[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 74 (Tuesday, April 19, 2005)]
[Pages 20405-20406]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-7845]



[Docket No. 50-407]

University of Utah; University of Utah TRIGA Nuclear Reactor 
Facility; Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
issuance of an exemption from certain requirements of Title 10 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), subsection 2.109(a), for Facility 
Operating License No. R-126, which authorizes operation of the 
University of

[[Page 20406]]

Utah TRIGA Nuclear Reactor Facility, a 100 kW (thermal) research 
reactor facility, located in Salt Lake County, Utah. Therefore, as 
required by 10 CFR 51.21, the NRC is issuing this environmental 
assessment and finding of no significant impact.

Environmental Assessment

Identification of the Proposed Action

    Subsection 109(a) of 10 CFR Part 2 states, ``Except for the renewal 
of an operating license for a nuclear power plant under 10 CFR 50.21(b) 
or 50.22, if, at least 30 days prior to the expiration of an existing 
license authorizing any activity of a continuing nature, the licensee 
files an application for a renewal or for a new license for the 
activity so authorized, the existing license will not be deemed to have 
expired until the application has been finally determined.''
    The University of Utah has requested an exemption from the timing 
requirements of 10 CFR 2.109(a), for submittal of the University of 
Utah TRIGA Nuclear Reactor Facility license renewal application. The 
exemption would allow the submittal of the renewal application with 
less than 30 days remaining prior to expiration of the operating 
license while maintaining the protection of the timely renewal 
provision in 10 CFR 2.109(a).
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application for exemption dated April 13, 2005.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    Because the licensee has submitted their application for license 
renewal less than 30 days before the expiration date of the existing 
license (midnight April 17, 2005), the proposed action is needed to 
allow continued operation of the facility while the NRC staff makes a 
final determination regarding license renewal.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC has completed its evaluation of the proposed action and 
concludes that pursuant to 10 CFR 50.12(a), the proposed exemption is 
authorized by law, will not endanger life or property or common defense 
and security, and is, otherwise, in the public interest. In addition, 
special circumstances exist to justify the proposed exemption. The 
details of the staff's evaluation will be provided in the exemption 
that will be issued as part of the letter to the licensee approving the 
exemption to the regulation.
    Because the proposed action would allow continued operation of the 
reactor facility under the current license conditions and technical 
specifications and will not authorize any changes to the facility or 
its operation, the proposed action will not significantly increase the 
probability or consequences of accidents. No changes are being made in 
the types of effluents that may be released offsite. There is no 
significant increase in the amount of any effluent release offsite. 
There is no significant increase in occupational or public radiation 
exposure. Therefore, there are no significant radiological 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
    With regard to potential non-radiological impacts, the proposed 
action does not have a potential to affect any historic sites. It does 
not affect non-radiological plant effluents and has no other 
environmental impact. Therefore, there are no significant non-
radiological environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
    Accordingly, the NRC staff concludes that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.

Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    As an alternative to the proposed action, the NRC staff considered 
denial of the proposed action (i.e., the ``no-action'' alternative). 
Denial of the application for exemption would result in a period of 
time where the licensee would not operate the reactor while the NRC 
staff reviewed the licensee's application for license renewal. There 
would be a small decrease in environmental impact during the period of 
time the reactor would be shut down and the benefits of education and 
research would be lost. The environmental impacts of the proposed 
action and the alternative action are similar.

Alternative Use of Resources

    This proposed action does not involve the use of any resources not 
previously considered in environmental impact appraisal for initial 
facility license authorization dated September 30, 1975, and the 
environmental assessment for operating license renewal dated March 27, 

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with its policy, on April 13, 2005, the NRC staff 
consulted with the Utah State official, Mr. Dane Finerfrock, Director, 
Division of Radiation Control, Department of Environmental Quality, 
regarding the environmental impact of the proposed action. The State 
official had no comments regarding the environmental aspects of the 

Finding of No Significant Impact

    On the basis of the environmental assessment, the NRC concludes 
that the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the 
quality of the human environment. Accordingly, the NRC has determined 
not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed 
    For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the 
licensee's letter dated April 13, 2005. Documents may be examined, and/
or copied for a fee, at the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR), located 
at One White Flint North, Public File Area O1F21, 11555 Rockville Pike 
(first floor), Rockville, Maryland. Publicly available records will be 
accessible electronically from the Agencywide Documents Access and 
Management System (ADAMS) Public Electronic Reading Room on the 
Internet at the NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. 
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 at Rockville, Maryland, this 14th day of April, 2005.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Patrick M. Madden,
Section Chief, Research and Test Reactors Section, New, Research and 
Test Reactors Program, Division of Regulatory Improvement Programs, 
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 05-7845 Filed 4-18-05; 8:45 am]