Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Research Reactor Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact, 61220-61225 [2010-24809]

Download as PDF 61220 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 191 / Monday, October 4, 2010 / Notices jlentini on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with NOTICES repair and corrective action function is currently filled by I&C technicians, additional actions will be taken to ensure basic electrical/l&C tasks can be performed by Mechanical Maintenance personnel. Mechanical Maintenance personnel will receive training in basic electrical and I&C tasks to ensure that tasks related to these disciplines can be performed if needed in the first 90 minutes of an event. The proposed change will reduce the burden related to scheduling of only selected maintenance technicians on shift. The NRC staff has concluded that the proposed change will provide greater initial coverage than the NUREG–0654/ FEMA–REP–1, Table B–1 requirement and will continue to provide maintenance support capability in the early stages of an event. Based on the on-shift staffing complement designated in the proposed E-Plan change for Repair and Corrective Actions (which is in excess of Table B–1 of NUREG–0654/ FEME–REP–1) and the training that will be provided to the Mechanical Maintenance personnel in basic electrical and I&C tasks, the NRC staff believes that adequate on-shift resources exist to support Repair and Corrective Actions within 90 minutes of an event, prior to being relieved by the augmenting Emergency Response Organization. In addition, the proposed changes to the on-shift and 90-minute augmented I&C Maintenance staffing result in a total of nine personnel designated for Repair and Corrective actions which is in excess of NUREG–0654/FEMA–REP– 1, Table B–1’s minimum staffing guidance. This will increase the licensee’s capability to perform the Repair and Corrective actions during an event. Based on the above, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed changes to the E-Plan meet the standards of 10 CFR 50.47(b) and the requirements of Appendix E to 10 CFR part 50 and provide reasonable assurance that the licensee will take adequate protective measures in a radiological emergency. Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action The NRC has completed its environmental assessment of the proposed changes to the RBS E-Plan. The staff has concluded that the changes would not significantly affect plant safety and would not have a significant adverse effect on the probability of an accident occurring. The proposed action would not result in an increased radiological hazard beyond those previously analyzed in the Updated Safety Analysis Report. There will be no VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:23 Oct 01, 2010 Jkt 223001 change to radioactive effluents that affect radiation exposures to plant workers and members of the public. No changes will be made to plant buildings or the site property. Therefore, no changes or different types of radiological impacts are expected as a result of the proposed changes. The proposed action does not result in changes to land use or water use, or result in changes to the quality or quantity of non-radiological effluents. No changes to the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit are needed. No effects on the aquatic or terrestrial habitat in the vicinity or the plant, or to threatened, endangered, or protected species under the Endangered Species Act, or impacts to essential fish habitat covered by the MagnusonStevens Act are expected. There are no impacts to the air or ambient air quality. There are no impacts to historical and cultural resources. There would be no noticeable effect on socioeconomic conditions in the region. Therefore, no changes or different types of nonradiological environmental impacts are expected as a result of the proposed action. Accordingly, the NRC concludes that there are no significant environmental impacts associated with the proposed action. The details of the NRC staff’s safety evaluation will be provided with the license amendment that will be issued to the licensee approving the E-Plan changes. Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action As an alternative to the proposed action, the staff considered denial of the proposed action (i.e., the ‘‘no-action’’ alternative). Denial of the application would result in no change in current environmental impacts. The environmental impacts of the proposed action and the alternative action are similar. Alternative Use of Resources The action does not involve the use of any different resources than those previously considered in the Final Environmental Statement for the RBS, dated January 1985. Agencies and Persons Consulted In accordance with its stated policy, on September 21, 2010, the NRC staff consulted with the Louisiana State official, Ms. Ji Wiley, of the Louisiana Emergency and Radiological Services Division, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, regarding the environmental impact of the proposed action. The State official had no comments. PO 00000 Frm 00102 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Finding of No Significant Impact On the basis of the environmental assessment, the NRC concludes that the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment. Accordingly, the NRC has determined not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed action. For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the licensee’s letter dated January 28, 2010. Documents may be examined, and/or copied for a fee, at the NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR), located at One White Flint North, Public File Area O1 F21, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland. Publicly available records will be accessible electronically from the ADAMS Public Electronic Reading Room on the Internet at the NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/ adams.html. Persons who do not have access to ADAMS or who encounter problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS should contact the NRC PDR Reference staff by telephone at 1–800–397–4209 or 301–415–4737, or send an e-mail to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. Dated at Rockville, Maryland this 28th day of September 2010. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Alan B. Wang, Project Manager, Plant Licensing Branch IV, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. [FR Doc. 2010–24808 Filed 10–1–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. 50–020; NRC–2010–0313] Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Research Reactor Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC, the Commission) is considering issuance of a renewed Facility Operating License No. R–37, to be held by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, the licensee), which would authorize continued operation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Research Reactor (MITR–II, the facility), located in Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. Therefore, as required by Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) 51.21, the NRC is issuing this Environmental Assessment (EA) and Finding of No Significant Impact. E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 191 / Monday, October 4, 2010 / Notices Environmental Assessment Identification of the Proposed Action The proposed action would renew Facility Operating License No. R–37 for a period of twenty years from the date of issuance of the renewed license and increase the maximum licensed power level from 5 megawatts thermal (MW(t)) to 6 MW(t). The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee’s application dated July 8, 1999, as supplemented by letters dated February 10 and May 8, 2000, January 29, 2004, July 5 and October 11, 2006, January 26, 2007, February 22, May 29, August 15, August 21, August 26, October 6, October 7 and December 1, 2008, May 26, August 27, October 5, October 9 and November 19, 2009, and March 30, August 6 and August 26, 2010. In accordance with 10 CFR 2.109, the existing license remains in effect until the NRC takes final action on the renewal application. jlentini on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with NOTICES Need for the Proposed Action The proposed action is needed to allow the continued operation of the MITR–II to routinely provide teaching, research, and services to numerous institutions for a period of twenty years. The proposed action is also needed to enhance the facility’s experiment capabilities by increasing the maximum neutron flux in the experiment facilities. Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action The NRC staff has completed its safety evaluation of the proposed action to issue a renewed Facility Operating License No. R–37 to allow continued operation of the MITR for a period of twenty years at an increased power level of 6 MW(t) and concludes there is reasonable assurance that the MITR–II will continue to operate safely for the additional period of time at the increased licensed power level. The details of the NRC staff’s safety evaluation will be provided with the renewed license that will be issued as part of the letter to the licensee approving the license renewal application. This document contains the environmental assessment of the proposed action. The MITR–II is located on the MIT campus and is a part of the MIT Nuclear Reactor Laboratory. The reactor is housed in a dedicated building constructed primarily of reinforced concrete and steel which serves as a containment. The reactor site comprises the reactor building and a small area immediately surrounding it, bounded by a chain-link fence, and a portion of an attached multipurpose academic VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:23 Oct 01, 2010 Jkt 223001 building. Adjacent to the site are an industrial building to the north, a parking lot and warehouse building to the east, a warehouse building to the south, and academic and dormitory buildings to the west. According to the licensee, the nearest point of normal public occupancy is on Albany Street, approximately 21 meters (68 feet) northwest of the reactor building, the nearest dormitories are located approximately 100 meters (330 feet) west of the reactor, and the nearest nonMIT residence is approximately 250 meters (820 feet) from the reactor building. The MITR–II is a tank-type, lightwater-cooled and heavy-watermoderated research reactor that will be licensed to operate at a maximum steady-state power level of 6 MW(t). The core is located at the bottom of an aluminum tank surrounded by a heavy water reflector tank and a concrete biological shield. The reactor is fueled with plate-type, aluminum-clad fuel arranged in a compact core. A detailed description of the reactor can be found in the MITR–II Safety Analysis Report (SAR). There have been no major modifications to the Facility Operating License since Amendment No. 10, dated July 23, 1975, which approved operation of a modified reactor core at a maximum power level of 5 MW(t). In connection with Amendment No. 