[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 216 (Wednesday, November 7, 2012)]
[Page 66874]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-27185]

[[Page 66874]]




Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Weaver, Project Manager, Office 
of Nuclear Regulatory Research, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Washington, DC 20555-0001; telephone: 301-251-7654; email: 
[email protected].


I. Introduction

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) is 
preparing to initiate a paleoliquefaction research project to 
characterize historic earthquakes in the Central and Eastern United 
States. Geologic reconnaissance will be performed along select river 
banks in the states of Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, 
Tennessee and Virginia as part of this project. Paleoliquefaction 
features are geologic features such as sand blows and sand dikes that 
formed during historic and pre-historic earthquakes as a result of soil 
liquefaction, where soil liquefaction is the process of water pressure 
increasing in the soil due to cyclic shaking with an associated 
significant decrease in soil strength. The results from this research 
will be used to update models implemented in probabilistic seismic 
hazard analyses, which are used in evaluating sites for new nuclear 
power reactors to characterize ground motions in accordance with 
section 100.23(d)(1) of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 
    The NRC has prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate 
the potential environmental impacts that may arise as a result of this 
research project in accordance with the requirements of 10 CFR part 51, 
NRC's regulation implementing Section 102(2) of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 as amended. Based on the EA, and in 
accordance with 10 CFR 51.31(a), the NRC has concluded that a Finding 
of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is appropriate. Field work for this 
project will commence following publication of this document.

II. EA Summary

    The NRC has prepared the EA to evaluate the potential environmental 
impacts of the geologic reconnaissance to be performed along select 
rivers for this project. In accordance with Section 7 of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), the NRC staff 
requested informal consultation with the United States Fish and 
Wildlife Service. No concerns were identified for Federally listed 
species or designated critical habitat. This project is temporary, 
minimally invasive, and will occur outside the critical nesting times 
for migratory birds. Further, researchers will avoid mussel beds and 
active nests, and will minimize disturbance to vegetation.
    Similarly, the NRC determined that there will be no adverse effects 
to any historic or cultural resources that may be located in the 
paleoliquefaction study's area of potential effects (APE) within the 
states of Arkansas and Missouri. The State Historic Preservation 
Officers (SHPOs) of Arkansas and Missouri have concurred with this 
finding. Consultation will be initiated with the Kentucky, Mississippi, 
Tennessee, and Virginia SHPOs and the National Historic Preservation 
Act, Section 106 process will be completed prior to commencing any 
ground disturbing activities in those states.
    Finally, the NRC has determined that there will be no significant 
impacts to any other resource areas (e.g., surface water, groundwater, 
air quality) as a result of the paleoliquefaction research study.

III. Finding of No Significant Impact

    On the basis of the EA, NRC has concluded that there are no 
significant environmental impacts from the proposed paleoliquefaction 
research study and has determined not to prepare an environmental 
impact statement.

IV. Further Information

    Documents related to this action, including 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 numbers for the documents related 
to this notice are: ML12306A311. 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 email to [email protected].
    These documents 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.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 2nd day of November, 2012.
Rosemary T. Hogan,
Chief, Structural, Geotechnical, and Seismic Engineering Branch, 
Division of Engineering, Office of Research.
[FR Doc. 2012-27185 Filed 11-6-12; 8:45 am]