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Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit No. 3; Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering issuance of a revision of existing exemptions from Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) part 50, appendix R, “Fire Protection Program for Nuclear Power Facilities Operating Prior to January 1, 1979,” for Fire Areas ETN-4 and PAB-2, issued to Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. (the licensee), for operation of Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit No. 3 (IP3), located in Westchester County, NY. 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 revise the January 7, 1987 safety evaluation (SE) to reflect that the installed Hemyc electrical raceway fire barrier system (ERFBS) configurations provide either a 30-minute fire resistance rating, or in one case a 24-minute fire resistance rating, in lieu of the previously stated 1-hour fire resistance rating. The licensee states that a Hemyc ERFBS fire resistance rating will provide sufficient protection for the affected raceways, with adequate margin, to continue to meet the intent of the original requests for exemption and conclusions presented in the NRC's January 7, 1987, SE. The licensee concludes that the revised fire resistance rating of the Hemyc ERFBS does not reflect a reduction in overall fire safety, and presents no added challenge to the credited post-fire safe-shutdown capability which remains materially unchanged from the configuration originally described in previous letters and as credited in the January 7, 1987, SE.

The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's application dated July 24, 2006, as supplemented by letters dated April 30, May 23, and August 16, 2007.

The Need for the Proposed Action

The proposed revision of existing exemptions from 10 CFR part 50, appendix R, is needed in response to NRC Information Notice 2005-07. The information notice provided licensees the details of Hemyc ERFBS full-scale fire tests conducted by the NRC's Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research. The test results concluded that the Hemyc ERFBS does not provide the level of protection expected for a 1-hour rated fire barrier, as originally designed. The proposed revision to existing exemptions would revise the fire resistance rating of Hemyc ERFBS configurations.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

The NRC has completed its SE of the proposed action and concludes that the configuration of the fire zones under review provide reasonable assurance that a severe fire is not plausible and the existing fire protection features are adequate. The details of the staff's SE will be provided in the exemptions that will be issued as part of the letter to the licensee approving the exemption. Based on the presence of redundant safe-shutdown trains, minimal fire hazards and combustibles, automatic cable tray fire suppression system, manual fire suppression features, fire barrier protection, existing Hemyc configuration, and the installed smoke detection system, the NRC staff finds that the use of this Hemyc fire barrier in these zones will not significantly increase the consequences from a fire in these fire zones.

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 the amount of any effluent 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

The action does not involve the use of any different resources than those previously considered in the Final Environmental Statement for IP3, dated February, 1975.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

In accordance with its stated policy, on February 13, 2007, the NRC staff consulted with the New York State official, Alyse Peterson of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, 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 July 24, 2006, Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) accession number ML062140057, as supplemented on April 30, 2007, ADAMS accession number ML071280504, May 23, 2007, ADAMS accession number ML071520177, and August 16, 2007, ADAMS accession number ML072400369. Documents may be examined, and/or copied for a fee, at the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR), Start Printed Page 55255located 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 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 send an e-mail to

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Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 24th day of September 2007.

For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

John P. Boska,

Senior Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch I-1, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.

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[FR Doc. E7-19245 Filed 9-27-07; 8:45 am]