10, the NRC staff evaluated the potential for environmental impacts associated with operation of the MITR–II. Based on that evaluation, the NRC staff concluded that there would be no significant environmental impact associated with licensing the MITR–II to operate at a maximum power level of 5 MW(t). The licensee requested a change in the facility operating conditions as part of the renewal request. Specifically, the licensee requested an increase in the licensed maximum steady-state power level. This change should not affect the types of effluents released off site. There may be an increase in the quantity of gaseous effluents released offsite due to the increase in maximum power level. As discussed in this EA, off site concentrations of airborne radioactive material and potential radiation doses should continue to be a small fraction of the limits established in 10 CFR Part 20. The licensee has systems in place for controlling the release of radiological effluents and implements a radiation protection program to monitor personnel exposures and releases of radioactive effluents. As discussed in the NRC staff’s safety evaluation, the systems and radiation protection program are appropriate for the types PO 00000 Frm 00103 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 61221 and quantities of effluents expected to be generated by continued operation of the reactor at the increased power level. Accordingly, there should be no significant increase in routine occupational or public radiation exposure as a result of license renewal or the increase in maximum power level. As discussed in the NRC staff’s safety evaluation, the proposed action will not significantly increase the probability of accidents. The proposed action may increase the consequences of accidents. Specifically, the increase in maximum steady-state power level may increase the fission product source term and potential occupational and public accident doses for the maximum hypothetical accident. As discussed in the NRC staff’s safety evaluation, the worst case fission product source term will not result in occupational doses or doses to members of the general public in excess of the limits specified by 10 CFR part 20. Therefore, the proposed action should not significantly change the environmental impact of facility operation. The NRC staff evaluated information contained in the licensee’s application and data reported to the NRC by the licensee for the last five years of operation to determine the projected radiological impact of the facility on the environment during the period of the renewed license at the increased power level. The NRC staff found that releases of radioactive material and personnel exposures were all well within applicable regulatory limits. Based on this evaluation, the NRC staff concluded that continued operation of the reactor and the increase in the licensed maximum steady-state power level should not have a significant environmental impact. I. Radiological Impact Environmental Effects of Reactor Operations Gaseous radioactive effluents are discharged by the facility exhaust system via a stack adjacent to the reactor building, at a volumetric flow rate of approximately 3.5 cubic meters per second (7,500 cubic feet per second). The only significant nuclide found in the gaseous effluent stream is Argon-41. The licensee performs continuous measurements of Argon-41 at the point of release. Argon-41 releases reported in the licensee’s annual reports average approximately 1445 Curies (Ci) for a typical year. According to the licensee’s annual reports, these releases resulted in an annual average effluent concentration of 0.386E–8 microCuries per milliliter (mCi/ml). The NRC staff performed check calculations of Argon- E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 jlentini on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with NOTICES 61222 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 191 / Monday, October 4, 2010 / Notices 41 releases and found the licensee’s calculations to be reasonable. The calculated value is based on a dilution factor of 3,000 for gaseous effluents released from the facility exhaust stack. The licensee’s application for license renewal contains a more realistic, and still conservative, dilution factor of 50,000. Based on this dilution factor, the annual average effluent concentration of Argon-41 would be 0.023E–8 ûCi/ml. This concentration is less than three percent of the air effluent concentration limit of 1E–8 ûCi/ml set by 10 CFR part 20, appendix B, Table 2. The potential annual radiation dose to a member of the general public resulting from this concentration is approximately 0.012 milliSieverts (mSv) (1.2 millirems (mrem)). As discussed later in this EA, the licensee’s off-site dose measurements show a potential annual radiation dose from gaseous effluents of less than 0.01 mSv (1 mrem). These potential radiation doses demonstrate compliance with the dose limit of 1 mSv (100 mrem) set by 10 CFR 20.1301, and the air emissions dose constraint of 0.1 mSv (10 mrem) specified in 10 CFR 20.1101(d). The increase in maximum steady-state power level may increase the production of Argon-41 by 20 percent. Calculations by the licensee predict a maximum potential annual radiation dose to a member of the public of less than 0.02 mSv (2 mrem) given a 20 percent increase in Argon-41 production. The NRC staff performed check calculations of the maximum potential dose and found the licensee’s calculations to be reasonable. The calculated potential dose is a small fraction of the regulatory limits discussed above. Because the licensee performs continuous monitoring of all airborne releases, the effluent concentrations at the increased power level will be measured to ensure that releases remain below the regulatory limits and as low as is reasonably achievable (ALARA). Liquid wastes are generated at the MITR–II primarily as a result of sampling of the coolant, decontamination activities, and routine cleaning of the facility. Liquid wastes are stored in two above-ground tanks located in a dedicated structure equipped with leak detection and leak containment capabilities. The licensee disposes of liquid radioactive wastes primarily by discharge to the sanitary sewer. Liquid wastes may also be disposed of by use of ion exchangers, decay in storage, solidification, or transfer to an appropriate waste management facility. Discharge of liquid waste to the sanitary sewer requires the VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:23 Oct 01, 2010 Jkt 223001 approval of the Reactor Radiation Protection Office (RRPO) to ensure that discharges meet the requirements of 10 CFR 2.2003. Prior to discharge, a waste sample is analyzed for gross alpha-beta, tritium, and isotopic content to ensure the concentrations of radionuclides in the liquid meet the limits in 10 CFR Part 20, Appendix B, Table 3 for releases to sewers. A sewer discharge pump is located within the restricted area for the discharge of liquid waste to the sewer system. The discharge path is from the liquid waste storage tanks into a filtration system, through a radiation monitor for continuous monitoring, and then to the sewer. Discharges reported in the licensee’s annual reports indicate an annual average release of 0.08 milliCuries (mCi) of radionuclides other than tritium. Reported annual releases have not exceeded 0.21 mCi. This demonstrates compliance with the annual release limit of 1 Ci specified in 10 CFR 20.2003(a)(4) for radionuclides other than tritium. These radionuclides were discharged at an annual average concentration of 0.54E-8 ûCi/ml, with no monthly average concentration exceeding 9.3E-8 ûCi/ml. As mentioned above, the licensee performs appropriate sampling to ensure releases of liquid mixtures of radionuclides meet the release criteria in 10 CFR 20.2003. Tritium discharges reported in the licensee’s annual reports indicate an annual average release of 240 milliCuries (mCi) at an average concentration of 1.91E-5 ûCi/ml. The maximum monthly concentration released during the past 5 years was 2.19E-4 ûCi/ml. These releases demonstrate compliance with the annual limit of 5 Ci specified in 10 CFR 20.2003(a)(4) and the monthly average concentration limit of 1.0E-2 ûCi/ml for disposal of tritium by releases to sewers specified in 10 CFR 20, Appendix B, Table 3. Due to the nature of the liquid waste sources, quantities of liquid wastes should not increase significantly as a result of the increase in maximum steady-state power level. Because the licensee samples all liquid wastes prior to discharge and continuously monitors the wastes during discharge, the licensee’s liquid waste discharge program is adequate to ensure that all releases will remain within the applicable regulatory limits. The licensee classifies solid low-level radioactive wastes generated at the MITR–II as either wet or dry waste. Wet waste includes filters and ion exchange resins. Dry waste includes ventilation filters and contaminated materials such as paper, cloth, metals, and other items used for routine facility operations. PO 00000 Frm 00104 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Solid waste may also include reactor components and experiment materials. Solid waste management is divided into four processes: Collection, pretreatment, solidification, and packing. According to the licensee, volume reduction methodologies are applied to all processes and solid wastes are stored onsite for decay. After solid waste is processed, it is sent to a designated waste facility in accordance with all applicable regulations. Solid radioactive releases reported in the licensee’s annual reports for the last 5 years totaled 1127 mCi. The reactor fuel and heavy-water are supplied by the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE is responsible for disposing of the spent fuel and the heavy-water. To comply with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, MIT has entered into a contract with DOE that provides that DOE retain title to the fuel utilized at the MITR–II and that DOE is obligated to take the fuel from the site for final disposition. The licensee prepares the spent fuel for shipment in accordance with the applicable regulations in 10 CFR parts 71 and 73, and U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. Heavy-water is likewise treated and stored in the facility until DOE transfers it to a DOE storage facility or to a processing facility. Personnel exposures at the facility are well within the limits set by 10 CFR 20.1201, and ALARA. Doses to personnel are monitored under a program that meets the requirements of 10 CFR 20.1501. The RRPO records and tracks all personnel radiation exposures. Data reported in the licensee’s annual reports indicates that most personnel receive an annual dose of less than 1 mSv (100 mrem), with many of the personnel doses being below the detectable level. Data reported in the licensee’s annual reports indicates that the maximum personnel dose is typically less than 7.5 mSv (750 mrem) per year, and no personnel have received a dose greater than half the occupational limit of 50 mSv (5,000 mrem) specified in 10 CFR 