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e-CFR data is current as of August 7, 2020

Title 10Chapter IPart 51Subpart A → Subject Group


Title 10: Energy
PART 51—ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION REGULATIONS FOR DOMESTIC LICENSING AND RELATED REGULATORY FUNCTIONS
Subpart A—National Environmental Policy Act—Regulations Implementing Section 102(2)


draft environmental impact statements—general requirements

§51.70   Draft environmental impact statement—general.

(a) The NRC staff will prepare a draft environmental impact statement as soon as practicable after publication of the notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement and completion of the scoping process. To the fullest extent practicable, environmental impact statements will be prepared concurrently or integrated with environmental impact analyses and related surveys and studies required by other Federal law.

(b) The draft environmental impact statement will be concise, clear and analytic, will be written in plain language with appropriate graphics, will state how alternatives considered in it and decisions based on it will or will not achieve the requirements of sections 101 and 102(1) of NEPA and of any other relevant and applicable environmental laws and policies, will identify any methodologies used and sources relied upon, and will be supported by evidence that the necessary environmental analyses have been made. The format provided in section 1(a) of appendix A of this subpart should be used. The NRC staff will independently evaluate and be responsible for the reliability of all information used in the draft environmental impact statement.

(c) The Commission will cooperate with State and local agencies to the fullest extent possible to reduce duplication between NEPA and State and local requirements, in accordance with 40 CFR 1506.2 (b) and (c).

§51.71   Draft environmental impact statement—contents.

(a) Scope. The draft environmental impact statement will be prepared in accordance with the scope decided upon in the scoping process required by §§51.26 and 51.29. As appropriate and to the extent required by the scope, the draft statement will address the topics in paragraphs (b), (c), (d) and (e) of this section and the matters specified in §§51.45, 51.50, 51.51, 51.52, 51.53, 51.54, 51.61 and 51.62.

(b) Analysis of major points of view. To the extent sufficient information is available, the draft environmental impact statement will include consideration of major points of view concerning the environmental impacts of the proposed action and the alternatives, and contain an analysis of significant problems and objections raised by other Federal, State, and local agencies, by any affected Indian Tribes, and by other interested persons.

(c) Status of compliance. The draft environmental impact statement will list all Federal permits, licenses, approvals, and other entitlements which must be obtained in implementing the proposed action and will describe the status of compliance with those requirements. If it is uncertain whether a Federal permit, license, approval, or other entitlement is necessary, the draft environmental impact statement will so indicate.

(d) Analysis. Unless excepted in this paragraph or §51.75, the draft environmental impact statement will include a preliminary analysis that considers and weighs the environmental effects, including any cumulative effects, of the proposed action; the environmental impacts of alternatives to the proposed action; and alternatives available for reducing or avoiding adverse environmental effects. Additionally, the draft environmental impact statement will include a consideration of the economic, technical, and other benefits and costs of the proposed action and alternatives. The draft environmental impact statement will indicate what other interests and considerations of Federal policy, including factors not related to environmental quality, if applicable, are relevant to the consideration of environmental effects of the proposed action identified under paragraph (a) of this section. The draft supplemental environmental impact statement prepared at the license renewal stage under §51.95(c) need not discuss the economic or technical benefits and costs of either the proposed action or alternatives except if benefits and costs are either essential for a determination regarding the inclusion of an alternative in the range of alternatives considered or relevant to mitigation. In addition, the supplemental environmental impact statement prepared at the license renewal stage need not discuss other issues not related to the environmental effects of the proposed action and associated alternatives. The draft supplemental environmental impact statement for license renewal prepared under §51.95(c) will rely on conclusions as amplified by the supporting information in the GEIS for issues designated as Category 1 in appendix B to subpart A of this part. The draft supplemental environmental impact statement must contain an analysis of those issues identified as Category 2 in appendix B to subpart A of this part that are open for the proposed action. The analysis for all draft environmental impact statements will, to the fullest extent practicable, quantify the various factors considered. To the extent that there are important qualitative considerations or factors that cannot be quantified, these considerations or factors will be discussed in qualitative terms. Consideration will be given to compliance with environmental quality standards and requirements that have been imposed by Federal, State, regional, and local agencies having responsibility for environmental protection, including applicable zoning and land-use regulations and water pollution limitations or requirements issued or imposed under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act. The environmental impact of the proposed action will be considered in the analysis with respect to matters covered by environmental quality standards and requirements irrespective of whether a certification or license from the appropriate authority has been obtained.3 While satisfaction of Commission standards and criteria pertaining to radiological effects will be necessary to meet the licensing requirements of the Atomic Energy Act, the analysis will, for the purposes of NEPA, consider the radiological effects of the proposed action and alternatives.

