BWX Technologies, Inc., Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact Related to Proposed Issuance of an Exemption From 10 CFR 70.24 Requirements, 70899-70900 [E7-24200]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 239 / Thursday, December 13, 2007 / Notices amending the license. Based on this EA, the NRC has concluded that a FONSI is appropriate and, therefore, an environmental impact statement (EIS) is not warranted. The NRC is also conducting a safety review of the BWXT request for exemption. The results of the safety review will be documented in a separate Safety Evaluation Report. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No.: 70–27] BWX Technologies, Inc., Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact Related to Proposed Issuance of an Exemption From 10 CFR 70.24 Requirements II. Environmental Assessment Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant impact (FONSI). AGENCY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy M. Snyder, Fuel Manufacturing Branch, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Mail Stop EBB–2C40M, Washington, DC 20555–0001, telephone (301) 492–3225 and e-mail ams3@nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES I. Introduction Under U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license SNM–42 and the provisions of 10 CFR Part 70, Domestic Licensing of Special Nuclear Material, BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT or the licensee) is authorized to receive and possess special nuclear material for the research, fabrication and assembly of nuclear fuel and related components at its facility, located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Under this license, BWXT is also allowed to receive, acquire, and transfer irradiated fuel (spent nuclear fuel) at its facility. The NRC staff is considering the issuance of an exemption to requirements of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Section 70.24, under a certain condition, for the spent nuclear fuel storage areas at the BWXT site. If the NRC decides to grant the exemption, then the license will be amended to incorporate a license condition to reflect the exemption. These actions would then allow BWXT to implement its proposed method to meet the January 16, 2007, NRC Order (EA–07–011) requiring BWXT to implement additional security measures at the BWXT site. The licensee found that if these measures are taken, it would not be in full compliance with the criticality monitoring requirements of 10 CFR 70.24. Granting this exemption would also allow BWXT to continue to store, in a safe configuration, spent nuclear fuel. The NRC has prepared an EA in support of granting an exemption and VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:10 Dec 12, 2007 Jkt 214001 Background By letter, dated May 2, 2007, BWXT submitted its exemption request. On May 14, 2007, BWXT submitted, via email, a clarification that stated its current Environmental Report (ER), dated March 10, 2004, addresses the areas where spent nuclear fuel, previously used for research, is stored at the site. The documents that were evaluated in preparing this EA included the NRC’s EA for Renewal of License SNM–42, dated August 2005, the current BWXT ER for Renewal of License SNM–42, dated March 10, 2004, and the e-mail from BWXT (Leah Morrell, May 14, 2007) stating, with respect to this exemption request, that the BWXT’s ER, dated March 10, 2004, is the current ER. Review Scope The purpose of this EA is to assess the environmental impacts of the proposed exemption and associated license amendment. It does not approve the request. This EA is limited to the proposed exemption from the requirements of 10 CFR 70.24 in spent nuclear fuel storage areas, and any cumulative impacts on existing plant operations. The existing conditions and operations at the BWXT facility were evaluated, by the NRC, for environmental impacts in an EA for the renewal of the BWXT license. This assessment presents the information and analysis of the proposed actions for determining whether issuance of a FONSI is appropriate. Need for the Proposed Action As a result of the events of September 11, 2001, the NRC has required heightened security measures for facilities that are authorized to possess special nuclear material. BWXT is one such facility. Following an evaluation, by BWXT, of ways to meet these required security measures, BWXT concluded that the best method to meet those measures would affect the current criticality monitoring system. Specifically, the implementation of BWXT’s proposed method to implement the NRC Security Order (EA–07–011) would make the detection of a criticality PO 00000 Frm 00084 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 70899 challenging for the criticality monitoring systems located in each spent nuclear fuel storage area when the additional security measures imposed by EA–07–011 are in place. The additional security measures are not currently in place. The Proposed Actions The proposed actions are: (1) The NRC granting an exemption to the requirements of 10 CFR 70.24 in the spent fuel storage areas during the period of time the licensee does not need to access the spent nuclear fuel; and (2) the NRC issuing an amendment to the license reflecting such an exemption. These actions would allow BWXT to continue to safely store spent nuclear fuel in storage systems. This exemption would not apply during the short and very infrequent periods during which access to the stored material is required, or if BWXT no longer has spent nuclear fuel at its licensed site. The proposed actions are in accordance with the licensee’s application dated May 2. 2007. Alternative to the Proposed Actions The actions available to the NRC are: 1. Approve the exemption and associated license amendment as described; or 2. No action (i.e., deny the request and do not amend the license,—the noaction alternative.) Affected Environment The affected environment for the proposed action and the alternative is the BWXT site. The affected environment is identical to the affected environment assessed in the EA, dated August 2005. A full description of the site and its characteristics is given in the NRC’s 2005 EA. Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action and the No Action Alternative The NRC staff has completed its evaluation of the environmental impacts of the proposed action and concludes granting the licensee an exemption to the criticality monitoring requirements of 10 CFR 70.24 for the spent nuclear fuel storage system during periods when access to the spent nuclear fuel is not required; and would not increase the probability or consequences of accidents previously analyzed and would not affect facility radiation levels or facility radiological effluents. 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, E:\FR\FM\13DEN1.SGM 13DEN1 70900 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 239 / Thursday, December 13, 2007 / Notices 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 because no previously undisturbed area will be affected by the proposed actions. The proposed action does not affect non-radiological plant effluents and has no other effect on the environment. Therefore, there are no significant non-radiological environmental impacts associated with the proposed action. Accordingly, the NRC staff concludes that there are no significant environmental impacts associated with the proposed action and, thus, concludes that the proposed action will not have any significant impact to the human environment. The proposed action does not alter the previous National Environmental Protection Act findings made in approving the license renewal. Environmental Impacts of the Alternative to the Proposed Action As an alternative to the proposed action, the NRC staff considered denial of the proposed action (i.e., the noaction alternative). Denial of the exemption request would result in: (1) No associated license amendment: and (2) no change to current environmental impacts, as the denial would result in the criticality monitoring requirements of 10 CFR 70.24 continuing to be fully applicable. Thus, the environmental impacts of the proposed action and the alternative action are identical because the present or absence of a criticality monitor and alarm for the spent nuclear fuel that is safety stored has no impact on the environment. mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES Agencies and Persons Consulted In accordance with NUREG 1748, ‘‘Environmental Review Guidance for Licensing Actions Associated with NMSS Programs,’’ the NRC staff consulted with other agencies regarding the proposed actions. These consultations were intended to provide other agencies an opportunity to comment on the proposed actions, and to ensure that the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act were met with respect to the proposed actions. Commonwealth of Virginia The staff, on October 10, 2007, consulted with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). The VDEQ reviewed the draft VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:10 Dec 12, 2007 Jkt 214001 and agreed with NRC’s conclusion that no significant environmental impacts would result from this proposed action, if implemented. The VDH had technical questions regarding the criticality monitoring systems. Fish and Wildlife The staff has determined that consultation for Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act is not required because the proposed action does not involve construction or any other change in physical environment, therefore, will not affect listed species or critical habitat. Virginia Department of Historic Resources The staff has determined that the proposed action does not have the potential to effect on historic properties because it does not involve construction or any other change in physical environment. Therefore, no further consultation is required under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. 5. NRC. Environmental Assessment Related to the Renewal of License No. SNM–42. Docket 70–027 (August 2005) Washington, DC: NRC. (ML071300450). 6. NRC. E-mail to VDEQ, Pre-decisional EA, dated October 9, 2007, (ML073180022). 7. NRC. E-mail to VDH, Pre-decisional EA, dated October 10, 2007, (ML073180034). 8. VDH. Letter to NRC, Response to Predecisional EA, dated October 24, 2007 (ML73180017). 9. NRC. E-mail to VDH, Additional Comments on Pre-decisional EA, dated October 31, 2007 (ML073180027). 10. VDH. E-mail to NRC, Response to Additional Comments on Pre-decisional EA, dated October 31, 2007 (ML073180029). 11. VEQ. Letter to NRC, Response to Predecisional EA, dated October 17, 2007 (ML073230756). Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 30th day of November, 2007. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Peter J. Habighorst, Chief, Fuel Manufacturing Branch, Fuel Facility Licensing Directorate Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards. [FR Doc. E7–24200 Filed 12–12–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P Conclusion On the basis of the EA, the NRC concludes that the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment and that preparation of an EIS is not warranted. III. Finding of No Significant Impact On the basis of this assessment, the Commission has concluded that environmental impacts that are associated with the proposed action would not be significant and the Commission is making a finding of no significant impact. Preparers J. Wiebe, Project Manager, All Sections. A. Snyder, Project Manager, Sections 1.0, 4.0 and 5.0. List of References 1. BWXT. Request for Exemption from 10 CFR 70.24, Letter (May 2, 2007) to Director, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Lynchburg, Virginia: BWXT, Nuclear Products Division (confidential). 2. NRC. NUREG 1748, Environmental Review Guidance for Licensing Actions Associated with NMSS Programs—Final Report. (August 2003) Washington, DC: NRC (ML032450279). 3. BWXT. Environmental Report for Renewal of License SNM–42, March 10, 2004 (nonpublic). 4. BWXT. E-mail to NRC, Criticality Exemption, dated May 14, 2007 (ML073180015). PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. 50–184] National Institute of Standards and Technology; National Bureau of Standards Reactor; Notice of Availability of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of NBSR Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC, Commission) has published a final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for License Renewal of the operating license TR–5 for an additional 20 years of operation for the National Bureau of Standards Reactor (NBSR) located on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) campus in upper Montgomery County, Maryland. Possible alternatives to the proposed action (license renewal) include no action, constructing a new reactor to replace the NBSR capabilities, and using alternative research facilities. The final EIS is publicly available at the NRC Public Document Room (PDR), located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, or from the NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS). The ADAMS Public Electronic Reading Room is accessible at http://adamswebsearch.nrc.gov/ dologin.html. The Accession Number for the final EIS is ML072970861. E:\FR\FM\13DEN1.SGM 13DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 239 (Thursday, December 13, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 70899-70900]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-24200]



