[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 173 (Wednesday, September 8, 2010)]
[Pages 54657-54660]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-22392]



[Docket No. 50-083; NRC-2010-0293]

University of Florida; University of Florida Training Reactor; 
Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) is 
considering issuance of a renewed Facility Operating License No. R-56, 
to the University of Florida (the licensee), which would authorize 
continued operation of the University of Florida Training Reactor 
(UFTR) located in Gainesville, Alachua County, Florida. Therefore, as 
required by Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (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 renew Facility Operating License No. R-56 
for a period of 20 years from the date of issuance of the renewed 
license. The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application dated July 18, 2002, as supplemented by letters dated July 
25, July 29, and July 31, 2002, February 25, 2003, August 8, 2006, 
February 2, 2007, April 7 and November 26, 2008, September 28 and 
October 20, 2009, and February 26, March 11, March 26, May 3, and June 
1, 2010. In accordance with 10 CFR 2.109, the existing license remains 
in effect until the NRC takes final action on the renewal application.
    Need for the Proposed Action:
    The proposed action is needed to allow the continued operation of 
the UFTR to routinely provide teaching, research, and services to 
numerous institutions for a period of 20 years.
    Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action:
    The NRC staff has completed its draft safety evaluation of the 
proposed action to issue a renewed Facility Operating License No. R-56 
to allow continued operation of the UFTR for a period of 20 years and 
tentatively concludes there is reasonable assurance that the UFTR will 
continue to operate safely for the additional period of time. The 
details of the NRC staff's final safety evaluation will be provided 
with the renewed license that will be issued as part of the letter to 
the licensee approving its license renewal application. This document 
contains the environmental assessment of the proposed action.
    The UFTR is located in the Nuclear Reactor Building in the 
northeast quadrant of the University of Florida campus, approximately 
1600 meters (1 mile) southwest of downtown Gainesville, Florida. 
Gainesville is located in the approximate center of Alachua County, 
which covers 975 square miles in the north-central part of Florida 
about midway between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The 
reactor is housed in a vault-type building which serves as a 
confinement. The Nuclear Reactor Building and its annex, the Nuclear 
Sciences Center, are located in an area with laboratory and classroom 
buildings comprising the College of Engineering and the College of 
Journalism. The nearest permanent residence is the East Hall Housing 
facility, located 190 meters (210 yards) due west of the Nuclear 
Reactor Building. The UFTR site is 30 meters (33 yards) due south of 
Reed Laboratory; 122 meters (134 yards) due north of the

[[Page 54658]]

J. W. Reitz Union building; 15 meters (16 yards) due west of the 
Journalism Building (Weimer Hall) and 76 meters (83 yards) due east of 
the Materials Building (Rhines Hall). The J. Hillis Miller Health 
Center complex is 795 meters (870 yards) southeast of the UFTR and most 
of the University of Florida residence halls, fraternity houses, and 
Lake Alice are found within 850 (930 yards) to 1,220 meters (1,334 
yards) from the UFTR. There are no industrial, transportation, or 
military facilities in the immediate vicinity of the UFTR. The nearest 
airport is approximately 8 kilometers (5 miles) due northeast.
    The UFTR is a modified Argonaut type, graphite-moderated, graphite-
reflected, light water cooled reactor. It is currently licensed for 100 
kilowatts thermal (kW(t)) steady state power with a maximum power of 
125 kW(t) limited by the protection system. The reactor is used for 
instruction and university research activities. The reactor is fueled 
with low-enriched uranium-aluminum fuel contained in MTR-type plates 
assembled in bundles. Reactivity control is provided by 3 safety 
control blades and 1 regulating control blade. A detailed description 
of the reactor can be found in the UFTR Safety Analysis Report (SAR). 
The major modification since 1981 was the conversion from high enriched 
uranium fuel to low-enriched uranium fuel in 2006.
    The licensee has not requested any changes to the facility design 
or operating conditions as part of this renewal request. No changes are 
being made in the types or quantities of effluents that may be released 
off site. The licensee has systems in place for controlling the release 
of radiological effluents and implements a radiation protection program 
to monitor personnel exposures and releases of radioactive effluents. 
As discussed in the NRC staff's safety evaluation, the systems and 
radiation protection program are appropriate for the types and 
quantities of effluents expected to be generated by continued operation 
of the reactor. Accordingly, there would be no increase in routine 
occupational or public radiation exposure as a result of license 
renewal. As discussed in the NRC staff's safety evaluation, the 
proposed action will not significantly increase the probability or 
consequences of accidents. Therefore, license renewal would not change 
the environmental impact of facility operation. The NRC staff evaluated 
information contained in the licensee's application and data reported 
to the NRC by the licensee for the last 6 years of operation to 
determine the projected radiological impact of the facility on the 
environment during the period of the renewed license. The NRC staff 
found that releases of radioactive material and personnel exposures 
were all well within applicable regulatory limits. Based on this 
evaluation, the NRC staff concludes that continued operation of the 
reactor would not have a significant environmental impact.

