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Michigan Energy Forum - November 7, 2013 - Balancing Energy and Environmental Demands
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Michigan Energy Forum - November 7, 2013 - Balancing Energy and Environmental Demands


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  • Good evening. Thank you Randall for that introduction. I was asked to speak to you tonight about the process for siting nuclear power plants. In this presentation I am focusing on site selection for new plants, but there are also a number of environmental considerations, many of them similar to what I will discuss this evening, related to the extension of an operating plant’s license.The licensing process for a new nuclear reactor is understandably complicated. In general, the US NRC is the government authority ultimately responsible for the review and approval of new nuclear projects, although, there are numerous opportunities for other government organizations, as well as the public to become involved in the process.
  • One of the first steps for obtaining a licensing to build and operate a new nuclear plant is to convince the regulatory bodies that the best location possible is being selected. The process requires the applicant to identify and evaluate a preferred site and at least 3 alternate sites that satisfy: (1) NRC site suitability requirements, (2) NEPA alternative site analysis requirements, and (3) the business objectives established by the applicant. There is a logical, analytical process for evaluating potential sites for the construction and operation of one or more reactor(s), which includes the investigation and evaluation of a number of competing factors as illustrated in this figure.
  • Site selection is a four step process by which the applicant screens the Region of Interest (ROI) for possible locations of a new build site such as an existing power plant or brownfield site. From there the applicant uses tools such as GIS to identify and rank candidate areas within the ROI. Then at least four potential sites are selected from the top ranking candidate areas for additional study. On-site testing and evaluation is performed to determine the preferred site using successive analytical evaluation steps. Each of the potential sites selected for additional study must be qualitatively evaluated to demonstrate that the preferred site is the least environmentally damaging practicable alternative.
  • Alternative site analysis compares environmental impacts of constructing and operating a nuclear power plant at each site. A number of different types of characteristics are evaluated as shown in the two columns at the bottom of this slide. I will briefly touch of several of these items during the remainder of my presentation.
  • The first step in the site selection process is to screen the ROI to eliminate those areas that are either unsuitable or significantly less suitable than other potential siting areas. A comprehensive GIS database is often utilized to rank candidate areas. The GIS database utilizes data inputs from a variety of sources including Federal, State and local resources. Some examples of these are provided on this slide.
  • The initial identification and ranking of candidate areas is performed mostly using GIS. The types of data that are mapped and some sample generic evaluation criteria are provided on this slide. For example, seismic features, population distribution., or access to existing transportation lines or utilities. Using the same criteria, a more detailed look at the initial list of areas will be performed. Sites that have insufficient land area to accommodate a new Reactor, significant population growth concerns, transmission challenges, or water quality/thermal concerns will be excluded from the list of potential sites.
  • At this point, the potential site list is narrowed down to a minimum of four candidate sites that are further evaluated and ranked by summing Composite Suitability Ratings for specified selection criteria. It is somewhat interesting to note that it is the licensees responsibility to “prove” that the best site has been selected by rigorously evaluating three alternative sites and quantitatively demonstrating that the alternative sites are less desirable than the selected reference site. In the interest of the limited time available this evening, I will only touch on a few examples of the suitability criteria in greater detail on the next 4-5 slides.
  • Nuclear power plants require reliable sources of water for steam condensation, service water, emergency core cooling, and other functions. The water requirements for a nuclear power plant are that sufficient water volume be available for cooling the plant during normal operations and normal shutdown, for the ultimate heat sink, and for fire protection. Limitations imposed by existing laws or allocation policies govern the use and consumption of water during normal operations.When water is in short supply or the local habitat dictates, may plants opt to recirculate hot water through cooling towers, artificial ponds, or other types of impoundments. But in all cases, the plant is required to meet effluent discharge restrictions on thermal and chemical releases to minimize impact on the surrounding habitats.
  • 10 CFR 100.21(h) states that reactors should be located away from densely populated areas. As you have undoubtedly noticed, nuclear power plants tend to be located in fairly rural areas that are not too far from cities that have large power needs. Locating reactors away from densely populated areas is part of the defense-in-depth philosophy. It also facilitates emergency planning and preparedness and reduces potential doses and property damage in the event of a severe accident. Examples of specific considerations regarding population distribution include: SUMMARIZE THE SLIDE BULLETSOTHER NOTES/BACKGROUNDCumulative population at a distance divided by the area enclosed by that distance
  • As I mentioned on the previous slide, emergency planning and preparedness is also a large factor in the ability to license a specific site. 10 CFR 50.47(a)(1) requires reasonable assurance that adequate protective measures can and will be taken in the event of a radiological emergency. This requires evaluation of two emergency planning zones – the plume exposure pathway is evaluated out to a distance of 10 miles and the ingestion pathway is evaluated out to a radius of 50 miles. Plants must prepare evacuation plans for different types of events and evaluate the acceptability of the estimated time to properly implement protective actions as part of the site suitability evaluation. Proximity to other facilities and how those facilities might impact evacuation must also be considered. The exact size and configuration of the EPZ is determined in relation to local emergency response capabilities, land characteristics, topography, access routes, and jurisdictional boundaries.
  • Kind of switching gears, lets briefly discuss the evaluation of impacts to ecological systems. It is important to balance the costs of design and operational practices against the benefits of protecting ecologically sensitive areas. Important considerations include (1) the uniqueness of the habitat in the region, (2) the relative amount of the habitat that would be potentially destroyed or damaged relative to the total available habitat or (3) the vulnerability of the reproductive capacity of important species. Both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems must be considered and often the aquatic scenarios are the driving factor for specific choices related to cooling options. It might even surprise you to learn that some operating power plants have received awards for creating protected habitats for certain species inside their plant boundaries due to the limitations on human access to the areas.
  • Social, economic, and cultural considerations are important factors determining siting policy. Currently, plants are prohibited from sites that significantly impact current or future scenic, recreational, or cultural areas. Numerous organizations such as the federal national parks service, landmarks program, national register of historic places, US department of interior, and state and local governments must be contacted to ensure that all of these protected areas are avoided when siting a plant.February 11, 1994, the President issued an executive order that requires each Federal executive branch agency to identify and address, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority and low income populations resulting from its actions. The memorandum accompanying the Executive order directed Federal executive agencies to consider environmental justice – the fair treatment of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, income, or education level. As a result, the NRC has voluntarily committed to undertake environmental justice reviews as part of its NEPA responsibilities. Additionally, siting evaluations must consider how the siting, construction, and operation of a plant my impact local communities. Some of the things considered include local labor supply, changes in the tax basis, or impacts to local community services.BACKGROUNDExecutive Order 12898, “Federal Actions To Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low Income Populations.”
  • All of the evaluations previous mentioned, as numerous others that were not discussed this evening go into the process of ranking the candidate sites to facilitate the identification of an environmentally preferred site for the construction and operation of a new nuclear facility. But this is only 1 piece of the overall input in to new plant license – I could spend a lot more time than I have allotted tonight to discuss the numerous other inputs needed for the licensing of a new nuclear power plant.My final slide simply lists two documents where you can find additional detail related to most of the items I discussed tonight. Thank you for your attention. Are there any questions?
  • Transcript

    • 1. Michigan Energy Forum: Balancing Energy and Environmental Demands November 7, 2013
    • 2. Kevin W. Dahm Engineering 734-384-6860
    • 3. Reducing Nox Selective catalytic reduction systems (SCRs) operational since 2005 . (3/4). Convert nitrogen oxide (NOx) to harmless N2 and water. 90% emission reduction . Reducing SO2 (Contribute to formation of acid rain and fine particulates. ) Flue Gas Desulfurization systems (FGDs) operational since 2009. (2/4). Dec. 2013 (U1) Apr. 2013 (U2) >90% emission reduction. SP = 97%, Gypsum = 14tons/hour Reducing Mercury and particulates On units where both SCRs and FGDs have been installed. (2/4) mercury emissions reduced by 80 percent. Summer 2014, 2 additional SCRs and FGDs in service. 3
    • 4. Change 1974 to 2010 1974 (tons) 2010 (tons) Particulate -87% 7,467 969 SO2 -83% 278,996 47,602 NOx -77% 72,965 16,792 4
    • 5. 20 MW per Unit x 4 80MW towards Environmental. ~8,000 homes Monroe Power Plant is also proud of the following environmental achievements: - Wildlife Habitat Council "Lands for Learning" site since 1999 - Certified to ISO 14001 in 2003 - Monroe County Corporate Citizen of the Year - Designated a DEQ Clean Corporate Citizen in 2008 - State of Michigan Lotus Blossom Habitat 5
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    • 11. Generic Site Selection for Commercial Nuclear Power Plants Rebecca L. Steinman, P.E., Ph.D. November 7, 2013
    • 12. Summary of Key Siting Considerations Atmospheric Science Air Quality Economics (Benefits Assessment) Radiation Protection Socioeconomics/ Environmental Justice Human Health Terrestrial Ecology Archaeology/ Cultural Resources Power Marketing (Alternative Energy Sources) Hydrologic Sciences (Surface and Groundwater)/ Water Use Geology/Seismic Transportation/ Land Use Aquatic Ecology Nuclear Safety/ Fuel Cycle / Waste Accident Analysis Water Quality
    • 13. Commercial Nuclear Siting Process  Site Selection Studies • Identify sites (greenfield, brownfield, existing fossil-fired or nuclear power plants) in region of interest • Use constraint mapping of GIS data to identify candidate areas within the ROI • Select potential sites from the candidate areas • Rank potential sites to identify those for further consideration as candidate sites • Conduct field reconnaissance to obtain first-hand information about each candidate site and its surrounding area  Alternative Site Analysis • Quantitatively evaluate impacts of each candidate site • Determine whether any candidate site would be environmentally preferable to the proposed site
    • 14. Alternative Site Analysis  Alternative Site Analysis compares environmental impacts of constructing and operating a nuclear power plant at each site  Hydrology, water quality and water availability  Socioeconomic factors including aesthetics, cultural resources and environmental justice  Aquatic resources including wetlands, essential fish habitat  Population distribution and density and endangered species  Terrestrial resources and land  Air quality uses including endangered  Radiological and nonspecies radiological health impacts  Transmission corridors  Postulated accidents
    • 15. Federal, State, and Local Organization Coordination  Consultation with State Historic Preservation Office and/or Tribes regarding potential cultural and historic resource impacts  Consultation with natural resource agencies regarding threatened and endangered species  Coastal Zone Management Act consistency review  Clean Air Act conformity analysis  Preparation of mitigation plans, if necessary
    • 16. Identifying and Ranking Candidate Areas Criteria Category Screening Criteria Seismic Exclude areas < 25 mi. from capable faults Exclude areas < 5 mi. from surface faults Population Exclude counties where population density > 300 persons per sq. mi Water Availability Exclude areas not within 5 mi. of water bodies Dedicated Land Use Exclude federal & state parks, monuments, wildlife areas, wilderness areas, historic sites Regional Ecological Features Exclude significant known, mapped wetlands, threatened & endangered species habitat Transmission Exclude areas > 15 mi. from 525 kV lines and/or 230 kV nodes Rail Exclude areas > 10 mi. from existing lines
    • 17. Identify Candidate Sites from List of Potential Sites Iterative process to narrow the list of potential sites to at least four candidate sites using suitability criteria (NUREG-1555 recommended) • Water supply availability • Flooding potential • Distance to population centers • Known hazardous land uses near the site • Protected species or habitat near the site • Acres of identified wetlands on the site • Cost to construct access to nearest rail line • Cost to construct transmission to nearest node • Geology/Seismology • Land acquisition costs • Known cultural resources on/near site
    • 18. Water Supply Availability  Reliable water source available under all postulated natural event or site-induced conditions  Comply with water use and consumption statutory requirements  Minimize impact on habitats  Operate well below permissible thermal and chemical effluent concentrations for surface water or ground water discharge • NRC 10 CFR 20 and 10 CFR 50 • EPA-approved State standards • Federal Water Pollution Control Act
    • 19. Population Considerations  Nearest distance between an area with more than 25,000 residents must be at least 1.33 times greater than the distance from the reactor to the LPZ boundary • Low population zone (LPZ) – area immediately surrounding the Exclusion Area (EA)  Weighted transient population averaged over any radial distance out to 20 miles does not exceed 500 person/sq. mile • Transient population – people who work, reside part-time, or engage in recreational activities, but are not permanent residents  Special populations (hospitals, prisons, etc.) which might require evacuation under extreme situations
    • 20. Emergency Planning  Site characteristics cannot impede adequate protective action development  Emergency planning zones (EPZ) for plume exposure out to 10 miles  Ingestion planning EPZ out to 50 miles  Evacuation time estimate (ETE) helps assess site suitability, but there is no specific time limit  Proximity to other hazardous facilities, military installations, or airports whose evacuation might impact the NPP site
    • 21. Ecological Systems and Biota  Preservation of important habitats (both terrestrial and aquatic) • Breeding areas, nursery, feeding, resting, and wintering areas; wetlands; seasonal concentrations of species • Proportion of habitat affected by construction and operation activities compared to the region overall (> 2-3%)  Migratory pattern disruption  Entrainment, impingement, or entrapment of aquatic organisms
    • 22. Economic and Societal Impacts  Prohibited from impacting Federal, State, or locally designated scenic, recreational, or cultural areas • Historical / cultural preservation desires of the community • Minimize visual impact to residential, recreational, scenic or cultural areas  Fair treatment of all people regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, income, or educational level  Local labor supply, tax basis, and economic impacts of preemptive land use
    • 23. Selection of the Preferred Site
    • 24. References  EPRI Siting Guide: Site Selection and Evaluation Criteria for an Early Site Permit Application (Siting Guide), March 2002  NRC Regulatory Guide 4.7, Revision 2, General Site Suitability Criteria for Nuclear Power Stations
