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Meteorological Considerations for Nuclear Power Plant Siting and Licensing. George C. Howroyd, Ph.D., P.E. CH2M HILL Paul B. Snead, R.E.M. Progress Energy. Background. Projected need for new generation by 2030 is >350,000 MW, the equivalent of hundreds of new power plants

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meteorological considerations for nuclear power plant siting and licensing

Meteorological Considerations for Nuclear Power Plant Siting and Licensing

George C. Howroyd, Ph.D., P.E.

CH2M HILL

Paul B. Snead, R.E.M.

Progress Energy

background
Background
  • Projected need for new generation by 2030 is >350,000 MW, the equivalent of hundreds of new power plants
  • Increasing concern over CO2 emissions is putting increasing environmental pressure on fossil powered generation
  • Nuclear power generation produces no CO2 emissions and represents 75% of the power generated in the U.S. with no CO2 emissions
  • Current nuclear generation is only 20% of current U.S. capacity
  • No new U.S. nuclear plants have been licensed in over 25 years
background cont d
Background (Cont’d)
  • New plant licensing has historically been an onerous process
    • Lengthy (10+ years in many cases)
    • Costly
    • Site/reactor specific
  • Recent initiatives have streamlined the process (DOE’s Nuclear Power 2010 Program) but is still estimated to take several years to license a plant
  • DOE financial incentives have spurred significant interest and activity
recent new plant licensing activity
Recent New Plant Licensing Activity
  • New license applications are currently under review or are being prepared:
    • 23 applications for more than 34 new reactors
      • 5 submitted to NRC in 2007 (8 units)
      • 13 expected to be submitted in 2008 (19 units)
      • 5 projected in 2009/2010 (7 units)
      • Represents only 10 percent of projected demand through 2030 (assuming all are built)
      • Source: U.S. NRC web site
    • Most are in southeastern U.S.
    • Others are being considered
potential for new nuclear
Potential for New Nuclear

Potential for New Nuclear

Existing Plants

Plant Re-Starts

ESP Sites

New Plants

Graphic provided by NEI and updated by

Progress Energy with latest utility announcements

meteorological reqs for licensing
Meteorological Reqsfor Licensing
  • Role of Meteorology: To help support the conclusion that a plant can be constructed and operated without undue risk to health and safety
  • NRC has extensive regulatory requirements pertaining to climatology and meteorology:
    • Regional Climatology – Used to identify limiting parameters that determine safe design and operation
    • Local Meteorology – Used to assess the impact of facility operation on local meteorological conditions
    • On-site Meteorology – Continuous pre-and post operational monitoring is a required element (minimum of two years prior to licensing issuance)…data are used to assess potential radiological impacts due to routine and hypothetical accident release scenarios
regulatory drivers
Regulatory Drivers
  • NRC requirements are much more extensive than EPA’s requirements for industrial facilities
    • Basic requirements are in 10 CFR 52
    • Specific requirements are provided in numerous NRC guidance documents
      • NRC Regulatory Guide 1.23 Meteorological Monitoring Programs for Nuclear Power Plants
      • Many others
  • NRC always requires on-site meteorological monitoring, whereas EPA rarely requires it
meteorological monitoring reqs
Meteorological Monitoring Reqs
  • Primary Objective: To provide representative data suitable for use in dispersion modeling of radiological releases
  • Schedule & Lead Time Considerations:
    • Tower & instrument procurement/installation (3 to 6 months, typ.)
    • Minimum 1-year of operational data prior to application submittal
    • Minimum 2-years of operational data prior to license issuance
  • System Design – Siting Considerations
    • Must be representative of the site
    • No undue influence from terrain, vegetation, thermal effects
    • Due consideration should be given to the influence of construction and operation of the plant
    • Systems typically designed for permanent operation (including plant operation)
    • Complex terrain may require multiple towers
    • Basic criteria provided in RG 1.23
meteorological monitoring reqs cont d
Meteorological Monitoring Reqs (Cont’d)
  • System Design – Basic Components
    • Minimum of two monitoring levels (10- and 60-meters is recommended) for the following minimum parameters
      • Wind Speed (10- and 60-m)
      • Wind Direction (10- and 60-m)
      • Ambient Temperature (10- and 60-m)
      • Vertical Temperature Difference (for atmospheric stability)
      • Dew Point (10-m)
      • Precipitation (near ground level)
    • Minimum data recovery objective: 90%
    • Electronic data logging devices must sample data in ≤ 5 second intervals, and compile results in 15- and/or 60-min averages
    • QA/QC requirements are stringent
example of recent tower installation
Example of Recent Tower Installation
  • New Tower in Levy County, FL
    • Site of Progress Energy’s Proposed Levy Nuclear Plant (two Westinghouse AP-1000 units are proposed)
    • 3400 acre forested site
      • Flat site
      • Undeveloped (no structures or public roads onsite)
      • Sandy conditions and high water table required deep footings
      • Remote location required use of solar power and cellular phone modem
    • Tower and instrumentation designed and installed by Murray and Trettel of Palatine, IL
system operation
System Operation
  • High data recovery targets require continuous oversight and scrutiny of operation
  • Electronic Data Management Systems allow real time data access, flexibility of operation, and remote operation
    • Remote interrogation via land line or cellular modem
    • Frequent downloading of data minimizes data loss due to system failures
    • Programmable system allows simple data conversion
    • Remote troubleshooting allows for consistency checks and diagnosis of potential problems without field visits
      • Comparison of data with redundant system measurements
      • Comparison of data with local or regional observations
      • Search for trends and anomalies in data
system operation cont d
System Operation (Cont’d)
  • Data recovery can be increased by:
    • Daily interrogation and data scrutiny
    • Maintaining and calibrating instrumentation on a periodic basis
    • Install new/rebuilt/calibrated instruments at periodic intervals
    • Maintain spare equipment to avoid repair delays
data averaging considerations
Data Averaging Considerations
  • Some parameters can be significantly affected by how they are averaged
  • Example: Wind Speed can be stated as a VECTOR average or as a SCALAR average
    • Neither is incorrect
    • Results can be very different
    • Users should be aware of intended use of data and implications of how the data was processed
implications of vector vs scalar averaging
Implications of Vector vs. Scalar Averaging
  • At low wind speeds, vector average wind speeds can be significantly understated
  • Understated wind speeds will result in overstated dispersion modeling results (since Gaussian dispersion modeling results are inversely proportional to wind speed)
comparison of vector vs scalar averages
Comparison of Vector vs. Scalar Averages
  • Progress Energy conducted a year-long comparison of Vector and Scalar averages in North Carolina using co-located sensors
  • A statistical regression analysis of the data indicated a distinct correlation:

USCALAR = 1.03 × UVECTOR + 0.4 (4 months, r=0.99)

USCALAR = 1.00 × UVECTOR + 0.31 (18 months, r=0.92)

  • Results should be site-specific
summary
Summary
  • Site-specific meteorological data is considered to be a critical component of nuclear plant siting and licensing, being used to support safety related analyses
  • Given the importance of this data, due care and consideration are required in the planning, design, and operation of on-site monitoring systems in order to successfully meet regulatory criteria