20.1201. The licensee maintains air sampling, area radiation monitoring, and bioassay programs to further monitor potential radiation hazards and exposures to personnel. The licensee does not expect the increase in reactor power level to cause a proportional increase in personnel doses. However, even with a 20 percent increase, personnel doses will remain well below the regulatory limit and the licensee’s radiation protection program should continue to keep personnel doses ALARA. E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 191 / Monday, October 4, 2010 / Notices The licensee conducts an environmental monitoring program to record and track the potential radiological impact of MITR–II operation on the surrounding environment. The RRPO administers the program and maintains the appropriate records in accordance with 10 CFR 20.2103. The program includes monthly exposure measurements at locations on the restricted area boundary and control locations. The program also includes quarterly exposure measurements and continuous monitoring using GeigerMueller tube detectors at five locations approximately 0.40 kilometers (0.25 miles) from the site boundary. The measurements are representative of potential public radiation doses from the release of gaseous effluents from the facility. Over the past five years, the environmental monitoring program indicated that radiation exposures at the monitoring locations were less than 0.01 mSv (1 mrem) per year. Based on the NRC staff’s review of the past five years of data, the NRC staff concludes that the potential radiological impact of operation of the MITR–II on the surrounding environment is a small fraction of the regulatory limits. Any changes in radiological impact due to the increase in reactor power are expected to be minimal, and the potential radiological impact will remain a small fraction of the regulatory limits. jlentini on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with NOTICES Environmental Effects of Accidents Accident scenarios are discussed in Chapter 13 of the MITR–II SAR. The maximum hypothetical accident is the release of the fission products contained in four fuel plates to the reactor coolant, the containment building, and ultimately the uncontrolled environment. The licensee conservatively calculated doses to facility personnel and the maximum potential dose to a member of the public. NRC staff performed independent calculations to verify that the doses represent conservative estimates for the MHA. As discussed in the NRC staff’s safety evaluation, the worst case fission product source term will not result in occupational doses or doses to members of the general public in excess of the limits specified by 10 CFR part 20. II. Non-Radiological Impacts The MITR–II core is cooled by a light water primary system consisting of the reactor tank, a heat removal system, and a coolant cleanup system. Cooling occurs by forced or natural convection, with the heated coolant rising out of the core and into the bulk tank water. The VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:23 Oct 01, 2010 Jkt 223001 primary system transfers heat to the secondary system via heat exchangers. The secondary system also contains heat exchangers to remove heat from other reactor systems at the MITR–II. The secondary system coolant is continuously monitored for radioactivity using redundant radiation detectors, and the coolant is sampled for radioactivity daily during reactor operation. Losses of secondary coolant due to evaporation and system discharge to the sewer (blowdown) are replaced using water from the local city water supply. According to the licensee, daily secondary coolant losses are approximately 7,000 gallons due to system blowdown and an average of 30,000 gallons due to evaporation during reactor operation. This is a small percentage of the approximate 2.7 million gallons used campus-wide by MIT per day. The increase in licensed power level may proportionally increase the facility water usage, but the total facility water usage will remain a small percentage of the campus-wide water usage. Given that the proposed action does not involve a significant increase in water usage, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed action will not have a significant impact on the local water supply. Heat is transferred from the secondary system to the atmosphere via cooling towers rated at 10 MW(t) total heat dissipation capacity. During reactor operation at 6 MW(t), the heat dissipation would be comparable to that at local factories and other MIT laboratories. Neither extensive heat drift nor fog will occur at this heat dissipation rate. A small amount of heat may be discharged to the sewer during blowdown of the cooling towers. However, the small amount of heat dissipated in this manner is insufficient to raise average water temperatures in the surrounding environment. Based on the above considerations, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed action will not have a significant thermal impact on the surrounding environment. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Considerations NRC has responsibilities that are derived from NEPA and from other environmental laws, which include the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA), and Executive Order 12898 Environmental Justice. The following presents a brief discussion of impacts associated with these laws and other requirements. PO 00000 Frm 00105 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 61223 I. Endangered Species Act Federally- or State-protected species have not been found in the vicinity of the MITR–II. Effluents and emissions from the MITR–II have not had an impact on critical habitat. II. Coastal Zone Management Act The MITR–II is not located within any managed coastal zones, nor would the MITR–II effluents and emissions impact any managed coastal zones. III. National Historic Preservation Act The NHPA requires Federal agencies to consider the effects of their undertakings on historic properties. The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) lists two historical sites located near the MIT campus, the North Avenue Congregational Church and the New England Confectionery Company Factory. According to the NRHP, the locations of these sites are approximately 100 meters (300 feet) from the MITR–II. Given the distance to these sites and that the proposed action does not involve any demolition, rehabilitation, construction, changes in land use, or significant changes in effluents from the facility, continued operation of the MITR–II will not impact any historic sites. Based on this information, the NRC finds that the potential impacts of license renewal would have no adverse effect on historic properties. The NRC staff informed the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) of this finding, and the SHPO concurred with the NRC finding. IV. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act The licensee is not planning any water resource development projects, including any of the modifications relating to impounding a body of water, damming, diverting a stream or river, deepening a channel, irrigation, or altering a body of water for navigation or drainage. V. Executive Order 12898— Environmental Justice The environmental justice impact analysis evaluates the potential for disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects on minority and low-income populations that could result from the relicensing and the continued operation of the MITR–II. Such effects may include human health, biological, cultural, economic, or social impacts. Minority and low-income populations are subsets of the general public residing in the vicinity of the research reactor, and all are exposed to the same health and environmental effects E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 jlentini on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with NOTICES 61224 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 191 / Monday, October 4, 2010 / Notices generated from activities at the MITR– II. Minority Populations in the Vicinity of the MITR–II—According to 2000 census data, 18.1 percent of the population (approximately 6,472,000 individuals) residing within a 50-mile radius of the MITR–II identified themselves as minority individuals. The largest minority group was Hispanic or Latino (approximately 438,000 persons or 6.8 percent), followed by Black or African American (approximately 397,000 persons or about 6.1 percent). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 16.4 percent of the Middlesex County population identified themselves as minorities, with persons of Asian origin comprising the largest minority group (6.9 percent). According to census data 3-year average estimates for 2006–2008, the minority population of Middlesex County, as a percent of total population, had increased to 20.1 percent. Low-Income Populations in the Vicinity of the MITR–II—According to 2000 census data, approximately 106,300 families and 575,000 individuals (6.6 and 8.9 percent, respectively) residing within a 50-mile radius of the MITR–II were identified as living below the Federal poverty threshold in 1999. The 1999 Federal poverty threshold was $17,029 for a family of four. According to Census data in the 2006–2008 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, the median household income for Massachusetts was $64,684, while 10.0 percent of the state population and 7.1 percent of families were determined to be living below the Federal poverty threshold. Middlesex County had a higher median household income average ($77,373) and lower percentages (7.4 percent) of individuals and families (4.9 percent) living below the poverty level, respectively. Impact Analysis—Potential impacts to minority and low-income populations would mostly consist of radiological effects, however radiation doses from continued operations associated with the license renewal are expected to continue at near current levels, and would be well below regulatory limits. Based on this information and the analysis of human health and environmental impacts presented in this EA, the proposed relicensing would not have disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects on minority and low-income populations residing in the vicinity of the MITR–II. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:23 Oct 01, 2010 Jkt 223001 Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action As an alternative to license renewal, the NRC staff considered denial of the proposed action. If the Commission denied the application for license renewal, facility operations would end and decommissioning would be required. The NRC staff notes that, even with a renewed license, the MITR–II will eventually be decommissioning, at which time the environmental effects of decommissioning will occur. Decommissioning would be conducted in accordance with an NRC-approved decommissioning plan which would require a separate environmental review under 10 CFR 51.21. Cessation of reactor operations would reduce or eliminate radioactive effluents and emissions. However, as previously discussed in this environmental assessment, radioactive effluents and emissions from reactor operations constitute a small fraction of the applicable regulatory limits. Therefore, the environmental impacts of license renewal and the denial of the request for license renewal would be similar. In addition, denying the request for license renewal would eliminate the benefits of teaching, research, and services provided by the MITR–II. If the Commission denied the request for an increase in the licensed maximum steady-state power level, effluent releases and emissions would remain at the current levels. As discussed in this EA, the increase in power level should not result in a significant increase in effluent releases, and all releases will remain a small fraction of the applicable regulatory limits. Therefore, the environmental impacts of the increase in the licensed maximum steady-state power level and denial of the request are similar. Alternative Use of Resources The proposed action does not involve the use of any different resources or significant quantities of resources beyond those previously considered in the issuance of Amendment No. 10 to Facility Operating License No. R–37 for the MITR–II dated July 23, 1975, which approved operation of a modified reactor core at a maximum power level of 5 MW(t). Agencies and Persons Consulted In accordance with the agency’s stated policy, on July 22, 2010, the NRC staff consulted with the State Liaison Officer regarding the environmental impact of the proposed action. The consultation involved a thorough explanation of the environmental review, the details of this environmental assessment, and the NRC PO 00000 Frm 00106 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 staff’s findings. The State official stated the he understood the NRC review and had no comments regarding the proposed action. The NRC staff also informed the SHPO of the potential impact of the proposed action on historic resources. As previously mentioned, the SHPO concurred with the NRC determination that license renewal and the increase in licensed power level would have no adverse effect on historic properties in the vicinity of the MITR–II. Finding of No Significant Impact On the basis of the environmental assessment, the NRC concludes that the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment. Accordingly, the NRC has determined not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed action. For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the licensee’s letter dated July 8, 1999 (ML080950435), as supplemented by letters dated February 10 (ML003683419, ML052900533, ML053190234, and ML053190384), and May 8, 2000 (ML081000625), January 29, 2004 (ML081000626), July 5 (ML061930319) and October 11, 2006 (ML063340716), January 26, 2007 (ML070320555), February 22 (ML081000627), May 29 (ML081560246), August 15 (ML082350069), August 21 (ML082401050), August 26 (ML082470562), October 6 (ML082900488), October 7 (ML082910241), and December 1, 2008 (ML083430006), May 26 (ML091540202), August 27 (ML092450427), October 5 (ML092930273), October 9 (ML092930278), and November 19, 2009 (ML093290155), and March 30 (ML100970368), August 6 (ML102310032), and August 26, 2010 (ML102440122). Documents may be examined, and/or copied for a fee, at the NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR), located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland. Publicly available records will be accessible electronically from the Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Public Electronic Reading Room on the NRC Web site http://www.nrc.gov/readingrm/adams.html. Persons who do not have access to ADAMS or who encounter problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS should contact the NRC PDR Reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, or 301–415–4737, or send an e-mail to pdr@nrc.gov. E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 191 / Monday, October 4, 2010 / Notices Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 27th day of September 2010. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Jessie Quichocho, Chief, Research and Test Reactors Licensing Branch, Division of Policy and Rulemaking, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. [FR Doc. 2010–24809 Filed 10–1–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee’s application dated April 28, 2010 (Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Accession No. ML101250340), as supplemented by letter dated August 9, 2010 (ADAMS Accession No. ML102300537). The Need for the Proposed Action NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. 50–397; NRC–2010–0029] Energy Northwest; Columbia Generating Station Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering changes to the Emergency Plan, pursuant to 10 CFR 50.54, ‘‘Conditions of licenses,’’ paragraph (q), for Facility Operating License No. NPF–21, issued to Energy Northwest (EN, the licensee) for operation of the Columbia Generating Station (CGS), located in Benton County, Washington. Therefore, as required by 10 CFR 51.21, the NRC performed an environmental assessment. Based on the results of the environmental assessment, the NRC is issuing a finding of no significant impact. jlentini on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with NOTICES Environmental Assessment Identification of the Proposed Action The proposed action would revise the Emergency Plan to support U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) nonintrusive surveillance and characterization activities within the 618–11 High-Level Waste Burial Ground (618–11). The 618–11 site is an 8-acre parcel located on DOE property that is directly adjacent to land leased by EN from the DOE, and is located wholly within CGS’s Exclusion Area Boundary. The site was used from 1962 through 1967 and contains low- to high-activity waste, fission products, some plutonium-contaminated waste, and toxicological waste. The DOE intends to remediate 618–11 and other waste burial ground locations on the Hanford Site. The licensee proposes to modify the Emergency Plan to address interagency coordination, cooperation, and responsibilities for potential 618–11 site events and to add specific emergency action level criteria and actions associated with any potential toxic, flammable, or radioactive material release from an abnormal event at the 618–11 site that could pose a threat to the health and safety of licensee staff or visitors within the CGS exclusion area. VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:23 Oct 01, 2010 Jkt 223001 The 618–11 site is an 8-acre parcel located on DOE property that is directly adjacent to land leased by EN from the DOE, and is located wholly within CGS’s Exclusion Area Boundary. The site was used from 1962 through 1967 and contains low- to high-activity waste, fission products, some plutoniumcontaminated waste, and toxicological waste. The Hanford Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order between the DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the State of Washington, is the legal document that binds DOE to milestones to remediate the 618–11 site, among other waste burial ground locations, on the Hanford Site. The non-intrusive surveillance and characterization activities will obtain data and information necessary for planning future intrusive activities and remediation strategies. The licensee proposes to modify the Emergency Plan to address inter-agency coordination, cooperation, and responsibilities for potential 618–11 site events during the DOE’s non-intrusive surveillance and characterization activities and to add specific emergency action level criteria and actions associated with any potential toxic, flammable, or radioactive material release from an abnormal event at the 618–11 site that could pose a threat to the health and safety of licensee staff or visitors within the CGS exclusion area. The NRC has completed its evaluation of the proposed action and concludes that the proposed changes to the CGS Emergency Plan meet the standards of 10 CFR 50.47(b) and the requirements of Appendix E to 10 CFR part 50 and provide reasonable assurance that the licensee will take adequate protective measures in a radiological emergency. The NRC staff’s safety evaluation will be provided with the license amendment that will be issued to the licensee approving the changes to the Emergency Plan. In its application, the licensee also requested changes to the CGS Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR). The NRC staff’s determination regarding the proposed changes to the FSAR will be provided by separate correspondence. PO 00000 Frm 00107 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 61225 Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action The NRC has completed its environmental assessment of the proposed Emergency Plan changes to CGS. The staff has concluded that the changes would not significantly affect plant safety and would not have a significant adverse effect on the probability of an accident occurring. The proposed action would not result in an increased radiological hazard beyond those previously analyzed in the Final Safety Analysis Report. There will be no change to radioactive effluents that affect radiation exposures to plant workers and members of the public. No changes will be made to plant buildings or the site property. Therefore, no changes or different types of radiological impacts are expected as a result of the proposed changes. The proposed action does not result in changes to land use or water use, or result in changes to the quality or quantity of non-radiological effluents. No changes to the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit are needed. No effects on the aquatic or terrestrial habitat in the vicinity or the plant, or to threatened, endangered, or protected species under the Endangered Species Act, or impacts to essential fish habitat covered by the MagnusonStevens Act are expected. There are no impacts to the air or ambient air quality. There are no impacts to historical and cultural resources. There would be no noticeable effect on socioeconomic conditions in the region. Therefore, no changes or different types of nonradiological environmental impacts are expected as a result of the proposed action. Accordingly, the NRC concludes that there are no significant environmental impacts associated with the proposed action. Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action As an alternative to the proposed action, the staff considered denial of the proposed action (i.e., the ‘‘no-action’’ alternative). Denial of the application would result in no change in current environmental impacts. The environmental impacts of the proposed action and the alternative action are similar. Alternative Use of Resources The action does not involve the use of any different resources than those previously considered in the Final Environmental Statement for CGS dated December 1981. E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 191 (Monday, October 4, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 61220-61225]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-24809]


