United States Geological Survey Triga Reactor Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact, 32662-32663 [E5-2849]

Download as PDF 32662 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 106 / Friday, June 3, 2005 / Notices NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Geological Survey [Docket No. 50–274] United States Geological Survey Triga Reactor Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering issuance of an amendment to Facility License No. R–113, issued to the Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey (the licensee), which authorizes operation of the United States Geological Survey TRIGA Reactor (GSTR), in Lakewood, Colorado. 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 Facility License No. R–113 to change the license expiration date from October 10, 2007, to February 24, 2009, to recapture the construction time between the issuance date of Construction Permit No. CPRR–102 (October 10, 1967) and issuance date of Facility Operating License No. R–113 (February 24, 1969) to allow a 40-year operating license term. The GSTR is located in a building on the grounds of the Denver Federal Center, a complex of U.S. Government offices and laboratories owned by the U.S. Government about 7 miles (11.3 km) southwest of the central Denver, Colorado, business area. The reactor is a General Atomics TRIGA-Mark I design with a maximum steady state power level of 1 megawatt thermal power (MW(t)). The reactor can be operated in a pulse mode with reactivity insertions not to exceed 2.1% delta k/k. The reactor core is at the bottom of an open pool with about 20 ft (6 m) of water above the core for radiation shielding. The fuel moderator elements consist of a homogeneous mixture of uraniumzirconium hydride. The elements are rods about 28 inches (71 cm) long with a diameter of about 1.5 inch (4 cm). The fuel elements are clad in stainless steel. The reactor pool is surrounded by a biological shield. The reactor is inside a confinement building. The construction permit for the facility (CPRR–102) was issued to the licensee on October 10, 1967. On February 24, 1969, Facility Operating VerDate jul<14>2003 18:03 Jun 02, 2005 Jkt 205001 License No. R–113 was issued to the licensee. The facility normally operates during the day shift from Monday to Friday. The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee’s application for amendment dated April 30, 2002, as supplemented by letters dated March 11 and 24, 2005. an as low as is reasonably achievable criteria for air emissions as a result of which an individual member of the public receives a total effective dose equivalent (TEDE) of less than 10 mrem per year. The results of calculations for the years 2000–2004, are as follows: The proposed action is needed to recapture the time spent constructing the plant. The amendment will allow operation of the GSTR reactor for a term of 40 years from the date of issuance of the facility license. Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action The NRC has completed its safety evaluation of the proposed amendment to change the expiration date of the facility license to recapture time between construction and operation to allow a 40-year operating license term and concludes there is reasonable assurance that the GSTR will continue to operate safely for the additional period of time authorized by the amendment. The licensee has not requested any changes to the facility design or operating conditions as part of this amendment request. Data from the last 5 years of operation was assessed to determine the radiological impact of the facility on the environment. The licensee does environmental surveys by measuring the exposure at five outdoor environmental stations near the GSTR facility with thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs). The results from the TLD with the maximum exposure (with background subtracted) were as follows: Maximum (rad/yr) (except 2000, which is in rem/yr) Year 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 .......................................... .......................................... .......................................... .......................................... .......................................... 0.0226 0.0157 0.0233 0.0427 0.0974 These doses are within the regulatory limits of 0.1 rem per year total effective dose equivalent for doses to members of the public given in 10 CFR 20.1301. In addition, the licensee has calculated the dose to the individual member of the public likely to receive the highest dose from air emission of radioactive material to the environment to demonstrate compliance with 10 CFR 20.1101(d). This regulation provides for PO 00000 Frm 00099 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dose (mrem/yr) Year The Need for the Proposed Action 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 .......................................... .......................................... .......................................... .......................................... .......................................... 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.2 These doses are within the 10 mrem per year TEDE constraint on air emissions given in 10 CFR 20.1101(d). The airborne effluent releases are as follows: Year 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. Curies released (argon–41) 1.718 2.289 2.442 4.868 2.910 Curies released (total) 1.719 2.290 2.443 4.869 2.912 Airborne effluent releases from the facility consist primarily of argon-41. This is characteristic for research reactors. The releases from the facility were below the average concentration requirements of the facility technical specifications. The licensee has not released liquid effluent to the sanitary sewer or the environment since 1990. The small amounts of liquid waste generated by reactor operations are evaporated or are solidified for disposal. Shipments of solid radioactive waste off site for disposal at approved sites were as follows (note that these numbers also include some solid waste from other U.S. Geological Survey activities and therefore are bounding for the reactor facility): Year 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 .................. .................. .................. .................. .................. Volume (cubic feet) 0 7.5 7.5 7.5 7.5 Activity (mCi) 0 10 5 194 106 The NRC inspection program confirmed that the waste shipments met the requirements of the regulations in 10 CFR Part 20 for waste disposal. The principal radioactive waste generated at the GSTR is demineralizer resin. The