[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 92 (Wednesday, May 12, 2004)]
[Notices]
[Pages 26417-26418]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-10734]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 70-1151]


Westinghouse Electric Company LLC., Environmental Assessment and 
Issuance of Finding of No Significant Impact Related to Proposed 
Exemption From the Annual Physical Inventory Frequency Requirement of 
the Fundamental Nuclear Material Control Plan

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Finding of no significant impact and environmental assessment.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Don Stout, Fuel Cycle Facilities 
Branch, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Mail Stop T8-A33, Washington DC 20555-0001, telephone (301) 415-5269 
and e-mail des1@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the 
issuance of an amendment to NRC Materials License SNM-1107 to allow a 
one-time exemption that extends the SNM physical inventory completion 
date by four days at the Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC, (WEC) 
facility in Columbia, South Carolina, and has prepared an Environmental 
Assessment (EA) in support of this action. Based upon the EA, the NRC 
has concluded that a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is 
appropriate, and, therefore, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 
will not be prepared.

II. Environmental Assessment

Background

    The WEC, Nuclear Fuel, Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility 
fabricates nuclear fuel assemblies containing low-enriched uranium 
oxide for use in commercial nuclear power reactors. The NRC staff has 
received an exemption request (Ref. 1), dated November 21, 2003, to 
exempt WEC from 10 CFR 74.31(c)(5), requirements that SNM physical 
inventories be performed at least every 12 months. In Section 5.3.1 of 
the licensee's NRC approved Fundamental Nuclear Material Control Plan 
(FNMC), WEC specifies an annual SNM physical inventory will be 
performed at an interval of at least every 12 months, plus or minus 30 
days. Because the last SNM physical inventory was performed on April 
18, 2003, the next physical inventory is required to be completed no 
later than May 18, 2004. WEC requested a license amendment to allow a 
one-time exemption that extends the SNM physical inventory completion 
date to May 22, 2004. The purpose of this document is to assess the 
environmental consequences of the proposed exemption.

Review Scope

    The purpose of this EA is to assess the environmental impacts of 
the exemption request. It does not approve the request. This EA is 
limited to the extension of the SNM physical inventory date to May 22, 
2004, at the Columbia facility. The existing conditions and operations 
for the Columbia facility were evaluated by the NRC for environmental 
impacts in a July 12, 1995, EA related to the renewal of the WEC 
license (Ref. 2). This assessment will determine whether to issue a 
FONSI or to prepare an EIS. Should the NRC issue a FONSI, no EIS will 
be prepared.

Proposed Action

    The proposed action is to grant an exemption from the requirements 
in 10 CFR 74.31(c)(5) and allow WEC to extend the completion date of 
the annual SNM physical inventory to May 22, 2004.

Purpose and Need for Proposed Action

    WEC is currently manufacturing nuclear fuel at the Columbia, South 
Carolina facility. It is requesting an extension from May 18, 2004, to 
May 22, 2004, to complete its annual SNM physical inventory. This one-
time extension expires on May 26, 2004. WEC is requesting this 
extension because it has a high production workload for the month of 
April due to the seasonal refueling activities. WEC has indicated that 
the high production workload may cause significant challenges to 
achieving a successful and complete physical inventory.

Alternatives

    The alternatives available to the NRC are:
    1. Approve the exemption request as submitted;
    2. No action (i.e., deny the exemption request).

Affected Environment

    The affected environment for Alternatives 1 and 2 is the WEC site. 
A full description of the site and its characteristics is given in the 
1995 EA related to the renewal of the WEC license (Ref.1). This plant 
is located in the central part of South Carolina in Richland County, 
approximately 8 miles southeast of Columbia. The plant is set back 
approximately 1800 feet from the nearest roadway on a plot of 
approximately 1,156 acres near the Congaree River. The site is bounded 
to the north by Highway 48 (Bluff Road), and by the Congaree River to 
the south. The area adjacent to the site consists primarily of forest.

Effluent Releases and Monitoring

    A full description of the effluent monitoring program at the site 
is provided in the 1995 EA related to the renewal of the WEC license 
(Ref. 2). The WEC-Columbia facility conducts effluent and environmental 
monitoring programs to evaluate potential public health impacts and 
comply with the NRC effluent and environmental monitoring requirements. 
The effluent program monitors the airborne, liquid,

[[Page 26418]]

and solid waste streams produced during operation of the facility. The 
environmental program monitors the air, surface water, sediment, soil, 
groundwater, and vegetation in and around the Columbia plant.
    Airborne, liquid, and solid effluent streams that contain 
radioactive material generated at the Columbia facility are monitored 
to ensure compliance with NRC regulations in 10 CFR Part 20. The 
results of effluent monitoring are reported on a semi-annual basis to 
the NRC in accordance with 10 CFR 70.59.
    Airborne and liquid effluents are also monitored for 
nonradiological constituents in accordance with State discharge 
permits. For the purpose of this EA, the State of South Carolina is 
expected to set limits on effluents under its regulatory control that 
are protective of health and safety and the local environment.

Environmental Impacts of Proposed Action

    The proposed action will not result in the release of any chemical 
or radiological constituents to the environment. In addition, the 
proposed action will not cause any adverse impacts to local land use, 
biotic resources, or cultural resources.

Environmental Impacts of No Action Alternative

    Under the no action alternative, WEC would have to complete the 
annual SNM physical inventory by May 18, 2004. In order to complete the 
physical inventory by May 18, 2004, WEC would encounter significant 
challenges in achieving a successful and complete physical inventory 
due to a high production workload and the sharing of common resources.
    Based on its review, the NRC staff has concluded that the 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action are 
insignificant. Thus, the staff considers that Alternative 1 is the 
appropriate alternative for selection.

Agencies and Persons Contacted

    On April 27, 2004, the NRC staff contacted the South Carolina 
Department of Health and Environmental Conservation (DHEC) concerning 
this request. Based on information provided by the NRC, concerning the 
exemption allowing the extension of the SNM physical inventory 
completion date, DHEC did not object to granting this exemption and the 
EA.
    The NRC staff has determined that consultation under Section 7 of 
the Endangered Species Act is not required because the proposed action 
is administrative in nature and will not affect listed species or 
critical habitat.
    The NRC staff has determined that the proposed action is not a type 
of activity that has potential to cause effect on historic properties 
because it is administrative in nature. Therefore, consultation under 
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act is not required.

References

    Unless otherwise noted, a copy of this document and the references 
listed below will be available electronically for public inspection in 
the NRC Public Document Room or from the Publicly Available Records 
(PARS) component of NRC's document system (ADAMS). ADAMS is accessible 
from the NRC Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html.
    1. Westinghouse Electric Company (WEC), LLC, Letter to the U.S. 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, ``Request for One-Time Exemption to 
Annual SNM Physical Inventory Frequency Requirement of Fundamental 
Nuclear Material Control (FNMC) Plan--License Number SNM-1107, Docket 
70-1151, November 21, 2003,'' ADAMS No. ML033320331.
    2. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), July 1995, 
``Environmental Assessment for Renewal of Special Nuclear Material 
License SNM-1107.''

III. Finding of No Significant Impact

    Pursuant to 10 CFR Part 51, the NRC staff has considered the 
environmental consequences of amending WEC Materials License SNM-1107 
to exempt WEC from the annual SNM physical inventory requirement in 10 
CFR 74.31(c)(5) and extend the completion date. On the basis of this 
assessment, the Commission has concluded that environmental impacts 
associated with the proposed action would not be significant and the 
Commission is making a finding of no significant impact. Accordingly, 
preparation of an EIS is not warranted.

IV. Further Information

    For further details, see the references listed above. Documents may 
be examined, and/or copied for a fee, at the NRC's Public Document Room 
(PDR), located at One White Flint North, Room O-1F21, 11555 Rockville 
Pike, Rockville, Maryland. 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 by 
e-mail to pdr@nrc.gov.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, the 5th day of May 2004.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Robert C. Pierson,
Director, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards, Office of 
Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 04-10734 Filed 5-11-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P