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14th Nuclear Utility Meteorological Data Users Group Meeting

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Presentation on theme: "14th Nuclear Utility Meteorological Data Users Group Meeting"— Presentation transcript:

1 14th Nuclear Utility Meteorological Data Users Group Meeting
An Overview of The NEPA Requirements For Permitting a New Nuclear Power Plant in the United States Ping K Wan Bechtel Power Corporation June 2011

2 NEPA Basics The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA-1969, amended 1982) It established this country’s national environmental policy. Encourage productive and harmony between man and his environment. Promote efforts that will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man. Enrich the understanding of the ecological systems and natural resources important to the nation. NEPA applies to many agencies and different types of federal actions.

3 The NEPA Process

4 Implementing the NEPA Process
There are 3 levels of analysis: Categorical Exclusions (CEs) A category of actions determined individually or cumulatively to not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment. Environmental Assessment/Finding Of No Significant Impact (EA/FONSI) An analysis determines whether or not a federal undertaking would significantly affect the environment Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) An EIS is a more detailed evaluation of the proposed action and its alternatives.

5 NEPA Requirements NEPA requires federal agencies to undertake an assessment of the environmental effects of their proposed actions: Better informed decisions Citizen involvement The proposing agency must develop an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) study for public and agency review, if an action is expected to have significant impact on the environment. This EIS is an analysis of the potential impacts to the environment from the proposed major action as well as from a range of reasonable alternatives. The Council on Environmental Quality regulations require Federal agencies to make environmental review documents, comments, and responses as part of their administrative record.

6 Nuclear Power Plant Licensing and NEPA
Document Owner Reviewer Regulatory Guides FSAR Applicant NRC RS002 RG 1.206 NUREG 0800 SER (Safety Evaluation Report) ACRS (Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards) Independent review ER NUREG 1555 RG 4.2 NEPA EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) EPA, the Public, other appropriate agencies Clean Air Act, Section 309 Reviewers Guidance Construction/ Operation Permit Public Hearing The public ASLB (Atomic Safety and Licensing Board) The Atomic Energy Act

7 NRC Regulations and Guidance Implementing NEPA for New Reactors
10CFR51 for applicant’s ER and NRC’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) 10CFR52 for Early Site Permit (ESP), Design Certification (DC), Combined Operating License (COL) Regulatory Guidance Regulatory Guides RG 4.2 RG 1.206 Many “topical” RGs Environmental Standard Review Plan (NUREG-1555) Interim Staff Guidance

8 Regulatory Initiative
Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed that the NEPA process should incorporate consideration of climate change through the mechanism of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. Both the impact of an agency action on the environment and the impact of changing climate on that agency action. If a proposed action would be reasonably anticipated to cause direct emissions of 25,000 metric tons or more of CO2-equivalent GHG emission on an annual basis, agency should consider this an indicator that a quantitative and qualitative assessment may be meaningful to decision makers and the public.

9 General Topics Addressed in NEPA Documents
Impacts from Plant Construction and Operation on: Land Water Air Quality/Meteorology Ecology Socioeconomics Mitigation measures (to reduce impacts) and monitoring Transportation of radioactive material and nuclear fuel cycle Alternatives (energy, sites and plant systems) Evaluation and mitigation of potential cumulative impacts of plant construction and operation Environmental consequences

10 Major Parts of An Environmental Report
Description of the Environment Current project site environmental baseline conditions and the methodology or source of information used Impacts Evaluation The potential impacts associated with the project Mitigation and Monitoring The mitigation measures used to reduce adverse impacts and monitoring conducted to ensure the effectiveness of the implemented measures.

11 Description of the Environment
Site Characterization (baseline conditions) Often collection of baseline data is found to be inadequate in its spatial and temporal extents which affects accuracy of impact assessments. A systematic process for gathering baseline data under auditable QA programs is essential: Literature investigation Desktop survey for data/information collection Field Survey and Monitoring These type of programs could result in significant cost and schedule implications if they are not well planned during early project development phase.