licensee did not ship radioactive waste off site in 2004. E:\FR\FM\03JNN1.SGM 03JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 106 / Friday, June 3, 2005 / Notices The licensee collects groundwater samples from a monitoring well down gradient from the GSTR. These samples were analyzed for tritium, which is the only significant reactor-produced radionuclide in the primary coolant. Tritium is also soluble in water, which makes it a sensitive indicator of the reactor’s impact, if any, on groundwater. Between 2000 and 2004, except for one sample, the results have been below the licensee’s lower limit of measuring detection. The sample that showed a positive result was slightly above the licensee’s lower limit of measuring detection and significantly below regulatory limits. The radiological releases from the facility and the associated doses to the public are within regulatory limits or facility technical specifications and do not have a significant impact on human health or the environment. The licensee’s environmental radiation monitoring includes soil and water sampling and direct radiation readings. The results of the monitoring program indicate that the facility does not have a significant impact on human health or the environment. Releases of radioactive material from the facility to the environment for the proposed construction permit recapture period are estimated to continue at levels similar to previous levels, which were within regulatory limits. Occupational doses to GSTR staff and users meet the regulatory requirements in 10 CFR part 20, subpart C, and are as low as is reasonably achievable. No changes in reactor operation that would lead to an increase in occupational dose are expected as a result of the proposed action. The proposed action will not increase the probability or consequences of accidents, no changes are being made in the types of any effluents that may be released off site, and there is no significant increase in occupational or public radiation exposure. Therefore, no significant radiological environmental impacts are associated with the proposed action. With regard to potential nonradiological impacts, the proposed action does not have a potential to impact historic properties. No chemicals which are discharged to the environment are used for activities under the reactor license. The facility uses approximately 600,000 gallons of water annually. The water is supplied by a utility, Denver Water, which is able to supply 745 million gallons of potable water a day. Most of the water is used in the cooling tower and the water is lost to the atmosphere as water vapor or VerDate jul<14>2003 18:03 Jun 02, 2005 Jkt 205001 discharged to the sanitary sewer as bleedoff water. Wastewater from the facility discharges to the Denver Wastewater Management Division system. The site for the reactor facility is several rooms in a building at the Denver Federal Center. No Federal- or State-listed plants or animals are known to be found on the GSTR site. The GSTR uses a minimal amount of water for reactor operation, has no major refurbishment or construction activities planned, and will have no significant change in the types or amounts of effluents leaving the facility as a result of construction permit recapture. Therefore, the proposed action is not expected to affect aquatic and terrestrial biota. The staff concludes there are no significant nonradiological environmental impacts associated with the proposed action. Accordingly, the NRC concludes that no significant environmental impacts are 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 proposed action will result in expiration of the current license in October 2007, and the commencement of decommissioning if an application for license renewal is not made. If the application is denied, the licensee is expected to apply for renewal of the license. Whether the reactor is operating under the proposed action or a renewed license or during the evaluation of a timely renewal application, the environmental impacts of the proposed action and the alternative are similar. If the Commission denied the application for license renewal, facility operations would end and decommissioning would be required with no significant impact on the environment. The environmental impacts of the proposed action and this alternative action are similar. In addition, the benefits of research conducted by the facility would be lost. Alternative Use of Resources This action does not involve the use of any resources not previously considered in the Hazards Summary Report dated December 1966 prepared for initial licensing of the facility. Agencies and Persons Consulted In accordance with the agency’s stated policy, on March 18 and 21, and April 7, 2005, the staff consulted with the Colorado State official, Mr. Steve PO 00000 Frm 00100 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 32663 Tarlton, Unit Leader, Radiation Protection Program, Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, regarding the environmental impact of the proposed action. The State official discussed the fact that groundwater-monitoring wells existed at the Denver Federal Center. The State official was not aware if any groundwater samples were analyzed for radionuclides. However, if data existed, it would contribute to the discussion of the environmental impact of the GSTR. This issue was discussed with the licensee, who confirmed that samples from a groundwater-monitoring well down gradient from the GSTR were routinely collected and analyzed. This data has been added to the environmental assessment. 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 April 30, 2002, as supplemented by letters dated March 11 and 24, 2005. Documents may be examined, and/or copied for a fee, at the NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR) at One White Flint North, Public File Area O–1–F–21, 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 pdr@nrc.gov. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 23rd day of May 2005. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Patrick M. Madden, Section Chief, Research and Test Reactors Section, New, Research and Test Reactors Program, Division of Regulatory Improvement Programs, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. [FR Doc. E5–2849 Filed 6–2–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P E:\FR\FM\03JNN1.SGM 03JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 106 (Friday, June 3, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 32662-32663]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E5-2849]



[[Page 32662]]

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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Geological Survey

[Docket No. 50-274]


United States Geological Survey Triga Reactor Environmental 
Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
issuance of an amendment to Facility License No. R-113, issued to the 
Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey (the 
licensee), which authorizes operation of the United States Geological 
Survey TRIGA Reactor (GSTR), in Lakewood, Colorado. 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 Facility License No. R-113 to 
change the license expiration date from October 10, 2007, to February 
24, 2009, to recapture the construction time between the issuance date 
of Construction Permit No. CPRR-102 (October 10, 1967) and issuance 
date of Facility Operating License No. R-113 (February 24, 1969) to 
allow a 40-year operating license term.
    The GSTR is located in a building on the grounds of the Denver 
Federal Center, a complex of U.S. Government offices and laboratories 
owned by the U.S. Government about 7 miles (11.3 km) southwest of the 
central Denver, Colorado, business area. The reactor is a General 
Atomics TRIGA-Mark I design with a maximum steady state power level of 
1 megawatt thermal power (MW(t)). The reactor can be operated in a 
pulse mode with reactivity insertions not to exceed 2.1% delta k/k. The 
reactor core is at the bottom of an open pool with about 20 ft (6 m) of 
water above the core for radiation shielding. The fuel moderator 
elements consist of a homogeneous mixture of uranium-zirconium hydride. 
The elements are rods about 28 inches (71 cm) long with a diameter of 
about 1.5 inch (4 cm). The fuel elements are clad in stainless steel. 
The reactor pool is surrounded by a biological shield. The reactor is 
inside a confinement building.
    The construction permit for the facility (CPRR-102) was issued to 
the licensee on October 10, 1967. On February 24, 1969, Facility 
Operating License No. R-113 was issued to the licensee. The facility 
normally operates during the day shift from Monday to Friday.
    The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
application for amendment dated April 30, 2002, as supplemented by 
letters dated March 11 and 24, 2005.

