[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 57 (Thursday, March 25, 2010)]
[Pages 14473-14474]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-6634]



[Docket No. 50-255; NRC-2010-0127]

Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., Palisades Nuclear Plant; 
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 certain new requirements of 10 CFR Part 73, 
``Physical protection of plants and materials,'' for Facility Operating 
License No. DPR-20, issued to Entergy Nuclear Operations, LLC (ENO) 
(the licensee), for operation of the Palisades Nuclear Plant (PNP), 
located in Van Buren County, Michigan. 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 Palisades Nuclear Plant from the 
required implementation date of March 31, 2010, for several new 
requirements of 10 CFR Part 73. Specifically, PNP 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. ENO has 
proposed an alternate full compliance implementation date of August 31, 
2010, approximately 5 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 Palisades site.
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application dated January 14, 2010, as supplemented by letter dated 
February 16, 2010.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    The proposed action is needed to provide the licensee with 
additional time required for completion of significant physical 
modifications to comply with the new 10 CFR 73 rule requirements. While 
some of the work scope required by the 10 CFR 73 rule change 
requirements will be completed by March 31, 2010, some modifications 
will require additional time to complete.

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 findings 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

[[Page 14474]]

Reactor Security Requirements, 74 FR 13926 (March 27, 2009)].
    The licensee currently maintains a security system acceptable to 
the NRC and will continue to provide acceptable physical protection of 
Palisades in lieu of the new requirements in 10 CFR Part 73. Therefore, 
the extension of the implementation date of the new requirements of 10 
CFR Part 73 to August 31, 2010, would not have any significant 
environmental impacts.
    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 
Palisades, dated February 1978, supplemented by NUREG-1437, Supplement 
27, ``Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of 
Nuclear Plants,'' dated October 12, 2006.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with its stated policy, March 8, 2010, the NRC staff 
consulted with the Michigan State official, Mr. Ken Yale, 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 January 14, 2010, as supplemented by letter 
dated February 16, 2010. Portions of January 14, 2010, and February 16, 
2010, submittals contain security related information and, accordingly, 
are not available to the public. Other 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 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 18th day of March 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Mahesh Chawla,
Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch LPL III -1, Division of 
Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-6634 Filed 3-24-10; 8:45 am]