[Federal Register: October 22, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 203)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
[Docket No. 50-354]
PSEG Nuclear, LLC; Hope Creek Generating Station Draft
Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact Related
to the Proposed License Amendment To Increase the Maximum Reactor Power
AGENCY: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
SUMMARY: The NRC has prepared a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) as
its evaluation of a request by the PSEG Nuclear, LLC (PSEG) for license
amendments to increase the maximum thermal power at Hope Creek
Generating Station (HCGS) from 3,339 megawatts-thermal (MWt) to 3,840
MWt. The EA assesses environmental impacts up to a maximum thermal
power level of 3,952 MWt, as the applicant's environmental report was
based on that power level. As stated in the NRC staff's position paper
dated February 8, 1996, on the Boiling-Water Reactor (BWR) Extended
Power Uprate (EPU) Program, the NRC staff would prepare an
environmental impact statement if it believes a power uprate would have
a significant impact on the human environment. The NRC staff did not
identify any significant impact from the information provided in the
licensee's EPU application for HCGS or from the NRC staff's independent
review; therefore, the NRC staff is documenting its environmental
review in an EA. The draft EA and Finding of No Significant Impact are
being published in the Federal Register with a 30-day public comment
Plant Site and Environs
HCGS is located on the southern part of Artificial Island, on the
east bank of the Delaware River, in Lower Alloways Creek Township,
Salem County, New Jersey. While called Artificial Island, the site is
actually connected to the mainland of New Jersey by a strip of
tideland, formed by hydraulic fill from dredging operations on the
Delaware River by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The site is 15
miles south of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, 18 miles south of
Wilmington, Delaware, 30 miles southwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
and 7.5 miles southwest of Salem, New Jersey. The station is located on
a 300-acre site.
The site is located in the southern region of the Delaware River
Valley, which is defined as the area immediately adjacent to the
Delaware River and extending from Trenton to Cape May Point, New
Jersey, on the eastern side, and from Morrisville, Pennsylvania, to
Lewes, Delaware, on the western side. This region is characterized by
extensive tidal marshlands and low-lying meadowlands. Most land in this
area is undeveloped. A great deal of land adjacent to the Delaware
River, near the site, is public land, owned by the Federal and State
governments. The main access to the plant is from a road constructed by
PSEG. This road connects with Alloways Creek Neck Road, about 2.5
miles, east of the site. Access to the plant site and all activities
thereon are under the control of PSEG.
Identification of the Proposed Action
HCGS is a single unit plant that employs a General Electric BWR
that was designed to operate at a rated core thermal power of 3,339
MWt, at 100-percent steam flow, with a turbine-generated rating of
approximately 1,139 megawatts-electric (MWe).
In 1984, NRC issued operating license NPF-57 to HCGS, authorizing
operation up to a maximum power level of 3,293 MWt. In 2001, NRC
authorized a license amendment for a 1.4 percent power uprate from
3,293 MWt to 3,339 MWt and issued an Environmental Assessment and
Finding of No Significant Impact for Increase in Allowable Thermal
Power Level (NRC 2001).
By letter dated September 18, 2006, PSEG proposed an amendment to
the operating license for HCGS, to increase the maximum thermal power
level by approximately 15 percent, from 3,339 MWt to 3,840 MWt. The
change is considered an EPU because it would raise the reactor core
power levels more than 7 percent above the originally licensed maximum
power level. According to the licensee, the proposed action would
involve installation of a higher efficiency turbine and an increase in
the heat output of the reactor. This would increase turbine inlet flow
requirements and increase the heat dissipated by the condenser to
support increased turbine exhaust steam flow requirements. In the
turbine portion of the heat cycle, increases in the turbine throttle
pressure and steam flow would result in a small increase in the heat
rejected to the cooling tower and the temperature of the water being
discharged into the Delaware River. In addition, there would be an
increase in the particulate air emission and an increase in the
contaminants that are in the blowdown water discharge.
The Need for the Proposed Action
PSEG (2005) evaluated the need for additional electrical generation
capacity in its service area for the planning period of 2002-2011.
Information provided by the North American Electric Reliability Council
showed that, in order to meet projected demands, generating capacity
must be increased by at least 2 percent per year for the Mid-Atlantic
Area Council and the PJM Interconnection, LLC (PSEG 2005). Such demand
increase would exceed PSEG's capacity to generate electricity for its
PSEG determined that a combination of increased power generation
and purchase of power from the electrical grid would be needed to meet
the projected demands. Increasing the generating capacity at HCGS was
estimated to provide lower-cost power than can be purchased on the
current and projected energy market. In addition, increasing nuclear
generating capacity would lessen the need to depend on fossil fuel
alternatives that are subject to unpredictable cost fluctuations and
increasing environmental costs.
Environmental Impacts of the Proposed Action
At the time of issuance of the operating license for HCGS, the NRC
staff noted that any activity authorized by the license would be
encompassed by the overall action evaluated in the Final Environmental
Statement (FES) for the operation of HCGS that was issued by the NRC in
December 1984 (NRC 1984). This EA summarizes the non-radiological and
radiological impacts that may result from the proposed action.
Land Use Impacts
The potential impacts associated with land use (including
aesthetics and historic and archaeological resources) include impacts
from construction and plant modifications at HCGS. While some plant
components would be modified, most plant changes related to the
proposed EPU would occur within existing structures, buildings, and
fenced equipment yards housing major components within the developed
part of the site. No new construction would occur, and no expansion of
buildings, roads, parking lots, equipment storage areas, or
transmission facilities would be required to support the proposed EPU
Existing parking lots, road access, offices, workshops, warehouses,
and restrooms would be used during
construction and plant modifications. Therefore, land use would not
change at HCGS. In addition, there would be no land use changes along
transmission lines (no new lines would be required for the proposed
EPU), transmission corridors, switchyards, or substations. Because land
use conditions would not change at HCGS and because any disturbance
would occur within previously disturbed areas, there would be no impact
to aesthetic resources and historic and archeological resources in the
vicinity of HCGS (PSEG 2005).
The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) was promulgated to encourage
and assist States and territories in developing management programs
that preserve, protect, develop, and, where possible, restore the
resources of the coastal zone. A ``coastal zone'' is generally
described as the coastal waters and the adjacent shore lands strongly
influenced by each other. This includes islands, transitional and
intertidal areas, salt marshes, wetlands, beaches, and Great Lakes
waters. Activities of Federal agencies that are reasonably likely to
affect coastal zones shall be consistent with the approved coastal
management program (CMP) of the State or territory to the maximum
extent practical. The CZMA provisions apply to all actions requiring
Federal approval (new plant licenses, license renewals, materials
licenses, and major amendments to existing licenses) that affect the
coastal zone in a State or territory with a Federally approved CMP. On
April 23, 2007, PSEG submitted an application requesting the State of
New Jersey to perform the Federal consistency determination in
accordance with CZMA. On July 3, 2007, the New Jersey Department of
Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Land Use Regulation Program, acting
under Section 307 of the Federal Coastal Management Act, agreed with
the certification that the EPU is consistent with the approved New
Jersey Coastal Management Program.
The impacts of continued operation of HCGS under EPU conditions are
bounded by the evaluation in the FES for operation (NRC 1984).
