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Final Rule Amending Environmental Reviews for Reactor License Renewal

The NRC issued a final rule amending its environmental protection regulations governing environmental impact reviews of nuclear power plant operating license renewals. The amendments become effective 30 days after their publication in the Federal Register, but compliance is not required until a year after publication.

The amendments redefine the number and scope of environmental issues that must be addressed by the NRC during license renewal environmental reviews, and incorporate lessons learned from previous license renewal reviews and public comments on the proposed rule. License renewal environmental reviews are governed by 10 CFR Part 51 and the NRC’s Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants, NUREG-1437.

The NRC also updated and revised NUREG–1437, “Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants,” which the NRC issued in May 1996. The revised GEIS provides the technical basis for amending the NRC environmental protection regulations as noted above. The NRC has also revised NUREG–1555, Supplement 1, “Standard Review Plans for Environmental Reviews for Nuclear Power Plants, Supplement 1: Operating License Renewal” (ESRP). The ESRP serves as a guide to the NRC staff in preparing a plant-specific supplemental environmental impact statement to the GEIS.