United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

NRC: Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants (NUREG-1437 Supplement 2, Part 7)

2.0 Description of Nuclear Power Plant and Site and Plant Interaction with the Environment

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Section Contents

The Oconee Nuclear Station (ONS) is located near State Highways 130 and 183 on Lake Keowee in eastern Oconee County, South Carolina, approximately 13 km (8 mi) northeast of Seneca, South Carolina. The site is within 40 km (25 mi) of the boundaries of the States of North Carolina and Georgia, as shown in Figure 2-1. ONS is a three-unit plant. Each unit is equipped with a nuclear steam supply system manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox that uses a pressurized light-water reactor (LWR) and once-through cooling with water from Lake Keowee. The electricity generated is transferred to the switchyards located at the ONS site. Each unit has a design rating for net electrical power output of 887 megawatts electric [MW(e)]. Each unit is rated at 846 MW(e) net power. This provides a combined station total of 2538 MW(e) net power. The amount of electricity produced by ONS can supply the needs of more than 730,000 homes. Descriptions of the plant and its environs follow in Section 2.1, and the plant's interaction with the environment is presented in Section 2.2.

Figure 2-1. Location of Oconee Nuclear Station

2.1 Plant and Site Description and Proposed Plant Operation During the Renewal Term

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ONS is located on 210 ha (510 acres) in a rural part of northwestern South Carolina. Figure 2-1 shows the location of ONS in relationship to the tri-state area (northwest South Carolina, northeast Georgia, and southwest North Carolina). The site is surrounded by an exclusion area of 1.6-km (1-mi) radius as shown in Figure 2-2. All land is owned by Duke in full except for a small rural church lot, a highway right-of-way, and approximately 4 ha (9.9 acres) included in the Hartwell Reservoir project.

The region surrounding ONS was identified by the Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) as having a medium population density. Approximately 1700 persons comprise the non-outage work force at ONS. There are 1350 Duke employees normally onsite. The remainder of the 1700 persons are contract or vendor workers. The plant is located near the cities of Seneca, Walhalla, and Clemson, South Carolina. The nearest town is Six Mile, located 6 km (4 mi) east northeast. The majority of the land area is forest, with pasture, cropland, and residential development each contributing significant proportions of land use. The land within 8 km (5 mi) of the plant is primarily forest.

The property consists of rolling hills, with surface elevations ranging from about 210 m to 273 m (700 ft to 900 ft) within the region. The area is well drained by several intermittent streams flowing away from the center of the site in a radial pattern. The site lies within the drainage area of the Little and Keowee Rivers, which flow southerly into the Seneca River and subsequently discharge into the main drainage course of the Savannah River. The average annual rainfall at the site area is approximately 135 cm (53 in).

ONS is part of Duke's integrated energy producing area called the Keowee-Toxaway complex. ONS was constructed as a part of the Keowee-Toxaway Project (FERC Project #2503). This project also included the construction of Lake Keowee, Lake Jocassee, and the associated hydroelectric stations. Construction of the project occurred between 1968 and 1974. The Keowee-Toxaway Complex is located in the upper Savannah River drainage basin. It consists of the three-unit ONS, the Keowee Hydroelectric Station (a two-unit conventional hydroelectric facility), the Jocassee Hydroelectric Station (a four-unit pumped storage hydroelectric facility) and the Bad Creek Pumped Storage Project (a four-unit pumped storage hydroelectric facility). A pumped storage hydroelectric facility can operate in a generating mode or in a pumping mode to store water for later generation of electric power. In the generating mode, electricity is generated by allowing water to flow from Lake Jocassee (upper pond) into Lake Keowee (lower pond). In the pumping mode, water is pumped into Lake Jocassee from Lake Keowee for generation of electricity at a later time. The Bad Creek Pumped Storage Facility uses Lake Jocassee as the lower pond, and the Bad Creek Reservoir serves as the upper pond. Figure 2-3 illustrates the location of ONS in relationship to the rest of the Keowee Toxaway project and the Bad Creek project.

Figure 2-2. Oconee Nuclear Station - One-Mile Exclusion Area

Figure 2-3. Location of Oconee Nuclear Station Relative to Other Parts of Keowee-Toxaway Project

ONS is on the shores of Lake Keowee. The main bodies of the lake lie to the north and southwest of the site. Lake Keowee was formed by damming the water of the Little River and the Keowee River above the Hartwell Reservoir. Hartwell Reservoir, an Army Corps of Engineers' reservoir, is located south and downstream of the site. Lake Jocassee is approximately 17.5 km (11 mi) to the north. Keowee Lake covers about 7490 ha (18,500 acres) and has 480 km (300 mi) of shoreline, which is developed with both permanent and vacation residences, along with campgrounds, boat launch areas, marinas, golf courses, and some small retail establishments. The volume of Lake Keowee is 1.18x109 m3 (952,300 acre ft). The mean depth is 16 m (52 ft) with a maximum depth of 43 m (141 ft). In addition to uses for the needs of the nuclear and hydroelectric power plants, Lake Keowee is used as a source of municipal drinking water by Greenville and Seneca and is extensively used for recreation by fishermen, swimmers, skiers, and boaters.

2.1.1 External Appearance and Setting

The station is sited within a forested valley and is only visible from the neighboring highways in a few locations. The most obvious view is that of the water tower. ONS consists of three cylindrical concrete reactor building structures, approximately 38 m (125 ft) in diameter and about 61 m (200 ft) high. A turbine building and an auxiliary building are shared among the three units. Switchyards are located near the turbine building. Various other office buildings and facilities are located at ONS to support the station. Figure 2-4 shows the general features of the ONS site. Figure 2-5 presents an aerial view of the facility showing the three cylindrical reactor buildings.

Duke has an independent spent fuel storage installation (ISFSI) located on the site that has a license separate from the operating license. Duke was issued a Materials License (No. SNM-2503) for the ISFSI on January 29, 1990, with an expiration date of January 31, 2010. The ISFSI is outside the scope of this review.

The Old Pickens Presbyterian Church and Cemetery are located to the southeast of ONS on a small parcel of land that is not owned by Duke. The church is the only building remaining from the original Pickens town site. A Visitor's Center on a hill just above the site displays "The Story of Energy," which describes how sources of energy are found in nature and converted into electricity by Duke's generating facilities. There is also a lakeside picnic area, a nature trail, and landscaped grounds.

The site's geological setting is in the southeastern Piedmont physiographic province, and the site is underlain by crystalline rocks (AEC 1972). This northeastward-trending belt of ancient metamorphic rocks extends northward from Alabama east of the Appalachians, and in South Carolina, it crosses the state from the fall line on the east to the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains on the west. These rocks are generally recognized as being divided into four parallel northeast-southwest-trending belts in the Carolinas. From southeast to northwest, these are the Carolina Slate Belt, the Charlotte Belt, the Kings Mountain Belt, and the Inner Piedmont Belt. The site is in the northwestern Inner Piedmont Belt.

Figure 2-4. Oconee Nuclear Station Layout

Figure 2-5. Oconee Nuclear Station (aerial photo)

The rocks are geologically ancient and complex. These rocks were folded and metamorphosed when the Appalachian Mountains were formed during the Appalachian Revolution, some 270 million years ago. Faults and other lines of weakness dating from this Revolution may serve to locate present-day minor crustal movements that produce small earthquakes, and their location is of some importance. The most important is the Brevard fault zone that passes 17.5 km (11 mi) northwest of the site. The design criteria for the Station took this fault zone into account. Small earthquakes have been detected along this zone with intensities of IV to VI. Using this scale of intensities, V and VI represent disturbances that can dislodge plaster, etc.; X, XI, and XII represent disturbances that are severely damaging (AEC 1972).

In addition to the Brevard fault, there are fault zones 48 km (30 mi) to 320 km (200 mi) southeast where quake intensities of VII or VIII have been recorded. But because of their distance from the site, these zones are of slight importance for ONS (AEC 1972).

ONS is in the drainage basins of the Little and Keowee Rivers, which receive the runoff of surface water and groundwater from the site. The residual soil in the area is comparatively impermeable, particularly in late winter and early spring when the soil is saturated, and much of the precipitation goes into direct surface runoff. The residual soils do accept some water, and the area is underlain by a water table that is a subdued replica of the topography. Groundwater is not an important source of water supply in the area; all neighboring towns obtain their municipal supplies from above-ground sources.

The rate of movement of the groundwater was calculated to be 45 m to 76 m (150 ft to 250 ft) per year (AEC 1972). The residual soil has excellent ion exchange properties.

2.1.2 Reactor Systems

ONS is a three-unit plant. Each unit is a pressurized LWR, with a nuclear steam supply system manufactured by Babcock & Wilcox. Each unit has a design rating for net electrical power output of 887 MW(e) and is operated at a maximum core thermal power output level of 2568 MW(t). The turbines are manufactured by General Electric Company. Each turbine is a tandem, compound, six-flow exhaust, indoor unit.

ONS fuel is low-enriched (up to 5 percent by weight)(1) uranium dioxide in the form of pellets contained in zirconium alloy fuel rods (tubes fitted with welded end caps).

Duke can operate ONS in accordance with the methodology presented in B&W topical report BAW-10186P-A, which was approved by the staff in its letter dated April 29, 1997 (NRC 1997). Based on this methodology, cycle length, and fuel enrichment, the ONS fuel burnup(2) rate does not exceed 62,000 megawatt-days per metric ton uranium (MWd/MTU).

Reactor containment structures are designed with engineered safety features to protect the public and plant personnel from an accidental release of radioactive fission products, particularly in the unlikely event of a loss-of-coolant accident (LOCA). These safety features function to localize, control, mitigate, and terminate such events to limit exposure levels below applicable dose guidelines. The reactor is controlled using a combination of chemical controls (boric acid dissolved in coolant water) and solid absorber material.

2.1.3 Cooling and Auxiliary Water Systems

ONS is equipped with a once-through heat dissipation system that withdraws cooling water from the Little River arm of Lake Keowee, from underneath a skimmer wall. The discharge for the cooling water is located on the Keowee River arm of the lake just above the Lake Keowee dam. The Keowee River and the Little River basins are connected by a canal, approximately 31 m (100 ft) wide and 12 m (40 ft) deep (illustrated in Figure 2.2). It is nearly 3.2 km (2 mi) by lake from the point of discharge to the mouth of the intake canal. A natural cove was deepened and extended to within a few hundred feet of the power plant as part of the project when initially licensed. Across the mouth of the cove, a skimmer wall was constructed extending from above the surface of the lake (normally 244 m [800 ft] above mean sea level) down to an elevation of 223 m (735 ft). This wall ensures that cooler water from near the bottom of the lake enters the intake canal. Further into the intake cove is a submerged dam, or weir, with its crest at 233 m (770 ft) above mean sea level. The distance from the weir to the intake structures is nearly 1.2 km (0.75 mi). Figure 2-4 shows the water flow for the plant and illustrates the location of the skimmer wall, intake structure, and the outfall for the once-through cooling system.

Each generating unit has three separate water loops. The primary coolant loop is a closed piping system: pressurized water in the system is circulated through the reactor and transfers heat from the reactor to the steam generator. The secondary loop is also a closed system: water from this system is converted into steam (in the steam generators) that is used to drive the turbine. The third loop is an open system: water from the Little River arm of Lake Keowee is used to cool the spent steam in the secondary loop, and then it is returned to the Keowee River arm of Lake Keowee. The principal components of the third cooling loop are the skimmer wall, intake structure, circulating water pumps, condensers, and discharge conduits.