I. Radiological Impact

    Environmental Effects of Reactor Operations:
    Gaseous effluents from the UFTR are discharged through the reactor 
stack which is 9 meters (30 feet) high and has a volumetric flow rate 
of approximately 7.4 cubic meters (261 cubic feet) per second. Other 
release pathways do exist; however, they are normally secured during 
reactor operation and they have insignificant flow rates compared to 
the facility stack exhaust system. The only significant nuclide found 
in the gaseous effluent stream is argon-41 (Ar-41). The licensee 
performed measurements of Ar-41 production during reactor operation. 
Licensee calculations, based on those measurements, indicate that the 
annual Ar-41 releases resulted in an offsite concentration of 8.81 E-10 
microcuries per milliliter ([mu]Ci/ml) of air, which is below the limit 
of 1.0 E-8 [mu]Ci/ml specified in 10 CFR Part 20, Appendix B, for Ar-41 
effluent releases in air. The NRC staff performed an independent 
calculation and found the licensee's calculation to be reasonable. The 
potential radiation dose to a member of the general public resulting 
from this concentration is approximately 0.044 milliSieverts (mSv) (4.4 
millirem) per year and this demonstrates compliance with the annual 
dose limit of 1 mSv (100 millirem) set by 10 CFR 20.1301. Additionally, 
this potential radiation dose demonstrates compliance with the air 
emissions dose constraint of 0.1 mSv (10 millirem) per year specified 
in 10 CFR 20.1101(d).
    The licensee disposes of liquid radioactive wastes from the UFTR by 
discharge into an outside above-ground Waste Water Holdup Tank. Liquid 
from the tanks is analyzed for radioactivity to verify activity levels 
are within 10 CFR 20.2003 limits prior to disposal to the sanitary 
sewer. The licensee also disposes of liquids by transfer to a 
radioactive waste disposal facility, in the infrequent event that the 
liquid waste would not meet the requirements for discharge to the 
sanitary sewer. During the past 6 years, the licensee reported only 
routine releases of liquid radioactive waste once or twice each year to 
the sanitary sewerage system. The maximum concentration was less than 
5.0 E-9 [mu]Ci/ml, which is well within the 10 CFR Part 20, Appendix B, 
limit for monthly average concentration of 1 E-7 [micro]Ci/ml for beta/
gamma emitters released to the sewer.
    The licensee may transfer solid low-level radioactive waste from 
the UFTR to the University of Florida Radiation Control Office for 
appropriate disposal, or may transfer solid low-level waste directly to 
an authorized carrier or waste processor. The waste consists of 
irradiated samples, packaging materials, contaminated gloves and 
clothing, demineralizer resins, filters, and other similar items. The 
licensee did transfer spent nuclear fuel to the U.S. Department of 
Energy (DOE) from the site following the conversion to low-enriched 
uranium fuel. To comply with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, the 
University of Florida has entered into a contract with the DOE that 
provides that DOE retains title to the fuel utilized at the UFTR and 
that DOE is obligated to take the fuel from the site for final 
    As described in Chapter 11 of the UFTR SAR, personnel exposures are 
well within the limits set by 10 CFR 20.1201 and are as low as is 
reasonably achievable (ALARA). The licensee tracks personnel exposures 
which are usually less than 0.5 mSv (50 millirem) per year. The 
University of Florida ALARA program requires the Radiation Control 
Officer to investigate any annual personnel exposures greater than 1.25 
mSv (125 millirem) in a calendar quarter for UFTR Operations Personnel 
and greater than 0.5 mSv (50 millirem) in a calendar quarter for Non-
Operations personnel. No changes in reactor operation that would lead 
to an increase in occupational dose are expected as a result of the 
proposed action.
    The licensee conducts an environmental monitoring program to record 
and track the radiological impact of UFTR operation on the surrounding 
unrestricted area. The program consists of quarterly exposure 
measurements at twenty monitoring stations immediately surrounding the 
UFTR and 6 monitoring stations within 8 kilometers (5 miles) of the 
UFTR. In addition, samples are collected of water, soil, and vegetation 
at twenty-two locations within 300 meters (328 yards) of the UFTR. The 
Radiation Control Officer administers the program and maintains the 
appropriate records. Over the past 6 years, the survey program 
indicated that radiation exposures and sample results at the monitoring 
locations were not significantly higher than those measured at the 
control locations. Year-to-year trends in exposures and sample results 
are consistent between

