NRC issues draft enviro review of license renewal for DTE’s Fermi 2

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing for public comment a draft plant-specific supplement to its “Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants” regarding the renewal of DTE Electric‘s operating license for Fermi 2 in Michigan for an additional 20 years of operation.

The NRC, in a notice to be published in the Nov. 6 Federal Register, will say that it will take comment on the draft until Dec. 28. Possible alternatives to the proposed action (license renewal) include no action and reasonable alternative energy sources. The NRC staff plans to hold one local public meeting, on Dec. 2, during the public comment period to present an overview of the draft plant-specific supplements to the GEIS and to accept public comments on the document.

The NRC’s preliminary recommendation is that the adverse environmental impacts of license renewal for Fermi 2 are not great enough to deny the option of license renewal for energy-planning decisionmakers.

Fermi 2 is a single-unit, nuclear-powered steam-electric generating facility that began commercial operation in July 1985. The nuclear reactor is a General Electric boiling water reactor (BWR) that produces 1,170 MW electric (MWe). DTE Electric, formerly known as Detroit Edison, is a subsidiary of DTE Energy (NYSE: DTE).

During the extended term of the license, refurbishment activities will include replacement and repair of major structures, systems, and components (SSCs). The major refurbishment class of activities characterized in the GEIS is intended to encompass actions that typically take place only once in the life of a nuclear plant, if at all. Examples of these activities include, but are not limited to, replacement of BWR recirculation piping and pressurized water reactor steam generators. These actions may have an impact on the environment beyond those that occur during normal operations and may require evaluation, depending on the type of action and the plant-specific design.

In preparation for its license renewal application, DTE performed an evaluation of these SSCs to identify the need to undertake any major refurbishment activities that would be necessary to support the continued operation of Fermi 2 during the proposed 20-year period of extended operation. DTE did not identify the need to undertake any major refurbishment or replacement activities associated with license renewal to support the continued operation of Fermi 2 beyond the end of the existing operating license.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.