2.1.4 Radioactive Waste Management Systems and Effluent Control Systems

ONS uses liquid, gaseous, and solid radioactive waste management systems to collect and process the liquid, gaseous, and solid wastes that are the by-products of the ONS operation. These systems reduce radioactive liquid, gaseous, and solid effluents before they are released to the environment. The ONS waste processing systems meet the design objectives of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix I, and control the processing, disposal, and release of radioactive liquid, gaseous, and solid wastes. Radioactive material in the reactor coolant is the source of gaseous, liquid, and solid radioactive wastes in LWRs. Radioactive fission products build up within the fuel as a consequence of the fission process. These fission products are contained in the sealed fuel rods, but small quantities escape the fuel rods and contaminate the reactor coolant. Neutron activation of the primary coolant system also is responsible for coolant contamination.

Non-fuel solid wastes result from treating and separating radionuclides from gases and liquids and from removing contaminated material from various reactor areas. Solid wastes also consist of reactor components, equipment, and tools removed from service as well as contaminated protective clothing, paper, rags, and other trash generated from plant design and operations modifications and routine maintenance activities. Solid wastes may be shipped to a waste processor for volume reduction before disposal or may be sent directly to the licensed burial site. Spent resins and filters are dewatered and stored or packaged for shipment to an offsite processing or disposal facility.

Fuel rods that have exhausted a certain percentage of their fuel and that are removed from the reactor core for disposal are called spent fuel. ONS currently operates on an 58-month refueling cycle for all three units. Spent fuel is stored onsite either in a spent fuel pool in the Auxiliary Building or in dry storage at the ONS ISFSI. ONS also temporarily stores mixed waste onsite (mixed wastes are composed of radioactive material and hazardous waste). This storage is governed by the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) for radioactive material and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for hazardous waste, consistent with NRC and EPA requirements (42 USC 2011-2259 [AEA]; 42 USC 6901 [RCRA]).

The systems used for processing--liquid waste processing, gaseous waste processing, solid waste processing, and nonradioactive waste systems--are discussed in the subsequent sections.

The Offsite Dose Calculation Manual (ODCM) specifies the following methodology and parameters used to calculate potential offsite doses due to radioactive liquid and gaseous effluents and to ensure compliance with the dose limitations of the Selected Licensee Commitments (Section 16.11, "Radiological Effluents Control," of the Updated Final Safety Analysis Report [UFSAR]):

  • The concentration of radioactive liquid effluents released from the site to the unrestricted area will be limited to ten times the effluent concentration (EC) levels of 10 CFR Part 20, Appendix B, Table 2.
  • The exposures to any individual member of the public from radioactive liquid effluents will not result in doses greater than the design objectives of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix I.
  • The dose rate at any time at the site boundary from radioactive gaseous effluents will be limited to (a) less than or equal to 5 mSv/yr (500 mrem/yr) to the whole body and less than or equal to 30 mSv/yr (3000 mrem/yr) to the skin for noble gases and (b) less than or equal to 15 mSv/yr (1500 mrem/yr) to any organ for iodine-131 and 133, tritium, and for all radioactive materials in particulate form with half-lives greater than 8 days.
  • The exposure to any individual member of the public from radioactive gaseous effluents will not result in doses greater than the design objectives of 10 CFR Part 50, Appendix I.
  • The dose to any individual member of the public from the nuclear fuel cycle will not exceed the limits of 40 CFR Part 190 and 10 CFR Part 20. Liquid Waste Processing Systems and Effluent Controls

Based on the water source and process train, radioactive liquid wastes from the operation of ONS are accumulated in storage tanks. These wastes are collected in the Auxiliary Building and transferred to the Radwaste Facility for processing by filtration or demineralization or both. The Radwaste Facility processes high-activity wastes, low-activity wastes, and miscellaneous wastes from the Auxiliary Building. There is also an Interim Radwaste Building that can process liquid wastes, but it is not currently in use.

ONS liquid wastes are disposed of by one of the following three methods based on the concentration of radioactive material in the waste:

  • Collected, sampled, and analyzed and then discharged directly to the tailrace of the Keowee Hydroelectric plant.
  • Processed by filtration or demineralization or both, collected, sampled, and analyzed with the filters and/or resins and then packaged and shipped to an approved licensed burial ground.
  • Processed by filtration or demineralization or both, collected, sampled, and analyzed with the filters and/or resins and then packaged and shipped to an offsite vendor waste processor.

The potential waste generation rate for the three units is 28,343 m3 (944,773 ft3) per year. The liquid waste holdup capacity is approximately 303,200 liters (80,000 gal). The actual liquid waste generated is reported in the Oconee Annual Effluent Report.

The ODCM prescribes the effluent release rate that will ensure that the concentration of radioactive liquid effluents released from the site to the unrestricted area is less than ten times the effluent concentrations of 10 CFR Part 20, Appendix B, Table 2. In addition, the ODCM provides calculations for the radiation monitor alarm/trip set points that define the relationship between the measured effluent activity, the maximum allowable effluent activity, and the effluent flowrate needed to ensure that the instantaneous release rate is not exceeded and thereby that the Selected Licensee Commitments are met. Gaseous Waste Processing Systems and Effluent Controls

Radioactive gaseous wastes at ONS are created by the evolution of gases in liquid contained in tanks and piping. The wastes are monitored and released at a permissible rate prescribed by the ODCM. Units 1 and 2 share a Gaseous Waste Disposal System, and Unit 3 has a separate system that can be interconnected to the Unit 1 and 2 system. The purposes of the Gaseous Waste Disposal Systems are to (1) maintain a non-oxidizing cover gas of nitrogen in tanks and equipment that may contain radioactive gas, (2) holdup gas for decay, and (3) release the gases under controlled conditions.

The gaseous wastes are to be released in the following ways depending on the source, quantities, and concentration of radioactive material: (1) release of Auxiliary Building ventilation air and Reactor Building purges into the unit vents, (2) release of Reactor Building purges through high-efficiency particulate and charcoal iodine filters to the unit vents, (3) release of waste gas directly or through high efficiency particulate and charcoal iodine filters to the unit vents, (4) diversion of gaseous radioactive waste to waste gas tanks followed by a controlled release to the unit vents via high-efficiency particulate and charcoal iodine filters after sampling and analysis, and (5) release of Radwaste Facility heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and process exhaust.

The ODCM prescribes the effluent release rate to ensure that releases are less than the Selected Licensee Commitments. In addition, the ODCM provides the calculational methodology for the radiation monitor alarm/trip set points, which defines the relationship between the measured effluent activity, the maximum allowable effluent activity, and the effluent flowrate needed to ensure that the instantaneous release rate limit is not exceeded and thereby that the Selected Licensee Commitments are met. Solid Waste Processing and Handling

Solid waste is packaged in containers to meet the applicable requirements of 49 CFR Parts 171 through 177. Disposal and transportation are performed in accordance with the applicable requirements of 10 CFR Part 61 and Part 71, respectively. There are no releases to the environmentfrom radioactive solid wastes created at ONS. NRC and the state of South Carolina have approved the disposal of slightly contaminated materials within the Owner Controlled Area. For each onsite disposal, the waste is analyzed and confirmed to have acceptably low radionuclide concentrations, following the approval process described in 10 CFR 20.2002.

Approximately 150 shipments are made from ONS each year. About 120 are radioactive material shipments (contaminated parts, tools, equipment, sources, etc.) and 30 radwaste shipments (dry active waste, dewatered resins, irradiated hardware, etc.). The radwaste shipments may be shipped to a waste processor to reduce the volume before disposal or may be sent directly to a licensed burial site.

From year to year, the volume of radioactive contaminated waste generated will vary, but averages are about 750 m3 (25,000 ft3) per year. ONS has been aggressively reducing volume and minimizing waste for several years and plans to continue to do so in the future.

2.1.5 Nonradioactive Waste Systems

The primary nonradioactive chemical wastes produced by ONS are from reactor coolant system make-up water, steam generator make-up water, water treatment demineralizers, and deborating demineralizers. Non-sanitary, nonradioactive wastes are neutralized and sent to the holding ponds, eventually being discharged to the Keowee River, downstream from the Keowee Hydroelectric Station. Sanitary wastes are routed to an aerated sewage lagoon. The effluents are treated by chlorination. The treated effluents from the sanitary waste treatment system are dechlorinated before being discharged.

2.1.6 Plant Operation and Maintenance

Routine maintenance performed on plant systems and components is necessary for safe and reliable operation of a nuclear power plant. Some of the maintenance activities conducted at ONS include inspection, testing, and surveillance to maintain the current licensing basis of the plant and to ensure compliance with environmental and public safety requirements. Certain activities can be performed while the reactor is operating. Others require that the plant be shut down. Long-term outages are scheduled for refueling and for certain types of repairs or maintenance, such as replacement of a major component. Scheduled refueling outages commonly have a duration of 35 to 55 days for a single unit. An additional 800 to 900 workers are onsite during a typical outage. Scheduled refueling outages for ONS occur on 18-month intervals for all three units.

Duke performed an aging management review and developed an integrated plant assessment for managing the effects of aging on systems, structures, and components in accordance with 10 CFR Part 54. The integrated plant assessment identified several activities that must necessarily be conducted during the period of extended operation. These activities include inspections and replacement of certain components. The applicant indicated that replacing these components and conducting additional inspections are within the bounds of normal plant operations. Therefore, Duke expects to conduct these activities during plant operation or normal refueling and other outages, but plans no outages specifically for the purpose of refurbishment. Duke has no plans to add additional full-time persons (non-outage workers) at the plant during the period of the extended license.

2.1.7 Power Transmission System

The ONS FES (AEC 1972) lists the transmission lines shown in Table 2-1 as being "attributable to the (Oconee) nuclear station." These lines account for 528 km (330 mi) of lines and about 3120 ha (7800 acres) of land in the rights-of-way. Figure 2-6 illustrates the location of these transmission lines.

Table 2-1. Transmission Lines from Oconee Nuclear Station

Destination Double or Single kV Distance (mi)(a) Width of Right-of-way (ft)(a) Date Line was Energized
Tiger d 230 53 150 November 1, 1973
Central (2) d 230 9 270 October 31, 1970
Site H (McGuire) s 525 130 200 July 2, 1974
Newport s 525 110 200 April 1, 1973
N. Greenville d 230 28 200 January 1, 1970
(a) Information taken from AEC (1972). Distances are left in English units as they were in the original.

These transmission lines were constructed concurrently with the construction of Oconee and the Keowee-Toxaway project and at a time that the Duke transmission system was being expanded in the Piedmont area. These lines are owned and operated by Duke Electric Transmission, a division of Duke Energy separate from Duke Power (Duke 1998a). The applicant indicated that the transmission lines will remain in service following the termination of operation and the decommissioning of Oconee, unless business needs require otherwise. The applicant stated that the 525 kV and the 230 kV lines from the Oconee substation provide an outlet for the 1675 MW of electrical power at the Jocassee and Bad Creek Pumped Storage Hydro plants. They are a source of power when these units are in pump mode.

Figure 2-6. Transmission Lines Attributable to the Oconee Nuclear Station in the Final Environmental Statement (AEC 1972)

In addition, Duke stated that three of the lines were energized before initial ONS startup. These lines are also used for tie-ins to the Virginia-Carolinas subregion of the Southeastern Electric Reliability Council as well as for connections to Georgia and Florida. In its license renewal application, uke (1998a) proposed that the transmission lines that should be considered to connect the plant to the transmission system are only those lines from the Oconee Turbine Building to the 230 kV and the 525 kV switchyards. However, as provided in 10 CFR 51.53(c)(3)(ii)(H), the scope of the review of transmission lines for the Category 2 issue concerning electric shock is the set of transmission lines that were constructed for the specific urpose of connecting the plant to the transmission system. The NRC staff has determined that the scope of the review of transmission lines for the Category 2 issue concerning threatened or endangered species should be identical to the scope of review for electric shock (NRC 1999b). As stated above, the ONS FES indicates that all the transmission lines listed in Table 2-1 were "attributable to [ONS]." Accordingly, the staff has determined that all these lines were

constructed for the specific purpose of connecting ONS to the transmission system and determined that all of the transmission lines discussed in the FES should be evaluated.

2.2 Plant Interaction with the Environment

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Subsections 2.2.1 through 2.2.8 provide general descriptions of the environment as background information. They also provide detailed descriptions where needed to support the analysis of potential environmental impacts of refurbishment and operation during the renewal term as discussed in Chapters 3 and 4. Subsection 2.2.9 describes the historical and archaeological resources in the area, and 2.2.10 describes possible impacts on other Federal project activities.

2.2.1 Land Use

ONS is located in the northwest corner of South Carolina. The station is in the eastern portion of Oconee County. It is approximately 13 km (8 mi) northeast of the city of Seneca, the largest city in Oconee County. Lake Keowee occupies the area immediately north and west of the station. Lake Keowee covers approximately 7500 ha (18,500 acres) and was created by dams on the Lower Keowee and Little River.

The total area occupied by the station is 210 ha (510 acres). Forests cover the majority of the land area in the region surrounding ONS. The topography of the immediate area is undulating to rolling. Surface elevations range from approximately 210 m (700 ft) to 275 m (900 ft).

Oconee County is predominantly rural. The county's major population centers and developed areas are concentrated in the east central portion of the county around the municipalities of Walhalla, Westminster, and Seneca. Walhalla is the county seat for Oconee County. Table 2-2 shows a breakdown of land use in Oconee County in 1994. The amount of developed land is increasing with time.

Table 2-2. Land Use in Oconee County in 1994 (Talbert & Bright 1996)

Land Use



% of Total

Farming 97,700 (241,300) 56.3
Residential 5,700 (14,100) 3.3
Government Owned 41,000 (101,200) 23.6
Other (commercial and industrial) 9,500 (23,500) 5.5
Water Bodies 19,700 (48,600) 11.3
Total 173,600 (428,700) 100

The land occupied by the station is in an unincorporated portion of Oconee County. Oconee County has not imposed any zoning or land-use restrictions in the unincorporated portions of the county.

2.2.2 Water Use

Water from Lake Keowee (8.3 x 106 m3/d [2200 million gpd]) provides once-through condenser circulating water (CCW) for ONS (see Section 2.1.3). Lake Keowee serves as the lower pond for the Jocassee Pumped Storage Station and furnishes energy to drive the Keowee Hydroelectric Station. Water from the Seneca water treatment plant (120 m3/d [0.03 million gpd]) is used for potable water. Treated waste water (51 m3/d [0.01 million gpd]) from the plant's liquid rad-waste system is diluted and returned to the Keowee dam tailrace. Treated water (5300 m3/d [1.4 million gpd]) from the sewage treatment system, the chemical treatment system, the landfill leachate collection system, chemical treatment ponds, storm water runoff, and the turbine building sump are returned to the Keowee River at a location below the tailrace. Figure 2.7 illustrates the water flow for the plant.

In addition to serving the needs of the nuclear and hydroelectric power plants, Lake Keowee is used as a source of municipal drinking water for the cities of Greenville and Seneca. Lake Keowee experiences extensive recreational use by fishermen, boaters, skiers, and swimmers.

Seven groundwater wells are located at the Oconee site. One of these wells is used to supply the site baseball field with drinking water and with water for a restroom facility. This well is also used for seasonal irrigation at the site baseball field and has a pumping capacity of 0.0019 m3/s (30 gpm). The well at the baseball field is the only onsite groundwater well permitted to supply drinking water. There are two groundwater wells used to supply seasonal irrigation for landscaping at a training building and office complex. The other four wells are used infrequently as low volume, non-potable water sources.

The estimated combined pumping rate for all groundwater wells at the Oconee site is less than 0.068 m3/s (100 gpm).

2.2.3 Water Quality

The concentrations of all minerals in Lake Keowee are very low, with total dissolved solids of less than 25 mg/L (0.00021 lb/gal). Water clarity is generally very high. Dissolved oxygen concentrations in the surface waters are adequate, and algae are never present in nuisance concentrations. Due to low nutrient content of its waters, Lake Keowee has a relatively low standing crop (pounds per acre) of fish.

Figure 2-7. Oconee Nuclear Station - Water Flow Diagram

SCDHEC, as part of the Clean Lakes program, monitors the water quality and use of lakes in the State. These results are published in Watershed Water Quality Assessment, Savannah and Salkehatchie Basins, Technical Report No. 003-97 (SCDHEC 1997). In this document, SCDHEC reported that

Eutrophication assessments indicate that Lake Keowee is the least eutrophic large lake in South Carolina, characterized by very low nutrient concentrations. Preservation of this lake's desirable trophic condition is recommended. Aquatic life uses are not supported in Lake Keowee due to occurrences of copper in excess of the aquatic life acute standards, including a high concentration of copper measured in 1995, compounded by a significant increasing trend in pH. A significant increasing trend in dissolved oxygen concentration and a significant decreasing trend in five-day biochemical oxygen demand suggest improving conditions for these parameters. Recreational uses are fully supported at this site.

Pursuant to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA) (33 USC 1251), also known as the Clean Water Act (CWA), the water quality of plant effluent discharges is regulated through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The SCDHEC is the state agency delegated by the EPA to issue the NPDES permit. The current permit (SC0000515) was issued on September 29, 1999, and expires on September 30, 2003. Any new regulations promulgated by EPA or the SCDHEC would be included in future permits.

2.2.4 Air Quality

ONS is located on the eastern slope of the Appalachian Mountains at an elevation of about 240 m (800 ft) mean sea level. The climate of the region is generally mild. Climatological records for Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina (NOAA 1998), which should be representative of the site, show normal daily maximum temperatures ranging from about 10C (50F) in January to about 31C (88F) in July; normal daily minimum temperatures range from about -1C (30F) in January to about 20C (68F) in July. Precipitation, which averages about 130 cm (51 inches) per year, is spread rather uniformly through the year. Monthly average wind speeds range from 2.7 m/s (6.1 mph) to 3.75 m/s (8.4 mph), with the highest speeds during the winter and lowest speeds during the summer. The influence of the Appalachian Mountains is seen in the prevailing wind directions, which are west-southwest and northeast. Section 2.3 of the ONS updated final safety analysis report (UFSAR) (Duke 1998b) contains a more detailed description of the climate of the region and site.

Climatological records also show that the area is subject to occasional storms, including destructive winds. In most years, one or more tropical storms affect the site; however, ONS is sufficiently far inland that the winds associated with these storms are below hurricane force. Tornadoes are infrequent in this region and are generally small when they occur.

For about two-thirds of the year, the region is under the influence of the Bermuda high pressure system. High pressure systems are typically associated with low winds and increased potential for air pollution problems. As indicated in 40 CFR 81.334, 40 CFR 81.341, and the 1997 South Carolina Air Quality Annual Report (SCDHEC 1998), South Carolina and North Carolina are in attainment of the National Air Quality Standards. The only non-attainment area in Georgia is an ozone non-attainment area in the Atlanta region (40 CFR 81.311). The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) is an air quality index developed by the EPA in cooperation with the Council on Environmental Quality. For 1997, the average PSI for the Spartanburg, Greenville, Anderson metropolitan area was 48, which is associated with Good air quality (SCDHEC 1998). The daily PSIs for 211 days were in the Good range, and the remaining daily PSIs were in the Moderate range. The days with Moderate PSIs resulted from ozone formation.

The Oconee site is within 100 km (62 mi) of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Shining Rock Wilderness Area. These areas are designated in 40 CFR, Part 81, Subpart D, as mandatory Class I Federal areas in which visibility is an important value. As a result of the proximity of the Oconee Site to these Class I areas, future industrial development at the site will be subject to strict Federal standards for pollution control (SCDHEC 1998).

2.2.5 Aquatic Resources

Lake Keowee serves the needs of the local nuclear and hydroelectric power plants and is also used as a source of municipal drinking water by the cities of Greenville and Seneca, South Carolina. It is used extensively by fishermen, boaters, skiers, and swimmers, and its banks are developed with vacation and permanent residences, campgrounds, boat launch areas, marinas, golf courses, and small retail establishments.

Algae have never been present in nuisance concentrations, and, because of the low nutrient content of the water, Lake Keowee has a relatively low standing crop of fish. A creel census conducted in 1973 indicated that largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), and crappie (Pomoxis, spp.) were the most important recreational species in Lake Keowee (Edwards et al. 1976). Data on angler effort and harvest rates collected over a period from 1974 to 1993 (Barwick et al. 1995) confirmed that largemouth bass remained the most important sportfish in the reservoir and that sunfish (Lepomis spp., including bluegill) and crappie were the only other species that contributed in a significant way to the reservoir's sport fishery.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), in a letter dated April 17, 1998, provided a list of the Federally endangered and threatened species that potentially occur in Oconee County, South Carolina. No Federally listed aquatic species were identified for Oconee County. However, the bog turtle (Clemmys muhlenbergii) occurs in neighboring Pickens County and was listed as a threatened species due to similarity of appearance to the northern population of the same species. A survey conducted during June 1998 by Dr. L.L. Gaddy (Duke 1998a) found no Federal- or State-listed threatened or endangered species present within a 1.6-km (1-mi) radius Unit 2's reactor building at ONS. This includes the owner-controlled areas as well as additional lands along the Keowee River and along Lake Keowee. No State-ranked aquatic species listed as occurring in Oconee or Pickens Counties have been identified as occurring on or in the immediate vicinity of ONS.

The importance of fishery resources to the local community has promoted a partnership between Duke and SCDNR. Recently, SCDNR and Duke Power Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (Keowee-Toxaway Fisheries Resources 1996) and developed a 10-year work plan to enhance communication between the two groups and provide for continued research, management, and enhancement of the fisheries resources in the watershed.

2.2.6 Terrestrial Resources

The vegetation in the vicinity of ONS has been variously described as part of the oak-pine-hickory biome of the eastern deciduous forest (Greller 1988) or as part of the southern mixed forest province (Bailey 1976, 1980). Much of the Piedmont region near ONS was cleared and converted to cotton production during the late 1800s and then abandoned in the 1930s. Most of the existing forested areas in the vicinity of ONS consequently represent second growth forests. The various pine species, such as loblolly (Pinus taeda), shortleaf (P. echinata), and Virginia (P. virginiana) pines, are the dominant conifers. Common hardwoods include red and white oaks (Quercus rubra, Q. alba), hickory (Carya sp.), and tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), among others. The understory is dominated by shrubs such as dogwood (Cornus florida), mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), and redbud (Cercis canadensis), as well as many species of herbs and grasses.

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), black bear (Ursus americanus), raccoon (Procyon lotor), rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus), squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis and Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), beavers (Castor canadensis), muskrats (Ondatra zibethica), foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus and Vulpes vulpes), opossums (Didelphis marsupialis), skunks (Mephitus mephitus and Spilogale putorius), river otters (Lutra canadensis), mink (Mustela vison), and various mice, voles, and shrews are wildlife species found in the project area. The white-tailed deer is the most popular game species, and black bear are hunted in the areas to the west of ONS.

The turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus), and mourning dove (Zenaida macroura), are the most common game birds. Many species of songbirds inhabit the area, including the eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis), red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus), cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), tufted titmouse (Parus bicolor), woodthrush (Hylocichla mustelina), summer tanager (Piranga rubra), blue-gray gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea), hooded warbler (Wilsonia citrina), and Carolina wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus). The box turtle (Terrapene carolina), common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus), and assorted frogs, toads, and salamanders comprise the herpetofauna.