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

NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 50-020; NRC-2010-0313]


Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology Research Reactor Environmental Assessment and Finding of No 
Significant Impact

    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC, the Commission) is 
considering issuance of a renewed Facility Operating License No. R-37, 
to be held by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, the 
licensee), which would authorize continued operation of the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Research Reactor (MITR-II, the 
facility), located in Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts. 
Therefore, as required by Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
(10 CFR) 51.21, the NRC is issuing this Environmental Assessment (EA) 
and Finding of No Significant Impact.

[[Page 61221]]

Environmental Assessment

Identification of the Proposed Action

    The proposed action would renew Facility Operating License No. R-37 
for a period of twenty years from the date of issuance of the renewed 
license and increase the maximum licensed power level from 5 megawatts 
thermal (MW(t)) to 6 MW(t). The proposed action is in accordance with 
the licensee's application dated July 8, 1999, as supplemented by 
letters dated February 10 and May 8, 2000, January 29, 2004, July 5 and 
October 11, 2006, January 26, 2007, February 22, May 29, August 15, 
August 21, August 26, October 6, October 7 and December 1, 2008, May 
26, August 27, October 5, October 9 and November 19, 2009, and March 
30, August 6 and August 26, 2010. In accordance with 10 CFR 2.109, the 
existing license remains in effect until the NRC takes final action on 
the renewal application.

Need for the Proposed Action

    The proposed action is needed to allow the continued operation of 
the MITR-II to routinely provide teaching, research, and services to 
numerous institutions for a period of twenty years. The proposed action 
is also needed to enhance the facility's experiment capabilities by 
increasing the maximum neutron flux in the experiment facilities.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC staff has completed its safety evaluation of the proposed 
action to issue a renewed Facility Operating License No. R-37 to allow 
continued operation of the MITR for a period of twenty years at an 
increased power level of 6 MW(t) and concludes there is reasonable 
assurance that the MITR-II will continue to operate safely for the 
additional period of time at the increased licensed power level. The 
details of the NRC staff's safety evaluation will be provided with the 
renewed license that will be issued as part of the letter to the 
licensee approving the license renewal application. This document 
contains the environmental assessment of the proposed action.
    The MITR-II is located on the MIT campus and is a part of the MIT 
Nuclear Reactor Laboratory. The reactor is housed in a dedicated 
building constructed primarily of reinforced concrete and steel which 
serves as a containment. The reactor site comprises the reactor 
building and a small area immediately surrounding it, bounded by a 
chain-link fence, and a portion of an attached multipurpose academic 
building. Adjacent to the site are an industrial building to the north, 
a parking lot and warehouse building to the east, a warehouse building 
to the south, and academic and dormitory buildings to the west. 
According to the licensee, the nearest point of normal public occupancy 
is on Albany Street, approximately 21 meters (68 feet) northwest of the 
reactor building, the nearest dormitories are located approximately 100 
meters (330 feet) west of the reactor, and the nearest non-MIT 
residence is approximately 250 meters (820 feet) from the reactor 
building.
    The MITR-II is a tank-type, light-water-cooled and heavy-water-
moderated research reactor that will be licensed to operate at a 
maximum steady-state power level of 6 MW(t). The core is located at the 
bottom of an aluminum tank surrounded by a heavy water reflector tank 
and a concrete biological shield. The reactor is fueled with plate-
type, aluminum-clad fuel arranged in a compact core. A detailed 
description of the reactor can be found in the MITR-II Safety Analysis 
Report (SAR).
    There have been no major modifications to the Facility Operating 
License since Amendment No. 10, dated July 23, 1975, which approved 
operation of a modified reactor core at a maximum power level of 5 
MW(t). In connection with Amendment No. 10, the NRC staff evaluated the 
potential for environmental impacts associated with operation of the 
MITR-II. Based on that evaluation, the NRC staff concluded that there 
would be no significant environmental impact associated with licensing 
the MITR-II to operate at a maximum power level of 5 MW(t).
    The licensee requested a change in the facility operating 
conditions as part of the renewal request. Specifically, the licensee 
requested an increase in the licensed maximum steady-state power level. 
This change should not affect the types of effluents released off site. 
There may be an increase in the quantity of gaseous effluents released 
offsite due to the increase in maximum power level. As discussed in 
this EA, off site concentrations of airborne radioactive material and 
potential radiation doses should continue to be a small fraction of the 
limits established in 10 CFR Part 20. The licensee has systems in place 
for controlling the release of radiological effluents and implements a 
radiation protection program to monitor personnel exposures and 
releases of radioactive effluents. As discussed in the NRC staff's 
safety evaluation, the systems and radiation protection program are 
appropriate for the types and quantities of effluents expected to be 
generated by continued operation of the reactor at the increased power 
level. Accordingly, there should be no significant increase in routine 
occupational or public radiation exposure as a result of license 
renewal or the increase in maximum power level. As discussed in the NRC 
staff's safety evaluation, the proposed action will not significantly 
increase the probability of accidents. The proposed action may increase 
the consequences of accidents. Specifically, the increase in maximum 
steady-state power level may increase the fission product source term 
and potential occupational and public accident doses for the maximum 
hypothetical accident. As discussed in the NRC staff's safety 
evaluation, the worst case fission product source term will not result 
in occupational doses or doses to members of the general public in 
excess of the limits specified by 10 CFR part 20. Therefore, the 
proposed action should not significantly change the environmental 
impact of facility operation. The NRC staff evaluated information 
contained in the licensee's application and data reported to the NRC by 
the licensee for the last five years of operation to determine the 
projected radiological impact of the facility on the environment during 
the period of the renewed license at the increased power level. The NRC 
staff found that releases of radioactive material and personnel 
exposures were all well within applicable regulatory limits. Based on 
this evaluation, the NRC staff concluded that continued operation of 
the reactor and the increase in the licensed maximum steady-state power 
level should not have a significant environmental impact.

I. Radiological Impact

Environmental Effects of Reactor Operations

    Gaseous radioactive effluents are discharged by the facility 
exhaust system via a stack adjacent to the reactor building, at a 
volumetric flow rate of approximately 3.5 cubic meters per second 
(7,500 cubic feet per second). The only significant nuclide found in 
the gaseous effluent stream is Argon-41. The licensee performs 
continuous measurements of Argon-41 at the point of release. Argon-41 
releases reported in the licensee's annual reports average 
approximately 1445 Curies (Ci) for a typical year. According to the 
licensee's annual reports, these releases resulted in an annual average 
effluent concentration of 0.386E-8 microCuries per milliliter (mCi/ml). 
The NRC staff performed check calculations of Argon-

[[Page 61222]]

41 releases and found the licensee's calculations to be reasonable. The 
calculated value is based on a dilution factor of 3,000 for gaseous 
effluents released from the facility exhaust stack. The licensee's 
application for license renewal contains a more realistic, and still 
conservative, dilution factor of 50,000. Based on this dilution factor, 
the annual average effluent concentration of Argon-41 would be 0.023E-8 
[mnplus]Ci/ml. This concentration is less than three percent of the air 
effluent concentration limit of 1E-8 [mnplus]Ci/ml set by 10 CFR part 
20, appendix B, Table 2. The potential annual radiation dose to a 
member of the general public resulting from this concentration is 
approximately 0.012 milliSieverts (mSv) (1.2 millirems (mrem)). As 
discussed later in this EA, the licensee's off-site dose measurements 
show a potential annual radiation dose from gaseous effluents of less 
than 0.01 mSv (1 mrem). These potential radiation doses demonstrate 
compliance with the dose limit of 1 mSv (100 mrem) set by 10 CFR 
20.1301, and the air emissions dose constraint of 0.1 mSv (10 mrem) 
specified in 10 CFR 20.1101(d). The increase in maximum steady-state 
power level may increase the production of Argon-41 by 20 percent. 
Calculations by the licensee predict a maximum potential annual 
radiation dose to a member of the public of less than 0.02 mSv (2 mrem) 
given a 20 percent increase in Argon-41 production. The NRC staff 
performed check calculations of the maximum potential dose and found 
the licensee's calculations to be reasonable. The calculated potential 
dose is a small fraction of the regulatory limits discussed above. 
Because the licensee performs continuous monitoring of all airborne 
releases, the effluent concentrations at the increased power level will 
be measured to ensure that releases remain below the regulatory limits 
and as low as is reasonably achievable (ALARA).
    Liquid wastes are generated at the MITR-II primarily as a result of 
sampling of the coolant, decontamination activities, and routine 
cleaning of the facility. Liquid wastes are stored in two above-ground 
tanks located in a dedicated structure equipped with leak detection and 
leak containment capabilities. The licensee disposes of liquid 
radioactive wastes primarily by discharge to the sanitary sewer. Liquid 
wastes may also be disposed of by use of ion exchangers, decay in 
storage, solidification, or transfer to an appropriate waste management 
facility. Discharge of liquid waste to the sanitary sewer requires the 
approval of the Reactor Radiation Protection Office (RRPO) to ensure 
that discharges meet the requirements of 10 CFR 2.2003. Prior to 
discharge, a waste sample is analyzed for gross alpha-beta, tritium, 
and isotopic content to ensure the concentrations of radionuclides in 
the liquid meet the limits in 10 CFR Part 20, Appendix B, Table 3 for 
releases to sewers. A sewer discharge pump is located within the 
restricted area for the discharge of liquid waste to the sewer system. 
The discharge path is from the liquid waste storage tanks into a 
filtration system, through a radiation monitor for continuous 
monitoring, and then to the sewer. Discharges reported in the 
licensee's annual reports indicate an annual average release of 0.08 
milliCuries (mCi) of radionuclides other than tritium. Reported annual 
releases have not exceeded 0.21 mCi. This demonstrates compliance with 
the annual release limit of 1 Ci specified in 10 CFR 20.2003(a)(4) for 
radionuclides other than tritium. These radionuclides were discharged 
at an annual average concentration of 0.54E-8 [mnplus]Ci/ml, with no 
monthly average concentration exceeding 9.3E-8 [mnplus]Ci/ml. As 
mentioned above, the licensee performs appropriate sampling to ensure 
releases of liquid mixtures of radionuclides meet the release criteria 
in 10 CFR 20.2003. Tritium discharges reported in the licensee's annual 
reports indicate an annual average release of 240 milliCuries (mCi) at 
an average concentration of 1.91E-5 [mnplus]Ci/ml. The maximum monthly 
concentration released during the past 5 years was 2.19E-4 [mnplus]Ci/
ml. These releases demonstrate compliance with the annual limit of 5 Ci 
specified in 10 CFR 20.2003(a)(4) and the monthly average concentration 
limit of 1.0E-2 [mnplus]Ci/ml for disposal of tritium by releases to 
sewers specified in 10 CFR 20, Appendix B, Table 3. Due to the nature 
of the liquid waste sources, quantities of liquid wastes should not 
increase significantly as a result of the increase in maximum steady-
state power level. Because the licensee samples all liquid wastes prior 
to discharge and continuously monitors the wastes during discharge, the 
licensee's liquid waste discharge program is adequate to ensure that 
all releases will remain within the applicable regulatory limits.
    The licensee classifies solid low-level radioactive wastes 
generated at the MITR-II as either wet or dry waste. Wet waste includes 
filters and ion exchange resins. Dry waste includes ventilation filters 
and contaminated materials such as paper, cloth, metals, and other 
items used for routine facility operations. Solid waste may also 
include reactor components and experiment materials. Solid waste 
management is divided into four processes: Collection, pretreatment, 
solidification, and packing. According to the licensee, volume 
reduction methodologies are applied to all processes and solid wastes 
are stored onsite for decay. After solid waste is processed, it is sent 
to a designated waste facility in accordance with all applicable 
regulations. Solid radioactive releases reported in the licensee's 
annual reports for the last 5 years totaled 1127 mCi.
    The reactor fuel and heavy-water are supplied by the Department of 
Energy (DOE). The DOE is responsible for disposing of the spent fuel 
and the heavy-water. To comply with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 
1982, MIT has entered into a contract with DOE that provides that DOE 
retain title to the fuel utilized at the MITR-II and that DOE is 
obligated to take the fuel from the site for final disposition. The 
licensee prepares the spent fuel for shipment in accordance with the 
applicable regulations in 10 CFR parts 71 and 73, and U.S. Department 
of Transportation regulations. Heavy-water is likewise treated and 
stored in the facility until DOE transfers it to a DOE storage facility 
or to a processing facility.
    Personnel exposures at the facility are well within the limits set 
by 10 CFR 20.1201, and ALARA. Doses to personnel are monitored under a 
program that meets the requirements of 10 CFR 20.1501. The RRPO records 
and tracks all personnel radiation exposures. Data reported in the 
licensee's annual reports indicates that most personnel receive an 
annual dose of less than 1 mSv (100 mrem), with many of the personnel 
doses being below the detectable level. Data reported in the licensee's 
annual reports indicates that the maximum personnel dose is typically 
less than 7.5 mSv (750 mrem) per year, and no personnel have received a 
dose greater than half the occupational limit of 50 mSv (5,000 mrem) 
specified in 10 CFR 20.1201. The licensee maintains air sampling, area 
radiation monitoring, and bioassay programs to further monitor 
potential radiation hazards and exposures to personnel. The licensee 
does not expect the increase in reactor power level to cause a 
proportional increase in personnel doses. However, even with a 20 
percent increase, personnel doses will remain well below the regulatory 
limit and the licensee's radiation protection program should continue 
to keep personnel doses ALARA.

