NRC, Army Corps Find Environmental Impacts Don't Prevent Licensing Bell Bend Reactor

Talen Energy submitted the application on Oct. 10, 2008, seeking permission to construct and operate a U.S. EPR reactor -- a third-generation pressurized water reactor -- at the site. AREVA Inc., the designer of the U.S. EPR, requested that the NRC staff suspend its safety review of the U.S. EPR design certification application in February 2015, and as a result, the U.S. EPR design certification review and Bell Bend safety review are on hold until further notice.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced April 26 that they have determined environmental impacts would not prevent issuing a Combined License for a new reactor at the Bell Bend site in Luzerne County, Pa. The site is adjacent to the existing Susquehanna nuclear power plant operated by Susquehanna Nuclear, LLC, about 70 miles northeast of Harrisburg, Pa.

NRC staff conducted an independent assessment of the Bell Bend application, and the environmental review will be published soon in the Federal Register, according to the agency's announcement. The review involved consultations with other federal agencies; state, tribal and local governments; and comments received during the public scoping process in 2009 and 2012. The staff also considered comments received on the draft environmental impact statement issued in April 2015.

The NRC staff's conclusions are documented in NUREG-2179, "Environmental Impact Statement for the Combined License for the Bell Bend Nuclear Power Plant: Final Report," parts one and two, with the final EIS available for public inspection at the McBride Memorial Library in Berwick, Pa., and the Mill Memorial Public Library in Nanticoke, Pa.

NRC reported Talen Energy submitted the application on Oct. 10, 2008, seeking permission to construct and operate a U.S. EPR reactor -- a third-generation pressurized water reactor -- at the site. AREVA Inc., the designer of the U.S. EPR, requested that the NRC staff suspend its safety review of the U.S. EPR design certification application in February 2015, and as a result, the U.S. EPR design certification review and Bell Bend safety review are on hold until further notice.

The final EIS supports the Corps' review of the Bell Bend application for the activities under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act and Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbor Act of 1899. The Corps will issue a separate record of decision on the work proposed for the Corps' review and authorization.

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