Presentation on theme: "14th Nuclear Utility Meteorological Data Users Group Meeting"— Presentation transcript:
1 14th Nuclear Utility Meteorological Data Users Group Meeting An Overview ofThe NEPA RequirementsFor Permitting a New Nuclear Power Plant in the United StatesPing K WanBechtel Power CorporationJune 2011
2 NEPA BasicsThe 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.
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 environmentEnvironmental Impact Statement (EIS)An EIS is a more detailed evaluation of the proposed action and its alternatives.
5 NEPA RequirementsNEPA requires federal agencies to undertake an assessment of the environmental effects of their proposed actions:Better informed decisionsCitizen involvementThe 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 DocumentOwnerReviewerRegulatory GuidesFSARApplicantNRCRS002RG 1.206NUREG 0800SER(Safety Evaluation Report)ACRS(Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards)Independent reviewERNUREG 1555RG 4.2NEPAEIS (Environmental Impact Statement)EPA, the Public, other appropriate agenciesClean Air Act, Section 309 Reviewers GuidanceConstruction/ Operation Permit Public HearingThe publicASLB (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 GuidanceRegulatory GuidesRG 4.2RG 1.206Many “topical” RGsEnvironmental 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:LandWaterAir Quality/MeteorologyEcologySocioeconomicsMitigation measures (to reduce impacts) and monitoringTransportation of radioactive material and nuclear fuel cycleAlternatives (energy, sites and plant systems)Evaluation and mitigation of potential cumulative impacts of plant construction and operationEnvironmental consequences
10 Major Parts of An Environmental Report Description of the EnvironmentCurrent project site environmental baseline conditions and the methodology or source of information usedImpacts EvaluationThe potential impacts associated with the projectMitigation and MonitoringThe 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 investigationDesktop survey for data/information collectionField Survey and MonitoringThese type of programs could result in significant cost and schedule implications if they are not well planned during early project development phase.
13 Impacts EvaluationCompares the Proposed Action and Alternatives from a Number of Different PerspectivesNuclear versus other power sourcesSite locationPlant systems and transmission systemBases 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 SignificanceSMALLEnvironmental effects are not detectable or are so minor that they will neither destabilize nor noticeably alter any important attribute of the resource.MODERATEEnvironmental effects are sufficient to alter noticeably, but not to destabilize, an important attribute of the resource.LARGEEnvironmental effects are clearly noticeable and are sufficient to destabilize an important attribute of the resource.
15 Alternatives : Cooling Systems Design for EnvironmentAvailable Cooling Systems:Once throughDedicated cooling pondCooing towerMechanical draftWetDryWet-dry combinationNatural draft (hyperbolic)
17 Alternative System: Transmission Corridors Design Around EnvironmentLimited Tower Design ConsiderationsHeightsTypesFinishesFocus on AvoidanceSensitive Wildlife ResourcesCultural ResourcesWater/Wetlands ResourcesCritical Land UsesSocioeconomicsTransportation 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.GuidanceCEQ handbook titled “Considering Cumulative Effects under NEPA” (CEQ 1997)Key Areas of ConsiderationResources and Ecosystem ComponentsGeographic Boundaries and Time PeriodPast, Present, and Reasonably Foreseeable Future ActionsDescribing the Condition of the EnvironmentUsing 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 toLand UseWater/Wetland ResourcesSensitive Wildlife ResourcesCultural ResourcesSocioeconomics
21 Cumulative Impacts: Shared Water Resource Multiple Facilities Sharing a Common Water Resource May Consider Combined:Consumptive Water UsesNon-consumptive Water UsesThermal ImpactsEffluent ImpactsOther Ecological ImpactsDestruction of habitation (e.g., construction/presence of intakes and outfalls)ImpingementEntrainment
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 measuresSelected mitigation measuresMitigation measures to address cumulative impactsResidual impacts
24 A World of Increasing Water Scarcity Consequences of unsustainable water management:the Aral Sea in 1989 and in 2003
25 Mitigation MeasuresAvoiding 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, andCompensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments.
26 Technical Solutions - Reduced Consumption Power plant coolingWet cooling system with evaporate recovery(15-25% reduction)Decreasing water consumptionIncreasing capital & operating costsHybrid wet-dry cooling system(up to 80% reduction)Dry cooling system(100% reduction)Source: EPRI Journal, Summer 2007Source: SPX Cooling Technologies
27 Monitoring ProgramsAddress 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.
29 Environmental Consequences Environmental Consequences of the Proposed ActionUnavoidable adverse environmental impactsIrreversible and irretrievable commitments of resourcesRelationship between short term uses and long term productivity of the human environmentBenefit-cost balance
30 Summary – NEPA Requirements Requires Federal agencies to make informed decision for their proposed actions.Evaluates environmental impactsSite characterization (e.g., land, water, meteorology, hydrology, ecology and radiology)Direct & cumulative impactsTheir alternatives (other power sources, site & plant systems, & transmission)Mitigates adverse impactsDirect & cumulativeConsidered a range of mitigation measures (e.g., design alternatives, Best Management Practice, restoration and compensation)MonitoringBaseline conditions (e.g., surface water, groundwater, radiological, air and ecosystem) of the siteEffectiveness of the selected mitigation measuresCompliance demonstration