Therefore, the potential impacts to land use, aesthetics, and historic
and archaeological resources from the proposed EPU would not be
Cooling Tower Impacts
HCGS has one natural draft cooling tower that is currently used to
reduce the heat output to the environment. The potential impacts
associated with cooling tower operation under the proposed EPU could
affect aesthetics, salt drift deposition, noise, fogging or icing,
wildlife, and particulate emissions.
The proposed EPU would not result in significant changes to
aesthetics such as cooling tower plume dimension at HCGS. Atmospheric
emissions from the natural draft cooling tower consist primarily of
waste heat and water vapor resulting in persistent cloudlike plumes.
The size of the cooling tower plume depends on the meteorological
conditions such as temperature, dew point, and relative humidity. For
the proposed EPU, NRC does not anticipate any change in the dimension
of the plume under equivalent meteorological conditions as evaluated in
the FES. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that there would be no
significant aesthetic impacts associated with HCGS cooling tower
operation for the proposed action.
Native, exotic, and agricultural plant productivity may be
adversely affected by the increased salt concentration in the drift
deposited directly on soils or directly on foliage. FES has indicated
that the salt drift deposition must be above 90 lbs/acre/year before
agriculture plant productivity would be reduced. PSEG has estimated
that the proposed EPU would not significantly increase the rate of salt
drift deposition from the increase in cooling tower operation. PSEG has
estimated that the increase in salt drift deposition rate would be 9
percent to a maximum of 0.109 lbs/acre/year. Therefore, the NRC staff
concludes that there would be no significant salt drift deposition
impacts associated with HCGS cooling tower operation for the proposed
Because the HCGS cooling tower is natural draft, no increase in
noise is expected. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that there would
be no significant noise impacts associated with HCGS cooling tower
operation for the proposed action.
PSEG has indicated that there would be no significant increase in
fogging or icing expected for the proposed EPU. Increased ground-level
fogging and icing resulting from water droplets in the cooling tower
drift may interfere with highway traffic. The 1984 FES evaluated the
impacts of fogging and icing associated with the operation of the
natural draft cooling tower at HCGS and found these impacts to be
insignificant and inconsequential. The fact that the nearest
agricultural or residential land is located several miles from the site
further minimizes the potential for impact. Therefore, the NRC staff
concludes that there would be no significant fogging or icing impacts
associated with HCGS cooling tower operation for the proposed action.
The 1984 FES has stated that although some birds may collide with
cooling tower, unpublished surveys at existing cooling towers indicated
that the number would be relatively small. The proposed EPU would not
increase the risk of wildlife colliding with cooling tower. Therefore,
the NRC staff concludes that there would be no significant wildlife
impacts associated with HCGS cooling tower operation for the proposed
The proposed EPU would increase the particulates emission rate from
the HCGS cooling tower, from the current rate of 29.4 pounds per hour
(lbs/hr) to an average rate of 35.6 lbs/hr (maximum 42.0 lbs/hr).
Particulates (primarily salts) from the cooling tower have an
aerodynamic particle size of less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10).
The NJDEP has imposed a maximum hourly emission rate for particulates
at 30 lbs/hr. Therefore, the projected particulate emission rate from
the HCGS cooling tower, due to the proposed EPU, would exceed the NJDEP
emission regulatory limit. On March 30, 2007, NJDEP issued a Public
Notice and Draft Title V Air Operating Permit for the HCGS cooling
tower, proposing to authorize a variance to the HCGS air operating
permit with an hourly emission rate of 42 lbs/hr (NJDEP 2007a). On June
13, 2007, NJDEP issued the final Title V Air Operating Permit for HCGS
allowing a 42 lbs/hr particulate emission rate for the proposed EPU.
Since particulates from HCGS cooling tower consist primarily of
salts with particle size of less than 10 microns, the FES evaluated the
environmental impacts on air quality and found the impacts to be minor.
Furthermore, a prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) non-
applicability analysis was submitted to the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA)
Region 2, by PSEG on March 4, 2004. Based on the information
provided by PSEG, EPA concluded that the EPU project would not result
in a significant increase in emissions and would not be subject to PSD
review (NJDEP 2007a). In addition, NJDEP has stated that the Bureau of
Technical Services reviewed the Air Quality Modeling for the proposed
Hope Creek uprate project and determined that the project would meet
the National Ambient Air Quality Standards and the New Jersey Ambient
Air Quality Standards. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that there
would be no significant particulate emission impacts associated with
HCGS cooling tower operation for the proposed action.
Transmission Facility Impacts
The potential impacts associated with transmission facilities
include changes in transmission line right-of-way (ROW) maintenance and
electric shock hazards due to increased current. The proposed EPU would
not require any physical modifications to the transmission lines.
PSEG's transmission line ROW maintenance practices, including the
management of vegetation growth, would not change. PSEG did not provide
an estimate of the increase in the operating voltage due to the EPU.
Based on experience from EPUs at other plants, the NRC staff concludes
that the increase in the operating voltage would be negligible. Because
the voltage would not change significantly, there would be no
significant change in the potential for electric shock. Modifications
to onsite transmission equipment are necessary to support the EPU; such
changes include replacement of the high- and low-pressure turbines, and
the replacement of the main transformer (PSEG 2005). No long-term
environmental impacts from these replacements are anticipated.
The proposed EPU would increase the current, which would affect the
electromagnetic field. The National Electric Safety Code (NESC)
provides design criteria that limit hazards from steady-state currents.
The NESC limits the short-circuit current to the ground to less than 5
milliamperes. There would be an increase in current passing through the
transmission lines associated with the increased power level of the
proposed EPU. The increased electrical current passing through the
transmission lines would cause an increase in electromagnetic field
strength. However, since the increase in power level is approximately
15 percent, the impact of exposure to electromagnetic fields from the
offsite transmission lines would not be expected to increase
significantly over the current impact. The transmission lines meet the
applicable shock prevention provision of the NESC. Therefore, even with
the slight increase in current attributable to the EPU, adequate
protection is provided against hazards from electrical shock.
The 1984 FES evaluated bird mortality resulting from collision with
towers and conductors. The FES has estimated that only 0.07 percent of
the mortality of waterfowls from causes other than hunting resulted
from collision with towers and conductors at HCGS. Because the proposed
EPU does not require physical modifications to the transmission line
system, the additional impacts of bird mortality would be minimal.
The impacts associated with transmission facilities for the
proposed action would not change significantly relative to the impacts
from current plant operation. There would be no physical modifications
to the transmission lines, transmission line ROW maintenance practices
would not change, there would be no changes to transmission line ROW or
vertical ground clearances, and electric current passing through the
transmission lines would increase only slightly. Therefore, the NRC
staff concludes there would be no significant impacts associated with
transmission facilities for the proposed action.
Water Use Impacts
Potential water use impacts from the proposed EPU include localized
effects on the Delaware Estuary and changes to plant water supply. HCGS
is located on the eastern shore of the Delaware Estuary. The estuary is
approximately 2.5 miles wide, and the tidal flow past HCGS is
approximately 259,000 million gallons per day (MGD) (NRC 2001). The
Delaware Estuary is the source of cooling water for the HCGS
circulating water system, a closed-cycle system that utilizes a natural
draft cooling tower. During normal plant operations, water usage at
HCGS accounts for less than 0.03 percent of the average tidal flow of
the Delaware Estuary (PSEG 2005).
