The Ohio EPA supports the goals of the Utility Radiological Safety Board (URSB) and helps prepare/train for Nuclear Power Plant emergencies. One of Ohio EPA’s primary roles in an event would include sampling of environmental media (soil, vegetation, and water) to ensure safety of Ohioans.
The Radiological Program at Ohio EPA interfaces with many government entities. In the state, Ohio EPA is a member of the Utility Radiological Safety Board (URSB), an Ohio Board charged with overview of nuclear utility plant operations, safety, and public impact in Ohio. The URSB examines current conditions at the nuclear plants, tracks the operating history, and acts as a consolidated point of entry to the state government for citizen input and requests for utility information.
The Reactor Oversight Process (ROP) is a quarterly review by the NRC for every nuclear power plant. These reviews give an overall view of plant performance and allow regulators and other interested parties to plan any actions specific to plant safety. It is found on the NRC web site at Reactor Oversight.
The ROP reports for the nuclear plants around Ohio are: Beaver Valley I and Beaver Valley II, Davis-Besse, and Perry are operated by the First Energy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) which is based in Ohio.
Fermi II is operated by the Detroit Edison Company.
The Four Plants that Affect Ohio Planning
There are two nuclear power plants in Ohio for which the State has primary contingency planning concerns. There are also two power reactors in Pennsylvania and one in Michigan that Ohio includes as part of contingency planning issues. The map below shows these locations and has links to the limited information provided by these plants for public access. To access these files click on the plant name below the picture. Some of these links will take you to a search engine for the latest information.
The red circles on the map indicate the planning zones around each nuclear plant. The smaller circle indicates the Evacuation Planning Zone and extends 10 miles from the plant. This evacuation zone is based on a study of possible plant accidents and is designed to protect the population in the area from over exposure to radioactive contamination. The counties shaded dark gray in the map have developed extensive emergency plans in case of a plant accident and practice these plans in conjunction with the State on a two year cycle.
The larger circles indicate the Ingestion Planning Zone and these extend 50 miles from the plant. This distance is based on the likely distance from the plant where agriculture and food production may be impacted by contamination. The actions in these areas are determined by the State and are practiced in a full scale exercise every 6 years. It may be noted that although the Fermi plant does not have an evacuation Zone in Ohio, the Ingestion Zone extends into Ohio and there are plans in place if there was an accident at the Fermi plant.
Ohio EPA is the environmental member of the Utility Radiological Safety Board (URSB), which was established by Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 4937. The nuclear industry is regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. However, as with other industries, Ohio EPA has regulatory authority in terms of non-radiological pollutants in air, water, and hazardous waste and monitors environmental compliance. Also the following links from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) track Reactor Status and Event Reports is included.
Ohio EPA receives and evaluates the monthly wastewater discharge reports submitted under National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits administered by Ohio EPA. These permits establish limits on discharges of: hydrocarbons, metals, treatment chemicals, dissolved oxygen, and waste heat from the plant process effluent out falls.
The only routine air emissions associated with the operation of a nuclear power plant are the periodic release of radioactive gases removed from the primary coolant. These gases pass through a series of filters and storage devices to remove most of the radioactivity through normal decay. These emissions are regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
The only Ohio EPA air permits issued to the Davis-Besse or Perry nuclear plants are for emissions during testing of the emergency diesel generators (EDGs), and the startup boilers which are not used during normal operations. The EDGs provide power to operate plant equipment in case the normal plant power supply is lost.
Solid and Hazardous Waste
Nuclear power plants have many of the hazardous wastes normally associated with industrial processes, such as; sludges, cleaners and oils. The plants may also have mixed waste which is mixutures of radioactive wastes and hazardous waste. While the regulatory status of mixed waste can be complicated, in short, the more protective standard for disposal must be met for the specific waste. Mixed wastes must be sent to a special disposal facility permitted to handle mixed wastes.
Under Section 3750.08 of the Ohio Revised Code any industry that stores more than 10,000 pounds of a hazardous material must file a chemical inventory form. This form must be updated and filed by March 1 each year with the state, county, and local fire department. These forms are used in the chemical emergency planning process.
Water Quality Monitoring and Drinking Water
National drinking water standards have been established to ensure that our drinking water does not contain unhealthy levels of contaminants. Contamination standards for inorganic chemicals, volatile organic chemicals, pesticides and herbicides are expressed as maximum contaminant limits (MCL). Public water providers must test their water regularly and submit the results to Ohio EPA.