Tennessee Valley Authority; Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2, and 3, 24998-25015 [2017-11184]

Download as PDF 24998 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices Due to several rulemakings that occurred from 1985 to 2002, which significantly amended the MC&A requirements, the above regulatory guides became outdated as they no longer cite the correct sections of the regulations. Accordingly, RG 5.28, RG 5.49, and RG 5.57 are being withdrawn concurrent with the issuance of RG 5.41, which provides the correct citations to the 10 CFR part 74 regulations. NRC guidance on the MC&A requirements pertaining to shipments, receipts, and internal transfers of special nuclear material is also provided in the following NUREGs that were issued in conjunction with the 1985–2002 MC&A rulemakings: • NUREG–1280, ‘‘Standard Format and Content Acceptance Criteria for the Material Control and Accounting (MC&A) Reform Amendment,’’ applicable to facilities using formula quantities of strategic special nuclear material (ADAMS Accession No. ML031340295). • NUREG–1065, ‘‘Acceptable Standard Format and Content for the Fundamental Nuclear Material Control (FNMC) Plan Required for LowEnriched Uranium Facilities,’’ applicable to fuel fabrication facilities using low-enriched uranium (ADAMS Accession No. ML031340288). • NUREG/CR–5734, ‘‘Recommendations to the NRC on Acceptable Standard Format and Content for the Fundamental Nuclear Material Control (FNMC) Plan Required for Low-Enriched Uranium Enrichment Facilities,’’ applicable to uranium enrichment plants (ADAMS Accession No. ML15120A354). RG 5.41 incorporates guidance from these NUREGs that relates to the monitoring of shipments, receipts, and internal transfers of SNM. In addition to providing guidance on these topics, the NUREGs listed above cover other MC&A requirements as well. Therefore, these NUREGs are not being withdrawn. nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES II. Additional Information The draft of RG 5.41 was issued with a temporary identification of Draft Regulatory Guide, DG–5051, ‘‘Shipping, Receiving, and Internal Transfer of Special Nuclear Material.’’ The NRC published a notice of the availability of DG–5051 in the Federal Register on September 21, 2016 (81 FR 64955) for a 30-day public comment period. The public comment period closed on October 21, 2016. Public comments on DG–5051 and the staff responses to the public comments are available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML16348A218. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 III. Congressional Review Act This RG is a rule as defined in the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801–808). However, the Office of Management and Budget has not found it to be a major rule as defined in the Congressional Review Act. IV. Backfitting and Issue Finality Issuance of RG 5.41 does not constitute backfitting as defined in 10 CFR 70.76. As discussed in the ‘‘Implementation’’ section of RG 5.41, the NRC has no current intention to impose this guidance on holders of 10 CFR part 70 licenses. Additionally, RG 5.41 incorporates relevant guidance from NUREG–1280, NUREG–1065, and NUREG/CR–5734 without making substantive changes to that guidance. RG 5.41 updates the outdated NRC guidance provided in RG 5.28, RG 5.49, and RG 5.57 by providing the correct citations to the existing 10 CFR part 74 regulations. Accordingly, the issuance of RG 5.41 does not constitute a ‘‘new’’ or ‘‘different’’ staff position within the definition of ‘‘backfitting’’ in 10 CFR 70.76. Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 25th day of May 2017. For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Thomas H. Boyce, Chief, Regulatory Guidance and Generic Issues Branch, Division of Engineering, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research. [FR Doc. 2017–11224 Filed 5–30–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [Docket Nos. 50–259, 50–260, and 50–296; NRC–2016–0244] Tennessee Valley Authority; Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2, and 3 Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact; issuance. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering issuance of amendments to Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. DPR–33, DPR–52, and DPR–68 issued to Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA, the licensee) for operation of Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2, and 3 (BFN) located in Limestone County, Alabama. The proposed amendments would increase the maximum licensed thermal power level for each reactor from 3,458 megawatts thermal (MWt) to 3,952 MWt. This change, referred to as an extended SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 power uprate (EPU), represents an increase of approximately 14.3 percent above the current licensed thermal power limit. The NRC is issuing a final environmental assessment (EA) and final finding of no significant impact (FONSI) associated with the proposed EPU. DATES: The final EA and final FONSI are available on May 31, 2017. ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC–2016–0244 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–2016–0244. 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 (ADAMS): You may obtain publiclyavailable 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: Siva P. Lingam, telephone: 301–415–1564; email: Siva.Lingam@nrc.gov; or Briana Grange, telephone: 301–415–1042; email: Briana.Grange@nrc.gov. Both are staff members of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction The NRC is considering issuance of amendments to Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. DPR–33, DPR– 52, and DPR–68 issued to TVA for operation of BFN located in Limestone County, Alabama. TVA submitted its E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES license amendment request in accordance with section 50.90 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), by letter dated September 21, 2015 (TVA 2015a). TVA subsequently supplemented its application as described under ‘‘Description of the Proposed Action’’ in Section II of this document. If approved, the license amendments would increase the maximum thermal power level at each of the three BFN units from 3,458 MWt to 3,952 MWt. Consistent with NRC Review Standard 001 (RS–001), Revision 0, ‘‘Review Standard for Extended Power Uprates’’ (NRC 2003), the NRC prepared a draft EA and draft FONSI, both of which were published the Federal Register (FR) on December 1, 2016, with a 30-day comment period (NRC 2016a; 81 FR 86732). The NRC did not receive any public comments on the draft EA or draft FONSI. This final EA has been prepared in accordance with 10 CFR 51.21. The final EA includes revisions addressing two supplements to the EPU application submitted by TVA in letters dated January 20, 2017 (TVA 2017b), and February 3, 2017 (TVA 2017c). In the supplements, TVA proposed to install a static volt-ampere reactive (VAR) compensator (SVC) at the Limestone Substation in Limestone County, Alabama to address transmission system upgrades necessary to ensure transmission system stability at EPU power levels rather than installing capacitor banks at the Wilson Substation in Wilson County, Tennessee. The final EA has been updated to reflect these changes. No significant environmental impacts were identified associated with the SVC installation at the Limestone Station, and all other aspects of the proposed EPU and associated transmission system upgrades remain the same as described in the draft EA. Based on the results of the final EA contained in Section II of this document, the NRC did not identify any significant environmental impacts associated with the proposed amendments and has, therefore, prepared a final FONSI in accordance with 10 CFR 51.32 and 51.34(a) and is publishing the final FONSI in the Federal Register in accordance with 10 CFR 51.35. II. Environmental Assessment Plant Site and Environs The BFN site encompasses 840 acres (ac) (340 hectares (ha)) of Federally owned land that is under the custody of TVA in Limestone County, Alabama. The site lies on the north shore of VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 Wheeler Reservoir at Tennessee River Mile (TRM) 294 and is situated approximately 10 miles (mi) (16 kilometers [km]) south of Athens, Alabama, 10 mi (16 km) northwest of Decatur, Alabama, and 30 mi (48 km) west of Huntsville, Alabama. Each of BFN’s three nuclear units is a General Electric boiling-water reactor that produces steam to turn turbines to generate electricity. The BFN uses a once-through (open-cycle) condenser circulating water system with seven helper cooling towers to dissipate waste heat. Four of the original six cooling towers that serve BFN have undergone replacement, and TVA plans to replace the remaining two towers in fiscal years 2018 and 2019. Additionally, TVA constructed a seventh cooling tower in May 2012 (TVA 2017a). Wheeler Reservoir serves as the source of water for condenser cooling and for most of BFN’s auxiliary water systems. Pumps and related equipment to supply water to plant systems are housed in BFN’s intake structure on Wheeler Reservoir. The reservoir is formed by Wheeler Dam, which is owned and operated by TVA, and it extends from Guntersville Dam at TRM 349.0 downstream to Wheeler Dam at TRM 274.9. Wheeler Reservoir has an area of 67,070 ac (27,140 ha) and a volume of 1,050,000 acre-feet (1,233 cubic meters) at its normal summer pool elevation of 556 feet (ft) (169 meters (m)) above mean sea level (TVA 2017a). Water temperature in Wheeler Reservoir naturally varies from around 35 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) (1.6 degrees Celsius (°C)) in January to 88 to 90 °F (31 to 32 °C) in July and August, and temperature patterns near BFN are typically well mixed or exhibit weak thermal stratification (TVA 2017a). The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) establishes beneficial uses of waters of the State and has classified the majority of the reservoir for use as a public water supply, for recreational use, and as a fish and wildlife resource. The reservoir is currently included on the State of Alabama’s Federal Water Pollution Control Act (i.e., Clean Water Act (CWA)) of 1972, as amended, Section 303(d) list of impaired waters as partially supporting its designated uses due to excess nutrients from agricultural sources. Section 303(d) of the CWA requires States to identify all ‘‘impaired’’ waters for which effluent limitations and pollution control activities are not sufficient to attain water quality standards. The Section 303(d) list includes those water bodies for which the State is required to develop total maximum pollutant loads PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24999 (limits) to achieve future compliance with water quality standards and designated uses (ADEM 2016; TVA 2016a). The BFN intake structure draws water from Wheeler Reservoir at TRM 294.3. The intake forebay includes a 20-feet (6meters)-high gate structure that can be raised or lowered depending on the operational requirements of the plant. The flow velocity through the openings varies depending on the gate position. When the gates are in a full open position and the plant is operating in either open or helper modes, the average flow velocity through the openings is about 0.2 meters per second (m/s) (0.6 feet per second (fps)) for the operation of one unit, 0.34 m/s (1.1 fps) for the operation of two units, and 0.52 m/s (1.7 fps) for the operation of all three units assuming a water withdrawal rate of approximately 734,000 gallons per minute (gpm) (46.3 cubic meters per second (m3/s)) per unit, for a total withdrawal of about 2,202,000 gpm (4,906 cubic feet per second (cfs); 138.6 m3/s) of water for all three units (NRC 2005; TVA 2016b). The BFN’s total perunit condenser circulating water system flow is generally higher than the original design values due to system upgrades that included the refit of the condensers with larger diameter and lower resistance tubes (NRC 2005; TVA 2016a, 2017a). The TVA maintains a Certificate of Use (Certificate No. 1058.0, issued December 5, 2005) for its surface water withdrawals. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Office of Water Resources issues this certificate to register large water users (i.e., those with a water withdrawal capacity of 100,000 gallons per day (380 cubic meters)) within the State. The TVA periodically notifies the Office of Water Resources of facility data updates and submits annual water use reports for BFN as specified under the Certificate of Use as part of TVA’s efforts to voluntarily cooperate with the State of Alabama’s water management programs. The TVA most recently submitted an application to renew BFN’s Certificate of Use in September 2015. Based on the staff’s review of BFN water use reports submitted by TVA to the State for the period of 2011 through 2015, BFN’s total water withdrawals from Wheeler Reservoir have averaged 1,848,000 gpm (4,117 cfs; 116.3 m3/s). For 2015, BFN’s total surface water withdrawal rate averaged 1,991,200 gpm (4,437 cfs; 125 m3/s) (TVA 2016a). Once withdrawn water has passed through the condensers for cooling, it is discharged back to Wheeler Reservoir via three large submerged diffuser pipes. E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES 25000 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices The pipes range in diameter from 5.2 to 6.2 m (17 to 20.5 ft) and are perforated to maximize mixing into the water column. Water exits the pipes through 7,800 individual 5-centimeter (2-inch) ports. This straight-through flow path is called ‘‘open mode.’’ As originally designed, the maximum thermal discharge back to the reservoir from the once-through condenser circulating water system operated in open mode is 25 °F (13.9 °C) above the intake temperature (NRC 2005). Some of the heated water can also be directed through cooling towers to reduce its temperature, as necessary to comply with State environmental regulations and BFN’s ADEM-issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit No. AL0022080 (ADEM 2012), in what is called ‘‘helper mode.’’ The plant design also allows for a closed mode of operation in which water from the cooling towers is recycled directly back to the intake structure without discharge to the reservoir. However, TVA has not used this mode for many years due to the difficulty in maintaining temperature limits in the summer months (NRC 2005). To operate BFN, TVA must comply with the CWA, including associated requirements imposed by the State as part of the NPDES permitting system under CWA Section 402. The BFN NPDES permit (ADEM 2012) specifies that at the downstream end of the mixing zone, which lies 2,400 ft (732 m) downstream of the diffusers, operation of the plant shall not cause the: • Measured 1-hour average temperature to exceed 93 °F (33.9 °C), • measured daily average temperature to exceed 90 °F (32.2 °C), or • measured daily average temperature rise relative to ambient to exceed 10 °F (5.6 °C). In cases where the daily average ambient temperature of the Tennessee River as measured 3.8 mi (6.1 km) upstream of BFN exceeds 90 °F (32.2 °C), the daily average downstream temperature may equal, but not exceed, the upstream value. In connection with such a scenario, if the daily average upstream ambient river temperature begins to cool at a rate of 0.5 °F (0.3 °C) or more per day, the downstream temperature is allowed to exceed the upstream value for that day. When plant operating conditions create a river temperature approaching one of the NPDES limits specified above, TVA shifts BFN from open mode to helper mode. The three units can be placed in helper mode individually or collectively. Thus, the amount of water diverted to the cooling towers in helper mode depends on the amount of cooling VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 needed for the plant to remain in compliance with the NPDES permit limits. If helper mode operation is not sufficient to avoid the river temperature approaching the NPDES permit limits, TVA reduces (i.e., derates) the thermal power of one or more of the units to maintain regulatory compliance (TVA 2017a). In support of this license amendment request, TVA performed hydrothermal modeling to evaluate the potential thermal impacts of BFN circulating water discharges to Wheeler Reservoir under EPU conditions. The TVA first modeled the impacts of BFN operations at the current licensed thermal power level (i.e., 105 percent of the original licensed thermal power, or 3,458 MWt). This established the base case for assessing the incremental thermal impacts on receiving waters of BFN operations at 120 percent of the original licensed thermal power under the proposed EPU. These results of TVA’s modeling are described later in this EA under ‘‘Cooling Tower Operation and Thermal Discharge.’’ Under current operations and based on river flow, meteorological, and ambient river temperature data for the 6year period 2007 through 2012, the modeling results indicate that the temperature of water exiting the diffusers and entering Wheeler Reservoir is an average of 86.9 °F (30.5 °C) during warm summer conditions. The river temperature at the NPDES compliance depth at the downstream end of the mixing zone is an average of 70.8 °F (21.6 °C) with a 1-hour average temperature maximum of 92.1 °F (33.4 °C) and a daily average temperature maximum of 89.4 °F (31.9 °C). On average, TVA operates the cooling towers 66 days per year. TVA derates BFN approximately 1 in every 6 summers for a maximum of 185 hours in order to maintain compliance with the NPDES permit (TVA 2016a). More recently, for the period 2011 through 2015, TVA operated BFN’s cooling towers an average of 73 days per year and had incurred derates during two of the years (2011 and 2015) (TVA 2016a). The BFN site, plant operations, and environs are described in greater detail in Chapter 2 of the NRC’s June 2005 NUREG–1437, Supplement 21, Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Regarding Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2, and 3—Final Report (herein referred to as ‘‘BFN FSEIS’’) (NRC 2005). Updated information that pertains to the plant site and environs and that is relevant to the assessment of the environmental impacts of the proposed PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 EPU is included throughout this draft EA, as appropriate. Power Uprate History The BFN units were originally licensed to operate in 1973 (Unit 1), 1974 (Unit 2), and 1976 (Unit 3) at 3,293 MWt per unit. In 1997, TVA submitted a license amendment request to the NRC for a stretch power uprate (SPU) to increase the thermal output of Units 2 and 3 by 5 percent (to 3,458 MWt per unit). The NRC prepared an EA and FONSI for the SPU, which was published in the FR on September 1, 1998 (NRC 1998, 63 FR 46491), and the NRC subsequently issued the amendments later that month. In June 2004, TVA submitted license amendment requests for uprates at all three units (TVA 2004a, 2004b). The TVA requested a 15 percent EPU at Units 2 and 3 and a 20 percent EPU at Unit 1 such that if the proposed EPU was granted, each unit would operate at 3,952 MWt (120 percent of the original licensed power level). In September 2006, TVA submitted a supplement to the EPU application that requested interim operation of Unit 1 at 3,458 MWt (the Units 2 and 3 SPU power level) (TVA 2006). The NRC prepared a draft EA and FONSI, which were published for public comment in the Federal Register on November 6, 2006 (NRC 2006b, 71 FR 65009). The draft EA and FONSI addressed the impacts of operating all three BFN units at EPU levels. The NRC received comments from TVA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which the staff addressed in the NRC’s final EA and FONSI dated February 12, 2007 (NRC 2007a, 72 FR 6612). The NRC issued an amendment approving the SPU for Unit 1 in March 2007 (NRC 2007b); the staff’s 2007 final EPU EA was used to support the SPU. Subsequently, in September 2014, TVA withdrew the 2004 EPU license amendment requests and stated that it would submit a new, consolidated EPU request by October 2015 (TVA 2014a). Separately, on May 4, 2006, the NRC approved TVA’s application for renewal of the BFN operating licenses for an additional 20-year period (NRC 2006a). As part of its environmental review of the license renewal application, the NRC issued the BFN FSEIS (NRC 2005). In the BFN FSEIS, the NRC staff analyzed the environmental impacts of license renewal, the environmental impacts of alternatives to license renewal, and mitigation measures available for reducing or avoiding any adverse impacts. Although the NRC did not evaluate impacts associated specifically with the then-pending EPU E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices in the BFN FSEIS, it performed an evaluation of the impacts of license renewal assuming that all three BFN units would operate at the EPU level of 3,952 MWt during the 20-year period of extended operations. Description of the Proposed Action The proposed action is the NRC’s issuance of amendments to the BFN operating licenses that would increase the maximum licensed thermal power level for each reactor from 3,458 MWt to 3,952 MWt. This change, referred to as an EPU, represents an increase of approximately 14.3 percent above the current licensed thermal power level and would result in BFN operating at 120 percent of the original licensed thermal power level (3,293 MWt). The proposed action is in accordance with TVA’s application dated September 21, 2015 (TVA 2015a) as supplemented by numerous letters, including seven letters that affected the EA, dated November 13, 2015 (TVA 2015b), December 15, 2015 (TVA 2015c), December 18, 2015 (TVA 2015d), April 22, 2016 (TVA 2016a), May 27, 2016 (TVA 2016b), January 20, 2017 (TVA 2017b), and February 3, 2017 (TVA 2017c). A full list of TVA’s EPU application supplements may be found in the NRC staff’s safety evaluation and Federal Register notice regarding the EPU request, which will be issued with the license amendment, if granted. nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES Plant Modifications and Upgrades An EPU usually requires significant modifications to major balance-of-plant equipment. The proposed EPU for BFN would require the modifications described in Attachment 47 to the licensee’s application entitled ‘‘List and Status of Plant Modifications, Revision 1’’ (TVA 2017d), which include replacement of the steam dryers, replacement of the high pressure turbine rotors, replacement of reactor feedwater pumps, installation of higher capacity condensate booster pumps and motors, modifications to the condensate demineralizer system, modifications to the feedwater heaters, and upgrade of miscellaneous instrumentation, setpoint changes, and software modifications. All onsite modifications associated with the proposed action would be within the existing structures, buildings, and fenced equipment yards. All deliveries of materials to support EPUrelated modifications and upgrades would be by truck, and equipment and materials would be temporarily stored in existing storage buildings and laydown areas. The TVA anticipates no changes in existing onsite land uses or VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 disturbance of previously undisturbed onsite land (TVA 2017a). According to TVA’s current schedule, modifications and upgrades related to the proposed EPU would be completed at Unit 1 during the fall 2018 refueling outage, at Unit 2 during the spring 2019 outage, and at Unit 3 during the spring 2018 outage. If the NRC approves the proposed EPU, TVA would begin operating each unit at the uprated power level following these outages. Cooling Tower Operation and Thermal Discharge Operating BFN at the EPU power level of 3,952 MWt per unit would increase the steam flow to the plant’s steam turbines, which would in turn increase the amount of waste heat that must be dissipated. The TVA would increase its use of the cooling towers (i.e., operate in helper mode) to dissipate some of this additional heat; the remaining heat would be discharged to Wheeler Reservoir. If helper mode operation were to be insufficient to keep the reservoir temperatures within BFN’s NPDES permit limits, TVA would reduce (i.e., derate) the thermal power of one or more of the units to maintain regulatory compliance, a practice which TVA currently employs at BFN as necessary. Currently, TVA personnel examine forecast conditions for up to a week or more into the future and determine when and for how long TVA might need to operate BFN in helper mode operation and/or derate the BFN units to ensure compliance with the NPDES permit. The TVA would maintain this process under EPU conditions. The TVA simulated possible future discharge scenarios under EPU conditions using river flows and meteorological data for the 6-year period 2007 through 2012. This period included the warmest summer of record (2010) as well as periods of extreme drought conditions (2007 and 2008). For years with warm summers, TVA predicts that the temperature of water exiting the diffusers and entering Wheeler Reservoir (assuming all BFN units are operating at the full EPU power level) would be 2.6 °F (1.4 °C) warmer on average than current operations. The river temperature at the NPDES compliance depth at the downstream end of the mixing zone would be 0.6 °F (0.3 °C) warmer on average. The TVA predicts that it would operate the cooling towers in helper mode an additional 22 days per year on average (88 days total) and that the most extreme years could result in an additional 39 days per year of cooling PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 25001 tower helper mode operation (121 days total). Transmission System Upgrades The EPU would require several upgrades to the transmission system and the BFN main generator excitation system to ensure transmission system stability at EPU power levels. The TVA performed a Revised Interconnection System Impact Study in January 2017, which determined that the EPU would require the following transmission upgrades: (1) Replacement of six 500kilovolt (kV) breaker failure relays, (2) installation of a minimum of 764 megavolt-ampere reactive (MVAR) of reactive compensation in five locations throughout the TVA transmission system, and (3) modification of the excitation system of all three BFN main generators (TVA 2017e, 2017f). These upgrades are described in more detail in the following subsections. Breaker Failure Relay Replacements The TVA would replace the 500-kV breaker failure relays at BFN for breakers 5204, 5208, 5254, 5258, 5274, and 5278 to mitigate potential transmission system issues resulting from specific fault events on the transmission system. The relays are located in panels in the relay room inside the BFN control building, and physical work would be limited to this area. The TVA would complete the breaker failure relay replacements prior to spring 2018 (TVA 2017c, 2017d). MVAR Reactive Compensation The TVA would install a minimum of 764 MVAR of reactive compensation in five locations throughout TVA service area to address MVAR deficiencies associated with the additional power generation that would occur at EPU power levels. The reactive compensation would consist of an SVC installation at one substation and multiple capacitor bank installations at four separate substations. The SVC installation would address both the MVAR deficiency and transient stability issues and would be installed at the Limestone 500-kV Substation in Limestone County, Alabama. The TVA would install capacitor banks at the Clayton Village 161-kV Substation in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi; the Holly Springs 161-kV Substation in Marshall County, Mississippi; the Corinth 161-kV Substation in Alcorn County, Mississippi; and the East Point 500-kV Substation (161-kV line) in Cullman County, Alabama. The SVC installation and the Holly Springs and Corinth capacitor bank installations would require expansion of the existing E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 25002 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices substation footprints and additional land grading and clearing. The remaining two capacitor bank installations (Clayton Village and East Point substations) would be within existing substation boundaries. The TVA expects to disturb approximately 25 ac (10 ha) of previously disturbed TVA-owned land for the SVC installation at the Limestone Substation. The TVA expects to purchase approximately 2.5 ac (1 ha) of land and disturb 2.25 ac (0.9 ha) of land for the Holly Springs Substation expansion. For the Corinth Substation expansion, TVA would purchase 3.5 ac (1.4 ha) of land and disturb 3 ac (1.2 ha) of land. The TVA would complete the SVC and capacitor bank installations by spring 2020, although TVA’s transmission system operator does not preclude BFN from operating at EPU levels during the capacitor bank installations (TVA 2017a, 2017c, 2017d, 2017e). BFN Main Generator Excitation System Modifications The TVA would modify the BFN main generator Alterrex excitation system for all three units with a bus-fed static excitation system consisting of a 3phase power potential transformer, an automatic voltage regulator, and a power section. Physical work to complete these modifications would be performed within existing BFN structures and would not involve any previously undisturbed land. The TVA is in the preliminary phase of the design change notice development for these modifications; therefore, TVA has not yet developed a specific timeline for implementation of the main generator excitation system modifications. However, TVA projects that these upgrades would be completed by 2020 (Unit 1), 2021 (Unit 2), and 2020 (Unit 3) (TVA 2017c, 2017d). nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES The Need for the Proposed Action As stated by the licensee in its application, the proposed action would allow TVA to meet the increasing power demand forecasted in TVA service area. The TVA estimates that energy consumption in this area will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 1.2 percent until 2020 with additional moderate growth continuing after 2020. Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action This section addresses the radiological and non-radiological impacts of the proposed EPU. Separate from this EA, the NRC staff is evaluating the potential radiological consequences of an accident that may result from the proposed action. The EPU would not be VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 approved unless the NRC staff’s safety analysis determines that the radiological doses under EPU postulated accident conditions are within the regulatory limits found in 10 CFR 50.67. Accordingly, the NRC staff concludes that the radiological impacts of accidents following the EPU would not be significant. The results of the NRC staff’s safety analysis will be documented in a safety evaluation, which will be issued with the license amendment package approving the license amendment, if granted. Radiological Impacts Radioactive Gaseous and Liquid Effluents and Solid Waste The BFN’s waste treatment systems collect, process, recycle, and dispose of gaseous, liquid, and solid wastes that contain radioactive material in a safe and controlled manner within the NRC and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) radiation safety standards. As discussed below, although there may be a small increase in the volume of radioactive waste and spent fuel, the proposed EPU would not result in changes in the operation or design of equipment in the gaseous, liquid, or solid waste systems. Radioactive Gaseous Effluents The Gaseous Waste Management System manages radioactive gases generated during the nuclear fission process. Radioactive gaseous wastes are principally activation gases and fission product radioactive noble gases resulting from process operations. The licensee’s evaluation submitted as part of TVA’s EPU application determined that implementation of the proposed EPU would not significantly increase the inventory of carrier gases normally processed in the Gaseous Waste Management System since plant system functions are not changing and the volume inputs remain the same. The analysis showed that the proposed EPU would result in an increase in radioiodines by approximately 5 percent and an increase in particulates by approximately 13 percent. The expected increase in tritium is linear with the proposed power level increase and is, therefore, estimated to increase by approximately 15 percent (TVA 2017a). The licensee’s evaluation (TVA 2017a) concluded that the proposed EPU would not change the radioactive gaseous waste system’s design function and reliability to safely control and process waste. The projected gaseous release following implementation of the EPU would remain bounded by the values given in the BFN FSEIS. The PO 00000 Frm 00069 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 existing equipment and plant procedures that control radioactive releases to the environment would continue to be used to maintain radioactive gaseous releases within the dose limits of 10 CFR 20.1302 and the as low as is reasonably achievable (ALARA) dose objectives in Appendix I to 10 CFR part 50. The NRC staff reviewed the last five years of effluent release data from BFN (TVA 2012, 2013, 2014b, 2015e, 2016c) and found the reported doses from gaseous effluents to be less than 1 percent of the allowable limits for current operations. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the increase in offsite dose due to gaseous effluent release following implementation of the EPU would not be significant. Radioactive Liquid Effluents The Liquid Waste Management System collects, processes, and prepares radioactive liquid waste for disposal. During normal operation, the liquid effluent treatment systems process and control the release of liquid radioactive effluents to the environment such that the doses to individuals offsite are maintained within the limits of 10 CFR part 20 and 10 CFR part 50, appendix I. The Liquid Waste Management System is designed to process the waste and then recycle it within the plant as condensate, reprocess it through the radioactive waste system for further purification, or discharge it to the environment as liquid radioactive waste effluent in accordance with State and Federal regulations. The licensee’s evaluation (TVA 2017a) shows that implementation of the proposed EPU would increase the volume of liquid waste effluents by approximately 3.44 percent due to increased flow in the condensate demineralizers requiring more frequent backwashes. The current Liquid Waste Management System would be able to process the 3.44 percent increase in the total volume of liquid radioactive waste without any modifications. The licensee’s evaluation determined that implementation of the proposed EPU would result in an increase in reactor coolant inventory of radioiodines of approximately 5 percent and an increase in radionuclides with long half-lives of approximately 13 percent. The expected increase in tritium is linear with the proposed power level increase and is, therefore, estimated to increase by 15 percent (TVA 2017a). Since the composition of the radioactive material in the waste and the volume of radioactive material processed through the system are not expected to significantly change, the E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES current design and operation of the Liquid Waste Management System would accommodate the effects of the proposed EPU. The projected liquid effluent release following the EPU would remain bounded by the values given in the BFN FSEIS. The existing equipment and plant procedures that control radioactive releases to the environment would continue to be used to maintain radioactive liquid releases within the dose limits of 10 CFR 20.1302 and ALARA dose standards in appendix I to 10 CFR part 50. The NRC staff reviewed the last 5 years of effluent release data from BFN (TVA 2012, 2013, 2014b, 2015e, 2016c) and found the reported doses from liquid effluents to be less than 1 percent of the allowable limits for current operations. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that there would not be a significant environmental impact from the additional volume of liquid radioactive waste generated following EPU implementation. Solid Low-Level Radioactive Waste Radioactive solid wastes at BFN include solids from reactor coolant systems, solids in contact with liquids or gases from reactor coolant systems, and solids used in support of reactor coolant systems operation. The licensee evaluated the potential effects of the proposed EPU on the Solid Waste Management System. The low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) consists of resins, filters and evaporator bottoms, dry active waste, irradiated components, and other waste (combined packages). The majority of BFN solid LLRW is shipped offsite as dry active waste. This LLRW is generated from outages, special projects and normal BFN operations. Normal operations at BFN are also a contributor to solid LLRW shipments due to system cleanup activities. This is due to resins from six waste phase separators and three reactor water cleanup phase separators. The licensee states (TVA 2017a) that BFN has approximately 29 spent resin shipments per year. The licensee’s evaluation determined that implementation of the proposed EPU would result in an increase in activity of the solid wastes proportionate to an increase of 5 to 13 percent in the activity of long-lived radionuclides in the reactor coolant. The results of the licensee’s evaluation also determined that the proposed EPU would result in a 15 percent increase in the total volume of solid waste generated for shipment offsite. Since the composition and volume of the radioactive material in the solid wastes are not expected to significantly change, they can be handled by the VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 current Solid Waste Management System without modification. The equipment is designed and operated to process the waste into a form that minimizes potential harm to the workers and the environment. Waste processing areas are monitored for radiation, and there are safety features to ensure worker doses are maintained within regulatory limits. The proposed EPU would not generate a new type of waste or create a new waste stream. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the impact from the proposed EPU on the management of radioactive solid waste would not be significant. Occupational Radiation Dose at EPU Conditions The licensee states (TVA 2017a) that in-plant radiation sources are expected to increase approximately linearly with the proposed increase in core power level of approximately 15 percent. To protect the workers, the BFN Radiation Protection Program monitors radiation levels throughout the plant to establish appropriate work controls, training, temporary shielding, and protective equipment requirements to minimize worker doses and to ensure that worker doses are within the limits of 10 CFR 20.1201. Plant shielding is designed to provide for personnel access to the plant to perform maintenance and carry out operational duties with minimal personnel exposures. In-plant radiation levels and associated doses are controlled by the BFN Radiation Protection Program to ensure that internal and external radiation exposures to station personnel, and the general population exposure level, would be ALARA, as required by 10 CFR part 20. Access to radiation areas is strictly controlled by existing Radiation Protection Program procedures. Furthermore, TVA states that its policy is to maintain occupational doses to individuals and the sum of dose equivalents received by all exposed workers ALARA. Based on the above, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed EPU is not expected to significantly affect radiation levels within BFN and, therefore, there would not be a significant radiological impact to the workers. Offsite Doses at EPU Conditions The primary sources of offsite dose to members of the public from BFN are radioactive gaseous releases, liquid effluents, and skyshine from Nitrogen16 (N-16). As previously discussed, operation under proposed EPU conditions would not change the radioactive waste management systems’ PO 00000 Frm 00070 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 25003 abilities to perform their intended functions. Also, there would be no change to the radiation monitoring system and procedures used to control the release of radioactive effluents in accordance with NRC radiation protection standards in 10 CFR part 20 and appendix I to 10 CFR part 50. The licensee states (TVA 2016a) that the contribution of radiation shine from the implementation of the proposed EPU from N-16 would increase linearly with the EPU. The licensee estimates that this increase could result in offsite doses up to 32 percent greater than current operating levels. However, since current offsite doses due to N-16 skyshine are on average less than 1 millirem, doses would still be well within the 10 CFR 20.1301 and 40 CFR part 190 dose limits to members of the public following implementation of the proposed EPU. Further, any increase in radiation would be monitored at the onsite environmental thermoluminescent dosimeter stations at BFN to make sure offsite doses would remain in regulatory compliance (TVA 2017a). Based on the above, the NRC staff concludes that the impact of offsite radiation dose to members of the public at EPU conditions would continue to be within the NRC and EPA regulatory limits and would not be significant. Spent Nuclear Fuel Spent fuel from BFN is stored in the plant’s spent fuel pool and in dry casks in the independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI). The licensee estimates that the impact on spent fuel storage from operating at EPU conditions would increase the number of dry storage casks necessary for storage by approximately 19 percent. The licensee also states that the current ISFSI storage pad is projected to be filled on or before 2022 prior to being loaded with EPU fuel. An additional storage pad is anticipated to be required even if no EPU is approved. Since BFN’s initial ISFSI plans included sufficient room for any necessary ISFSI expansion, the additional dry casks necessary for spent fuel storage at EPU levels can be safely accommodated on site and, therefore, would not have any significant environmental impact (TVA 2017a). Approval of the proposed EPU would not increase the maximum fuel enrichment above 5 percent by weight uranium-235. The average fuel assembly discharge burnup for the proposed EPU is not expected to exceed the maximum fuel rod burnup limit of 62,000 megawatt days per metric ton of uranium. The licensee’s fuel reload design goals would maintain the fuel E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 25004 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices cycles within the limits bounded by the impacts analyzed in 10 CFR part 51, Table S–3, ‘‘Table of Uranium Fuel Cycle Environmental Data,’’ and Table S–4, ‘‘Environmental Impact of Transportation of Fuel and Waste to and from One Light Water-Cooled Nuclear Power Reactor,’’ as supplemented by the findings documented in Section 6.3, ‘‘Transportation,’’ Table 9.1, ‘‘Summary of findings on NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)] issues for license renewal of nuclear power plants’’ in NRC (1999). Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the environmental impacts of the EPU would remain bounded by the impacts in Tables S–3 and S–4, and would not be significant. nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES Postulated Accident Doses As a result of implementation of the proposed EPU, there would be an increase in the source term used in the evaluation of some of the postulated accidents in the BFN FSEIS. The inventory of radionuclides in the reactor core is dependent upon power level; therefore, the core inventory of radionuclides could increase by as much as approximately 15 percent. The concentration of radionuclides in the reactor coolant may also increase by as much as approximately 15 percent; however, this concentration is limited by the BFN Technical Specifications. Therefore, the reactor coolant concentration of radionuclides would not be expected to increase significantly. This coolant concentration is part of the source term considered in some of the postulated accident analyses. Some of the radioactive waste streams and storage systems evaluated for postulated accidents may contain slightly higher quantities of radionuclides (TVA 2017a). In 2002, TVA requested license amendments to allow the use of Alternate Source Term (AST) methodology for design basis accident analyses for BFN. The TVA conducted full-scope AST analyses, which considered the core isotopic values for the current and future vendor products under EPU conditions. The TVA concluded that the calculated postaccident offsite doses for the EPU using AST methodologies meet all the applicable acceptance criteria of 10 CFR 50.67 and NRC Regulatory Guide 1.183, ‘‘Alternative Radiological Source Terms for Evaluating Design Basis Accidents at Nuclear Power Reactors’’ (NRC 2000). The NRC approved BFN’s AST license amendments in a letter to TVA dated September 27, 2004 (NRC 2004b). VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 The NRC staff is reviewing the licensee’s analyses for EPU operations to verify the acceptability of the licensee’s calculated doses under accident conditions. The results of the NRC staff’s analyses will be presented in the safety evaluation to be issued with the license amendment, if approved, and the EPU would not be approved by NRC unless the NRC staff’s independent review of dose calculations under postulated accident conditions determines that doses are within the regulatory limits found in 10 CFR 50.67. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the EPU would not significantly increase the consequences of accidents and would not result in a significant increase in the radiological environmental impact of BFN from postulated accidents. Radiological Impacts Summary The proposed EPU would not significantly increase the consequences of accidents, would not result in a significant increase in occupational or public radiation exposure, and would not result in significant additional fuel cycle environmental impacts. Accordingly, the NRC staff concludes that there would be no significant radiological environmental impacts associated with the proposed action. Non-Radiological Impacts Land Use Impacts The potential impacts associated with land use for the proposed action include effects from onsite EPU-related modifications and upgrades that would take place between spring 2018 and spring 2019 and impacts of the transmission system upgrades previously described in the ‘‘Description of the Proposed Action’’ section of this document. The onsite plant modifications and upgrades would occur within existing structures, buildings, and fenced equipment yards and would use existing parking lots, road access, lay-down areas, offices, workshops, warehouses, and restrooms in previously developed areas of the BFN site. Thus, existing onsite land uses would not be affected by onsite plant modifications and upgrades (TVA 2017a). Regarding transmission system upgrades, the breaker failure relay replacements and BFN main generator excitation system modifications would occur within existing BFN structures and would not involve any previously undisturbed land. The MVAR reactive compensation, consisting of SVC and capacitor bank installations, would occur at five offsite locations throughout PO 00000 Frm 00071 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 TVA service area as described previously. Two of the capacitor bank installations would be within existing substation boundaries and would, therefore, not affect any previously undisturbed land or alter existing land uses (TVA 2017e). The remaining two capacitor bank installations and the SVC installation would require expansion of the existing substation footprints and would require additional grading and clearing (TVA 2017e, 2017f). The TVA expects that the expansions would disturb 2.25 ac (0.9 ha), 3 ac (1.2 ha), and 25 ac (10 ha) of land at the Holly Springs, Corinth, and Limestone substations, respectively (TVA 2017e, 2017f). The affected land currently contains terrestrial habitat or other semi-maintained natural areas, but none of the three land parcels contain wetlands, ecologically sensitive or important habitats, prime or unique farmland, scenic areas, wildlife management areas, recreational areas, greenways, or trails. The TVA would implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to minimize the duration of soil exposure during clearing, grading, and construction (TVA 2017e, 2017f). The TVA would also revegetate and mulch the disturbed areas as soon as practicable after each disturbance (TVA 2017e, 2017f). The NRC staff did not identify any significant environmental impacts related to altering land uses within the relatively small parcels of land required for the SVC and capacitor bank installations. Following the necessary plant modifications and transmission system upgrades, operation of BFN at the EPU power level would not affect onsite or offsite land uses. The NRC staff concludes that the proposed EPU would not result in significant impacts on onsite or offsite land use. Visual Resource Impacts No residential homes occur within foreground viewing distance of the BFN site to the north and east. A small residential development located to the northwest and another residential development located across Wheeler Reservoir to the southwest have at least partial views of the BFN site. Additionally, the site can be seen from the Mallard Creek public use area directly across the reservoir. Two earthen berms lie adjacent to the cooling tower complex that block views of the northern and eastern plant areas. The berms, as well as portions of the cooling tower complex, are visible to motorists traveling on Shaw Road (TVA 2016a). Plant modifications and upgrades associated with the proposed EPU are E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices unlikely to result in additional visual resource impacts beyond those already occurring from ongoing operation of BFN for several reasons. First, the BFN site is already an industrial-use site. Therefore, the short-term, intensified use of the site that would be required to implement EPU-related modifications and upgrades is unlikely to be noticeable to members of the public within the site’s viewshed. Second, TVA would implement all EPU-related modifications and upgrades during scheduled refueling outages when additional machinery and heightened activity would already be occurring on the site. Accordingly, the NRC staff does not expect that EPU-related modifications and upgrades would result in significant impacts to visual resources. Regarding transmission system upgrades, the breaker failure relay replacements and BFN main generator excitation system modifications would occur within existing BFN structures and thus would not result in visual impacts. The SVC and capacitor bank installations would result in short-term visual impacts at the three sites for which substation expansion would be required. However, these areas are industrial-use sites, and use of machinery and equipment for ongoing maintenance and upgrades is common. Following the necessary plant modifications and transmission system upgrades, operation of BFN at the EPU power level would not significantly affect visual resources. The TVA estimates that the EPU would require cooling tower operation 22 more days per year on average, which would increase the number of days in which a plume would be visible. However, given that the cooling towers are already operated intermittently, the additional use of the cooling towers following the EPU would not result in significantly different visual impacts than those experienced during current operations. The NRC staff concludes that the temporary visual impacts during implementation of EPU modifications and upgrades at the BFN site, and near substations affected by the SVC and capacitor bank installations, would be minor and of short duration, and would not result in significant impacts to visual resources. The additional cooling tower operation following implementation of the EPU would also result in minor and insignificant visual impacts. Air Quality Impacts Onsite non-radioactive air emissions from BFN result primarily from operation of the emergency diesel VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 generators. Emissions occur when these generators are tested or are used to supply backup power. The TVA (2016a) does not anticipate an increase in use of the emergency diesel generators as a result of the proposed EPU, nor is it planning to increase the frequency or duration of the emergency diesel generator surveillance testing. Additionally, TVA (2017a) maintains a Synthetic Minor Source Air Operating Permit for its diesel generators, issued and enforced by the ADEM, and TVA would continue to comply with the requirements of this permit under EPU conditions. Accordingly, the NRC staff does not expect that onsite emission sources attributable to the EPU would result in significant impacts to air quality. Offsite non-radioactive emissions related to the proposed EPU would result primarily from personal vehicles of EPU-related workforce members driving to and from the site and from work vehicles delivering supplies and equipment to the site. The TVA (2017a) estimates that of the additional workers that would be present on the site during each of the refueling outages, 80 to 120 workers or less would be dedicated to implementing EPU-related modifications and upgrades. The TVA (2016a) generally ramps up outage staffing two to three weeks prior to the outage start and ramps down staffing beginning 21 to 28 days from the start of the outage. Major equipment and materials to support the EPU-related modifications and upgrades would be transported to the site well before the start of each outage period, and smaller EPU supplies will be delivered on trucks that routinely supply similar tools and materials to support BFN operations (TVA 2017a). The SVC and capacitor bank installations associated with the proposed EPU would result in additional minor air quality impacts from construction vehicle emissions and fugitive dust from ground disturbance and vehicle travel on unpaved roads (TVA 2017e, 2017f). These impacts would be temporary and controlled through TVA’s BMPs (TVA 2017e, 2017f). Following the necessary plant modifications and transmission system upgrades, operation at EPU levels would result in no additional air emissions as compared to operations at the current licensed power levels. The NRC staff concludes that the temporary increase in air emissions during implementation of EPU modifications and upgrades and SVC and capacitor bank installations would be minor and of short duration, and PO 00000 Frm 00072 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 25005 would not result in significant impacts to air quality. Noise Impacts The potential noise impacts related to the proposed action would be primarily confined to those resulting from the use of construction equipment and machinery during the EPU outage periods. However, implementation of EPU-related modifications and upgrades during these periods is unlikely to result in additional noise impacts beyond those already occurring from ongoing operation because the BFN site is already an industrial-use site and because TVA would implement all EPUrelated modifications and upgrades during scheduled refueling outages when additional machinery and heightened activity would already be occurring on the site. Accordingly, the NRC staff does not expect that EPUrelated modifications and upgrades would result in significant noise impacts. Regarding transmission system upgrades, the breaker failure relay replacements and BFN main generator excitation system modifications would occur within existing BFN structures, and would, therefore, not result in noise impacts. The SVC and capacitor bank installations would result in short-term and temporary noise impacts associated with construction equipment and machinery use at the three sites for which substation expansion would be required. However, these areas are industrial-use sites, and periodic noise impacts associated with ongoing maintenance and upgrades are common. Following the EPU outages, operation of BFN at EPU levels would result in an average of 22 additional days per year of cooling tower operation, which would slightly increase the duration for which residents nearest the BFN site would experience cooling tower-related noise during the warmer months. The NRC staff reviewed information submitted by TVA (2017a) regarding an environmental sound pressure level assessment performed at the BFN site in 2012. The assessment found that background noise levels without cooling tower operation was 59.7 decibels Aweighted scale (dBA), and that the noise levels with operation of six of the seven cooling towers was 61.9 dBA, an increase of 2.2 dBA. The TVA compared this level with the Federal Interagency Committee on Noise’s (FICON) recommendation that a 3-dBA increase in noise indicates a possible impact and the need for further analysis. Based on this criterion, TVA determined that the noise level emitted by operation of the cooling towers is acceptable. E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 25006 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES Additionally, TVA (2016a) is planning to conduct additional sound monitoring following the replacement of Cooling Towers 1 and 2, which are scheduled for replacement in fiscal years 2018 and FY 2019. The TVA will continue to meet FICON guidelines by working with the cooling tower vendor to ensure noise attenuating features, such as lownoise fans, lower speed fans, and sound attenuators, are incorporated as required to meet the guidelines. In the event that TVA (2016a) finds that the resulting noise levels exceed the FICON guidelines, TVA would develop and implement additional acoustical mitigation, such as modifications to fans and motors or the installation of barriers. The TVA will also continue to comply with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations to protect worker health onsite. The NRC staff concludes that the implementation of EPU modifications and upgrades, the capacitor bank installations, and additional operation of the cooling towers following implementation of the EPU would not result in significant noise impacts. Additionally, TVA would continue to comply with FICON guidelines and OSHA regulations regarding noise impacts, which would further ensure that future cooling tower operation would not result in significant impacts on the acoustic environment and human health. Water Resources Impacts As previously described, EPU-related modifications at BFN to include replacement and upgrades of plant equipment would occur within existing structures, buildings, and fenced equipment yards. The TVA does not expect any impact on previously undisturbed land at the BFN site. Any ground-disturbing activity would be subject to BFN’s BMP Plan, which TVA must maintain as a condition of the BFN NPDES permit (ADEM 2012). The TVA must implement and maintain the BMP Plan to prevent or minimize the potential for the release of pollutants in site runoff, spills, and leaks to waters of the State from site activities and operational areas. Consequently, the NRC staff concludes that onsite EPU activities at BFN would have no significant effect on surface water runoff and no impact on surface water or groundwater quality. Implementation of the EPU would also require upgrades to TVA’s transmission system, including installation of a minimum of 764 MVAR reactive compensation, consisting of an SVC installation and four capacitor bank VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 installations at five sites throughout TVA service area (see ‘‘MVAR Reactive Compensation’’ under ‘‘Description of the Proposed Action’’). At two of the substations (Clayton Village and East Point substations), new equipment installation would take place outdoors but within the confines of existing substation enclosures with ground disturbance limited to previously disturbed areas. As appropriate, TVA would use standard BMPs to minimize any potential impacts to surface water and groundwater. The TVA’s BMPs address preventive measures such as use of proper containment, treatment, and disposal of wastewaters, stormwater runoff, wastes, and other potential pollutants. The BMPs would also address soil erosion and sediment control and prevention and response to spills and leaks from construction equipment that could potentially runoff or infiltrate to underlying groundwater. After installation, the SVC and capacitor banks would result in no industrial wastewater discharges (TVA 2017e, 2017f). Therefore, there would be no operational impact on water resources. The SVC and capacitor installation work at three substations (Holly Springs and Corinth in Mississippi and Limestone in Alabama) would require expansion of the existing substation footprints and additional grading and clearing. Projected new ground disturbance for these substation expansions would range from approximately 2.25 ac (0.9 ha) of land for the Holly Springs, Mississippi Substation to 25 ac (10 ha) at the Limestone, Alabama Substation. The substation expansion projects would have no impact on perennial surface water features. At the Holly Springs substation, TVA identified an ephemeral stream that may lie within the expansion footprint. The TVA also identified three wet weather conveyances or ephemeral streams that may lie within the expansion footprint of the Limestone Substation. A review of site-specific information submitted by TVA for the expansion of the Limestone Substation, including available mapping information and photography, indicates that the three features may be headwater tributaries to nearby Limestone Creek. The information also suggests that the three surface water features have likely been channelized and or otherwise altered due to historic agricultural activity in the area. Regardless, adherence by TVA to project specifications and application of appropriate BMPs would ensure that there would be no impacts to offsite hydrologic features or conditions, PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 including Limestone Creek near the Limestone Substation. Further, TVA would avoid any karst features (e.g., springs and sinkholes) that may lie in the expansion area for the Limestone Substation during construction. The TVA would conduct all construction activities in accordance with standard BMPs as previously described and would perform specific work elements as further discussed below (TVA 2017e, 2017f). To support substation expansion work, water would be required for such uses as potable and sanitary use by the construction workforce and for concrete production, equipment washdown, dust suppression, and soil compaction. The NRC staff assumes that the modest volumes of water needed would be supplied from local sources and transported to the work sites. Use of portable sanitary facilities, typically serviced offsite by a commercial contractor, would serve to reduce the volume of water required to meet the sanitary needs of the construction workforce. The TVA would obtain any necessary construction fill material from an approved borrow pit, and TVA would place any spoils generated from site grading, trenching, or other excavation work in a permitted spoil area on the substation property, or the material would be spread or graded across the site. Areas disturbed by construction work and equipment