[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 232 (Friday, December 4, 2009)]
[Pages 63798-63800]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-28975]



[Docket No. 72-10; NRC-2009-0534]

Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment and Finding of 
No Significant Impact; For the Amendment of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission License No. SNM-2506 for Prairie Island Independent Spent 
Fuel Storage Installation

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of Availability.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kellee Jamerson, Environmental Project 
Manager, Environmental Review Branch, Division of Waste Management and 
Environmental Protection, Office of Federal and State Materials and 
Environmental Management Programs, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
(NRC), Rockville, Maryland 20852. Telephone: (301) 415-7649; Fax: (301) 
415-5370; E-mail: [email protected].


I. Introduction

    By letter dated March 28, 2008, as supplemented August 29, 2008, 
Northern States Power Company (NSP), formerly Nuclear Management 
Company, LLC, submitted a request to the NRC to amend materials license 
SNM-2506 for the Prairie Island Independent Spent Fuel Storage 
Installation (PIISFSI). The license amendment request proposes the 
design modification of the TN-40 cask to the TN-40HT cask. The modified 
cask design will accommodate the dry

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storage of fuel with higher initial uranium-235 enrichment and higher 
burnup. The ISFSI is located within the site boundary of the Prairie 
Island Nuclear Generating Plant (PINGP) within the city limits of Red 
Wing, Minnesota. Under license SNM-2506, NSP is authorized to receive, 
possess, store, and transfer spent fuel to the PIISFSI under the 
provisions in 10 CFR part 72. The PIISFSI, operated by Xcel Energy 
Inc., has been conducting operations under a site-specific license 
since October 1993. As the plant's owner, NSP has the exclusive right 
to the energy generated by PINGP. As part of its evaluation of the 
proposed action, the NRC has prepared an environmental assessment (EA), 
which is summarized below. Based on the EA, the NRC has concluded that 
a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) is appropriate. The NRC 
plans to approve the requested amendment to license SNM-2506 following 
the publication of this EA summary and FONSI in the Federal Register.

II. EA Summary

Description of the Proposed Action

    The objective of NSP is to modify the current cask design to the 
TN-40HT model, which will accommodate dry storage of fuel with higher 
initial enrichment and higher burnup. The current TN-40 cask limits the 
fuel that may be stored to that of an initial enrichment of <3.85 wt% 
of uranium-235 and a burnup of <45,000 Mega Watt-days/Metric Ton of 
Uranium (MWd/MTU). To accommodate higher uranium-235 enrichment and 
higher burnup of fuel, modifications to the cask design are required to 
support operation during the plant life extension. The enhancements 
involve features that improve heat transfer and neutron absorption. The 
heat transfer capability of the basket design must be enhanced as well 
as minor changes to the cask body to accommodate the enhanced basket. 
The changes being made to the cask design are such that the TN-40HT 
cask will use existing equipment for lifting, loading, and 
transporting. The EA addresses the expected environmental impacts 
associated with the proposed design modification of the ISFSI cask on 
the Prairie Island site.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC staff has concluded that the proposed action will not 
result in a significant impact to human health or the environment. To 
support this conclusion, NRC staff has prepared an EA, which evaluated 
the direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts of modifying 
the ISFSI cask design. Based on this assessment, the NRC staff has 
determined that no significant radiological or non-radiological impacts 
from normal operations of the ISFSI with the newly designed cask are 
expected. The ISFSI is a passive facility that produces no liquid or 
gaseous effluents and requires no power or regular maintenance. The 
license amendment request does not require altering the site footprint 
nor does it change the operating processes of the existing facility.
    The radiological dose rates from the ISFSI will be limited by the 
design of the dry storage cask. Occupational dose estimates from 
routine monitoring activities and transfer of spent fuel for disposal 
must be maintained as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) and must be 
within the limits of 10 CFR 20.1201. The annual dose to the nearest 
member of the public from ISFSI activities remains significantly below 
the annual dose limits specified in 10 CFR 72.104 and 10 CFR 
20.1301(a). 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. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed 
action will not result in a significant impact to human health or the 
    Because of its proximity to the plant and the uniqueness of the 
community, the NRC acknowledges that there is the potential for the 
Prairie Island Indian Community (PIIC) to be disproportionately 
affected by the PIISFSI. Potential impacts to minority and low-income 
populations would mostly consist of radiological effects; however, 
radiation doses from the modified TN-40 cask design at the PIISFSI 
would be well below regulatory limits. Therefore, based on this 
information and the analysis of human health and environmental impacts 
presented in the EA, the proposed modification would not have 
disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental 
effects on minority and low-income populations residing near the 

Agencies and Persons Contacted

    The consultations ensured that the requirements of Section 7 of the 
Endangered Species Act and Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act were met. The consultations also provided the 
designated state liaison agency the opportunity to comment on the 
proposed action. NRC staff consulted with other agencies regarding the 
proposed action, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), 
the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office, and the Minnesota 
Department of Natural Resources (MNDNR). The NRC received responses 
from the FWS and the MNDNR. The NRC also considered the concerns of 
interested stakeholders, namely the PIIC, throughout the review 
process. NRC staff incorporated such responses and concerns from these 
agencies into the final text of the EA. The conclusions by all agencies 
consulted were consistent with the staff's conclusions.

III. Finding of No Significant Impact

    On the basis of the EA, the NRC staff concludes that there are no 
significant radiological or non-radiological impacts associated with 
the proposed action. The issuance of the license amendment for the 
design change of the spent nuclear fuel dry storage cask at the Prairie 
Island 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 amendment of materials 
license SNM-2506.

IV. Further Information

    Documents related to this action, including the license amendment 
request of SNM-2506 and supporting documentation, are available 
electronically at the NRC's Electronic Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. From this site, you can access the 
NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS), which 
provides text and image files of NRC's public documents. The ADAMS 
accession numbers for the documents related to this notice are:

                 Document                       ADAMS  Accession No.
PI ISFSI License Amendment Request.......  ML081190039
NRC Letter to Minnesota SHPO.............  ML083300097
NRC Letter to Prairie Island Indian        ML083450661
NRC Letter to FWS........................  ML083290624
FWS Email to NRC.........................  ML090260631
Environmental Assessment.................  ML093080494

    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 (PDR) Reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737 or 
by e-mail to [email protected].

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    These documents may also be viewed electronically on the public 
computers located at the NRC's PDR, O-1F21, One White Flint North, 
11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The PDR reproduction 
contractor will copy documents for a fee.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 24th day of November 2009.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
William Ford,
Acting Chief, Environmental Review Branch, Environmental Protection and 
Performance Assessment Directorate, Division of Waste Management and 
Environmental Protection, Office of Federal and State Materials and 
Environmental Management Programs.
[FR Doc. E9-28975 Filed 12-3-09; 8:45 am]