ASLB Upholds Environmental Impact for Proposed Levy County Reactors

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) on Tuesday rejected challenges by environmental groups to Progress Energy’s application to license two new nuclear plants in Levy County, Fla.

Progress Energy has proposed constructing and operating two new 1,100-MW reactors at the Levy nuclear power plant, bringing the first reactor into service in 2024 and the second, 18 months later. But the Nuclear Information and Resource Service and the Ecology Party sought to block the company’s combined construction and operation (COL) license, claiming that the NRC’s April 27, 2012, Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) failed to adequately identify and assess the proposed Levy plant’s direct, indirect, and cumulative environmental impacts on wetlands and groundwater resources.

Progress Energy and the NRC staff argued the FEIS satisfied all of the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. After a hearing that involved more than 300 exhibits and 24 witnesses, the ASLB’s three administrative judges ruled in a 140-page decision that the FEIS complies with legal and regulatory requirements.

Unless appealed to the five-member commission, the ASLB decision becomes the NRC’s final determination on the environmental issues raised by the environmental groups.

Sources: POWERnews, NRC