[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 123 (Tuesday, June 28, 2005)]
[Page 37126]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E5-3339]

[[Page 37126]]



[Docket No. 50-313]

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

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
issuance of an exemption from title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR) 50.46 and 10 CFR part 50, Appendix K for Renewed 
Facility Operating License No. DPR-51, issued to Entergy Operations, 
Inc. (licensee), for operation of the Arkansas Nuclear One, Unit 1 
(ANO-1), located in Pope County, Arkansas. Therefore, as required by 10 
CFR 51.21, the NRC is issuing this environmental assessment and a 
finding of no significant impact.

Environmental Assessment

    Identification of the Proposed Action: The proposed action would 
provide an exemption from the requirements of: (1) 10 CFR 50.46, 
``Acceptance criteria for emergency core cooling systems for light-
water nuclear power reactors,'' which requires that the calculated 
emergency core cooling system (ECCS) performance for reactors with 
zircaloy or ZIRLO fuel cladding meet certain criteria, and (2) 10 CFR 
part 50, Appendix K, ``ECCS Evaluation Models,'' which presumes the use 
of zircaloy or ZIRLO fuel cladding when doing calculations for energy 
release, cladding oxidation, and hydrogen generation after a postulated 
loss-of-coolant accident.
    The proposed action would allow the licensee to use the M5 advanced 
alloy in lieu of zircaloy or ZIRLO, the materials assumed to be used in 
the cited regulations, for fuel rod cladding in fuel assemblies at ANO-
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application dated September 30, 2004. The Need for the Proposed Action: 
The Commission's regulations in 10 CFR 50.46 and 10 CFR part 50, 
Appendix K require the demonstration of adequate ECCS performance for 
light-water reactors that contain fuel consisting of uranium oxide 
pellets enclosed in zircaloy or ZIRLO tubes. Each of these regulations, 
either implicitly or explicitly, assumes that either zircaloy or ZIRLO 
is used as the fuel rod cladding material.
    In order to accommodate the high fuel rod burnups that are required 
for modern fuel management and core designs, Framatome developed the M5 
advanced fuel rod cladding material. M5 is an alloy comprised primarily 
of zirconium (99 percent) and niobium (1 percent) that has demonstrated 
superior corrosion resistance and reduced irradiation-induced growth 
relative to both standard and low-tin zircaloy. However, since the 
chemical composition of the M5 advanced alloy differs from the 
specifications of either zircaloy or ZIRLO, use of the M5 advanced 
alloy falls outside of the strict interpretation of these regulations. 
Therefore, approval of this exemption request is needed to permit the 
use of the M5 advanced alloy as a fuel rod cladding material at ANO-1. 
Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action: The NRC staff has 
completed its safety evaluation of the proposed action and concludes 
that use of M5 clad fuel will not result in changes in the operations 
or configuration of the facility. There will be no change in the level 
of controls or methodology used for processing radioactive effluents or 
handling solid radioactive waste. The NRC staff has also determined 
that the M5 fuel cladding will perform similarly to the current 
resident fuel.
    The details of the staff's safety evaluation will be provided in 
the exemption that will be issued as part of the letter to the licensee 
approving the exemption to the regulations.
    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 off site. There is no significant 
increase in the amount of any effluent released off site. 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 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 staff considered denial 
of the proposed action (i.e., the ``no-action'' alternative). Denial of 
the application 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: The action does not involve the use 
of any different resources other than those previously considered in 
the Final Environmental Statement related to the operation of ANO-1, 
dated February 1973, and the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact 
Statement regarding ANO-1 (NUREG-1437, Supplement 3), dated April 2001.
    Agencies and Persons Consulted: In accordance with its stated 
policy, on May 26, 2005, the staff consulted with the Arkansas State 
official, Dave Baldwin of the Arkansas Department of Health, regarding 
the environmental impact of the proposed action. The State official had 
no comments.

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 September 30, 2004. Documents may be examined, 
and/or copied for a fee, at the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR), 
located at One White Flint North, 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 send an e-mail to 
[email protected].

    Dated in Rockville, Maryland, this 22nd day of June 2005.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Thomas W. Alexion,
Project Manager, Section 1, Project Directorate IV, Division of 
Licensing Project Management, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. E5-3339 Filed 6-27-05; 8:45 am]