installation would be stabilized by applying new gravel or resurfacing the disturbed areas (TVA 2017e, 2017f). Consequently, following the completion of construction, disturbed areas would lie within the expanded substation footprint and would otherwise be overlain by equipment or hard surfaces, would not be subject to long-term soil erosion, and would have little potential to impact surface water or groundwater resources. The expansion projects at all three substations would also be subject to various permits and approvals, which TVA would obtain. Construction stormwater runoff from land disturbing activities of 1 ac (0.4 ha) or more is subject to regulation in accordance with Section 402 of the CWA. Section 402 establishes the NPDES permit program. Mississippi and Alabama administer these regulatory requirements through State NPDES general permits. Specifically, State construction stormwater general permits will be required for construction activities at the Holly Springs, Corinth, and Limestone substations. For NPDES general permits, permit holders must also develop and implement a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan to E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices ensure the proper design and maintenance of stormwater and soil erosion BMPs to prevent sediment and other pollutants in stormwater discharges and ensure compliance with State water quality standards. Based on the foregoing, the NRC staff finds that the transmission system upgrades and associated substation expansion projects would have negligible direct impacts on water resources and would otherwise be conducted in accordance with TVA standard BMPs to minimize environmental impacts. The TVA’s construction activities would also be subject to regulation under NPDES general permits for stormwater discharges associated with construction activity. Accordingly, the NRC staff concludes that EPU-related transmission system upgrades would not result in significant impacts on surface water or groundwater resources. The EPU implementation at BFN would result in operational changes with implications for environmental conditions. As further detailed under ‘‘Plant Site and Environs’’ of this EA, BFN withdraws surface water from Wheeler Reservoir to supply water for condenser cooling and other in-plant uses. Total water withdrawals by BFN have averaged 1,848,000 gpm (4,117 cfs; 116.3 m/s) over the last 5 years, although the average withdrawal rate in 2015 exceeded the average rate (TVA 2016a). The BFN uses a once-through circulating water system for condenser cooling aided by periodic operation of helper cooling towers. Normally, during once-through (open cycle) operation, BFN returns nearly all of the water it withdraws back to the reservoir, albeit at a higher temperature, through three, submerged diffuser pipes. When necessary throughout the course of the year, BFN’s return condenser cooling water is routed through one or more of the helper cooling towers based on the level of cooling needed so that the resulting discharge to the river meets thermal limits as stipulated in TVA’s NPDES permit. The TVA may also derate one or more BFN generating units in order to ensure compliance with NPDES thermal limits, as previously described (TVA 2017a). Following implementation of the EPU, TVA predicts that BFN would need to operate helper cooling towers an additional 22 days per year on average (for a total of 88 days per year) to maintain compliance with NPDES thermal limits, as compared to a projected average of 66 days per year at current power levels (TVA 2016a, 2017a). When helper cooling towers are used, a portion of the water passing VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 through the towers is consumptively used (lost) due to evaporation and cooling tower drift. The results of TVA’s hydrothermal modeling, as previously described, indicate that approximately 3 percent of the cooling water flow passed through the helper towers is consumptively used (TVA 2017a). Thus, for an additional 22 days per year on average, BFN’s cooling water return flows to Wheeler Reservoir would be reduced by approximately 3 percent following the proposed EPU as compared to current operations. This is a negligible percentage of the total volume of water passing through Wheeler Reservoir and of the volume of water that is otherwise diverted by TVA to meet BFN cooling and other in-plant needs (TVA 2017a). Operations at EPU power levels would not require any modifications to BFN’s circulating water system, residual heat removal service water system, emergency equipment cooling water system, raw cooling water, or raw water systems. Therefore, TVA expects no changes in the volume of water that would be withdrawn from Wheeler Reservoir during operations (TVA 2016a). The EPU operations would result in an increase in the temperature of the condenser cooling water discharged to Wheeler Reservoir. The TVA’s hydrothermal modeling predicts that the average temperature of the return discharge through BFN’s submerged diffusers would be 2.6 °F (1.4 °C) warmer than under current operations and that the average temperature at the downstream edge of the mixing zone prescribed by BFN’s NPDES permit would increase by 0.6 °F (0.3 °C). Nevertheless, these thermal changes would continue to meet BFN’s NPDES permit limits, including temperature change limitations within the prescribed mixing zone (TVA 2016a, 2017a). In addition, there would also be no change in the use of cooling water treatment chemicals or other changes in the quality of other effluents discharged to Wheeler Reservoir in conjunction with implementation of the EPU (TVA 2016a). In summary, implementation of the EPU at BFN and associated operational changes would not affect water availability or impair ambient surface water or groundwater quality. The NRC staff concludes that the proposed EPU would not result in significant impacts on water resources. Terrestrial Resource Impacts The BFN site’s natural areas include riparian areas, upland forests, and wetlands that have formed on previously disturbed land cleared prior PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 25007 to BFN construction. Onsite plant modifications and upgrades would not disturb these areas because the EPUrelated modifications and upgrades would not involve any new construction outside of the existing facility footprint, as previously described under ‘‘Land Use Impacts.’’ For this reason, sediment transport and erosion are also not a concern. The modifications and upgrades would result in additional noise and lighting, which could disturb wildlife. However, such impacts would be similar to and indistinguishable from what nearby wildlife already experience during normal operations because the upgrades and modifications would take place during regularly scheduled outages, which are already periods of heightened site activity. Regarding transmission system upgrades, the breaker failure relay replacements and BFN main generator excitation system modifications would occur within existing BFN structures and would not involve any previously undisturbed land. These upgrades would result in no impacts on terrestrial resources. The SVC and MVAR capacitor bank installations would occur at five offsite locations throughout the TVA service area as described previously. The SVC installation and two of the four capacitor bank installations would require expansion of the existing substation footprints and additional grading and clearing, as described in the ‘‘Land Use Impacts’’ section. The affected land currently contains terrestrial habitat or other semi-maintained natural areas, and TVA (2017e, 2017f) reports that all three areas are likely to contain primarily non-native, invasive botanicals. None of the three land parcels contain wetlands, ecologically sensitive or important habitats, prime or unique farmland, scenic areas, wildlife management areas, recreational areas, greenways, or trails. The TVA (2017e, 2017f) also reports that no bird colonies or aggregations of migratory birds have been documented within 3 mi (4.8 km) of the substation footprints. The TVA would implement BMPs to minimize the duration of soil exposure during clearing, grading, and construction (TVA 2017e, 2017f). The TVA would also revegetate and mulch the disturbed areas as soon as practicable after each disturbance, and TVA’s landscaping BMPs require revegetation with native plants or noninvasive species (TVA 2017e, 2017f). The NRC staff did not identify any significant environmental impacts to terrestrial resources related to altering land uses within the parcels of land E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 25008 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices required for the SVC and capacitor bank installations. Following the necessary plant modifications and transmission system upgrades, operation at EPU levels would result in no additional or different impacts on terrestrial resources as compared to operations at the current licensed power levels. The NRC assessed the impacts of continued operation of BFN through the period of extended operation in the BFN FSEIS (NRC 2005) and determined that impacts on terrestrial resources would be small (i.e., effects would not be detectable or would be so minor that they would neither destabilize nor noticeably alter any important attribute of the resource). The NRC staff concludes that the temporary noise and lighting during implementation of EPU modifications and upgrades and small areas of land disturbance associated with the SVC and MVAR capacitor bank installations would be minor and would not result in significant impacts to terrestrial resources. nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES Aquatic Resource Impacts Aquatic habitats associated with the site include Wheeler Reservoir and 14 related tributaries, of which Elk River, located 10 mi (16 km) downstream of BFN, is the largest. Onsite plant modifications and upgrades would not affect aquatic resources because EPUrelated modifications and upgrades would not involve any new construction outside existing facility footprints and would not result in sedimentation or erosion or any other disturbances that would otherwise affect aquatic habitats. Regarding transmission system upgrades, the breaker failure relay replacements and BFN main generator excitation system modifications would occur within existing BFN structures and would, therefore, not affect aquatic resources. Although the SVC installation and two of the four MVAR capacitor bank installations would require expansion of existing substation footprints as described previously, TVA (2017e, 2017f) reports that the expansions would not affect the flow, channels, or banks of any nearby streams. As described previously in the ‘‘Water Resource Impacts’’ section, the substation expansions would have negligible direct impacts on water resources, and TVA would implement BMPs, as appropriate, and would be subject to regulation under NPDES general permits during any construction activities. Accordingly, the NRC staff did not identify any significant environmental impacts related to VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 aquatic resources with respect to transmission system upgrades. Following the necessary plant modifications and transmission system upgrades, operation at EPU levels would result in additional thermal discharge to Wheeler Reservoir. As described in the ‘‘Cooling Tower Operation and Thermal Discharge’’ and ‘‘Water Resources Impacts’’ sections of this document, TVA predicts that the temperature of water entering Wheeler Reservoir would be 2.6 °F (1.4 °C) warmer on average than current operations and that the river temperature at the NPDES compliance depth at the downstream end of the mixing zone would be 0.6 °F (0.3 °C) warmer on average. In the BFN FSEIS, the NRC (2005) evaluated the potential impacts of thermal discharges in Section 4.1.4, ‘‘Heat Shock,’’ assuming continued operation at EPU power levels. The NRC (2005) found that the BFN thermal mixing zone constitutes a small percentage of the Wheeler Reservoir surface area, that the maximum temperatures at the edge of the mixing zone do not exceed the upper thermal limits for common aquatic species, and that continued compliance with the facility’s NPDES permit would ensure that impacts to aquatic biota are minimized. Since the time the NRC staff performed its license renewal review, the ADEM has issued a renewed BFN NPDES permit. The CWA requires the EPA or States, where delegated, to set thermal discharge variances such that compliance with the NPDES permit assures the protection and propagation of a balanced, indigenous community of shellfish, fish, and wildlife in and on the body of water into which the discharge is made, taking into account the cumulative impact of a facility’s thermal discharge together with all other significant impacts on the species affected. Under the proposed action, TVA would remain subject to the limitations set forth in the renewed BFN NPDES permit. The NRC staff finds it reasonable to conclude that TVA’s continued compliance with, and the State’s continued enforcement of, the BFN NPDES permit would ensure that Wheeler Reservoir aquatic resources are protected. Regarding impingement and entrainment, in Sections 4.1.2 and 4.1.3 of the BFN FSEIS, the NRC (2005) determined that impingement and entrainment during the period of extended operation would be small. The proposed EPU would not increase the volume or rate of water withdrawal from Wheeler Reservoir and no modifications to the current cooling system design would be required. Thus, the NRC staff finds that the proposed EPU would not PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 change the rate of impingement or entrainment of fish, shellfish, or other aquatic organisms compared to current operations. Regarding chemical effluents, the types and amounts of effluents would not change under the proposed EPU, and effluent discharges to Wheeler Reservoir would continue to be regulated by the ADEM under the facility’s NPDES permit. Thus, the NRC staff concludes that compared to current operations, the proposed EPU would not change the type or concentration of chemical effluents that could impact aquatic resources. The NRC staff concludes that onsite plant modifications and transmission system upgrades associated with the proposed EPU would not affect aquatic resources. Although operation at EPU levels would increase thermal effluent to Wheeler Reservoir, the NRC staff concludes that any resulting impacts on aquatic resources would not be significant because thermal discharges would remain within the limits imposed by the BFN NPDES permit. Special Status Species and Habitats Impacts The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) (ESA) was enacted to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems on which they depend. Under Section 7 of the ESA, Federal agencies must consult with the FWS or the National Marine Fisheries Service, as appropriate, to ensure that actions the agencies authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species (collectively referred to as ‘‘listed species’’) or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. This section of the EA describes the ESA action area; considers whether and what listed species or critical habitats may occur in the action area; evaluates the potential effects of the proposed EPU on species in the action area; and makes effect determinations for the identified species. Concerning listed species and critical habitats that could be affected by the offsite transmission system modifications and upgrades, TVA, as a Federal agency, would be required to conduct ESA Section 7 consultation with the FWS, if necessary, to address any potential impacts that may result from the upgrades prior to undertaking any related work. The NRC has no authority over power transmission systems and no role in permitting any modifications and upgrades to those systems that TVA might undertake. E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 25009 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices During its NEPA review associated with the transmission system modifications and upgrades, TVA (2017e, 2017f) determined that no Federally listed species or critical habitats occur near the three substations that would be expanded (Limestone, Holly Springs, and Corinth) and concluded that the expansions would have no effect on Federally listed species and critical habitats. As such, TVA determined that consultation with the FWS for the transmission system modifications and upgrades would not be required. However, if at any point prior to undertaking or during the modifications and upgrades, TVA determines that any listed species are present and that its actions may affect those species, the ESA would require TVA to consult with the FWS. Such consultation, if it occurs, would be between TVA and FWS and would not involve the NRC. Action Area The implementing regulations for Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA define ‘‘action area’’ as all areas to be affected directly or indirectly by the Federal action and not merely the immediate area involved in the action (50 CFR 402.02). The action area effectively bounds the analysis of listed species and critical habitats because only species that occur within the action area may be affected by the Federal action. For the purposes of this ESA analysis, the NRC staff considers the action area for the proposed BFN EPU to be the full bank width of Wheeler Reservoir from the point of water withdrawal downstream to the edge of the mixing zone, which lies 2,400 ft (732 m) downstream of the diffusers. The NRC staff expects all direct and indirect effects of the proposed action to be contained within this area. The NRC staff recognizes that while the action area is stationary, Federally listed species can move in and out of the action area. For instance, a migratory fish species could occur in the action area seasonally as it travels up and down the river past BFN. The NRC staff does not consider areas affected by the transmission system modifications and upgrades to be part of the action area because TVA, as a Federal agency, would be responsible for consulting with the FWS if TVA were to identity any impacts on Federally listed species or critical habitats that could result from its actions in these areas. The NRC does not have any authority or permitting role related to the transmission system modifications and upgrades and would not be involved in such a consultation, if it were to occur. However, as described above, TVA concluded that the expansions would have no effect on Federally listed species and critical habitats and that consultation with the FWS would not be required. Accordingly, based on the information provided by TVA, the NRC staff concludes that the EPU-related substation modifications and upgrades would not affect any listed species or critical habitats. Listed Species and Critical Habitats To determine what Federally listed species and designated critical habitats may occur in the action area, the NRC staff obtained an official species list from the FWS, reviewed information in TVA’s EPU application, and considered relevant scientific literature pertaining to species distribution and occurrences, as available. First, to obtain an official species list, the NRC staff conducted a search using the FWS’s Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS) Information for Planning and Conservation (IPaC) system. The resulting species list (FWS 2017) identifies six endangered or threatened species that may occur in the action area (see Table 1). This species list contains less species than the number considered by the NRC staff in the draft version of this EA; footnote (a) in Table 1 explains the staff’s basis for reducing the number of species it evaluates in this final EA. No candidate species, proposed species, or proposed or designated critical habitats occur in the action area (FWS 2017). TABLE 1—FEDERALLY LISTED SPECIES WITH THE POTENTIAL TO OCCUR IN THE BFN EPU ACTION AREA Common name Federal status (b) Known to occur in the vicinity of BFN? (c) gray bat ............................................................ Indiana bat ........................................................ northern long-eared bat .................................... FE FE FT — — — snuffbox ............................................................ pink mucket ...................................................... rough pigtoe ..................................................... FE FE FE — Y Y Species (a) Mammals: Myotis grisescens ...................................... Myotis sodalis ............................................ Myotis septentrionalis ................................ Freshwater Mussels: Epioblasma triquetra .................................. Lampsilis abrupta ...................................... Pleurobema plenum .................................. nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES (a) In the draft version of this EA, the NRC (2016a) staff considered 31 listed and candidate terrestrial and aquatic species based on information from the FWS’s (2016) ECOS IPaC system. Following issuance of the draft EA, the NRC staff obtained an updated species list (FWS 2017), which contained the six listed species identified in this table. The reduced number of species is a reflection of updates and refinements to the FWS’s ECOS IPaC system that now allows users to obtain more site-specific information on listed species distributions near proposed projects. All six species identified in this table appeared in the original list of species (FWS 2016) and were considered by the staff during the development of the draft EA. The updated species list (FWS 2017) does not contain any new species not previously considered by the staff and does not contain any information that would otherwise affect the NRC staff’s original ‘‘no effect’’ finding for Federally listed species and critical habitats documented in the draft EA. (b) FE = Federally endangered under the ESA; FT = Federally threatened under the ESA. (c) Y = yes; — = no. Occurrence information is based on species identified in TVA’s (2017a) supplemental environmental report submitted as part of its EPU application as occurring within tributaries to Wheeler Reservoir, within a 10-mi (16-km) radius of BFN, or within the Tennessee River between River Mile 274.9 and 310.7. Sources: FWS 2017; TVA 2017a. Second, the NRC staff reviewed information on listed species contained in TVA’s EPU application. Since the 1970s, TVA has maintained a Natural Heritage Database that includes data on sensitive species and habitats, including VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 Federally listed species and critical habitats, in TVA’s power service area. The TVA’s EPU application includes relevant information from its database on listed species and critical habitats that may be affected by the proposed PO 00000 Frm 00076 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 EPU. Finally, the NRC staff searched available scientific literature to determine species distributions and the potential for listed species to occur in the action area. The results of the staff’s E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES 25010 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices review is described below for the species identified in Table 1. The TVA (2017a) has no records indicating the occurrence of any of the three species of bats identified in Table 1 within 10 mi (16 km) of the BFN site. Section 5.1 of the NRC’s (2004a) biological assessment for license renewal states that the BFN site does not provide suitable habitat for Federally listed bats. Additionally, the NRC staff did not identify any ecological studies, reports, or other information that would indicate that any of the three bat species may be present within the action area. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the gray (Myotis grisescens), Indiana (M. sodalis), and northern long-eared (M. septentrionalis) bats are unlikely to occur in the action area. Regarding the three species of freshwater mussels identified in Table 1, TVA (2017a) reports that two of the species—pink mucket (Lampsilis abrupta) and rough pigtoe (Pleurobema plenum)—have been recorded as occurring within tributaries to Wheeler Reservoir or within the Tennessee River between River Mile 274.9 and 310.7. These species occur in sand, gravel, and cobble substrates in large river habitats within the Tennessee River system. Both species are now extremely rare and are primarily found in unimpounded tributary rivers and in more riverine reaches of the main stem Tennessee River (TVA 2017a). Most of the remaining large river habitat in Wheeler Reservoir occurs upstream of the BFN action area. Section 5.2 of the NRC’s (2004a) biological assessment for license renewal describes Tennessee River collection records for the two species, which date back to the late 1990s. Pink mucket and rough pigtoe were collected near Hobbs Island, which lies over 64 km (40 mi) upstream of BFN, in 1998 (Yokely 1998). The TVA (2017a) reports no more recent occurrence records of these two species. Additionally, TVA (2017a) reports no occurrence records of the third freshwater mussel species, snuffbox (Epioblasma triquetra). The NRC staff did not identify any ecological studies, reports, or other information suggesting that populations of any of these species exist in the BFN action area or within Wheeler Reservoir as a whole. The NRC staff, therefore, concludes that snuffbox, pink mucket, and rough pigtoe are unlikely to occur in the action area. Impact Assessment As described under ‘‘Terrestrial Resource Impacts,’’ the NRC staff determined that the proposed EPU would not have significant impacts on the terrestrial environment. This VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 conclusion was made, in part, because the proposed EPU would not disturb any natural areas, including riparian areas, upland forests, and wetlands, and because any temporary noise and lighting that wildlife might experience during implementation of EPU-related modifications and upgrades would be similar to and indistinguishable from what nearby wildlife already experience during BFN operations. As described under ‘‘Aquatic Resource Impacts,’’ although operation at EPU levels would result in additional thermal discharge to Wheeler Reservoir, any resulting impacts on aquatic resources would not be significant because thermal discharges would remain within the limits imposed by the BFN NPDES permit. Further, because no Federally listed species occur in the action area, no Federally listed species would experience even these insignificant effects. ESA Effect Determinations Based on the foregoing discussion, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed EPU would have no effect on the gray bat, Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, snuffbox, pink mucket, and rough pigtoe. Federal agencies are not required to consult with the FWS if they determine that an action will not affect listed species or critical habitats (FWS 2013). Thus, no consultation is required for the proposed EPU, and the NRC staff considers its obligations under the ESA to be fulfilled for the proposed action. Historic and Cultural Resource Impacts The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.), requires Federal agencies to consider the effects of their undertakings on historic properties, and the proposed EPU is an undertaking that could potentially affect historic properties. Historic properties are defined as resources eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The criteria for eligibility are listed in 36 CFR 60.4 and include (1) association with significant events in history; (2) association with the lives of persons significant in the past; (3) embodiment of distinctive characteristics of type, period, or construction; and (4) sites or places that have yielded, or are likely to yield, important information. According to the BFN FSEIS (NRC 2005), the only significant cultural resources in the proximity of BFN are Site 1Li535 and the Cox Cemetery, which was moved to accommodate original construction of the plant. TVA (2016a) researched current historic property records and found nothing new PO 00000 Frm 00077 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 within 3 mi (4.8 km) of the plant. As described under ‘‘Description of the Proposed Action,’’ all onsite modifications associated with the proposed action would be within existing structures, buildings, and fenced equipment yards, and TVA anticipates no disturbance of previously undisturbed onsite land. Thus, historic and cultural resources would not be affected by onsite power plant modifications and upgrades at BFN. Regarding transmission system upgrades, Tennessee Valley Archaeological Research (TVAR) and the University of Alabama’s Office of Archaeological Research (OAR) performed Phase I Cultural Surveys to determine if the expansion of the Holly Springs, Corinth, and Limestone substations would affect any historic or cultural resources. The TVAR’s and OAR’s findings are summarized below. During its Phase I Cultural Resource Survey for the Holly Springs Substation (Karpynec et al. 2016b), TVAR revisited two NRHP-listed historic districts, the Depot-Compress Historic District and the East Holly Springs Historic District, within the survey radius. The TVAR determined that the historic districts are outside the viewshed of the proposed substation expansion. During the survey, TVAR also identified 14 potentially historic properties, none of which were found to be eligible for listing on the NRHP due to their lack of architectural and historic significance. The TVAR concluded that no historic properties would be affected by the Holly Springs Substation expansion. During its Phase I Cultural Resource Survey for the Corinth Substation (Karpynec et al. 2016b), TVAR identified 13 properties within the area of potential effect, none of which were determined to be eligible for listing on the NRHP due to their lack of architectural distinction and loss of integrity caused by modern alterations or damage. The TVAR concluded that no historic properties would be affected by the Corinth Substation expansion. During the Phase I Cultural Resource Survey for the Limestone Substation (Watkins 2017), OAR did not identify any properties within the area of potential effect. OAR identified two properties within a 0.5-mi (0.8-km) radius of the area of potential effect that could be visually impacted by the Limestone Substation SVC installation, neither of which were found to be eligible for listing on the NRHP due to integrity and historical significance issues. OAR concluded that no historic properties would be affected by the Limestone Substation SVC installation. E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices Following power plant modifications and substation upgrades, operation of BFN at EPU power levels would have no effect on existing historic and cultural resources. Further, TVA has procedures in place to ensure that BFN operations would continue to protect historic and cultural resources, and the proposed action would not change such procedures (NRC 2005). Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that EPU-related power plant modifications and substation upgrades would not result in significant impacts to historic and cultural resources. nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES Socioeconomic Impacts Potential socioeconomic impacts from the proposed EPU include increased demand for short-term housing, public services, and increased traffic due to the temporary increase in the size of the workforce required to implement the EPU at BFN and upgrade affected substations. The proposed EPU also could generate increased tax revenues for the State and surrounding counties due to increased ‘‘book’’ value of BFN and increased power generation. During outages, the workforce at BFN increases by 800 to 1,200 workers for an average of 1,000 additional workers onsite. Normally, outage workers begin to arrive at BFN 2 to 3 weeks prior to the start of the outage, and the total number of onsite workers peaks at about the 3rd day of the 21- to 28-day outage. The EPU outage for each unit would last 35 days or less (TVA 2016a). Once EPUrelated plant modifications have been completed, the size of the workforce at BFN would return to pre-EPU levels approximately 1 week after the end of the outage with no significant increases during future outages. The size of the operations workforce would be unaffected by the proposed EPU. Most of the EPU plant modification workers are expected to relocate temporarily to the Huntsville metropolitan area during outages, resulting in short-term increased demands for public services and housing. Because plant modification work would be temporary, most workers would stay in available rental homes, apartments, mobile homes, and campertrailers. The additional number of outage workers and truck material and equipment deliveries needed to support EPU-related power plant modifications could cause short-term level-of-service impacts (restricted traffic flow and higher incident rates) on secondary roads in the immediate vicinity of BFN. However, only small traffic delays are anticipated during the outages. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 The TVA currently makes payments in lieu of taxes to states and counties in which BFN operations occur and on properties previously subjected to state and local taxation. The TVA pays a percentage of its gross power revenues to such states and counties. Only a very small share of TVA payment is paid directly to counties; most is paid to the states, which use their own formulas for redistribution of some or all of the payments to local governments to fund their respective operating budgets. In general, half of TVA payment is apportioned based on power sales and half is apportioned based on the ‘‘book’’ value of TVA property. Therefore, for a capital improvement project such as the EPU, the in-lieu-of-tax payments are affected in two ways: (1) As power sales increase, the total amount of the in-lieuof-tax payment to be distributed increases, and (2) the increased ‘‘book’’ value of BFN causes a greater proportion of the total payment to be allocated to Limestone County. The state’s general fund, as well as all of the counties in Alabama that receive TVA in-lieu-of-tax distributions from the State of Alabama, benefit under this method of distribution (TVA 2017a). Therefore, the amount of future payments in lieu of property taxes paid by TVA could be affected by the increased value of BFN as a result of the EPU and associated increased power generation. Due to the short duration of EPUrelated plant modification and substation upgrade activities, there would be little or no noticeable effect on tax revenues generated by additional workers temporarily residing in Limestone County and elsewhere. In addition, there would be little or no noticeable increased demand for housing and public services or level-ofservice traffic impacts beyond what is experienced during normal refueling outages at BFN. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that there would be no significant socioeconomic impacts from EPU-related plant modifications, substation upgrades, and power plant operations under EPU conditions. Environmental Justice Impacts 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 activities associated with the proposed EPU at BFN. 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 BFN, and all are exposed to PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 25011 the same health and environmental effects generated from activities at BFN. Minority Populations in the Vicinity of the BFN According to the 2010 Census, an estimated 22 percent of the total population (approximately 978,000 individuals) residing within a 50-mile radius of BFN identified themselves as a minority (MCDC 2016). The largest minority populations were Black or African American (approximately 135,000 persons or 14 percent), followed by Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin of any race (approximately 44,000 persons or 4.5 percent). According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s (USCB’s) 2010 Census, about 21 percent of the Limestone County population identified themselves as minorities, with Black or African Americans comprising the largest minority population (approximately 13 percent) (USCB 2016). According to the USCB’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, the minority population of Limestone County, as a percent of the total population, had increased to about 23 percent with Black or African Americans comprising 14 percent of the total county population (USCB 2016). Low-Income Populations in the Vicinity of BFN According to the USCB’s 2010–2014 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, approximately 32,000 families and 154,000 individuals (12 and 16 percent, respectively) residing within a 50-mile radius of BFN were identified as living below the Federal poverty threshold (MCDC 2016). The 2014 Federal poverty threshold was $24,230 for a family of four (USCB 2016). According to the USCB’s 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, the median household income for Alabama was $44,765, while 14 percent of families and 18.5 percent of the state population were found to be living below the Federal poverty threshold (USCB 2016). Limestone County had a higher median household income average ($55,009) and a lower percentage of families (12 percent) and persons (15 percent) living below the poverty level, respectively (USCB 2016). Impact Analysis Potential impacts to minority and low-income populations would consist of environmental and socioeconomic effects (e.g., noise, dust, traffic, employment, and housing impacts) and radiological effects. E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 25012 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES Noise and dust impacts would be temporary and limited to onsite activities. Minority and low-income populations residing along site access roads could experience increased commuter vehicle traffic during shift changes. Increased demand for inexpensive rental housing during the EPU-related plant modifications could disproportionately affect low-income populations; however, due to the short duration of the EPU-related work and the availability of housing, impacts to minority and low-income populations would be of short duration and limited. According to 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, there were approximately 4,016 vacant housing units in Limestone County (USCB 2016). Radiation doses from plant operations after implementation of the EPU are expected to continue to remain well below regulatory limits. Based on this information and the analysis of human health and environmental impacts presented in this EA, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed EPU would not have disproportionately high and adverse human health and environmental effects on minority and low-income populations residing in the vicinity of BFN. Cumulative Impacts The Council on Environmental Quality defines cumulative impacts under NEPA as the impact on the environment, which results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency (Federal or non-Federal) or person undertakes such other actions (40 CFR 1508.7). Cumulative impacts may result when the environmental effects associated with the proposed action are overlaid or added to temporary or permanent effects associated with other actions. Cumulative impacts can result from individually minor, but collectively significant, actions taking place over a period of time. For the purposes of this cumulative analysis, past actions are related to the resource conditions when BFN was licensed and constructed; present actions are related to the resource conditions during current operations; and future actions are those that are reasonably foreseeable through the expiration of BFN’s renewed facility operating licenses (i.e., through 2033, 2034, and 2036 for Units 1, 2, and 3, respectively). In Section 4.8 of the BFN FSEIS (NRC 2005), the NRC staff assessed the cumulative impacts related to continued operation of BFN through the license VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 renewal term assuming operation of BFN at EPU levels. In its analysis, the NRC (2005) considered changes and modifications to the Tennessee River; current and future water quality; current and future competing water uses, including public supply, industrial water supply, irrigation, and thermoelectric power generation; the radiological environment; future socioeconomic impacts; historic and cultural resources; and cumulative impacts to Federally endangered and threatened species. The NRC (2005) determined that the contribution of BFN continued operations at EPU levels to past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions would not be detectable or would be so minor as to not destabilize or noticeably alter any important attribute of the resources. Because the proposed EPU would neither change nor result in significant impacts to the radiological environment, onsite or offsite land uses, visual resources, air quality, noise, terrestrial resources, special status species and habitats, historical and cultural resources, socioeconomic conditions, or environmental justice populations, the NRC concludes that implementation of the proposed action would not incrementally contribute to cumulative impacts to these resources. Regarding water resources and aquatic resources, although the proposed EPU would result in more thermal effluent, discharges would remain within the limits set forth in the current BFN NPDES permit, and no other facilities discharge thermal effluent within the BFN mixing zone that would exacerbate thermal effects. As described above, the NRC (2005) determined that cumulative impacts to these resources would not be detectable or would be so minor as to not destabilize or noticeably alter any important attribute of the resources. Accordingly, the NRC staff finds that cumulative impacts on water resources and aquatic resources under the proposed action would not be significant. Additionally, for those resources identified as potentially impacted by activities associated with the proposed EPU (i.e., water resources and aquatic resources), the NRC staff also considered current resource trends and conditions, including the potential impacts of climate change. The NRC staff considered the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s (USGCRP’s) most recent compilation of the state of knowledge relative to global climate change effects (USGCRP 2009, 2014). The effects of climate change on water and aquatic resources are discussed below. PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Water Resources Predicted changes in the timing, intensity, and distribution of precipitation would be likely to result in changes in surface water runoff affecting water availability across the Southeastern United States. Specifically, while average precipitation during the fall has increased by 30 percent since about 1900, summer and winter precipitation has declined by about 10 percent across the eastern portion of the region, including eastern Tennessee (USGCRP 2009). A continuation of this trend coupled with predicted higher temperatures during all seasons (particularly the summer months), would reduce groundwater recharge during the winter, produce less runoff and lower stream flows during the spring, and potentially lower groundwater base flow to rivers during the drier portions of the year (when stream flows are already lower). As cited by the USGCRP, the loss of moisture from soils because of higher temperatures along with evapotranspiration from vegetation is likely to increase the frequency, duration, and intensity of droughts across the region into the future (USGCRP 2009, USGCRP 2014). Changes in runoff in a watershed along with reduced stream flows and higher air temperatures all contribute to an increase in the ambient temperature of receiving waters. Annual runoff and river-flow are projected to decline in the Southeast region (USGCRP 2014). Land use changes, particularly those involving the conversion of natural areas to impervious surface, exacerbate these effects. These factors combine to affect the availability of water throughout a watershed, such as that of the Tennessee River, for aquatic life, recreation, and industrial uses. While changes in projected precipitation for the Southeast region are uncertain, the USGCRP has a reasonable expectation that there will be reduced water availability due to the increased evaporative losses from rising temperatures alone (USGCRP 2014). Nevertheless, when considering that the Tennessee River System and associated reservoirs are closely operated, managed, and regulated for multiple uses which include thermoelectric power generation, the incremental contribution of the proposed EPU on climate change impacts is not significant. Aquatic Resources The potential effects of climate change described above for water resources, whether from natural cycles E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices or man-made activities, could result in changes that would affect aquatic resources in the Tennessee River. Increased air temperatures could result in higher water temperatures in the Tennessee River reservoirs. For instance, TVA found that a 1 °F (0.5 °C) increase in air temperature resulted in an average water temperature increase between 0.25 °F and 0.5 °F (0.14 °C and 0.28 °C) in the Chickamauga Reservoir (NRC 2015). Higher water temperatures would increase the potential for thermal effects on aquatic biota and, along with altered river flows, could exacerbate existing environmental stressors, such as excess nutrients and lowered dissolved oxygen associated with eutrophication. Even slight changes could alter the structure of aquatic communities. Invasions of non-native species that thrive under a wide range of environmental conditions could further disrupt the current structure and function of aquatic communities (NRC 2015). Nevertheless, when considering that the Tennessee River System and associated reservoirs are closely operated, managed, and regulated for multiple uses that include thermoelectric power generation, the incremental contribution of the proposed EPU on climate change impacts is not significant. Alternatives to the Proposed Action As an alternative to the proposed action, the NRC staff considered denial of the proposed license amendments (i.e., the ‘‘no-action’’ alternative). Denial of the application would result in no change in current environmental conditions or impacts. However, if the EPU were not approved, other agencies and electric power organizations might be required to pursue other means of providing electric generation capacity, such as fossil fuel or alternative fuel power generation, to offset future demand. Construction and operation of such generating facilities could result in air quality, land use, ecological, and waste management impacts significantly greater than those identified for the proposed EPU. Alternative Use of Resources The action does not involve the use of any different resources than those previously considered for current operations, as described in NUREG– 1437, Supplement 21, Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Regarding Browns Ferry Station, Units 1, 2, and 3—Final Report (NRC 2005). Agencies and Persons Consulted The NRC staff did not enter into consultation with any other Federal or State agency regarding the environmental impacts of the proposed action. However, on October 6, 2016, the NRC notified the Alabama State official, Mr. David Walter, Director of Alabama Office of Radiation Control of the proposed amendments, requesting his comments by October 13, 2016. The State official provided no comments. The NRC (2016b) also sent copies of the draft EA to the EPA, FWS, and Alabama Department of Environmental Management. The NRC received no comments from these agencies. III. Finding of No Significant Impact The NRC is considering issuing amendments for Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. DPR–33, DPR– 52, and DPR–68, issued to TVA for operation of BFN to increase the maximum licensed thermal power level for each of the three BFN reactor units from 3,458 MWt to 3,952 MWt. On the basis of the EA included in Section II above and incorporated by reference in this finding, the NRC concludes that the proposed action would not have significant effects on the quality of the human environment. The NRC’s evaluation considered information provided in the licensee’s application and associated supplements as well as the NRC’s independent review of other relevant environmental documents. Section IV below lists the environmental documents related to the proposed action and includes information on the availability of these documents. Based on its findings, the NRC has decided not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed action. IV. Availability of Documents The following table identifies the references cited in this document and related to the NRC’s FONSI. Documents with an ADAMS accession number are available for public inspection online through ADAMS at http://www.nrc.gov/ reading-rm/adams.html or in person at the NRC’s PDR as previously described. ADAMS Accession No., FRN, or URL reference nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES Document Alabama Department of Environmental Management. National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit No. AL0022080, Tennessee Valley Authority, Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant. Dated July 3, 2012. (ADEM 2012). Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Alabama’s Draft 2016 § 303(d) List Fact Sheet. Dated February 7, 2016. (ADEM 2016). Karpynec T, Rosenwinkel H, Weaver M, Wright K, and Crook E. A Phase I Cultural Resources Surveys of Tennessee Valley Authority’s Corinth and Holly Springs Substation Expansions in Alcorn and Marshall Counties, Mississippi. Dated May 2016. (Karpynec et al. 2016). Missouri Census Data Center. Circular Area Profiles (CAPS), 2010 Census Summary File 1, Aggregated Census Block Group Hispanic or Latino and Race data and 2010–2014 American Community Survey (ACS) data, Summary of aggregated Census Tract data in a 50-mile (80-kilometer) radius around BFN (Latitude = 34.703889355505075, Longitude = ¥87.11862504482272). Accessed September 2016. (MCDC 2016). Tennessee Valley Authority. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Units 2 and 3—Proposed Technical Specifications Change TS–418—Request for License Amendment Extended Power Uprate (EPU) Operation. Dated June 25, 2004. (TVA 2004a). Tennessee Valley Authority. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Unit 1—Proposed Technical Specifications Change TS–431—Request for License Amendment—Extended Power Uprate (EPU) Operation. Dated June 28, 2004. (TVA 2004b). Tennessee Valley Authority. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant—Unit 1—Technical Specifications Change TS–431, Supplement 1—Extended Power Uprate (EPU). Dated September 22, 2006. (TVA 2006). Tennessee Valley Authority. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Unit 1, 2, and 3—Annual Radioactive Effluent Release Report—2011 Dated April 30, 2012 (TVA 2012). Tennessee Valley Authority. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Unit 1, 2, and 3—Annual Radioactive Effluent Release Report—2012 Dated April 30, 2013 (TVA 2013). VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00080 25013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM ML16159A040 ML16259A186 ML16197A563 http://mcdc.missouri.edu/websas/ caps10c.html ML041840301 ML042800186 ML062680459 ML12123A017 ML13126A100 31MYN1 25014 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices ADAMS Accession No., FRN, or URL reference nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES Document Tennessee Valley Authority. Technical Specifications Changes TS–431 and TS–418—Extended Power Uprate (EPU)—Withdrawal of Requests and Update to EPU Plans and Schedules. Dated September 18, 2014. (TVA 2014a). Tennessee Valley Authority. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Unit 1, 2, and 3—Annual Radioactive Effluent Release Report—2013 Dated April 30, 2014 (TVA 2014b). Tennessee Valley Authority. Proposed Technical Specifications Change TS–505—Request for License Amendments—Extended Power Uprate, Cover Letter. Dated September 21, 2015. (TVA 2015a). Tennessee Valley Authority. Proposed Technical Specification Change TS–505—Request for License Amendments—Extended Power Uprate—Supplemental Information. Dated November 13, 2015. (TVA 2015b). Tennessee Valley Authority. Proposed Technical Specifications (TS) Change TS–505—Request for License Amendments—Extended Power Uprate (EPU)—Supplement 2, MICROBURN–B2 Information. Dated December 15, 2015. (TVA 2015c). Tennessee Valley Authority. Proposed Technical Specifications (TS) Change TS–505—Request for License Amendments—Extended Power Uprate (EPU)—Supplement 3, Interconnection System Impact Study Information. Dated December 18, 2015. (TVA 2015d). Tennessee Valley Authority. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Unit 1, 2, and 3—Annual Radioactive Effluent Release Report—2014 Dated April 30, 2015 (TVA 2015e). Tennessee Valley Authority. Proposed Technical Specifications (TS) Change TS–505—Request for License Amendments—Extended Power Uprate (EPU)—Supplement 13, Responses to Requests for Additional Information. Dated April 22, 2016. (TVA 2016a). Tennessee Valley Authority. Proposed Technical Specifications (TS) Change TS–505—Request for License Amendments—Extended Power Uprate (EPU)—Supplement 18, Responses to Requests for Additional Information and Updates Associated with Interconnection System Impact Study Modifications. Dated May 27, 2016. (TVA 2016b). Tennessee Valley Authority. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Unit 1, 2, and 3—Annual Radioactive Effluent Release Report—2015 Dated April 30, 2016 (TVA 2016c). Tennessee Valley Authority. Proposed Technical Specifications (TS) Change TS–505—Request for License Amendments—Extended Power Uprate, BFN EPU LAR, Attachment 42, Supplemental Environmental Report, Revision 2. Enclosure 2. Dated February 3, 2017. (TVA 2017a). Tennessee Valley Authority. Proposed Technical Specifications (TS) Change TS–505—Request for License Amendments—Extended Power Uprate (EPU)—Supplement 36, Transmission System Update—Safety Aspects Dated January 20, 2017. (TVA 2017b). Tennessee Valley Authority. Proposed Technical Specifications (TS) Change TS–505—Request for License Amendments—Extended Power Uprate (EPU)—Supplement 36, Transmission System Update—Environmental Aspects Dated February 3, 2017. (TVA 2017c). Tennessee Valley Authority. BFN EPU LAR, Attachment 47, List and Status of Plant Modifications, Revision 4 (Enclosure 7). Dated January 20, 2017. (TVA 2017d). Tennessee Valley Authority. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, RERP–RAI–GE–2 Response, Attachment 1, Revision 1: Supplemental Environmental Information for Transmission System and BFN Main Generator Upgrades (Excluding Limestone Substation. Dated February 3, 2017. (TVA 2017e). Tennessee Valley Authority. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, RERP–RAI–GE–2 Response, Attachment 2: Supplemental Environmental Information for Limestone Substation Static VAR Compensator Construction. Dated January 2017. (TVA 2017f). U.S. Census Bureau. American FactFinder, Table DP–1, ‘‘Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010, 2010 Census Summary File 1’’ for Limestone County, Alabama; American FactFinder, Table DP05, ‘‘ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates’’ for Limestone County, Alabama; and Table DP03—‘‘Selected Economic Characteristics, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates’’ for Alabama and Limestone County, and Table B25002— ‘‘Occupancy Status, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates’’ for Limestone County, Alabama. Accessed September 2016. (USCB 2016). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Endangered Species Consultations Frequently Asked Questions. Dated July 15, 2013. (FWS 2013). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Updated List of Threatened and Endangered Species That May Occur in Your Proposed Project Location for Browns Ferry EPU. Dated February 1, 2016. (FWS 2016). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. List of Threatened and Endangered Species That May Occur in Your Proposed Project Location, and/or May Be Affected by Your Proposed Project. Dated March 30, 2017. (FWS 2017). U.S. Global Change Research Program. Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. Dated June 2009. (USGCRP 2009). U.S. Global Change Research Program. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. Dated May 2014. (USGCRP 2014). U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 2 and 3—Environmental Assessment Regarding Power Uprate. Dated September 1, 1998. (NRC 1998). U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants (NUREG–1437, Volume 1, Addendum 1). Dated August 1999. (NRC 1999). U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Alternative Radiological Source Terms for Evaluating Design Basis Accidents at Nuclear Power Reactors (Regulatory Guide 1.183). Dated July 2000. (NRC 2000). U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Review Standard for Extended Power Uprates (RS–001). Revision 0. Dated December 2003. (NRC 2003). U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Biological Assessment, Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant, License Renewal Review, Limestone County, Alabama. Dated October 2004. (NRC 2004a). VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Frm 00081 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM ML14265A487 ML14122A344 ML15282A152 ML15317A361 ML15351A113 ML15355A413 ML15120A283 ML16159A040 ML16197A563 ML16123A149 ML17034A562 ML17023A199 ML17034A562 ML17023A200 ML17034A562 ML17034A562 http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/ nav/jsf/pages/searchresults. xhtml?refresh=t ML16120A505 ML16032A044 ML17089A314 ML100580077 ML14129A233 63 FR 46491 ML040690720 ML003716792 ML033640024 ML042990348 31MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices ADAMS Accession No., FRN, or URL reference Document U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2, and 3—Issuance of Amendments Regarding Full-Scope Implementation of Alternative Source Term. September 27, 2004. (NRC 2004b). U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Regarding Browns Ferry Plant, Units 1, 2, and 3—Final Report (NUREG–1437, Supplement 21). Dated June 30, 2005. (NRC 2005). U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Issuance of Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. DPR–33, DPR– 52, and DPR–68 for Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2, and 3. Dated May 4, 2006. (NRC 2006a). U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2, and 3—Draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact Related to the Proposed Extended Power Uprate. Dated November 6, 2006. (NRC 2006b). U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2, and 3—Final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact Related to the Proposed Extended Power Uprate. Dated February 12, 2007. (NRC 2007a). U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Unit 1—Issuance of Amendment Regarding Five Percent Uprate. Dated March 6, 2007. (NRC 2007b). U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Regarding Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, Unit 1 and 2 —Final Report (NUREG–1437, Supplement 53). Dated March 2015. (NRC 2015). U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Tennessee Valley Authority; Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2, and 3; Draft environmental assessment and draft finding of no significant impact; request for comments. Dated December 1, 2016. (NRC 2016a). U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Issuance of Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2, and 3—Draft Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact Related to the Proposed Extended Power Uprate. Dated November 21, 2016. (NRC 2016b). Watkins JH. A Cultural Resource Survey of the Proposed Limestone Substation Station VAR Compensator Site in Limestone County, Alabama. Dated January 2017. Yokely P Jr. Mussel Study near Hobbs Island on the Tennessee River for Butler Basin Marina. Dated April 1998. (Yokely 1998). Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 22nd day of May 2017. For The Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Benjamin G. Beasley, Chief, Plant Licensing Branch II–2, Division of Operating Reactor Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. [FR Doc. 2017–11184 Filed 5–30–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7590–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [NRC–2016–0264] Information Collection: Disposal of High-Level Radioactive Wastes in a Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Renewal of existing information collection; request for comment. AGENCY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) invites public comment on the renewal of Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval for an existing collection of information. The information collection is entitled, ‘‘Disposal of High-Level Radioactive Wastes in a Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.’’ nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: Submit comments by July 31, 2017. Comments received after this date DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the Commission is able to ensure consideration only for comments received on or before this date. You may submit comments by any of the following methods: • Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC–2016–0264. 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. • Mail comments to: David Cullison, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Mail Stop: O–4F00, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001. For additional direction on obtaining information and submitting comments, see ‘‘Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments’’ in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Cullison, Office of the Chief Information Officer, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001; telephone: 301–415– 2084; email: Infocollects.Resource@ nrc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00082 25015 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 ML042730028 ML051730443 ML060970332 71 FR 65009 72 FR 6612 ML063350404 ML15075A438 81 FR 86732 ML16287A525 ML17034A562 ML042800176 I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments A. Obtaining Information Please refer to Docket ID NRC–2016– 0264 when contacting the NRC about the availability of information for this action. You may obtain publiclyavailable information related to this action by any of the following methods: • Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC–2016–0264. • NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): You may obtain publiclyavailable 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. The draft supporting statement is available in ADAMS under Accession No. ML17031A048. • 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. • NRC’s Clearance Officer: A copy of the collection of information and related E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 103 (Wednesday, May 31, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24998-25015]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-11184]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[Docket Nos. 50-259, 50-260, and 50-296; NRC-2016-0244]


