Radioactivity releases to the environment by nuclear plants : locally and for the total fuel cycle
Author(s)Marlay, Robert Charles
The nuclear fuel cycle is categorized into nine components. Each component is described with respect to its operations and radioactive effluent streams. Engineering estimates of radioactive releases to the environment are summarized for each component from the 1976 report of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission entitled, "Final Generic Environmental Statement on the Use of Recycle Plutonium in Mixed Oxide Fuel and Light Water Cooled Reactors." Actual radioactivity release data reported semi- annually by licensed facilities in the U.S., plus actual release data found in the literature for Canadian and European facilities, are summarized to the extent that data are available for the years 1970 through 1976. These actual data are compared with the engineer- ing estimates of the NRC. Particular emphasis is given to a comparison of reactor types, including: pressurized water reactors, boiling water reactors, high temperature gas cooled reactors, European gas cooled reactors and several types of heavy water cooled and/or moderated reactors. Figures showing relative magnitudes of releases for the different reactor types and trends versus time are drawn. Estimates of world population exposures for each fuel cycle component are calculated for the actual release data from information provided for the estimated release data. Similarly, total radiological health effects resulting from the production of one giga-watt- year of power for the various nuclear fuel cycles are estimated. Lastly, a comparison is made of these health effects to the radiological health effects of the fossil fuel cycles of natural gas, oil and coal. No attempt is made to characterize the non-radiological health effects of any fuel cycle.
MIT Energy Laboratory
Nuclear power plants |x Environmental aspects |z United States., Radioactive pollution |z United States.
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