Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, Single Nuclear Unit at the Bellefonte Plant Site, Jackson County, TN, 54961-54965 [2010-22413]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 174 / Thursday, September 9, 2010 / Notices Internet at http:// www.regulations.govhttp:// smses.dot.gov/submit/. All comments will become part of this docket and will be available for inspection and copying at the above address between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., E.T., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. An electronic version of this document and all documents entered into this docket is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joann Spittle, U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Room W21–203, Washington, DC 20590. Telephone 202– 366–5979. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: As described by the applicant the intended service of the vessel EQUANIMITY is: Intended Commercial Use of Vessel: ‘‘Scattering of human remains at sea.’’ Geographic Region: ‘‘California.’’ Privacy Act Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477–78). Dated: September 1, 2010. By order of the Maritime Administrator. Christine Gurland, Secretary, Maritime Administration. [FR Doc. 2010–22406 Filed 9–8–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–81–P TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, Single Nuclear Unit at the Bellefonte Plant Site, Jackson County, TN AGENCY: Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) ACTION: Issuance of Record of Decision (ROD) This notice is provided in accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality’s regulations (40 CFR parts 1500 to 1508) and TVA’s procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). A notice of availability (NOA) of the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for a Single Nuclear Unit at the Bellefonte mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:24 Sep 08, 2010 Jkt 220001 Plant Site (final SEIS) was published in the Federal Register on May 21, 2010. TVA prepared the final SEIS to update the extensive environmental information and analyses that exist respecting the Bellefonte site and the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant on that site. On August 20, 2010, the TVA Board of Directors (TVA Board) approved the expenditure of $248 million for additional engineering, design, and licensing activities, as well as the procurement of long lead-time components for the partially complete Bellefonte Unit 1. This decision will help maintain Unit 1 as a viable alternative to meet the projected need for base load generation on the TVA system in 2018–2020. Bellefonte Unit 1 is a 1,260-megawatt (MW) Babcock and Wilcox (B&W) -designed pressurized light water reactor. It is anticipated that the TVA Board will be asked to approve completion and operation of Unit 1 next year, depending on the results of a new TVA Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which is scheduled for completion in spring 2011. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ruth Horton, Senior NEPA Specialist, Environmental Permits and Compliance, Tennessee Valley Authority, 400 West Summit Hill Drive, WT 11D, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902–1499; telephone (865) 632–3719 or e-mail blnp@tva.gov. Thomas Spink, Bellefonte AP1000 Licensing Manager, Nuclear Generation, Development, and Construction, Tennessee Valley Authority, 1101 Market Street, LP 5A, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402–2801; telephone (423) 751–7062 or e-mail tespink@tva.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With almost 37,000 MW of net dependable summer generating capacity, TVA operates the nation’s largest public power system, producing 4 percent of all the electricity in the nation. TVA provides electricity to most of Tennessee and parts of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky. It serves about 9 million people in this seven-state region through 155 power distributors and 56 directly served large industries and Federal facilities. The TVA Act requires the TVA power system to be selfsupporting and operated on a nonprofit basis and directs TVA to sell power at rates as low as are feasible. TVA power is supplied by three nuclear plants, 11 coal-fired plants, 12 gas-fired plants, 29 hydroelectric dams, a pumped-storage facility, a wind farm, a methane-gas cofiring facility, and several small solar photovoltaic facilities and through several power purchase agreements. TVA transmits electricity from these PO 00000 Frm 00116 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 54961 facilities over almost 16,000 miles of transmission lines. This final SEIS supplements and updates the original TVA Final Environmental Statement for Bellefonte Nuclear Plant Units 1 and 2 (May 1974), hereafter referred to as the 1974 FES; the TVA Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Bellefonte Conversion Project (October 1997); the U.S. Department of Energy’s Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Production of Tritium in a Commercial Light Water Reactor (March 1999), which TVA adopted; and the TVA Bellefonte Nuclear Plant Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application Part 3, Environmental Report, Revision 1 (October 2008), hereafter referred to as the COLA ER. Where pertinent, the final SEIS incorporates by reference, utilizes, tiers from, and updates information from this substantial environmental record. The final SEIS also tiers from and incorporates by reference two TVA programmatic reviews, Energy Vision 2020 Integrated Resource Plan Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (December 1995) and Reservoir Operations Study Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (May 2004). In June 2009, TVA began work on a new IRP for meeting future demand on the TVA power system over the next 20 years. The new IRP is scheduled to be completed in spring 2011. Background The Bellefonte site is located on a 1,600-acre peninsula on the western shore of Guntersville Reservoir at Tennessee River Mile 392, near the town of Hollywood, Alabama. After completing an environmental statement for the project and receiving approval to begin construction from the Atomic Energy Commission, now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), TVA commenced construction of two B&W pressurized-water reactors at the Bellefonte site in 1974. TVA halted construction in 1988 when forecasted load growth began to decrease. Currently, Units 1 and 2 are in ‘‘deferred’’ plant status, a designation by the NRC that construction permits for the facility exist, but construction is not currently active. In 2006, TVA joined NuStart Energy Development LLC to participate in a demonstration of NRC’s new combined licensing process. Using the Bellefonte site, TVA submitted a Combined License Application (COLA) to the NRC for two AP1000 units (designated as Bellefonte Units 3 and 4) in October 2007. This application is pending. TVA E:\FR\FM\09SEN1.SGM 09SEN1 54962 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 174 / Thursday, September 9, 2010 / Notices has not proposed to construct these advanced reactors at the Bellefonte site or elsewhere. mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES Public Involvement TVA published a notice of intent to prepare an SEIS in the Federal Register on August 10, 2009. The NOA of the draft SEIS was published in the Federal Register by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) on November 13, 2009. TVA accepted comments on the draft SEIS until December 28, 2009. Approximately 50 people attended a public meeting on December 7, 2009, in Scottsboro, Alabama. Comments were received from 35 individuals and four Federal and State agencies. Some commenters supported the development of nuclear power generation, while others stated opposition. Many comments were focused on the age of existing structures, water quality, reactor design, the safety of nuclear power, air quality and climate change, spent fuel, radwaste, the need for power and alternative sources of energy, and socioeconomic impacts. After considering and responding to all substantive comments, TVA completed and issued the final SEIS, which identifies Alternative B, Completion and Operation of Bellefonte Unit 1, as TVA’s preferred alternative. The NOA of the final SEIS was published in the Federal Register on May 21, 2010. Although not required, TVA invited comments on the Final SEIS during a 30-day period from May 21, 2010, through June 21, 2010. Comments were received from nine individuals, one State agency, and one Federal agency. These comments have been considered. Compared to the information and analysis in the final SEIS, none raised significant new issues or provided significant new information. Alternatives Considered TVA considered numerous alternatives to constructing and operating Bellefonte Units 1 and 2 in its 1974 FES, including various sources of base load generation and eight alternative