On June 1, 2021, TVA published a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to address the potential environmental effects associated with obtaining US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) subsequent license renewals (SLR) for the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant (BFN) Units 1, 2, and 3 located in Limestone County, Alabama. Renewal of the current operating licenses would permit operations for an additional 20 years past the current operating license terms, which expire in 2033, 2034, and 2036 for Units 1, 2, and 3, respectively. The SEIS is being prepared to provide the public and TVA decision-makers with an assessment of the environmental impacts related to the aforementioned NRC license renewal, as well as provide the public an opportunity to participate in the SEIS process. The NRC license renewal would not require any new construction or modifications beyond normal maintenance and minor refurbishment. However, there are other proposed projects not directly related to the NRC SLR that are connected to, or could affect, license renewal.
BFN is considered baseload power because the plant generally runs at close to maximum output. BFN’s current baseload generation supports future forecasted baseload power needs, as outlined in TVA’s 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), by helping to maintain grid stability and generating capacity for TVA’s generation portfolio mix. As an integral part of TVA’s current generation portfolio, in 2020, BFN produced approximately 20 percent of TVA’s average generation capacity. Renewal of the current operating licenses would allow BFN to continue supplying approximately 3,900 MWe capacity of baseload power.
TVA needs to generate sufficient electricity to supply the Tennessee Valley with increasingly clean, reliable, and affordable electricity for the foreseeable future for the region’s homes and businesses, working with local power companies to keep service steady and reliable. By renewing the licenses, TVA would maximize use of existing assets to support TVA’s goals of generating electricity at the lowest feasible cost for the people of the Tennessee Valley. BFN’s carbon-free generating capacity supports TVA’s goal of a net-zero carbon emissions generating system by 2050.
The SEIS proposes to address a range of alternatives (A-D) including: (A) the No-Action Alternative; (B) BFN Subsequent License Renewal; (C) Use of Existing Generating Assets; and (D) Use of Existing and Construction of New Generating Assets. Two additional alternatives, (E) Replacement of BFN Generating Capacity Entirely with Renewable Energy Sources and (F) Replacement of BFN Generating Capacity Entirely with Purchase Power, were considered but eliminated.
The NOI is provided in accordance with the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) regulations for implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) at 40 CFR parts 1500-1508 and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), and its implementing regulations (36 CFR Part 800). The PEIS will be prepared consistent with the 2020 CEQ regulations for implementing NEPA at 40 CFR parts 1500-1508 (85 FR 43304-43376, Jul. 16, 2020).
Public scoping was open from June 1, 2021 – July 1, 2021.
TVA is interested in an open process and wants input from the community. The public was invited to submit comments on the scope of this SEIS, alternatives being considered, and environmental issues.
More information on this environmental review can be obtained from: