. In the 
first category, the alternatives of shipping spent fuel from HBRSEP to 
a permanent Federal Repository or to another spent fuel storage 
facility were determined to be non-viable alternatives, as no such 
facilities are currently licensed in the United States, and shipping 
the spent fuel to other power stations is not common practice because 
the receiving utility would have to be licensed to store the HBRSEP 
spent fuel, and it is unlikely that another utility would be willing to 
accept it, in light of their own limitations on spent fuel storage 
capacity. Other alternatives include the construction of additional on-
site storage capabilities. These options were considered less favorable 
because of the increased costs involved and the additional worker 
exposures from transfer of the spent fuel.
    Renewal of the HBRSEP ISFSI license for a term of 20 years would 
result in the ISFSI license expiring 4 years prior to expiration of the 
proposed HBRSEP operating license. Based on the expected limits on the 
amounts of fuel that can be shipped annually to a potential Federal 
Repository and the anticipated opening of such a facility, PEC 
estimates it would not be able to ship all the spent fuel before 
expiration of the HBRSEP ISFSI license. As a result, a third renewal of 
the HBRSEP ISFSI license would be required, thereby adding cost.
    The no action alternative could result in the expiration of the 
HBRSEP ISFSI license. The fuel currently stored would then have to be 
removed. Storage capacity limitations would require PEC to ship fuel to 
an available offsite storage facility. Transfer of fuel from the 
existing HBRSEP ISFSI to another facility would increase worker 
exposure. Following removal of the fuel the HBRSEP ISFSI would be 
decommissioned. Since the HBRSEP ISFSI would eventually be 
decommissioned, the impacts of the ``no action'' alternative are 
considered similar to the other alternatives.
    As discussed in the EA, the Commission has concluded that there are 
no significant environmental impacts associated with renewing the 
license of the HBRSEP ISFSI, and other alternatives were not pursued 
because of significantly higher costs, additional occupational 
exposures, and the unavailability of offsite storage options.
    Agencies and Persons Contacted: Officials from the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, the South Carolina State Historic Preservation 
Office, and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources were 
contacted in preparing the staff's environmental assessment. The 
conclusions by all agencies consulted were consistent with the staff's 

II. Finding of No Significant Impact

    The staff has reviewed the environmental impacts of renewing the 
HBRSEP ISFSI license relative to the requirements set forth in 10 CFR 
part 51, and has prepared an Environmental Assessment. Based on the 
Environmental Assessment, the staff concludes that there are no 
significant radiological or non-radiological impacts associated with 
the proposed action and that issuance of renewal of the license for the 
interim storage of spent nuclear fuel at the HBRSEP ISFSI will have no 
significant impact on the quality of the human environment. Therefore, 
pursuant to 10 CFR 51.31 and 51.32, a finding of no significant impact 
is appropriate and an environmental impact statement need not be 
prepared for the renewal of the materials license for the HBRSEP ISFSI.
    In accordance with 10 CFR 2.390 of NRC's ``Rules of Practice,'' 
final NRC

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records and documents regarding this proposed action, including the 
application for license renewal dated February 27, 2004, and supporting 
documentation, and the staff's EA, dated March 2005, are publically 
available in the records component of NRC's Agencywide Documents Access 
and Management System (ADAMS). These documents may be inspected at 
NRC's Public Electronic Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html under Accession No. ML040690774 and ML050700137. These 
documents may also be viewed electronically on the public computers 
located at the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR), O1F21, One White Flint 
North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The PDR reproduction 
contractor will copy documents for a fee. Persons who do not have 
access to ADAMS or who encounter problems in accessing the documents 
located in ADAMS, should contact the NRC PDR Reference staff by 
telephone at 1-800-397-4209 or (301) 415-4737, or by e-mail to 
[email protected].

    Dated in Rockville, Maryland, this 10th day of March, 2005.

    For the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Christopher M. Regan,
Senior Project Manager, Spent Fuel Project Office, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 05-5279 Filed 3-16-05; 8:45 am]