[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 228 (Monday, November 29, 2010)]
[Pages 73135-73136]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-29940]



[Docket Nos. 50-348 and 50-364; NRC-2009-0375]

Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc. Joseph M. Farley 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 10 CFR 
Part 73, ``Physical protection of plants and materials,'' for Facility 
Operating License Nos. NPF-2 and NPF-8, issued to Southern Nuclear 
Operating Company, Inc. (SNC, the licensee), for operation of the 
Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2 (FNP), located in Houston 
County, Alabama. 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 

Environmental Assessment

Identification of the Proposed Action

    The proposed action would exempt the FNP from the required 
implementation date of March 31, 2010, for several new requirements of 
10 CFR Part 73. Specifically, FNP 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. Instead, the licensee has 
proposed an alternate full compliance implementation date of July 15, 
2011. 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 FNP site.
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application dated September 10, 2010, as supplemented by letter dated 
October 5, 2010.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    The proposed action is needed to provide the licensee with 
additional time to perform the required upgrades to the FNP security 
system due to resource and logistical constraints. Previously, by 
letters dated June 9 and July 31, 2009, SNC submitted a request for an 
exemption from the compliance date identified in 10 CFR 73.55 for three 
specific requirements of 10 CFR 73.55. The NRC staff reviewed the 
request and by letter dated August 27, 2009, granted an exemption to 
the March 31, 2010, compliance date for the 3 specific requirements 
identified within the SNC exemption request until December 15, 2010. 
Subsequently, by letters dated September 10 and October 5, 2010, SNC 
submitted an additional request for an exemption to the compliance date 
identified in 10 CFR 73.55. The licensee has requested a further 
exemption from the March 31, 2010, compliance date stating that a 
number of issues, including unforeseen growth in the amount of design 
work required, design product loss due to computer hardware failures, 
and weather-related construction delays, will present a significant 
challenge to timely completion of the project related to certain 
requirements in 10 CFR 73.55. Specifically, the request is to extend 
the compliance date for three specific requirements from the current 

[[Page 73136]]

31, 2010 deadline, as extended for this specific licensee to December 
15, 2010, by the exemption granted on August 27, 2009, until July 15, 
2011. Being granted this exemption for these items will allow the 
licensee to complete the modifications designed to update equipment and 
incorporate state-of-the-art technology to meet the noted regulatory 

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC staff has completed its environmental assessment of the 
proposed exemption and 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. There 
will be no change to radioactive effluents that effect radiation 
exposures to plant workers and members of the public. The proposed 
action does not involve a change to plant buildings or land areas on 
the FNP site. 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 
staff concludes that there are no significant environmental impacts 
associated with the proposed action.
    The licensee currently maintains a security system acceptable to 
the NRC and the NRC expects that the licensee will continue to maintain 
the effectiveness of the overall physical protection program and 
protective strategy for the duration of this exemption. Therefore, the 
extension of the implementation date of the new requirements of 10 CFR 
Part 73 to July 15, 2011, 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.

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. The environmental impacts of the proposed 
exemption and technical specification change 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 FNP, as 
supplemented through the ``Generic Environmental Impact Statement for 
License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant, 
Units 1 and 2--Final Report (NUREG--1437, Supplement 18).''

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with its stated policy, on November 15, 2010, the NRC 
staff consulted with the Alabama State official, Mr. David Walters of 
the Alabama Department of Public Health, 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 staff 
concludes that the proposed action will not have a significant effect 
on the quality of the human environment. Accordingly, the NRC staff has 
determined not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the 
proposed action.
    For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the 
licensee's letters dated September 10, 2010 and October 5, 2009. The 
licensee has provided a redacted version of the September 10, 2010 
letter that is publically available and the October 5, 2010 transmittal 
letter is publically available. The edition of the September 10, 2010 
letter and its enclosure and the enclosure to the October 5, 2010 
letter that contains proprietary security-related information is 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, 11555 Rockville Pike, 
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 19th day of November, 2010.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Robert E. Martin,
Sr. Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch II-1, Division of Operating 
Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-29940 Filed 11-26-10; 8:45 am]