NRC (once again) opens Turkey Point SLR environmental scoping for comment

October 10, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
Turkey Point nuclear plant. (Image: FPL)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking public comment on the scope of its supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) on the subsequent renewed licenses for Turkey Point-3 and -4, twin pressurized water reactors operated by Florida Power & Light (FPL). It’s the second time around for both the NRC and FPL—an SLR environmental scoping process conducted in 2018 already yielded renewed licenses for Turkey Point in December 2019. According to an October 7 NRC press release, “The staff intends to examine the environmental issues the commission determined were not properly evaluated for the subsequent license renewal term, as well as any new information for Turkey Point site–specific issues.”

FPL submitted a supplemental environmental report to the NRC in June to satisfy a “deficiency” in subsequent license renewal (SLR) applications that rely on the generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) for license renewal. That report has been docketed, and the NRC is preparing to carry out a detailed technical review that will yield an NRC-prepared supplement to the EIS for Turkey Point. According to the NRC, “based on commission direction, the NRC will issue an opportunity to request a hearing on the environmental review once the staff has produced a draft supplement to the EIS.”

How we got here: The NRC approved the SLR application for Turkey Point after a review period of just over 22 months, extending the reactors’ expiration dates to July 2052 for Unit 3 and April 2053 for Unit 4, for a total 80 years of operation. More than two years later, the commission issued decisions impacting the environmental review process for SLR applications, concluding in one decision that the GEIS on license renewal analyzed only the environmental impacts of an initial 20-year license renewal term and did not apply to a subsequent renewal term. A separate commission decision provided an option for license holders, including FPL, to provide additional environmental information on a site-specific basis, instead of waiting for NRC staff to revise the GEIS and complete a related rulemaking.

William D. Maher, director of nuclear licensing projects at FPL, submitted the supplemental report, stating in a cover letter that “FPL’s review did not identify any information materially changing the impact assessments provided in the NRC’s Supplemental GEIS for the Turkey Point SLR [application]. Therefore, we expect that upon independent review of the site-specific information provided in the enclosed [environmental report] supplement, the NRC can expeditiously supplement its Final GEIS for the Turkey Point SLR [application] to address the commission’s direction in CLI-22-02 and restore the additional 20 years of operation provided by the 2019 subsequent renewed Facility Operating Licenses.”

Roll call: In late August, Southern Nuclear announced plans to apply for SLR for Hatch-1 and -2 in 2025. That brought the total number of reactors with confirmed plans to apply to for SLR to seven: Xcel Energy’s Monticello; TVA’s Browns Ferry-1, -2, and -3; Dominion Energy’s Summer; and Southern Nuclear’s Hatch-1 and -2.

Applications are currently under review for FPL’s St. Lucie-1 and -2; Duke Energy’s Oconee-1, -2, and -3; NextEra Energy’s Point Beach-1 and -2; and Dominion Energy’s North Anna-1 and -2.

Including the six reactors that have already had their applications approved—FPL’s Turkey Point-3 and -4; Constellation’s Peach Bottom-2 and -3; and Dominion Energy’s Surry-1 and -2—a total of 22 reactors have SLR applications either approved, in progress, or planned.

Comments requested: More information about the Turkey Point SLR process is available online. Comments can be submitted through November 7 on the scope of the NRC’s supplement to the existing EIS by email to TurkeyPoint34Environmental@nrc.gov or at regulations.gov using the Docket ID NRC-2022-0172.


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