NRC issues positive environmental report on Sequoyah license extension

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued its final report on environmental impacts of renewing the operating licenses for Units 1 and 2 of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Sequoyah nuclear plant.

The supplemental environmental impact statement (EIS) contains the NRC staff’s conclusion that the impacts would not preclude renewing the plant’s licenses for an additional 20 years.

The Sequoyah plant has two pressurized water reactors (PWRs), located in Soddy-Daisy, Tenn. about 16 miles northeast of Chattanooga, Tenn. Each has an operating capacity of more than 1,100 MW, according GenerationHub data. The reactors are currently licensed to operate through Sept. 17, 2020, for Unit 1 and Sept. 15, 2021, for Unit 2. The operator, TVA, submitted its renewal application Jan. 15, 2013.

The NRC’s review of the application consists of a technical safety review and an environmental review. The final supplemental environmental impact statement is Supplement 53 to NUREG-1437, Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants. It is now available on the NRC website.

The NRC published a draft version of the report last August and held two public meetings in Soddy-Daisy in September to receive public comment. The final report includes the staff’s responses to the comments.

One of the next steps could be a filing in the Federal Register by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to an NRC website. A decision could be issued on the license extension in June by NRC’s reactor regulation office.

A hearing involving the five-member NRC commission remains a possibility as well.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.