Extensive areas of ONS are protected or managed as upland natural areas, wetlands, or wildlife areas. In support of the environmental report, Duke funded a survey of all lands within a 1.6-km (1-mi) radius of the plant site. This survey, which was conducted in May and June 1998, identified several areas that retain characteristics of mature upland forests that the applicant has designated as protected natural areas. Wetlands were also identified during this survey, and these are managed as sensitive environmental areas. The applicant has a program of wildlife enhancement in unused portions of the plant site. The program was designed in partnership with the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, the SCDNR, and the National Wild Turkey Federation. This program has established semi-natural meadows, enhanced wetland native plants, placed wood duck and bluebird nesting boxes, and developed a butterfly garden.

The field survey also included an inventory of endangered, threatened, and otherwise noteworthy plant and animal species within a 1.6 km (1 mi) radius of ONS. No Federally listed, proposed, or candidate threatened or endangered species were identified during the onsite survey. However, three State-listed plant species and one plant species not previously known in South Carolina (Table 2-3) were identified. The populations of these four species were all confined to "natural areas" located toward the periphery of the survey area, well away from areas used for normal plant operations. Three additional state-listed plant and one animal species have been reported from the general area in the past, but were not located within the 1.6-km (1-mi) radius of ONS during this survey (Table 2-3).

Table 2-3. Endangered, Threatened, and South Carolina State Listed Plant and Animal Species Found on or Historically Occurring in the Vicinity of the Oconee Nuclear Station

Scientific Name Common Name State Status(a) Occurrence(b)
Sigmora robusta a centipede SC Historical
Carex laxiflora Loose-flowered sedge SR Present
Carex prasina Drooping sedge SC Present
Echinacea laevigata Smooth coneflower FE, SC Historical
Nestronia umbellula Indian olive SC Present
Orobanche uniflora One-flowered broomrape SC Historical
Pachysandra procumbens Allegheny spurge SC Historical
Viola tripartita Three-parted violet SC Present
(a) FE = Federally endangered, SC = Species of Concern in South Carolina, SR = new state record for species.

(b) Historical = species have been reported from the general area in the past, but were not located within the 1-mile radius of ONS during the applicant's survey; Present = species was found within a 1-mile radius of ONS.

During the spring of 1998, Duke contacted the FWS and the SCDNR to request information about threatened or endangered species that potentially could occur in the vicinity of the ONS. The staff contacted the FWS during the spring of 1999 to request similar information concerning the ONS related transmission lines. The FWS identified (FWS 1998) nine species that have been reported to occur within either Pickens or Oconee counties, South Carolina, and eight additional species reported from the other counties crossed by the transmission lines (Table 2-4). None of the species listed in Table 2-4 are known to inhabit the immediate vicinity of the ONS.

Federally listed species that have been occasionally sighted near ONS include the threatened bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and the endangered peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus). Bald eagles are occasional visitors near the ONS site, but are not known to nest or to reside near the site for significant time periods. Bald eagles are known to be more numerous and spend more time in the vicinity of the Jocassee and Bad Creek Reservoirs. Peregrine falcons are occasional transients near ONS. Attempts have been made to introduce individuals near the Jocassee dam, but they are not known to reside near ONS.

Transmission lines associated with the ONS extend through a number of additional counties in both South Carolina and North Carolina. The FWS provided the staff information about threatened and endangered species that may occur in these counties. This list is summarized in Table 2-4.

Table 2-4. Federally Listed Threatened or Endangered Species Known or Potentially Occurring Near the ONS or in Counties Crossed by Transmission Lines Associated with the ONS

Species Common Name Status(a) Greenville, SC Spartanburg, SC Anderson, SC Laurens, SC Union, SC York, SC Rutherford, SC Cleveland, SC Gaston, SC Lincoln, SC Oconee, SC Pickens, SC
Halieeatus leucocephalus Bald eagle T     X     X         X X
Falco pereginus anatum Peregrine falcon E X           X       X X
Picoides borealis Red-cockaded woodpecker E       X                
Myotis sodalis Indiana bat E             X       X  
Clemmys muhlenbergii Bog turtle T* X               X     X
Sisyrinchium dichotomum White irisette E X           X          
Hexastylus naniflora Dwarf-flowered heartlleaf T X X       X X X   X   X
Helianthus schweinitzii Schweinitz's sunflower E           X     X      
Rhus michauxii Michaux's sumac E                   X    
Echinacea laevigata Smooth coneflower E     X               X X
Helonius bullata Swamp pink T X                      
Isotria medeoloides Small whorled pogonia T X                   X  
Sagittaria fasciculata Bunched arrowhead E X                      
Sarracenia rubra ssp. jonesii Mountain sweet pitcher plant E X                     X
Amphianthus pusillus Little amphianthus T           X            
Gymnoderma lineare Rock gnome lichen E X           X          
Trillium persistens Persistent trillium E                     X  
Isoetes malanospora Black-spored quillwort E                       X
(a) E = Endangered, T = Threatened, T* = threatened due to similarity of appearance.

Examination of the National Heritage Databases from South Carolina and North Carolina indicates that three plant species listed in Table 2-4 may occur within or near the transmission line rights-of-way. The bunched arrowhead occurs in the corridors located northwest of Greenville, South Carolina, and in the corridors located northeast of Traveler's Rest, South Carolina. The dwarf-flowered heartleaf occurs near corridors northeast of Traveler's Rest and also between Landrum, South Carolina, and the McGuire substation. Schweinitz's sunflower is known to occur near the Newport and McGuire substation at the far eastern end of the ONS related transmission system.

2.2.7 Radiological Impacts

Duke has conducted a radiological environmental monitoring program (REMP) around ONS since 1969. The radiological impacts to workers, the public, and the environment have been carefully monitored, documented, and compared to the appropriate standards. The purposes of the REMP are to

  • verify that radioactive materials and ambient radiation levels attributable to plant operation are within the limits contained in the Selected Licensee Commitments and the Environmental Radiation Protection standards as stated in 40 CFR Part 190, Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Nuclear Power Operations
  • detect any measurable buildup of long-lived radionuclides in the environment
  • monitor and evaluate ambient radiation levels
  • determine whether any statistically significant increase occurs in the concentration of radionuclides in important pathways.

Radiological releases are summarized in the annual reports titled "Oconee Nuclear Station Units 1, 2, and 3 Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Report" and the annual effluent release reports and includes the results of the monitoring for the ISFSI. The limits for all radiological releases are specified in the Selected Licensee Commitments, and these limits are designed to meet Federal standards and requirements. The REMP includes monitoring of the aquatic environment (aquatic organisms and shoreline sediment in Lake Keowee and Hartwell Reservoir), atmospheric environment (air particulates and iodine), and terrestrial environment (vegetation and direct radiation).

Review of historical data on releases and the resultant dose calculations revealed that the doses to maximally exposed individuals in the vicinity of ONS were fractions of the limits specified in the Environmental Protection Agency's environmental radiation standards 40 CFR Part 190 as required by 10 CFR 20.1301(d). For 1997 (the most recent year that data were available), dose estimates were calculated based on actual 1997 liquid and gaseous effluent release data (Duke Power 1997). Calculations were performed using the plant effluent release data, onsite meteorological data, and appropriate pathways identified in the ODCM.

A review of whole body and organ doses (Duke Power 1997) revealed the following results: the total body dose estimate to an adult from environmental measurements was 0.0014 mSv/yr (0.14 mrem/yr) and the total body dose estimate from all effluent release pathways was 0.00615 mSv/yr (0.615 mrem/yr). The critical pathway for both of these estimates was from fish consumption. Cesium-137 was the major contributing radionuclide. These doses, which are representative of the doses from the past 5 years, are provided to demonstrate that the impact to the environment from releases from ONS is small.

The applicant does not anticipate any significant changes to the radioactive effluent releases or exposures from ONS operations during the renewal period and, therefore, the impacts to the environment are not expected to change.

2.2.8 Socioeconomic Factors

The staff reviewed the applicant's environmental report and information obtained from several county staff members, local real estate agents/appraisers, and social services providers during the October 1998 site visit. The following information describes the economy, population, and communities near ONS. Housing

Between 1970 and 1990, total housing units in Oconee County increased from 14,032 to 25,983 (DOC 1991; U.S. Bureau of the Census 1988). Approximately 146 new households, or one percent of the growth in households, may be attributed to ONS employment (NRC 1996). A total of 891 ONS employees currently live in Oconee County (as of January 1999). As of January 1999, 515 ONS employees live in Pickens County and 161 live in Anderson (see Table 2-5). County growth has continued since 1990. Based on the estimates in the GEIS (NRC 1996) of 2,300 direct employment in 1990, immigrant ratio of 16.4 percent, and indirect employment multiplier of 0.41, ONS may have accounted for 3,243 direct and indirect jobs in Oconee, Pickens, and Anderson Counties. This accounted for 378 households and less than 2 percent of the housing growth from 1970 to 1990. Between 1980 and 1990, the number of housing units in the Tri-County (Oconee, Pickens, and Anderson) area increased approximately 22.5 percent to a total of 122,602 units (Knight 1998a). Table 2-6 provides the number of housing units and housing unit vacancies by county in the Tri-County area for the years 1970 to 1996.

Since 1990, Oconee County population has continued to increase from 57,494 at the 1990 Census to 64,059 in 1998 (Table 2-7). Pickens County increased in population from about 93,894 in 1990 to 104,618 in 1998 (Table 2-7). About 4,000 units were added to the Oconee County housing stock between 1990 and 1996, as the county became a more popular bedroom community, recreation area, and second home and retirement community and as manufacturing jobs were added (Table 2-6). The east end of Pickens County increasingly became a bedroom community for Greenville. At the time of the 1990 Census, about 10,700 Pickens County residents per day commuted to Greenville County (Knight 1997) and this number likely has increased. Clemson University is a major employer in Pickens County, with 7,156 jobs in 1997 (Knight 1997). Anderson County increased in population from 145,177 at the 1990 Census to 160,791 in 1998 (South Carolina Statistical Abstract [South Carolina Office of

Table 2-5. Employee Residence Information, Oconee Nuclear Station, January 1999

County and Selected Cities

Duke and Contractor Employees

Oconee County 891
Salem 50
Seneca 454
Tamassee 19
Walhalla 138
West Union 75
Westminister 125
Other Cities and Towns 30
Pickens County 515
Central 102
Clemson 45
Easley 127
Liberty 68
Pickens 83
Six Mile 79
Other Towns and Cities 11
Anderson County 161
Anderson 88
Belton 13
Pendleton 20
Other Towns and Cities 40
Greenville County 35
Other Counties 29
North Carolina 49
Georgia 65
Other States 40
Total 1785
Source: Duke (1999a).

Table 2-6. Housing Units and Housing Units Vacant (Available) by County 1970-1996

  1970 1980 1990 1996

Oconee County

Housing Units 14,032 20,226 25,983 30,000
Occupied Units 12,764 17,373 22,358 25,200
Vacant Units 1,268 2,853 3,625 4,800

Pickens County

Housing Units 18,673 28,469 35,865 40,700
Occupied Units 17,274 25,986 33,422 38,200
Vacant Units 1,399 2,483 2,443 2,500

Anderson County

Housing Units 35,981 51,369 60,753 67,700
Occupied Units 33,277 46,944 55,481 60,700
Vacant Units 2,704 4,375 5,264 7,000
Source: 1990 Census of Housing, file STF1A, Table H2; Reference 1 (DOC. 1991); 1988 City and County Data Book; South Carolina Statistical Abstract (South Carolina Office of Research and Statistical Services 1998).

