Texas Engineering Experiment Station/Texas A&M University System Nuclear Science Center Reactor, 53343-53347 [2015-21820]

Download as PDF tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 171 / Thursday, September 3, 2015 / Notices submittals.html. Participants may attempt to use other software not listed on the Web site, but should note that the NRC’s E-Filing system does not support unlisted software, and the NRC Meta System Help Desk will not be able to offer assistance in using unlisted software. If a participant is electronically submitting a document to the NRC in accordance with the E-Filing rule, the participant must file the document using the NRC’s online, Web-based submission form. In order to serve documents through the Electronic Information Exchange System, users will be required to install a Web browser plug-in from the NRC’s Web site. Further information on the Webbased submission form, including the installation of the Web browser plug-in, is available on the NRC’s public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/esubmittals.html. Once a participant has obtained a digital ID certificate and a docket has been created, the participant can then submit a request for hearing or petition for leave to intervene. Submissions should be in Portable Document Format (PDF) in accordance with NRC guidance available on the NRC’s public Web site at http://www.nrc.gov/site-help/esubmittals.html. A filing is considered complete at the time the documents are submitted through the NRC’s E-Filing system. To be timely, an electronic filing must be submitted to the E-Filing system no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the due date. Upon receipt of a transmission, the E-Filing system time-stamps the document and sends the submitter an email notice confirming receipt of the document. The E-Filing system also distributes an email notice that provides access to the document to the NRC’s Office of the General Counsel and any others who have advised the Office of the Secretary that they wish to participate in the proceeding, so that the filer need not serve the documents on those participants separately. Therefore, applicants and other participants (or their counsel or representative) must apply for and receive a digital ID certificate before a hearing request/ petition to intervene is filed so that they can obtain access to the document via the E-Filing system. A person filing electronically using the NRC’s adjudicatory E-Filing system may seek assistance by contacting the NRC Meta System Help Desk through the ‘‘Contact Us’’ link located on the NRC’s public Web site at http:// www.nrc.gov/site-help/esubmittals.html, by email to MSHD.Resource@nrc.gov, or by a toll- VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:42 Sep 02, 2015 Jkt 235001 free call at 1–866–672–7640. The NRC Meta System Help Desk is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, excluding government holidays. Participants who believe that they have a good cause for not submitting documents electronically must file an exemption request, in accordance with 10 CFR 2.302(g), with their initial paper filing requesting authorization to continue to submit documents in paper format. Such filings must be submitted by: (1) First class mail addressed to the Office of the Secretary of the Commission, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555– 0001, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff; or (2) courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service to the Office of the Secretary, Sixteenth Floor, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, Attention: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff. Participants filing a document in this manner are responsible for serving the document on all other participants. Filing is considered complete by first-class mail as of the time of deposit in the mail, or by courier, express mail, or expedited delivery service upon depositing the document with the provider of the service. A presiding officer, having granted an exemption request from using E-Filing, may require a participant or party to use E-Filing if the presiding officer subsequently determines that the reason for granting the exemption from use of E-Filing no longer exists. Documents submitted in adjudicatory proceedings will appear in the NRC’s electronic hearing docket which is available to the public at http:// ehd1.nrc.gov/ehd/, unless excluded pursuant to an order of the Commission, or the presiding officer. Participants are requested not to include personal privacy information, such as social security numbers, home addresses, or home phone numbers in their filings, unless an NRC regulation or other law requires submission of such information. However, in some instances, a request to intervene will require including information on local residence in order to demonstrate a proximity assertion of interest in the proceeding. With respect to copyrighted works, except for limited excerpts that serve the purpose of the adjudicatory filings and would constitute a Fair Use application, participants are requested not to include copyrighted materials in their submission. For further details with respect to this action, see the application for license amendment dated August 21, 2015. PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53343 Attorney for licensee: Ms. Kathryn M. Sutton, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLC, 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004–2514. NRC Branch Chief: Lawrence Burkhart. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 26th day of August 2015. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Chandu Patel, Senior Project Manager, Licensing Branch 4, Division of New Reactor Licensing, Office of New Reactors. [FR Doc. 2015–21818 Filed 9–2–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket No. 50–128; NRC–2015–0210] Texas Engineering Experiment Station/ Texas A&M University System Nuclear Science Center Reactor Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact; issuance. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering renewal of Facility Operating License No. R–83, held by the Texas Engineering Experiment Station/Texas A&M University System (TEES/TAMUS or the licensee) for the continued operation of its Nuclear Science Center (NSC or the facility) Training, Research, Isotope Production, General Atomics (TRIGA) reactor (NSCR or the reactor). The NRC is issuing an environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact associated with the renewal of the license. DATES: The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact are available as of September 3, 2015. ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC–2015–0210 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You may obtain publicly-available information related to this document using any of the following methods: • Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC–2015–0210. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301–415–3463; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this document. • NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 53344 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 171 / Thursday, September 3, 2015 / Notices (ADAMS): You may obtain publicly available documents online in the ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/ adams.html. To begin the search, select ‘‘ADAMS Public Documents’’ and then select ‘‘Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.’’ For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, 301–415–4737, or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. For the convenience of the reader, the ADAMS accession numbers are provided in a table in the ‘‘Availability of Documents’’ section of this document. • NRC’s PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public documents at the NRC’s PDR, Room O1–F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Geoffrey A. Wertz, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001; telephone: 301–415– 0893; email: Geoffrey.Wertz@nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction The NRC is considering renewal of Facility Operating License No. R–83, held by TEES/TAMUS, which would authorize continued operation of its NSCR, located in College Station, Brazos County, Texas. Therefore, as required by § 51.21 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), the NRC performed an environmental assessment. Based on the results of the environmental assessment that follows, the NRC has determined not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the renewed license, and is issuing a finding of no significant impact. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES II. Environmental Assessment Description of the Proposed Action The proposed action would renew Facility Operating License No. R–83 for an additional 20 years from the date of issuance of the renewed license. The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee’s letter dated February 27, 2003, as supplemented by letters dated July 22, 2009; July 28, August 30, August 31, and December 9, 2010; May 27, June 9, and November 21, 2011; January 12, April 11, and November 14, 2012; January 31, 2013; February 3, February 11, and November 13, 2014; and March 2, June 5, June 11, and June 30, 2015 (the renewal application). In accordance with § 2.109, ‘‘Effect of timely renewal application,’’ the existing license remains in effect until the NRC takes final action on the renewal application. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:42 Sep 02, 2015 Jkt 235001 Need for the Proposed Action The proposed action is needed to allow the continued operation of the TEES/TAMUS NSCR to routinely provide teaching, research, and services to numerous institutions for a period of 20 years. Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action The NRC has completed its safety evaluation of the proposed action to issue a renewed TEES/TAMUS NSC Facility Operating License No. R–83 to allow continued operation of the TEES/ TAMUS NSCR for an additional 20 years and concludes there is reasonable assurance that the licensee will continue to operate the TEES/TAMUS NSCR safely for the additional period of time. The details of the NRC’s safety evaluation will be provided with the renewed license that will be issued as part of the letter to the licensee approving its license renewal application. This document contains the environmental assessment of the proposed action. The TEES/TAMUS NSC is located on a rectangular 6-acre site on the west end of the Texas A&M University (TAMU) campus in College Station, Texas. The NSC is located 460 meters (1500 feet) west of the north-south runway of Easterwood Airport. The NSC is surrounded by land owned and controlled by TAMU and Easterwood Airport. No industrial, transportation or military facilities within the vicinity of the NSC pose sufficient risk to the NSC NSCR to render the site unusable for operation of the reactor facility. Although the airport is nearby, the trajectory of the runways make the probability of a casualty resulting from an aircraft collision low. The NSCR is located within a steel and concrete confinement building, below ground level, and is protected by thick stainless steel-lined concrete pool walls, which would minimize the radiological risk of a potential aircraft collision. The NSC is comprised of the reactor confinement building, entry/reception area, laboratory building and other equipment rooms, and storage/support buildings. The main entrance into the NSC is located at the east end of the site. The NSC is located 9.6 kilometers (6 miles) south of the city center of Bryan, 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) southwest of the TAMU main campus, and 4.1 kilometers (2.5 miles) west-southwest of the City of College Station. The nearest permanent residences are greater than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from the NSC and the nearest dormitories are 4 to 6 kilometers (2.5 to 3.5 miles) away. PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The NSC is approximately 6 kilometers (3.5 miles) south of TAMU’s Zachry Engineering Center complex. The Zachry Engineering Center is the location of TAMU’s second research reactor, an Aerojet General Nucleonics (AGN)-201M research reactor (the AGN). The license for the AGN is currently under review for renewal which will also include an environmental assessment similar in nature to this environmental assessment for the NSC. The NSCR is a pool-type, light water moderated and cooled TRIGA research reactor licensed to operate at a steadystate power level of 1.0 megawatt (thermal). The reactor is also licensed to operate in a pulse mode. The fuel is located at the bottom of a stainless steellined concrete pool, which has two sections with a total volume of 401,500 liters (106,000 gallons) of water. The main section of the pool is 10 meters (33 feet) deep and 5.5 meters (18 feet) wide. The stall section of the pool is 2.8 meters (9 feet) wide with a rounded end, which can be isolated from the main section of the pool by an aluminum gate. The reactor is fueled with standard TRIGA low-enriched uranium fuel and the core is normally covered by 8 meters (26 feet) of water. A detailed description of the reactor is publicly available and can be found in the Safety Analysis Report (SAR) for the NSCR. There have been two major modifications to Facility Operating License No. R–83 since the last renewal of the license on March 30, 1983. An order was issued in 2006 amending the license by: (1) Allowing an increase in the possession limits for uranium-235 to bring a low-enriched uranium core on site for converting the reactor from the use of high-enriched uranium fuel to low-enriched uranium fuel (possession limits were reduced when the high-enriched uranium core was removed from the facility after conversion); and (2) converting the reactor from the use of high-enriched uranium fuel to low-enriched uranium fuel. A. Radiological Impact Environmental Effects of Reactor Operations: Gaseous radioactive effluents are discharged from the NSCR facility exhaust system through a single release point, a 26-meter (85 feet) high building stack, at a volumetric flow rate of approximately 233 cubic meters (8,000 cubic feet) per minute. The only significant radionuclide found in the gaseous effluent stream is argon-41 (Ar41). The Ar-41 release rate for the NSCR is limited to 30 curies per year (Ci/yr), as required by TS 3.5.2. E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 171 / Thursday, September 3, 2015 / Notices The licensee states that all modes of operation at the NSCR, including thermal column operations, produce air concentrations and total Ar-41 release much less than the TS 3.5.2 limit of 30Ci/yr. However, using the 30-Ci/yr TS 3.5.2 limit and the stack flow rate provided above, the licensee calculated that the average Ar-41 release concentration would be 2.5x10¥7 microcuries per milliliter (mCi/mL), which is 8.3 percent of the derived air concentration (DAC) limiting value of 3x10¥6 mCi/mL, established in Table 1 of appendix B, ‘‘Annual Limits on Intake (ALIs) and Derived Air Concentrations (DACs) of Radionuclides for Occupational Exposure; Effluent Concentrations; Concentrations for Release to Sewerage,’’ to 10 CFR part 20. Using the building concentration as the average stack flow concentration provided above, the licensee calculated the occupational dose to an NSC worker staying in the confinement for 2,000 hours per year at 416 millirem (mrem). The license also evaluated the dose to a worker given the assumption that the concentration of Ar-41, based on the 30 Ci/yr release limit, was generated during 2,000 hours of reactor operation and the resulting dose was 1.84 rem, which is well below the 5,000 mrem limit established in § 20.1201, ‘‘Occupational dose limits for adults.’’ The licensee calculated, using an atmospheric dilution factor of 5 x 10¥3 for the distance to the fence line at 100 m (boundary of the restricted area), the potential dose to a member of the public to be 12.6 mrem for a continuous Ar-41 exposure over the entire year. This dose value is below the limit of 100 mrem/ yr in § 20.1301, ‘‘Dose limits for individual members of the public.’’ In order to ensure that the actual dose remains below the 10 mrem annual as low as is reasonably achievable (ALARA) constraint of § 20.1101, ‘‘Radiation protection programs,’’ the licensee indicated that the Ar-41 releases are monitored monthly, and the Radiation Safety Officer (RSO) reviews the results of any abnormal releases to ensure that the Ar-41 doses remain below the 10 mrem ALARA constraint. Additionally, a review of the Ar-41 releases from the licensee’s annual reports shows that the annual release of Ar-41 is well below the 30 Ci limit. The 2013 Annual Report, as supplemented, is publicly available and indicated that the total release of Ar-41 was 10.4 Ci. The NRC estimates this release could result in a potential dose to a member of the public to be approximately 4.3 mrem over a year. The licensee disposes of liquid radioactive wastes by discharge to the VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:42 Sep 02, 2015 Jkt 235001 sanitary sewer. Liquid radioactive waste is collected from various locations within the facility and transferred to one of three 140,060 liters (37,000 gallons) hold-up tanks. When a tank is full, its contents are filtered to remove any particulates, and sampled for radioactive content. Procedures are used to control the discharge process to ensure that discharges meet the requirements of § 20.2003, ‘‘Disposal by release into sanitary sewerage,’’ for disposal into the sanitary sewerage. For many years, the licensee discharged liquid waste from the hold-up tanks directly to a small creek running through the site. The waste was analyzed and sufficiently diluted before each release. Sampling of creek sediment was routinely done as part of the overall environmental monitoring program. In September 2008, the licensee reconfigured its liquid effluent system such that the hold-up tanks now discharge to the sanitary sewer. Since that time, no releases have been made to the creek and none are planned. The licensee oversees the handling of solid low-level radioactive waste generated at the NSC. The bulk of the waste consists of gloves, paper, plastic, and small pieces of metal. The licensee disposes of the waste by decay-instorage or shipment to a low-level waste broker in accordance with all applicable regulations for transportation of radioactive materials. To comply with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, the licensee has entered into a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that provides that DOE retains title to the fuel utilized at the NSC and that DOE is obligated to take the fuel from the site for final disposition. As described in Chapter 11 of the publicly available NSC SAR, personnel exposures are well within the limits set by § 20.1201, ‘‘Occupational dose limits for adults,’’ and are ALARA. The licensee tracks exposures of personnel monitored with dosimeters, which are usually less than 10 percent of the occupational limit of 50 milliSieverts (5,000 mrem) per year. Area thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD) monitors mounted in the control room and other strategic locations provide an additional monthly measurement of total radiation exposures at those locations. No changes in reactor operation that would lead to an increase in occupational dose are expected as a result of the proposed action. The licensee conducts an environmental monitoring program to assess the radiological impact of reactor operations on the surrounding areas. The program consists of measuring and PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53345 recording the integrated radiation exposure obtained from environmental TLDs located at various positions around the site boundary and at two control locations away from any direct influence from the NSC. The licensee administers the program and maintains the appropriate records. Over the past five years, the survey program indicated that radiation exposures at the monitoring locations were not significantly higher than those measured at the control locations. Yearto-year trends in exposures are consistent between monitoring locations. Also, no correlation exists between total annual reactor operation and annual exposures measured at the monitoring locations. Based on its review of the past five years of data, the NRC staff concludes that operation of the NSC does not have any significant radiological impact on the surrounding environment. No changes in reactor operation that would affect off-site radiation levels are expected as a result of the proposed action. Environmental Effects of Accidents Accident scenarios are discussed in Chapter 13 of the NSC SAR. The maximum hypothetical accident is the simultaneous loss of coolant and rupture of a single fuel element in air. The licensee conservatively calculated doses to facility personnel and the maximum potential dose to a member of the public. The NRC performed independent calculations to verify that the doses represent conservative estimates for the maximum hypothetical accident. Occupational doses resulting from this accident would be well below the 10 CFR part 20 annual limit of 50 milliSievert (5.0 rem). Maximum doses for members of the public resulting from this accident would be well below the 10 CFR part 20 annual limit of 1.0 milliSievert (100 mrem). The proposed action will not increase the probability or consequences of accidents. The licensee has not requested any changes to the facility design or operating conditions as part of the application for license renewal. No changes are being made in the types or quantities of effluents that may be released off site. 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 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 NSCR. Accordingly, there would be E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 53346 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 171 / Thursday, September 3, 2015 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES no increase in routine occupational or public radiation exposure as a result of license renewal. As discussed in the safety evaluation, the proposed action would not significantly increase the probability or consequences of accidents. Therefore, license renewal would not change the environmental impact of facility operation. The NRC evaluated information contained in the licensee’s renewal application and reviewed 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. The NRC found that releases of radioactive material and personnel exposures were all well within applicable regulatory limits. Based on its evaluation, the NRC concludes that continued operation of the NSCR would not have a significant environmental impact. B. Non-Radiological Impacts The NSCR core is cooled by a light water primary system consisting of the reactor pool, a heat removal system, and a processing system. Cooling occurs by natural convection with the heated coolant rising out of the core and into the bulk pool water. The large heat sink provided by the volume of primary coolant allows several hours of fullpower operation without any secondary cooling. The heat removal system transfers heat to the secondary system via a heat exchanger. The secondary system uses water supplied by the municipal water system. The licensee monitors both systems for purity and to detect significant leakage. The licensee does not chemically treat the primary coolant. Three chemicals (sulfuric acid, sodium hypochlorite (bleach), and a commercial cooling water treatment) are used to maintain the secondary coolant pH, control growth of organisms, and control the buildup of scale, respectively. These chemicals are highly diluted and possess minimal hazards to the operating staff. Secondary cooling tower water is occasionally ‘‘blowndown’’ to maintain acceptable conductivity (purity), and the blowdown water is disposed of in accordance with the permit limits of the University’s waste water treatment plant. The licensee uses small volumes of standard laboratory-grade chemicals in their chemical laboratories. These chemicals are disposed through an established procedure with the University’s Environmental Health Office. The licensee implements a nonradiological environmental monitoring program with the Texas Department of State Health Services. This program VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:42 Sep 02, 2015 Jkt 235001 helps to ensure that impacts are kept within acceptable limits. Given that the proposed action does not involve any change in the operation of the reactor, the minimal heat load dissipated to the environment and limited chemical usage, the NRC concludes that the proposed action will not have a significant non-radiological impact on the environment. National Environmental Policy Act Considerations The NRC has responsibilities that are derived from the National Environmental Policy Act and from other environmental laws, which include the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Coastal Zone Management Act, 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. 1. Endangered Species Act No effects on the aquatic or terrestrial habitat in the vicinity of the NSC, or to threatened, endangered, or protected species under the ESA, would be expected. 2. Coastal Zone Management Act The NSC is not located within any managed coastal zone, nor would the effluents and emissions from the NSCR impact any managed coastal zones. 3. 