[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 68 (Thursday, April 8, 2004)]
[Notices]
[Pages 18654-18655]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E4-781]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 50-317]


Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant; Environmental Assessment and 
Finding of No Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
issuance of an amendment to Facility Operating License No. DPR-53, 
issued to Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Inc. (the licensee), for 
operation of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant, Unit No. 1 
(CCNPP1), located in Calvert County, MD. Therefore, as required by 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 increase the maximum enrichment limit of 
fuel assemblies stored in the CCNPP1 spent fuel pool from 4.52 weight 
percent U 235 to 5.00 weight percent U 235. This 
would be accomplished by the licensee taking credit for soluble boron 
in maintaining acceptable margins of subcriticality. The proposed 
action only relates to Unit 1 because the storage racks in the Unit 2 
spent fuel pool are of a different design, and require different 
controls. The Unit 2 spent fuel pool will remain at the current 
enrichment level of 4.52 weight percent U 235. The proposed 
action will result in modification of Technical Specification (TS) 
Section 4.3.1, ``Criticality,'' addition of a new Section 3.7.16, 
``Spent Fuel Pool Boron Concentration,'' and addition of a license 
condition to require the development of a long-term coupon surveillance 
program for the Carborundum samples.
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application dated May 1, 2003, as supplemented September 25, 2003, 
November 3, 2003, and February 25, 2004.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    The proposed action would allow the number of fresh fuel assemblies 
per cycle to be decreased, through allowing the maximum enrichment for 
fresh fuel to be increased to 5.00 weight percent U 235 and 
allowing credit for soluble boron in the spent fuel pool. Through 
decreasing the number of fresh fuel assemblies per cycle, Independent 
Spent Fuel Storage Installation storage requirements will decrease, 
permanent Department of Energy storage requirements will decrease, and 
fuel cycle costs will decrease. Currently, TS Section 4.3.1, 
``Criticality'', limits the maximum enrichment for fuel assemblies to 
4.52 weight percent U 235, and does not allow the licensee 
to take credit for soluble boron in the spent fuel pool. Thus, the 
proposed changes to the TSs were requested.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC has completed its safety evaluation of the proposed action 
and concludes that the storage and use of fuel enriched with U 
235 up to 5.00 weight percent at CCNPP1, is acceptable. The 
staff's safety evaluation addresses safety considerations at the higher 
enrichment level, and the staff has concluded that the proposed action 
will not adversely effect plant safety.
    The proposed action will not significantly increase the probability 
or consequences of accidents. Even though there will be a higher 
enrichment of U 235 in the fuel rods, accident consequences 
will not increase. According to the TSs, the spent fuel pool will 
contain enough soluble boron to ensure both subcriticality in the event 
of a dropped rod or accidental misloading, and significant negative 
reactivity in the event of a loss of normal spent fuel pool cooling.
    No changes are being made in the types of effluents that may be 
released off site. Water and soluble boron will continue to be the 
materials used to ensure subcriticality in the spent fuel pool. There 
is no significant increase in the amount of any effluent released off 
site. Due to the higher enrichment of fuel, the boron concentration in 
the spent fuel pool will increase from the current value of 300 ppm to 
350 ppm to safely store the higher enrichment fuel in the spent fuel 
pool. The addition of 50 ppm boron is approximately a 15-percent 
increase in boron concentration, but this is not a significant increase 
in the amount of radioactive waste. Boron will continue to be collected 
on the spent fuel pool filters as the water in the spent fuel pool is 
purified. The filters are replaced periodically and treated as low-
level waste. There is no significant increase in occupational or public 
radiation exposure. Doses to workers will not increase from their 
current level due to the increased soluble boron concentration 
absorbing neutrons from the higher enrichment fuel rods in the spent 
fuel pool. Therefore, there are no significant radiological 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
    With regard to potential non-radiological impacts, the proposed 
action does not have a potential to affect any historic sites. It does 
not affect non-radiological plant effluents and has no other 
environmental impact. Therefore, there are no significant non-
radiological environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
    Accordingly, the NRC concludes that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.

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 application 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 previously considered in the Final Environmental Impact Statement 
for CCNPP1 dated April 1973, and the Final Supplemental Environmental 
Impact Statement (NUREG-1437, Supplement 1) dated October 1999.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    On August 21, 2003, the staff consulted with the Maryland State 
official, Richard McLean of the Department of the Environment, 
regarding the environmental impact of the proposed action. The State 
official had no comments.

[[Page 18655]]

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 
action.
    For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the 
licensee's letters dated May 1, 2003, September 23, 2003, November 3, 
2003, and February 25, 2004. Documents may be examined, and/or copied 
for a fee, at the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR), located at One 
White Flint North, Public File Area O1 F21, 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-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 at 1-800-
397-4209, or 301-415-4737, or send an e-mail to pdr@nrc.gov.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 2nd day of April, 2004.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Guy S. Vissing,
Senior Project Manager, Section I, Project Directorate I, Division of 
Licensing Project Management, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. E4-781 Filed 4-7-04; 8:45 am]
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