3Compliance with the environmental quality standards and requirements of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (imposed by EPA or designated permitting states) is not a substitute for, and does not negate the requirement for NRC to weigh all environmental effects of the proposed action, including the degradation, if any, of water quality, and to consider alternatives to the proposed action that are available for reducing adverse effects. Where an environmental assessment of aquatic impact from plant discharges is available from the permitting authority, the NRC will consider the assessment in its determination of the magnitude of environmental impacts for striking an overall cost-benefit balance at the construction permit and operating license and early site permit and combined license stages, and in its determination of whether the adverse environmental impacts of license renewal are so great that preserving the option of license renewal for energy planning decision-makers would be unreasonable at the license renewal stage. When no such assessment of aquatic impacts is available from the permitting authority, NRC will establish on its own, or in conjunction with the permitting authority and other agencies having relevant expertise, the magnitude of potential impacts for striking an overall cost-benefit balance for the facility at the construction permit and operating license and early site permit and combined license stages, and in its determination of whether the adverse environmental impacts of license renewal are so great that preserving the option of license renewal for energy planning decision-makers would be unreasonable at the license renewal stage.

(e) Effect of limited work authorization. If a limited work authorization was issued either in connection with or subsequent to an early site permit, or in connection with a construction permit or combined license application, then the environmental impact statement for the construction permit or combined license application will not address or consider the sunk costs associated with the limited work authorization.

(f) Preliminary recommendation. The draft environmental impact statement normally will include a preliminary recommendation by the NRC staff respecting the proposed action. This preliminary recommendation will be based on the information and analysis described in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this section and §§51.75, 51.76, 51.80, 51.85, and 51.95, as appropriate, and will be reached after considering the environmental effects of the proposed action and reasonable alternatives,4 and, except for supplemental environmental impact statements for the operating license renewal stage prepared pursuant to §51.95(c), after weighing the costs and benefits of the proposed action. In lieu of a recommendation, the NRC staff may indicate in the draft statement that two or more alternatives remain under consideration.

4The consideration of reasonable alternatives to a proposed action involving nuclear power reactors (e.g., alternative energy sources) is intended to assist the NRC in meeting its NEPA obligations and does not preclude any State authority from making separate determinations with respect to these alternatives and in no way preempts, displaces, or affects the authority of States or other Federal agencies to address these issues.

[49 FR 9381, Mar. 12, 1984, as amended at 61 FR 28488, June 5, 1996; 61 FR 66544, Dec. 18, 1996; 72 FR 49514, Aug. 28, 2007; 72 FR 57445, Oct. 9, 2007; 78 FR 37317, June 20, 2013]

§51.72   Supplement to draft environmental impact statement.

(a) The NRC staff will prepare a supplement to a draft environmental impact statement for which a notice of availability has been published in the Federal Register as provided in §51.117, if:

(1) There are substantial changes in the proposed action that are relevant to environmental concerns; or

(2) There are significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns and bearing on the proposed action or its impacts.

(b) The NRC staff may prepare a supplement to a draft environmental impact statement when, in its opinion, preparation of a supplement will further the purposes of NEPA.

(c) The supplement to a draft environmental impact statement will be prepared and noticed in the same manner as the draft environmental impact statement except that a scoping process need not be used.

§51.73   Request for comments on draft environmental impact statement.

Each draft environmental impact statement and each supplement to a draft environmental impact statement distributed in accordance with §51.74, and each news release provided pursuant to §51.74(d) will be accompanied by or include a request for comments on the proposed action and on the draft environmental impact statement or any supplement to the draft environmental impact statement and will state where comments should be submitted and the date on which the comment period closes. A minimum comment period of 45 days will be provided. The comment period will be calculated from the date on which the Environmental Protection Agency notice stating that the draft statement or the supplement to the draft statement has been filed with EPA is published in the Federal Register. If no comments are provided within the time specified, it will be presumed, unless the agency or person requests an extension of time, that the agency or person has no comment to make. To the extent practicable, NRC staff will grant reasonable requests for extensions of time of up to fifteen (15) days.

§51.74   Distribution of draft environmental impact statement and supplement to draft environmental impact statement; news releases.

(a) A copy of the draft environmental impact statement will be distributed to:

(1) The Environmental Protection Agency.

(2) Any other Federal agency which has special expertise or jurisdiction by law with respect to any environmental impact involved or which is authorized to develop and enforce relevant environmental standards.

(3) The applicant or petitioner for rulemaking and any other party to the proceeding.

(4) Appropriate State and local agencies authorized to develop and enforce relevant environmental standards.

(5) Appropriate State, regional and metropolitan clearinghouses.

(6) Appropriate Indian Tribes when the proposed action may have an environmental impact on a reservation.

(7) Upon written request, any organization or group included in the master list of interested organizations and groups maintained under §51.122.

(8) Upon written request, any other person to the extent available.

(b) Additional copies will be made available in accordance with §51.123.

(c) A supplement to a draft environmental impact statement will be distributed in the same manner as the draft environmental impact statement to which it relates.

(d) News releases stating the availability for comment and place for obtaining or inspecting a draft environmental statement or supplement will be provided to local newspapers and other appropriate media.

(e) A notice of availability will be published in the Federal Register in accordance with §51.117.

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