Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC or the Commission) is considering issuance of an exemption and an amendment to Renewed Facility Operating License No. DPR-74, issued to Indiana Michigan Power Company (the licensee), for operation of Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant, Unit 2 (CNP-2), located in Berrien County, Michigan, in accordance with SSSS 50.12 and 50.90 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR). In accordance with 10 CFR 51.21, the NRC performed an environmental assessment documenting its findings as follows:
The proposed actions would issue an exemption from certain requirements of 10 CFR, Section 50.46 and Appendix K, regarding fuel cladding material, and revise the Technical Specifications document, which is Appendix A to Renewed Facility Operating License DPR-74, to permit use of a Westinghouse proprietary material, Optimized ZIRLO
The proposed actions are in accordance with the licensee's application dated September 29, 2011, as supplemented on July 25, 2012.
The proposed actions to issue an exemption to the fuel cladding requirement of 10 CFR 50.46 and Appendix K, and to amend the Technical Specifications to permit use of Optimized ZIRLO
In this environmental assessment regarding the impacts of the use of Optimized ZIRLO
The amendment and exemption would allow CNP-2 to use Optimized ZIRLO
Regulatory limits on radiological effluent releases are independent of burnup. The requirements of 10 CFR part 20, 10 CFR 50.36a, and Appendix I to 10 CFR part 50 ensure that routine releases of gaseous, liquid or solid radiological effluents to unrestricted areas is kept "As Low As is Reasonably Achievable." Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that during routine operations, there would be no significant increase in the amount of gaseous radiological effluents released into the environment as a result of the proposed actions, nor will there be a significant increase in the amount of liquid radiological effluents or solid radiological effluents released into the environment.
The proposed actions will not change normal plant operating conditions (i.e., no changes are expected in the fuel handling, operational, or storing processes). The fuel storage and handling, radioactive waste, and other systems which may contain radioactivity are designed to assure adequate safety under normal conditions. There will be no significant changes in radiation levels during these evolutions, and no significant increase in the allowable individual or cumulative occupational radiation exposure is expected to occur.
The use of Optimized ZIRLO
NUREG/CR-6703 determined that no increase in environmental effects of spent fuel transportation accidents is expected as a result of increasing fuel burnup to 75 GWD/MTU.
Based on the nature of the amendment and exemption, these proposed actions do not result in changes to land use or water use, or result in changes to the quality or quantity of non-radiological effluents. No changes to the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit are needed. No effects on the aquatic or terrestrial habitat in the vicinity of the plant, or to threatened, endangered, or protected species under the Endangered Species Act, or impacts to essential fish habitat covered by the Magnuson-Stevens Act are expected. There are no impacts to the air or ambient air quality. There are no impacts to historic and cultural resources. There would be no noticeable effect on socioeconomic conditions in the region. Therefore, no changes or different types of non-radiological environmental impacts are expected as a result of the proposed actions. Accordingly, the NRC staff concludes that there are no significant environmental impacts associated with the proposed actions.
For more detailed information regarding the environmental impacts of extended fuel burnup, please refer to the study conducted by PNNL for the NRC, entitled "Environmental Effects of Extending Fuel Burnup Above 60 GWD/MTU" (NUREG/CR-6073, PNNL-13257, January 2001, Accession No. ML010310298). The NRC staff's detailed safety review will be conveyed in the Safety Evaluation issued concurrently with the amendment.
As an alternative to the proposed actions, the NRC staff considered denial of the proposed actions (i.e., the "no-action" alternative). Denial of the application would result in no change in current environmental impacts. Thus, the environmental impacts of the proposed actions and the alternative action are similar.
The proposed actions do not involve the use of any different resources than those previously considered in the Final Environmental Statement for Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant, Unit 2, or the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Regarding Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2--Final Report (NUREG-1437, Supplement 20), dated May 2005.
In accordance with its stated policy, on June 1, 2012, the NRC staff consulted with the Michigan State official regarding the environmental impact of the proposed action. The State officials had no comments.
On the basis of the environmental assessment, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed actions will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment. Accordingly, the NRC staff determined not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed action.
For further details with respect to the proposed actions, see the licensee's letters dated September 29, 2011, and July 25, 2012. 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 documents created or received at the NRC are accessible electronically from the ADAMS Public Electronic Reading Room on the Internet at the NRC Web site,