[Federal Register: October 22, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 203)]

[Notices]               

[Page 59563-59572]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.
gpo.gov]

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[[Page 59563]]


 
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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 

Level


 
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 

period.


 
Environmental Assessment


 
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 

customers.

    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.


 
Non-Radiological Impacts


 
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 

(PSEG 2005).

    Existing parking lots, road access, offices, workshops, warehouses, 

and restrooms would be used during


 
[[Page 59564]]


 
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 

significant.


 
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 

action.

    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 

action.

    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.


 
[[Page 59565]]


 
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 

proposed EPU.

    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.


 
Discharge Impacts


 
    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


 
[[Page 59566]]


 
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 

system.

    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).


 
[[Page 59567]]


 

 

 
        Table 1.--Species Representative of the Delaware Estuary Aquatic Community Near Artificial Island

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               Common name                      Scientific name                         Comment

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Blue Crab........
.........
.........
.....  Callinectes sapidus.....
...  Swimming crab, abundant in the estuary.

                                                                        Recreational and commercial species.

Alewife.....
.........
.........
.........
.  Alosa pseudoharengus.
......  Anadromous herring; abundant in the

                                                                        estuary.

American Shad........
.........
.........
.  Alosa sapidissima.
.........  Anadromous herring; abundant in the

                                                                        estuary. Recreational and commercial

                                                                        species.

Atlantic Croaker.....
.........
.........
.  Micropogonias undulatus...
.  Drum family. Delaware Estuary stock may

                                                                        be single population. Recreational and

                                                                        commercial species.

Atlantic Menhaden....
.........
.........
.  Brevoortia tyrannus....
....  Herring. Larvae and juveniles use the

                                                                        estuary as a nursery. Commercial

                                                                        species.

Atlantic Silverside..
.........
.........
.  Menidia menidia.....
.......  Resident in intertidal marsh creeks and

                                                                        shore zones.

Bay Anchovy.....
.........
.........
......  Anchoa mitchelli...
........  Common in the bay and tidal river zones.

Blueback Herring.....
.........
.........
.  Alosa aestivalis..
.........  Anadromous herring; abundant in the

                                                                        estuary.

Spot........
.........
.........
.........
.  Leiostomus xanthurus...
....  Drum family. Juveniles use the estuary as

                                                                        a nursery. Recreational and commercial

                                                                        species.

Striped Bass........
.........
.........
..  Morone saxatilis...
........  Anadromous temperate bass. Recreational

                                                                        and commercial species.

Weakfish....
.........
.........
.........
.  Cynoscion regalis.....
.....  Drum family. Larvae and juveniles use the

                                                                        estuary as nursery. Recreational and

                                                                        commercial species.

White Perch.......
.........
.........
....  Morone americana...
........  Temperate bass. Year-round residents

                                                                        anadromous within estuary. Recreational

                                                                        species.

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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)
, naked 

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 

water quality.

    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. 

sapidissima)
, 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 

are


 
[[Page 59568]]


 
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


 
[[Page 59569]]


 
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.


 
Socioeconomic Impacts


 
    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.


 
Summary


 
    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

------------
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Land Use.........
.........
...  No significant land use modifications;

                                installed temporary office space to

                                support EPU.

Cooling Tower.......
.........  No significant aesthetic impact; no

                                significant fogging or icing.

Transmission Facilities..
....  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

                                transmission lines.

Water Use.........
.........
..  No configuration change to intake

                                structure; no increase rate of

                                withdrawal; slight increase in water

                                consumption due to increased

                                evaporation; no water use conflicts.

Discharge...
.........
........  Increase in water temperature and

                                containment concentration discharged to

                                Delaware River; would meet discharge

                                limits in current NJPDES permit

                                following EPU implementation.

Aquatic Biota.......
.........  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

                                consultation ongoing.

Terrestrial Biota.......
.....  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

                                ongoing.

Socioeconomic.
.........
......  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-

                                income populations.

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Radiological Impacts


 
    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


 
[[Page 59570]]


 
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 

(PSEG 2005).

    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 

achievable.


 
[[Page 59571]]


 
    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.


 
Summary


 
    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.


 
[[Page 59572]]


 

 

 
         Table 3.--Summary of Radiological Environmental Impacts

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Gaseous Radiological           Increased gaseous effluents (20 percent)

 Effluents.                     would remain within NRC limits and dose

                                design objectives.

Liquid Radiological Effluents  Increased liquid effluents (2.2 percent)

                                would remain within NRC limits and dose

                                design objectives.

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

                                EPA regulations.

Postulated Accident Doses....  Calculated doses for postulated design-

                                basis accidents would remain within NRC

                                limits.

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.

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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'
' alternative)
. 

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 

transmission territory.

    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-
fired facility. 

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.
gov/reading-
rm/adams.
html.

 Persons who do not have access to ADAMS or who encounter 


 
problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS should contact the 

NRC PDR Reference staff at <?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = SKYPE />








1-800-3...




, or 








301-...




, or send an 

e-mail to pdr@nrc.gov.


 
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.
gov/reading-
rm/adams.
html

, 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 








1-800-3...




, or 








301-...




, 

or by e-mail to pdr@nrc.gov.


 
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 








(301) 4...




, 

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]