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 lists several historical sites in Brazos County. However, none of the sites are located within 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) of the NSC and, given their respective locations, continued operation of the NSCR will not impact any historical sites. The NRC staff contacted the State of Texas Historical Preservation Officer (SHPO) and discussed the proposed action. The SHPO indicated that there was no objection to the proposed action and that it did not require a formal review by that office. Based on this information, the NRC staff finds that the potential impacts of the proposed action would have no adverse effect on historic and archaeological resources. 4. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act With regard to the NSC, TEES/ TAMUS is not planning any water resource development projects, including any 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. PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Therefore, this action has no significant impact related to the FWCA. 5. 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 NSC. Such effects may include human health, biological, cultural, economic, or social impacts. Minority Populations in the Vicinity of the NSC—According to the 2010 census data, 36 percent of the total population (approximately 512,000 individuals) residing within a 50-mile radius of the NSC identified themselves as minority individuals. The largest minority were people of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin of any race (approximately 100,000 persons or 19.5 percent), followed by Black or African American (65,000 or 12.7 percent). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 41 percent of the Brazos County population identified themselves as minorities, with persons of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin comprising the largest minority group (23 percent). According to U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, the minority population of Brazos County, as a percent of the total population, had increased to about 42 percent. Low-income Populations in the Vicinity of the NSC—According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008–2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, approximately 100,000 individuals (20 percent) residing within a 50-mile radius of the NSC were identified as living below the Federal poverty threshold. The 2012 Federal poverty threshold was $23,492 for a family of four. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, the median household income for Texas was $51,704, while 13.6 percent of families and 17.5 percent of the state population were found to be living below the Federal poverty threshold. Brazos County had a lower median household income average ($37,913) and a higher percent of families (16.1 percent) and individuals (29.5 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 E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 171 / Thursday, September 3, 2015 / Notices continue at 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 environmental assessment, the proposed license renewal would not have disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects on minority and low-income populations residing in the vicinity of the NSC. Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action As an alternative to license renewal, the NRC considered denying the proposed action. If the NRC denied the request for license renewal, reactor operations at the NSC would cease and decommissioning would be required. The NRC notes that, even with a renewed license, the NSC will eventually require decommissioning, at which time the environmental effects of decommissioning would occur. Decommissioning would be conducted in accordance with an NRC-approved decommissioning plan which would require a separate environmental review under § 51.21, ‘‘Criteria for and identification of licensing and regulatory actions requiring environmental assessments.’’ Cessation of reactor operations at the NSC would reduce or eliminate radioactive effluents and emissions. However, as previously discussed in this environmental assessment, radioactive effluents resulting from reactor operations are only a small fraction of the applicable regulatory limits. Therefore, the environmental impacts of renewing the license 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 NSCR. 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 License Amendment No. 9 to Facility Operating License No. R– 83 for the NSC dated March 30, 1983, which renewed the Facility Operating License No. R–83 for an additional period of 20 years. Agencies and Persons Consulted In accordance with the agency’s stated policy, on June 11, 2010, the NRC staff consulted with the Texas State Liaison Officer regarding the environmental Document tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS ADAMS Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 24th day of August, 2015. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Alexander Adams, Jr., Chief, Research and Test Reactors Licensing Branch. Division of Policy and Rulemaking, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. [FR Doc. 2015–21820 Filed 9–2–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession Accession III. Finding of No Significant Impact The NRC staff has prepared this EA as part of its review of the proposed action. On the basis of this EA, the NRC finds that there are no significant environmental impacts from the proposed action, and that preparation of an environmental impact statement is not warranted. On the basis of the environmental assessment included in Section II of this document, 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 that a finding of no significant impact is appropriate. IV. Availability of Documents This finding and related environmental documents are available to interested persons through ADAMS via the following ADAMS accession numbers: No. ML102920025. No. ML092530306. No. ML102150544. No. ML102510154. No. ML102650318. No. ML103470278. No. ML111950372. No. ML111950376. Nos. ML113410067 and ML11327A083. No. ML120260016. No. ML12110A116. No. ML12321A321. No. ML13037A307. No. ML14038A106. No. ML14076A112. No. ML15009A297. No ML15065A068. No ML15160A023. No. ML15187A256. No. ML15182A449. [Docket Nos. 50–295, 50–304, and 72–1037; NRC–2015–0190] ZionSolutions, LLC; Zion Nuclear Power Station, Units 1 and 2 Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Jkt 235001 ACTION: NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION AGENCY: 14:42 Sep 02, 2015 impact of the proposed action. The consultation involved a thorough explanation of the environmental review, the details of this environmental assessment, and the NRC’s findings. The State official stated the he understood the NRC review and had no comments regarding the proposed action. ADAMS Accession No./Web link/Federal Register Citation February 27, 2003 ................................ July 22, 2009 ........................................ July 28, 2010 ........................................ August 30, 2010 ................................... August 31, 2010 ................................... December 9, 2010 ................................ May 27, 2011 ....................................... June 9, 2011 ........................................ November 21, 2011 .............................. January 12, 2012 ................................. April 11, 2012 ....................................... November 14, 2012 .............................. January 31, 2013 ................................. February 3, 2013 .................................. February 11, 2013 ................................ November 13, 2014 .............................. March 2, 2015 ...................................... June 5, 2015 ........................................ June 11, 2015 ...................................... June 30, 2015 ...................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 53347 PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Exemption; issuance. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing an exemption in response to a request submitted by ZionSolutions on August 25, 2014, to its general license to operate an independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) at the Zion Nuclear Power Station (ZNPS). The exemption permits ZionSolutions to deviate from the requirements in Certificate of SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\03SEN1.SGM 03SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 171 (Thursday, September 3, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 53343-53347]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-21820]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket No. 50-128; NRC-2015-0210]