HCGS's service water system withdraws approximately 67 MGD from the
Delaware Estuary for cooling and makeup water. When estuary water
temperature is less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit ([deg]F), two pumps
operate to supply an average service water flow rate of approximately
37,000 gallon per minute (gpm). When estuary water temperature is
greater than 70 [deg]F, three pumps operate to supply an average
service water flow rate of approximately 52,000 gpm (Najarian
Associates 2004). Estuary water is delivered to the cooling tower basin
and acts primarily as makeup water to the circulating water system--
replacing 47 MGD that are returned to the estuary as cooling tower
blowdown, and depending upon meteorological conditions and the
circulating water flow rate, replacing approximately 10-13 MGD of
cooling water that are lost through evaporation from the cooling tower.
Approximately 7 MGD of the 67 MGD are used for intake screen wash water
and strainer backwash. The circulating water system has an operating
capacity of 11 million gallons; however, approximately 9 million
gallons of water actually reside in the circulating water system at any
given time. Water is re-circulated through the condensers at a rate of
approximately 550,000 gpm (PSEG 2005). No changes to the HCGS
circulating water or service water systems are expected due to the
proposed EPU; therefore, the proposed EPU would not increase the amount
of water withdrawn from or discharged to the Delaware Estuary.
Consumptive use of surface water by HCGS is not expected to change
substantively as a result of the proposed EPU and is regulated by the
Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) through a water use contract.
The proposed EPU would likely result in a small increase in cooling
tower blowdown temperature. To mitigate this temperature increase, PSEG
has modified its cooling tower to improve its thermal performance, and
as discussed in the following section, thermal discharge to the
Delaware Estuary would remain within the regulatory limits set by the
New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES) permit
granted to HCGS by NJDEP (PSEG 2005; NJDEP 2002).
Two groundwater wells access the Raritan aquifer to provide
domestic and process water to HCGS. The wells are permitted by NJDEP
and are also regulated by DRBC. The proposed EPU would not increase the
use of groundwater by HCGS or change the limits of groundwater use
currently set by DRBC (PSEG 2005). As such, the conclusions in the 1984
FES regarding groundwater use at HCGS would remain valid for the
The proposed EPU would not increase the amount of surface water
withdrawn from the Delaware Estuary and groundwater use at HCGS would
not increase. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes the proposed EPU would
have negligible water use impacts on the estuary.
Potential impacts to a water body from power plant discharge
include increased turbidity, scouring, erosion, sedimentation,
contamination, and water temperature. Because the proposed EPU would
not increase the amount of cooling tower blowdown discharged to the
Delaware Estuary, turbidity, scouring, erosion, and sedimentation would
not be expected to significantly impact the estuary. Additionally, the
proposed EPU would not introduce any new contaminants to the Delaware
Estuary and would not significantly increase any potential contaminants
that are presently regulated by the station's NJPDES permit. The
concentration of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the cooling tower
blowdown would increase due to
the increased rate of evaporation; however, the amount of blowdown
discharged to the estuary would decrease, and the concentration of TDS
would remain within the station's NJPDES permit limits.
Although the amount of water withdrawn from the Delaware Estuary
would remain unchanged, the proposed EPU would result in a slight
increase in the temperature of the cooling tower blowdown discharged to
the estuary. The station's NJPDES permit imposes limits on the
temperature of the blowdown and the amount of heat rejected to the
estuary by the HCGS circulating water system. The NJDES permit
specifies that the 24-hour average maximum blowdown temperature is
limited to 97.1 [deg]F, and heat rejection is limited to 662 million
British thermal units per hour (MBTU/hr) from September 1 through May
31 and 534 MBTU/hr from June 1 through August 31. DRBC also imposes
thermal regulations on HCGS through the NJPDES permit, specifying that
the net temperature increase of the Delaware Estuary may not exceed 4
[deg]F from September through May, and 1.5 [deg]F from June through
August or estuary water temperature may not exceed a maximum of 86
[deg]F, whichever is less. These limitations apply to waters outside of
the heat dissipation area, which extends 2,500 feet upstream and
downstream of the discharge point and 1,500 feet offshore from the
discharge point. The NJPDES permit provides an exception for occasional
excess blowdown temperatures during extreme meteorological conditions
(a coincident occurrence of a wet-bulb temperature above 76 [deg]F and
relative humidity below 60 percent); however, the net temperature
limitations may never be exceeded (Najarian Associates 2004).
The 1984 FES concluded that the station's shoreline discharge would
not adversely affect the estuary because of its large tidal influence,
which would dilute, mix, and rapidly dissipate the heated effluent
(PSEG 2005). Hydrothermal modeling conducted for the proposed EPU
determined that, even during extreme meteorological conditions, the
post-EPU increase in cooling tower blowdown temperature would not
exceed 91.7 [deg]F, and the station would continue to comply with all
applicable Delaware Estuary water quality standards set by the
station's NJPDES permit and DRBC (Najarian Associates 2004).
In addition to setting thermal discharge limits, the NJPDES permit
also regulates all surface and wastewater discharges from the station.
The NJPDES permit, effective March 1, 2003, regulates discharge from
six outfalls at HCGS, including the cooling tower blowdown, low volume
oily wastewater, stormwater, and sewage treatment; these discharges
ultimately flow to the Delaware Estuary. As required by the NJPDES
permit, in addition to temperature, cooling tower blowdown is monitored
for flow, pH, chlorine produced oxidants (CPOs), total suspended
solids, TDS, and total organic carbon. HCGS operates a dechlorination
system that utilizes ammonium bisulfate to reduce CPOs in the blowdown.
Furthermore, acute and chronic biological toxicity tests were routinely
performed on cooling tower blowdown from 1998 through 2001 to comply
with NJDEP non-toxicity regulations (PSEG 2005).
The NJPDES permit sets monitoring, sampling, and reporting
requirements for all HCGS discharges. A search of the NJDEP Open Public
Records Act Datamine online database revealed no water quality
violations for HCGS (NJDEP 2007).
With the exception of increased blowdown temperature and TDS
concentration, as discussed above, the proposed EPU would not be
expected to alter the composition or volume of any other effluents,
including stormwater drainage, oily water, and sewage treatment (PSEG
2005). Blowdown temperature and composition, and Delaware Estuary water
temperatures would remain in compliance with the station's NJPDES
permit, and the proposed EPU would not result in changes in any other
effluents to the estuary. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the
proposed EPU would result in negligible impacts on the Delaware Estuary
from HCGS discharge.
