NRC regulations for license renewal environmental reviews establish the primary role of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (or States, when applicable) in water quality regulations as they relate to impacts on aquatic species. As such, the assessment of impacts from heat shock is within the purview of the responsible government agency.
In the case of IP2 and IP3, NYSDEC is the responsible agency. NYSDEC regulations at 6 NYCRR Part 704 establish specific standards that apply to thermal discharges within the State of New York. The standards are set to “assure the protection and propagation of a balanced, indigenous population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife in and on the body of water” to which heated water is discharged (6 NYCRR 704.1(a)).
Section 126.96.36.199 of this FSEIS supplement describes the thermal plume studies (Swanson et al. 2010, 2011a) that Entergy submitted to NYSDEC and NYSDEC’s (2011) conclusions regarding these studies. NYSDEC concluded that the results of the thermal plume studies provide reasonable assurance that the IP2 and IP3 discharge is in compliance with NYSDEC’s water quality standards and criteria for thermal discharges.
Based on Entergy’s thermal plume studies and NYSDEC’s conclusions, the NRC staff concludes that the impacts from heat shock to aquatic resources of the lower Hudson River would be SMALL. (NRC)