[[Page 61223]]

    The licensee conducts an environmental monitoring program to record 
and track the potential radiological impact of MITR-II operation on the 
surrounding environment. The RRPO administers the program and maintains 
the appropriate records in accordance with 10 CFR 20.2103. The program 
includes monthly exposure measurements at locations on the restricted 
area boundary and control locations. The program also includes 
quarterly exposure measurements and continuous monitoring using Geiger-
Mueller tube detectors at five locations approximately 0.40 kilometers 
(0.25 miles) from the site boundary. The measurements are 
representative of potential public radiation doses from the release of 
gaseous effluents from the facility. Over the past five years, the 
environmental monitoring program indicated that radiation exposures at 
the monitoring locations were less than 0.01 mSv (1 mrem) per year. 
Based on the NRC staff's review of the past five years of data, the NRC 
staff concludes that the potential radiological impact of operation of 
the MITR-II on the surrounding environment is a small fraction of the 
regulatory limits. Any changes in radiological impact due to the 
increase in reactor power are expected to be minimal, and the potential 
radiological impact will remain a small fraction of the regulatory 
limits.

Environmental Effects of Accidents

    Accident scenarios are discussed in Chapter 13 of the MITR-II SAR. 
The maximum hypothetical accident is the release of the fission 
products contained in four fuel plates to the reactor coolant, the 
containment building, and ultimately the uncontrolled environment. The 
licensee conservatively calculated doses to facility personnel and the 
maximum potential dose to a member of the public. NRC staff performed 
independent calculations to verify that the doses represent 
conservative estimates for the MHA. As discussed in the NRC staff's 
safety evaluation, the worst case fission product source term will not 
result in occupational doses or doses to members of the general public 
in excess of the limits specified by 10 CFR part 20.

II. Non-Radiological Impacts

    The MITR-II core is cooled by a light water primary system 
consisting of the reactor tank, a heat removal system, and a coolant 
cleanup system. Cooling occurs by forced or natural convection, with 
the heated coolant rising out of the core and into the bulk tank water. 
The primary system transfers heat to the secondary system via heat 
exchangers. The secondary system also contains heat exchangers to 
remove heat from other reactor systems at the MITR-II. The secondary 
system coolant is continuously monitored for radioactivity using 
redundant radiation detectors, and the coolant is sampled for 
radioactivity daily during reactor operation.
    Losses of secondary coolant due to evaporation and system discharge 
to the sewer (blowdown) are replaced using water from the local city 
water supply. According to the licensee, daily secondary coolant losses 
are approximately 7,000 gallons due to system blowdown and an average 
of 30,000 gallons due to evaporation during reactor operation. This is 
a small percentage of the approximate 2.7 million gallons used campus-
wide by MIT per day. The increase in licensed power level may 
proportionally increase the facility water usage, but the total 
facility water usage will remain a small percentage of the campus-wide 
water usage. Given that the proposed action does not involve a 
significant increase in water usage, the NRC staff concludes that the 
proposed action will not have a significant impact on the local water 
supply.
    Heat is transferred from the secondary system to the atmosphere via 
cooling towers rated at 10 MW(t) total heat dissipation capacity. 
During reactor operation at 6 MW(t), the heat dissipation would be 
comparable to that at local factories and other MIT laboratories. 
Neither extensive heat drift nor fog will occur at this heat 
dissipation rate. A small amount of heat may be discharged to the sewer 
during blowdown of the cooling towers. However, the small amount of 
heat dissipated in this manner is insufficient to raise average water 
temperatures in the surrounding environment. Based on the above 
considerations, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed action will 
not have a significant thermal impact on the surrounding environment.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Considerations

    NRC has responsibilities that are derived from NEPA and from other 
environmental laws, which include the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 
Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), National Historic Preservation Act 
(NHPA), Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA), and Executive Order 
12898 Environmental Justice. The following presents a brief discussion 
of impacts associated with these laws and other requirements.

I. Endangered Species Act

    Federally- or State-protected species have not been found in the 
vicinity of the MITR-II. Effluents and emissions from the MITR-II have 
not had an impact on critical habitat.

II. Coastal Zone Management Act

    The MITR-II is not located within any managed coastal zones, nor 
would the MITR-II effluents and emissions impact any managed coastal 
zones.