Impacts on Aquatic Biota
The potential impacts to aquatic biota from the proposed action are
primarily due to operation of the cooling water system and to
maintenance of transmission line ROWs. Cooling water withdrawal affects
aquatic populations through impingement of larger individuals (e.g.,
fish, some crustaceans, turtles) on the intake trash bars and debris
screens and entrainment of smaller organisms that pass through the
screens into the cooling water system. The proposed action would not
change the volume or rate of cooling water withdrawn. Most of the
additional heat generated under the proposed EPU would be dissipated by
the cooling tower, and PSEG proposes no changes to the cooling water
Discharge of heated effluent alters natural thermal and current
regimes and can induce thermal shock in aquatic organisms. The HCGS
effluent would change under the proposed EPU. Because the volume of
makeup water withdrawn from the estuary would remain unchanged and the
volume of evaporative loss from the cooling tower would increase, the
volume of the blowdown released as effluent, which is the difference
between the water withdrawn and the water lost to evaporation, would
decrease. The increased evaporation would leave behind more solids in
the blowdown, so the concentration of TDS in the effluent would be an
average of about 9 percent higher than under current operations
(Najarian Associates 2004). The effluent would also be somewhat warmer,
but modeling predicts that all present NJPDES permit conditions for the
effluent would still be met (Najarian Associates 2004).
PSEG proposes no new transmission line ROWs and no change in
current maintenance procedures for transmission line ROWs under the
proposed EPU, so this potential source of impact will not be considered
further for aquatic resources.
The potential receptors of the environmental stressors of
impingement, entrainment, and heat shock are the aquatic communities in
the Delaware Estuary near HCGS. Ecologists typically divide such
communities into the following categories for convenience when
considering ecological impacts of power plants: Microbes,
phytoplankton, submerged aquatic vegetation, invertebrate zooplankton,
benthic invertebrates, fish, and sometimes birds, reptiles (e.g., sea
turtles), and marine mammals. Of these, effects of power plant
operation have been consistently demonstrated only for fish.
Unless otherwise noted, the following information on Delaware
Estuary fish and blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) is from information
summarized in the 2006 Salem NJPDES Permit Application (NJDEP 2006).
Salem is an adjacent nuclear power plant that has conducted several
large studies in support of permitting of its once-through cooling
water system. About 200 species of fish have been reported from the
Delaware Estuary. Some are resident, some are seasonal migrants, and
some are occasional strays. In its NJPDES Permit Application, PSEG
selected 11 species, one invertebrate and ten fish, as species
representative of the aquatic community (Table 1).
Table 1.--Species Representative of the Delaware Estuary Aquatic Community Near Artificial Island
Common name Scientific name Comment
..... Callinectes sapidus.....
... Swimming crab, abundant in the estuary.
Recreational and commercial species.
. Alosa pseudoharengus.
...... Anadromous herring; abundant in the
. Alosa sapidissima.
......... Anadromous herring; abundant in the
estuary. Recreational and commercial
. Micropogonias undulatus...
. Drum family. Delaware Estuary stock may
be single population. Recreational and
. Brevoortia tyrannus....
.... Herring. Larvae and juveniles use the
estuary as a nursery. Commercial
. Menidia menidia.....
....... Resident in intertidal marsh creeks and
...... Anchoa mitchelli...
........ Common in the bay and tidal river zones.
. Alosa aestivalis..
......... Anadromous herring; abundant in the
. Leiostomus xanthurus...
.... Drum family. Juveniles use the estuary as
a nursery. Recreational and commercial
.. Morone saxatilis...
........ Anadromous temperate bass. Recreational
and commercial species.
. Cynoscion regalis.....
..... Drum family. Larvae and juveniles use the
estuary as nursery. Recreational and
.... Morone americana...
........ Temperate bass. Year-round residents
anadromous within estuary. Recreational
Source: NJDEP 2006.
HCGS is located in the Delaware Estuary between the Delaware River
upstream and the wide Delaware Bay downstream. Estuaries are drowned
river valleys where fresh water from rivers mixes with the higher
salinity water of the ocean and bays. In estuaries, salinity and water
temperature may change with season, tides, and meteorological
conditions. Typically, few species are resident in an estuary all of
their lives, perhaps because surviving the wide variations in salinity
and temperature poses physiological challenges to fish and
invertebrates. The predominant resident fish species in the Delaware
Estuary are hogchoker (Trinectes maculatus), white perch (Morone
americana), bay anchovy (Anchoa mitchelli), Atlantic and tidewater
silversides (Menidia menidia and M. peninsulae, respectively)
goby (Gobiosoma bosc), and mummichog (Fundulus heteroclitus)
Resident fish species are represented by Atlantic silversides, bay
anchovy, and white perch (Table 1). Atlantic silversides are relatively
small common fish that inhabit intertidal creeks and shore zones. They
mature in less than a year and seldom live beyond 2 years. Although
there may be no discernable long-term trend in abundance in the
Delaware Estuary, the short-term trend appears to be decreasing
abundance. Bay anchovy may be the most abundant species in the estuary.
This small fish overwinters in deep areas of the lower estuary and
near-shore coastal zone. Though bay anchovies tend to stay in the lower
part of the estuary, they stray as far north as Trenton. They tend to
mature in the summer following their birth. Typically two spawning
peaks occur, one in late May and one in mid-July, although some
spawning occurs all summer. Most spawning occurs where salinity exceeds
20 parts per thousand (ppt), but some spawning may occur throughout the
estuary. Although no long-term trend in abundance is evident, abundance
since the mid-1990s appears to be declining. White perch are found
throughout the brackish portions of the estuary. They are anadromous
within the estuary (``semi-anadromous'
'), meaning that they undergo a
seasonal migration from the deeper, more saline areas where they
overwinter in fresh, shallow waters in the spring to spawn and then
return to more brackish waters. They typically mature in 2 to 3 years.
The abundance of white perch in the Delaware Estuary appears to be
stable or increasing, possibly in response to long-term improvements in
Adult blue crabs are resident macro-invertebrates in the Delaware
Estuary, although their larvae are not. After mating in shallow
brackish areas of the upper estuary in spring, adult females migrate to
the mouth of the bay. The eggs, which are extruded and carried on the
undersides of females, hatch typically in the warm (77-86 [deg]F), high
salinity (18-26 ppt) waters of the lower bay in summer. After hatching,
the larvae pass through seven planktonic stages, called zoeae, and move
offshore with near-shore surface currents. The first post-larval stage,
called a megalops, uses wind-driven currents and tides to move inshore.
They then metamorphose to the first crab stage and move up the estuary.
Adult male crabs do not migrate from the upper estuary. Crabs typically
mature when 1 or 2 years old. Between 1980 and 2004, blue crab
abundance in the Delaware Estuary appears to have increased.
Anadromous species live their adult lives at sea and migrate into
fresh water to spawn. The most common anadromous fish species in the
Delaware Estuary are alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus)
, American shad (A.
, blueback herring (A. aestivalis), and striped bass
(Morone saxatilis), of which the first three are members of the herring
family. The endangered shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) is
also anadromous. The ecology of the three herrings is similar, as is
their appearance. All use the estuary as spawning and nursery habitat.
All migrate to fresh water in the spring and are believed to return to
their natal streams to spawn. The newly hatched larvae are planktonic
and move downstream with the current. Juveniles remain in freshwater
nursery areas throughout the summer and migrate to sea in the fall.
They then remain at sea until maturity and migrate along the coast.
