[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 109 (Monday, June 7, 2004)]
[Pages 31848-31849]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-12746]



[Docket No. 50-382]

Entergy Operations Inc.; Waterford Steam Electric Station, Unit 
3; Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
issuance of exemptions from Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
(10 CFR) Part 50, Section 50.46 and Appendix K, for Facility Operating 
License No. NPF-38, issued to Entergy Operations Inc. (the licensee), 
for operation of the Waterford Steam Electric Station, Unit 3 
(Waterford 3), located in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. 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 exempt Waterford 3 from the requirements 
of 10 CFR Part 50, Section 50.46 and Appendix K, to allow the use of up 
to four Lead Test Assemblies (LTAs) fabricated with Optimized 
ZIRLOTM, a cladding material that contains a nominally lower 
tin content than previously approved cladding materials.
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application dated April 30, 2004.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    As the nuclear industry pursues longer operating cycles with 
increased fuel discharge burnup and more aggressive fuel management, 
the corrosion performance requirements for the nuclear fuel cladding 
become more demanding. Available industry data from the American 
Nuclear Society, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Electric 
Power Research Institute, and Westinghouse Electric Corporation 
(Westinghouse) indicate that corrosion resistance improves for cladding 
with a lower tin content. The optimum tin level provides a reduced 
corrosion rate while maintaining the benefits of mechanical 
strengthening and resistance to accelerated corrosion from abnormal 
chemistry conditions. In addition, fuel rod internal pressures 
(resulting from the increased fuel duty, use of integral fuel burnable 
absorbers and corrosion/temperature feedback effects) have become more 
limiting with respect to fuel rod design criteria. Reducing the 
associated corrosion buildup, and thus, minimizing temperature feedback 
effects, provides additional margin to fuel rod internal pressure 
design criteria.
    To meet these needs, Westinghouse developed a LTA program in 
cooperation with Entergy Operations Inc., which includes a fuel 
cladding with a tin content lower than the currently licensed range for 
ZIRLOTM. The NRC's regulations in 10 CFR 50.46 and Appendix 
K, make no provision for use of fuel rods clad in a material other than 
Zircalloy or ZIRLOTM. The licensee has requested the use of 
up to four LTAs with a tin composition that is less than that specified 
in the licensing basis for ZIRLOTM, as defined in 
Westinghouse design specifications. Therefore, use of the LTAs calls 
for exemptions from 10 CFR 50.46 and Appendix K.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC staff has completed its evaluation of the proposed action 
and concludes that the proposed exemptions would not increase the 
probability or consequences of accidents previously analyzed and would 
not affect facility radiation levels or facility radiological 

[[Page 31849]]

    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 offsite, and 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 nonradiological impacts, the proposed 
action does not have a potential to affect any historic sites. It does 
not affect nonradiological plant effluents and has no other 
environmental impact. Therefore, there are no significant 
nonradiological environmental impacts associated with the proposed 
    Accordingly, the NRC staff 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 Statement for 
Waterford 3, dated September 1981.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    On May 11, 2004, the staff consulted with the Louisiana State 
official, Mr. Prosanta Chowdhury, of the Louisiana Department of 
Environmental Protection, regarding the environmental impact of the 
proposed action. The State official had no 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 
    For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the 
licensee's letter dated April 30, 2004 (ADAMS Accession Number 
ML041250184). 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. 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 

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 25th day of May, 2004.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Robert A Gramm,
Chief, Section 1, Project Directorate IV, Division of Licensing Project 
Management, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 04-12746 Filed 6-4-04; 8:45 am]