Radioactive Effluents from Nuclear Power Plants: Annual Report 2020 (NUREG/CR-2907, Volume 26)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: June 2023
Date Published: June 2023

Prepared by:
J. Davis

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

William Rautzen, NRC Project Manager
Zachary Gran, NRC Project Manager

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

Availability Notice


In 2020, there were 94 commercial nuclear power plants (NPPs) in operation at 55 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 2020, 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 2020. 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 2020, 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 2020 had no significant impact on the health and safety of the public or the environment.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, June 15, 2023