Alewife have become more abundant since 1980, although the trend since
1990 is unclear. Abundance of American shad in the Delaware Estuary
drastically declined in the early 1900s due to poor water quality, dam
construction, over-fishing, and habitat destruction. American shad
began to recover in the 1960s and 1980s and appears to be recovering
still. No trends are evident in blueback herring abundance.
Striped bass is a fairly large member of the temperate bass family,
which also includes white perch. Adult striped bass, which may reach
weights of over 100 pounds, migrate up the estuary to fresh and
brackish waters in the spring to spawn and are believed to return to
their natal rivers and streams for spawning. The newly hatched larvae
planktonic and move downstream with the current. Small juveniles use
fresh and brackish areas as nurseries, and larger juveniles use the
higher salinity waters of the lower estuary as feeding grounds. Adult
striped bass live at sea and the lower estuary and migrate along the
coast. Like American shad, the striped bass population in the Delaware
Estuary declined prior to the 1980s but is now recovering.
The most common marine species that use the estuary include
weakfish (Cynoscion regalis), spot (Leiostomus xanthurus), Atlantic
croaker (Micropogonias undulatus), bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix),
summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatas), and Atlantic menhaden
(Brevoortia tyrannus). Four of these, weakfish, spot, Atlantic croaker,
and Atlantic menhaden, are shown as representative in Table 1. Atlantic
croaker, spot, and weakfish are members of the drum family. Adult
Atlantic croaker inhabit the deep, open areas of the lower bay from
late spring through mid-fall. They spawn from July through April along
the continental shelf. Larval Atlantic croaker first move with the
currents and later move to the shallow areas of the bay. Juveniles use
the shallow areas and tidal creeks in fresh and brackish water as
nurseries, but move into deeper water during colder periods. They
mature at about 2 to 4 years of age. Abundance of Atlantic croaker in
the Delaware Estuary has been increasing since the early 1990s. Spot
spawn over the continental shelf from late September through April.
Larvae live in the ocean then move to the Bay. The young juveniles move
upstream into tidal creeks and tributaries with low salinity. Like
Atlantic croaker, spot move into deeper water during colder periods.
Spot mature at 1 to 3 years old. Abundance of spot appears to be
negatively related to the abundance of Atlantic croaker and has been
decreasing. Weakfish spawn in the mouth of Delaware Bay in mid-May
through mid-September, and after hatching, the larvae move up into the
estuary to nursery areas of lower salinity (3 to 15 ppt). In mid-to-
late summer they move south to mesohaline nursery grounds, and as
temperatures decline in fall, the juveniles move south from the nursery
areas to the continental shelf and south. They mature at an age of 1 or
2 years. Abundance of weakfish in the Delaware Estuary appear to have
increased from the 1970s to 1990s and then declined.
Atlantic menhaden is a pelagic species that overwinters on the
shelf, and large numbers overwinter off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
The population moves north along the coast in the spring and south in
the fall. The populations spawn all year, and peak spawning occurs off
the Delaware Bay in spring and fall. The larvae move by wind-driven
currents into estuarine nursery grounds, where they transform to
juveniles and move upstream to oligohaline waters and then move out the
estuary with falling temperatures. In the fall, they congregate into
dense schools and move out of the estuary and south along the coast.
Atlantic menhaden mature at about age two. No trend in abundance in the
Delaware Estuary is apparent.
While the identity of species potentially affected by entrainment,
impingement, and heat shock may be inferred from ecological information
about the Delaware Estuary, the species affected cannot be verified,
and the numbers cannot be quantified because no environmental
monitoring programs are conducted at the HCGS. Impinged organisms are
most likely to die, and the fish-return system does not function
continuously to minimize mortality. All organisms entrained at HCGS,
which operates a cooling tower, are probably killed from exposure to
heat, mechanical, pressure-related stresses, and possibly biocidal
chemicals before being discharged to the estuary.
The NRC staff found few data with which to assess impacts to
aquatic organisms due to operation of HCGS. Under the proposed EPU,
water withdrawal rates would not change from present conditions.
Entrainment and impingement impacts may change over time due to changes
in the aquatic populations even though HCGS's water withdrawal rate
would not change from present conditions. Impacts due to impingement
and entrainment losses are minimized because the closed-cycle cooling
system at the plant minimizes the amount of cooling water withdrawn
from and heated effluent returned to the estuary. The water quality of
the effluent (e.g., temperature, toxicity, TDS concentrations) would
continue to meet present NJPDES permit conditions for protection of
aquatic life. The staff concludes that the proposed EPU would have no
significant impact to aquatic biota.
Essential Fish Habitat Consultation
The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA)
identifies the importance of habitat protection to healthy fisheries.
Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) is defined as those waters and substrata
necessary for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity
(Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1801, et seq.). Designating EFH is an
essential component in the development of Fishery Management Plans to
minimize habitat loss or degradation of fishery stocks and to take
actions to mitigate such damage. The consultation requirements of
Section 305(b) of the MSA provide that Federal agencies consult with
the Secretary of Commerce on all actions or proposed actions
authorized, funded, or undertaken by the agency that may adversely
affect EFH. An EFH assessment for the proposed EPU was sent to the
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) under separate cover to
initiate an EFH consultation.
Impacts on Terrestrial Biota
The potential impacts to terrestrial biota from the proposed action
would be those from transmission line ROW maintenance. Under EPU
conditions, PSEG does not plan to change transmission line maintenance
or add new transmission lines. In addition, PSEG does not plan to
conduct major refurbishment of significant land-disturbing activities
in order to implement the proposed EPU. Because no changes are planned
that have the potential to impact terrestrial biota, the NRC staff
concludes that the proposed EPU would have no impacts to terrestrial
biota associated with transmission line ROW maintenance.
Threatened and Endangered Species and Critical Habitat
In a letter dated December 8, 2006, pursuant to Section 7 of the
Endangered Species Act of 1969, as amended, the NRC requested from the
NMFS a list of species and information on protected, proposed, and
candidate species and critical habitat that are under their
jurisdiction and may be in the vicinity of HCGS and its associated
transmission lines. In response, NMFS issued a letter dated January 26,
2007, that provided information on the endangered shortnose sturgeon;
Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus), a candidate
species for listing; and five species of endangered or threatened sea
turtles: Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), Kemp's ridley (Lepidochelys
kempii), leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), green (Chelonia mydas),
and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) turtles. The NRC staff
investigated the effects of HCGS operation on these species and found
that the primary concern for these endangered and threatened species is
the risk of impingement or entrainment due to cooling water intake by
the plant. The proposed EPU would not change the intake flow, and,
therefore, would not increase in the risk of impingement and
entrainment. To dissipate the additional heat created by the EPU, the
temperature of the plant's cooling water discharge would be slightly
elevated, but still within the NJPDES 24-hour average temperature limit
of 97.1 [deg]F. In addition, HCGS has had no takes of any of the
endangered or threatened species listed above. Therefore, the NRC staff
anticipates no effects related to the intake or discharge on threatened
or endangered species under NMFS's jurisdiction, and on May 3, 2007,
sent a letter to NMFS concluding the informal Section 7 consultation.
Although an informal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service regarding bald eagles was initiated for the HCGS, the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service delisted bald eagles pursuant to the Endangered
Species Act on July 9, 2007, and concluded the informal consultation.