plant locations. As part of the COLA process for Units 3 and 4 (see background, above), TVA evaluated the construction and operation of two Westinghouse AP1000 units at the Bellefonte site, including alternative sites and energy resource options. In the present final SEIS, TVA evaluates three generation alternatives and two transmission alternatives. The power generation alternatives include Alternative A—No Action, Alternative B—Completion and Operation of a B&W Pressurized Light Water Reactor, and VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:24 Sep 08, 2010 Jkt 220001 Alternative C—Construction and Operation of an AP1000 Advanced Passive Pressurized Light Water Reactor. The transmission alternatives were No Action and Action. Under Alternative A, No Action, TVA would continue to maintain the construction permits for Units 1 and 2 in deferred status, which would involve routine maintenance of select plant systems and other regulatory compliance activities. Major buildings and plant components would remain intact, but some investment recovery activities would continue. Under Alternative B, TVA would complete construction of either the B&W designed Unit 1 or Unit 2. Units 1 and 2 are approximately 55 percent and 35 percent complete, respectively. However, all major plant structures, including the plant cooling towers and the reactor, auxiliary, control, turbine, office, and service buildings have been completed and remain intact for both units. New construction would consist of support buildings, laydown areas and parking, minor offices, warehouses, security upgrades, and auxiliary buildings within the previously disturbed plant footprint. The majority of completion activities would take place inside existing buildings. Existing plant systems, facilities, and operational components continue to be evaluated to better determine their need for replacement or refurbishment under NRC guidelines. Major construction activities would not be required to complete either unit. In addition to this final SEIS, TVA has completed a detailed scoping, estimating, and planning (DSEP) study for Units 1 and 2 to develop a licensing strategy, determine the material condition of Units 1 and 2, define the schedule and cost for completion and startup, and assess project risk. The DSEP determined that seismic Category 1 structures (e.g., safety-related structures designed and built to withstand the maximum potential regional earthquake stresses) for Units 1 and 2 are intact and require only minor maintenance to meet current requirements. Under Alternative C, TVA would construct and operate a single 1,100MW AP1000 advanced passive pressurized light water reactor at the Bellefonte site, designated Unit 3. New construction would consist of the power block composed of five principal structures: Nuclear island (containments, shield and auxiliary buildings), diesel generator, turbine, annex buildings, and radwaste buildings. The AP1000 would use the existing natural draft cooling towers, PO 00000 Frm 00117 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 water intake channel and pumping station, blowdown discharge structure, transmission lines and switchyards, and several other supporting facilities. Construction of the new power block would entail blasting, excavation, and grading of previously disturbed ground and the clearing of 50 acres of forest within the original site footprint. As a modular design, half of the major components would be constructed elsewhere, then transported and assembled at the Bellefonte site. Natural features of the site would be preserved as much as possible, and landscaping would be designed to help visually blend the buildings with the surroundings. The existing turbine and office and service buildings would be removed. The transmission system for Units 1 and 2 was completed in the 1980s. Much of this system, except two pairs of 500-kilovolt (kV) lines connecting the plant site to the TVA system and the associated switchyard, has been in use since that time. Based on an interconnection system impact study conducted in 2009, TVA determined that no new transmission lines would be needed for either Action Alternative. However, due to routine system growth, some transmission upgrades would be needed to accommodate the delivery of power produced by a single nuclear unit on the Bellefonte site. Two transmission alternatives were considered, Action and No Action. Under the No Action transmission alternative, current line operation and maintenance activity would be continued, but the existing transmission system could not support operation of a nuclear unit at the Bellefonte site. Under the Action Alternative, TVA would refurbish and reenergize the 500kV switchyard and the two pairs of connecting 500-kV transmission lines. Additionally, approximately 100 miles of existing transmission lines would be uprated (i.e., retensioned), and 121 miles of line would be reconductored (i.e., lines would be upgraded to a higher carrying capacity). The affected lines include nine transmission lines in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. All work would occur in existing rights-ofway. Other energy alternatives and sites were also considered in the final SEIS. TVA considered whether power needs could be met using power purchases, repowering of electrical generation plants, energy conservation, fossil fuel energy sources, and renewable energy resources including wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower. All of these energy resources have a place in TVA’s plans for providing affordable, reliable E:\FR\FM\09SEN1.SGM 09SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 174 / Thursday, September 9, 2010 / Notices power in the future. However, TVA’s need for power analysis indicates that even with substantial energy replacement through conservation measures, TVA must still add new base load generation to balance resources with the projected load requirements. Neither coal-fired nor natural gas-fired power was found to be environmentally preferable to nuclear power, and renewable energy sources were not found sufficient to meet power needs in the required timeframe. The 2008 COLA ER updated information about potential alternative sites. No obviously superior alternatives to the Bellefonte site were found among five candidate sites. mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES Need for Power To provide the most up-to-date information, TVA adjusted the need for power analysis between the draft SEIS and final SEIS. Adjustments include updates to reserve requirements, forecasted hydropower production, fuel and emissions’ allowance prices, and the load forecast. New power purchase agreements for wind energy were taken into account, as were anticipated layups of some amount of coal-fired generation by 2015. Plans for TVA’s Energy Efficiency and Demand Response (EEDR) program were also updated. Since 1990, TVA’s net system requirements have grown at an average rate of 2.3 percent. The current mediumload (or expected) forecast shows a 1.3 percent average annual growth from 2010 through 2030. The high forecast projects load growth of only 2.0 percent, and the low forecast projects 0.3 percent. The final SEIS analysis shows overall needs increase approximately 7,500 MW in capacity by 2019 in the medium-load case, based in part on the projected decrease in generation from existing coal-fired units. TVA anticipates using a mix of resources, including EEDR programs, renewable resources, natural gas-fired generation, and nuclear generation to provide the additional future needs. In TVA’s basecase analysis, the EEDR portion of total energy capacity increases from 1 percent in 2010 to 6 percent in 2019. Renewable resources decrease slightly, from 15 percent in 2010 to 14 percent in 2019, because the forecasted peak load also grows. Environmental Consequences The environmental consequences of constructing and operating Bellefonte Units 1 and 2 were addressed comprehensively in the 1974 FES. Subsequent environmental reviews by TVA and NRC have updated that analysis. By 1988, when construction of VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:24 Sep 08, 2010 Jkt 220001 Units 1 and 2 was halted, most of the construction effects had already occurred. Completing either of these units would use structures that already exist, and most of the work required for completion would occur inside of those buildings. Land disturbances proposed for the construction of new support facilities would be within the current plant footprint. The environmental effects of constructing and operating two AP1000 units were addressed in the 2008 COLA ER. This final SEIS updates and supplements information provided in that COLA ER. Although more site preparation and construction would be necessary under Alternative C, this would be offset by the somewhat simpler design and modern modular construction techniques used to construct the AP1000 unit. As a result, the construction duration and site construction labor force for an AP1000 unit is comparable to the estimated duration and labor requirements for Alternative B. This final SEIS updates analyses of the following resources that could be effected construction and operation of a nuclear unit: Surface water and groundwater, floodplain/flood risk, wetlands, aquatic ecology, terrestrial ecology, endangered and threatened species, natural areas, recreation, archaeological resources and historic structures, visual, noise, socioeconomics and environmental justice, solid and hazardous waste, seismology, climatology, meteorology, air quality, global climate change, radiological effects of normal operations, uranium fuel use effects, nuclear plant safety, and security and plant decommissioning. Ignoring the impacts from constructing alternative base load generation, virtually no impacts would result at the Bellefonte site from implementation of the No Action Alternative. Most of the impacts that would occur under the two Action Alternatives would be minor to moderate. Thermal water effects from plant operations would be similar, although impacts from operation of an AP1000 unit would be slightly less than impacts from a B&W unit due to the smaller amount of water withdrawal and blowdown discharge. However, a B&W unit would consume a smaller amount of the water withdrawn than an AP1000 unit. Under either Action Alternative, derates are possible during periods of excessive heat and drought. Alternative B would require the removal of about 10 percent more material from the intake channel than Alternative C, and dredging from the main river PO 00000 Frm 00118 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 54963 channel is not required for Alternative C. Impacts from the intake dredges would be minor. Dredging of the barge unloading area for an AP1000 unit and towing of barges during construction for either alternative could impact the endangered pink mucket pearlymussel (hereafter referred to as pink mucket). Plant operations under Alternative B or C could also impact the pink mucket. Under Alternative C, 50 acres of forest and native grassland, including 12 acres of wetlands, would be lost. For both Action Alternatives, one archaeological site outside the site footprint would be marked to ensure avoidance. There could be temporary periods of moderate noise impacts during construction for both Action Alternatives. Some minor to moderate socioeconomic impacts are expected, primarily during construction, for either Action Alternative including housing availability, demand for schools, and increased traffic. No disproportionate impacts to low-income or minority populations are expected. The final SEIS also considered the environmental consequences of the proposed transmission system improvements on surface water and groundwater, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, threatened and endangered species, wetlands, floodplains, natural and recreation areas, land use, visual and archaeological resources and historic structures, socioeconomics and environmental justice, as well as operational impacts such as electric and magnetic fields and lightning strike hazard. Direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on these resources from the transmission Action Alternative would be none to minor with the use of standard TVA right-of-way vegetation management guidelines and environmental quality protection specifications for transmission line construction. During the course of the SEIS preparation, TVA consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia, as well as interested tribes. On January 21, 2010, USFWS concluded that only the pink mucket could be affected by the proposed nuclear plant construction and operation. In a biological opinion issued April 15, 2010, USFWS issued an incidental take permit for the pink mucket under either Action Alternative. TVA committed to providing $30,000 to be used for research and recovery of the pink mucket should either of the Action Alternatives be selected. In a September 9, 2009, letter, the Alabama SHPO concurred with TVA’s finding of no effects on historic E:\FR\FM\09SEN1.SGM 09SEN1 54964 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 174 / Thursday, September 9, 2010 / Notices mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES properties associated with construction and operation of a nuclear unit on the Bellefonte site. TVA completed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Georgia SHPO on April 28, 2010, and with the Alabama SHPO on June 1, 2010, for the treatment of potential impacts to historic properties from transmission system improvements on existing rights-of-way. Instead of entering into an MOA, in a May 20, 2010, letter, the Tennessee SHPO requested TVA follow procedures to conduct a phased identification and evaluation of historic properties pursuant to 36 CFR Part 900.4(b)(2). Comments on the Final SEIS TVA received comments on the final SEIS from 11 persons or entities, including letters from four individuals, five citizen groups, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Water Supply (TDEC Water Supply), and the USEPA. Three of the four individuals expressed support for the project and interest in jobs at the plant site. One agreed that a plant was needed but expressed concern that spent fuel and radwaste storage issues should be addressed. The citizen groups included Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and its local affiliate Mothers Against Tennessee River Radiation/ Bellefonte Efficiency and Sustainability Team, Citizen’s Task Force, and Citizens to End Nuclear Dumping in Tennessee. These groups preferred the No Action Alternative due to their perception of the high cost and safety risks associated with nuclear power, along with perceived uncertainties about fuel availability and spent fuel storage. They preferred that TVA implement an aggressive program to reduce demand for electricity by promoting EEDR programs as well as increasing renewable energy capacity. These organizations also commented on TVA’s power forecast, completing the IRP before making this decision, the viability of both technologies under consideration, flooding, earthquakes, and climate change. No new issues were raised in these comments, and similar comments were addressed in the final SEIS. TDEC Water Supply’s comments focused on source water protection, including water wells and underground injection control, during the proposed transmission improvements. Currently, no new right-of-way is planned, and TVA has no plans to fill sinkholes or disturb wells. However, TVA will consider TDEC’s guidance in planning these improvements. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:24 Sep 08, 2010 Jkt 220001 USEPA reiterated its preference for Alternative C, commenting that an AP1000 unit would operate more efficiently and be safer due to the use of passive safety features. USEPA expressed concern about the age of the partially completed B&W plant and the cost effectiveness of completing one of the B&W units versus new construction over the life of the plant. However, USEPA also gave deference to the NRC licensing process regarding the identification of the appropriate reactor technology for the site. TVA was commended for pursuing energy technology options that would reduce air emissions. In response to USEPA’s comment on environmental justice, TVA has examined U.S. Census data for neighboring block groups. TVA found that seven block groups surround the Bellefonte site block group. Of these, five block groups had minority populations greater than the county average, but well below the state and national averages. These groups are not expected to be disproportionately affected by construction and operation of a nuclear plant. The in-depth analysis of the impacts on low-income or minority populations conducted in 2008, referenced in the final SEIS, includes information regarding specific outreach strategies used for data collection in the COLA ER. The final SEIS acknowledges the need to provide ongoing outreach to all affected populations. The final SEIS also acknowledges the potential for housing issues related to the construction workforce and the need for mitigation. TVA has undertaken an in-depth housing study to better identify the extent and location of housing impacts and to develop a strategy for addressing those concerns. This study, to be completed in fall 2010, will be available for consideration when TVA makes its final decision about plant construction. Any additional mitigation that might be identified because of the housing study will be incorporated into a second ROD described below. Material was added to the final SEIS stating what actions TVA would take under both Alternatives B and C to prevent and monitor tritium leaks to groundwater, based on industry and NRC guidance. USEPA also asked whether TVA planned to fill wetlands on the rights-of-way for the transmission system serving the site. TVA has no plans to fill wetlands in existing rightsof-way. Final SEIS Table E–3 includes information requested by USEPA regarding