[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 109 (Monday, June 7, 2004)]
[Pages 31849-31850]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-12748]



[Docket Nos. 50-327 and 50-328]

Tennessee Valley Authority, Sequoyah Nuclear Plant; 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, Section 68, ``Criticality Accident 
Requirements,'' Subsection (b)(1) for Facility Operating License Nos. 
DPR-77 and DPR-79, issued to Tennessee Valley Authority (the licensee), 
for operation of the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant (SQN), located in Hamilton 
County, Tennessee. Therefore, as required by 10 CFR 51.21, the NRC is 
issuing this environmental assessment and finding of no significant 

Environmental Assessment

Identification of the Proposed Action

    The proposed action would exempt the licensee from the requirements 
of 10 CFR 50.68, ``Criticality Accident Requirements,'' Subsection 
(b)(1) during the handling and storage of spent nuclear fuel in a 10 
CFR Part 72 licensed spent fuel storage container that is in the SQN 
spent fuel pool.
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application dated February 20, 2004, as supplemented on May 3, 2004. 
The supplemental letter provided clarifying information that did not 
expand the scope of the original request.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    Under 10 CFR 50.68(b)(1), the Commission sets forth the following 
requirement that must be met, in lieu of a monitoring system capable of 
detecting criticality events.

Plant procedures shall prohibit the handling and storage at any one 
time of more fuel assemblies than have been determined to be safely 
subcritical under the most adverse moderation conditions feasible by 
unborated water.

    The licensee is on a time-critical path to load spent nuclear fuel 
into a 10 CFR Part 72 licensed spent fuel storage container in June 
2004. Section 50.12(a) allows licensees to apply for an exemption from 
the requirements of 10 CFR Part 50 if the regulation is not necessary 
to achieve the underlying purpose of the rule and other conditions are 
met. The licensee has stated that compliance with 10 CFR 50.68(b)(1) is 
not necessary for handling the 10 CFR Part 72 licensed contents of the 
cask system to achieve the underlying purpose of the rule.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC has completed its evaluation of the proposed action and 
concludes that the exemption described above would continue to satisfy 
the underlying purpose of 10 CFR 50.68(b)(1). The details of the 
staff's safety evaluation will be provided with the letter to the 
licensee approving the exemption to the regulation.
    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 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 concludes that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.

[[Page 31850]]

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 
the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2 dated February 13, 1974.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    On April 28, 2004, the staff consulted with the Tennessee State 
official, Elizebeth Flannagin of the Tennessee Bureau of Radiological 
Health, 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 February 20, 2004, as supplemented on May 3, 
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, 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 28th day of May, 2004.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
William F. Burton,
Acting Chief, Section 2, Project Directorate II, Division of Licensing 
Project Management, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 04-12748 Filed 6-4-04; 8:45 am]