United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Radioactive Effluents from Nuclear Power Plants: Annual Report 2016 (NUREG/CR-2907, Volume 22)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: December 2018
Date Published:
April 2019

Prepared by:
J. Davis

Oak Ridge Associated Universities
1299 Bethel Valley Road, SC-200, MS-21
Oak Ridge, TN 37830

Steven Garry and Micheal Smith, NRC Project Managers

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

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Abstract

In 2016, there were 99 commercial nuclear power plants (NPPs) licensed to operate on 61 sites in the United States (U.S.) regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Each year, each power reactor sends a report to the NRC that identifies the radioactive gaseous and liquid effluents discharged from the facility. In 2016, these effluent reports comprised about 10,000 pages of information, which described the radioactive materials discharged, as well as the resulting radiation doses to the general public. This report summarizes that information and presents the information in a format intended for both nuclear professionals and the general public.

The reader can use this report to quickly characterize the radioactive discharges from any U.S. NPP in 2016. The radioactive effluents from one reactor can be compared with other reactors. The results can also be compared with typical (or median) effluents for the industry, including short-term trends and long-term trends.

Reference information is included so the reader can compare the doses from NPP effluents with the doses that the general public receives from other sources of radiation, such as medical procedures, industrial devices, and naturally occurring radioactive materials in the environment.

Although all operating NPPs released some radioactive materials in 2016, all effluents discharged were within the NRC's and the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) public dose limits, and NRC's "as low as is reasonably achievable" (ALARA) criteria. Additionally, the doses from radioactive effluents were much less than the doses from other sources of natural radiation that are commonly considered safe. This indicates radioactive effluents from NPPs in 2016 had no significant impact on the health and safety of the public or the environment.

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Tuesday, October 22, 2019