[[Page 70899]]

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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No.: 70-27]


BWX Technologies, Inc., Environmental Assessment and Finding of 
No Significant Impact Related to Proposed Issuance of an Exemption From 
10 CFR 70.24 Requirements

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Environmental assessment (EA) and finding of no significant 
impact (FONSI).

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy M. Snyder, Fuel Manufacturing 
Branch, Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 
Mail Stop EBB-2C40M, Washington, DC 20555-0001, telephone (301) 492-
3225 and e-mail ams3@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    Under U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license SNM-42 and 
the provisions of 10 CFR Part 70, Domestic Licensing of Special Nuclear 
Material, BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT or the licensee) is authorized 
to receive and possess special nuclear material for the research, 
fabrication and assembly of nuclear fuel and related components at its 
facility, located in Lynchburg, Virginia. Under this license, BWXT is 
also allowed to receive, acquire, and transfer irradiated fuel (spent 
nuclear fuel) at its facility. The NRC staff is considering the 
issuance of an exemption to requirements of Title 10 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Section 70.24, under a certain condition, 
for the spent nuclear fuel storage areas at the BWXT site. If the NRC 
decides to grant the exemption, then the license will be amended to 
incorporate a license condition to reflect the exemption. These actions 
would then allow BWXT to implement its proposed method to meet the 
January 16, 2007, NRC Order (EA-07-011) requiring BWXT to implement 
additional security measures at the BWXT site. The licensee found that 
if these measures are taken, it would not be in full compliance with 
the criticality monitoring requirements of 10 CFR 70.24. Granting this 
exemption would also allow BWXT to continue to store, in a safe 
configuration, spent nuclear fuel.
    The NRC has prepared an EA in support of granting an exemption and 
amending the license. Based on this EA, the NRC has concluded that a 
FONSI is appropriate and, therefore, an environmental impact statement 
(EIS) is not warranted. The NRC is also conducting a safety review of 
the BWXT request for exemption. The results of the safety review will 
be documented in a separate Safety Evaluation Report.

