United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement on Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities: Regarding the Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Reactors (NUREG-0586, Supplement 1, Volume 1: Main Report, Appendices A through M)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: October 2002
Date Published:
November 2002

Division of Regulatory Improvement Programs
Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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Abstract

This document is a supplement to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) document Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement on Decommissioning of Nuclear Facilities issued in 1988 (NUREG-0586, referred to here as the 1988 Generic Environmental Impact Statement [GEIS]). This Supplement was prepared because of technological advances in decommissioning operations, experience gained by licensees, and changes made to NRC regulations since the 1988 GEIS.

This Supplement updates the information provided in the 1988 GEIS. It is intended to be used to evaluate environmental impacts during the decommissioning of nuclear power reactors as residual radioactivity at the site is reduced to levels that allow for termination of the NRC license. This Supplement addresses only the decommissioning of nuclear power reactorslicensed by the NRC. It updates the sections of the 1988 GEIS relating to pressurized water reactors, boiling water reactors, and multiple reactor stations. It goes beyond the 1988 GEIS to explicitly consider high-temperature gas-cooled reactors and fast breeder reactors. This document can be considered a stand-alone document for power reactor facilities such that readers should not need to refer back to the 1988 GEIS. The environmental impacts described in this Supplement supercede those described for power reactor facilities in the 1988 GEIS.

The scope of this Supplement is based on the decommissioning activities performed to remove radioactive materials from structures, systems, and components from the time that the licensee certifies that it has permanently ceased power operations until the license is terminated. The scope of the document was determined through public scoping meetings and meetings with other Federal agencies and the nuclear industry. An evaluation process was then developed to determine environmental impacts from nuclear power reactor facilities that are being decommissioned. The evaluation process involved determining the specific activities that occur during reactor decommissioning and obtaining data from site visits and from licensees at reactor facilities currently being decommissioned. The data obtained from the sites were analyzed and then evaluated against a list of variables that defined the parameters for facilities that are currently operating but which will one day be decommissioned. This evaluation resulted in a range of impacts for each environmental issue that may be used for comparison by licensees that are or will be decommissioning their facilities.

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