Aging Nuclear Power Plants

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download


<p>Aging Nuclear Power Plants: Managing Plant Life and Decommissioning September 1993OTA-E-575 NTIS order #PB94-107588 GPO stock #052-003-01342-8</p> <p>Recommended Citation:</p> <p>U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Aging Nuclear Power Plants: Managing Plant Life and Decommissioning, OTA-E-575 (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, September 1993).</p> <p>For wlc by the LI S (i(ntmmtmt</p> <p>Prln[lng OIIILY</p> <p>ii</p> <p>SuperlnIen&amp;n[ (JI [h)cumcnts. NILIII Slop. SSOP, Vtiih]ng[on. DC 20402-932X ISBN 0-16 -041967-0</p> <p>Forewordurrently, 107 operating nuclear power plants supply over 20 percent of the Nations electricity. As these plants age, issues related to plant lives and decommissioning are likely to become much more visible and draw more public attention. This report examines the following: the outlook for safety management and economic life decisions for the Nations existing nuclear power plants as they age, the prospects for decommissioning, and current and potential Federal efforts that could contribute to more timely and better informed decisions regarding plant life and decommissioning. This report is a product of a request by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and its Subcommittee on Energy and Power. After many years of intensive efforts by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the nuclear power industry, no insurmountable industry-wide safety challenges related to plant aging have been identified. There are some notable uncertainties for the longer term, however, that require ongoing research and experience to address. More immediately, many nuclear power plants already face severe economic pressures in the increasingly competitive electric power industry. Regarding decommissioning, experience with decommissioning small reactors and with major maintenance activities at large plants suggests that the task can be performed with existing technologies. However, several issues such as waste disposal and site cleanup standards remain unresolved. OTA appreciates the substantial assistance received from many organizations and individuals in the course of this study. Members of the advisory panel provided helpful guidance and advice. Reviewers of the draft report contributed greatly to its accuracy and completeness. Personnel at the case study facilities shared their valuable experiences and perspectives. To all of them goes the gratitude of OTA and the personal thanks of the project staff.</p> <p>c</p> <p>Roger C. Herdman, Director</p> <p>... Ill</p> <p>Richard E. Schuler, Chairman Cornell University Peter Bradford New York Public Service Commission Richard W. DeVane Framatome USA, Inc. William Dornsife Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources S. David Freeman Sacramento Municipal Utility District Michael W. Golay Massachusetts Institute of Technology Jerome Goldberg Florida Power and Light Co.</p> <p>Howard Hiller Salomon Brothers David G. Heel Medical University of South Carolina Leonard Hyman Merrill Lynch Capital Markets James Joosten Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development/ Nuclear Energy Agency George J. Konzek Pacific Northwest Laboratory Martin J. Pasqualetti Arizona State University</p> <p>Robert Pollard Union of Concerned Scientists Dan W. Reicher* Natural Resources Defence Council Cas Robinson National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners formerly, Georgia Public Service Commission John J. Taylor Electric Power Research Institute H. B. Tucker Duke Power Co. Nat Woodson Westinghouse Electric Corp.</p> <p>q Resigned winter 1993 to accept a position with U.S. Department of Enagy.NOTE: OTA appreciates and is grateful for the valuable assistance and thoughtful critiques provided by the advisory panel members, Ihe panel does notj however, necessarily approve, disapprove, or endorse this report. OZ4 assumes full responsibility for the report and the accuracy of its contents. iv</p> <p>Project StaffPeter Blair Assistant Director, OTA (beginning February 1993) Energy, Materials, and International Security Division Lionel S. Johns Assistant Director, OTA (until February 1993) Energy and Materials Program ManagerEmilia Govan</p> <p>Robin Roy Project Director Andrew Moyad Analyst</p> <p>ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF</p> <p>Lillian Chapman Office Administrator Linda Long Administrative Secretary Tina Aikens Secretary</p> <p>CONTRACTORS</p> <p>ABZ, Inc. Chantilly, VA</p> <p>(beginning August 1993) Energy and Materials Program Manager</p> <p>A bbreviationsACRS: AEA: ALARA: ARDUTLR: ASCE: ASME: BRC: B&amp;WOG: BWR: CAAA: CF: CLB: DOE: DSM: EEI: EIA: EPA: EPACT: EPRI: EQ: FERC: GSI: IAEA: ICRP: IEEE: Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as Amended as low as is reasonably achievable age-related degradation unique to license renewal American Society of Civil Engineers American Society of Mechanical Engineers below regulatory concern Babcock and Wilcox Owners Group boiling water reactor Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 capacity