[Federal Register: March 22, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 54)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
[Docket No. 50-199]
Manhattan College; Zero Power Reactor Environmental Assessment
and Finding of No Significant Impact
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) is
considering the issuance of a license amendment to Facility Operating
License No. R-94, issued to Manhattan College (the licensee) that would
allow decommissioning of the Manhattan College Zero Power Reactor
(MCZPR) located in the Riverdale section of the borough of the Bronx,
New York City.
Identification of the Proposed Action
The MCZPR is located on the Manhattan College campus on the first
and second floors of the Leo Engineering Building. The Leo Engineering
Building provides classrooms, laboratories, library, and computer
facilities for an estimated 1800 students at any one time. The Nuclear
Engineering Facility is designed for isolation from the rest of the
The MCZPR is a very low power research reactor (100 milliwatts),
and was in operation from 1964 until 1996, when it was shut down and
defueled. There have been no instances of significant contamination
during the operating lifetime of the reactor.
The licensee submitted a decommissioning plan in accordance with 10
CFR 50.82(b) on December 18, 1997, as supplemented on July 21, October
29, November 10, 1998 and January 6, 1999. Decommissioning, as
described in the plan, will consist of transferring licensed
radioactive equipment and material from the site, and decontamination
of the facility to meet unrestricted release criteria (this is also
called the DECON option). After the Commission verifies that the
release criteria have been met, the reactor license will be terminated.
The licensee submitted an Environmental Report on July 21, 1998,
(Section 8) which was supplemented on January 6, 1999, that addresses
the estimated environmental impacts resulting from decommissioning the
A ``Notice and Solicitation of Comments Pursuant to 10 CFR 20.1405
and 10 CFR 50.82(b)(5) Concerning Proposed Action to Decommission
Manhattan College Zero Power Research Reactor'' was published in the
Federal Register on February 12, 1999, (64 FR 7214) and in the Bronx
Press Review on February 11, 1999. There were no comments.
Need for the Proposed Action
The proposed action is necessary because of Manhattan College's
1997 decision to cease operations permanently. As specified in 10 CFR
50.82, any licensee may apply to the NRC for authority to surrender a
voluntarily and to decommission the affected facility. Further, 10 CFR
51.53(d) stipulates that each applicant for a license amendment to
authorize decommissioning of a production or utilization facility shall
submit with its application an environmental report that reflects any
new information or significant environmental change associated with the
proposed decommissioning activities. Manhattan College is planning to
use the area that would be released for unrestricted use for other
Environmental Impact of the Proposed Action
The Commission has completed its evaluation of the proposed action
and concludes that the radiological effects of the decommissioning will
be minimal because the radiation levels of the fuel are very low (less
than 2 mrem/hr on contact at removal from the core) due to low burnup.
As noted in Section 3.1.3 (July 21, 1998, submittal), the collective
dose to all on site workers of the entire decommissioning program is
estimated to be less than one person-rem. There is no estimated
exposure to the public from the proposed action and there are no
postulated accident scenarios that could release radioactive material
outside the facility.
Occupational and public exposure may result from transportation of
the fuel to Oak Ridge and a plutonium-beryllium (PuBe) neutron source
to Los Alamos. The occupational transportation radiological impact is
estimated to be 2.4 person-rem. The general public is estimated to
receive 1.8 person-rem from transportation. Over 90 percent of this
exposure is due to the shipment of the PuBe source to Los Alamos. All
shipments are of sealed solid material unlikely to be dispersed under
accident conditions. Shipment will be in compliance with all applicable
NRC and DOT regulations and subject to physical security and safeguards
Based on the review of the specific proposed activities associated
with the dismantling and decontamination of the MCZPR, the Commission
has determined that the proposed action will not increase the
probability or consequences of accidents, no changes are being made in
the types of any effluents that may be released off site, and there is
no significant increase in occupational or public radiation exposure.
Therefore, there are no significant radiological environmental impacts
associated with the proposed action.
With regard to potential non-radiological impacts, the proposed
action does not involve any historic sites. It does not affect non-
radiological plant effluents and has no other environmental impact.
Therefore, there are no significant non-radiological environmental
impacts associated with the proposed action.
Accordingly, the Commission concludes that there are no significant
environmental impacts associated with the proposed action.
Alternatives to the Proposed Action
The three alternatives to the proposed action for the MCZPR are:
SAFSTOR, ENTOMB, and no action. SAFSTOR is the alternative in which the
nuclear facility is placed and maintained in a condition that allows
the nuclear facility to be safely stored and subsequently
decontaminated (deferred decontamination) to levels that permit release
for unrestricted use. ENTOMB is the alternative in which radioactive
contaminants are encased in a structurally long-lived material, such as
concrete, the entombed structure is appropriately maintained and
continued surveillance is carried out until the radioactivity decays to
a level permitting release of the property for unrestricted use. The no
action alternative would leave the facility in its present
configuration. However, the regulations in 10 CFR 50.82(b) only allow a
limited time for this condition to exist.
Manhattan College has determined that the proposed action (DECON)
is the most efficient use of the existing facility, since it wants to
use the space that will become available for other academic purposes.
The SAFSTOR, ENTOMB or no action alternatives would entail continued
surveillance and physical security measures to be in place and
continued monitoring by college personnel.
Alternative Use of Resources
This action does not involve the use of any resources not
previously considered in the Environmental Assessment prepared for the
renewal of Manhattan College's license in March 1985.
Agencies and Persons Contacted
In accordance with its stated policy, on December 14, 1998, the
staff consulted with the New York State official, Barbara Youngberg of
the Department of Environmental Conservation, regarding the
environmental impact of the proposed action. The state official had no
Finding of No Significant Impact
On the basis of the environmental assessment, the Commission
concludes that the proposed action will not have a significant effect
on the quality of the human environment. Accordingly, the NRC has
determined not to prepare an environmental impact statement for the
For further details with respect to the proposed action, see the
licensee's letter dated December 18, 1997, as supplemented by letters
dated July 21 and October 29, November 10, 1998 and January 6, 1999,
which are available for public inspection at the NRC's Public Document
Room, the Gelman Building, 2120 L Street, NW., Washington, DC 20555.
Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 16th day of March 1999.
For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Seymour H. Weiss,
Director, Non-Power Reactors and Decommissioning Project Directorate,
Division of Regulatory Improvement Programs, Office of Nuclear Reactor
[FR Doc. 99-6910 Filed 3-19-99; 8:45 am]
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