[[Page 54659]]

monitoring locations. Also, no correlation exists between total annual 
reactor operation and annual exposures and sample results at the 
monitoring locations. Based on the NRC staff's review of the past 6 
years of data, the NRC staff concludes that operation of the UFTR does 
not have any significant radiological impact on the surrounding 
environment. No changes in reactor operation that would affect off-site 
radiation levels are expected as a result of license renewal.
    Environmental Effects of Accidents:
    Accident scenarios are discussed in Chapter 13 of the UFTR SAR. The 
maximum hypothetical accident (MHA) is a core-crushing accident which 
would result in the uncontrolled release of the gaseous fission 
products from exposed fuel surfaces to the reactor building and into 
the environment. The licensee conservatively calculated doses to 
facility personnel and the maximum potential dose to a member of the 
public. NRC staff performed independent calculations to verify that the 
doses represent conservative estimates for the MHA. Occupational doses 
resulting from this accident would be well below 10 CFR 20.1201 limit 
of 50 mSv (5000 millirem). Maximum doses for members of the public 
resulting from this accident would be well below 10 CFR 20.1301 limit 
of 1 mSv (100 millirem). The proposed action will not increase the 
probability or consequences of accidents.

II. Non-Radiological Impact

    The UFTR core is cooled by a light water primary system consisting 
of a 200-gallon coolant storage tank, a heat removal system, and a 
processing system. Primary coolant water from the reactor core flows by 
gravity into the primary storage tank where the primary pump circulates 
water from the primary storage tank through the heat exchanger and 
returns it into the fuel boxes of the core. Heat is removed by the 
secondary coolant system, which uses well water. The secondary coolant 
water is discharged into the storm sewer with no mixing of water 
between the two systems. The secondary system water pressure is 
maintained slightly higher than the primary system to minimize the 
likelihood of primary system contamination entering the secondary 
system if a heat exchanger leak were to develop. The licensee conducts 
periodic tests of the heat exchanger to further reduce the likelihood 
of secondary system contamination.
    Release of thermal effluents from the UFTR will not have a 
significant effect on the environment. Given that the proposed action 
does not involve any change in the operation of the reactor and the 
heat load dissipated to the environment, the NRC staff concludes that 
the proposed action will not have a significant impact on the local 
water supply.
    National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and Other Considerations:
    NRC has responsibilities that are derived from NEPA and from other 
environmental laws, which include the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 
Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), National Historic Preservation Act 
(NHPA), Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA) and Executive Order 
(EO) 12898 Environmental Justice. Preparing this EA satisfies the 
agency's obligations under NEPA. The NRC also uses this EA to address 
the requirements of the laws and EO mentioned above. The following 
presents a brief discussion of impacts associated with these laws and 
other requirements:

I. Endangered Species Act

    Federally- or State-listed protected species have not been found in 
the vicinity of the UFTR. Effluents and emissions from the UFTR have 
not had an impact on critical habitat.

II. Coastal Zone Management Act

    The UFTR is not located within any managed coastal zones nor would 
UFTR effluents and emissions impact any managed coastal zones.

III. National Historical Preservation Act

    The NHPA requires Federal agencies to consider the effects of their 
undertakings on historic properties. The National Register of Historic 
Places (NRHP) lists several historical sites located on or near the 
University of Florida campus. The nearest historical site is the 
College Hill West Historical District, located 0.8 km (0.5 miles) from 
the UFTR site boundary. Given the distance between the facility and the 
College Hill West Historical District, continued operation of the UFTR 
will not impact any historical sites. Based on this information, the 
NRC finds that the potential impacts of license renewal would have no 
adverse effect on historic and archaeological resources.

IV. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act

    The licensee is not planning any water resource development 
projects, including any of the modifications relating to impounding a 
body of water, damming, diverting a stream or river, deepening a 
channel, irrigation, or altering a body of water for navigation or 