factor current licensing basis U.S. Department of Energy demand-side management Edison Electric Institute U.S. Energy Information Administration U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Policy Act of 1992 Electric Power Research Institute environmental qualification of electrical equipment Federal Energy Regulatory Commission generic safety issue International Atomic Energy Agency International Commission on Radiological Protection Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Institute of Nuclear Power Operations integrated plant assessment individual plant examinations integrated resource planning independent spent fuel storage installation LLRWPAA: Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1985 low-level radioactive waste LLW: monitored retrievable storage for spent MRS: nuclear fuel NDE: nondestructive examination NERC: North American Electric Reliability Council NPAR: NRCs Nuclear Plant Aging Research program NRC: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission NUMARC: Nuclear Management and Resources council NWPA: Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 O&amp;M: operating and maintenance PNL: Pacific Northwest Laboratory POL: possession-only license PRA: probabilistic risk assessment PWR: pressurized water reactor RPV: reactor pressure vessel SALP: systematic assessment of licensee performance SOC: statement of considerations accompanying a promulgated regulation SSCs: systems, structures, and components IPA: IPE: IRP: ISFSI:</p> <p>INPO:</p> <p>(for additional abbreviations see index)</p> <p>vi</p> <p>c1 Overview and Policy Issues 1Summary of Policy Issues 2 Understanding and Managing Aging 6 Aging and Safety 10 Economy of Existing Plants 20 After Retirement: Decommissioning 29</p> <p>ontents</p> <p>2 Safety of Aging Nuclear Plants 37Institutions for Assuring the Safety of Aging Plants 44 Safety Practices Addressing Aging 47 Health and Safety Goals for Aging Plants 61</p> <p>I</p> <p>I</p> <p>3 Economic Lives of Existing Nuclear Plants 73The Changing Electric Utility Context 73</p> <p>Institutional Issues in Nuclear Plant Economic Life Decisions 81 Economic Performance of Nuclear Plants 86 Factors Affecting Future Cost and Performance 92</p> <p>,1</p> <p>1</p> <p>4 Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants 101Residual Radioactivity Standards: How Clean is Clean Enough? 102 Radioactive Waste Disposal 108 Experience to Date 118 Estimating Costs and Radiation Exposures 132 Reactor Retirement and Financial Requirements 141</p> <p>5 Case Studies of Nine Operating Plants 149Calvert Cliffs Case Study (2 plants) 150 Hope Creek Case Study 156 Monticello Case Study 160 Salem Case Study (2 plants) 165 SONGS Case Study (3 plants) 170</p> <p>R.vii</p> <p>Index 179</p> <p>Reviewers and ContributorsEdward C. Abbott ABZ, Inc. Satish K. Aggarwal U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission James V. Bailey Public Service Electric and Gas Co. Lake Barrett U.S. Department of Energy Stewart Brown U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Nick Capik ABZ, Inc. John Carey Electric Power Research Institute Tom Champion Consolidated Edison Company Donald A. Cool U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission John W. Craig U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Quresh Z. Dahodwala public Service Electric and Gas Co. Barth W. Doroshuk Baltimore Gas and Electric Company C. Gibson Durfee, Jr. Westinghouse Electric Corporation Richard Ferriera Sacramento Municipal Utility District Michael Finkelstein U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Carl V. Giacomazzo Long Island Power Authority Dennis Harrison U.S. Department of Energy Donald W. Edwards Yankee Atomic Electric Co. James G. Hewlett U.S. Energy Information Administration Earl Hill Halliburtun NUS L.M. Hill Shoreham Nuclear Power Station Mark Holt Congressional Research Service Seyavash Karimian Public Service Electric and Gas Co. Doris Kelley-Alston Merrill Lynch Capital Markets Robert M. Kinosian California Public Utilities Commission Jim Krauss Westinghouse Electric Co. Thomas LaGuardia TLG Services, Inc. Mike Niehoff Westinghouse Electric Corp. Philip A. Olson U.S. General Accounting Office Ed Parsons Scientific Ecology Group George Parkins Colorado public Utility Commission James S. Perrin Public Service Electric and Gas Co. Mark Petitclair Northern States Power Co. Terry Pickens Northern States Power Co. Robert M. Quillin Colorado Department of Health Harold B. Ray Southern California Edison Co. German Reyes Office of Technology Assessment Steve Reynolds U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Geoffrey Rothwell Stanford University Gregory D. Schmalz Public Service Company of Colorado Joanne Seder Office of Technology Assessment Larry Shao U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Ron Simard Nuclear Management and Resources council John Taylor Brookhaven National Lab Steve Trovato Consolidated Edison Company Gary Vine EIectric Power Research Institute Richard Vollmer U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Joseph J. Wambold Southern California Edison Co. Joseph C. Wang U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Don