NRC seeks input on Watts Barr 2 nuclear plant preliminary environmental statement

Source: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff is seeking public comments on its preliminary finding that there are no environmental impacts that would preclude issuing an operating license for the under-construction Watts Bar 2 nuclear reactor near Spring City, Tenn. 

Staff from the NRC will discuss their Draft Supplement to the Final Environmental Statement (DSFES) in meetings from 2-4 p.m. and 6:30-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 8, at the Magnuson Hotel, 1421 Murrays Chapel Road in Sweetwater, Tenn. The NRC will transcribe the meetings and post the transcript on the agency’s website. NRC staff will also be available for informal discussions with members of the public during “open house” sessions from 1-2 p.m. and 5:30-6:30 p.m. No formal comments on the DSFES will be accepted during these open houses. 

The DSFES is available on the agency’s website, as well as the NRC’s electronic document database, ADAMS, by entering accession number ML112980199 in the ADAMS search engine. In addition, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library, at 1001 Broad St. in Chattanooga, Tenn., will have a hardbound copy of the DSFES available for public inspection. 

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) originally applied for Unit 2’s operating license in 1976, then halted construction in late 1985. TVA informed the NRC in Aug. 2007 that it would resume construction of Unit 2. TVA issued a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Unit 2 in February 2008 and updated its operating license application on March 4, 2009. TVA is requesting permission to operate Unit 2, a 1,150-megawatt electric, Westinghouse-designed pressurized-water reactor of the same type as Unit 1, which began operating in 1996. The Watts Bar site is approximately 50 miles northeast of Chattanooga, Tenn. 

The NRC held meetings in Sweetwater in October 2009 to gather the community’s comments on the environmental review before drafting the DSFES. The NRC also sought input from Federal, state, tribal, regional and local agencies during the review. The NRC continues its safety review of the license application, and the agency expects to update its Final Safety Evaluation Report on Unit 2 in May 2012. The NRC must complete both the safety and environmental reviews before reaching a decision on whether TVA can begin operating Watts Bar Unit 2.



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