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Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, Unit 1; Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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, Sections IV.F.2.b and c for Facility Operating License No. NPF-90, issued to Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA or the licensee), for operation of the Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant (WBN), Unit 1, located in Rhea County, Tennessee. 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, as described in the licensee's application for a one-time exemption to the requirements of 10 CFR part 50, Appendix E, dated October 5, 2005, would allow the licensee to postpone the biennial, full-participation emergency exercise from November 2, 2005, to June 7, 2006. The licensee's letter requested an exemption from sections IV.F.2.b and c of Appendix E to 10 CFR part 50 regarding exercises involving the onsite and offsite emergency plans, as well as TVA's Radiological Emergency Plan Sections and The NRC staff has determined that the requirements of Appendix E to 10 CFR part 50, Sections IV.F.2.b and 2.c are applicable to the circumstances of the licensee's request and that an exemption from those requirements is appropriate. The licensee also stated in its October 5, 2005, letter that WBN will resume its normal biennial exercise cycle in 2007.

The Need for the Proposed Action

The proposed exemption from 10 CFR part 50, appendix E, sections IV.F.2.b and c is needed because the planned full-participation exercise originally scheduled for November 2, 2005, was not performed. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which normally participates in the evaluated, full-participation exercise, and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency were unable to provide the necessary resources for the exercise due to the impact of Hurricane Katrina.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

The NRC has completed its safety evaluation of the proposed action and concludes that the proposed exemption would not present an undue risk to the public health and safety. The details of the NRC staff's safety evaluation will be provided in the exemption that will be issued as part of the letter to the licensee approving the exemption to the regulation. The proposed action relates to the exercising of the emergency response plan, which has no effect on the operation of the facility.

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. There is no significant increase in the amount of any effluent released offsite. 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 Alternative 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 Related to the Operation of Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, Units 1 and 2, NUREG 0498, dated December 1978, and a supplement to the Final Environmental Statement (NUREG 0498 Supplement No. 1), dated April 1995.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

In accordance with its stated policy, on November 9, 2005, the staff consulted with the Tennessee State Start Printed Page 76471official, Elizabeth Flanagan 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 action.

For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the licensee's letter dated October 5, 2005. 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 O-1F21, 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,​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

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Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 19th day of December 2005.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Douglas V. Pickett,

Senior Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch II-2, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.

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[FR Doc. E5-7867 Filed 12-23-05; 8:45 am]