Table 2-7. Population Growth in Oconee, Pickens, and Anderson Counties, South Carolina (1970-1998)


Oconee County

Pickens County

Anderson County

  Population Annual Growth % Population Annual Growth % Population Annual Growth %
1970 40,728 -- 59,956 -- 105,474 --
1980 48,611 1.8 79,292 2.8 133,235 2.4
1990 57,494 1.7 93,896 1.7 145,177 0.9
1998 64,059 1.4 107,087 1.7 160,791 1.3
Sources: U.S. Bureau of the Census, County Population Estimates for July 1, 1998 and Population Change for July 1, 1997 to July 1, 1998, Population Estimates Program Population Division, March 12, 1999; Knight 1998a.

Research and Statistical Services 1998]), due largely to growth in branch plant manufacturing. In 1997, Anderson County employed 15,800 in major manufacturing facilities, compared with 8,400 in Oconee County and 6,800 in Pickens County (Knight 1997). Oconee County added 4,017 housing units between 1990 and 1996; Pickens County added 4,835 housing units over the same period; while Anderson County added 6,947 units (Table 2-6). Housing availability in the Tri-County area is not limited by growth-control measures. With a 1996 vacancy rate of approximately 10 percent, over 14,300 units are available for occupancy in the three closest counties (Bureau of Census 1996). Public Services

  • Water Supply

Potable water used in Oconee County is from both subsurface and surface sources and is used primarily for domestic and industrial uses. The county has four privately owned water systems, five municipal water systems, and a single sewer commission that serves the incorporated towns in the county and some selected rural areas. Table 2.8 shows source and capacity information on selected water supply systems in communities near ONS, as well as the area served by each. Both Seneca and Greenville are served with surface water from Lake Keowee, which is very high quality and has low concentrations of minerals and nutrients. Large areas of Oconee County are not served by public water supplies. According to the Oconee Community Facilities Plan, some supplies are threatened by incompatible development, including septic tanks around lakes and sedimentation and erosion from land-clearing activities. Both Seneca and Walhalla (which draws water from Coneross Creek, above Lake Keowee) have identified current plant capacity as inadequate for meeting future water demand. Seneca is searching for a location for a new treatment plant to meet future demand, while Walhalla is considering construction of a new treatment plant in the next 5 years, drawing on Lake Jocassee (reducing its need to depend on the limited capacity of Coneross Creek).

Availability of adequate wastewater collection is considered to be a current constraint on development in both Oconee and Pickens Counties. Public wastewater collection is provided in Oconee County by the municipalities of Seneca, Walhalla, and Westminster, while water treatment is provided by the Oconee County Sewer Authority (Oconee County Planning Commission 1997). Private treatment operators serve Chickasaw Point, Keowee Key, and Newry. The Authority operates the Coneross Waste Treatment Plant, which was expanded in capacity to 0.4 m3/s (7.8 million gpd). Average daily volume is only 0.14 m3/s (3 million gpd). While the difference allows considerable excess capacity for economic development within the area served by the system, there are large portions of the county not served, and there are institutional constraints that make serving the I-85 corridor a problem in Oconee County. Pickens County has limited excess capacity, and this constrains the county's ability to absorb or recruit manufacturing. Current excess capacity has been only about 0.02 m3/s (500,000 gpd), and a current $12 million upgrade is expected to primarily replace older, environmentally unacceptable capacity, expanding excess capacity to 0.04 m3/s (800,000 gpd).

Table 2-8. Major Public Water Supply Systems in Oconee County in 1997

Water System Source Maximum Daily Consumption
Average Daily Consumption
Area Served
Salem Water Department Two wells on SC Highway 130 Unavailable Unavailable City Limits
Seneca Light and Power Lake Keowee 5.914 million 4.406 million City of Seneca, with lines 16 km (10 mi) north and south
Walhalla Water Department Coneross Creek 2.2 million 1.42 million Walhalla city limits, Town of West Union, Surrounding area
Westminster Commission of Public Works Chauga River 3.62 million 2.314 million Unavailable, but generally along US 123 and US 76
Pioneer Water Systems Seneca and Westminster systems Unavailable Unavailable South portion of county, including Fair Play and Townville
Source: Oconee County Planning Commission 1997.
  • Education

In 1996, there were approximately 49,600 students enrolled in schools in the Oconee-Pickens-Anderson County area (Knight 1997). Enrollment totals for the public schools were 10,056 in Oconee County, 26,187 in Anderson County, and 13,353 in Pickens County. Oconee County has 11 public elementary schools, four middle schools, four high schools, and four private schools. In Anderson County, there are 27 public elementary, 11 middle/junior high schools, 9 high schools, and 5 private schools. Pickens County has 15 public elementary schools, 5 middle schools, 5 high schools, and 8 private schools. Pickens and Anderson Counties have some post-secondary capability. Anderson County has Tri-County Technical College (enrollment 3,250), Forrest Junior College (enrollment 899), and Anderson College (a private, 4-year university with an enrollment of 245). Pickens County has Clemson University, with 16,526 enrollment, and Southern Wesleyan University, with an enrollment of 1,298. Economic development also benefits from the presence of technical college and university education in nearby Greenville, especially Greenville Tech.

The area has comparatively low student/teacher ratios, despite also having relatively low property taxes. For 1996, student/teacher ratios were 14.8/1 in Oconee County, 16.9/1 in Pickens County, and varied from 15.4/1 to 18.5/1 among the five school districts in Anderson County (Knight 1997). Property tax rates in 1997 were $1.99/$1000 in Oconee County (Knight 1998b), $2.04/$1000 in Pickens County, and $2.24/$1000 in Anderson County (an average of the range among 31 districts of $1.95 to $2.64).(3) Reflecting population growth, during the 1996-97 school year, the Oconee School District opened two new elementary schools, Fair Oak and Orchard Park, with a combined enrollment of over 1,100 students (Oconee County Planning Commission 1997). Fair Play Elementary School was closed and replaced by Fair Oak. All schools in the county except West Oak and Seneca High Schools received some expansion or upgrade. These two schools had received upgrades in recent years.

  • Transportation

Oconee County is served by I-85 at its southeast corner, plus U.S. highways 76 and 123 and State highways 28 and Scenic 11. ONS is on a two-lane highway with service to the site being convenient from four main directions. Highway access remains adequate for the time being, but population growth in the county may create crowded conditions in the future, particularly at selected intersections.

Pickens County is not served by the Interstate Highway system, but has ready access to the I-85 corridor via U.S. 76 , 123, and 178. State Highways 8, 96, 135, 137, 124, and Scenic 11 complete the major road net. Highway 123 runs the length of Pickens County from east to west with four-lane service to Greenville. State Highway 133 (which runs north-south on the east side of Lake Keowee) and State Highway 183 from Pickens serve as commuting highways from Pickens County to ONS. Although several of the residential communities on both sides of Lake Keowee have long, narrow access roads, none of these roads has been identified as seriously congested.

The period from 1995 to 2015 has been projected by the State of South Carolina to be one of moderate population growth (1.1 percent per year). Oconee County is projected to grow at about the same rate as the state during that period, while Pickens and Anderson Counties are expected to grow at about 0.9 percent per year. At these rates, Oconee County would increase its current population by about 50 percent at the end of the license renewal period (see Section and Knight 1998a). Significant upgrading of most arterial links and main highways is likely to be required to accommodate such growth. The population of the other two counties would grow by about 40 percent and also likely would require highway upgrades. Offsite Land Use

Oconee and Pickens Counties both have land-use plans, but neither has zoning regulations (Talbert & Bright, Inc. 1996; interview with Pickens County Director of Planning, October 22, 1998). Industrial development is concentrated in the I-85, S.C. Route 123, Route 28, and Route 76 corridors in the two counties and in Anderson County. There are some restrictions on building practices, but these are not extensive. Industrial development has been limited in Pickens County by lack of sewer and water infrastructure. Oconee County has been relatively selective about the industry they target. Oconee County also has a sanitary landfill that is nearly at capacity and may constrain growth if it is not replaced (Oconee County Planning Commission 1997).

The continued availability of ONS and the associated tax base is an important feature in Oconee County's ability to continue to invest in infrastructure and to draw industry and new residents. In 1998-1999, the Oconee County Operational Budget was $26.2 million and the school operating budget $41.1 million, for a total of $67.4 million. Duke will pay $22.3 million in taxes on ONS in 1998-1999, or roughly a third of the county combined operational and school budget.(4) In Pickens County, continued presence of the plant will have less influence on development or land use, since the plant does not directly contribute to the tax base of the county. There is relatively little impact on land use in Anderson County from Oconee-related population. Duke helps with industrial recruiting in all three counties. Visual Aesthetics and Noise

From the air, the principal visual features of the ONS region are Lakes Keowee, Jocasee, and Hartwell and the countryside, which is generally wooded or in small farms. The position of the plant relative to Lake Keowee is such that the ONS is only visible from the water within the first 1.6 km (1 mi) to the north. Further north, islands and the topography of the shoreline render the plant invisible. From the lake, the shoreline appears mostly wooded with upscale housing developments and boat launches.

Scenic resources inland from the lake have changed since ONS construction because of population growth. This growth has resulted in housing and some roadside development supplanting agricultural and wooded areas. However, South Carolina Highway 130, which follows the east side of Lake Keowee south of the plant and follows the west side of the lake to the north of the plant, mainly affords attractive views of the lake and surrounding hilly, wooded countryside with interspersed development and occasional agricultural lands. This is the main access route to the plant from either north or south. The view on South Carolina Highway 183 coming from either the east or west shows mainly woods and fields and does not reveal ONS until the traveler is within a hundred yards of the plant gate.

Because of woods and topography, noise from the ONS is generally not an issue. The only sounds heard offsite are the plant loudspeakers, which can be heard nearby on the lake. Demography

The update to Duke's Final Safety Analysis Report (Duke 1998b) refers to Duke's emergency response plan, which had an estimated resident population as 65,423 within 16 km (10 mi) of ONS for 1990. This is only slightly different than Duke's current estimate of 64,405 (Duke 1999a). Seasonal resident population adds another 6,694, transient summer weekend visitors add 8,636 more, and on Clemson football weekends, there may be over 75,000 visitors to the area.

Tables 24.1 through 24.5 in Duke (1999a) estimated resident population for 1990 and each decade through the proposed ONS license renewal term (2010, 2020, 2030). The 2010 projections represent estimated population near the first year of license renewal for Unit 1 (2013), and the projections for the year 2030 represent populations after the end of the renewal term (2034 for Unit 3). Near the end of the license renewal term (2030), the population within 80 km (50 mi) of ONS is expected to be approximately 1.3 million, as compared with 990,000 in 1990 (Duke 1998b).

Data for 1990 are based on the 1990 Census of Population. Future population estimates were developed by combining information that was available from the 1990 Census(5) and resident population projections found in the GEIS, Vol. 2, page A-46.

The 1990 resident population distribution (by distance and directions) is found in Table 24.1 of Duke (1999a). Populations for the sectors(6) were calculated using population values at the census block level, the smallest enumeration level used by the Census Bureau. Census blocks whose geographic centroid was located within a sector were considered to lie within that sector. For each sector that is located within 80 km (50 mi) of the plant, the population numbers for the blocks within each sector were summed to give a total for that sector.

The projected population within the sectors for the years 2000, 2010, 2020, and 2030 was calculated by increasing the 1990 population for each sector by the percentage increases between the respective periods.