The potential socioeconomic impacts due to the proposed EPU include
changes in the payments in lieu of taxes for Lower Alloways Creek
Township and Salem County and changes in the size of the workforce at
HCGS. Nearly 70 percent of HCGS employees currently resides in Salem,
Cumberland, and Gloucester Counties in New Jersey.
The proposed EPU would not increase the size of the HCGS workforce,
since proposed plant modifications and other planned activities would
be handled by the current workforce or would be phased in during
planned outages. Also, the proposed EPU would not increase the size of
the HCGS workforce during future refueling outages. Therefore, the
proposed EPU would not have any measurable effect on annual earnings
and income in Salem, Cumberland, and Gloucester Counties nor would
there be any increased demand for community services.
According to the 2000 Census, Salem, Cumberland, and Gloucester
County populations were about 20.4, 41.6, and 14.3 percent minority,
respectively (USCB 2000). The percentages of minority populations
residing in Salem and Gloucester Counties were well below the State
minority population of 34.0 percent. In addition, the poverty rates for
individuals living in Salem and Cumberland Counties were 9.5 and 15.0
percent, respectively, which were higher than the State's average of
8.5 percent (the Gloucester County poverty rate was 6.2 percent)(USCB
2000a). Even though these percentages are relatively high, the proposed
EPU would not have any disproportionately high and adverse impacts to
minority and low-income populations, because no significant
environmental impacts were identified during the analysis.
The proposed EPU could affect the value of HCGS and the amount of
monies paid to local jurisdictions, in-lieu-of-property tax payments,
because the total amount of tax money to be distributed would increase
as power generation increases and because the proposed EPU would
increase HCGS's value, thus resulting in potentially larger payments to
Lower Alloways Creek Township and Salem County. Also, because the
proposed EPU would increase the economic viability of HCGS, the
probability of early plant retirement would be reduced. Early plant
retirement would have a negative impact on the local economy by
reducing or eliminating payments to Lower Alloways Creek Township and
Salem County and limiting employment opportunities in the region.
Since the proposed EPU would not affect annual earnings and income
in Salem County, nor demand for community services and due to the lack
of significant environmental impacts on minority or low-income
populations, there would be no significant socioeconomic or
environmental justice impacts associated with the proposed EPU.
Conversely, the proposed EPU could have a positive effect on the
regional economy because of the potential increase in the payments in-
lieu-of-taxes received by the Lower Alloways Creek Township and Salem
County, due to the potential increase in the book value of HCGS and
long-term viability of HCGS.
The proposed EPU would not result in a significant change in non-
radiological impacts in the areas of land use, water use, waste
discharges, cooling tower operation, terrestrial and aquatic biota,
transmission facility operation, or socioeconomic factors. No other
non-radiological impacts were identified or would be expected. Table 2
summarizes the non-radiological environmental impacts of the proposed
EPU at HCGS.
Table 2.--Summary of Non-Radiological Environmental Impacts
... No significant land use modifications;
installed temporary office space to
......... No significant aesthetic impact; no
significant fogging or icing.
.... No physical modifications to transmission
lines or ROWs; lines meet shock safety
requirements; small increase in
electrical current would cause small
increase in electromagnetic field around
.. No configuration change to intake
structure; no increase rate of
withdrawal; slight increase in water
consumption due to increased
evaporation; no water use conflicts.
........ Increase in water temperature and
containment concentration discharged to
Delaware River; would meet discharge
limits in current NJPDES permit
following EPU implementation.
......... Entrainment and impingement losses may
change over time due to changes in the
aquatic population but are minimized
because of the closed-cycle cooling
system utilized at the plant. The water
quality of the effluent would continue
to meet NJPDES permit conditions for
protection of aquatic life. EFH
..... No land disturbance or changes to
transmission line ROW maintenance are
expected; therefore, there would be no
significant effects on terrestrial
species or their habitat.
Threatened and Endangered No significant impacts are expected on
Species. threatened or endangered species or
their habitat. Informal consultation
with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
...... No change in the size of HCGS labor force
required for plant operation and planned
outages; proposed EPU could increase
payments in-lieu-of-taxes to Lower
Alloways Creek Township and Salem County
as well as the book value of HCGS; there
would be no disproportionately high and
adverse impact on minority and low-
The NRC staff evaluated radiological environmental impacts on waste
streams, dose, accident analysis, and fuel cycle and transportation
factors. Following is a general discussion of these issues and an
evaluation of their environmental impacts.
Radioactive Waste Stream Impacts
HCGS uses waste treatment systems designed to collect, process, and
dispose of gaseous, liquid, and solid wastes that might contain
radioactive material in a
safe and controlled manner such that the discharges are in accordance
with the requirements of Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations
(10 CFR) Part 20, and Appendix I to 10 CFR part 50.
The licensee has indicated that operation at EPU conditions would
not result in any changes in the operation or design of equipment in
the radioactive waste solid waste, liquid waste, or gaseous waste
management systems (GWMS). The safety and reliability of these systems
would be unaffected by the power uprate. Neither the environmental
monitoring of any of these waste streams nor the radiological
monitoring requirements of the HCGS Technical Specifications and/or
Offsite Dose Calculation Manual (ODCM) would be affected by the EPU.
Furthermore, the EPU would not introduce any new or different
radiological release pathways, nor would it increase the probability of
either an operator error or an equipment malfunction, that would result
in an uncontrolled radioactive release (PSEG 2005). The EPU would
produce a larger amount of fission and activation products; however,
the waste treatment systems are designed to handle the additional
source term. The specific effects on each of the radioactive waste
management systems are evaluated below.
Gaseous Radioactive Waste and Offsite Doses
During normal operation, HCGS's GWMS processes and controls the
release of gaseous radioactive effluents to the environment. The GWMS
includes the off-gas system and various building ventilation systems.
The radioactive release rate of the gaseous effluent is well monitored
and administratively controlled by the HCGS ODCM (PSEG 2005). The
single year highest annual releases of gaseous radioactive material,
for the time period 2000-2004, were 6.30 Curies (Ci) for noble gases in
2003, 0.0060 Ci for particulates in 2000, and 0.014 Ci for iodines in
2004 (PSEG 2005).
The licensee has estimated that the amount of radioactive material
released in gaseous effluents would increase in proportion to the
increase in power level (15 percent) (PSEG 2005). Based on experience
from EPUs at other plants, the NRC staff concludes that this is an
acceptable estimate. The dose to a member of the public, including the
additional gaseous radioactive material that would be released from the
proposed EPU, is calculated to still be well within the radiation
standards of 10 CFR Part 20 and the dose design objectives of Appendix
I to 10 CFR part 50. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the impact
from the EPU would not be significant.
Liquid Radioactive Waste and Offsite Doses
During normal operation, HCGS's Liquid Waste Management System
(LWMS) processes and controls 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 the
design objectives of Appendix I to 10 CFR part 50. The LWMS is designed
to process the waste and then recycles it within the plant as
condensate, reprocesses it through the radioactive waste system for
further purification, or discharges it to the environment as liquid
radioactive waste effluent in accordance with facility procedures which
comply with New Jersey and Federal regulations. The radioactive release
rate of the liquid effluent is well monitored and administratively
controlled by the HCGS ODCM (PSEG 2005). The single year highest annual
releases of liquid radioactive material, for the time period 2000-2004,
were 54,742,400 gallons (2.072E+8 liters) and 0.068 Ci of fission and
activating products in 2003 (PSEG 2005).