II. Environmental Assessment

Background

    By letter, dated May 2, 2007, BWXT submitted its exemption request. 
On May 14, 2007, BWXT submitted, via email, a clarification that stated 
its current Environmental Report (ER), dated March 10, 2004, addresses 
the areas where spent nuclear fuel, previously used for research, is 
stored at the site.
    The documents that were evaluated in preparing this EA included the 
NRC's EA for Renewal of License SNM-42, dated August 2005, the current 
BWXT ER for Renewal of License SNM-42, dated March 10, 2004, and the e-
mail from BWXT (Leah Morrell, May 14, 2007) stating, with respect to 
this exemption request, that the BWXT's ER, dated March 10, 2004, is 
the current ER.

Review Scope

    The purpose of this EA is to assess the environmental impacts of 
the proposed exemption and associated license amendment. It does not 
approve the request. This EA is limited to the proposed exemption from 
the requirements of 10 CFR 70.24 in spent nuclear fuel storage areas, 
and any cumulative impacts on existing plant operations. The existing 
conditions and operations at the BWXT facility were evaluated, by the 
NRC, for environmental impacts in an EA for the renewal of the BWXT 
license. This assessment presents the information and analysis of the 
proposed actions for determining whether issuance of a FONSI is 
appropriate.

Need for the Proposed Action

    As a result of the events of September 11, 2001, the NRC has 
required heightened security measures for facilities that are 
authorized to possess special nuclear material. BWXT is one such 
facility. Following an evaluation, by BWXT, of ways to meet these 
required security measures, BWXT concluded that the best method to meet 
those measures would affect the current criticality monitoring system. 
Specifically, the implementation of BWXT's proposed method to implement 
the NRC Security Order (EA-07-011) would make the detection of a 
criticality challenging for the criticality monitoring systems located 
in each spent nuclear fuel storage area when the additional security 
measures imposed by EA-07-011 are in place. The additional security 
measures are not currently in place.

The Proposed Actions

    The proposed actions are: (1) The NRC granting an exemption to the 
requirements of 10 CFR 70.24 in the spent fuel storage areas during the 
period of time the licensee does not need to access the spent nuclear 
fuel; and (2) the NRC issuing an amendment to the license reflecting 
such an exemption. These actions would allow BWXT to continue to safely 
store spent nuclear fuel in storage systems. This exemption would not 
apply during the short and very infrequent periods during which access 
to the stored material is required, or if BWXT no longer has spent 
nuclear fuel at its licensed site. The proposed actions are in 
accordance with the licensee's application dated May 2. 2007.

Alternative to the Proposed Actions

    The actions available to the NRC are:
    1. Approve the exemption and associated license amendment as 
described; or
    2. No action (i.e., deny the request and do not amend the 
license,--the no-action alternative.)

Affected Environment

    The affected environment for the proposed action and the 
alternative is the BWXT site. The affected environment is identical to 
the affected environment assessed in the EA, dated August 2005. A full 
description of the site and its characteristics is given in the NRC's 
2005 EA.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action and the No Action 
Alternative

    The NRC staff has completed its evaluation of the environmental 
impacts of the proposed action and concludes granting the licensee an 
exemption to the criticality monitoring requirements of 10 CFR 70.24 
for the spent nuclear fuel storage system during periods when access to 
the spent nuclear fuel is not required; and would not increase the 
probability or consequences of accidents previously analyzed and would 
not affect facility radiation levels or facility radiological 
effluents. 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,

[[Page 70900]]

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 because 
no previously undisturbed area will be affected by the proposed 
actions. The proposed action does not affect non-radiological plant 
effluents and has no other effect on the environment. Therefore, there 
are no significant non-radiological environmental impacts associated 
with the proposed action.
    Accordingly, the NRC staff concludes that there are no significant 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action and, thus, 
concludes that the proposed action will not have any significant impact 
to the human environment. The proposed action does not alter the 
previous National Environmental Protection Act findings made in 
approving the license renewal.

