[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 191 (Tuesday, October 4, 2005)]
[Pages 57899-57900]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-19921]



[Docket No. 50-255]

Dominion Nuclear Connecticut, Inc.; Palisades Plant; 
Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) is 
considering issuance of an exemption from Title 10 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (10 CFR) part 50, Section 68, ``Criticality 
Accident Requirements,'' Subsection (b)(1) for Facility Operating 
License No. DPR-20, issued to Nuclear Management Company (NMC), for 
operation of the

[[Page 57900]]

Palisades Plant, located in Van Buren County, Michigan. 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

    The proposed action would exempt NMC from the requirements of 10 
CFR 50.68, ``Criticality Accident Requirements,'' Subsection (b)(1) 
during the handling and storage of spent nuclear fuel in a 10 CFR part 
72 licensed spent fuel storage container that is in the Palisades' 
spent fuel pool. The proposed action is in accordance with NMC's 
application of June 21, as supplemented August 25, 2005.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    Under 10 CFR 50.68(b)(1), the Commission sets forth the following 
requirement that must be met, in lieu of a monitoring system capable of 
detecting criticality events:

    Plant procedures shall prohibit the handling and storage at any 
one time of more fuel assemblies than have been determined to be 
safely subcritical under the most adverse moderation conditions 
feasible by unborated water.

    Section 50.12(a) allows licensees to apply for an exemption from 
the requirements of 10 CFR part 50 if the regulation is not necessary 
to achieve the underlying purpose of the rule and other conditions are 
met. NMC stated in its August 25, 2005, letter that applying the 10 CFR 
50.68(b)(1) criticality prevention standards to dry shielded canister 
loading operations, conducted in connection with a 10 CFR part 72 
license would result in undue hardship or other costs that are 
significantly in excess of those contemplated when the regulation was 
adopted, or that are significantly in excess of those incurred by 
others similarly situated.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC has completed its evaluation of the proposed action and 
concludes that if the exemption described above is not granted, it 
would result in an undue hardship. The details of the NRC 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 
    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 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 than 
those previously considered in the Final Addendum to the Final 
Environmental Statement Related to Operation of the Palisades Nuclear 
Plant dated February 1978.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    On September 30, 2005, the staff consulted with the Michigan State 
official, Mary Ann Elzerman, of the Michigan Department of 
Environmental Quality, 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 NMC's 
letter of June 21, as supplemented August 25, 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, 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 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 at 1-800-
397-4209 or 301-415-4737, or send an e-mail to [email protected].

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 30th day of September 2005.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
L. Raghavan,
Chief, Section 1, Project Directorate III, Division of Licensing 
Project Management, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 05-19921 Filed 10-3-05; 8:45 am]