[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 54 (Monday, March 22, 2010)]
[Pages 13606-13607]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-6195]



[Docket Nos. STN 50-528, STN 50-529, and STN 50-530; NRC-2010-0114]

Arizona Public Service Company, Palo Verde Nuclear Generating 
Station, Units 1, 2, and 3; 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) Sec.  73.5, ``Specific exemptions,'' from the 
implementation date for certain new requirements of 10 CFR Part 73, 
``Physical protection of plants and materials,'' for Facility Operating 
License Nos. NPF-41, NPF-51, and NPF-74, issued to Arizona Public 
Service Company (APS, the licensee), for operation of the Palo Verde 
Nuclear Generating Station, Units 1, 2, and 3 (PVNGS, Units 1, 2, and 
3), located in Maricopa County, Arizona. 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.

Environmental Assessment

Identification of the Proposed Action

    The proposed action would exempt APS from the required 
implementation date of March 31, 2010, for several new requirements of 
10 CFR Part 73. Specifically, APS would be granted an exemption from 
being in full compliance with certain new requirements contained in 10 
CFR 73.55 by the March 31, 2010, deadline. APS has proposed an 
alternate full compliance implementation date of December 17, 2010, 
approximately 8\1/2\ 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 PVNGS, Units 1, 2, and 3 
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application dated December 21, 2009, as supplemented by letters dated 
February 16 and March 5, 2010. Publicly available versions of

[[Page 13607]]

these letters can be found in the Agencywide Documents Access and 
Management System (ADAMS), at Accession Nos. ML100040088, ML100550875, 
and ML100680760, respectively. Portions of the December 21, 2009, and 
March 5, 2010, letters contain security-related information and, 
accordingly, those portions of the letters are being withheld from 
public disclosure.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    The proposed action is needed to provide the licensee with 
additional time to implement two specific elements of the new 
requirements that involve significant physical modifications to the 
PVNGS security systems.

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 13926). 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-Stevens 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 (March 27, 2009)].
    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 PVNGS, Units 
1, 2, and 3, NUREG-0841, dated February 1982.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with its stated policy, on March 1, 2010, the NRC 
staff consulted with the Arizona State official, Mr. Aubrey Godwin of 
the Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency, 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 letters dated December 21, 2009, February 16, 2010, and 
March 5, 2010. Portions of these letters contain security-related 
information and, accordingly, are not available to the public. The 
publicly available parts of these documents may be examined, and/or 
copied for a fee, at the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR), located at 
One White Flint North, Room O-1F21, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), 
Rockville, Maryland 20852. Publicly available records will be 
accessible electronically from the 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 March 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
James R. Hall,
Senior Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch IV, Division of 
Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-6195 Filed 3-19-10; 8:45 am]