The Need for the Proposed Action

    The proposed action is needed to recapture the time spent 
constructing the plant. The amendment will allow operation of the GSTR 
reactor for a term of 40 years from the date of issuance of the 
facility license.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC has completed its safety evaluation of the proposed 
amendment to change the expiration date of the facility license to 
recapture time between construction and operation to allow a 40-year 
operating license term and concludes there is reasonable assurance that 
the GSTR will continue to operate safely for the additional period of 
time authorized by the amendment.
    The licensee has not requested any changes to the facility design 
or operating conditions as part of this amendment request. Data from 
the last 5 years of operation was assessed to determine the 
radiological impact of the facility on the environment.
    The licensee does environmental surveys by measuring the exposure 
at five outdoor environmental stations near the GSTR facility with 
thermoluminescent dosimeters (TLDs). The results from the TLD with the 
maximum exposure (with background subtracted) were as follows:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Maximum
                                                               (rad/yr)
                                                               (except
                            Year                             2000, which
                                                              is in rem/
                                                                 yr)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2004.......................................................       0.0226
2003.......................................................       0.0157
2002.......................................................       0.0233
2001.......................................................       0.0427
2000.......................................................       0.0974
------------------------------------------------------------------------

These doses are within the regulatory limits of 0.1 rem per year total 
effective dose equivalent for doses to members of the public given in 
10 CFR 20.1301.

    In addition, the licensee has calculated the dose to the individual 
member of the public likely to receive the highest dose from air 
emission of radioactive material to the environment to demonstrate 
compliance with 10 CFR 20.1101(d). This regulation provides for an as 
low as is reasonably achievable criteria for air emissions as a result 
of which an individual member of the public receives a total effective 
dose equivalent (TEDE) of less than 10 mrem per year.
    The results of calculations for the years 2000-2004, are as 
follows:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                             Dose  (mrem/
                            Year                                 yr)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2004.......................................................          0.1
2003.......................................................          0.1
2002.......................................................          0.2
2001.......................................................          0.3
2000.......................................................          0.2
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    These doses are within the 10 mrem per year TEDE constraint on air 
emissions given in 10 CFR 20.1101(d).
    The airborne effluent releases are as follows:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Curies       Curies
                     Year                         released     released
                                                 (argon-41)    (total)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2004..........................................        1.718        1.719
2003..........................................        2.289        2.290
2002..........................................        2.442        2.443
2001..........................................        4.868        4.869
2000..........................................        2.910        2.912
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Airborne effluent releases from the facility consist primarily of 
argon-41. This is characteristic for research reactors. The releases 
from the facility were below the average concentration requirements of 
the facility technical specifications.
    The licensee has not released liquid effluent to the sanitary sewer 
or the environment since 1990. The small amounts of liquid waste 
generated by reactor operations are evaporated or are solidified for 
disposal.
    Shipments of solid radioactive waste off site for disposal at 
approved sites were as follows (note that these numbers also include 
some solid waste from other U.S. Geological Survey activities and 
therefore are bounding for the reactor facility):

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   Volume
                     Year                          (cubic      Activity
                                                   feet)        (mCi)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2004..........................................            0            0
2003..........................................          7.5           10
2002..........................................          7.5            5
2001..........................................          7.5          194
2000..........................................          7.5          106
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The NRC inspection program confirmed that the waste shipments met 
the requirements of the regulations in 10 CFR Part 20 for waste 
disposal. The principal radioactive waste generated at the GSTR is 
demineralizer resin. The licensee did not ship radioactive waste off 
site in 2004.

[[Page 32663]]