Tennessee Valley Authority; Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 
2, and 3

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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

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

SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering 
issuance of amendments to Renewed Facility Operating License Nos. DPR-
33, DPR-52, and DPR-68 issued to Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA, the 
licensee) for operation of Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2, and 
3 (BFN) located in Limestone County, Alabama. The proposed amendments 
would increase the maximum licensed thermal power level for each 
reactor from 3,458 megawatts thermal (MWt) to 3,952 MWt. This change, 
referred to as an extended power uprate (EPU), represents an increase 
of approximately 14.3 percent above the current licensed thermal power 
limit. The NRC is issuing a final environmental assessment (EA) and 
final finding of no significant impact (FONSI) associated with the 
proposed EPU.

DATES: The final EA and final FONSI are available on May 31, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2016-0244 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-2016-0244. 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 
(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: Siva P. Lingam, telephone: 301-415-
1564; email: Siva.Lingam@nrc.gov; or Briana Grange, telephone: 301-415-
1042; email: Briana.Grange@nrc.gov. Both are staff members of the 
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction

    The NRC is considering issuance of amendments to Renewed Facility 
Operating License Nos. DPR-33, DPR-52, and DPR-68 issued to TVA for 
operation of BFN located in Limestone County, Alabama. TVA submitted 
its

[[Page 24999]]

license amendment request in accordance with section 50.90 of title 10 
of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR), by letter dated September 
21, 2015 (TVA 2015a). TVA subsequently supplemented its application as 
described under ``Description of the Proposed Action'' in Section II of 
this document. If approved, the license amendments would increase the 
maximum thermal power level at each of the three BFN units from 3,458 
MWt to 3,952 MWt.
    Consistent with NRC Review Standard 001 (RS-001), Revision 0, 
``Review Standard for Extended Power Uprates'' (NRC 2003), the NRC 
prepared a draft EA and draft FONSI, both of which were published the 
Federal Register (FR) on December 1, 2016, with a 30-day comment period 
(NRC 2016a; 81 FR 86732). The NRC did not receive any public comments 
on the draft EA or draft FONSI. This final EA has been prepared in 
accordance with 10 CFR 51.21.
    The final EA includes revisions addressing two supplements to the 
EPU application submitted by TVA in letters dated January 20, 2017 (TVA 
2017b), and February 3, 2017 (TVA 2017c). In the supplements, TVA 
proposed to install a static volt-ampere reactive (VAR) compensator 
(SVC) at the Limestone Substation in Limestone County, Alabama to 
address transmission system upgrades necessary to ensure transmission 
system stability at EPU power levels rather than installing capacitor 
banks at the Wilson Substation in Wilson County, Tennessee. The final 
EA has been updated to reflect these changes. No significant 
environmental impacts were identified associated with the SVC 
installation at the Limestone Station, and all other aspects of the 
proposed EPU and associated transmission system upgrades remain the 
same as described in the draft EA. Based on the results of the final EA 
contained in Section II of this document, the NRC did not identify any 
significant environmental impacts associated with the proposed 
amendments and has, therefore, prepared a final FONSI in accordance 
with 10 CFR 51.32 and 51.34(a) and is publishing the final FONSI in the 
Federal Register in accordance with 10 CFR 51.35.

II. Environmental Assessment

Plant Site and Environs

    The BFN site encompasses 840 acres (ac) (340 hectares (ha)) of 
Federally owned land that is under the custody of TVA in Limestone 
County, Alabama. The site lies on the north shore of Wheeler Reservoir 
at Tennessee River Mile (TRM) 294 and is situated approximately 10 
miles (mi) (16 kilometers [km]) south of Athens, Alabama, 10 mi (16 km) 
northwest of Decatur, Alabama, and 30 mi (48 km) west of Huntsville, 
Alabama.
    Each of BFN's three nuclear units is a General Electric boiling-
water reactor that produces steam to turn turbines to generate 
electricity. The BFN uses a once-through (open-cycle) condenser 
circulating water system with seven helper cooling towers to dissipate 
waste heat. Four of the original six cooling towers that serve BFN have 
undergone replacement, and TVA plans to replace the remaining two 
towers in fiscal years 2018 and 2019. Additionally, TVA constructed a 
seventh cooling tower in May 2012 (TVA 2017a).
    Wheeler Reservoir serves as the source of water for condenser 
cooling and for most of BFN's auxiliary water systems. Pumps and 
related equipment to supply water to plant systems are housed in BFN's 
intake structure on Wheeler Reservoir. The reservoir is formed by 
Wheeler Dam, which is owned and operated by TVA, and it extends from 
Guntersville Dam at TRM 349.0 downstream to Wheeler Dam at TRM 274.9. 
Wheeler Reservoir has an area of 67,070 ac (27,140 ha) and a volume of 
1,050,000 acre-feet (1,233 cubic meters) at its normal summer pool 
elevation of 556 feet (ft) (169 meters (m)) above mean sea level (TVA 
2017a). Water temperature in Wheeler Reservoir naturally varies from 
around 35 degrees Fahrenheit ([deg]F) (1.6 degrees Celsius ([deg]C)) in 
January to 88 to 90 [deg]F (31 to 32 [deg]C) in July and August, and 
temperature patterns near BFN are typically well mixed or exhibit weak 
thermal stratification (TVA 2017a).
    The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) 
establishes beneficial uses of waters of the State and has classified 
the majority of the reservoir for use as a public water supply, for 
recreational use, and as a fish and wildlife resource. The reservoir is 
currently included on the State of Alabama's Federal Water Pollution 
Control Act (i.e., Clean Water Act (CWA)) of 1972, as amended, Section 
303(d) list of impaired waters as partially supporting its designated 
uses due to excess nutrients from agricultural sources. Section 303(d) 
of the CWA requires States to identify all ``impaired'' waters for 
which effluent limitations and pollution control activities are not 
sufficient to attain water quality standards. The Section 303(d) list 
includes those water bodies for which the State is required to develop 
total maximum pollutant loads (limits) to achieve future compliance 
with water quality standards and designated uses (ADEM 2016; TVA 
2016a).
    The BFN intake structure draws water from Wheeler Reservoir at TRM 
294.3. The intake forebay includes a 20-feet (6-meters)-high gate 
structure that can be raised or lowered depending on the operational 
requirements of the plant. The flow velocity through the openings 
varies depending on the gate position. When the gates are in a full 
open position and the plant is operating in either open or helper 
modes, the average flow velocity through the openings is about 0.2 
meters per second (m/s) (0.6 feet per second (fps)) for the operation 
of one unit, 0.34 m/s (1.1 fps) for the operation of two units, and 
0.52 m/s (1.7 fps) for the operation of all three units assuming a 
water withdrawal rate of approximately 734,000 gallons per minute (gpm) 
(46.3 cubic meters per second (m\3\/s)) per unit, for a total 
withdrawal of about 2,202,000 gpm (4,906 cubic feet per second (cfs); 
138.6 m\3\/s) of water for all three units (NRC 2005; TVA 2016b). The 
BFN's total per-unit condenser circulating water system flow is 
generally higher than the original design values due to system upgrades 
that included the refit of the condensers with larger diameter and 
lower resistance tubes (NRC 2005; TVA 2016a, 2017a).
    The TVA maintains a Certificate of Use (Certificate No. 1058.0, 
issued December 5, 2005) for its surface water withdrawals. The Alabama 
Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Office of Water Resources 
issues this certificate to register large water users (i.e., those with 
a water withdrawal capacity of 100,000 gallons per day (380 cubic 
meters)) within the State. The TVA periodically notifies the Office of 
Water Resources of facility data updates and submits annual water use 
reports for BFN as specified under the Certificate of Use as part of 
TVA's efforts to voluntarily cooperate with the State of Alabama's 
water management programs. The TVA most recently submitted an 
application to renew BFN's Certificate of Use in September 2015. Based 
on the staff's review of BFN water use reports submitted by TVA to the 
State for the period of 2011 through 2015, BFN's total water 
withdrawals from Wheeler Reservoir have averaged 1,848,000 gpm (4,117 
cfs; 116.3 m\3\/s). For 2015, BFN's total surface water withdrawal rate 
averaged 1,991,200 gpm (4,437 cfs; 125 m\3\/s) (TVA 2016a).
    Once withdrawn water has passed through the condensers for cooling, 
it is discharged back to Wheeler Reservoir via three large submerged 
diffuser pipes.

[[Page 25000]]

The pipes range in diameter from 5.2 to 6.2 m (17 to 20.5 ft) and are 
perforated to maximize mixing into the water column. Water exits the 
pipes through 7,800 individual 5-centimeter (2-inch) ports. This 
straight-through flow path is called ``open mode.'' As originally 
designed, the maximum thermal discharge back to the reservoir from the 
once-through condenser circulating water system operated in open mode 
is 25 [deg]F (13.9 [deg]C) above the intake temperature (NRC 2005). 
Some of the heated water can also be directed through cooling towers to 
reduce its temperature, as necessary to comply with State environmental 
regulations and BFN's ADEM-issued National Pollutant Discharge 
Elimination System (NPDES) Permit No. AL0022080 (ADEM 2012), in what is 
called ``helper mode.'' The plant design also allows for a closed mode 
of operation in which water from the cooling towers is recycled 
directly back to the intake structure without discharge to the 
reservoir. However, TVA has not used this mode for many years due to 
the difficulty in maintaining temperature limits in the summer months 
(NRC 2005).
    To operate BFN, TVA must comply with the CWA, including associated 
requirements imposed by the State as part of the NPDES permitting 
system under CWA Section 402. The BFN NPDES permit (ADEM 2012) 
specifies that at the downstream end of the mixing zone, which lies 
2,400 ft (732 m) downstream of the diffusers, operation of the plant 
shall not cause the:
     Measured 1-hour average temperature to exceed 93 [deg]F 
(33.9 [deg]C),
     measured daily average temperature to exceed 90 [deg]F 
(32.2 [deg]C), or
     measured daily average temperature rise relative to 
ambient to exceed 10 [deg]F (5.6 [deg]C).
    In cases where the daily average ambient temperature of the 
Tennessee River as measured 3.8 mi (6.1 km) upstream of BFN exceeds 90 
[deg]F (32.2 [deg]C), the daily average downstream temperature may 
equal, but not exceed, the upstream value. In connection with such a 
scenario, if the daily average upstream ambient river temperature 
begins to cool at a rate of 0.5 [deg]F (0.3 [deg]C) or more per day, 
the downstream temperature is allowed to exceed the upstream value for 
that day.
    When plant operating conditions create a river temperature 
approaching one of the NPDES limits specified above, TVA shifts BFN 
from open mode to helper mode. The three units can be placed in helper 
mode individually or collectively. Thus, the amount of water diverted 
to the cooling towers in helper mode depends on the amount of cooling 
needed for the plant to remain in compliance with the NPDES permit 
limits. If helper mode operation is not sufficient to avoid the river 
temperature approaching the NPDES permit limits, TVA reduces (i.e., 
derates) the thermal power of one or more of the units to maintain 
regulatory compliance (TVA 2017a).
    In support of this license amendment request, TVA performed 
hydrothermal modeling to evaluate the potential thermal impacts of BFN 
circulating water discharges to Wheeler Reservoir under EPU conditions. 
The TVA first modeled the impacts of BFN operations at the current 
licensed thermal power level (i.e., 105 percent of the original 
licensed thermal power, or 3,458 MWt). This established the base case 
for assessing the incremental thermal impacts on receiving waters of 
BFN operations at 120 percent of the original licensed thermal power 
under the proposed EPU. These results of TVA's modeling are described 
later in this EA under ``Cooling Tower Operation and Thermal 
Discharge.''
    Under current operations and based on river flow, meteorological, 
and ambient river temperature data for the 6-year period 2007 through 
2012, the modeling results indicate that the temperature of water 
exiting the diffusers and entering Wheeler Reservoir is an average of 
86.9 [deg]F (30.5 [deg]C) during warm summer conditions. The river 
temperature at the NPDES compliance depth at the downstream end of the 
mixing zone is an average of 70.8 [deg]F (21.6 [deg]C) with a 1-hour 
average temperature maximum of 92.1 [deg]F (33.4 [deg]C) and a daily 
average temperature maximum of 89.4 [deg]F (31.9 [deg]C). On average, 
TVA operates the cooling towers 66 days per year. TVA derates BFN 
approximately 1 in every 6 summers for a maximum of 185 hours in order 
to maintain compliance with the NPDES permit (TVA 2016a). More 
recently, for the period 2011 through 2015, TVA operated BFN's cooling 
towers an average of 73 days per year and had incurred derates during 
two of the years (2011 and 2015) (TVA 2016a).
    The BFN site, plant operations, and environs are described in 
greater detail in Chapter 2 of the NRC's June 2005 NUREG-1437, 
Supplement 21, Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License 
Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Regarding Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, Units 
1, 2, and 3--Final Report (herein referred to as ``BFN FSEIS'') (NRC 
2005). Updated information that pertains to the plant site and environs 
and that is relevant to the assessment of the environmental impacts of 
the proposed EPU is included throughout this draft EA, as appropriate.

Power Uprate History

    The BFN units were originally licensed to operate in 1973 (Unit 1), 
1974 (Unit 2), and 1976 (Unit 3) at 3,293 MWt per unit. In 1997, TVA 
submitted a license amendment request to the NRC for a stretch power 
uprate (SPU) to increase the thermal output of Units 2 and 3 by 5 
percent (to 3,458 MWt per unit). The NRC prepared an EA and FONSI for 
the SPU, which was published in the FR on September 1, 1998 (NRC 1998, 
63 FR 46491), and the NRC subsequently issued the amendments later that 
month.
    In June 2004, TVA submitted license amendment requests for uprates 
at all three units (TVA 2004a, 2004b). The TVA requested a 15 percent 
EPU at Units 2 and 3 and a 20 percent EPU at Unit 1 such that if the 
proposed EPU was granted, each unit would operate at 3,952 MWt (120 
percent of the original licensed power level). In September 2006, TVA 
submitted a supplement to the EPU application that requested interim 
operation of Unit 1 at 3,458 MWt (the Units 2 and 3 SPU power level) 
(TVA 2006). The NRC prepared a draft EA and FONSI, which were published 
for public comment in the Federal Register on November 6, 2006 (NRC 
2006b, 71 FR 65009). The draft EA and FONSI addressed the impacts of 
operating all three BFN units at EPU levels. The NRC received comments 
from TVA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which the staff 
addressed in the NRC's final EA and FONSI dated February 12, 2007 (NRC 
2007a, 72 FR 6612). The NRC issued an amendment approving the SPU for 
Unit 1 in March 2007 (NRC 2007b); the staff's 2007 final EPU EA was 
used to support the SPU. Subsequently, in September 2014, TVA withdrew 
the 2004 EPU license amendment requests and stated that it would submit 
a new, consolidated EPU request by October 2015 (TVA 2014a).
    Separately, on May 4, 2006, the NRC approved TVA's application for 
renewal of the BFN operating licenses for an additional 20-year period 
(NRC 2006a). As part of its environmental review of the license renewal 
application, the NRC issued the BFN FSEIS (NRC 2005). In the BFN FSEIS, 
the NRC staff analyzed the environmental impacts of license renewal, 
the environmental impacts of alternatives to license renewal, and 
mitigation measures available for reducing or avoiding any adverse 
impacts. Although the NRC did not evaluate impacts associated 
specifically with the then-pending EPU

[[Page 25001]]

in the BFN FSEIS, it performed an evaluation of the impacts of license 
renewal assuming that all three BFN units would operate at the EPU 
level of 3,952 MWt during the 20-year period of extended operations.

Description of the Proposed Action

    The proposed action is the NRC's issuance of amendments to the BFN 
operating licenses that would increase the maximum licensed thermal 
power level for each reactor from 3,458 MWt to 3,952 MWt. This change, 
referred to as an EPU, represents an increase of approximately 14.3 
percent above the current licensed thermal power level and would result 
in BFN operating at 120 percent of the original licensed thermal power 
level (3,293 MWt). The proposed action is in accordance with TVA's 
application dated September 21, 2015 (TVA 2015a) as supplemented by 
numerous letters, including seven letters that affected the EA, dated 
November 13, 2015 (TVA 2015b), December 15, 2015 (TVA 2015c), December 
18, 2015 (TVA 2015d), April 22, 2016 (TVA 2016a), May 27, 2016 (TVA 
2016b), January 20, 2017 (TVA 2017b), and February 3, 2017 (TVA 2017c). 
A full list of TVA's EPU application supplements may be found in the 
NRC staff's safety evaluation and Federal Register notice regarding the 
EPU request, which will be issued with the license amendment, if 
granted.
Plant Modifications and Upgrades
    An EPU usually requires significant modifications to major balance-
of-plant equipment. The proposed EPU for BFN would require the 
modifications described in Attachment 47 to the licensee's application 
entitled ``List and Status of Plant Modifications, Revision 1'' (TVA 
2017d), which include replacement of the steam dryers, replacement of 
the high pressure turbine rotors, replacement of reactor feedwater 
pumps, installation of higher capacity condensate booster pumps and 
motors, modifications to the condensate demineralizer system, 
modifications to the feedwater heaters, and upgrade of miscellaneous 
instrumentation, setpoint changes, and software modifications.
    All onsite modifications associated with the proposed action would 
be within the existing structures, buildings, and fenced equipment 
yards. All deliveries of materials to support EPU-related modifications 
and upgrades would be by truck, and equipment and materials would be 
temporarily stored in existing storage buildings and laydown areas. The 
TVA anticipates no changes in existing onsite land uses or disturbance 
of previously undisturbed onsite land (TVA 2017a).
    According to TVA's current schedule, modifications and upgrades 
related to the proposed EPU would be completed at Unit 1 during the 
fall 2018 refueling outage, at Unit 2 during the spring 2019 outage, 
and at Unit 3 during the spring 2018 outage. If the NRC approves the 
proposed EPU, TVA would begin operating each unit at the uprated power 
level following these outages.
Cooling Tower Operation and Thermal Discharge
    Operating BFN at the EPU power level of 3,952 MWt per unit would 
increase the steam flow to the plant's steam turbines, which would in 
turn increase the amount of waste heat that must be dissipated. The TVA 
would increase its use of the cooling towers (i.e., operate in helper 
mode) to dissipate some of this additional heat; the remaining heat 
would be discharged to Wheeler Reservoir. If helper mode operation were 
to be insufficient to keep the reservoir temperatures within BFN's 
NPDES permit limits, TVA would reduce (i.e., derate) the thermal power 
of one or more of the units to maintain regulatory compliance, a 
practice which TVA currently employs at BFN as necessary. Currently, 
TVA personnel examine forecast conditions for up to a week or more into 
the future and determine when and for how long TVA might need to 
operate BFN in helper mode operation and/or derate the BFN units to 
ensure compliance with the NPDES permit. The TVA would maintain this 
process under EPU conditions.
    The TVA simulated possible future discharge scenarios under EPU 
conditions using river flows and meteorological data for the 6-year 
period 2007 through 2012. This period included the warmest summer of 
record (2010) as well as periods of extreme drought conditions (2007 
and 2008). For years with warm summers, TVA predicts that the 
temperature of water exiting the diffusers and entering Wheeler 
Reservoir (assuming all BFN units are operating at the full EPU power 
level) would be 2.6 [deg]F (1.4 [deg]C) warmer on average than current 
operations. The river temperature at the NPDES compliance depth at the 
downstream end of the mixing zone would be 0.6 [deg]F (0.3 [deg]C) 
warmer on average. The TVA predicts that it would operate the cooling 
towers in helper mode an additional 22 days per year on average (88 
days total) and that the most extreme years could result in an 
additional 39 days per year of cooling tower helper mode operation (121 
days total).
Transmission System Upgrades
    The EPU would require several upgrades to the transmission system 
and the BFN main generator excitation system to ensure transmission 
system stability at EPU power levels. The TVA performed a Revised 
Interconnection System Impact Study in January 2017, which determined 
that the EPU would require the following transmission upgrades: (1) 
Replacement of six 500-kilovolt (kV) breaker failure relays, (2) 
installation of a minimum of 764 megavolt-ampere reactive (MVAR) of 
reactive compensation in five locations throughout the TVA transmission 
system, and (3) modification of the excitation system of all three BFN 
main generators (TVA 2017e, 2017f). These upgrades are described in 
more detail in the following subsections.
Breaker Failure Relay Replacements
    The TVA would replace the 500-kV breaker failure relays at BFN for 
breakers 5204, 5208, 5254, 5258, 5274, and 5278 to mitigate potential 
transmission system issues resulting from specific fault events on the 
transmission system. The relays are located in panels in the relay room 
inside the BFN control building, and physical work would be limited to 
this area. The TVA would complete the breaker failure relay 
replacements prior to spring 2018 (TVA 2017c, 2017d).
MVAR Reactive Compensation
    The TVA would install a minimum of 764 MVAR of reactive 
compensation in five locations throughout TVA service area to address 
MVAR deficiencies associated with the additional power generation that 
would occur at EPU power levels. The reactive compensation would 
consist of an SVC installation at one substation and multiple capacitor 
bank installations at four separate substations. The SVC installation 
would address both the MVAR deficiency and transient stability issues 
and would be installed at the Limestone 500-kV Substation in Limestone 
County, Alabama. The TVA would install capacitor banks at the Clayton 
Village 161-kV Substation in Oktibbeha County, Mississippi; the Holly 
Springs 161-kV Substation in Marshall County, Mississippi; the Corinth 
161-kV Substation in Alcorn County, Mississippi; and the East Point 
500-kV Substation (161-kV line) in Cullman County, Alabama. The SVC 
installation and the Holly Springs and Corinth capacitor bank 
installations would require expansion of the existing

[[Page 25002]]

substation footprints and additional land grading and clearing. The 
remaining two capacitor bank installations (Clayton Village and East 
Point substations) would be within existing substation boundaries. The 
TVA expects to disturb approximately 25 ac (10 ha) of previously 
disturbed TVA-owned land for the SVC installation at the Limestone 
Substation. The TVA expects to purchase approximately 2.5 ac (1 ha) of 
land and disturb 2.25 ac (0.9 ha) of land for the Holly Springs 
Substation expansion. For the Corinth Substation expansion, TVA would 
purchase 3.5 ac (1.4 ha) of land and disturb 3 ac (1.2 ha) of land. The 
TVA would complete the SVC and capacitor bank installations by spring 
2020, although TVA's transmission system operator does not preclude BFN 
from operating at EPU levels during the capacitor bank installations 
(TVA 2017a, 2017c, 2017d, 2017e).
BFN Main Generator Excitation System Modifications
    The TVA would modify the BFN main generator Alterrex excitation 
system for all three units with a bus-fed static excitation system 
consisting of a 3-phase power potential transformer, an automatic 
voltage regulator, and a power section. Physical work to complete these 
modifications would be performed within existing BFN structures and 
would not involve any previously undisturbed land. The TVA is in the 
preliminary phase of the design change notice development for these 
modifications; therefore, TVA has not yet developed a specific timeline 
for implementation of the main generator excitation system 
modifications. However, TVA projects that these upgrades would be 
completed by 2020 (Unit 1), 2021 (Unit 2), and 2020 (Unit 3) (TVA 
2017c, 2017d).

The Need for the Proposed Action

    As stated by the licensee in its application, the proposed action 
would allow TVA to meet the increasing power demand forecasted in TVA 
service area. The TVA estimates that energy consumption in this area 
will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 1.2 percent until 
2020 with additional moderate growth continuing after 2020.

Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action

    This section addresses the radiological and non-radiological 
impacts of the proposed EPU. Separate from this EA, the NRC staff is 
evaluating the potential radiological consequences of an accident that 
may result from the proposed action. The EPU would not be approved 
unless the NRC staff's safety analysis determines that the radiological 
doses under EPU postulated accident conditions are within the 
regulatory limits found in 10 CFR 50.67. Accordingly, the NRC staff 
concludes that the radiological impacts of accidents following the EPU 
would not be significant. The results of the NRC staff's safety 
analysis will be documented in a safety evaluation, which will be 
issued with the license amendment package approving the license 
amendment, if granted.
Radiological Impacts
Radioactive Gaseous and Liquid Effluents and Solid Waste
    The BFN's waste treatment systems collect, process, recycle, and 
dispose of gaseous, liquid, and solid wastes that contain radioactive 
material in a safe and controlled manner within the NRC and U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) radiation safety standards. As 
discussed below, although there may be a small increase in the volume 
of radioactive waste and spent fuel, the proposed EPU would not result 
in changes in the operation or design of equipment in the gaseous, 
liquid, or solid waste systems.
Radioactive Gaseous Effluents
    The Gaseous Waste Management System manages radioactive gases 
generated during the nuclear fission process. Radioactive gaseous 
wastes are principally activation gases and fission product radioactive 
noble gases resulting from process operations. The licensee's 
evaluation submitted as part of TVA's EPU application determined that 
implementation of the proposed EPU would not significantly increase the 
inventory of carrier gases normally processed in the Gaseous Waste 
Management System since plant system functions are not changing and the 
volume inputs remain the same. The analysis showed that the proposed 
EPU would result in an increase in radioiodines by approximately 5 
percent and an increase in particulates by approximately 13 percent. 
The expected increase in tritium is linear with the proposed power 
level increase and is, therefore, estimated to increase by 
approximately 15 percent (TVA 2017a).
    The licensee's evaluation (TVA 2017a) concluded that the proposed 
EPU would not change the radioactive gaseous waste system's design 
function and reliability to safely control and process waste. The 
projected gaseous release following implementation of the EPU would 
remain bounded by the values given in the BFN FSEIS. The existing 
equipment and plant procedures that control radioactive releases to the 
environment would continue to be used to maintain radioactive gaseous 
releases within the dose limits of 10 CFR 20.1302 and the as low as is 
reasonably achievable (ALARA) dose objectives in Appendix I to 10 CFR 
part 50. The NRC staff reviewed the last five years of effluent release 
data from BFN (TVA 2012, 2013, 2014b, 2015e, 2016c) and found the 
reported doses from gaseous effluents to be less than 1 percent of the 
allowable limits for current operations. Therefore, the NRC staff 
concludes that the increase in offsite dose due to gaseous effluent 
release following implementation of the EPU would not be significant.
Radioactive Liquid Effluents
    The Liquid Waste Management System collects, processes, and 
prepares radioactive liquid waste for disposal. During normal 
operation, the liquid effluent treatment systems process and control 
the release of liquid radioactive effluents to the environment such 
that the doses to individuals offsite are maintained within the limits 
of 10 CFR part 20 and 10 CFR part 50, appendix I. The Liquid Waste 
Management System is designed to process the waste and then recycle it 
within the plant as condensate, reprocess it through the radioactive 
waste system for further purification, or discharge it to the 
environment as liquid radioactive waste effluent in accordance with 
State and Federal regulations. The licensee's evaluation (TVA 2017a) 
shows that implementation of the proposed EPU would increase the volume 
of liquid waste effluents by approximately 3.44 percent due to 
increased flow in the condensate demineralizers requiring more frequent 
backwashes. The current Liquid Waste Management System would be able to 
process the 3.44 percent increase in the total volume of liquid 
radioactive waste without any modifications. The licensee's evaluation 
determined that implementation of the proposed EPU would result in an 
increase in reactor coolant inventory of radioiodines of approximately 
5 percent and an increase in radionuclides with long half-lives of 
approximately 13 percent. The expected increase in tritium is linear 
with the proposed power level increase and is, therefore, estimated to 
increase by 15 percent (TVA 2017a).
    Since the composition of the radioactive material in the waste and 
the volume of radioactive material processed through the system are not 
expected to significantly change, the

[[Page 25003]]

current design and operation of the Liquid Waste Management System 
would accommodate the effects of the proposed EPU. The projected liquid 
effluent release following the EPU would remain bounded by the values 
given in the BFN FSEIS. The existing equipment and plant procedures 
that control radioactive releases to the environment would continue to 
be used to maintain radioactive liquid releases within the dose limits 
of 10 CFR 20.1302 and ALARA dose standards in appendix I to 10 CFR part 
50. The NRC staff reviewed the last 5 years of effluent release data 
from BFN (TVA 2012, 2013, 2014b, 2015e, 2016c) and found the reported 
doses from liquid effluents to be less than 1 percent of the allowable 
limits for current operations. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that 
there would not be a significant environmental impact from the 
additional volume of liquid radioactive waste generated following EPU 
implementation.
Solid Low-Level Radioactive Waste
    Radioactive solid wastes at BFN include solids from reactor coolant 
systems, solids in contact with liquids or gases from reactor coolant 
systems, and solids used in support of reactor coolant systems 
operation. The licensee evaluated the potential effects of the proposed 
EPU on the Solid Waste Management System. The low-level radioactive 
waste (LLRW) consists of resins, filters and evaporator bottoms, dry 
active waste, irradiated components, and other waste (combined 
packages). The majority of BFN solid LLRW is shipped offsite as dry 
active waste. This LLRW is generated from outages, special projects and 
normal BFN operations. Normal operations at BFN are also a contributor 
to solid LLRW shipments due to system cleanup activities. This is due 
to resins from six waste phase separators and three reactor water 
cleanup phase separators. The licensee states (TVA 2017a) that BFN has 
approximately 29 spent resin shipments per year. The licensee's 
evaluation determined that implementation of the proposed EPU would 
result in an increase in activity of the solid wastes proportionate to 
an increase of 5 to 13 percent in the activity of long-lived 
radionuclides in the reactor coolant. The results of the licensee's 
evaluation also determined that the proposed EPU would result in a 15 
percent increase in the total volume of solid waste generated for 
shipment offsite.
    Since the composition and volume of the radioactive material in the 
solid wastes are not expected to significantly change, they can be 
handled by the current Solid Waste Management System without 
modification. The equipment is designed and operated to process the 
waste into a form that minimizes potential harm to the workers and the 
environment. Waste processing areas are monitored for radiation, and 
there are safety features to ensure worker doses are maintained within 
regulatory limits. The proposed EPU would not generate a new type of 
waste or create a new waste stream. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes 
that the impact from the proposed EPU on the management of radioactive 
solid waste would not be significant.
Occupational Radiation Dose at EPU Conditions
    The licensee states (TVA 2017a) that in-plant radiation sources are 
expected to increase approximately linearly with the proposed increase 
in core power level of approximately 15 percent. To protect the 
workers, the BFN Radiation Protection Program monitors radiation levels 
throughout the plant to establish appropriate work controls, training, 
temporary shielding, and protective equipment requirements to minimize 
worker doses and to ensure that worker doses are within the limits of 
10 CFR 20.1201.
    Plant shielding is designed to provide for personnel access to the 
plant to perform maintenance and carry out operational duties with 
minimal personnel exposures. In-plant radiation levels and associated 
doses are controlled by the BFN Radiation Protection Program to ensure 
that internal and external radiation exposures to station personnel, 
and the general population exposure level, would be ALARA, as required 
by 10 CFR part 20. Access to radiation areas is strictly controlled by 
existing Radiation Protection Program procedures. Furthermore, TVA 
states that its policy is to maintain occupational doses to individuals 
and the sum of dose equivalents received by all exposed workers ALARA.
    Based on the above, the NRC staff concludes that the proposed EPU 
is not expected to significantly affect radiation levels within BFN 
and, therefore, there would not be a significant radiological impact to 
the workers.
Offsite Doses at EPU Conditions
    The primary sources of offsite dose to members of the public from 
BFN are radioactive gaseous releases, liquid effluents, and skyshine 
from Nitrogen-16 (N-16). As previously discussed, operation under 
proposed EPU conditions would not change the radioactive waste 
management systems' abilities to perform their intended functions. 
Also, there would be no change to the radiation monitoring system and 
procedures used to control the release of radioactive effluents in 
accordance with NRC radiation protection standards in 10 CFR part 20 
and appendix I to 10 CFR part 50.
    The licensee states (TVA 2016a) that the contribution of radiation 
shine from the implementation of the proposed EPU from N-16 would 
increase linearly with the EPU. The licensee estimates that this 
increase could result in offsite doses up to 32 percent greater than 
current operating levels. However, since current offsite doses due to 
N-16 skyshine are on average less than 1 millirem, doses would still be 
well within the 10 CFR 20.1301 and 40 CFR part 190 dose limits to 
members of the public following implementation of the proposed EPU. 
Further, any increase in radiation would be monitored at the on-site 
environmental thermoluminescent dosimeter stations at BFN to make sure 
offsite doses would remain in regulatory compliance (TVA 2017a).
    Based on the above, the NRC staff concludes that the impact of 
offsite radiation dose to members of the public at EPU conditions would 
continue to be within the NRC and EPA regulatory limits and would not 
be significant.
Spent Nuclear Fuel
    Spent fuel from BFN is stored in the plant's spent fuel pool and in 
dry casks in the independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI). 
The licensee estimates that the impact on spent fuel storage from 
operating at EPU conditions would increase the number of dry storage 
casks necessary for storage by approximately 19 percent. The licensee 
also states that the current ISFSI storage pad is projected to be 
filled on or before 2022 prior to being loaded with EPU fuel. An 
additional storage pad is anticipated to be required even if no EPU is 
approved. Since BFN's initial ISFSI plans included sufficient room for 
any necessary ISFSI expansion, the additional dry casks necessary for 
spent fuel storage at EPU levels can be safely accommodated on site 
and, therefore, would not have any significant environmental impact 
(TVA 2017a).
    Approval of the proposed EPU would not increase the maximum fuel 
enrichment above 5 percent by weight uranium-235. The average fuel 
assembly discharge burnup for the proposed EPU is not expected to 
exceed the maximum fuel rod burnup limit of 62,000 megawatt days per 
metric ton of uranium. The licensee's fuel reload design goals would 
maintain the fuel

[[Page 25004]]

cycles within the limits bounded by the impacts analyzed in 10 CFR part 
51, Table S-3, ``Table of Uranium Fuel Cycle Environmental Data,'' and 
Table S-4, ``Environmental Impact of Transportation of Fuel and Waste 
to and from One Light Water-Cooled Nuclear Power Reactor,'' as 
supplemented by the findings documented in Section 6.3, 
``Transportation,'' Table 9.1, ``Summary of findings on NEPA [National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)] 
issues for license renewal of nuclear power plants'' in NRC (1999). 
Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the environmental impacts of 
the EPU would remain bounded by the impacts in Tables S-3 and S-4, and 
would not be significant.
Postulated Accident Doses
    As a result of implementation of the proposed EPU, there would be 
an increase in the source term used in the evaluation of some of the 
postulated accidents in the BFN FSEIS. The inventory of radionuclides 
in the reactor core is dependent upon power level; therefore, the core 
inventory of radionuclides could increase by as much as approximately 
15 percent. The concentration of radionuclides in the reactor coolant 
may also increase by as much as approximately 15 percent; however, this 
concentration is limited by the BFN Technical Specifications. 
Therefore, the reactor coolant concentration of radionuclides would not 
be expected to increase significantly. This coolant concentration is 
part of the source term considered in some of the postulated accident 
analyses. Some of the radioactive waste streams and storage systems 
evaluated for postulated accidents may contain slightly higher 
quantities of radionuclides (TVA 2017a).
    In 2002, TVA requested license amendments to allow the use of 
Alternate Source Term (AST) methodology for design basis accident 
analyses for BFN. The TVA conducted full-scope AST analyses, which 
considered the core isotopic values for the current and future vendor 
products under EPU conditions. The TVA concluded that the calculated 
post-accident offsite doses for the EPU using AST methodologies meet 
all the applicable acceptance criteria of 10 CFR 50.67 and NRC 
Regulatory Guide 1.183, ``Alternative Radiological Source Terms for 
Evaluating Design Basis Accidents at Nuclear Power Reactors'' (NRC 
2000). The NRC approved BFN's AST license amendments in a letter to TVA 
dated September 27, 2004 (NRC 2004b).
    The NRC staff is reviewing the licensee's analyses for EPU 
operations to verify the acceptability of the licensee's calculated 
doses under accident conditions. The results of the NRC staff's 
analyses will be presented in the safety evaluation to be issued with 
the license amendment, if approved, and the EPU would not be approved 
by NRC unless the NRC staff's independent review of dose calculations 
under postulated accident conditions determines that doses are within 
the regulatory limits found in 10 CFR 50.67. Therefore, the NRC staff 
concludes that the EPU would not significantly increase the 
consequences of accidents and would not result in a significant 
increase in the radiological environmental impact of BFN from 
postulated accidents.
Radiological Impacts Summary
    The proposed EPU would not significantly increase the consequences 
of accidents, would not result in a significant increase in 
occupational or public radiation exposure, and would not result in 
significant additional fuel cycle environmental impacts. Accordingly, 
the NRC staff concludes that there would be no significant radiological 
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
Non-Radiological Impacts
Land Use Impacts
    The potential impacts associated with land use for the proposed 
action include effects from onsite EPU-related modifications and 
upgrades that would take place between spring 2018 and spring 2019 and 
impacts of the transmission system upgrades previously described in the 
``Description of the Proposed Action'' section of this document.
    The onsite plant modifications and upgrades would occur within 
existing structures, buildings, and fenced equipment yards and would 
use existing parking lots, road access, lay-down areas, offices, 
workshops, warehouses, and restrooms in previously developed areas of 
the BFN site. Thus, existing onsite land uses would not be affected by 
onsite plant modifications and upgrades (TVA 2017a).
    Regarding transmission system upgrades, the breaker failure relay 
replacements and BFN main generator excitation system modifications 
would occur within existing BFN structures and would not involve any 
previously undisturbed land. The MVAR reactive compensation, consisting 
of SVC and capacitor bank installations, would occur at five offsite 
locations throughout TVA service area as described previously. Two of 
the capacitor bank installations would be within existing substation 
boundaries and would, therefore, not affect any previously undisturbed 
land or alter existing land uses (TVA 2017e). The remaining two 
capacitor bank installations and the SVC installation would require 
expansion of the existing substation footprints and would require 
additional grading and clearing (TVA 2017e, 2017f). The TVA expects 
that the expansions would disturb 2.25 ac (0.9 ha), 3 ac (1.2 ha), and 
25 ac (10 ha) of land at the Holly Springs, Corinth, and Limestone 
substations, respectively (TVA 2017e, 2017f). The affected land 
currently contains terrestrial habitat or other semi-maintained natural 
areas, but none of the three land parcels contain wetlands, 
ecologically sensitive or important habitats, prime or unique farmland, 
scenic areas, wildlife management areas, recreational areas, greenways, 
or trails. The TVA would implement Best Management Practices (BMPs) to 
minimize the duration of soil exposure during clearing, grading, and 
construction (TVA 2017e, 2017f). The TVA would also revegetate and 
mulch the disturbed areas as soon as practicable after each disturbance 
(TVA 2017e, 2017f). The NRC staff did not identify any significant 
environmental impacts related to altering land uses within the 
relatively small parcels of land required for the SVC and capacitor 
bank installations.
    Following the necessary plant modifications and transmission system 
upgrades, operation of BFN at the EPU power level would not affect 
onsite or offsite land uses.
    The NRC staff concludes that the proposed EPU would not result in 
significant impacts on onsite or offsite land use.
Visual Resource Impacts
    No residential homes occur within foreground viewing distance of 
the BFN site to the north and east. A small residential development 
located to the northwest and another residential development located 
across Wheeler Reservoir to the southwest have at least partial views 
of the BFN site. Additionally, the site can be seen from the Mallard 
Creek public use area directly across the reservoir. Two earthen berms 
lie adjacent to the cooling tower complex that block views of the 
northern and eastern plant areas. The berms, as well as portions of the 
cooling tower complex, are visible to motorists traveling on Shaw Road 
(TVA 2016a).
    Plant modifications and upgrades associated with the proposed EPU 
are

[[Page 25005]]

unlikely to result in additional visual resource impacts beyond those 
already occurring from ongoing operation of BFN for several reasons. 
First, the BFN site is already an industrial-use site. Therefore, the 
short-term, intensified use of the site that would be required to 
implement EPU-related modifications and upgrades is unlikely to be 
noticeable to members of the public within the site's viewshed. Second, 
TVA would implement all EPU-related modifications and upgrades during 
scheduled refueling outages when additional machinery and heightened 
activity would already be occurring on the site. Accordingly, the NRC 
staff does not expect that EPU-related modifications and upgrades would 
result in significant impacts to visual resources.
    Regarding transmission system upgrades, the breaker failure relay 
replacements and BFN main generator excitation system modifications 
would occur within existing BFN structures and thus would not result in 
visual impacts. The SVC and capacitor bank installations would result 
in short-term visual impacts at the three sites for which substation 
expansion would be required. However, these areas are industrial-use 
sites, and use of machinery and equipment for ongoing maintenance and 
upgrades is common.
    Following the necessary plant modifications and transmission system 
upgrades, operation of BFN at the EPU power level would not 
significantly affect visual resources. The TVA estimates that the EPU 
would require cooling tower operation 22 more days per year on average, 
which would increase the number of days in which a plume would be 
visible. However, given that the cooling towers are already operated 
intermittently, the additional use of the cooling towers following the 
EPU would not result in significantly different visual impacts than 
those experienced during current operations.
    The NRC staff concludes that the temporary visual impacts during 
implementation of EPU modifications and upgrades at the BFN site, and 
near substations affected by the SVC and capacitor bank installations, 
would be minor and of short duration, and would not result in 
significant impacts to visual resources. The additional cooling tower 
operation following implementation of the EPU would also result in 
minor and insignificant visual impacts.
Air Quality Impacts
    Onsite non-radioactive air emissions from BFN result primarily from 
operation of the emergency diesel generators. Emissions occur when 
these generators are tested or are used to supply backup power. The TVA 
(2016a) does not anticipate an increase in use of the emergency diesel 
generators as a result of the proposed EPU, nor is it planning to 
increase the frequency or duration of the emergency diesel generator 
surveillance testing. Additionally, TVA (2017a) maintains a Synthetic 
Minor Source Air Operating Permit for its diesel generators, issued and 
enforced by the ADEM, and TVA would continue to comply with the 
requirements of this permit under EPU conditions. Accordingly, the NRC 
staff does not expect that onsite emission sources attributable to the 
EPU would result in significant impacts to air quality.
    Offsite non-radioactive emissions related to the proposed EPU would 
result primarily from personal vehicles of EPU-related workforce 
members driving to and from the site and from work vehicles delivering 
supplies and equipment to the site. The TVA (2017a) estimates that of 
the additional workers that would be present on the site during each of 
the refueling outages, 80 to 120 workers or less would be dedicated to 
implementing EPU-related modifications and upgrades. The TVA (2016a) 
generally ramps up outage staffing two to three weeks prior to the 
outage start and ramps down staffing beginning 21 to 28 days from the 
start of the outage. Major equipment and materials to support the EPU-
related modifications and upgrades would be transported to the site 
well before the start of each outage period, and smaller EPU supplies 
will be delivered on trucks that routinely supply similar tools and 
materials to support BFN operations (TVA 2017a). The SVC and capacitor 
bank installations associated with the proposed EPU would result in 
additional minor air quality impacts from construction vehicle 
emissions and fugitive dust from ground disturbance and vehicle travel 
on unpaved roads (TVA 2017e, 2017f). These impacts would be temporary 
and controlled through TVA's BMPs (TVA 2017e, 2017f).
    Following the necessary plant modifications and transmission system 
upgrades, operation at EPU levels would result in no additional air 
emissions as compared to operations at the current licensed power 
levels.
    The NRC staff concludes that the temporary increase in air 
emissions during implementation of EPU modifications and upgrades and 
SVC and capacitor bank installations would be minor and of short 
duration, and would not result in significant impacts to air quality.
Noise Impacts
    The potential noise impacts related to the proposed action would be 
primarily confined to those resulting from the use of construction 
equipment and machinery during the EPU outage periods. However, 
implementation of EPU-related modifications and upgrades during these 
periods is unlikely to result in additional noise impacts beyond those 
already occurring from ongoing operation because the BFN site is 
already an industrial-use site and because TVA would implement all EPU-
related modifications and upgrades during scheduled refueling outages 
when additional machinery and heightened activity would already be 
occurring on the site. Accordingly, the NRC staff does not expect that 
EPU-related modifications and upgrades would result in significant 
noise impacts.
    Regarding transmission system upgrades, the breaker failure relay 
replacements and BFN main generator excitation system modifications 
would occur within existing BFN structures, and would, therefore, not 
result in noise impacts. The SVC and capacitor bank installations would 
result in short-term and temporary noise impacts associated with 
construction equipment and machinery use at the three sites for which 
substation expansion would be required. However, these areas are 
industrial-use sites, and periodic noise impacts associated with 
ongoing maintenance and upgrades are common.
    Following the EPU outages, operation of BFN at EPU levels would 
result in an average of 22 additional days per year of cooling tower 
operation, which would slightly increase the duration for which 
residents nearest the BFN site would experience cooling tower-related 
noise during the warmer months. The NRC staff reviewed information 
submitted by TVA (2017a) regarding an environmental sound pressure 
level assessment performed at the BFN site in 2012. The assessment 
found that background noise levels without cooling tower operation was 
59.7 decibels A-weighted scale (dBA), and that the noise levels with 
operation of six of the seven cooling towers was 61.9 dBA, an increase 
of 2.2 dBA. The TVA compared this level with the Federal Interagency 
Committee on Noise's (FICON) recommendation that a 3-dBA increase in 
noise indicates a possible impact and the need for further analysis. 
Based on this criterion, TVA determined that the noise level emitted by 
operation of the cooling towers is acceptable.

[[Page 25006]]

Additionally, TVA (2016a) is planning to conduct additional sound 
monitoring following the replacement of Cooling Towers 1 and 2, which 
are scheduled for replacement in fiscal years 2018 and FY 2019. The TVA 
will continue to meet FICON guidelines by working with the cooling 
tower vendor to ensure noise attenuating features, such as low-noise 
fans, lower speed fans, and sound attenuators, are incorporated as 
required to meet the guidelines. In the event that TVA (2016a) finds 
that the resulting noise levels exceed the FICON guidelines, TVA would 
develop and implement additional acoustical mitigation, such as 
modifications to fans and motors or the installation of barriers. The 
TVA will also continue to comply with Occupational Safety and Health 
Administration (OSHA) regulations to protect worker health onsite.
    The NRC staff concludes that the implementation of EPU 
modifications and upgrades, the capacitor bank installations, and 
additional operation of the cooling towers following implementation of 
the EPU would not result in significant noise impacts. Additionally, 
TVA would continue to comply with FICON guidelines and OSHA regulations 
regarding noise impacts, which would further ensure that future cooling 
tower operation would not result in significant impacts on the acoustic 
environment and human health.
Water Resources Impacts
    As previously described, EPU-related modifications at BFN to 
include replacement and upgrades of plant equipment would occur within 
existing structures, buildings, and fenced equipment yards. The TVA 
does not expect any impact on previously undisturbed land at the BFN 
site. Any ground-disturbing activity would be subject to BFN's BMP 
Plan, which TVA must maintain as a condition of the BFN NPDES permit 
(ADEM 2012). The TVA must implement and maintain the BMP Plan to 
prevent or minimize the potential for the release of pollutants in site 
runoff, spills, and leaks to waters of the State from site activities 
and operational areas. Consequently, the NRC staff concludes that 
onsite EPU activities at BFN would have no significant effect on 
surface water runoff and no impact on surface water or groundwater 
quality.
    Implementation of the EPU would also require upgrades to TVA's 
transmission system, including installation of a minimum of 764 MVAR 
reactive compensation, consisting of an SVC installation and four 
capacitor bank installations at five sites throughout TVA service area 
(see ``MVAR Reactive Compensation'' under ``Description of the Proposed 
Action''). At two of the substations (Clayton Village and East Point 
substations), new equipment installation would take place outdoors but 
within the confines of existing substation enclosures with ground 
disturbance limited to previously disturbed areas. As appropriate, TVA 
would use standard BMPs to minimize any potential impacts to surface 
water and groundwater. The TVA's BMPs address preventive measures such 
as use of proper containment, treatment, and disposal of wastewaters, 
stormwater runoff, wastes, and other potential pollutants. The BMPs 
would also address soil erosion and sediment control and prevention and 
response to spills and leaks from construction equipment that could 
potentially runoff or infiltrate to underlying groundwater. After 
installation, the SVC and capacitor banks would result in no industrial 
wastewater discharges (TVA 2017e, 2017f). Therefore, there would be no 
operational impact on water resources.
    The SVC and capacitor installation work at three substations (Holly 
Springs and Corinth in Mississippi and Limestone in Alabama) would 
require expansion of the existing substation footprints and additional 
grading and clearing. Projected new ground disturbance for these 
substation expansions would range from approximately 2.25 ac (0.9 ha) 
of land for the Holly Springs, Mississippi Substation to 25 ac (10 ha) 
at the Limestone, Alabama Substation. The substation expansion projects 
would have no impact on perennial surface water features. At the Holly 
Springs substation, TVA identified an ephemeral stream that may lie 
within the expansion footprint. The TVA also identified three wet 
weather conveyances or ephemeral streams that may lie within the 
expansion footprint of the Limestone Substation. A review of site-
specific information submitted by TVA for the expansion of the 
Limestone Substation, including available mapping information and 
photography, indicates that the three features may be headwater 
tributaries to nearby Limestone Creek. The information also suggests 
that the three surface water features have likely been channelized and 
or otherwise altered due to historic agricultural activity in the area. 
Regardless, adherence by TVA to project specifications and application 
of appropriate BMPs would ensure that there would be no impacts to 
offsite hydrologic features or conditions, including Limestone Creek 
near the Limestone Substation. Further, TVA would avoid any karst 
features (e.g., springs and sinkholes) that may lie in the expansion 
area for the Limestone Substation during construction. The TVA would 
conduct all construction activities in accordance with standard BMPs as 
previously described and would perform specific work elements as 
further discussed below (TVA 2017e, 2017f).
    To support substation expansion work, water would be required for 
such uses as potable and sanitary use by the construction workforce and 
for concrete production, equipment washdown, dust suppression, and soil 
compaction. The NRC staff assumes that the modest volumes of water 
needed would be supplied from local sources and transported to the work 
sites. Use of portable sanitary facilities, typically serviced offsite 
by a commercial contractor, would serve to reduce the volume of water 
required to meet the sanitary needs of the construction workforce.
    The TVA would obtain any necessary construction fill material from 
an approved borrow pit, and TVA would place any spoils generated from 
site grading, trenching, or other excavation work in a permitted spoil 
area on the substation property, or the material would be spread or 
graded across the site. Areas disturbed by construction work and 
equipment installation would be stabilized by applying new gravel or 
resurfacing the disturbed areas (TVA 2017e, 2017f). Consequently, 
following the completion of construction, disturbed areas would lie 
within the expanded substation footprint and would otherwise be 
overlain by equipment or hard surfaces, would not be subject to long-
term soil erosion, and would have little potential to impact surface 
water or groundwater resources.
    The expansion projects at all three substations would also be 
subject to various permits and approvals, which TVA would obtain. 
Construction stormwater runoff from land disturbing activities of 1 ac 
(0.4 ha) or more is subject to regulation in accordance with Section 
402 of the CWA. Section 402 establishes the NPDES permit program. 
Mississippi and Alabama administer these regulatory requirements 
through State NPDES general permits. Specifically, State construction 
stormwater general permits will be required for construction activities 
at the Holly Springs, Corinth, and Limestone substations. For NPDES 
general permits, permit holders must also develop and implement a 
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan to

