[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 41 (Thursday, March 3, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 10417-10418]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-4068]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket Nos. 50-321, 50-366, 50-348, 50-364, 50-424, and 50-425]


Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc., Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear 
Plant, Units 1 and 2, Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2, 
Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2; Environmental 
Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
issuance of an exemption from Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR) part 50, appendix E, and from 10 CFR 50.47(b)(3) 
for Facility Operating License Nos. DPR-57, NPF-5, NPF-2, NPF-8, NPF-
68, and NPF-81, issued to Southern Nuclear Operating Company, Inc. (the 
licensee), for operation of the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant, Units 1 
and 2 (Hatch), Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2 (Farley), 
and Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2 (Vogtle), 
respectively. 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 provide an exemption from the 
requirements of 10 CFR part 50, appendix E, and 10 CFR 50.47(b)(3) to 
permit the licensee to relocate the near-site emergency operations 
facilities (EOFs) for each plant identified above to a common EOF 
located at the licensee's corporate headquarters in Birmingham, 
Alabama.
    The need for the proposed exemption was identified by the NRC staff 
during its review of the licensee's request for approval to relocate 
the EOFs dated October 16, 2003.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    The proposed action provides relief from the requirements that (1) 
adequate provisions shall be made and described for emergency 
facilities and equipment, including a licensee near-site EOF from which 
effective direction can be given and effective control can be exercised 
during an emergency, and (2) that arrangements to accommodate State and 
local staff at the licensee's near-site EOF have been made. The 
licensee proposed to locate the EOFs in Birmingham, AL, which is 1\1/2\ 
to 2\1/2\ times farther than any previous NRC-approved distance. At 
this distance, the NRC staff believes that it cannot reasonably 
consider the proposed location to be ``near-site.'' Therefore, the NRC 
staff determined that an exemption to the regulations that require an 
EOF to be near-site is required prior to consolidation of the near-site 
EOFs in Birmingham, AL. In order to ensure that NRC actions are timely, 
effective, and efficient, the staff is issuing an exemption under 10 
CFR 50.12.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC has completed its safety evaluation of the proposed action 
and concludes, as set forth below, that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with relocating the Hatch, Farley, and 
Vogtle near-site EOFs to a common EOF located in Birmingham, AL.
    The proposed action will not significantly increase the probability 
or consequences of accidents. No changes are being made in the types of 
effluents that may be released off site. There is no significant 
increase in occupational or public radiation exposure. 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

    This action does not involve the use of any resources not 
previously considered in the following documents: ``Final Environmental 
Statement related to the operation of the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant, 
Unit 1,'' dated October 1972; ``Final Environmental Statement related 
to the operation of the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant, Unit 2,'' dated 
March 1978; ``Final Environmental Statement related to the operation of 
the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2,'' dated December 
1974; and ``Final Environmental Statement related to the operation of 
the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2,'' NUREG-1087, 
dated December 1985.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with its stated policy, on November 17, 2004, the 
staff consulted with the Alabama State official, Kirk Whatley of the 
Office of Radiation Control, Alabama Department of Public Health, 
regarding the environmental impact of the proposed action for Farley. 
In addition, on November 18, 2004, the staff consulted with the Georgia 
State official, James Hardeman, of the Department of Natural Resources, 
regarding the environmental impact of the proposed action for Vogtle 
and Hatch. Neither State official had comments.

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 letter dated October 16, 2003, as supplemented by letters 
dated April 15 and August 16, 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 
Internet at the NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. 
(Note: Public access to ADAMS has been temporarily suspended so that 
security reviews of publicly available documents may be performed and 
potentially sensitive information removed. Please check the NRC Web

[[Page 10418]]

site for updates on the resumption of ADAMS Access.) 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, this 25th day of February.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Christopher Gratton,
Senior Project Manager, Section 1, Project Directorate II, Division of 
Licensing Project Management, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 05-4068 Filed 3-2-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P