a comparison of effluent temperatures for the B&W and AP1000 units. The effluent temperature from a PO 00000 Frm 00119 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 B&W unit would be the same as for an AP1000 unit, and no adverse thermal effects are expected beyond the mixing zone. Decision TVA has chosen a phased decisionmaking approach for the Bellefonte project. As stated in the final SEIS, TVA’s preferred alternative is completion and operation of Bellefonte Unit 1. On August 20, 2010, the TVA Board approved a budget allocation of $248 million in support of continued engineering, design, and regulatorybasis development, as well as the procurement of long-lead components such as steam generators for Unit 1 in order to preserve the completion option on a timely basis. This will help ensure that Unit 1 continues to be a viable alternative for meeting base load power needs in the 2018–2020 time frame. Based on the results of TVA’s new IRP, scheduled to be completed in spring 2011, the TVA Board will be asked to approve the completion and operation of Unit 1. TVA will issue a second ROD to document that decision. Environmentally Preferred Alternative Under the No Action Alternative, TVA would continue to maintain the construction permits for Bellefonte Units 1 and 2 in deferred status. There would be little change to the Bellefonte site and minimal direct environmental impacts. Under this alternative, TVA would have to pursue other means of meeting the need for power. Although energy conservation is expected to substantially reduce future demand growth on the TVA system, TVA’s analyses indicate that it would still need more base load generation. Because Bellefonte Unit 1 has been partially constructed and any major disturbance of the Bellefonte site has already occurred, constructing a new base load plant would likely result in greater environmental impacts than completing and operating Unit 1. The environmental impacts of the two Action Alternatives are very similar. The B&W unit (Alternative B) would withdraw more water from the reservoir than would the AP1000 plant (Alternative C), but due to increased evaporative losses, the AP1000 would consume more water. Under both Action Alternatives, the proportion of average river flow withdrawn and discharged is very small, and impacts from thermal discharges and on water supply are similar and minor. Slightly more dredging of the reservoir would be required for the B&W unit, but dredging for the AP1000 unit at the barge unloading dock could impact the pink E:\FR\FM\09SEN1.SGM 09SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 174 / Thursday, September 9, 2010 / Notices mstockstill on DSKH9S0YB1PROD with NOTICES mucket mussel. Operation of either facility could impact the pink mucket in the mixing zone. Overall, potential impacts to water quality and aquatic ecology of Alternative B are slightly higher than Alternative C, but both would be insignificant. Because part of the Alternative C facility would be constructed on a mostly forested site, it would result in greater impacts to wildlife, vegetation, and wetlands. Neither Action Alternative would clearly result in lower socioeconomic impacts. While both alternatives would employ the same number of construction workers, the construction period for the AP1000 unit would be about 30 percent longer. The AP1000, however, would require about 20 percent fewer employees to operate the plant. More solid waste would be produced during AP1000 construction, while the B&W construction would produce more hazardous waste. The B&W unit would generate about 5 percent more spent fuel during its operating lifetime. However, when standardized by the amount of energy generated, spent fuel generation is similar. The amount of radioactive waste produced by each reactor type would also be similar when standardized by the amount of energy generated. The safety effects of the two reactor types are not materially different. Based on this comparison, TVA has determined that neither Action Alternative would be environmentally preferable to the other. However, either Action Alternative likely would be environmentally preferable to the No Action Alternative, assuming TVA has to build new base load generation. Mitigation Measures Recommencement of construction activities on the Bellefonte site would not occur until the TVA Board authorizes construction and TVA formally notifies NRC of its intent to reactivate construction. The preliminary activities authorized by the TVA Board on August 20 do not have the potential environmental impacts from constructing and operating a nuclear unit at the Bellefonte site that were identified in the final SEIS. Accordingly, no actions are necessary at this time to mitigate potential environmental impacts. Dated: August 26, 2010. Ashok S. Bhatnagar, Senior Vice President, Nuclear Generation Development and Construction. [FR Doc. 2010–22413 Filed 9–8–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8120–08–P VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:24 Sep 08, 2010 Jkt 220001 DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS [OMB Control No. 2900–0111] Proposed Information Collection (Statement of Purchaser or Owner Assuming Seller’s Loans, VA Form 26– 6382) Activity: Comment Request Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is announcing an opportunity for public comment on the proposed collection of certain information by the agency. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, Federal agencies are required to publish notice in the Federal Register concerning each proposed collection of information, including each proposed extension of a currently approved collection, and allow 60 days for public comment in response to the notice. This notice solicits comments for information needed to determine release of liability and substitution of entitlement of veterans-sellers to the government on guaranteed, insured and direct loans. DATES: Written comments and recommendations on the proposed collection of information should be received on or before November 8, 2010. ADDRESSES: Submit written comments on the collection of information through the Federal Docket Management System (FDMS) at http://www.Regulations.gov or to Nancy J. Kessinger, Veterans Benefits Administration (20M35), Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420 or e-mail nancy.kessinger@va.gov. Please refer to ‘‘OMB Control No. 2900–0111’’ in any correspondence. During the comment period, comments may be viewed online through FDMS. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nancy J. Kessinger at (202) 461–9769 or FAX (202) 275–5947. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the PRA of 1995 (Pub. L. 104–13; 44 U.S.C. 3501–3521), Federal agencies must obtain approval from the Office of Management and Budget for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. This request for comment is being made pursuant to Section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA. With respect to the following collection of information, VBA invites comments on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of VBA’s functions, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00120 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 54965 including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of VBA’s estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or the use of other forms of information technology. Title: Statement of Purchaser or Owner Assuming Seller’s Loans, VA Form 26–6382. OMB Control Number: 2900–0111. Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection. Abstract: VA Form 26–6382 is completed by purchasers who are assuming veterans’ guaranteed, insured, and direct home loans. The information collected is essential in the determinations for release of liability as well as for credit underwriting determinations for substitution of entitlement. If a veteran chooses to sell his or her VA guaranteed home, VA will allow a qualified purchaser to assume the veteran’s loan and all the responsibility under the guaranty or insurance. In regard to substitution of entitlement cases, eligible veteran purchasers must meet all requirements of liability in addition to having available loan guaranty entitlement. Affected Public: Individuals or households. Estimated Annual Burden: 250 hours. Estimated Average Burden per Respondent: 15 minutes. Frequency of Response: One-time. Estimated Number of Respondents: 1,000. Dated: September 3, 2010. By direction of the Secretary. Denise McLamb, Program Analyst, Enterprise Records Service. [FR Doc. 2010–22435 Filed 9–8–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 8320–01–P DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS [OMB Control No. 2900–New (VA Form 10– 0488)] Proposed Information Collection (Follow-Up Study of a National Cohort of Gulf War and Gulf Era Veterans) Activity: Comment Request Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Department of SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\09SEN1.SGM 09SEN1