V. Executive Order 12898--Environmental Justice

    The environmental justice impact analysis evaluates the potential 
for disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental 
effects on minority and low-income populations that could result from 
the relicensing and the continued operation of the UFTR. Such effects 
may include human health, ecological, cultural, economic, or social 
impacts. Minority and low-income populations are subsets of the general 
public residing around the UFTR and all are exposed to the same health 
and environmental effects generated from activities at the UFTR.
    Minority populations in the vicinity of the UFTR--According to 2000 
census data, 21.4 percent of the population (approximately 855,000 
individuals) residing within a 80 kilometer (50-mile) radius of UFTR 
identified themselves as minority individuals. The largest minority was 
Black or African American (120,000 persons or 14.1 percent), followed 
by Hispanic or Latino (41,000 or 4.8 percent). According to the U.S. 
Census Bureau, about 30.3 percent of the Alachua County population 
identified themselves as minorities with persons of Black or African 
American origin comprising the largest minority group (19.3 percent). 
According to the census data 3-year average estimates for 2006-2008, 
the minority population of Alachua County, as a percent of the total 
population, had increased to 32.9 percent.
    Low-income Populations in the Vicinity of the UFTR--According to 
2000 Census data, approximately 23,000 families and 128,000 individuals 
(approximately 10.3 and 14.9 percent, respectively) residing within a 
50-mile radius of the UFTR were identified as living below the Federal 
poverty threshold in 1999. The 1999 Federal poverty threshold was 
$17,029 for a family of four.
    According to Census data in the 2006-2008 American Community Survey 
3-Year Estimates, the median household income for Florida was $48,637, 
while 12.6 percent of the state population and 9.0 percent of families 
were determined to be living below the Federal poverty threshold. 
Alachua County had a lower median household income average ($40,987) 
and higher percentages (22.3 percent) of individuals and families (10.3 
percent) living below the poverty level, respectively.
    Impact Analysis--Potential impacts to minority and low-income 
populations would mostly consist of radiological effects; however 
radiation doses from

[[Page 54660]]

continued operations associated with this license renewal are expected 
to continue at current levels, and would be well below regulatory 
    Based on this information and the analysis of human health and 
environmental impacts presented in this environmental assessment, the 
proposed relicensing would not have disproportionately high and adverse 
human health and environmental effects on minority and low-income 
populations residing in the vicinity of UFTR.
    Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action:
    As an alternative to license renewal, the NRC considered denying 
the proposed action. If the NRC denied the request for license renewal, 
reactor operations would cease and decommissioning would be required. 
The NRC notes that, even with a renewed license, the UFTR will 
eventually be decommissioned, at which time the environmental effects 
of decommissioning would occur. Decommissioning would be conducted in 
accordance with an NRC-approved decommissioning plan which would 
require a separate environmental review under 10 CFR 51.21. Cessation 
of facility operations would reduce or eliminate radioactive effluents 
and emissions. However, as previously discussed in this environmental 
assessment, radioactive effluents and emissions from reactor operations 
constitute a small fraction of the applicable regulatory limits. 
Therefore, the environmental impacts of license renewal and the denial 
of the request for license renewal would be similar. In addition, 
denying the request for license renewal would eliminate the benefits of 
teaching, research, and services provided by the UFTR.
    Alternative Use of Resources:
    The proposed action does not involve the use of any different 
resources or significant quantities of resources beyond those 
previously considered in the issuance of Amendment No. 13 to Facility 
Operating License No. R-56 for the University of Florida Training 
Reactor dated August 30, 1982, which renewed the Facility Operating 
License for a period of 20 years.
    Agencies and Persons Consulted:
    In accordance with the Agency's stated policy, on March 15, 2010, 
the staff consulted with the State Liaison Officer, regarding the 
environmental impact of the proposed action. The consultation involved 
a thorough explanation of the environmental review, the details of this 
environmental assessment, and the NRC staff's findings. The State 
official stated that he understood the NRC review and had no comments 
regarding the proposed action.
    The NRC staff also provided information about the proposed activity 
to the State Office of Historical Preservation on March 16, 2010. The 
Office of Historical Preservation agreed with the NRC regarding the 
conclusions of the historical assessment.
    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 application dated July 18, 2002 [ML022130145 and 
ML022130185]; as supplemented by letters dated July 25, 2002 
[ML022130230 and ML022130244]; July 29, 2002 [ML022130140]; July 31, 
2002 [ML081340724]; February 25, 2003 [ML102240048]; August 8, 2006 
[ML062230078]; February 2, 2007 [ML102240038]; April 7, 2008 
[ML081350571]; November 26, 2008 [ML083450718]; September 28, 2009 
[ML093620300]; October 20, 2009 [ML100430693]; February 26, 2010 
[ML100610445]; March 11, 2010 [ML100710497]; March 26, 2010 
[ML100880334]; May 3, 2010 [ML101250177]; and June 1, 2010 
[ML101590221] and annual progress reports [ML090500396, ML092390117, 
ML092390039, ML092440258, ML092440257 and ML060190085]. 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-room/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 August 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Jessie F. Quichocho,
Chief, Research and Test Reactors Licensing Branch, Division of Policy 
and Rulemaking, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-22392 Filed 9-7-10; 8:45 am]