TVA released a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) on June 16, 2020 for the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Thermal Performance Program Cooling Tower Capacity Improvements in Limestone County, Alabama.
Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and the Act’s implementing regulations promulgated by the Council on Environmental Quality ([CEQ]; 40 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 1500-1508), federal agencies are required to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of their proposed actions. This EA was prepared to assess the potential impacts of TVA’s Proposed Action on the environment in accordance with CEQ’s and TVA’s procedures for implementing NEPA (TVA 1983).
TVA’s BFN Plant is a three-unit General Electric boiling water reactor facility with each unit having a capacity of 3,952 megawatts thermal (MWt). TVA previously determined that increasing electric power generation from BFN would be a cost-effective means of meeting an increased demand for electricity in the Tennessee Valley. The increased electrical power generation was executed with the implementation of the Extended Power Uprate at BFN in 2018, which resulted in increased heat rejected to the Condenser Cooling Water from the turbine by 15 percent. To minimize thermal impacts to the Tennessee River and to reduce the potential for thermal derates, increases of both cooling tower lift pump (CTLP) flow and CT capacity are required to ensure reliable operation of BFN’s CT system.
The Final EA includes two alternatives: a No Action Alternative and an Action Alternative. Under the No Action Alternative, TVA would not meet the purpose and need as this option would not upgrade the performance of BFN’s CT system. Therefore, The No Action Alternative would not meet TVA’s objective of increasing electric power generation from BFN as a means of providing cost-effective electricity to meet increased demand in the Tennessee Valley. Under Action Alternative A, TVA would conduct multiple activities to ensure successful CT capacity improvements, including replacement of the existing CT 1 and CT and associated CTLPs, upgrading of the existing CT 7, and completion of associated upgrades.
More information on this environmental review can be obtained from: