United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Request for NRR Follow-Up on Environmental Samples with Levels Greater Than FES Estimates

HPPOS-009 PDR-9111210097

See the memorandum from L. B. Higginbotham to J. Sutherland dated April 15, 1976. The memo states that the concentrations of radioactive materials in environmental samples higher than those estimated in the Final Environmental Statement are not, by themselves, cause for concern.

An "Evaluation of the Results of Oconee Environmental Survey" was forwarded to NRR. Concern was expressed over what significance should be placed on observed environmental radioactive levels found to be greater than the estimated levels in the Final Environmental Statement (FES). The submitted evaluation stated that the concentrations of radioactivity detected by the South Carolina Department of Health in environmental samples were well below the South Carolina drinking water standards and the inspection of Oconee's liquid radwaste control program did not identify any noncompliance with the Technical Specifications. The doses to the public calculated using NRC models by Duke Power Company were below the numerical guides of 10 CFR 50, Appendix I.

NRR stated that the values of anticipated annual releases of radioactive material in liquid effluents and the corresponding anticipated concentrations in the tailrace as presented in the Oconee FES were exactly what they were claimed to be - anticipated or estimated values. FES values are estimates of long-term averages for the 40 year life of the plant and these estimates may vary from the observed value for any specific year. In this situation, regulatory limits were not exceeded; there was no information that was previously unknown to NRR; and there was no information contrary to that assumed by NRR in its issuance of the license. Therefore, based on this criteria, the significance of levels in the environment greater than estimated levels in the FES is minimal and that concentrations of radioactive materials in environmental samples higher than those estimated in the FES are not, by themselves, cause for concern.

The regional response to such incidences should be to provide the SEP Branch with a brief summary of the findings and these will be forwarded to Licensing for information. The Regional response need not involve an evaluation of the data nor a modification of the inspection schedule to inspect the subject area.

Regulatory references: Technical Specifications, Final Environmental Statement

Subject codes: 7.4

Applicability: Reactors

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, June 04, 2015