[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 7 (Tuesday, January 11, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 1911-1912]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-479]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 72-11]


Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Rancho Seco Independent 
Spent Fuel Storage Installation; Issuance of Environmental Assessment 
and Finding of No Significant Impact Regarding a Proposed Exemption and 
Conforming Amendment

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Environmental assessment.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy M. Snyder, Project Manager, Spent 
Fuel Project Office, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555. Telephone: 
(301) 415-8580; fax number: (301) 425-8555; e-mail: ams3@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) 
is considering issuance of an exemption, pursuant to 10 CFR 72.7, from 
the provisions of 10 CFR 72.44(d)(3), to the Sacramento Municipal 
Utility District (SMUD or the licensee). The requested exemption (in 
conjunction with a conforming license amendment) would relieve SMUD 
from the requirement to submit an annual radioactive effluent report 
for the Rancho Seco Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation 
(ISFSI). SMUD submitted the exemption request by letter dated July 19, 
2004, in which it also requested an amendment to the Rancho Seco ISFSI 
license; specifically, the deletion of Technical Specification 5.5.2., 
Radiological Environmental Monitoring Program, item (d). The licensee 
is currently storing spent nuclear fuel at the Rancho Seco ISFSI on the 
site of the decommissioned Rancho Seco Nuclear Generating Station in 
Sacramento County, California.

Environmental Assessment (EA)

    Identification of Proposed Action: SMUD has requested both an 
exemption and a conforming license amendment to obtain relief from the 
requirement to submit an annual radioactive effluent report for the 
Rancho Seco ISFSI. According to 10 CFR 72.44(d), each 10 CFR part 72 
license must include technical specifications regarding radioactive 
effluents. Specifically, 10 CFR 72.44(d)(3) requires that an annual 
report be submitted to the NRC, specifying the quantity of each of the 
principal radionuclides released to the environment in liquid and in 
gaseous effluents during the previous 12 months of ISFSI operation. In 
addition to the regulation itself, the Rancho Seco ISFSI Technical 
Specifications (Appendix to License No. SNM-2510), section 5.5.2, 
Radiological Environmental Monitoring Program, item d., requires an 
annual report to be submitted pursuant to 10 CFR 72.44(d)(3).
    The proposed action before the NRC is whether to grant the 
exemption and conforming amendment.
    Need for the Proposed Action: The requirements of 10 CFR 
72.44(d)(3) and Rancho Seco ISFSI Technical Specification 5.5.2.d. 
impose certain regulatory obligations, with associated costs, on the 
licensee. In its Safety Evaluation Report related to the ISFSI license, 
the staff found that there are no credible scenarios by which liquid or 
gaseous effluents could be released from the dry shielded canister. The 
licensee further stated that any concerns over small quantities of 
gaseous or liquid effluent that may be produced during cask loading and 
transfer decontamination activities are no longer relevant, since all 
the spent fuel has been transferred to the ISFSI, and that the NUHOMS-
24P dry cask storage system used at the Rancho Seco ISFSI is a passive 
system which, by design, produces no gaseous or liquid effluent.
    Granting the requested exemption and approving the conforming 
amendment will relieve the licensee from the requirement to submit an 
annual radioactive effluent report pursuant to 10 CFR 72.44(d)(3). The 
requirement to submit an annual radioactive effluent monitoring report 
is not needed for this facility in its current configuration and is an 
unnecessary administrative burden. Thus, the licensee would not have to 
incur the costs associated with preparing and submitting an annual 
ISFSI radioactive effluent report.

[[Page 1912]]

    Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action: The NRC has reviewed 
the exemption request submitted by the licensee and determined that not 
requiring the licensee to submit an annual report pursuant to 10 CFR 
72.44(d)(3) is an administrative change and would have no significant 
impacts to the environment.
    Further, NRC has evaluated the impact to public safety that would 
result in granting the requested exemption. NRC determined that not 
requiring the licensee to submit an annual report specifying principal 
radionuclides released to the environment in liquid and in gaseous 
effluents does not impact pubic safety because the design basis for the 
Rancho Seco ISFSI is such that it is a passive system that generates no 
effluents during fuel storage. Thus, there should be no releases to the 
environment of either liquid or gaseous effluents from normal 
operations of the Rancho Seco ISFSI.
    The proposed actions would not increase the probability or 
consequences of accidents, no changes would be made to the types of 
effluents that may be released offsite, and there would be no increase 
in occupational or public radiation exposure. Therefore, there are no 
significant radiological environmental impacts associated with the 
proposed action. Additionally, the proposed action would have no 
significant non-radiological impacts.
    Alternative to the Proposed Action: As an alternative to the 
proposed action, the staff considered denial of the exemption and 
conforming amendment requests (i.e., the ``no-action'' alternative). 
Approval or denial of the exemption and conforming amendment requests 
would result in no change in the environmental impacts. Therefore, the 
environmental impacts of the proposed action and the alternative action 
are similar.
    Agencies and Persons Consulted: The NRC staff prepared this 
environmental assessment (EA); no other sources were used. On September 
28, 2004, the staff contacted Mr. Steven Hsu of the California 
Department of Health Services, Radiologic Health Branch, and 
subsequently provided him a draft copy of this EA for review. The State 
of California responded to the NRC by e-mail on October 1, 2004, and 
stated it had no comments at this time on the EA or the Finding of No 
Significant Impact. The NRC staff has determined that consultation 
under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act is not required for this 
specific exemption, which involves an administrative change and will 
not affect listed species or critical habitat. The NRC staff has also 
determined that the proposed action is not a type of activity having 
the potential to cause effects on historic properties. Therefore, no 
consultation is required under Section 106 of the National Historic 
Preservation Act.
    Conclusions: The staff has reviewed the exemption and conforming 
amendment requests submitted by SMUD and has determined that relieving 
the licensee from the requirement to submit an annual radioactive 
effluent report pursuant to 10 CFR 72.44(d)(3) and the Rancho Seco 
ISFSI Technical Specifications is an administrative change, and would 
have no significant impact on the environment.

Finding of No Significant Impact

    The environmental impacts of the proposed action have been reviewed 
in accordance with the requirements set forth in 10 CFR Part 51. Based 
upon the foregoing EA, the NRC finds that the proposed action of 
granting the exemption and approving the conforming amendment to the 
license will not significantly impact the quality of the human 
environment. Accordingly, the NRC has determined that an environmental 
impact statement for the proposed exemption and conforming amendment is 
not warranted.
    The request for the exemption and amendment was docketed under 10 
CFR Part 72, Docket 72-11. For further details with respect to this 
action, see the request for the exemption and proposed license 
amendment dated July 19, 2004. The NRC maintains an Agencywide 
Documents Access Management System (ADAMS), which provides text and 
image files of NRC's public documents. However, as of October 25, 2004, 
the NRC initiated an additional security review of publicly available 
documents to ensure that potentially sensitive information is removed 
from the ADAMS database accessible through the NRC's Web site. 
Interested members of the public should check the NRC's Web pages for 
updates on the availability of documents through the ADAMS system. When 
public availability is restored, these documents may be accessed 
through the NRC's Public Electronic Reading Room on the Internet at: 
http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. After resumption of public 
access to ADAMS, copies of the referenced documents will also be 
available for review at the NRC Public Document Room (PDR), located at 
11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. PDR reference staff can be 
contacted at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737 or by e-mail to pdr@nrc.gov. 
The PDR reproduction contractor will copy documents for a fee.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 3rd day of January, 2005.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Amy M. Snyder,
Project Manager, Spent Fuel Project Office, Office of Nuclear Material 
Safety and Safeguards.
[FR Doc. 05-479 Filed 1-10-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P