12 Field Monitoring Duration Requirements
Monitoring Program Frequency Duration Remarks Surface Water monthly 1-year Lab analysis: 3 months Groundwater Terrestrial seasonal Aquatic Meteorological continuous 2-year System installation: 3-6 months QA/data analysis: 3 months

13 Impacts Evaluation Compares the Proposed Action and Alternatives from a Number of Different Perspectives Nuclear versus other power sources Site location Plant systems and transmission system Bases Conclusion on the Alternate Being Environmentally Preferable, Equivalent, or Inferior to the Proposed Project

14 How is the determination of impact made?
NRC 3-Level Standard of Significance SMALL Environmental effects are not detectable or are so minor that they will neither destabilize nor noticeably alter any important attribute of the resource. MODERATE Environmental effects are sufficient to alter noticeably, but not to destabilize, an important attribute of the resource. LARGE Environmental effects are clearly noticeable and are sufficient to destabilize an important attribute of the resource.

15 Alternatives : Cooling Systems
Design for Environment Available Cooling Systems: Once through Dedicated cooling pond Cooing tower Mechanical draft Wet Dry Wet-dry combination Natural draft (hyperbolic)

16 Cooling Tower Visible Plumes

17 Alternative System: Transmission Corridors
Design Around Environment Limited Tower Design Considerations Heights Types Finishes Focus on Avoidance Sensitive Wildlife Resources Cultural Resources Water/Wetlands Resources Critical Land Uses Socioeconomics Transportation Corridors

18 Assessment of Cumulative Impacts
Cumulative impacts of an action are the total effects on a resource, ecosystem, or human community of the action and all other activities affecting that resource no matter what entity (federal, non-federal, or private) is taking the action. Guidance CEQ handbook titled “Considering Cumulative Effects under NEPA” (CEQ 1997) Key Areas of Consideration Resources and Ecosystem Components Geographic Boundaries and Time Period Past, Present, and Reasonably Foreseeable Future Actions Describing the Condition of the Environment Using Thresholds to Assess Resource Degradation

19 Cumulative Impacts Provides the Bigger Environmental Picture
Evaluates Other Projects Potentially Impacting the Area (Including Foreseeable Future) Overall Impacts to Land Use Water/Wetland Resources Sensitive Wildlife Resources Cultural Resources Socioeconomics

20 Cumulative Impacts: Radiological

21 Cumulative Impacts: Shared Water Resource
Multiple Facilities Sharing a Common Water Resource May Consider Combined: Consumptive Water Uses Non-consumptive Water Uses Thermal Impacts Effluent Impacts Other Ecological Impacts Destruction of habitation (e.g., construction/presence of intakes and outfalls) Impingement Entrainment

22 Thermal and Effluent Impacts

23 Consideration of Mitigation
Level of mitigation measures of any adverse environmental impacts must be commensurate with the significance level of the impacts. Steps Taken include the following: Potential mitigation measures Selected mitigation measures Mitigation measures to address cumulative impacts Residual impacts

24 A World of Increasing Water Scarcity
Consequences of unsustainable water management: the Aral Sea in 1989 and in 2003

25 Mitigation Measures Avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action, Minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action and its implementation, Rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected environment, Reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations during the life of the action, and Compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments.

26 Technical Solutions - Reduced Consumption
Power plant cooling Wet cooling system with evaporate recovery (15-25% reduction) Decreasing water consumption Increasing capital & operating costs Hybrid wet-dry cooling system (up to 80% reduction) Dry cooling system (100% reduction) Source: EPRI Journal, Summer 2007 Source: SPX Cooling Technologies

27 Monitoring Programs Address all phases (i.e., pre-application, construction, pre-operation, operation, and decommissioning) of the projected project, and both the project site and area of probable impact. Perform site characterization. Ensure the compliance of the selected mitigation measures. Measure the residual impacts.

28 Radiological Monitoring

29 Environmental Consequences
Environmental Consequences of the Proposed Action Unavoidable adverse environmental impacts Irreversible and irretrievable commitments of resources Relationship between short term uses and long term productivity of the human environment Benefit-cost balance

30 Summary – NEPA Requirements
Requires Federal agencies to make informed decision for their proposed actions. Evaluates environmental impacts Site characterization (e.g., land, water, meteorology, hydrology, ecology and radiology) Direct & cumulative impacts Their alternatives (other power sources, site & plant systems, & transmission) Mitigates adverse impacts Direct & cumulative Considered a range of mitigation measures (e.g., design alternatives, Best Management Practice, restoration and compensation) Monitoring Baseline conditions (e.g., surface water, groundwater, radiological, air and ecosystem) of the site Effectiveness of the selected mitigation measures Compliance demonstration

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