The projected 1990 population within 80 km (50 mi) of the Oconee Nuclear Station from the GEIS is 990,000 persons. The 1990 Census Bureau data for the year 1990 indicated 1,021,226 people living within 80 km (50 mi) of the plant. This difference (3.2 percent) was considered to be small. Therefore, Duke (1999a) used the predicted total population values found in the GEIS for the 80-km (50-mi) radius around the plant to extrapolate the 1990 population distribution data forward in time for the years 2010 and 2030. The total resident population within the 80-km (50-mi) radius for the year 2020 (not listed in the GEIS) was determined by using linear interpolation between the population totals for the years 2010 and 2030. This same procedure was applied by the staff to Duke's estimates to obtain the population by sector within 16 km (10 mi).

  • Resident Population Within 16 km (10 mi)

The estimated resident population within 16 km (10 mi) of ONS for the years 1990, 2010, 2020, and 2030 is listed in Tables 2-9 through 2-12. Figure 2-8 illustrates the 10-mile radius from ONS.

Between 1970 and 1990, the population within 16 km (10 mi) of ONS increased about 70 percent, from 37,831 (AEC 1972) to 64,405 (Duke 1999a). Current projections indicate that by the year 2010, the population within 16 km (10 mi) will be 73,789 (obtained from the FSAR [Duke 1998b]), which is about

39 percent higher than projected in the original FES (AEC 1972). The higher growth within the 16-km (10-mi) radius is primarily related to rapid population growth in Oconee County. Between 1980 and 1990, Oconee County grew half again as fast as the State (1.7 percent per year vs. 1.1 percent per year). According to agency projections, it is expected to grow at about the same rate as the state through the year 2015 (Knight 1998a). Factors stimulating growth in Oconee County include proximity to high-quality recreation and to Greenville. To these factors one could add relatively easy commutes to metropolitan areas (45-min to 1-hr commute by car), less development and lower taxes than those areas, and less stringent land use, zoning, and development regulations compared with some surrounding counties.

  • Resident Population Within 80 km (50 mi)

The estimated resident population distribution within 80 km (50 mi) of ONS for the years 1990, 2010, 2020, and 2030 is shown in Tables 2-13 through 2-16. Figure 2-9 illustrates the 80-km (50-mi) radius from ONS.

Between 1970 and 1990, the population within 80 km (50 mi) of ONS increased approximately 36 percent, from about 730,000 (AEC 1972) to about 1,020,000 (Table 2-14). Current population projections in the environmental report (ER) (Duke 1998a) indicate that by the year 2010, the population within 80 km (50 mi) will be approximately 1,170,000.

Table 2-17 lists the age distribution of Oconee County in 1990 compared to the U.S. population.

  • Transient Population

The transient population in the vicinity of ONS can be identified as daily or seasonal. Daily transients are associated with places where a large number of people gather regularly, such as local businesses, industrial facilities, and schools. Seasonal transients result from the use of weekend recreational areas such as Lakes Keowee, Jocasee, and Hartwell. It is estimated that seasonal transients increase the population within 16 km (10 mi) of ONS by approximately 10 percent during the summer months (Oconee Nuclear Station Emergency Response Plan, Duke 1999b). The daily and seasonal population associated with selected industry and recreation within 16 km (10 mi) of the station is listed in Table 2-18.

Table 2-9. Estimated Population Distribution in 1990 Within 16 km (10 mi) of ONS

Sector 0 to 1 Miles 1 to 2 Miles 2 to 3 Miles 3 to 4 Miles 4 to 5 Miles 5 to 10 Miles Total
N 0 0 0 8 3 143 154
NNE 0 0 30 64 9 186 288
NE 0 13 44 192 222 1,351 1,823
ENE 2 0 39 206 387 1,599 2,233
E 6 23 123 167 229 2,128 2,676
ESE 0 12 38 121 436 2,768 3,375
SE 0 103 158 84 144 6,825 7,314
SSE 0 0 0 0 105 14,858 14,963
S 0 8 6 0 202 3,823 4,038
SSW 0 5 5 4 86 10,989 11,090
SW 0 26 3 145 120 2,916 3,210
WSW 0 0 44 277 114 2,858 3,294
W 0 43 34 176 142 4,192 4,587
WNW 0 16 38 66 67 1,227 1,415
NW 0 14 62 661 35 1,514 2,285
NNW 0 40 110 364 140 1,007 1,660
Total 8 302 735 2,535 2,440 58,384 64,405
Source: U.S. Census Bureau - 1990 Census, File C90STF3A (DOC 1991)

Table 2-10. Estimated Population Distribution in 2010 Within 16 km (10 mi) of ONS

Sector 0 to 1 Miles 1 to 2 Miles 2 to 3 Miles 3 to 4 Miles 4 to 5 Miles 5 to 10 Miles Total
N 0 0 0 9 3 164 176
NNE 0 0 34 73 10 213 330
NE 0 15 51 220 254 1,548 2,089
ENE 2 0 45 236 443 1,831 2,558
E 7 26 141 192 262 2,438 3,066
ESE 0 14 43 139 500 3,171 3,867
SE 0 117 181 96 165 7,820 8,380
SSE 0 0 0 0 120 17,023 17,143
S 0 9 7 0 231 4,379 4,626
SSW 0 6 6 5 98 12,591 12,706
SW 0 30 4 166 137 3,342 3,678
WSW 0 0 51 318 131 3,274 3,774
W 0 50 39 202 163 4,802 5,255
WNW 0 19 44 75 77 1,406 1,621
NW 0 16 71 758 40 1,735 2,618
NNW 0 45 126 417 160 1,153 1,902
Total 9 346 842 2,905 2,796 66,891 73,789
Source: Computed from Table 2-14.

Table 2-11. Estimated Population Distribution in 2020 Within 16 km (10 mi) of ONS

Sector 0 to 1 Miles 1 to 2 Miles 2 to 3 Miles 3 to 4 Miles 4 to 5 Miles 5 to 10 Miles Total
N 0 0 0 9 4 174 187
NNE 0 0 36 78 11 226 350
NE 0 16 54 234 270 1,641 2,214
ENE 3 0 48 250 470 1,941 2,711
E 7 27 149 203 278 2,584 3,249
ESE 0 14 46 147 530 3,361 4,098
SE 0 124 192 102 175 8,288 8,881
SSE 0 0 0 0 127 18,041 18,168
S 0 9 7 0 245 4,641 4,903
SSW 0 6 6 5 104 13,344 13,466
SW 0 32 4 176 145 3,541 3,898
WSW 0 0 54 337 139 3,470 4,000
W 0 53 41 214 173 5,090 5,570
WNW 0 20 47 80 81 1,490 1,718
NW 0 17 75 803 42 1,839 2,775
NNW 0 48 134 442 170 1,223 2,016
Total 10 367 892 3,079 2,963 70,893 78,204
Source: Computed from Table 2-15.

Table 2-12. Estimated Population Distribution in 2030 Within 16 km (10 mi) of ONS

Sector 0 to 1 Miles 1 to 2 Miles 2 to 3 Miles 3 to 4 Miles 4 to 5 Miles 5 to 10 Miles Total
N 0 0 0 10 4 184 198
NNE 0 0 38 82 11 238 369
NE 0 17 57 247 285 1,733 2,338
ENE 3 0 51 264 496 2,050 2,864
E 8 29 158 214 294 2,730 3,433
ESE 0 15 48 156 560 3,550 4,329
SE 0 131 203 107 185 8,755 9,382
SSE 0 0 0 0 134 19,060 19,194
S 0 10 8 0 259 4,904 5,180
SSW 0 7 7 5 110 14,097 14,226
SW 0 33 4 186 154 3,741 4,118
WSW 0 0 57 356 147 3,666 4,225
W 0 56 43 226 183 5,377 5,884
WNW 0 21 49 84 86 1,574 1,815
NW 0 17 79 848 44 1,942 2,931
NNW 0 51 141 466 179 1,291 2,129
Total 11 388 942 3,252 3,130 74,893 82,615
Source: Computed from Table 2-16.

Figure 2-8. Oconee Nuclear Station - 16-km (10-mi) Radius

Table 2-13. Estimated Population Distribution in 1990 Within 80 km (50 mi) of ONS

  0-10 10-20 20-30 30-40 40-50  
Sector Miles Miles Miles Miles Miles Total
N 154 355 2,557 444 22,328 25,838
NNE 288 547 6,285 18,676 26,660 52,456
NE 1,823 4,692 4,331 4,631 41,165 56,642
ENE 2,233 13,845 34,721 46,169 36,182 133,150
E 2,676 29,511 112,819 117,286 30,134 292,426
ESE 3,375 5,678 25,609 14,078 12,455 61,195
SE 7,314 5,916 36,445 12,423 11,055 73,153
SSE 14,963 11,038 38,834 9,191 2,715 76,741
S 4,038 3,363 6,624 9,659 13,001 36,685
SSW 11,090 5,290 7,450 10,407 9,024 43,261
SW 3,210 6,814 8,155 5,772 6,847 30,798
WSW 3,294 4,722 13,914 13,605 20,881 56,416
W 4,587 3,070 2,403 3,427 3,540 17,027
WNW 1,415 1,017 4,945 3,116 4,151 14,644
NW 2,285 579 2,678 14,770 5,142 25,454
NNW 1,660 354 1,946 7,872 13,508 25,340
Total 64,405 96,791 309,716 291,526 258,788 1,021,226
Source: U.S. Census Bureau - 1990 Census, File C90STF3A (DOC 1991).

Table 2-14. Estimated Population Distribution in 2010 Within 80 km (50 mi) of ONS

  0-10 10-20 20-30 30-40 40-50  
Sector Miles Miles Miles Miles Miles Total
N 176 407 2,930 509 25,581 29,602
NNE 330 627 7,201 21,397 30,544 60,098
NE 2,089 5,376 4,962 5,306 47,162 64,894
ENE 2,558 15,862 39,779 52,895 41,453 152,548
E 3,066 33,810 129,255 134,372 34,524 335,027
ESE 3,867 6,505 29,340 16,129 14,269 70,110
SE 8,380 6,778 41,754 14,233 12,666 83,810
SSE 17,143 12,646 44,491 10,530 3,111 87,921
S 4,626 3,853 7,589 11,066 14,895 42,029
SSW 12,706 6,061 8,535 11,923 10,339 49,563
SW 3,678 7,807 9,343 6,613 7,844 35,285
WSW 3,774 5,410 15,941 15,587 23,923 64,635
W 5,255 3,517 2,753 3,926 4,056 19,508
WNW 1,621 1,165 5,665 3,570 4,756 16,777
NW 2,618 663 3,068 16,922 5,891 29,162
NNW 1,902 406 2,229 9,019 15,476 29,032
Total 73,788 110,892 354,836 333,996 296,489 1,170,000
Source: Duke 1999a.

Table 2-15. Estimated Population Distribution in 2020 Within 80 km (50 mi) of ONS

  0-10 10-20 20-30 30-40 40-50  
Sector Miles Miles Miles Miles Miles Total
N 187 431 3,105 539 27,111 31,373
NNE 350 664 7,631 22,677 32,371 63,693
NE 2,214 5,697 5,259 5,623 49,984 68,776
ENE 2,711 16,811 42,159 56,060 43,933 161,674
E 3,249 35,833 136,988 142,412 36,590 355,071
ESE 4,098 6,894 31,095 17,094 15,123 74,305
SE 8,881 7,183 44,252 15,084 13,423 88,824
SSE 18,168 13,403 47,153 11,160 3,297 93,181
S 4,903 4,083 8,043 11,728 15,786 44,544
SSW 13,466 6,423 9,046 12,636 10,957 52,529
SW 3,898 8,274 9,902 7,009 8,314 37,396
WSW 4,000 5,734 16,895 16,520 25,354 68,502
W 5,570 3,728 2,918 4,161 4,298 20,675
WNW 1,718 1,235 6,004 3,784 5,040 17,781
NW 2,775 703 3,252 17,934 6,244 30,907
NNW 2,016 430 2,363 9,558 16,402 30,769
Total 78,202 117,526 376,065 353,979 314,227 1,240,000
Source: Duke 1999a.