Even though the EPU would produce a larger amount of radioactive
fission and activation products and a larger volume of liquid to be
processed, the licensee expects the LWMS to remove all but a small
amount of the increased radioactive material. The licensee has
estimated that the volume of radioactive liquid effluents released to
the environment and the amount of radioactive material in the liquid
effluents would increase by 2.2 percent, due to the EPU. Based on
experience from EPUs at other plants, the NRC staff concludes that this
is an acceptable estimate. The dose to a member of the public,
including the additional liquid radioactive material that would be
released from the proposed EPU, is calculated to still be well within
the radiation standards of 10 CFR part 20 and the dose design
objectives of Appendix I to 10 CFR part 50. Therefore, the NRC staff
concludes that the impact from the EPU would not be significant.
Solid Radioactive Waste and Offsite Doses
During normal operation, HCGS's Solid Waste Management System
(SWMS) collects, processes, packages, and temporarily stores
radioactive dry and wet solid wastes prior to shipment offsite and
permanent disposal. The SWMS is designed to package the wet and dry
types of radioactive solid waste for offsite shipment and burial, in
accordance with the requirements of applicable NRC and Department of
Transportation regulations, including 10 CFR part 61, 10 CFR part 71,
and 49 CFR parts 170 through 178. This results in radiation exposures
to a member of the public to be well within the limits of 10 CFR part
20 and the design objectives of Appendix I to 10 CFR part 50. The
volume of solid radioactive waste generated varied from about 11.7 to
almost 90.4 cubic meters per year for the time period 2000-2004; the
largest volume generated was 90.4 cubic meters in 2002. The amount of
solid radioactive material in the waste generated varied from 1 to
almost 600 Ci per year during that same period. The largest amount of
radioactive material generated in the solid waste was 591 Ci in 2001
The EPU would produce a larger amount of radioactive fission and
activation products, and treatment of this increase would require more
frequent replacement or regeneration of SWMS filters and demineralizer
resins. The licensee has estimated that the volume and radioactivity of
solid radioactive waste would increase by approximately 14.7 percent
from the average of the time period 2000-2004, due to the EPU (PSEG
2005). Based on experience from EPUs at other plants, the NRC staff
concludes that this is an acceptable estimate. Therefore, the staff
concludes that the impact from the increased volume of solid radwaste
generated due to the EPU would not be significant.
The licensee estimates that the EPU would require replacement of 10
percent more fuel assemblies at each refueling. This increase in the
amount of spent fuel being generated would require an increase in the
number of dry fuel storage casks used to store spent fuel. However, the
current dry fuel storage facility at HCGS can accommodate the increase.
Occupational Radiation Doses
The proposed EPU would result in the production of more radioactive
material and higher radiation dose rates in some areas at HCGS. PSEG's
radiation protection staff will monitor these increased dose rates and
make adjustments in shielding, access requirements, decontamination
methods, and procedures as necessary to minimize the dose to workers.
In addition, occupational dose to individual workers must be maintained
within the limits of 10 CFR part 20 and as low as reasonably
The licensee has estimated that after the implementation of EPU,
the estimated annual average collective occupational dose would be in
the range of 146 person-rem, representing a 16-percent increase of in-
plant occupation exposure (PSEG 2005). According to the 2004 report on
``Occupational Radiation Exposure at Commercial Nuclear Power Reactors
and Other Facilities,'
' the highest HCGS occupational exposure is 240
person-rem in 2004, for the time period 2002-2004 (NUREG 2004). The
dose to a member of HCGS personnel from the radiation exposures
described above, increased by 20 percent, would still be well within
the radiation standards of 10 CFR part 20. Based on experience from
EPUs at other plants, the NRC staff concludes that these estimates are
acceptable. Based on these estimates, the NRC staff concludes that the
increase in occupational exposure would not be significant.
Offsite Radiation Doses
Offsite radiation dose consists of three components: Gaseous,
liquid, and direct gamma radiation. As previously discussed under the
Gaseous Radiological Wastes and Liquid Radiological Wastes sections,
the estimated doses to a member of the public from gaseous and liquid
effluents after the EPU is implemented would be within the dose design
objectives of Appendix I to 10 CFR part 50.
The final component of offsite dose is from direct gamma radiation
dose from radioactive waste stored temporarily onsite, including spent
fuel in dry cask storage, and radionuclides (mainly nitrogen-16) in the
steam from the reactor passing through the turbine system. The high
energy radiation from nitrogen-16 is scattered or reflected by the air
above the site and represents an additional public radiation dose
pathway known as ``skyshine.'
' The licensee estimated that the offsite
radiation dose from skyshine would increase linearly with the increase
in power level from the EPU (15 percent); more nitrogen-16 is produced
at the higher EPU power and less of the nitrogen-16 decays before it
reaches the turbine system because of the higher rate of steam flow due
to the EPU. The licensee's radiological environmental monitoring
program measures radiation dose at the site boundary and in the area
around the plant with an array of thermoluminescent dosimeters. The
licensee estimated that the offsite radiation dose would increase to
approximately 9.3 millirem (mrem), in proportion to the EPU power
increase (15 percent) (PSEG 2005). Based on experience from EPUs at
other plants, the NRC staff concludes that this is an acceptable
estimate. EPA regulation 40 CFR part 190, and NRC regulation 10 CFR
Part 20, limit the dose to any member of the public to 25 mrem per year
to the whole body from the entire nuclear fuel cycle. The offsite dose
from all sources, including radioactive gaseous and liquid effluents
and direct radiation, would still be well within this limit after the
EPU is implemented. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the
increase in offsite radiation dose would not be significant.
Postulated Accident Doses
As a result of implementation of the proposed EPU, there would be
an increase in the inventory of radionuclides in the reactor core; the
core inventory of radionuclides would increase as power level
increases. The concentration of radionuclides in the reactor coolant
may also increase; however, this concentration is limited by the HCGS
technical specifications. Therefore, the reactor coolant concentration
of radionuclides would not be expected to increase significantly. Some
of the radioactive waste streams and storage systems may also contain
slightly higher quantities of radioactive material. The calculated
doses from design basis postulated accidents for HCGS are currently
well below the criteria of 10 CFR 50.67. The licensee has estimated
that the radiological consequences of postulated accidents would
increase approximately in proportion to the increase in power level
from the EPU (15 percent). Based on experience from EPUs at other
plants, the NRC staff concludes that this is an acceptable estimate.
The calculated doses from design basis postulated accidents would still
be well within the criteria of 10 CFR 50.67 after the increase due to
the implementation of the EPU. These calculated doses are based on
conservative assumptions for the purposes of safety analyses. Estimates
of the radiological consequences of postulated accidents for the
purposes of estimating environmental impact are made by the NRC using
best estimate assumptions, which result in substantially lower dose
estimates. Therefore, the NRC staff concludes that the increase in
radiological consequences for postulated accidents due to the EPU would
not be significant.