[[Page 25007]]

ensure the proper design and maintenance of stormwater and soil erosion 
BMPs to prevent sediment and other pollutants in stormwater discharges 
and ensure compliance with State water quality standards.
    Based on the foregoing, the NRC staff finds that the transmission 
system upgrades and associated substation expansion projects would have 
negligible direct impacts on water resources and would otherwise be 
conducted in accordance with TVA standard BMPs to minimize 
environmental impacts. The TVA's construction activities would also be 
subject to regulation under NPDES general permits for stormwater 
discharges associated with construction activity. Accordingly, the NRC 
staff concludes that EPU-related transmission system upgrades would not 
result in significant impacts on surface water or groundwater 
resources.
    The EPU implementation at BFN would result in operational changes 
with implications for environmental conditions. As further detailed 
under ``Plant Site and Environs'' of this EA, BFN withdraws surface 
water from Wheeler Reservoir to supply water for condenser cooling and 
other in-plant uses. Total water withdrawals by BFN have averaged 
1,848,000 gpm (4,117 cfs; 116.3 m/s) over the last 5 years, although 
the average withdrawal rate in 2015 exceeded the average rate (TVA 
2016a). The BFN uses a once-through circulating water system for 
condenser cooling aided by periodic operation of helper cooling towers. 
Normally, during once-through (open cycle) operation, BFN returns 
nearly all of the water it withdraws back to the reservoir, albeit at a 
higher temperature, through three, submerged diffuser pipes. When 
necessary throughout the course of the year, BFN's return condenser 
cooling water is routed through one or more of the helper cooling 
towers based on the level of cooling needed so that the resulting 
discharge to the river meets thermal limits as stipulated in TVA's 
NPDES permit. The TVA may also derate one or more BFN generating units 
in order to ensure compliance with NPDES thermal limits, as previously 
described (TVA 2017a).
    Following implementation of the EPU, TVA predicts that BFN would 
need to operate helper cooling towers an additional 22 days per year on 
average (for a total of 88 days per year) to maintain compliance with 
NPDES thermal limits, as compared to a projected average of 66 days per 
year at current power levels (TVA 2016a, 2017a). When helper cooling 
towers are used, a portion of the water passing through the towers is 
consumptively used (lost) due to evaporation and cooling tower drift. 
The results of TVA's hydrothermal modeling, as previously described, 
indicate that approximately 3 percent of the cooling water flow passed 
through the helper towers is consumptively used (TVA 2017a). Thus, for 
an additional 22 days per year on average, BFN's cooling water return 
flows to Wheeler Reservoir would be reduced by approximately 3 percent 
following the proposed EPU as compared to current operations. This is a 
negligible percentage of the total volume of water passing through 
Wheeler Reservoir and of the volume of water that is otherwise diverted 
by TVA to meet BFN cooling and other in-plant needs (TVA 2017a).
    Operations at EPU power levels would not require any modifications 
to BFN's circulating water system, residual heat removal service water 
system, emergency equipment cooling water system, raw cooling water, or 
raw water systems. Therefore, TVA expects no changes in the volume of 
water that would be withdrawn from Wheeler Reservoir during operations 
(TVA 2016a). The EPU operations would result in an increase in the 
temperature of the condenser cooling water discharged to Wheeler 
Reservoir. The TVA's hydrothermal modeling predicts that the average 
temperature of the return discharge through BFN's submerged diffusers 
would be 2.6 [deg]F (1.4 [deg]C) warmer than under current operations 
and that the average temperature at the downstream edge of the mixing 
zone prescribed by BFN's NPDES permit would increase by 0.6 [deg]F (0.3 
[deg]C). Nevertheless, these thermal changes would continue to meet 
BFN's NPDES permit limits, including temperature change limitations 
within the prescribed mixing zone (TVA 2016a, 2017a). In addition, 
there would also be no change in the use of cooling water treatment 
chemicals or other changes in the quality of other effluents discharged 
to Wheeler Reservoir in conjunction with implementation of the EPU (TVA 
2016a).
    In summary, implementation of the EPU at BFN and associated 
operational changes would not affect water availability or impair 
ambient surface water or groundwater quality. The NRC staff concludes 
that the proposed EPU would not result in significant impacts on water 
resources.
Terrestrial Resource Impacts
    The BFN site's natural areas include riparian areas, upland 
forests, and wetlands that have formed on previously disturbed land 
cleared prior to BFN construction. Onsite plant modifications and 
upgrades would not disturb these areas because the EPU-related 
modifications and upgrades would not involve any new construction 
outside of the existing facility footprint, as previously described 
under ``Land Use Impacts.'' For this reason, sediment transport and 
erosion are also not a concern. The modifications and upgrades would 
result in additional noise and lighting, which could disturb wildlife. 
However, such impacts would be similar to and indistinguishable from 
what nearby wildlife already experience during normal operations 
because the upgrades and modifications would take place during 
regularly scheduled outages, which are already periods of heightened 
site activity.
    Regarding transmission system upgrades, the breaker failure relay 
replacements and BFN main generator excitation system modifications 
would occur within existing BFN structures and would not involve any 
previously undisturbed land. These upgrades would result in no impacts 
on terrestrial resources. The SVC and MVAR capacitor bank installations 
would occur at five offsite locations throughout the TVA service area 
as described previously. The SVC installation and two of the four 
capacitor bank installations would require expansion of the existing 
substation footprints and additional grading and clearing, as described 
in the ``Land Use Impacts'' section. The affected land currently 
contains terrestrial habitat or other semi-maintained natural areas, 
and TVA (2017e, 2017f) reports that all three areas are likely to 
contain primarily non-native, invasive botanicals. None of the three 
land parcels contain wetlands, ecologically sensitive or important 
habitats, prime or unique farmland, scenic areas, wildlife management 
areas, recreational areas, greenways, or trails. The TVA (2017e, 2017f) 
also reports that no bird colonies or aggregations of migratory birds 
have been documented within 3 mi (4.8 km) of the substation footprints. 
The TVA would implement BMPs to minimize the duration of soil exposure 
during clearing, grading, and construction (TVA 2017e, 2017f). The TVA 
would also revegetate and mulch the disturbed areas as soon as 
practicable after each disturbance, and TVA's landscaping BMPs require 
revegetation with native plants or non-invasive species (TVA 2017e, 
2017f). The NRC staff did not identify any significant environmental 
impacts to terrestrial resources related to altering land uses within 
the parcels of land

[[Page 25008]]

required for the SVC and capacitor bank installations.
    Following the necessary plant modifications and transmission system 
upgrades, operation at EPU levels would result in no additional or 
different impacts on terrestrial resources as compared to operations at 
the current licensed power levels. The NRC assessed the impacts of 
continued operation of BFN through the period of extended operation in 
the BFN FSEIS (NRC 2005) and determined that impacts on terrestrial 
resources would be small (i.e., effects would not be detectable or 
would be so minor that they would neither destabilize nor noticeably 
alter any important attribute of the resource).
    The NRC staff concludes that the temporary noise and lighting 
during implementation of EPU modifications and upgrades and small areas 
of land disturbance associated with the SVC and MVAR capacitor bank 
installations would be minor and would not result in significant 
impacts to terrestrial resources.
Aquatic Resource Impacts
    Aquatic habitats associated with the site include Wheeler Reservoir 
and 14 related tributaries, of which Elk River, located 10 mi (16 km) 
downstream of BFN, is the largest. Onsite plant modifications and 
upgrades would not affect aquatic resources because EPU-related 
modifications and upgrades would not involve any new construction 
outside existing facility footprints and would not result in 
sedimentation or erosion or any other disturbances that would otherwise 
affect aquatic habitats.
    Regarding transmission system upgrades, the breaker failure relay 
replacements and BFN main generator excitation system modifications 
would occur within existing BFN structures and would, therefore, not 
affect aquatic resources. Although the SVC installation and two of the 
four MVAR capacitor bank installations would require expansion of 
existing substation footprints as described previously, TVA (2017e, 
2017f) reports that the expansions would not affect the flow, channels, 
or banks of any nearby streams. As described previously in the ``Water 
Resource Impacts'' section, the substation expansions would have 
negligible direct impacts on water resources, and TVA would implement 
BMPs, as appropriate, and would be subject to regulation under NPDES 
general permits during any construction activities. Accordingly, the 
NRC staff did not identify any significant environmental impacts 
related to aquatic resources with respect to transmission system 
upgrades.
    Following the necessary plant modifications and transmission system 
upgrades, operation at EPU levels would result in additional thermal 
discharge to Wheeler Reservoir. As described in the ``Cooling Tower 
Operation and Thermal Discharge'' and ``Water Resources Impacts'' 
sections of this document, TVA predicts that the temperature of water 
entering Wheeler Reservoir would be 2.6 [deg]F (1.4 [deg]C) warmer on 
average than current operations and that the river temperature at the 
NPDES compliance depth at the downstream end of the mixing zone would 
be 0.6 [deg]F (0.3 [deg]C) warmer on average. In the BFN FSEIS, the NRC 
(2005) evaluated the potential impacts of thermal discharges in Section 
4.1.4, ``Heat Shock,'' assuming continued operation at EPU power 
levels. The NRC (2005) found that the BFN thermal mixing zone 
constitutes a small percentage of the Wheeler Reservoir surface area, 
that the maximum temperatures at the edge of the mixing zone do not 
exceed the upper thermal limits for common aquatic species, and that 
continued compliance with the facility's NPDES permit would ensure that 
impacts to aquatic biota are minimized. Since the time the NRC staff 
performed its license renewal review, the ADEM has issued a renewed BFN 
NPDES permit. The CWA requires the EPA or States, where delegated, to 
set thermal discharge variances such that compliance with the NPDES 
permit assures the protection and propagation of a balanced, indigenous 
community of shellfish, fish, and wildlife in and on the body of water 
into which the discharge is made, taking into account the cumulative 
impact of a facility's thermal discharge together with all other 
significant impacts on the species affected. Under the proposed action, 
TVA would remain subject to the limitations set forth in the renewed 
BFN NPDES permit. The NRC staff finds it reasonable to conclude that 
TVA's continued compliance with, and the State's continued enforcement 
of, the BFN NPDES permit would ensure that Wheeler Reservoir aquatic 
resources are protected.
    Regarding impingement and entrainment, in Sections 4.1.2 and 4.1.3 
of the BFN FSEIS, the NRC (2005) determined that impingement and 
entrainment during the period of extended operation would be small. The 
proposed EPU would not increase the volume or rate of water withdrawal 
from Wheeler Reservoir and no modifications to the current cooling 
system design would be required. Thus, the NRC staff finds that the 
proposed EPU would not change the rate of impingement or entrainment of 
fish, shellfish, or other aquatic organisms compared to current 
operations.
    Regarding chemical effluents, the types and amounts of effluents 
would not change under the proposed EPU, and effluent discharges to 
Wheeler Reservoir would continue to be regulated by the ADEM under the 
facility's NPDES permit. Thus, the NRC staff concludes that compared to 
current operations, the proposed EPU would not change the type or 
concentration of chemical effluents that could impact aquatic 
resources.
    The NRC staff concludes that onsite plant modifications and 
transmission system upgrades associated with the proposed EPU would not 
affect aquatic resources. Although operation at EPU levels would 
increase thermal effluent to Wheeler Reservoir, the NRC staff concludes 
that any resulting impacts on aquatic resources would not be 
significant because thermal discharges would remain within the limits 
imposed by the BFN NPDES permit.
Special Status Species and Habitats Impacts
    The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.) (ESA) was enacted to protect and recover imperiled species and 
the ecosystems on which they depend. Under Section 7 of the ESA, 
Federal agencies must consult with the FWS or the National Marine 
Fisheries Service, as appropriate, to ensure that actions the agencies 
authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of any endangered or threatened species 
(collectively referred to as ``listed species'') or result in the 
destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. This section 
of the EA describes the ESA action area; considers whether and what 
listed species or critical habitats may occur in the action area; 
evaluates the potential effects of the proposed EPU on species in the 
action area; and makes effect determinations for the identified 
species.
    Concerning listed species and critical habitats that could be 
affected by the offsite transmission system modifications and upgrades, 
TVA, as a Federal agency, would be required to conduct ESA Section 7 
consultation with the FWS, if necessary, to address any potential 
impacts that may result from the upgrades prior to undertaking any 
related work. The NRC has no authority over power transmission systems 
and no role in permitting any modifications and upgrades to those 
systems that TVA might undertake.

[[Page 25009]]

During its NEPA review associated with the transmission system 
modifications and upgrades, TVA (2017e, 2017f) determined that no 
Federally listed species or critical habitats occur near the three 
substations that would be expanded (Limestone, Holly Springs, and 
Corinth) and concluded that the expansions would have no effect on 
Federally listed species and critical habitats. As such, TVA determined 
that consultation with the FWS for the transmission system 
modifications and upgrades would not be required. However, if at any 
point prior to undertaking or during the modifications and upgrades, 
TVA determines that any listed species are present and that its actions 
may affect those species, the ESA would require TVA to consult with the 
FWS. Such consultation, if it occurs, would be between TVA and FWS and 
would not involve the NRC.
Action Area
    The implementing regulations for Section 7(a)(2) of the ESA define 
``action area'' as all areas to be affected directly or indirectly by 
the Federal action and not merely the immediate area involved in the 
action (50 CFR 402.02). The action area effectively bounds the analysis 
of listed species and critical habitats because only species that occur 
within the action area may be affected by the Federal action.
    For the purposes of this ESA analysis, the NRC staff considers the 
action area for the proposed BFN EPU to be the full bank width of 
Wheeler Reservoir from the point of water withdrawal downstream to the 
edge of the mixing zone, which lies 2,400 ft (732 m) downstream of the 
diffusers. The NRC staff expects all direct and indirect effects of the 
proposed action to be contained within this area. The NRC staff 
recognizes that while the action area is stationary, Federally listed 
species can move in and out of the action area. For instance, a 
migratory fish species could occur in the action area seasonally as it 
travels up and down the river past BFN.
    The NRC staff does not consider areas affected by the transmission 
system modifications and upgrades to be part of the action area because 
TVA, as a Federal agency, would be responsible for consulting with the 
FWS if TVA were to identity any impacts on Federally listed species or 
critical habitats that could result from its actions in these areas. 
The NRC does not have any authority or permitting role related to the 
transmission system modifications and upgrades and would not be 
involved in such a consultation, if it were to occur. However, as 
described above, TVA concluded that the expansions would have no effect 
on Federally listed species and critical habitats and that consultation 
with the FWS would not be required. Accordingly, based on the 
information provided by TVA, the NRC staff concludes that the EPU-
related substation modifications and upgrades would not affect any 
listed species or critical habitats.
Listed Species and Critical Habitats
    To determine what Federally listed species and designated critical 
habitats may occur in the action area, the NRC staff obtained an 
official species list from the FWS, reviewed information in TVA's EPU 
application, and considered relevant scientific literature pertaining 
to species distribution and occurrences, as available. First, to obtain 
an official species list, the NRC staff conducted a search using the 
FWS's Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS) Information for 
Planning and Conservation (IPaC) system. The resulting species list 
(FWS 2017) identifies six endangered or threatened species that may 
occur in the action area (see Table 1). This species list contains less 
species than the number considered by the NRC staff in the draft 
version of this EA; footnote (a) in Table 1 explains the staff's basis 
for reducing the number of species it evaluates in this final EA. No 
candidate species, proposed species, or proposed or designated critical 
habitats occur in the action area (FWS 2017).

            Table 1--Federally Listed Species With the Potential To Occur in the BFN EPU Action Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                           Known to occur in the
             Species \(a)\                      Common name          Federal status \(b)\     vicinity of BFN?
                                                                                                   \(c)\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mammals:
    Myotis grisescens..................  gray bat.................                    FE                     --
    Myotis sodalis.....................  Indiana bat..............                    FE                     --
    Myotis septentrionalis.............  northern long-eared bat..                    FT                     --
Freshwater Mussels:
    Epioblasma triquetra...............  snuffbox.................                    FE                     --
    Lampsilis abrupta..................  pink mucket..............                    FE                      Y
    Pleurobema plenum..................  rough pigtoe.............                    FE                      Y
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\(a)\ In the draft version of this EA, the NRC (2016a) staff considered 31 listed and candidate terrestrial and
  aquatic species based on information from the FWS's (2016) ECOS IPaC system. Following issuance of the draft
  EA, the NRC staff obtained an updated species list (FWS 2017), which contained the six listed species
  identified in this table. The reduced number of species is a reflection of updates and refinements to the
  FWS's ECOS IPaC system that now allows users to obtain more site-specific information on listed species
  distributions near proposed projects. All six species identified in this table appeared in the original list
  of species (FWS 2016) and were considered by the staff during the development of the draft EA. The updated
  species list (FWS 2017) does not contain any new species not previously considered by the staff and does not
  contain any information that would otherwise affect the NRC staff's original ``no effect'' finding for
  Federally listed species and critical habitats documented in the draft EA.
\(b)\ FE = Federally endangered under the ESA; FT = Federally threatened under the ESA.
\(c)\ Y = yes; -- = no. Occurrence information is based on species identified in TVA's (2017a) supplemental
  environmental report submitted as part of its EPU application as occurring within tributaries to Wheeler
  Reservoir, within a 10-mi (16-km) radius of BFN, or within the Tennessee River between River Mile 274.9 and
  310.7.
Sources: FWS 2017; TVA 2017a.

    Second, the NRC staff reviewed information on listed species 
contained in TVA's EPU application. Since the 1970s, TVA has maintained 
a Natural Heritage Database that includes data on sensitive species and 
habitats, including Federally listed species and critical habitats, in 
TVA's power service area. The TVA's EPU application includes relevant 
information from its database on listed species and critical habitats 
that may be affected by the proposed EPU. Finally, the NRC staff 
searched available scientific literature to determine species 
distributions and the potential for listed species to occur in the 
action area. The results of the staff's

[[Page 25010]]

review is described below for the species identified in Table 1.
    The TVA (2017a) has no records indicating the occurrence of any of 
the three species of bats identified in Table 1 within 10 mi (16 km) of 
the BFN site. Section 5.1 of the NRC's (2004a) biological assessment 
for license renewal states that the BFN site does not provide suitable 
habitat for Federally listed bats. Additionally, the NRC staff did not 
identify any ecological studies, reports, or other information that 
would indicate that any of the three bat species may be present within 
the action area. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the gray 
(Myotis grisescens), Indiana (M. sodalis), and northern long-eared (M. 
septentrionalis) bats are unlikely to occur in the action area.
    Regarding the three species of freshwater mussels identified in 
Table 1, TVA (2017a) reports that two of the species--pink mucket 
(Lampsilis abrupta) and rough pigtoe (Pleurobema plenum)--have been 
recorded as occurring within tributaries to Wheeler Reservoir or within 
the Tennessee River between River Mile 274.9 and 310.7. These species 
occur in sand, gravel, and cobble substrates in large river habitats 
within the Tennessee River system. Both species are now extremely rare 
and are primarily found in unimpounded tributary rivers and in more 
riverine reaches of the main stem Tennessee River (TVA 2017a). Most of 
the remaining large river habitat in Wheeler Reservoir occurs upstream 
of the BFN action area. Section 5.2 of the NRC's (2004a) biological 
assessment for license renewal describes Tennessee River collection 
records for the two species, which date back to the late 1990s. Pink 
mucket and rough pigtoe were collected near Hobbs Island, which lies 
over 64 km (40 mi) upstream of BFN, in 1998 (Yokely 1998). The TVA 
(2017a) reports no more recent occurrence records of these two species. 
Additionally, TVA (2017a) reports no occurrence records of the third 
freshwater mussel species, snuffbox (Epioblasma triquetra). The NRC 
staff did not identify any ecological studies, reports, or other 
information suggesting that populations of any of these species exist 
in the BFN action area or within Wheeler Reservoir as a whole. The NRC 
staff, therefore, concludes that snuffbox, pink mucket, and rough 
pigtoe are unlikely to occur in the action area.
Impact Assessment
    As described under ``Terrestrial Resource Impacts,'' the NRC staff 
determined that the proposed EPU would not have significant impacts on 
the terrestrial environment. This conclusion was made, in part, because 
the proposed EPU would not disturb any natural areas, including 
riparian areas, upland forests, and wetlands, and because any temporary 
noise and lighting that wildlife might experience during implementation 
of EPU-related modifications and upgrades would be similar to and 
indistinguishable from what nearby wildlife already experience during 
BFN operations. As described under ``Aquatic Resource Impacts,'' 
although operation at EPU levels would result in additional thermal 
discharge to Wheeler Reservoir, any resulting impacts on aquatic 
resources would not be significant because thermal discharges would 
remain within the limits imposed by the BFN NPDES permit. Further, 
because no Federally listed species occur in the action area, no 
Federally listed species would experience even these insignificant 
effects.
ESA Effect Determinations
    Based on the foregoing discussion, the NRC staff concludes that the 
proposed EPU would have no effect on the gray bat, Indiana bat, 
northern long-eared bat, snuffbox, pink mucket, and rough pigtoe. 
Federal agencies are not required to consult with the FWS if they 
determine that an action will not affect listed species or critical 
habitats (FWS 2013). Thus, no consultation is required for the proposed 
EPU, and the NRC staff considers its obligations under the ESA to be 
fulfilled for the proposed action.
Historic and Cultural Resource Impacts
    The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended (16 
U.S.C. 470 et seq.), requires Federal agencies to consider the effects 
of their undertakings on historic properties, and the proposed EPU is 
an undertaking that could potentially affect historic properties. 
Historic properties are defined as resources eligible for listing in 
the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The criteria for 
eligibility are listed in 36 CFR 60.4 and include (1) association with 
significant events in history; (2) association with the lives of 
persons significant in the past; (3) embodiment of distinctive 
characteristics of type, period, or construction; and (4) sites or 
places that have yielded, or are likely to yield, important 
information.
    According to the BFN FSEIS (NRC 2005), the only significant 
cultural resources in the proximity of BFN are Site 1Li535 and the Cox 
Cemetery, which was moved to accommodate original construction of the 
plant. TVA (2016a) researched current historic property records and 
found nothing new within 3 mi (4.8 km) of the plant. As described under 
``Description of the Proposed Action,'' all onsite modifications 
associated with the proposed action would be within existing 
structures, buildings, and fenced equipment yards, and TVA anticipates 
no disturbance of previously undisturbed onsite land. Thus, historic 
and cultural resources would not be affected by onsite power plant 
modifications and upgrades at BFN.
    Regarding transmission system upgrades, Tennessee Valley 
Archaeological Research (TVAR) and the University of Alabama's Office 
of Archaeological Research (OAR) performed Phase I Cultural Surveys to 
determine if the expansion of the Holly Springs, Corinth, and Limestone 
substations would affect any historic or cultural resources. The TVAR's 
and OAR's findings are summarized below.
    During its Phase I Cultural Resource Survey for the Holly Springs 
Substation (Karpynec et al. 2016b), TVAR revisited two NRHP-listed 
historic districts, the Depot-Compress Historic District and the East 
Holly Springs Historic District, within the survey radius. The TVAR 
determined that the historic districts are outside the viewshed of the 
proposed substation expansion. During the survey, TVAR also identified 
14 potentially historic properties, none of which were found to be 
eligible for listing on the NRHP due to their lack of architectural and 
historic significance. The TVAR concluded that no historic properties 
would be affected by the Holly Springs Substation expansion.
    During its Phase I Cultural Resource Survey for the Corinth 
Substation (Karpynec et al. 2016b), TVAR identified 13 properties 
within the area of potential effect, none of which were determined to 
be eligible for listing on the NRHP due to their lack of architectural 
distinction and loss of integrity caused by modern alterations or 
damage. The TVAR concluded that no historic properties would be 
affected by the Corinth Substation expansion.
    During the Phase I Cultural Resource Survey for the Limestone 
Substation (Watkins 2017), OAR did not identify any properties within 
the area of potential effect. OAR identified two properties within a 
0.5-mi (0.8-km) radius of the area of potential effect that could be 
visually impacted by the Limestone Substation SVC installation, neither 
of which were found to be eligible for listing on the NRHP due to 
integrity and historical significance issues. OAR concluded that no 
historic properties would be affected by the Limestone Substation SVC 
installation.