Table 2-16. Estimated Population Distribution in 2030 Within 80 km (50 mi) of ONS

  0-10 10-20 20-30 30-40 40-50  
Sector Miles Miles Miles Miles Miles Total
N 198 455 3,280 570 28,642 33,144
NNE 369 702 8,062 23,957 34,199 67,289
NE 2,338 6,019 5,556 5,941 52,805 72,659
ENE 2,864 17,760 44,539 59,224 46,413 170,801
E 3,433 37,856 144,721 150,451 38,655 375,116
ESE 4,329 7,284 32,851 18,059 15,977 78,499
SE 9,382 7,589 46,751 15,936 14,181 93,839
SSE 19,194 14,159 49,815 11,790 3,483 98,441
S 5,180 4,314 8,497 12,390 16,677 47,058
SSW 14,226 6,786 9,557 13,350 11,576 55,494
SW 4,118 8,741 10,461 7,404 8,783 39,507
WSW 4,225 6,057 17,848 17,452 26,786 72,369
W 5,884 3,938 3,083 4,396 4,541 21,842
WNW 1,815 1,305 6,343 3,997 5,325 18,785
NW 2,931 743 3,435 18,947 6,596 32,652
NNW 2,129 454 2,496 10,098 17,328 32,505
Total 82,617 124,161 397,295 373,961 331,966 1,310,000
Source: Duke 1999a.

Table 2-17. Estimated Age Distribution of Population in 1990(a)

Age Group Oconee County, South Carolina United States
  Number Percent Number Percent
Under 5 3,573 6.2 19,512,000 7.6
5-19 12,106 21.1 53,523,000 21.0
20-44 21,241 36.9 101,416,000 39.8
45-64 12,666 22.0 48,348,000 19.0
65 and Over 7,908 13.8 32,283,000 12.7
Total 57,494 100.0 255,082,000 100.0
(a) U.S. Bureau of the Census 1990, File STFIA (DOC 1991).

Figure 2-9. Oconee Nuclear Station - 80-km (50-mi) Radius

It should be noted that on most weekdays, a significant portion of the resident population is absent from Oconee County during daytime hours. According to the 1990 Census of Population, 25 percent of employed County residents (about 6700 people) commuted to jobs outside of Oconee County while over 4200 commuted into the county (Talbert & Bright 1996). With increased numbers of in-movers to Oconee County, the number of commuters likely has increased, although no post-1990 numbers are available.

Table 2-18. Transient Population Within 16 km (10 mi) of ONS(a)

Direction Seasonal Resident Population Winter Weekday Winter Weeknight Summer Weekend Clemson Football Weekend
N 25 20 0 392 20
NNE 39 0 0 0 0
NE 235 0 0 0 0
ENE 229 0 0 0 0
E 272 0 0 0 0
ESE 300 210 90 90 90
SE 491 468 322 2,515 378
SSE 738 1,486 1,294 1,133 73,688
S 383 100 60 60 0
SSW 848 597 447 797 457
SW 318 1,002 335 3,300 235
WSW 453 1,420 120 169 169
W 517 275 127 122 122
WNW 215 0 0 0 0
NW 715 0 8 0 50
NNW 687 8 0 0 8
Offsite 6,465 5,586 2,803 8,578 75,217
ONS   1395 698 698 698
Total   6,981 3,501 9276 75,915
(a) Source: Oconee Nuclear Station Emergency Response Plan (Duke 1999b), Revision 99-01, Figures J-3B to J-4E.

2.2.9 Historical and Archaeological Resources

This section discusses the cultural background and the known historical and archaeological resources at the ONS site and in the surrounding area. Cultural Background

The area around ONS is rich in prehistoric and historic Native American and historic Euroamerican cultural resources. This part of northwestern South Carolina has an archaeological sequence that extends back to about 10,000 B.C., although human use of the area was probably limited until about 4,000 to 5,000 B.C. when numerous small campsites are evident in the archaeological record. By 1000 B.C., archaeological data suggest a shift from scattered campsites to a more sedentary settlement and a subsistence system that was concentrated on ravine settings. By A.D. 1000, the archeological evidence for ancestral Cherokee culture is present, beginning with the regional Pisgah Phase (A.D. 1000 to 1500) and the following contact period Qualla Phase (A.D. 1500 to 1850) (Dickens 1976; Keel 1976). Pisgah villages included upright wooden post houses encircled by a palisade. These villages were commonly located in the larger alluvial valleys where soils were suitable for horticulture. This general village pattern continued into the Early Qualla Phase with the Late Qualla Phase being characterized by the Europeanization of Native American technology, economy, and settlement patterns after A.D. 1820.

The Cherokee were first noted in the written record by Spanish explorers in 1540. During the Qualla historic period, the Cherokee Indian cultural group has been divided into three subgroups, based on cultural, linguistic, and environmental distinctions (Dickens 1979). Of these subgroups, the Lower Cherokee grouping occupied the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains near the upper reaches of the Savannah River system. The Keowee River valley, which includes ONS and the associated reservoir, was one of the principal riverine settings for Lower Cherokee settlements of this period. Other Lower Cherokee villages are documented from historical written references in this part of South Carolina (Sheriff 1994; Ross 1980). During the 18th century, Keowee was the most important of these villages (Harmon 1986). The Cherokee village of Keowee, which is today located beneath the waters of Lake Keowee about 8 km (5 mi) north of ONS, was partially excavated during a preimpoundment archaeological project sponsored by Duke from 1966 to 1968. Also investigated by this project was Fort Prince George, a garrison constructed across the river from Keowee Village by the British Government in 1753 to protect the Lower Cherokee from French intrusions into the area and to secure trade relations between the British and the Cherokees (Hembree and Jackson 1998; Williams 1998).

The Cherokee Indian presence throughout their former extensive homelands came to a close in the late 1700s through a series of treaties with the Colonies and the United States, culminating with the well-documented removal of the Cherokee and other southeastern tribes to Indian Territory in the West (Perdue and Green 1995). The part of South Carolina, including the Oconee project area, was included in a land cession treaty completed in May of 1777 (Royce 1884). A small number of Cherokee in North Carolina avoided the removal actions and today are recognized as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, with their tribal headquarters at Cherokee, North Carolina, some 80 km (50 mi) north of ONS. Cherokees removed to the West are today known as the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

Following the 1777 treaty, northwestern South Carolina was immediately occupied by land-hungry white settlers. The first deeds in the Keowee River valley date to 1784; by the turn of the century, most of the land along the Keowee and adjacent valleys had been deeded. Hembree and Jackson (1998) document the historical development of the Keowee River valley from initial settlement through construction of Duke's Keowee-Toxaway Project that transformed the entire river valley. Historical and Archaeological Resources at ONS


As noted above, archaeological investigations were conducted throughout the Keowee-Toxaway Project area, basically the Keowee River valley from the present Keowee Dam and ONS north to include the inundated portion of Lake Keowee. This effort was conducted by personnel from the South Carolina State Department of Archaeology during which 39 archaeological sites were recorded. Of this total, 9 of the sites were archaeologically tested, and significant excavations were completed at 6 sites, including Keowee Indian village and Fort Prince George (Beuschel, no date). Although final reports of these activities were not issued following the fieldwork, recent documents have provided some detail (Harmon 1986; Williams 1998). Information gained about both the Cherokee occupation and the British operation of Fort Prince George is also presented in the interpretive displays at the Keowee-Toxaway State Park.

Archaeological site file searches at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History and the Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, revealed the presence of four recorded Native American sites within a 1.6-km (1-mi) radius of ONS. Two of these sites were recorded during a field survey of the Oconee-Bad Creek 500 kV transmission line (Brockington 1978). Both of these archaeological sites, located northwest of the ONS, are low-density lithic tool scatter sites and were evaluated as not possessing characteristics that would make them eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The other two archaeological sites are located southwest of the plant. Each of these sites is also categorized as a nondescript lithic scatter.


The preinundation archaeological project focused solely on the prehistoric and early historic Cherokee sites and Fort Prince George. The architecture and archaeology of historic Euroamerican period settlements in the overall project area were not documented and evaluated, including the Old Pickens townsite at the location of ONS. A number of cemeteries in the valley were relocated before inundation. Additionally, many historic structures were relocated by Duke, including residences, a girl's camp, two sawmills, and a covered wooden bridge.

The original town of Pickens on the west bank of the Keowee River was active between 1828 and 1868 as the courthouse town of Pickens District, which then included present-day Oconee and Pickens Counties (Hembree and Jackson 1998; Holder 1991). In 1868, the Keowee River was designated as the boundary line between the two newly formed counties. In response to this division, a new town, also called Pickens, was established about 24 km (15 mi) northeast to be the seat of Pickens County. Most of the buildings in the original town of Pickens were torn down or dismantled and moved to the new town of Pickens or to Walhalla, the new county seat of Oconee County.

The original townsite apparently included much of what became ONS. According to Hembree and Jackson (1998), "The Pickens townsite stretched from the bank of the Keowee, along what is now the Pickens-Walhalla Highway [Highway 183], west across the Duke construction and maintenance shops, and north over the site of the nuclear plant."

Today, the only standing structure at the Old Pickens townsite is a one-story brick building built between 1849 and 1851, commonly known as the "Old Pickens Presbyterian Church." A cemetery with over 200 marked graves surrounds the church, including the original cemetery associated with the church and relocated graves from 14 family or other cemeteries that were moved to Old Pickens in the late 1960s before Lake Keowee was filled. A complete listing of tombstone inscriptions from the original and relocated cemeteries is found in the Pendleton Chapter of South Carolina Genealogical Society (1983-84). The Old Pickens Presbyterian Church was nominated for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and listed in 1996 (Sherard 1994).

No other historic period sites are currently recorded at ONS. While no historic structures are present, there is potential for either surface or buried historic archaeological remains (e.g., artifact scatters, privies, and refuse dumps) that could exist in areas that have not received substantial soil disturbance.

Any such remains could have been associated either with the Old Pickens townsite, with nearby homesteads along the river, or along Highways 183 and 130. According to the Keowee-Toxaway Project description, 17 houses were relocated in connection with development of ONS (Duke 1971).

For example, Hembree and Jackson (1998) illustrate a historic two-story home, known in the 1800s as the Pleasant Alexander House that once stood in the Oconee project area on the west bank of the Keowee River. During dam construction in the 1960s, Duke used the house as an office, after which it was moved to High Falls County Park where it continues to serve as park offices. In a 1968 aerial photograph of the ONS construction site, the house is clearly evident on the west bank, just below the damsite (Hembree and Jackson 1998). In the same view, two other then-extant historic houses can be seen along the north side of Highway 183, along the southern edge of the plant site. At the same location near the current access road into the plant from Highway 183, there is a small fenced cemetery on the knoll above the road. This cemetery has not been recorded and is not included in the listing of Oconee County historic cemeteries (Pendleton Chapter of South Carolina Genealogical Society 1983-84). Household artifacts in the vicinity of this cemetery indicate that a house was probably at one time associated with the graves.

2.2.10 Related Federal Project Activities

The Federal Power Commission, now the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), issued a license (FERC Project No. 2503) to Duke Power on September 1, 1966, for the construction of the Keowee hydroelectric station and the Jocassee pumped storage project. Lake Keowee, from which the ONS draws cooling water, is formed by dams on the Keowee River and Little River. The Keowee hydroelectric station is located at the dam on the Keowee River. The station serves as the onsite emergency electric power source for ONS. The license for the Keowee and Jocassee hydroelectric projects will expire in 2016. Under current FERC rules, Duke will need to file a notice of intent with FERC by 2011 declaring whether it intends to seek a new license for the Keowee and Jocassee hydroelectric projects. At least 2 years before the license expires, Duke will need to file an application for a new license (relicense). FERC procedures for processing a new license are similar to those for an original license.