Warembourg Public Service Company of Colorado Seymour Weiss U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Robert Whitaker New York State Public Service Commission ... Vlll</p> <p>Overview and Policy Issuesong-term prospects for the Nations 107 operating nuclear power plants are increasingly unclear. Proponents argue that these plants, which supply over 20 percent of the Nations electricity, are vital to reliable, economic electricity supplies; have environmental benefits (e.g., they emit no greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide); and reduce dependence on imported oil. Opponents, however, argue that nuclear plants bring risks of catastrophic accident, create unresolved waste disposal problems, and are often uneconomic. As these plants age, issues related to plant lives and decommissioning are likely to become much more visible and draw more public attention. The past few years brought unexpected developments for nuclear plant lives and decommissioning. Since 1989, six nuclear power plants have been retired early, well before the expiration of their NRC operating licenses.1 Owners of several other plants are investigating the economics of early retirement as well. The owners of the frost large commercial nuclear power plants planned for decommissioning anticipate costs much greater than estimates made only a few years earlier. And after a several year effort, the two lead plants in a program to demonstrate the NRCs plant license renewal process halted or indefinitely deferred their plans to file an application-in one case as part of an early retirement decision. While work continues to develop and eventually demonstrate a regulatory process for license renewal, it will be several years before the first application is filed and acted on. Absent license renewal, about 3 dozen operating nuclear power plants will have to retire in the next 20 years.1 In this repo~ the term early retirement refers to plant closure prior to expiration of the operating license issued by the NRC.</p> <p>1</p> <p>L</p> <p>@ 04</p> <p>11</p> <p>2 I Aging Nuclear Power Plants: Managing Plant Life and Decommissioning</p> <p>Despite these substantial challenges, there has also been good news for the U.S. nuclear industry recently. Reversing a decades long trend of rapid growth, average nuclear power plant operating and maintenance costs have decreased in recent years. Average plant reliability and availability have improved substantially. Safety performance has also been good. There have been no core damage accidents since Three Mile Island in 1979, nor an abnormal number and severity of events that could have led to core damage, much less any actual offsite releases of large amounts of radioactivity. Average occupational radiation exposures, already well below NRC limits, also declined substantially. The Federal Government has a longstanding role in supporting a safe, environmentally sound, and economic supply of electricity for the Nation. Given the recent unexpected developments for existing nuclear power plants, this report, requested by the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, examines the following: s the outlook for the Nations existing nuclear power plants as they age, focusing on safety management (ch. 2) and economy (ch. 3) during their remaining operating lives; s the outlook for decommissioning (ch. 4); and s Federal policies that could help address economic and safety issues for existing nuclear power plants as they age and as they are decommissioned (ch. 1).</p> <p>SUMMARY OF POLICY ISSUESCurrent and planned nuclear power plant aging management practices are designed to identify and address challenges before they become a threat and to provide a reasonable assurance of adequate safety. These practices depend heavily on elaborate plant maintenance programs and ongoing research. There will always remain some risk, however, and continued industry and Federal regulatory vigilance is crucial. Attention to aging issues is crucial not just in considering license</p> <p>renewal but in a plants original license term as well. The industry and the NRC are working to address aging safety issues, but their efforts could be accelerated to determine better the long-term prospects for existing plants and to assure adequate long-term safety. For example, the NRC could intensify its review of aging safety research for possible regulatory applications. Greater attention to aging safety issues during a plants original license term could also help justify a substantial simplification of the NRCs stillundemonstrated license renewal process. Many nuclear power plants face severe economic pressures. The six early retirements occurring between 1989 and early 1993 give a sense of the variety of plant-specific issues likely to be involved in the future, as economic life decisions are made (box l-A). In three of these decisions, aging issues played a prominent role. Other factors besides aging degradation and its effects on long-term safety and economy have played prominent roles in determining plant lives and will continue to do so in the future. Other important fact...</p>


View more >