Texas Engineering Experiment Station/Texas A&M University System 
Nuclear Science Center Reactor

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact; 
issuance.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
renewal of Facility Operating License No. R-83, held by the Texas 
Engineering Experiment Station/Texas A&M University System (TEES/TAMUS 
or the licensee) for the continued operation of its Nuclear Science 
Center (NSC or the facility) Training, Research, Isotope Production, 
General Atomics (TRIGA) reactor (NSCR or the reactor). The NRC is 
issuing an environmental assessment and finding of no significant 
impact associated with the renewal of the license.

DATES: The environmental assessment and finding of no significant 
impact are available as of September 3, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2015-0210 when contacting the 
NRC about the availability of information regarding this document. You 
may obtain publicly-available information related to this document 
using any of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2015-0210. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-415-
3463; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact 
the individual listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of 
this document.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System

[[Page 53344]]

(ADAMS): You may obtain publicly available documents online in the 
ADAMS Public Documents collection at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and 
then select ``Begin Web-based ADAMS Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, 
please contact the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 
1-800-397-4209, 301-415-4737, or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. For 
the convenience of the reader, the ADAMS accession numbers are provided 
in a table in the ``Availability of Documents'' section of this 
document.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Geoffrey A. Wertz, Office of Nuclear 
Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 
20555-0001; telephone: 301-415-0893; email: Geoffrey.Wertz@nrc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Introduction

    The NRC is considering renewal of Facility Operating License No. R-
83, held by TEES/TAMUS, which would authorize continued operation of 
its NSCR, located in College Station, Brazos County, Texas. Therefore, 
as required by Sec.  51.21 of Title 10 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (10 CFR), the NRC performed an environmental assessment. 
Based on the results of the environmental assessment that follows, the 
NRC has determined not to prepare an environmental impact statement for 
the renewed license, and is issuing a finding of no significant impact.