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[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 174 (Thursday, September 9, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 54961-54965]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-22413]


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TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY


Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, Single Nuclear 
Unit at the Bellefonte Plant Site, Jackson County, TN

AGENCY: Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)

ACTION: Issuance of Record of Decision (ROD)

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SUMMARY: This notice is provided in accordance with the Council on 
Environmental Quality's regulations (40 CFR parts 1500 to 1508) and 
TVA's procedures for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA). A notice of availability (NOA) of the Final Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statement for a Single Nuclear Unit at the 
Bellefonte Plant Site (final SEIS) was published in the Federal 
Register on May 21, 2010. TVA prepared the final SEIS to update the 
extensive environmental information and analyses that exist respecting 
the Bellefonte site and the construction and operation of a nuclear 
power plant on that site. On August 20, 2010, the TVA Board of 
Directors (TVA Board) approved the expenditure of $248 million for 
additional engineering, design, and licensing activities, as well as 
the procurement of long lead-time components for the partially complete 
Bellefonte Unit 1. This decision will help maintain Unit 1 as a viable 
alternative to meet the projected need for base load generation on the 
TVA system in 2018-2020. Bellefonte Unit 1 is a 1,260-megawatt (MW) 
Babcock and Wilcox (B&W) -designed pressurized light water reactor. It 
is anticipated that the TVA Board will be asked to approve completion 
and operation of Unit 1 next year, depending on the results of a new 
TVA Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), which is scheduled for completion 
in spring 2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ruth Horton, Senior NEPA Specialist, 
Environmental Permits and Compliance, Tennessee Valley Authority, 400 
West Summit Hill Drive, WT 11D, Knoxville, Tennessee 37902-1499; 
telephone (865) 632-3719 or e-mail blnp@tva.gov. Thomas Spink, 
Bellefonte AP1000 Licensing Manager, Nuclear Generation, Development, 
and Construction, Tennessee Valley Authority, 1101 Market Street, LP 
5A, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402-2801; telephone (423) 751-7062 or e-
mail tespink@tva.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With almost 37,000 MW of net dependable 
summer generating capacity, TVA operates the nation's largest public 
power system, producing 4 percent of all the electricity in the nation. 
TVA provides electricity to most of Tennessee and parts of Virginia, 
North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky. It serves 
about 9 million people in this seven-state region through 155 power 
distributors and 56 directly served large industries and Federal 
facilities. The TVA Act requires the TVA power system to be self-
supporting and operated on a nonprofit basis and directs TVA to sell 
power at rates as low as are feasible. TVA power is supplied by three 
nuclear plants, 11 coal-fired plants, 12 gas-fired plants, 29 
hydroelectric dams, a pumped-storage facility, a wind farm, a methane-
gas cofiring facility, and several small solar photovoltaic facilities 
and through several power purchase agreements. TVA transmits 
electricity from these facilities over almost 16,000 miles of 
transmission lines.
    This final SEIS supplements and updates the original TVA Final 
Environmental Statement for Bellefonte Nuclear Plant Units 1 and 2 (May 
1974), hereafter referred to as the 1974 FES; the TVA Final 
Environmental Impact Statement for the Bellefonte Conversion Project 
(October 1997); the U.S. Department of Energy's Final Environmental 
Impact Statement for the Production of Tritium in a Commercial Light 
Water Reactor (March 1999), which TVA adopted; and the TVA Bellefonte 
Nuclear Plant Units 3 and 4, Combined License Application Part 3, 
Environmental Report, Revision 1 (October 2008), hereafter referred to 
as the COLA ER. Where pertinent, the final SEIS incorporates by 
reference, utilizes, tiers from, and updates information from this 
substantial environmental record.
    The final SEIS also tiers from and incorporates by reference two 
TVA programmatic reviews, Energy Vision 2020 Integrated Resource Plan 
Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (December 1995) and 
Reservoir Operations Study Final Programmatic Environmental Impact 
Statement (May 2004). In June 2009, TVA began work on a new IRP for 
meeting future demand on the TVA power system over the next 20 years. 
The new IRP is scheduled to be completed in spring 2011.

Background

    The Bellefonte site is located on a 1,600-acre peninsula on the 
western shore of Guntersville Reservoir at Tennessee River Mile 392, 
near the town of Hollywood, Alabama. After completing an environmental 
statement for the project and receiving approval to begin construction 
from the Atomic Energy Commission, now the Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission (NRC), TVA commenced construction of two B&W pressurized-
water reactors at the Bellefonte site in 1974. TVA halted construction 
in 1988 when forecasted load growth began to decrease. Currently, Units 
1 and 2 are in ``deferred'' plant status, a designation by the NRC that 
construction permits for the facility exist, but construction is not 
currently active.
    In 2006, TVA joined NuStart Energy Development LLC to participate 
in a demonstration of NRC's new combined licensing process. Using the 
Bellefonte site, TVA submitted a Combined License Application (COLA) to 
the NRC for two AP1000 units (designated as Bellefonte Units 3 and 4) 
in October 2007. This application is pending. TVA

[[Page 54962]]

has not proposed to construct these advanced reactors at the Bellefonte 
site or elsewhere.

