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The electric utility industry is faced with meeting the demands of our growing society for increased electrie generating capacity in the coming years. It must meet these demands in a manner consistent with preservation of the environment and at the same time overcome present problems of fossil fuel shortages. power plants siting, licensing, construction, financing, and publie awareness.
The floating nuclear power plant concept attempts to reduce the problems associated with these requirements for those utilities having coastal territory or interconnections with coastal utilities.
The concept of a floating nuclear plant consists of a nuclear electric generating plant of standardized design constructed on a floating platform in a shipyard-like manufacturing facility. Both plant and platform will utilize existing proven technology. Plant components and systems are nearly identical to those of recently licensed landbased nuclear plants, and the supporting platform draws upon the best knowledge and experience of marine safety and engineering.
The plants will be manufactured in Jacksonville in a specialized facility, construction of which will begin within the next several months. When completed, this manufacturing facility will employ close to 14,000 people.
The completed and tested plant will be towed from Jacksonville to the utility site and permanently moored in a protective breakwater. Underwater cable transmits the power from a substation on the platform to a switchyard on the shore for distribution to coastal load centers. The concept permits plant siting in many locations from very near shore to up to sereral miles offshore depending on water depth and other site considerations.
The plant as designed will provide 1150 MWe. It measures approximately 400 feet square in plan and extends about 180 feet above the water line. It will draw about 30 feet of water and displace approximately 150,000 tons and it will have a watertight deck at its 40-foot level.
The heat sink for the main condensers is provided by a circulating water system which draws 900,000 gallons of water per minute from inside the breakwater and this water is passed through the condensers and returned to the ocean outside the breakwater.
The floating nuclear plant design is such that the plant operation and maintenance will be essentially identical to that of a comparably sized land-based plant. Depending upon the operating philosophy of the utility and the particular site location and conditions the actual crew maintained on board the plant will vary; routine and periodic maintenance functions can be performed by additional personnel brought to the plant as required.
The utility will design and construct the breakwater and install the plant in it. The utility will also design and construct the mooring system for the plant, the power cable from the plant to the shorebased transmission system, the circulating water discharge system and any shore-based servicing facilities. .
The breakwater is being designed to prevent damage to the plant from ship collision and wave action. It will be founded on the
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A further consideration of the circulating-water system design is the effect on marine plankton and small fish larvae. An important factor in evaluating the effects of the circulating-water system on these parts of the local ecosystem is the residence time in the elevated temperatures of the discharge water.
Data have shown that for many species, a long residence time in heated water is much more detrimental than a short exposure to water at an even higher temperature. With the plant installation in the ocean, the discharge system can be designed to keep the length of piping to a minimum consistent with other requirements to lessen the effects of temperatures and residence time at the higher temperatures. An offshore installation using the plant I have described can be designed with a residence time for the heated water of between 2 and 3 minutes.
Another consideration in the environmental area is the impact of the plant on the visual and esthetic characteristics of the site and surrounding area. The offshore installation when viewed from 3 miles appears similar to a large ship passing by. The plant has a low silhouette and special attention is paid to the external appearance of the plant.
Also, due to the minimum of shore-based facilities required to support the offshore installation, the visual and esthetic impact on land also can be kept to a minimum. The supporting shore structures and facilities can be low structures designed to blend attractively with the background of existing facilities.
I want to reemphasize that the floating nuclear plant must meet the same stringent environmental protection criteria as land-based nuclear plants. All radioactive material releases are governed by the same rules as for land-based plants. The floating nuclear plant does not take any special advantage of its ocean location in this regard. No radioactive wastes are dumped into the ocean. All such waste materials are sealed in special casks in precisely the same manner as is followed for land-based plants and the casks are then transported by sea to designated agencies for proper disposal.
All thermal releases will meet regulations of State and Federal agencies. Cooling water taken from the ocean passes through the condensers and heat exchangers and is returned to the ocean. This water does not pass through the reactor and does not become radioactive.
I would like to turn at this time to a brief discussion of S. 80 and point out why, in our view, it is unnecessary legislation.
Although the siting of our plants is certainly novel, the nuclear steam supply system and the power generating portion are almost identical to land-based plants now operating or under construction. A great percentage of these land-based plants are sited near large bodies of water, including oceans, to assure availability of cooling water. A matter of major concern on the part of the Atomic Energy Commission in granting licenses for these land-based plants has been the impact on the water environment.
Consequently, the Commission has established a comprehensive regulatory scheme requiring submission by license applicants of
detailed environment reports on the effects of activities under the license.
Additionally, as you know, the Council on Environmental Quality guidelines require publication by the Commission of draft and final environmental impact statements related to the proposed licensing action. These statements are circulated to numerous Federal, State and local agencies, and to public interest organizations.
It should be emphasized that public notice and public comment and hearing are all an integral part of this process. This process provides in our view, an effective method for the AEC to assemble and cordinate all pertinent information prior to granting the licenses.
Additionally, this process will be fully applicable to offshort plants. In this connection it is notable that each offshore plant will l'equire three licenses and three environmental reviews: one for plant manufacture, one for site work such as breakwater construction, and one for plant operation.
To superimpose an independent certification by a separate agency, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on this process would introduce a certain amount of duplication and is sure to result in additional delays to an already lengthy and expensive procedure.
Let me at this point emphasize as strongly as possible that my comments are directed specifically towards nuelear power generating facilities where sound licensing procedures have been established and there is recorded precedence. It may be that in the case of the other proposed offshort structures, responsibility for licensing has not been as clearly established.
Mr. Chairman, we are in agreement that protection of the environment should be a most important objective of all of us. Further, in our judgment the combined expertise of cognizant Federal agencies such as NOAA, Corps of Engineers, EPA. CEQ. Department of the Interior and others must be available to the AEC prior to the granting of licenses for the construction and operation of offshore nuclear power plants.
It is our belief that this will be accomplished under present law.
This completes my statement, Jr. Chairman, and thank you very much. I would be pleased to answer any questions.
The article referred to follows:]
I. INTRODUCTION Historically the demand for eleetrie energy in the United States has approxi: mately doubled every decade since the 1930's. Recent forecasts indicate that this trend is expected to continue until the mid-1980's. Although the rate of growth my then decrease slightly, the absolute kilowatt growth of the peak demand will continue to be very large. The electrie utility industry is faced with the problem of supplying this growth in a manner consistent with the current emphasis on preservation of the environment, at the same time overcoming present problems of fossil fuel shortages, power plant siting. licensing, construction, financing, and public awareness. The Floating Nuclear Power Plant concept attempts to minimize the problems associated with meeting this increased Giewand for those utilities having coastal territory or interconnections with coastal utilities.
The concept of offshore siting of nuclear power plants is not new. Studies and investigation in this area have been conducted by many organizations for