II. Environmental Assessment

Description of the Proposed Action

    The proposed action would renew Facility Operating License No. R-83 
for an additional 20 years from the date of issuance of the renewed 
license. The proposed action is in accordance with the licensee's 
letter dated February 27, 2003, as supplemented by letters dated July 
22, 2009; July 28, August 30, August 31, and December 9, 2010; May 27, 
June 9, and November 21, 2011; January 12, April 11, and November 14, 
2012; January 31, 2013; February 3, February 11, and November 13, 2014; 
and March 2, June 5, June 11, and June 30, 2015 (the renewal 
application). In accordance with Sec.  2.109, ``Effect of timely 
renewal application,'' 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 TEES/TAMUS NSCR to routinely provide teaching, research, and 
services to numerous institutions for a period of 20 years.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    The NRC has completed its safety evaluation of the proposed action 
to issue a renewed TEES/TAMUS NSC Facility Operating License No. R-83 
to allow continued operation of the TEES/TAMUS NSCR for an additional 
20 years and concludes there is reasonable assurance that the licensee 
will continue to operate the TEES/TAMUS NSCR safely for the additional 
period of time. The details of the NRC's safety evaluation will be 
provided with the renewed license that will be issued as part of the 
letter to the licensee approving its license renewal application. This 
document contains the environmental assessment of the proposed action.
    The TEES/TAMUS NSC is located on a rectangular 6-acre site on the 
west end of the Texas A&M University (TAMU) campus in College Station, 
Texas. The NSC is located 460 meters (1500 feet) west of the north-
south runway of Easterwood Airport. The NSC is surrounded by land owned 
and controlled by TAMU and Easterwood Airport. No industrial, 
transportation or military facilities within the vicinity of the NSC 
pose sufficient risk to the NSC NSCR to render the site unusable for 
operation of the reactor facility. Although the airport is nearby, the 
trajectory of the runways make the probability of a casualty resulting 
from an aircraft collision low. The NSCR is located within a steel and 
concrete confinement building, below ground level, and is protected by 
thick stainless steel-lined concrete pool walls, which would minimize 
the radiological risk of a potential aircraft collision.
    The NSC is comprised of the reactor confinement building, entry/
reception area, laboratory building and other equipment rooms, and 
storage/support buildings. The main entrance into the NSC is located at 
the east end of the site. The NSC is located 9.6 kilometers (6 miles) 
south of the city center of Bryan, 4.8 kilometers (3 miles) southwest 
of the TAMU main campus, and 4.1 kilometers (2.5 miles) west-southwest 
of the City of College Station. The nearest permanent residences are 
greater than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from the NSC and the nearest 
dormitories are 4 to 6 kilometers (2.5 to 3.5 miles) away.
    The NSC is approximately 6 kilometers (3.5 miles) south of TAMU's 
Zachry Engineering Center complex. The Zachry Engineering Center is the 
location of TAMU's second research reactor, an Aerojet General 
Nucleonics (AGN)-201M research reactor (the AGN). The license for the 
AGN is currently under review for renewal which will also include an 
environmental assessment similar in nature to this environmental 
assessment for the NSC.
    The NSCR is a pool-type, light water moderated and cooled TRIGA 
research reactor licensed to operate at a steady-state power level of 
1.0 megawatt (thermal). The reactor is also licensed to operate in a 
pulse mode. The fuel is located at the bottom of a stainless steel-
lined concrete pool, which has two sections with a total volume of 
401,500 liters (106,000 gallons) of water. The main section of the pool 
is 10 meters (33 feet) deep and 5.5 meters (18 feet) wide. The stall 
section of the pool is 2.8 meters (9 feet) wide with a rounded end, 
which can be isolated from the main section of the pool by an aluminum 
gate. The reactor is fueled with standard TRIGA low-enriched uranium 
fuel and the core is normally covered by 8 meters (26 feet) of water. A 
detailed description of the reactor is publicly available and can be 
found in the Safety Analysis Report (SAR) for the NSCR. There have been 
two major modifications to Facility Operating License No. R-83 since 
the last renewal of the license on March 30, 1983. An order was issued 
in 2006 amending the license by: (1) Allowing an increase in the 
possession limits for uranium-235 to bring a low-enriched uranium core 
on site for converting the reactor from the use of high-enriched 
uranium fuel to low-enriched uranium fuel (possession limits were 
reduced when the high-enriched uranium core was removed from the 
facility after conversion); and (2) converting the reactor from the use 
of high-enriched uranium fuel to low-enriched uranium fuel.
A. Radiological Impact
    Environmental Effects of Reactor Operations:
    Gaseous radioactive effluents are discharged from the NSCR facility 
exhaust system through a single release point, a 26-meter (85 feet) 
high building stack, at a volumetric flow rate of approximately 233 
cubic meters (8,000 cubic feet) per minute. The only significant 
radionuclide found in the gaseous effluent stream is argon-41 (Ar-41). 
The Ar-41 release rate for the NSCR is limited to 30 curies per year 
(Ci/yr), as required by TS 3.5.2.

[[Page 53345]]

    The licensee states that all modes of operation at the NSCR, 
including thermal column operations, produce air concentrations and 
total Ar-41 release much less than the TS 3.5.2 limit of 30-Ci/yr. 
However, using the 30-Ci/yr TS 3.5.2 limit and the stack flow rate 
provided above, the licensee calculated that the average Ar-41 release 
concentration would be 2.5x10-7 microcuries per milliliter 
([mu]Ci/mL), which is 8.3 percent of the derived air concentration 
(DAC) limiting value of 3x10-6 [mu]Ci/mL, established in 
Table 1 of appendix B, ``Annual Limits on Intake (ALIs) and Derived Air 
Concentrations (DACs) of Radionuclides for Occupational Exposure; 
Effluent Concentrations; Concentrations for Release to Sewerage,'' to 
10 CFR part 20. Using the building concentration as the average stack 
flow concentration provided above, the licensee calculated the 
occupational dose to an NSC worker staying in the confinement for 2,000 
hours per year at 416 millirem (mrem). The license also evaluated the 
dose to a worker given the assumption that the concentration of Ar-41, 
based on the 30 Ci/yr release limit, was generated during 2,000 hours 
of reactor operation and the resulting dose was 1.84 rem, which is well 
below the 5,000 mrem limit established in Sec.  20.1201, ``Occupational 
dose limits for adults.''
    The licensee calculated, using an atmospheric dilution factor of 5 
x 10-3 for the distance to the fence line at 100 m (boundary 
of the restricted area), the potential dose to a member of the public 
to be 12.6 mrem for a continuous Ar-41 exposure over the entire year. 
This dose value is below the limit of 100 mrem/yr in Sec.  20.1301, 
``Dose limits for individual members of the public.'' In order to 
ensure that the actual dose remains below the 10 mrem annual as low as 
is reasonably achievable (ALARA) constraint of Sec.  20.1101, 
``Radiation protection programs,'' the licensee indicated that the Ar-
41 releases are monitored monthly, and the Radiation Safety Officer 
(RSO) reviews the results of any abnormal releases to ensure that the 
Ar-41 doses remain below the 10 mrem ALARA constraint. Additionally, a 
review of the Ar-41 releases from the licensee's annual reports shows 
that the annual release of Ar-41 is well below the 30 Ci limit. The 
2013 Annual Report, as supplemented, is publicly available and 
indicated that the total release of Ar-41 was 10.4 Ci. The NRC 
estimates this release could result in a potential dose to a member of 
the public to be approximately 4.3 mrem over a year.
    The licensee disposes of liquid radioactive wastes by discharge to 
the sanitary sewer. Liquid radioactive waste is collected from various 
locations within the facility and transferred to one of three 140,060 
liters (37,000 gallons) hold-up tanks. When a tank is full, its 
contents are filtered to remove any particulates, and sampled for 
radioactive content. Procedures are used to control the discharge 
process to ensure that discharges meet the requirements of Sec.  
20.2003, ``Disposal by release into sanitary sewerage,'' for disposal 
into the sanitary sewerage. For many years, the licensee discharged 
liquid waste from the hold-up tanks directly to a small creek running 
through the site. The waste was analyzed and sufficiently diluted 
before each release. Sampling of creek sediment was routinely done as 
part of the overall environmental monitoring program. In September 
2008, the licensee reconfigured its liquid effluent system such that 
the hold-up tanks now discharge to the sanitary sewer. Since that time, 
no releases have been made to the creek and none are planned.
    The licensee oversees the handling of solid low-level radioactive 
waste generated at the NSC. The bulk of the waste consists of gloves, 
paper, plastic, and small pieces of metal. The licensee disposes of the 
waste by decay-in-storage or shipment to a low-level waste broker in 
accordance with all applicable regulations for transportation of 
radioactive materials.
    To comply with the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, the licensee 
has entered into a contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 
that provides that DOE retains title to the fuel utilized at the NSC 
and that DOE is obligated to take the fuel from the site for final 
disposition.
    As described in Chapter 11 of the publicly available NSC SAR, 
personnel exposures are well within the limits set by Sec.  20.1201, 
``Occupational dose limits for adults,'' and are ALARA. The licensee 
tracks exposures of personnel monitored with dosimeters, which are 
usually less than 10 percent of the occupational limit of 50 
milliSieverts (5,000 mrem) per year. Area thermo-luminescent dosimeter 
(TLD) monitors mounted in the control room and other strategic 
locations provide an additional monthly measurement of total radiation 
exposures at those locations. No changes in reactor operation that 
would lead to an increase in occupational dose are expected as a result 
of the proposed action.
    The licensee conducts an environmental monitoring program to assess 
the radiological impact of reactor operations on the surrounding areas. 
The program consists of measuring and recording the integrated 
radiation exposure obtained from environmental TLDs located at various 
positions around the site boundary and at two control locations away 
from any direct influence from the NSC. The licensee administers the 
program and maintains the appropriate records. Over the past five 
years, the survey program indicated that radiation exposures at the 
monitoring locations were not significantly higher than those measured 
at the control locations. Year-to-year trends in exposures are 
consistent between monitoring locations. Also, no correlation exists 
between total annual reactor operation and annual exposures measured at 
the monitoring locations. Based on its review of the past five years of 
data, the NRC staff concludes that operation of the NSC does not have 
any significant radiological impact on the surrounding environment. No 
changes in reactor operation that would affect off-site radiation 
levels are expected as a result of the proposed action.