The staff reviewed the possibility that activities of other Federal agencies (including FERC) might impact the renewal of the operating license for the ONS. Any such activities could result in cumulative environmental impacts and the possible need for such a Federal agency to become a cooperating agency for preparation of the SEIS.

The staff determined that there were no Federal project activities in the vicinity of ONS that could result in cumulative environmental impacts or that would make it desirable for another Federal agency to become a cooperating agency for preparing the SEIS. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was the only Federal agency to participate in the scoping process. NRCS submitted a letter stating that it has partnered with Duke in planning, implementing, and promoting environmental stewardship, such as the cooperative work to prevent and control soil erosion at work sites in the South Carolina mountains and foothills.

2.3 References

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10 CFR Part 20, "Standards for Protection Against Radiation."

10 CFR 20.1301(d), "Dose limits for individual members of the public."

10 CFR 20.2002, "Method for obtaining approval of proposed disposal procedures."

10 CFR Part 20, Appendix B, Table 2, "Annual limits on intake (ALIs) and derived air concentrations (DACs) of radionuclides for occupational exposure; effluent concentrations; concentrations for Release to Sewerage."

10 CFR Part 50, Appendix I, "Numerical guides for design objectives and limiting conditions for operation to meet the criterion 'as low as is reasonably achievable' for radioactive material in light-water-cooled nuclear power reactor effluents."

10 CFR 51.53, "Postconstruction environmental reports."

10 CFR 54, "Requirements for Renewal of Operating Licenses for Nuclear Power Plants."

10 CFR Part 61, "Licensing requirements for land disposal of radioactive waste."

10 CFR Part 71, "Packaging and transportation of radioactive material."

40 CFR 81.311, "Georgia."

40 CFR 81.334, "North Carolina."

40 CFR 81.341, "South Carolina."

40 CFR Part 81, Subpart D, "Identification of Mandatory Class I Federal Areas where Visibility is an Important Factor."

40 CFR Part 190, "Environmental radiation protection standards for nuclear power operations."

49 CFR Parts 171 through 177.

Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, 42 USC 2011-2259, et seq.

Bailey, R.G. 1976. Ecoregions of the United States (map). Ogden, Utah: USDA Forest Service, Intermountain Region. 1:7,500,000.

Bailey, R.G. 1980. Descriptions of the Ecoregions of the United States. USDA Forest Service, Misc. Publication No. 1391.

Barwick, D.H., L.E. Miller, W.R. Geddings, and D.M. Rankin. 1995. Fish biomass and angler harvest from a South Carolina cooling reservoir. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 49: 129-139.

Beuschel, L.L. No Date. Keowee Toxaway Reservoir Project: A Partial Account of the Archaeology. Draft report prepared for Duke Power Company, Charlotte, NC. Copy on file at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

Brockington, P.E. 1978. An Archaeological Survey of Duke Power's Oconee-Bad Creek 500 kV and Jocassee-Bad Creek 100 kV Transmission Lines, Oconee County, south Carolina. South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, Research Manuscript Series 130, Columbia, South Carolina.

Clean Air Act (CAA), as amended, 42 USC 7401, et seq.

Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), as amended, 33 USC 1455, et seq.

Dickens, R.S., Jr. 1976. Cherokee Prehistory. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Dickens, R.S., Jr. 1979. The Origins and Development of Cherokee Culture. In The Cherokee Indian Nation: A Troubled History, edited by Duane H. King, pp. 3-32. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Duke Energy Corporation. 1998a. Application for Renewed Operating Licenses Oconee Nuclear Station - Units 1, 2 and 3. Volume IV - Environmental Report.

Duke Energy Corporation. 1998b. Oconee Updated Final Safety Analysis Report (UFSAR). Charlotte, North Carolina.

Duke Energy Corporation. 1999a. Letter from M.S. Tuckman, Duke Energy Corporation to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Subject: License Renewal - Response to Requests for Additional Information, Oconee Nuclear Station. Dated March 4, 1999.

Duke Energy Corporation. 1999b. Oconee Nuclear Station Emergency Plan, Rev. 99-01. Charlotte, North Carolina.

Duke Power Company. 1971. Supplement to Environmental Quality Features of Keowee-Toxaway Project. Charlotte, North Carolina.

Duke Power Company. 1977. Oconee Nuclear Station Environmental Summary Report 1971-1976, Volumes 1 and 2. Duke Power Company Steam Production Department.

Duke Power Company. 1997. Oconee Nuclear Station Units 1 and 3, Annual Radiological Environmental Operating Report.

Edwards, T.J., W.H. Hunt, L.E. Miller, and J.J. Sevic. 1976. An evaluation of the impingement of fishes at four Duke Power Company steam-generating facilities. Pages 373-380 in Esch, G.W. and R.W. McFarlane (eds.). Thermal Ecology II. National Technical Information Service, U.S. Department of Commerce, Springfield, Virginia.

Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA), as amended, 33 USC 1251 et seq. (Also know as the Clean Water Act).

Greller, A.M. 1988. "Deciduous Forest." Pp. 287-316, In North American Terrestrial Vegetation, M.G. Barbour and W.D. Billings, eds., Cambridge University Press, New York.

Harmon, M.A. 1986. Eighteenth Century Lower Cherokee Adaptation and Uses of European Material Culture. South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, Volumes in Historical Archaeology 2, Columbia, South Carolina.

Hembree, M. and D. Jackson. 1998. Keowee: The Story of the Keowee River Valley in Upstate South Carolina. Fourth Printing, Revised. No publisher given.

Holder, F.C., Compiler. 1991. Historic Sites of Oconee County, SC: Part of the History of Oconee County Told Through Historic Preservation. Second Edition. Oconee County Historical Society.

Keel, B.C. 1976. Cherokee Archaeology. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Keowee-Toxaway Fishery Resources. 1996. Ten-Year Work Plan: January 1996-December 2005. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Duke Power Company.

Knight, H.T. (Ed.) 1997. 1997 Upstate Profile. Quality of Life of the S.C. Upstate. Part Three: Upstate Living, Upstate Leisure, Business Travel, and Tourism. South Carolina Appalachian Council of Governments, Greenville, South Carolina.

Knight, H.T. (Ed.) 1998a. 1998 Upstate Profile. Development of the SC Upstate. Part 1: Population, Income, and Housing. South Carolina Appalachian Council of Governments, Greenville, South Carolina.

Knight, H.T. (Ed.) 1998b. 1998 Oconee County Economic Profile. Comprehensive Overview of South Carolina's Golden Corner. South Carolina Appalachian Council of Governments, Greenvilee, South Carolina.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 1998. "1997 Local Climatological Data Annual Summary with Comparative Data, Greenville-Spartanburg (Greer), South Carolina." Asheville, North Carolina.

Oconee County Planning Commission. 1997. Oconee County Community Facilities Plan. Prepared by the Oconee County Planning Commission and the Appalachian Council of Governments, Walhalla, South Carolina., August 1997.

Pendleton Chapter of South Carolina Genealogical Society. 1983, 1984. Oconee County, South Carolina Cemetery Survey. 2 Vols. A Press, Greenville, South Carolina.

Perdue, T. and M.D. Green, Editors. 1995. The Cherokee Removal: A Brief History with Documents. Bedford Books, Boston, Massachusetts.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, 42 USC 6901.

Ross, L.W. 1980. A Short History of the Cherokee Indians in Oconee County, SC. No publisher given. Pamphlet, 8 pp.

Royce, C.C. 1884. Map of the Former Territorial Limits of the Cherokee "Nation of" Indians Exhibiting the Boundaries of the various Cessions of Land Made by them to the Colonies and to the United States by Treaty Stipulations, from the Beginnings of their Relations with the Whites to the Date of their Removal West of the Mississippi River. 1977 Reprint by the Museum of the Cherokee Indians, Cherokee, North Carolina.

Sherard, G.W., Compiler. 1994. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Old Pickens Presbyterian Church. Copy of file at South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina.

Sheriff, A., Editor. 1994. Cherokee Villages in South Carolina, Including Information on Fort Prince George and Fort Rutledge. Second Edition. Forest Acres/McKissick Quest Program, Easley, South Carolina.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). 1997. Watershed Water Quality Assessment: Savannah and Salkehstchie River Basins, Technical Report No. 003-97. Columbia, South Carolina.

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Talbert & Bright, Inc. and Holland Consulting Planners, Inc. 1996. Oconee County, South Carolina 1996 Land Use Plan.

U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). 1972. Final Environmental Statement related to operation of Oconee Nuclear Station Units 1, 2 and 3. March 1972. Washington, D.C.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1988. County and City Data Book. Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1996. Population Estimates Branch, Estimates of Housing Units and Households of Counties 1990-1996. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

U.S. Bureau of the Census. 1999. County Population Estimates for July 1, 1998, and Population Change for July 1, 1997, to July 1, 1999, Population Estimates Program Population Division.

U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). 1991. 1990 Census - Population and Housing; Public Law 94-171 Data. Bureau of the Census, Washington, D.C.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1998. Letter from R.L. Banks (FWS, Charleston, South Carolina) to J. Huff (Duke Power, Charlotte, North Carolina) dated April 17, 1998. Letter provides a list of 9 species in Oconee and Pickens Counties.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 1996. Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants (GEIS), NUREG-1437. Washington, D.C.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 1997. Letter from NRC to Framatome Technologies, Inc. Subject: Acceptance for Referencing of FCF Topical Report BAW-10186P "Extended Burnup Evaluation." Dated April 29, 1997.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 1998. Letter from NRC to Duke Energy Corporation. Subject: Request for Additional Information for the Review of the Oconee Nuclear Station Unit Nos. 1, 2, & 3 Environmental Report Associated with License Renewal - Environmental. Dated December 29, 1998.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 1999a. Letter from NRC to Duke Energy Corporation. Subject: Use of Framatome Cogema Fuels Topical Report on High Burnup - Oconee Nuclear Station, Units 1, 2, and 3. Dated March 1, 1999.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 1999b. Letter from NRC to Duke Energy Corporation. Subject: Determination of the Scope of Transmission Lines Impact Assessment for Oconee License Renewal. Dated May 10, 1999.

Williams, M.W. 1998. A Memoir of the Archaeological Excavation of Fort Prince George, Pickens County, South Carolina. South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology Research, Research Manuscript Series 226, Columbia, South Carolina.

[ NRC Home Page | Top of file | Contents ]

1. Naturally occurring uranium contains several forms of uranium, including approximately 0.7 percent uranium-235, the form that a nuclear reactor uses. The nuclear fuel manufacturing process removes some of the other forms, resulting in a slightly higher percentage ("enrichment") of uranium-235.

2. "Burn-up" is the length of use of, or total energy generated by, the nuclear fuel and is measured as megawatt-days per metric ton uranium.

3. Personal contact, Hara T. Knight, South Carolina Appalachian Council of Governments, March 1999.

4. Letter to Michael J. Scott, Staff Scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory from Phyllis E. Lombard, Finance Director, Oconee County, October 22, 1998.

5. US Census Bureau C90STF3A

6. A sector is identified by a combination of its compass direction and the distance of its outer edge from the plant. For instance, the sector that is between 11.25 and 33.75 degrees and 64 km (40 mi) and 80 km (50 mi) from a plant is identified as NNE50.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, March 29, 2012