III. National Historic Preservation Act

    The NHPA requires Federal agencies to consider the effects of their 
undertakings on historic properties. The National Register of Historic 
Places (NRHP) lists two historical sites located near the MIT campus, 
the North Avenue Congregational Church and the New England 
Confectionery Company Factory. According to the NRHP, the locations of 
these sites are approximately 100 meters (300 feet) from the MITR-II. 
Given the distance to these sites and that the proposed action does not 
involve any demolition, rehabilitation, construction, changes in land 
use, or significant changes in effluents from the facility, continued 
operation of the MITR-II will not impact any historic sites. Based on 
this information, the NRC finds that the potential impacts of license 
renewal would have no adverse effect on historic properties. The NRC 
staff informed the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) of this 
finding, and the SHPO concurred with the NRC finding.

IV. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act

    The licensee is not planning any water resource development 
projects, including any of the modifications relating to impounding a 
body of water, damming, diverting a stream or river, deepening a 
channel, irrigation, or altering a body of water for navigation or 
drainage.

V. Executive Order 12898--Environmental Justice

    The environmental justice impact analysis evaluates the potential 
for disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental 
effects on minority and low-income populations that could result from 
the relicensing and the continued operation of the MITR-II. Such 
effects may include human health, biological, cultural, economic, or 
social impacts. Minority and low-income populations are subsets of the 
general public residing in the vicinity of the research reactor, and 
all are exposed to the same health and environmental effects

[[Page 61224]]

generated from activities at the MITR-II.
    Minority Populations in the Vicinity of the MITR-II--According to 
2000 census data, 18.1 percent of the population (approximately 
6,472,000 individuals) residing within a 50-mile radius of the MITR-II 
identified themselves as minority individuals. The largest minority 
group was Hispanic or Latino (approximately 438,000 persons or 6.8 
percent), followed by Black or African American (approximately 397,000 
persons or about 6.1 percent). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 
about 16.4 percent of the Middlesex County population identified 
themselves as minorities, with persons of Asian origin comprising the 
largest minority group (6.9 percent). According to census data 3-year 
average estimates for 2006-2008, the minority population of Middlesex 
County, as a percent of total population, had increased to 20.1 
percent.
    Low-Income Populations in the Vicinity of the MITR-II--According to 
2000 census data, approximately 106,300 families and 575,000 
individuals (6.6 and 8.9 percent, respectively) residing within a 50-
mile radius of the MITR-II were identified as living below the Federal 
poverty threshold in 1999. The 1999 Federal poverty threshold was 
$17,029 for a family of four.
    According to Census data in the 2006-2008 American Community Survey 
3-Year Estimates, the median household income for Massachusetts was 
$64,684, while 10.0 percent of the state population and 7.1 percent of 
families were determined to be living below the Federal poverty 
threshold. Middlesex County had a higher median household income 
average ($77,373) and lower percentages (7.4 percent) of individuals 
and families (4.9 percent) living below the poverty level, 
respectively.
    Impact Analysis--Potential impacts to minority and low-income 
populations would mostly consist of radiological effects, however 
radiation doses from continued operations associated with the license 
renewal are expected to continue at near current levels, and would be 
well below regulatory limits.
    Based on this information and the analysis of human health and 
environmental impacts presented in this EA, the proposed relicensing 
would not have disproportionately high and adverse human health and 
environmental effects on minority and low-income populations residing 
in the vicinity of the MITR-II.

Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    As an alternative to license renewal, the NRC staff considered 
denial of the proposed action. If the Commission denied the application 
for license renewal, facility operations would end and decommissioning 
would be required. The NRC staff notes that, even with a renewed 
license, the MITR-II will eventually be decommissioning, at which time 
the environmental effects of decommissioning will occur. 
Decommissioning would be conducted in accordance with an NRC-approved 
decommissioning plan which would require a separate environmental 
review under 10 CFR 51.21. Cessation of reactor operations would reduce 
or eliminate radioactive effluents and emissions. However, as 
previously discussed in this environmental assessment, radioactive 
effluents and emissions from reactor operations constitute a small 
fraction of the applicable regulatory limits. Therefore, the 
environmental impacts of license renewal and the denial of the request 
for license renewal would be similar. In addition, denying the request 
for license renewal would eliminate the benefits of teaching, research, 
and services provided by the MITR-II. If the Commission denied the 
request for an increase in the licensed maximum steady-state power 
level, effluent releases and emissions would remain at the current 
levels. As discussed in this EA, the increase in power level should not 
result in a significant increase in effluent releases, and all releases 
will remain a small fraction of the applicable regulatory limits. 
Therefore, the environmental impacts of the increase in the licensed 
maximum steady-state power level and denial of the request are similar.

Alternative Use of Resources

    The proposed action does not involve the use of any different 
resources or significant quantities of resources beyond those 
previously considered in the issuance of Amendment No. 10 to Facility 
Operating License No. R-37 for the MITR-II dated July 23, 1975, which 
approved operation of a modified reactor core at a maximum power level 
of 5 MW(t).

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with the agency's stated policy, on July 22, 2010, 
the NRC staff consulted with the State Liaison Officer regarding the 
environmental impact of the proposed action. The consultation involved 
a thorough explanation of the environmental review, the details of this 
environmental assessment, and the NRC staff's findings. The State 
official stated the he understood the NRC review and had no comments 
regarding the proposed action. The NRC staff also informed the SHPO of 
the potential impact of the proposed action on historic resources. As 
previously mentioned, the SHPO concurred with the NRC determination 
that license renewal and the increase in licensed power level would 
have no adverse effect on historic properties in the vicinity of the 
MITR-II.

Finding of No Significant Impact

    On the basis of the environmental assessment, the NRC concludes 
that the proposed action will not have a significant effect on the 
quality of the human environment. Accordingly, the NRC has determined 
not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed 
action.
    For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the 
licensee's letter dated July 8, 1999 (ML080950435), as supplemented by 
letters dated February 10 (ML003683419, ML052900533, ML053190234, and 
ML053190384), and May 8, 2000 (ML081000625), January 29, 2004 
(ML081000626), July 5 (ML061930319) and October 11, 2006 (ML063340716), 
January 26, 2007 (ML070320555), February 22 (ML081000627), May 29 
(ML081560246), August 15 (ML082350069), August 21 (ML082401050), August 
26 (ML082470562), October 6 (ML082900488), October 7 (ML082910241), and 
December 1, 2008 (ML083430006), May 26 (ML091540202), August 27 
(ML092450427), October 5 (ML092930273), October 9 (ML092930278), and 
November 19, 2009 (ML093290155), and March 30 (ML100970368), August 6 
(ML102310032), and August 26, 2010 (ML102440122). Documents may be 
examined, and/or copied for a fee, at the NRC's Public Document Room 
(PDR), located at One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first 
floor), Rockville, Maryland. Publicly available records will be 
accessible electronically from the Agencywide Documents Access and 
Management System (ADAMS) Public Electronic Reading Room on the NRC Web 
site http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. Persons who do not have 
access to ADAMS or who encounter problems in accessing the documents 
located in ADAMS should contact the NRC PDR Reference staff at 1-800-
397-4209, or 301-415-4737, or send an e-mail to pdr@nrc.gov.


[[Page 61225]]


    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 27th day of September 2010.
    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Jessie Quichocho,
Chief, Research and Test Reactors Licensing Branch, Division of Policy 
and Rulemaking, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2010-24809 Filed 10-1-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P