    • 25. Chuck Hookham, P.E. Vice President Balancing Energy and Environmental Demands New Energy Facilities November 7, 2013 Clockwise from Top Left: Dry Lake Wind Project | Heber, AZ; Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge Construction | Nevada/Arizona; Port Washington Generating Station | Port Washington, WI
    • 26. Michigan Energy Forum Balancing Energy and Environmental Demands What is an “Energy System”? Delivers power/motive force, or change a natural media (water, air, fuel) into usable form (“need”) Requires human intervention for production Has impacts, including those on environment Forms of Energy Delivery Transportation (motive force) Space conditioning (heating/cooling air) Process use (converting water to steam) Electricity (power, light, manufacturing, computing)
    • 27. Michigan Energy Forum Balancing Energy and Environmental Demands Energy Conversion Involves source with limits on availability (sustainable) Has environmental impacts Requires efficiency and economic considerations Must be delivered reliably and safely at time of need Electricity as Energy Generation Transmission/distribution End use quality
    • 28. Michigan Energy Forum Balancing Energy and Environmental Demands New Generation, Transmission, Distribution “Need” must be confirmed by Owner (e.g., dispatched power) Base system defined to meet need (e.g. coal-fired plant) Alternatives Analysis performed Generation alternatives Delivery system (grid, distributed generation, facility) Economic impacts (COG, delivered cost to end user) Regulatory compliance Environmental impacts Siting analysis “Rules” are different depending on Owner
    • 29. Michigan Energy Forum Balancing Energy and Environmental Demands Current Energy Situation Large use of coal, natural gas, and nuclear generation; renewables growing as a result of Portfolio Standard, PTCs, benefits Distribution of electricity by wires, heating fuel by pipeline, and vehicle fuel by truck Balancing low cost, reliability, flat demand tied to economy, environmental impact, resiliency Changes coming; new systems needed Environmental Impacts Airborne emissions (combustion GHGs) Freshwater use Inhabitants (e.g., birds, bugs, bunnies) Challenges siting any new energy system (NIMBY, regulations, resources) Baby Steps!
    • 30. Michigan Energy Forum Balancing Energy and Environmental Demands Siting New Energy Requires Differing Environmental Study (even renewables, storage, DG must be studied) Typical Requirements include: – – – – – – – – – – – Land Use, Zoning, Ownership Biological Assessment Cultural Survey Hazmat/ASTM Phase 1/2 NEPA Analysis Water Resources/Rights Wastewater/Solid Waste Noise Specialties (e.g. flicker) Agency Coordination Public Involvement
    • 31. Michigan Energy Forum Balancing Energy and Environmental Demands • Renewable Energy offers Sustainable Solution to Some of Michigan’s Needs, While Minimizing Most Environmental Impacts Source: “Readying Michigan to Make Good Energy Decisions”, presented by J. Quackenbush/S. Bakkal, Nov. 4, 2013
    • 32. Michigan Energy Forum Balancing Energy and Environmental Demands • HDR Study of Michigan’s Energy “Portfolio”: Opportunity Exists for Mix of Gas-Based Dispatchable Power and Renewables as Existing Portfolio Ages. • Nuclear, Advanced Coal with CCS, and Proposed Mid-Michigan-based Biomass Gasification Plant (VC Energy/HTI) Distributed Generation are Alternatives. • Cost for Renewable Energy Continues to Decline; Barriers Such as Tax Credits, Integration, Capital, Regulatory Policy Exist. • Wind and Biomass Opportunities “Now”; Solar PV in “Wings”. • Technologies such as Dry Cooling and Zero Liquid Discharge Exist to Reduce UP Garden Wind Farm (Heritage Environmental Impacts. Sustainable Energy)
    • 33. Michigan Energy Forum Balancing Energy and Environmental Demands Balancing Changing Energy Needs and Environmental Impacts Every “need” requires custom solution Alternatives analysis with practical acceptance criteria imperative Public involvement throughout Resiliency an increasing driver (cyber, storms, technology, efficiency) Natural gas paradox Utility delivery vs. alternatives (DG, ES, community solar, others) Growing renewable integration SUMMARY: Need “Balance” to Assure Sustainable/Secure Energy Future – Maybe a National Energy Policy? Clockwise from Top Left: Brandon Shores Generating Station | Baltimore, MD; Rialto Regional Biosolids Processing Facility | Rialto, CA; Hickory Ridge Landfill Solar PV Cap, | Atlanta, GA
    • 34. HDR Engineering, Inc. – Power and Energy • Leader in creating sustainable and environmentally balanced energy systems; major LEED© and Envision© sponsor • Full service environmental, engineering, and consulting for conventional and renewable energy initiatives • Over 8,000 professionals in over 185 offices; Ann Arbor is a center of excellence for Power and Energy • Non-conflicted - HDR is not a Large EPC contractor, Owner, or Regulator; we support multiple different clients without bias aside from creating effective solutions • Focus on safety, quality, environment, and life-cycle performance through integrated project management