Environmental Effects of Accidents

    Accident scenarios are discussed in Chapter 13 of the NSC SAR. The 
maximum hypothetical accident is the simultaneous loss of coolant and 
rupture of a single fuel element in air. The licensee conservatively 
calculated doses to facility personnel and the maximum potential dose 
to a member of the public. The NRC performed independent calculations 
to verify that the doses represent conservative estimates for the 
maximum hypothetical accident. Occupational doses resulting from this 
accident would be well below the 10 CFR part 20 annual limit of 50 
milliSievert (5.0 rem). Maximum doses for members of the public 
resulting from this accident would be well below the 10 CFR part 20 
annual limit of 1.0 milliSievert (100 mrem). The proposed action will 
not increase the probability or consequences of accidents.
    The licensee has not requested any changes to the facility design 
or operating conditions as part of the application for license renewal. 
No changes are being made in the types or quantities of effluents that 
may be released off site. 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 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 NSCR. Accordingly, there would 
be

[[Page 53346]]

no increase in routine occupational or public radiation exposure as a 
result of license renewal. As discussed in the safety evaluation, the 
proposed action would not significantly increase the probability or 
consequences of accidents. Therefore, license renewal would not change 
the environmental impact of facility operation. The NRC evaluated 
information contained in the licensee's renewal application and 
reviewed 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. The NRC found that releases of radioactive material and 
personnel exposures were all well within applicable regulatory limits. 
Based on its evaluation, the NRC concludes that continued operation of 
the NSCR would not have a significant environmental impact.
B. Non-Radiological Impacts
    The NSCR core is cooled by a light water primary system consisting 
of the reactor pool, a heat removal system, and a processing system. 
Cooling occurs by natural convection with the heated coolant rising out 
of the core and into the bulk pool water. The large heat sink provided 
by the volume of primary coolant allows several hours of full-power 
operation without any secondary cooling. The heat removal system 
transfers heat to the secondary system via a heat exchanger. The 
secondary system uses water supplied by the municipal water system. The 
licensee monitors both systems for purity and to detect significant 
leakage. The licensee does not chemically treat the primary coolant. 
Three chemicals (sulfuric acid, sodium hypochlorite (bleach), and a 
commercial cooling water treatment) are used to maintain the secondary 
coolant pH, control growth of organisms, and control the buildup of 
scale, respectively. These chemicals are highly diluted and possess 
minimal hazards to the operating staff. Secondary cooling tower water 
is occasionally ``blown-down'' to maintain acceptable conductivity 
(purity), and the blow-down water is disposed of in accordance with the 
permit limits of the University's waste water treatment plant. The 
licensee uses small volumes of standard laboratory-grade chemicals in 
their chemical laboratories. These chemicals are disposed through an 
established procedure with the University's Environmental Health 
Office. The licensee implements a non-radiological environmental 
monitoring program with the Texas Department of State Health Services. 
This program helps to ensure that impacts are kept within acceptable 
limits.
    Given that the proposed action does not involve any change in the 
operation of the reactor, the minimal heat load dissipated to the 
environment and limited chemical usage, the NRC concludes that the 
proposed action will not have a significant non-radiological impact on 
the environment.