Public Involvement

    TVA published a notice of intent to prepare an SEIS in the Federal 
Register on August 10, 2009. The NOA of the draft SEIS was published in 
the Federal Register by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
(USEPA) on November 13, 2009. TVA accepted comments on the draft SEIS 
until December 28, 2009. Approximately 50 people attended a public 
meeting on December 7, 2009, in Scottsboro, Alabama. Comments were 
received from 35 individuals and four Federal and State agencies. Some 
commenters supported the development of nuclear power generation, while 
others stated opposition. Many comments were focused on the age of 
existing structures, water quality, reactor design, the safety of 
nuclear power, air quality and climate change, spent fuel, radwaste, 
the need for power and alternative sources of energy, and socioeconomic 
impacts.
    After considering and responding to all substantive comments, TVA 
completed and issued the final SEIS, which identifies Alternative B, 
Completion and Operation of Bellefonte Unit 1, as TVA's preferred 
alternative. The NOA of the final SEIS was published in the Federal 
Register on May 21, 2010.
    Although not required, TVA invited comments on the Final SEIS 
during a 30-day period from May 21, 2010, through June 21, 2010. 
Comments were received from nine individuals, one State agency, and one 
Federal agency. These comments have been considered. Compared to the 
information and analysis in the final SEIS, none raised significant new 
issues or provided significant new information.

Alternatives Considered

    TVA considered numerous alternatives to constructing and operating 
Bellefonte Units 1 and 2 in its 1974 FES, including various sources of 
base load generation and eight alternative plant locations. As part of 
the COLA process for Units 3 and 4 (see background, above), TVA 
evaluated the construction and operation of two Westinghouse AP1000 
units at the Bellefonte site, including alternative sites and energy 
resource options.
    In the present final SEIS, TVA evaluates three generation 
alternatives and two transmission alternatives. The power generation 
alternatives include Alternative A--No Action, Alternative B--
Completion and Operation of a B&W Pressurized Light Water Reactor, and 
Alternative C--Construction and Operation of an AP1000 Advanced Passive 
Pressurized Light Water Reactor. The transmission alternatives were No 
Action and Action.
    Under Alternative A, No Action, TVA would continue to maintain the 
construction permits for Units 1 and 2 in deferred status, which would 
involve routine maintenance of select plant systems and other 
regulatory compliance activities. Major buildings and plant components 
would remain intact, but some investment recovery activities would 
continue.
    Under Alternative B, TVA would complete construction of either the 
B&W designed Unit 1 or Unit 2. Units 1 and 2 are approximately 55 
percent and 35 percent complete, respectively. However, all major plant 
structures, including the plant cooling towers and the reactor, 
auxiliary, control, turbine, office, and service buildings have been 
completed and remain intact for both units. New construction would 
consist of support buildings, laydown areas and parking, minor offices, 
warehouses, security upgrades, and auxiliary buildings within the 
previously disturbed plant footprint. The majority of completion 
activities would take place inside existing buildings. Existing plant 
systems, facilities, and operational components continue to be 
evaluated to better determine their need for replacement or 
refurbishment under NRC guidelines. Major construction activities would 
not be required to complete either unit.
    In addition to this final SEIS, TVA has completed a detailed 
scoping, estimating, and planning (DSEP) study for Units 1 and 2 to 
develop a licensing strategy, determine the material condition of Units 
1 and 2, define the schedule and cost for completion and startup, and 
assess project risk. The DSEP determined that seismic Category 1 
structures (e.g., safety-related structures designed and built to 
withstand the maximum potential regional earthquake stresses) for Units 
1 and 2 are intact and require only minor maintenance to meet current 
requirements.
    Under Alternative C, TVA would construct and operate a single 
1,100-MW AP1000 advanced passive pressurized light water reactor at the 
Bellefonte site, designated Unit 3. New construction would consist of 
the power block composed of five principal structures: Nuclear island 
(containments, shield and auxiliary buildings), diesel generator, 
turbine, annex buildings, and radwaste buildings. The AP1000 would use 
the existing natural draft cooling towers, water intake channel and 
pumping station, blowdown discharge structure, transmission lines and 
switchyards, and several other supporting facilities. Construction of 
the new power block would entail blasting, excavation, and grading of 
previously disturbed ground and the clearing of 50 acres of forest 
within the original site footprint. As a modular design, half of the 
major components would be constructed elsewhere, then transported and 
assembled at the Bellefonte site. Natural features of the site would be 
preserved as much as possible, and landscaping would be designed to 
help visually blend the buildings with the surroundings. The existing 
turbine and office and service buildings would be removed.
    The transmission system for Units 1 and 2 was completed in the 
1980s. Much of this system, except two pairs of 500-kilovolt (kV) lines 
connecting the plant site to the TVA system and the associated 
switchyard, has been in use since that time. Based on an 
interconnection system impact study conducted in 2009, TVA determined 
that no new transmission lines would be needed for either Action 
Alternative. However, due to routine system growth, some transmission 
upgrades would be needed to accommodate the delivery of power produced 
by a single nuclear unit on the Bellefonte site.
    Two transmission alternatives were considered, Action and No 
Action. Under the No Action transmission alternative, current line 
operation and maintenance activity would be continued, but the existing 
transmission system could not support operation of a nuclear unit at 
the Bellefonte site. Under the Action Alternative, TVA would refurbish 
and reenergize the 500-kV switchyard and the two pairs of connecting 
500-kV transmission lines. Additionally, approximately 100 miles of 
existing transmission lines would be uprated (i.e., retensioned), and 
121 miles of line would be reconductored (i.e., lines would be upgraded 
to a higher carrying capacity). The affected lines include nine 
transmission lines in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. All work would 
occur in existing rights-of-way.
    Other energy alternatives and sites were also considered in the 
final SEIS. TVA considered whether power needs could be met using power 
purchases, repowering of electrical generation plants, energy 
conservation, fossil fuel energy sources, and renewable energy 
resources including wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower. All of these 
energy resources have a place in TVA's plans for providing affordable, 
reliable

[[Page 54963]]

power in the future. However, TVA's need for power analysis indicates 
that even with substantial energy replacement through conservation 
measures, TVA must still add new base load generation to balance 
resources with the projected load requirements. Neither coal-fired nor 
natural gas-fired power was found to be environmentally preferable to 
nuclear power, and renewable energy sources were not found sufficient 
to meet power needs in the required timeframe.
    The 2008 COLA ER updated information about potential alternative 
sites. No obviously superior alternatives to the Bellefonte site were 
found among five candidate sites.