[[Page 25011]]

    Following power plant modifications and substation upgrades, 
operation of BFN at EPU power levels would have no effect on existing 
historic and cultural resources. Further, TVA has procedures in place 
to ensure that BFN operations would continue to protect historic and 
cultural resources, and the proposed action would not change such 
procedures (NRC 2005). Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that EPU-
related power plant modifications and substation upgrades would not 
result in significant impacts to historic and cultural resources.
Socioeconomic Impacts
    Potential socioeconomic impacts from the proposed EPU include 
increased demand for short-term housing, public services, and increased 
traffic due to the temporary increase in the size of the workforce 
required to implement the EPU at BFN and upgrade affected substations. 
The proposed EPU also could generate increased tax revenues for the 
State and surrounding counties due to increased ``book'' value of BFN 
and increased power generation.
    During outages, the workforce at BFN increases by 800 to 1,200 
workers for an average of 1,000 additional workers onsite. Normally, 
outage workers begin to arrive at BFN 2 to 3 weeks prior to the start 
of the outage, and the total number of onsite workers peaks at about 
the 3rd day of the 21- to 28-day outage. The EPU outage for each unit 
would last 35 days or less (TVA 2016a). Once EPU-related plant 
modifications have been completed, the size of the workforce at BFN 
would return to pre-EPU levels approximately 1 week after the end of 
the outage with no significant increases during future outages. The 
size of the operations workforce would be unaffected by the proposed 
EPU.
    Most of the EPU plant modification workers are expected to relocate 
temporarily to the Huntsville metropolitan area during outages, 
resulting in short-term increased demands for public services and 
housing. Because plant modification work would be temporary, most 
workers would stay in available rental homes, apartments, mobile homes, 
and camper-trailers.
    The additional number of outage workers and truck material and 
equipment deliveries needed to support EPU-related power plant 
modifications could cause short-term level-of-service impacts 
(restricted traffic flow and higher incident rates) on secondary roads 
in the immediate vicinity of BFN. However, only small traffic delays 
are anticipated during the outages.
    The TVA currently makes payments in lieu of taxes to states and 
counties in which BFN operations occur and on properties previously 
subjected to state and local taxation. The TVA pays a percentage of its 
gross power revenues to such states and counties. Only a very small 
share of TVA payment is paid directly to counties; most is paid to the 
states, which use their own formulas for redistribution of some or all 
of the payments to local governments to fund their respective operating 
budgets. In general, half of TVA payment is apportioned based on power 
sales and half is apportioned based on the ``book'' value of TVA 
property. Therefore, for a capital improvement project such as the EPU, 
the in-lieu-of-tax payments are affected in two ways: (1) As power 
sales increase, the total amount of the in-lieu-of-tax payment to be 
distributed increases, and (2) the increased ``book'' value of BFN 
causes a greater proportion of the total payment to be allocated to 
Limestone County. The state's general fund, as well as all of the 
counties in Alabama that receive TVA in-lieu-of-tax distributions from 
the State of Alabama, benefit under this method of distribution (TVA 
2017a). Therefore, the amount of future payments in lieu of property 
taxes paid by TVA could be affected by the increased value of BFN as a 
result of the EPU and associated increased power generation.
    Due to the short duration of EPU-related plant modification and 
substation upgrade activities, there would be little or no noticeable 
effect on tax revenues generated by additional workers temporarily 
residing in Limestone County and elsewhere. In addition, there would be 
little or no noticeable increased demand for housing and public 
services or level-of-service traffic impacts beyond what is experienced 
during normal refueling outages at BFN. Therefore, the NRC staff 
concludes that there would be no significant socioeconomic impacts from 
EPU-related plant modifications, substation upgrades, and power plant 
operations under EPU conditions.
Environmental Justice Impacts
    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 
activities associated with the proposed EPU at BFN. 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 BFN, and all are exposed to the same 
health and environmental effects generated from activities at BFN.
Minority Populations in the Vicinity of the BFN
    According to the 2010 Census, an estimated 22 percent of the total 
population (approximately 978,000 individuals) residing within a 50-
mile radius of BFN identified themselves as a minority (MCDC 2016). The 
largest minority populations were Black or African American 
(approximately 135,000 persons or 14 percent), followed by Hispanic, 
Latino, or Spanish origin of any race (approximately 44,000 persons or 
4.5 percent). According to the U.S. Census Bureau's (USCB's) 2010 
Census, about 21 percent of the Limestone County population identified 
themselves as minorities, with Black or African Americans comprising 
the largest minority population (approximately 13 percent) (USCB 2016). 
According to the USCB's 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year 
Estimates, the minority population of Limestone County, as a percent of 
the total population, had increased to about 23 percent with Black or 
African Americans comprising 14 percent of the total county population 
(USCB 2016).
Low-Income Populations in the Vicinity of BFN
    According to the USCB's 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-Year 
Estimates, approximately 32,000 families and 154,000 individuals (12 
and 16 percent, respectively) residing within a 50-mile radius of BFN 
were identified as living below the Federal poverty threshold (MCDC 
2016). The 2014 Federal poverty threshold was $24,230 for a family of 
four (USCB 2016).
    According to the USCB's 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year 
Estimates, the median household income for Alabama was $44,765, while 
14 percent of families and 18.5 percent of the state population were 
found to be living below the Federal poverty threshold (USCB 2016). 
Limestone County had a higher median household income average ($55,009) 
and a lower percentage of families (12 percent) and persons (15 
percent) living below the poverty level, respectively (USCB 2016).
Impact Analysis
    Potential impacts to minority and low-income populations would 
consist of environmental and socioeconomic effects (e.g., noise, dust, 
traffic, employment, and housing impacts) and radiological effects.

[[Page 25012]]

    Noise and dust impacts would be temporary and limited to onsite 
activities. Minority and low-income populations residing along site 
access roads could experience increased commuter vehicle traffic during 
shift changes. Increased demand for inexpensive rental housing during 
the EPU-related plant modifications could disproportionately affect 
low-income populations; however, due to the short duration of the EPU-
related work and the availability of housing, impacts to minority and 
low-income populations would be of short duration and limited. 
According to 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, there 
were approximately 4,016 vacant housing units in Limestone County (USCB 
2016). Radiation doses from plant operations after implementation of 
the EPU are expected to continue to remain well below regulatory 
limits.
    Based on this information and the analysis of human health and 
environmental impacts presented in this EA, the NRC staff concludes 
that the proposed EPU would not have disproportionately high and 
adverse human health and environmental effects on minority and low-
income populations residing in the vicinity of BFN.
Cumulative Impacts
    The Council on Environmental Quality defines cumulative impacts 
under NEPA as the impact on the environment, which results from the 
incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, and 
reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency 
(Federal or non-Federal) or person undertakes such other actions (40 
CFR 1508.7). Cumulative impacts may result when the environmental 
effects associated with the proposed action are overlaid or added to 
temporary or permanent effects associated with other actions. 
Cumulative impacts can result from individually minor, but collectively 
significant, actions taking place over a period of time. For the 
purposes of this cumulative analysis, past actions are related to the 
resource conditions when BFN was licensed and constructed; present 
actions are related to the resource conditions during current 
operations; and future actions are those that are reasonably 
foreseeable through the expiration of BFN's renewed facility operating 
licenses (i.e., through 2033, 2034, and 2036 for Units 1, 2, and 3, 
respectively).
    In Section 4.8 of the BFN FSEIS (NRC 2005), the NRC staff assessed 
the cumulative impacts related to continued operation of BFN through 
the license renewal term assuming operation of BFN at EPU levels. In 
its analysis, the NRC (2005) considered changes and modifications to 
the Tennessee River; current and future water quality; current and 
future competing water uses, including public supply, industrial water 
supply, irrigation, and thermoelectric power generation; the 
radiological environment; future socioeconomic impacts; historic and 
cultural resources; and cumulative impacts to Federally endangered and 
threatened species. The NRC (2005) determined that the contribution of 
BFN continued operations at EPU levels to past, present, and reasonably 
foreseeable future actions would not be detectable or would be so minor 
as to not destabilize or noticeably alter any important attribute of 
the resources.
    Because the proposed EPU would neither change nor result in 
significant impacts to the radiological environment, onsite or offsite 
land uses, visual resources, air quality, noise, terrestrial resources, 
special status species and habitats, historical and cultural resources, 
socioeconomic conditions, or environmental justice populations, the NRC 
concludes that implementation of the proposed action would not 
incrementally contribute to cumulative impacts to these resources. 
Regarding water resources and aquatic resources, although the proposed 
EPU would result in more thermal effluent, discharges would remain 
within the limits set forth in the current BFN NPDES permit, and no 
other facilities discharge thermal effluent within the BFN mixing zone 
that would exacerbate thermal effects. As described above, the NRC 
(2005) determined that cumulative impacts to these resources would not 
be detectable or would be so minor as to not destabilize or noticeably 
alter any important attribute of the resources. Accordingly, the NRC 
staff finds that cumulative impacts on water resources and aquatic 
resources under the proposed action would not be significant.
    Additionally, for those resources identified as potentially 
impacted by activities associated with the proposed EPU (i.e., water 
resources and aquatic resources), the NRC staff also considered current 
resource trends and conditions, including the potential impacts of 
climate change. The NRC staff considered the U.S. Global Change 
Research Program's (USGCRP's) most recent compilation of the state of 
knowledge relative to global climate change effects (USGCRP 2009, 
2014). The effects of climate change on water and aquatic resources are 
discussed below.
Water Resources
    Predicted changes in the timing, intensity, and distribution of 
precipitation would be likely to result in changes in surface water 
runoff affecting water availability across the Southeastern United 
States. Specifically, while average precipitation during the fall has 
increased by 30 percent since about 1900, summer and winter 
precipitation has declined by about 10 percent across the eastern 
portion of the region, including eastern Tennessee (USGCRP 2009). A 
continuation of this trend coupled with predicted higher temperatures 
during all seasons (particularly the summer months), would reduce 
groundwater recharge during the winter, produce less runoff and lower 
stream flows during the spring, and potentially lower groundwater base 
flow to rivers during the drier portions of the year (when stream flows 
are already lower). As cited by the USGCRP, the loss of moisture from 
soils because of higher temperatures along with evapotranspiration from 
vegetation is likely to increase the frequency, duration, and intensity 
of droughts across the region into the future (USGCRP 2009, USGCRP 
2014).
    Changes in runoff in a watershed along with reduced stream flows 
and higher air temperatures all contribute to an increase in the 
ambient temperature of receiving waters. Annual runoff and river-flow 
are projected to decline in the Southeast region (USGCRP 2014). Land 
use changes, particularly those involving the conversion of natural 
areas to impervious surface, exacerbate these effects. These factors 
combine to affect the availability of water throughout a watershed, 
such as that of the Tennessee River, for aquatic life, recreation, and 
industrial uses. While changes in projected precipitation for the 
Southeast region are uncertain, the USGCRP has a reasonable expectation 
that there will be reduced water availability due to the increased 
evaporative losses from rising temperatures alone (USGCRP 2014). 
Nevertheless, when considering that the Tennessee River System and 
associated reservoirs are closely operated, managed, and regulated for 
multiple uses which include thermoelectric power generation, the 
incremental contribution of the proposed EPU on climate change impacts 
is not significant.
Aquatic Resources
    The potential effects of climate change described above for water 
resources, whether from natural cycles

[[Page 25013]]

or man-made activities, could result in changes that would affect 
aquatic resources in the Tennessee River. Increased air temperatures 
could result in higher water temperatures in the Tennessee River 
reservoirs. For instance, TVA found that a 1[emsp14][deg]F (0.5 [deg]C) 
increase in air temperature resulted in an average water temperature 
increase between 0.25[emsp14][deg]F and 0.5[emsp14][deg]F (0.14 [deg]C 
and 0.28 [deg]C) in the Chickamauga Reservoir (NRC 2015). Higher water 
temperatures would increase the potential for thermal effects on 
aquatic biota and, along with altered river flows, could exacerbate 
existing environmental stressors, such as excess nutrients and lowered 
dissolved oxygen associated with eutrophication. Even slight changes 
could alter the structure of aquatic communities. Invasions of non-
native species that thrive under a wide range of environmental 
conditions could further disrupt the current structure and function of 
aquatic communities (NRC 2015). Nevertheless, when considering that the 
Tennessee River System and associated reservoirs are closely operated, 
managed, and regulated for multiple uses that include thermoelectric 
power generation, the incremental contribution of the proposed EPU on 
climate change impacts is not significant.

Alternatives to the Proposed Action

    As an alternative to the proposed action, the NRC staff considered 
denial of the proposed license amendments (i.e., the ``no-action'' 
alternative). Denial of the application would result in no change in 
current environmental conditions or impacts. However, if the EPU were 
not approved, other agencies and electric power organizations might be 
required to pursue other means of providing electric generation 
capacity, such as fossil fuel or alternative fuel power generation, to 
offset future demand. Construction and operation of such generating 
facilities could result in air quality, land use, ecological, and waste 
management impacts significantly greater than those identified for the 
proposed EPU.

Alternative Use of Resources

    The action does not involve the use of any different resources than 
those previously considered for current operations, as described in 
NUREG-1437, Supplement 21, Generic Environmental Impact Statement for 
License Renewal of Nuclear Plants: Regarding Browns Ferry Station, 
Units 1, 2, and 3--Final Report (NRC 2005).

Agencies and Persons Consulted

    The NRC staff did not enter into consultation with any other 
Federal or State agency regarding the environmental impacts of the 
proposed action. However, on October 6, 2016, the NRC notified the 
Alabama State official, Mr. David Walter, Director of Alabama Office of 
Radiation Control of the proposed amendments, requesting his comments 
by October 13, 2016. The State official provided no comments. The NRC 
(2016b) also sent copies of the draft EA to the EPA, FWS, and Alabama 
Department of Environmental Management. The NRC received no comments 
from these agencies.

III. Finding of No Significant Impact

    The NRC is considering issuing amendments for Renewed Facility 
Operating License Nos. DPR-33, DPR-52, and DPR-68, issued to TVA for 
operation of BFN to increase the maximum licensed thermal power level 
for each of the three BFN reactor units from 3,458 MWt to 3,952 MWt.
    On the basis of the EA included in Section II above and 
incorporated by reference in this finding, the NRC concludes that the 
proposed action would not have significant effects on the quality of 
the human environment. The NRC's evaluation considered information 
provided in the licensee's application and associated supplements as 
well as the NRC's independent review of other relevant environmental 
documents. Section IV below lists the environmental documents related 
to the proposed action and includes information on the availability of 
these documents. Based on its findings, the NRC has decided not to 
prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed action.

IV. Availability of Documents

    The following table identifies the references cited in this 
document and related to the NRC's FONSI. Documents with an ADAMS 
accession number are available for public inspection online through 
ADAMS at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html or in person at the 
NRC's PDR as previously described.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    ADAMS Accession No., FRN, or URL
           Document                             reference
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alabama Department of           ML16159A040
 Environmental Management.
 National Pollutant Discharge
 Elimination System Permit No.
 AL0022080, Tennessee Valley
 Authority, Browns Ferry
 Nuclear Plant. Dated July 3,
 2012. (ADEM 2012).
Alabama Department of           ML16259A186
 Environmental Management.
 Alabama's Draft 2016 Sec.
 303(d) List Fact Sheet. Dated
 February 7, 2016. (ADEM 2016).
Karpynec T, Rosenwinkel H,      ML16197A563
 Weaver M, Wright K, and Crook
 E. A Phase I Cultural
 Resources Surveys of
 Tennessee Valley Authority's
 Corinth and Holly Springs
 Substation Expansions in
 Alcorn and Marshall Counties,
 Mississippi. Dated May 2016.
 (Karpynec et al. 2016).
Missouri Census Data Center.    http://mcdc.missouri.edu/websas/
 Circular Area Profiles          caps10c.html
 (CAPS), 2010 Census Summary
 File 1, Aggregated Census
 Block Group Hispanic or
 Latino and Race data and 2010-
 2014 American Community
 Survey (ACS) data, Summary of
 aggregated Census Tract data
 in a 50-mile (80-kilometer)
 radius around BFN (Latitude =
 34.703889355505075, Longitude
 = -87.11862504482272).
 Accessed September 2016.
 (MCDC 2016).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML041840301
 Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant
 Units 2 and 3--Proposed
 Technical Specifications
 Change TS-418--Request for
 License Amendment Extended
 Power Uprate (EPU) Operation.
 Dated June 25, 2004. (TVA
 2004a).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML042800186
 Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant
 Unit 1--Proposed Technical
 Specifications Change TS-431--
 Request for License
 Amendment--Extended Power
 Uprate (EPU) Operation. Dated
 June 28, 2004. (TVA 2004b).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML062680459
 Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant--
 Unit 1--Technical
 Specifications Change TS-431,
 Supplement 1--Extended Power
 Uprate (EPU). Dated September
 22, 2006. (TVA 2006).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML12123A017
 Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant,
 Unit 1, 2, and 3--Annual
 Radioactive Effluent Release
 Report--2011 Dated April 30,
 2012 (TVA 2012).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML13126A100
 Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant,
 Unit 1, 2, and 3--Annual
 Radioactive Effluent Release
 Report--2012 Dated April 30,
 2013 (TVA 2013).

[[Page 25014]]

 
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML14265A487
 Technical Specifications
 Changes TS-431 and TS-418--
 Extended Power Uprate (EPU)--
 Withdrawal of Requests and
 Update to EPU Plans and
 Schedules. Dated September
 18, 2014. (TVA 2014a).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML14122A344
 Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant,
 Unit 1, 2, and 3--Annual
 Radioactive Effluent Release
 Report--2013 Dated April 30,
 2014 (TVA 2014b).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML15282A152
 Proposed Technical
 Specifications Change TS-505--
 Request for License
 Amendments--Extended Power
 Uprate, Cover Letter. Dated
 September 21, 2015. (TVA
 2015a).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML15317A361
 Proposed Technical
 Specification Change TS-505--
 Request for License
 Amendments--Extended Power
 Uprate--Supplemental
 Information. Dated November
 13, 2015. (TVA 2015b).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML15351A113
 Proposed Technical
 Specifications (TS) Change TS-
 505--Request for License
 Amendments--Extended Power
 Uprate (EPU)--Supplement 2,
 MICROBURN-B2 Information.
 Dated December 15, 2015. (TVA
 2015c).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML15355A413
 Proposed Technical
 Specifications (TS) Change TS-
 505--Request for License
 Amendments--Extended Power
 Uprate (EPU)--Supplement 3,
 Interconnection System Impact
 Study Information. Dated
 December 18, 2015. (TVA
 2015d).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML15120A283
 Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant,
 Unit 1, 2, and 3--Annual
 Radioactive Effluent Release
 Report--2014 Dated April 30,
 2015 (TVA 2015e).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML16159A040
 Proposed Technical
 Specifications (TS) Change TS-
 505--Request for License
 Amendments--Extended Power
 Uprate (EPU)--Supplement 13,
 Responses to Requests for
 Additional Information. Dated
 April 22, 2016. (TVA 2016a).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML16197A563
 Proposed Technical
 Specifications (TS) Change TS-
 505--Request for License
 Amendments--Extended Power
 Uprate (EPU)--Supplement 18,
 Responses to Requests for
 Additional Information and
 Updates Associated with
 Interconnection System Impact
 Study Modifications. Dated
 May 27, 2016. (TVA 2016b).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML16123A149
 Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant,
 Unit 1, 2, and 3--Annual
 Radioactive Effluent Release
 Report--2015 Dated April 30,
 2016 (TVA 2016c).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML17034A562
 Proposed Technical
 Specifications (TS) Change TS-
 505--Request for License
 Amendments--Extended Power
 Uprate, BFN EPU LAR,
 Attachment 42, Supplemental
 Environmental Report,
 Revision 2. Enclosure 2.
 Dated February 3, 2017. (TVA
 2017a).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML17023A199
 Proposed Technical
 Specifications (TS) Change TS-
 505--Request for License
 Amendments--Extended Power
 Uprate (EPU)--Supplement 36,
 Transmission System Update--
 Safety Aspects Dated January
 20, 2017. (TVA 2017b).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML17034A562
 Proposed Technical
 Specifications (TS) Change TS-
 505--Request for License
 Amendments--Extended Power
 Uprate (EPU)--Supplement 36,
 Transmission System Update--
 Environmental Aspects Dated
 February 3, 2017. (TVA 2017c).
Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML17023A200
 BFN EPU LAR, Attachment 47,
 List and Status of Plant
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 (Enclosure 7). Dated January
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Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML17034A562
 Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant,
 RERP-RAI-GE-2 Response,
 Attachment 1, Revision 1:
 Supplemental Environmental
 Information for Transmission
 System and BFN Main Generator
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Tennessee Valley Authority.     ML17034A562
 Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant,
 RERP-RAI-GE-2 Response,
 Attachment 2: Supplemental
 Environmental Information for
 Limestone Substation Static
 VAR Compensator Construction.
 Dated January 2017. (TVA
 2017f).
U.S. Census Bureau. American    http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/
 FactFinder, Table DP-1,         jsf/pages/searchresults.xhtml?refresh=t
 ``Profile of General
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 Census Summary File 1'' for
 Limestone County, Alabama;
 American FactFinder, Table
 DP05, ``ACS Demographic and
 Housing Estimates, 2015
 American Community Survey 1-
 Year Estimates'' for
 Limestone County, Alabama;
 and Table DP03--``Selected
 Economic Characteristics,
 2015 American Community
 Survey 1-Year Estimates'' for
 Alabama and Limestone County,
 and Table B25002--``Occupancy
 Status, 2015 American
 Community Survey 1-Year
 Estimates'' for Limestone
 County, Alabama. Accessed
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife          ML16120A505
 Service. Endangered Species
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 15, 2013. (FWS 2013).
U.S. Fish and Wildlife          ML16032A044
 Service. Updated List of
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 Your Proposed Project
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife          ML17089A314
 Service. List of Threatened
 and Endangered Species That
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U.S. Global Change Research     ML100580077
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U.S. Global Change Research     ML14129A233
 Program. Climate Change
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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         63 FR 46491
 Commission. Browns Ferry
 Nuclear Plant, Units 2 and 3--
 Environmental Assessment
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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         ML040690720
 Commission. Generic
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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         ML003716792
 Commission. Alternative
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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         ML033640024
 Commission. Review Standard
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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         ML042990348
 Commission. Biological
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[[Page 25015]]

 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         ML042730028
 Commission Browns Ferry
 Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2,
 and 3--Issuance of Amendments
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 Implementation of Alternative
 Source Term. September 27,
 2004. (NRC 2004b).
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         ML051730443
 Commission. Generic
 Environmental Impact
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 Browns Ferry Plant, Units 1,
 2, and 3--Final Report (NUREG-
 1437, Supplement 21). Dated
 June 30, 2005. (NRC 2005).
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         ML060970332
 Commission. Issuance of
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 and DPR-68 for Browns Ferry
 Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2,
 and 3. Dated May 4, 2006.
 (NRC 2006a).
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         71 FR 65009
 Commission. Browns Ferry
 Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2,
 and 3--Draft Environmental
 Assessment and Finding of No
 Significant Impact Related to
 the Proposed Extended Power
 Uprate. Dated November 6,
 2006. (NRC 2006b).
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         72 FR 6612
 Commission. Browns Ferry
 Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2,
 and 3--Final Environmental
 Assessment and Finding of No
 Significant Impact Related to
 the Proposed Extended Power
 Uprate. Dated February 12,
 2007. (NRC 2007a).
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         ML063350404
 Commission. Browns Ferry
 Nuclear Plant, Unit 1--
 Issuance of Amendment
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 Uprate. Dated March 6, 2007.
 (NRC 2007b).
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         ML15075A438
 Commission. Generic
 Environmental Impact
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 of Nuclear Plants: Regarding
 Sequoyah Nuclear Plant, Unit
 1 and 2 --Final Report (NUREG-
 1437, Supplement 53). Dated
 March 2015. (NRC 2015).
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         81 FR 86732
 Commission. Tennessee Valley
 Authority; Browns Ferry
 Nuclear Plant, Units 1, 2,
 and 3; Draft environmental
 assessment and draft finding
 of no significant impact;
 request for comments. Dated
 December 1, 2016. (NRC 2016a).
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory         ML16287A525
 Commission. Issuance of
 Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant,
 Units 1, 2, and 3--Draft
 Environmental Assessment and
 Finding of No Significant
 Impact Related to the
 Proposed Extended Power
 Uprate. Dated November 21,
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Watkins JH. A Cultural          ML17034A562
 Resource Survey of the
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 Station VAR Compensator Site
 in Limestone County, Alabama.
 Dated January 2017.
Yokely P Jr. Mussel Study near  ML042800176
 Hobbs Island on the Tennessee
 River for Butler Basin
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 (Yokely 1998).
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 22nd day of May 2017.

    For The Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Benjamin G. Beasley,
Chief, Plant Licensing Branch II-2, Division of Operating Reactor 
Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. 2017-11184 Filed 5-30-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 7590-01-P