Fuel Cycle and Transportation Impacts
The environmental impacts of the fuel cycle and transportation of
fuel and waste are described in Tables S-3 and S-4 of 10 CFR 51.51 and
10 CFR 51.52, respectively. An additional NRC generic EA (53 FR 30355,
dated August 11, 1988, as corrected by 53 FR 32322, dated August 24,
1988) evaluated the applicability of Tables S-3 and S-4 to a higher
burn-up fuel cycle and concluded that there would be no significant
change in environmental impact from the parameters evaluated in Tables
S-3 and S-4 for fuel cycles with uranium enrichments up to 5 weight
percent uranium-235 and burn-ups less than 60,000 MW days per metric
ton of uranium-235 (MWd/MTU).
The proposed EPU would increase the power level to 3,840 MWt, which
is approximately 1 percent above the reference power level of 3,800 MWt
for Table S-4. The increased power level of 3,840 MWt corresponds to
approximately 1,265 MWe, which is 26.5 percent above the reference
power level of 1,000 MWe for Table S-3. Part of the increase is due to
a more efficient turbine design; this increase in efficiency does not
affect the impacts of the fuel cycle and transportation of waste. More
fuel will be used in the reactor (more fuel assemblies will be replaced
at each refueling outage), and that will potentially affect the impacts
of the fuel cycle and transportation of waste. However, the fuel
enrichment and burn-up rate criteria will still be met because fuel
enrichment will be maintained no greater than 5 weight percent uranium-
235, and the fuel burn-up rate will be maintained within 60 MWd/MTU.
The NRC staff concludes that after adjusting for the effects of the
more efficient turbine, the potential increases in the impact due to
the uranium fuel cycle and the transportation of fuel and waste from
the increased amount of fuel used would not be significant.
Based on the NRC staff review of licensee submission and the FES
for operation, it is concluded that 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 Commission concludes that there would be no
significant radiological environmental impacts associated with the
proposed action. Table 3 summarizes the radiological environmental
impacts of the proposed EPU at HCGS.
Table 3.--Summary of Radiological Environmental Impacts
Gaseous Radiological Increased gaseous effluents (20 percent)
Effluents. would remain within NRC limits and dose
Liquid Radiological Effluents Increased liquid effluents (2.2 percent)
would remain within NRC limits and dose
Solid Radioactive Waste...... Increased amount of solid radioactive
waste generated (14.7 percent by volume
& 20 percent by radioactivity) would
remain bounded by evaluation in the FES.
Occupational Radiation Doses. Occupational dose would increase by
roughly 16 percent. Doses would be
maintained within NRC limits and as low
as is reasonably achievable.
Offsite Radiation Doses...... Radiation doses to members of the public
would increase to approximately 9.3 mrem
and continue to be well within NRC and
Postulated Accident Doses.... Calculated doses for postulated design-
basis accidents would remain within NRC
Fuel Cycle and Transportation Fuel enrichment and burnup rate criteria
Impacts. would be met. Potential increases in the
impact due to uranium fuel cycle and the
transportation of fuel and waste would
not be significant.
Alternatives to Proposed Action
As an alternative to the proposed action, the NRC staff considered
denial of the proposed EPU (i.e., the ``no-action'
Denial of the application would result in no change in the current
environmental impacts. However, if the proposed EPU were not approved,
other agencies and electric power organizations may be required to
pursue alternative means of providing electric generation capacity to
offset the increased power demand forecasted for the PJM regional
A reasonable alternative to the proposed EPU would be to purchase
power from other generators in the PJM network. In 2003, generating
capacity in PJM consisted primarily of fossil fuel-fired generators:
Coal generated 36.2 percent of PJM capacity, oil 14.3 percent, and
natural gas 6.8 percent. This indicates that purchased power in the PJM
territory would likely be generated by a fossil-fuel-
Construction (if new generation is needed) and operation of a fossil
fuel plant would create impacts in air quality, land use, and waste
management significantly greater than those identified for the proposed
EPU at HCGS. HCGS does not emit sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon
dioxide, or other atmospheric pollutants that are commonly associated
with fossil fuel plants. Conservation programs such as demand-side
management could feasibly replace the proposed EPU's additional power
output. However, forecasted future energy demand in the PJM territory
may exceed conservation savings and still require additional generating
capacity. Furthermore, the proposed EPU does not involve environmental
impacts that are significantly different from those originally
identified in the 1984 HCGS FES for operation.
Alternative Use of Resources
This action does not involve the use of any resources not
previously considered in the original FES for construction (AEC 1974).
Agencies and Persons Consulted
In accordance with its stated policy, on July 24, 2007, the NRC
staff consulted with the New Jersey State official, Mr. Jerry
Humphreys, of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection,
regarding the environmental impact of the proposed action. The state
official stated that any comments would be provided during the 30-day
public comment period.
Finding of No Significant Impact
On the basis of the EA, the NRC concludes that the proposed action
would not have a significant effect on the quality of the human
environment. Accordingly, the NRC has determined not to prepare an
Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed action.
For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the
licensee's application dated September 18, 2006, as supplemented on
October 10, and October 20, 2006; February 14, February 16, February
28, March 13 (2 letters), March 22, March 30 (2 letters), April 13,
April 18, April 30, May 10, May 18 (3 letters), May 24, June 22, and
August 3, 2007. Documents may be examined, and/or copied for a fee, at
the NRC's Public Document Room (PDR), located at One White Flint North,
11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville, Maryland 20852. Publicly
available records will be accessible electronically from the Agencywide
Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS) Public Electronic
Reading Room on the NRC Web site, http://www.nrc.
Persons who do not have access to ADAMS or who encounter
problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS should contact the
NRC PDR Reference staff at <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = SKYPE />
, or send an
e-mail to email@example.com.
DATES: The comment period expires November 21, 2007. Comments received
after this date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the
Commission is only able to assure consideration of comments received on
or before November 21, 2007.
ADDRESSES: Submit written comments to Chief, Rules and Directives
Branch, Office of Administration, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission,
Mail Stop T-6D59, Washington, DC 20555-0001. Written comments may also
be delivered to 11545 Rockville Pike, Room T-6D59, Rockville, Maryland
20852 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Federal workdays. Copies of
written comments received will be electronically available at the NRC's
Public Electronic Reading Room link, http://www.nrc.
, on the NRC Web site or at the NRC's PDR located at One
White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike (first floor), Rockville,
Maryland 20852. Persons who do not have access to ADAMS or who
encounter problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS should
contact the NRC PDR Reference staff at
or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The NRC is considering issuance of an
amendment to Facility Operating License No. NPF-057 issued to PSEG
Nuclear, LLC for the operation of Hope Creek Generating Station, Unit
1, located in Salem County, New Jersey.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John G. Lamb, Office of Nuclear
Reactor Regulation, Mail Stop O-8B1A, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, by telephone at
or by e-mail at JGL1@nrc.gov.
Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 12th day of October 2007.
For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Harold K. Chernoff,
Chief, Plant Licensing Branch I-2, Division of Operating Reactor
Licensing, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.
[FR Doc. E7-20761 Filed 10-19-07; 8:45 am]