Need for Power

    To provide the most up-to-date information, TVA adjusted the need 
for power analysis between the draft SEIS and final SEIS. Adjustments 
include updates to reserve requirements, forecasted hydropower 
production, fuel and emissions' allowance prices, and the load 
forecast. New power purchase agreements for wind energy were taken into 
account, as were anticipated layups of some amount of coal-fired 
generation by 2015. Plans for TVA's Energy Efficiency and Demand 
Response (EEDR) program were also updated.
    Since 1990, TVA's net system requirements have grown at an average 
rate of 2.3 percent. The current medium-load (or expected) forecast 
shows a 1.3 percent average annual growth from 2010 through 2030. The 
high forecast projects load growth of only 2.0 percent, and the low 
forecast projects 0.3 percent. The final SEIS analysis shows overall 
needs increase approximately 7,500 MW in capacity by 2019 in the 
medium-load case, based in part on the projected decrease in generation 
from existing coal-fired units. TVA anticipates using a mix of 
resources, including EEDR programs, renewable resources, natural gas-
fired generation, and nuclear generation to provide the additional 
future needs. In TVA's base-case analysis, the EEDR portion of total 
energy capacity increases from 1 percent in 2010 to 6 percent in 2019. 
Renewable resources decrease slightly, from 15 percent in 2010 to 14 
percent in 2019, because the forecasted peak load also grows.

Environmental Consequences

    The environmental consequences of constructing and operating 
Bellefonte Units 1 and 2 were addressed comprehensively in the 1974 
FES. Subsequent environmental reviews by TVA and NRC have updated that 
analysis. By 1988, when construction of Units 1 and 2 was halted, most 
of the construction effects had already occurred. Completing either of 
these units would use structures that already exist, and most of the 
work required for completion would occur inside of those buildings. 
Land disturbances proposed for the construction of new support 
facilities would be within the current plant footprint.
    The environmental effects of constructing and operating two AP1000 
units were addressed in the 2008 COLA ER. This final SEIS updates and 
supplements information provided in that COLA ER. Although more site 
preparation and construction would be necessary under Alternative C, 
this would be offset by the somewhat simpler design and modern modular 
construction techniques used to construct the AP1000 unit. As a result, 
the construction duration and site construction labor force for an 
AP1000 unit is comparable to the estimated duration and labor 
requirements for Alternative B.
    This final SEIS updates analyses of the following resources that 
could be effected construction and operation of a nuclear unit: Surface 
water and groundwater, floodplain/flood risk, wetlands, aquatic 
ecology, terrestrial ecology, endangered and threatened species, 
natural areas, recreation, archaeological resources and historic 
structures, visual, noise, socioeconomics and environmental justice, 
solid and hazardous waste, seismology, climatology, meteorology, air 
quality, global climate change, radiological effects of normal 
operations, uranium fuel use effects, nuclear plant safety, and 
security and plant decommissioning.
    Ignoring the impacts from constructing alternative base load 
generation, virtually no impacts would result at the Bellefonte site 
from implementation of the No Action Alternative. Most of the impacts 
that would occur under the two Action Alternatives would be minor to 
moderate. Thermal water effects from plant operations would be similar, 
although impacts from operation of an AP1000 unit would be slightly 
less than impacts from a B&W unit due to the smaller amount of water 
withdrawal and blowdown discharge. However, a B&W unit would consume a 
smaller amount of the water withdrawn than an AP1000 unit. Under either 
Action Alternative, derates are possible during periods of excessive 
heat and drought. Alternative B would require the removal of about 10 
percent more material from the intake channel than Alternative C, and 
dredging from the main river channel is not required for Alternative C. 
Impacts from the intake dredges would be minor. Dredging of the barge 
unloading area for an AP1000 unit and towing of barges during 
construction for either alternative could impact the endangered pink 
mucket pearlymussel (hereafter referred to as pink mucket). Plant 
operations under Alternative B or C could also impact the pink mucket.
    Under Alternative C, 50 acres of forest and native grassland, 
including 12 acres of wetlands, would be lost. For both Action 
Alternatives, one archaeological site outside the site footprint would 
be marked to ensure avoidance. There could be temporary periods of 
moderate noise impacts during construction for both Action 
Alternatives. Some minor to moderate socioeconomic impacts are 
expected, primarily during construction, for either Action Alternative 
including housing availability, demand for schools, and increased 
traffic. No disproportionate impacts to low-income or minority 
populations are expected.
    The final SEIS also considered the environmental consequences of 
the proposed transmission system improvements on surface water and 
groundwater, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, threatened and endangered 
species, wetlands, floodplains, natural and recreation areas, land use, 
visual and archaeological resources and historic structures, 
socioeconomics and environmental justice, as well as operational 
impacts such as electric and magnetic fields and lightning strike 
hazard. Direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on these resources 
from the transmission Action Alternative would be none to minor with 
the use of standard TVA right-of-way vegetation management guidelines 
and environmental quality protection specifications for transmission 
line construction.
    During the course of the SEIS preparation, TVA consulted with the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the State Historic 
Preservation Officers (SHPOs) in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia, as 
well as interested tribes. On January 21, 2010, USFWS concluded that 
only the pink mucket could be affected by the proposed nuclear plant 
construction and operation. In a biological opinion issued April 15, 
2010, USFWS issued an incidental take permit for the pink mucket under 
either Action Alternative. TVA committed to providing $30,000 to be 
used for research and recovery of the pink mucket should either of the 
Action Alternatives be selected.
    In a September 9, 2009, letter, the Alabama SHPO concurred with 
TVA's finding of no effects on historic

[[Page 54964]]

properties associated with construction and operation of a nuclear unit 
on the Bellefonte site. TVA completed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) 
with the Georgia SHPO on April 28, 2010, and with the Alabama SHPO on 
June 1, 2010, for the treatment of potential impacts to historic 
properties from transmission system improvements on existing rights-of-
way. Instead of entering into an MOA, in a May 20, 2010, letter, the 
Tennessee SHPO requested TVA follow procedures to conduct a phased 
identification and evaluation of historic properties pursuant to 36 CFR 
Part 900.4(b)(2).