Environmental Impacts of the Alternative to the Proposed Action

    As an alternative to the proposed action, the NRC staff considered 
denial of the proposed action (i.e., the no-action alternative). Denial 
of the exemption request would result in: (1) No associated license 
amendment: and (2) no change to current environmental impacts, as the 
denial would result in the criticality monitoring requirements of 10 
CFR 70.24 continuing to be fully applicable. Thus, the environmental 
impacts of the proposed action and the alternative action are identical 
because the present or absence of a criticality monitor and alarm for 
the spent nuclear fuel that is safety stored has no impact on the 
environment.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with NUREG 1748, ``Environmental Review Guidance for 
Licensing Actions Associated with NMSS Programs,'' the NRC staff 
consulted with other agencies regarding the proposed actions. These 
consultations were intended to provide other agencies an opportunity to 
comment on the proposed actions, and to ensure that the requirements of 
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and Section 7 of 
the Endangered Species Act were met with respect to the proposed 
actions.
Commonwealth of Virginia
    The staff, on October 10, 2007, consulted with the Virginia 
Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) and the Virginia Department 
of Health (VDH). The VDEQ reviewed the draft and agreed with NRC's 
conclusion that no significant environmental impacts would result from 
this proposed action, if implemented. The VDH had technical questions 
regarding the criticality monitoring systems.
Fish and Wildlife
    The staff has determined that consultation for Section 7 of the 
Endangered Species Act is not required because the proposed action does 
not involve construction or any other change in physical environment, 
therefore, will not affect listed species or critical habitat.
Virginia Department of Historic Resources
    The staff has determined that the proposed action does not have the 
potential to effect on historic properties because it does not involve 
construction or any other change in physical environment. Therefore, no 
further consultation is required under Section 106 of the National 
Historic Preservation Act.

Conclusion

    On the basis of the EA, the NRC concludes that the proposed action 
will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human 
environment and that preparation of an EIS is not warranted.

III. Finding of No Significant Impact

    On the basis of this assessment, the Commission has concluded that 
environmental impacts that are associated with the proposed action 
would not be significant and the Commission is making a finding of no 
significant impact.

Preparers

    J. Wiebe, Project Manager, All Sections.
    A. Snyder, Project Manager, Sections 1.0, 4.0 and 5.0.

List of References

    1. BWXT. Request for Exemption from 10 CFR 70.24, Letter (May 2, 
2007) to Director, Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards, 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Lynchburg, Virginia: BWXT, 
Nuclear Products Division (confidential).
    2. NRC. NUREG 1748, Environmental Review Guidance for Licensing 
Actions Associated with NMSS Programs--Final Report. (August 2003) 
Washington, DC: NRC (ML032450279).
    3. BWXT. Environmental Report for Renewal of License SNM-42, 
March 10, 2004 (nonpublic).
    4. BWXT. E-mail to NRC, Criticality Exemption, dated May 14, 
2007 (ML073180015).
    5. NRC. Environmental Assessment Related to the Renewal of 
License No. SNM-42. Docket 70-027 (August 2005) Washington, DC: NRC. 
(ML071300450).
    6. NRC. E-mail to VDEQ, Pre-decisional EA, dated October 9, 
2007, (ML073180022).
    7. NRC. E-mail to VDH, Pre-decisional EA, dated October 10, 
2007, (ML073180034).
    8. VDH. Letter to NRC, Response to Pre-decisional EA, dated 
October 24, 2007 (ML73180017).
    9. NRC. E-mail to VDH, Additional Comments on Pre-decisional EA, 
dated October 31, 2007 (ML073180027).
    10. VDH. E-mail to NRC, Response to Additional Comments on Pre-
decisional EA, dated October 31, 2007 (ML073180029).
    11. VEQ. Letter to NRC, Response to Pre-decisional EA, dated 
October 17, 2007 (ML073230756).

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 30th day of November, 2007.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Peter J. Habighorst,
Chief, Fuel Manufacturing Branch, Fuel Facility Licensing Directorate 
Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards, Office of Nuclear 
Material Safety and Safeguards.
 [FR Doc. E7-24200 Filed 12-12-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P