[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 15 (Monday, January 25, 2010)]
[Pages 3943-3944]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-1307]



[Docket Nos. 50-424 and 50-425; NRC-2010-0023]

 Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc.; Vogtle Electric 
Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2; Environmental Assessment and Finding 
of No Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
issuance of an Exemption, pursuant to Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR) Section 73.5, ``Specific exemptions,'' from the 
implementation date for a certain new requirement of 10 CFR Part 73, 
``Physical protection of plants and materials,'' for Renewed Facility 
Operating License Nos. NPF-68 and NPF-81, issued to Southern Nuclear 
Operating Company, Inc. (SNC, the licensee), for operation of the 
Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2 (VEGP), located in 
Burke County, Georgia. In accordance with 10 CFR 51.21, the NRC 
prepared an environmental assessment documenting its finding. The NRC 
concluded that the proposed actions will have no significant 
environmental impact.

[[Page 3944]]

Environmental Assessment

Identification of the Proposed Action

    The proposed action would exempt the VEGP from the required 
implementation date of March 31, 2010, for a certain new requirement of 
10 CFR Part 73. Specifically, VEGP would be granted an exemption from 
being in full compliance with a certain new requirement contained in 10 
CFR 73.55 by the March 31, 2010, implementation deadline. SNC has 
proposed an alternate full compliance implementation date of September 
27, 2010, approximately 6 months beyond the date required by 10 CFR 
Part 73. The proposed action, an extension of the schedule for 
completion of certain actions required by the revised 10 CFR Part 73, 
does not involve any physical changes to the reactor, fuel, plant 
structures, support structures, water, or land at the VEGP site.
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application dated November 6, 2009, as supplemented by letter dated 
November 20, 2009.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    The proposed action is needed to provide the licensee with 
additional time to perform upgrades to the VEGP security system due to 
procurement, resource, and logistical impacts, including the spring 
2010 Unit 2 refueling outage and other factors.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC has completed its environmental assessment of the proposed 
exemption. The staff has concluded that the proposed action to extend 
the implementation deadline would not significantly affect plant safety 
and would not have a significant adverse effect on the probability of 
an accident occurring.
    The proposed action would not result in an increased radiological 
hazard beyond those previously analyzed in the environmental assessment 
and finding of no significant impact made by the Commission in 
promulgating its revisions to 10 CFR Part 73 as discussed in a Federal 
Register notice dated March 27, 2009 (74 FR 13967). There will be no 
change to radioactive effluents that affect radiation exposures to 
plant workers and members of the public. Therefore, no changes or 
different types of radiological impacts are expected as a result of the 
proposed exemption.
    The proposed action does not result in changes to land use or water 
use, or result in changes to the quality or quantity of non-
radiological effluents. No changes to the National Pollution Discharge 
Elimination System permit are needed. No effects on the aquatic or 
terrestrial habitat in the vicinity of the plant, or to threatened, 
endangered, or protected species under the Endangered Species Act, or 
impacts to essential fish habitat covered by the Magnuson-Steven's Act 
are expected. There are no impacts to the air or ambient air quality.
    There are no impacts to historical and cultural resources. There 
would be no impact to socioeconomic resources. Therefore, no changes to 
or different types of non-radiological environmental impacts are 
expected as a result of the proposed exemption.
    Accordingly, the NRC concludes that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action. In addition, 
in promulgating its revisions to 10 CFR Part 73, the Commission 
prepared an environmental assessment and published a finding of no 
significant impact [Part 73, Power Reactor Security Requirements, 74 FR 
13926, 13967 (March 27, 2009)].
    The licensee currently maintains a security program acceptable to 
the NRC and the new 10 CFR Part 73 security measures that will be 
implemented by March 31, 2010, will continue to provide acceptable 
physical protection of the VEGP. Therefore, the extension of the 
implementation date for the specified new requirement of 10 CFR Part 
73, to September 27, 2010, would not have any significant environmental 
    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 regulation, if granted.

Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    As an alternative to the proposed actions, the NRC staff considered 
denial of the proposed actions (i.e., the ``no-action'' alternative). 
Denial of the exemption request would result in no change in current 
environmental impacts. If the proposed action was denied, the licensee 
would have to comply with the March 31, 2010, implementation deadline. 
The environmental impacts of the proposed exemption and the ``no 
action'' alternative are similar.

Alternative Use of Resources

    The action does not involve the use of any different resources than 
those considered in the Final Environmental Statement for the VEGP, 
NUREG--1087, dated March 1985, as supplemented through the ``Generic 
Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: 
Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2--Final Report (NUREG--
1437, Supplement 34).''

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with its stated policy, on January 5, 2010, the NRC 
staff consulted with the Georgia State official, Mr. Jim Hardeman of 
the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, regarding the 
environmental impact of the proposed action. The State official had no 

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 November 6, 2009, as supplemented by letter 
dated November 20, 2009. Portions of the submittals contain proprietary 
and security information and, accordingly, are not available to the 
public pursuant to 10 CFR 2.390. The public 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 O-1F21, 11555 
Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland 20852. Publicly 
available records will be accessible electronically from the Agencywide 
Document 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 at Rockville, Maryland, this 15th day of January 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Donna N. Wright,
Project Manager Plant Licensing Branch II-1, Division of Operating 
Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-1307 Filed 1-22-10; 8:45 am]