Comments on the Final SEIS

    TVA received comments on the final SEIS from 11 persons or 
entities, including letters from four individuals, five citizen groups, 
the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Water Supply 
(TDEC Water Supply), and the USEPA.
    Three of the four individuals expressed support for the project and 
interest in jobs at the plant site. One agreed that a plant was needed 
but expressed concern that spent fuel and radwaste storage issues 
should be addressed. The citizen groups included Southern Alliance for 
Clean Energy, Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and its local 
affiliate Mothers Against Tennessee River Radiation/Bellefonte 
Efficiency and Sustainability Team, Citizen's Task Force, and Citizens 
to End Nuclear Dumping in Tennessee. These groups preferred the No 
Action Alternative due to their perception of the high cost and safety 
risks associated with nuclear power, along with perceived uncertainties 
about fuel availability and spent fuel storage. They preferred that TVA 
implement an aggressive program to reduce demand for electricity by 
promoting EEDR programs as well as increasing renewable energy 
capacity. These organizations also commented on TVA's power forecast, 
completing the IRP before making this decision, the viability of both 
technologies under consideration, flooding, earthquakes, and climate 
change. No new issues were raised in these comments, and similar 
comments were addressed in the final SEIS.
    TDEC Water Supply's comments focused on source water protection, 
including water wells and underground injection control, during the 
proposed transmission improvements. Currently, no new right-of-way is 
planned, and TVA has no plans to fill sinkholes or disturb wells. 
However, TVA will consider TDEC's guidance in planning these 
improvements.
    USEPA reiterated its preference for Alternative C, commenting that 
an AP1000 unit would operate more efficiently and be safer due to the 
use of passive safety features. USEPA expressed concern about the age 
of the partially completed B&W plant and the cost effectiveness of 
completing one of the B&W units versus new construction over the life 
of the plant. However, USEPA also gave deference to the NRC licensing 
process regarding the identification of the appropriate reactor 
technology for the site. TVA was commended for pursuing energy 
technology options that would reduce air emissions.
    In response to USEPA's comment on environmental justice, TVA has 
examined U.S. Census data for neighboring block groups. TVA found that 
seven block groups surround the Bellefonte site block group. Of these, 
five block groups had minority populations greater than the county 
average, but well below the state and national averages. These groups 
are not expected to be disproportionately affected by construction and 
operation of a nuclear plant. The in-depth analysis of the impacts on 
low-income or minority populations conducted in 2008, referenced in the 
final SEIS, includes information regarding specific outreach strategies 
used for data collection in the COLA ER. The final SEIS acknowledges 
the need to provide ongoing outreach to all affected populations. The 
final SEIS also acknowledges the potential for housing issues related 
to the construction workforce and the need for mitigation. TVA has 
undertaken an in-depth housing study to better identify the extent and 
location of housing impacts and to develop a strategy for addressing 
those concerns. This study, to be completed in fall 2010, will be 
available for consideration when TVA makes its final decision about 
plant construction. Any additional mitigation that might be identified 
because of the housing study will be incorporated into a second ROD 
described below. Material was added to the final SEIS stating what 
actions TVA would take under both Alternatives B and C to prevent and 
monitor tritium leaks to groundwater, based on industry and NRC 
guidance. USEPA also asked whether TVA planned to fill wetlands on the 
rights-of-way for the transmission system serving the site. TVA has no 
plans to fill wetlands in existing rights-of-way. Final SEIS Table E-3 
includes information requested by USEPA regarding a comparison of 
effluent temperatures for the B&W and AP1000 units. The effluent 
temperature from a B&W unit would be the same as for an AP1000 unit, 
and no adverse thermal effects are expected beyond the mixing zone.

Decision

    TVA has chosen a phased decision-making approach for the Bellefonte 
project. As stated in the final SEIS, TVA's preferred alternative is 
completion and operation of Bellefonte Unit 1. On August 20, 2010, the 
TVA Board approved a budget allocation of $248 million in support of 
continued engineering, design, and regulatory-basis development, as 
well as the procurement of long-lead components such as steam 
generators for Unit 1 in order to preserve the completion option on a 
timely basis. This will help ensure that Unit 1 continues to be a 
viable alternative for meeting base load power needs in the 2018-2020 
time frame. Based on the results of TVA's new IRP, scheduled to be 
completed in spring 2011, the TVA Board will be asked to approve the 
completion and operation of Unit 1. TVA will issue a second ROD to 
document that decision.

Environmentally Preferred Alternative

    Under the No Action Alternative, TVA would continue to maintain the 
construction permits for Bellefonte Units 1 and 2 in deferred status. 
There would be little change to the Bellefonte site and minimal direct 
environmental impacts. Under this alternative, TVA would have to pursue 
other means of meeting the need for power. Although energy conservation 
is expected to substantially reduce future demand growth on the TVA 
system, TVA's analyses indicate that it would still need more base load 
generation. Because Bellefonte Unit 1 has been partially constructed 
and any major disturbance of the Bellefonte site has already occurred, 
constructing a new base load plant would likely result in greater 
environmental impacts than completing and operating Unit 1.
    The environmental impacts of the two Action Alternatives are very 
similar. The B&W unit (Alternative B) would withdraw more water from 
the reservoir than would the AP1000 plant (Alternative C), but due to 
increased evaporative losses, the AP1000 would consume more water. 
Under both Action Alternatives, the proportion of average river flow 
withdrawn and discharged is very small, and impacts from thermal 
discharges and on water supply are similar and minor. Slightly more 
dredging of the reservoir would be required for the B&W unit, but 
dredging for the AP1000 unit at the barge unloading dock could impact 
the pink

[[Page 54965]]

mucket mussel. Operation of either facility could impact the pink 
mucket in the mixing zone.
    Overall, potential impacts to water quality and aquatic ecology of 
Alternative B are slightly higher than Alternative C, but both would be 
insignificant. Because part of the Alternative C facility would be 
constructed on a mostly forested site, it would result in greater 
impacts to wildlife, vegetation, and wetlands. Neither Action 
Alternative would clearly result in lower socioeconomic impacts. While 
both alternatives would employ the same number of construction workers, 
the construction period for the AP1000 unit would be about 30 percent 
longer. The AP1000, however, would require about 20 percent fewer 
employees to operate the plant. More solid waste would be produced 
during AP1000 construction, while the B&W construction would produce 
more hazardous waste. The B&W unit would generate about 5 percent more 
spent fuel during its operating lifetime. However, when standardized by 
the amount of energy generated, spent fuel generation is similar. The 
amount of radioactive waste produced by each reactor type would also be 
similar when standardized by the amount of energy generated. The safety 
effects of the two reactor types are not materially different.
    Based on this comparison, TVA has determined that neither Action 
Alternative would be environmentally preferable to the other. However, 
either Action Alternative likely would be environmentally preferable to 
the No Action Alternative, assuming TVA has to build new base load 
generation.

Mitigation Measures

    Recommencement of construction activities on the Bellefonte site 
would not occur until the TVA Board authorizes construction and TVA 
formally notifies NRC of its intent to reactivate construction. The 
preliminary activities authorized by the TVA Board on August 20 do not 
have the potential environmental impacts from constructing and 
operating a nuclear unit at the Bellefonte site that were identified in 
the final SEIS. Accordingly, no actions are necessary at this time to 
mitigate potential environmental impacts.

    Dated: August 26, 2010.
Ashok S. Bhatnagar,
Senior Vice President, Nuclear Generation Development and Construction.
[FR Doc. 2010-22413 Filed 9-8-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 8120-08-P