    The licensee collects groundwater samples from a monitoring well 
down gradient from the GSTR. These samples were analyzed for tritium, 
which is the only significant reactor-produced radionuclide in the 
primary coolant. Tritium is also soluble in water, which makes it a 
sensitive indicator of the reactor's impact, if any, on groundwater. 
Between 2000 and 2004, except for one sample, the results have been 
below the licensee's lower limit of measuring detection. The sample 
that showed a positive result was slightly above the licensee's lower 
limit of measuring detection and significantly below regulatory limits.
    The radiological releases from the facility and the associated 
doses to the public are within regulatory limits or facility technical 
specifications and do not have a significant impact on human health or 
the environment. The licensee's environmental radiation monitoring 
includes soil and water sampling and direct radiation readings. The 
results of the monitoring program indicate that the facility does not 
have a significant impact on human health or the environment. Releases 
of radioactive material from the facility to the environment for the 
proposed construction permit recapture period are estimated to continue 
at levels similar to previous levels, which were within regulatory 
limits.
    Occupational doses to GSTR staff and users meet the regulatory 
requirements in 10 CFR part 20, subpart C, and are as low as is 
reasonably achievable. No changes in reactor operation that would lead 
to an increase in occupational dose are expected as a result of the 
proposed action.
    The proposed action will not increase the probability or 
consequences of accidents, no changes are being made in the types of 
any effluents that may be released off site, and there is no 
significant increase in occupational or public radiation exposure. 
Therefore, no significant radiological environmental impacts are 
associated with the proposed action.
    With regard to potential nonradiological impacts, the proposed 
action does not have a potential to impact historic properties.
    No chemicals which are discharged to the environment are used for 
activities under the reactor license.
    The facility uses approximately 600,000 gallons of water annually. 
The water is supplied by a utility, Denver Water, which is able to 
supply 745 million gallons of potable water a day. Most of the water is 
used in the cooling tower and the water is lost to the atmosphere as 
water vapor or discharged to the sanitary sewer as bleedoff water. 
Wastewater from the facility discharges to the Denver Wastewater 
Management Division system.
    The site for the reactor facility is several rooms in a building at 
the Denver Federal Center. No Federal- or State-listed plants or 
animals are known to be found on the GSTR site.
    The GSTR uses a minimal amount of water for reactor operation, has 
no major refurbishment or construction activities planned, and will 
have no significant change in the types or amounts of effluents leaving 
the facility as a result of construction permit recapture. Therefore, 
the proposed action is not expected to affect aquatic and terrestrial 
biota. The staff concludes there are no significant nonradiological 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
    Accordingly, the NRC concludes that no significant environmental 
impacts are 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 proposed action will result in expiration of the current license 
in October 2007, and the commencement of decommissioning if an 
application for license renewal is not made. If the application is 
denied, the licensee is expected to apply for renewal of the license. 
Whether the reactor is operating under the proposed action or a renewed 
license or during the evaluation of a timely renewal application, the 
environmental impacts of the proposed action and the alternative are 
similar.
    If the Commission denied the application for license renewal, 
facility operations would end and decommissioning would be required 
with no significant impact on the environment. The environmental 
impacts of the proposed action and this alternative action are similar. 
In addition, the benefits of research conducted by the facility would 
be lost.

Alternative Use of Resources

    This action does not involve the use of any resources not 
previously considered in the Hazards Summary Report dated December 1966 
prepared for initial licensing of the facility.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with the agency's stated policy, on March 18 and 21, 
and April 7, 2005, the staff consulted with the Colorado State 
official, Mr. Steve Tarlton, Unit Leader, Radiation Protection Program, 
Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division, Colorado Department 
of Public Health and Environment, regarding the environmental impact of 
the proposed action. The State official discussed the fact that 
groundwater-monitoring wells existed at the Denver Federal Center. The 
State official was not aware if any groundwater samples were analyzed 
for radionuclides. However, if data existed, it would contribute to the 
discussion of the environmental impact of the GSTR. This issue was 
discussed with the licensee, who confirmed that samples from a 
groundwater-monitoring well down gradient from the GSTR were routinely 
collected and analyzed. This data has been added to the environmental 
assessment.

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 April 30, 2002, as supplemented by letters 
dated March 11 and 24, 2005. Documents may be examined, and/or copied 
for a fee, at the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) at One White Flint 
North, Public File Area O-1-F-21, 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 
pdr@nrc.gov.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 23rd day of May 2005.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Patrick M. Madden,
Section Chief, Research and Test Reactors Section, New, Research and 
Test Reactors Program, Division of Regulatory Improvement Programs, 
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. E5-2849 Filed 6-2-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P