[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 217 (Wednesday, November 10, 2010)]
[Pages 69137-69138]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-28400]



 [Docket No. 50-366; NRC-2010-0345]

Southern Nuclear Operating Company Inc. Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear 
Plant, Unit No. 2 Environmental Assessment and Finding of No 
Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the 
issuance of an exemption from Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations, (10 CFR), Section 50.46, ``Acceptance criteria for 
emergency core cooling systems for light-water nuclear power 
reactors,'' and 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix K, ``ECCS Evaluation Models,'' 
for the Renewed Facility Operating License No. NPF-5, issued to 
Southern Nuclear Company (SNC, the licensee), for operation of the 
Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant (HNP), Unit 2, located in Appling County, 
Georgia. In accordance with the requirements of 10 CFR Part 51, the NRC 
has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) in support of this 
exemption. Based on the EA, the NRC has concluded that a Finding of No 
Significant Impact (FONSI) is appropriate.

[[Page 69138]]

Environmental Assessment

Identification of the Proposed Action

    The proposed action would allow SNC to use GNF-Ziron (GNF--Global 
Nuclear Fuel), an advanced alloy fuel cladding material for boiling-
water reactors which is similar in composition to Zircaloy-2, but 
contains slightly higher iron content than specified in American 
Society for Testing and Materials B350 (ASTM B350). The proposed action 
is in accordance with the licensee's application dated May 12, 2010 
(Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Accession 
No. ML101340739).

The Need for the Proposed Action

    The proposed action is needed so that SNC can use GNF-Ziron as an 
advanced alloy for fuel rod cladding and other assembly structural 
components at the HNP.
    Section 50.46 of 10 CFR and 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix K, make no 
provisions for use of fuel rods clad in a material other than zircaloy 
or ZIRLOTM. Since the chemical composition of the GNF-Ziron 
alloy differs from the specifications for zircaloy or 
ZIRLOTM, a plant-specific exemption is required to allow the 
use of the GNF-Ziron alloy as a cladding material or in other assembly 
structural components at the HNP.

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 use GNF-
Ziron fuel rod cladding material 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 Safety Analysis Report. 
There will be no change to radioactive effluents that affect radiation 
exposures to plant workers and members of the public. No changes will 
be made to plant buildings or the site property. 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 noticeable effect on socioeconomic conditions in the 
region. Therefore, no changes to or different types of non-radiological 
environmental impacts are expected as a result of the proposed action. 
Accordingly, the NRC concludes that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action. The details 
of 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 action, the staff considered 
denial of the proposed action (i.e., the ``no-action'' alternative). 
Denial of the exemption request would result in no change in current 
environmental impacts. The environmental impacts of the proposed action 
and the alternative action 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 Edwin I. 
Hatch Nuclear Plant, Unit No. 2, dated 1978 and the Generic 
Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: 
Regarding Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2--Final Report 
(NUREG-1437, Supplement 4) dated May 2001 (ADAMS Accession No. 

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with its stated policy, on October 25, 2010, the 
staff consulted with the Georgia State official, Mr. Jim Hardeman of 
the Department of Natural Resources, 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 

Further Information

    Documents related to this action, including the application for an 
exemption and license amendment 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 Document Access and Management System (ADAMS), which 
provides text and image files of NRC's public documents. The ADAMS 
accession number for the document related to this notice, ``Edwin I. 
Hatch, Unit 2 Proposed Exemption from Fuel Cladding Material 
Requirements in 10 CFR 50.46 and 10 CFR Appendix K,'' dated May 12, 
2010, including non-proprietary publically available versions of its 
enclosures, is ML101340739. 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].
    The document may also be viewed electronically on the public 
computers located at the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR), O 1 F21, One 
White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. The PDR 
reproduction contractor will copy documents for a fee.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, November 2, 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Robert E. Martin,
Senior Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch II-1, Division of 
Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-28400 Filed 11-9-10; 8:45 am]