National Environmental Policy Act Considerations

    The NRC has responsibilities that are derived from the National 
Environmental Policy Act and from other environmental laws, which 
include the Endangered Species Act (ESA), Coastal Zone Management Act, 
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.
    1. Endangered Species Act
    No effects on the aquatic or terrestrial habitat in the vicinity of 
the NSC, or to threatened, endangered, or protected species under the 
ESA, would be expected.
    2. Coastal Zone Management Act
    The NSC is not located within any managed coastal zone, nor would 
the effluents and emissions from the NSCR impact any managed coastal 
zones.
    3. 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 lists several historical sites in Brazos County. However, none 
of the sites are located within 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) of the NSC and, 
given their respective locations, continued operation of the NSCR will 
not impact any historical sites. The NRC staff contacted the State of 
Texas Historical Preservation Officer (SHPO) and discussed the proposed 
action. The SHPO indicated that there was no objection to the proposed 
action and that it did not require a formal review by that office. 
Based on this information, the NRC staff finds that the potential 
impacts of the proposed action would have no adverse effect on historic 
and archaeological resources.
    4. Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act
    With regard to the NSC, TEES/TAMUS is not planning any water 
resource development projects, including any 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. Therefore, this action has no significant 
impact related to the FWCA.
    5. 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 NSC. Such effects 
may include human health, biological, cultural, economic, or social 
impacts.
    Minority Populations in the Vicinity of the NSC--According to the 
2010 census data, 36 percent of the total population (approximately 
512,000 individuals) residing within a 50-mile radius of the NSC 
identified themselves as minority individuals. The largest minority 
were people of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin of any race 
(approximately 100,000 persons or 19.5 percent), followed by Black or 
African American (65,000 or 12.7 percent). According to the U.S. Census 
Bureau, about 41 percent of the Brazos County population identified 
themselves as minorities, with persons of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish 
origin comprising the largest minority group (23 percent). According to 
U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, 
the minority population of Brazos County, as a percent of the total 
population, had increased to about 42 percent.
    Low-income Populations in the Vicinity of the NSC--According to the 
U.S. Census Bureau's 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year 
Estimates, approximately 100,000 individuals (20 percent) residing 
within a 50-mile radius of the NSC were identified as living below the 
Federal poverty threshold. The 2012 Federal poverty threshold was 
$23,492 for a family of four.
    According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 American Community 
Survey 1-Year Estimates, the median household income for Texas was 
$51,704, while 13.6 percent of families and 17.5 percent of the state 
population were found to be living below the Federal poverty threshold. 
Brazos County had a lower median household income average ($37,913) and 
a higher percent of families (16.1 percent) and individuals (29.5 
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

[[Page 53347]]

continue at 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 environmental assessment, the 
proposed license renewal would not have disproportionately high and 
adverse human health and environmental effects on minority and low-
income populations residing in the vicinity of the NSC.

Environmental Impacts of the Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    As an alternative to license renewal, the NRC considered denying 
the proposed action. If the NRC denied the request for license renewal, 
reactor operations at the NSC would cease and decommissioning would be 
required. The NRC notes that, even with a renewed license, the NSC will 
eventually require decommissioning, at which time the environmental 
effects of decommissioning would occur. Decommissioning would be 
conducted in accordance with an NRC-approved decommissioning plan which 
would require a separate environmental review under Sec.  51.21, 
``Criteria for and identification of licensing and regulatory actions 
requiring environmental assessments.'' Cessation of reactor operations 
at the NSC would reduce or eliminate radioactive effluents and 
emissions. However, as previously discussed in this environmental 
assessment, radioactive effluents resulting from reactor operations are 
only a small fraction of the applicable regulatory limits. Therefore, 
the environmental impacts of renewing the license 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 NSCR.

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 License Amendment No. 9 to 
Facility Operating License No. R-83 for the NSC dated March 30, 1983, 
which renewed the Facility Operating License No. R-83 for an additional 
period of 20 years.

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    In accordance with the agency's stated policy, on June 11, 2010, 
the NRC staff consulted with the Texas 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's findings. The 
State official stated the he understood the NRC review and had no 
comments regarding the proposed action.

III. Finding of No Significant Impact

    The NRC staff has prepared this EA as part of its review of the 
proposed action. On the basis of this EA, the NRC finds that there are 
no significant environmental impacts from the proposed action, and that 
preparation of an environmental impact statement is not warranted. On 
the basis of the environmental assessment included in Section II of 
this document, 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 that a finding of no significant 
impact is appropriate.

IV. Availability of Documents

    This finding and related environmental documents are available to 
interested persons through ADAMS via the following ADAMS accession 
numbers:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  ADAMS Accession No./Web link/Federal
           Document                        Register Citation
------------------------------------------------------------------------
February 27, 2003............  ADAMS Accession No. ML102920025.
July 22, 2009................  ADAMS Accession No. ML092530306.
July 28, 2010................  ADAMS Accession No. ML102150544.
August 30, 2010..............  ADAMS Accession No. ML102510154.
August 31, 2010..............  ADAMS Accession No. ML102650318.
December 9, 2010.............  ADAMS Accession No. ML103470278.
May 27, 2011.................  ADAMS Accession No. ML111950372.
June 9, 2011.................  ADAMS Accession No. ML111950376.
November 21, 2011............  ADAMS Accession Nos. ML113410067 and
                                ML11327A083.
January 12, 2012.............  ADAMS Accession No. ML120260016.
April 11, 2012...............  ADAMS Accession No. ML12110A116.
November 14, 2012............  ADAMS Accession No. ML12321A321.
January 31, 2013.............  ADAMS Accession No. ML13037A307.
February 3, 2013.............  ADAMS Accession No. ML14038A106.
February 11, 2013............  ADAMS Accession No. ML14076A112.
November 13, 2014............  ADAMS Accession No. ML15009A297.
March 2, 2015................  ADAMS Accession No ML15065A068.
June 5, 2015.................  ADAMS Accession No ML15160A023.
June 11, 2015................  ADAMS Accession No. ML15187A256.
June 30, 2015................  ADAMS Accession No. ML15182A449.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 24th day of August, 2015.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Alexander Adams, Jr.,
Chief, Research and Test Reactors Licensing Branch. Division of Policy 
and Rulemaking, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2015-21820 Filed 9-2-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7590-01-P