Clean Air Benefits
Limerick Generating Station produces enough electricity to power two million homes without producing greenhouse gas emissions. The illustration below shows the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced per hour by different electricity sources similar in size to Limerick Generating Station.
Limerick and all U.S. nuclear energy plants are required by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to maintain an environmental monitoring program to ensure that radiation levels around the facilities are not above naturally occuring levels. Limerick monitors the air, water, soil and food products (milk and crops) extensively around the facility.
Limerick’s groundwater monitoring plan includes quarterly sampling of 15 on-site monitoring wells designed to detect unusual levels of radiation in the environment. Limerick also routinely tests all water leaving the site.
Thermoluminescent Dosimeters (TLDs) are staged at 40 stations located in the 10-mile radius around Limerick to monitor the air. TLDs contain detectors that measure ionizing radiation exposure. The TLDs are collected on a quarterly basis and are analyzed by an independent lab for ambient gamma radiation. Each station has two TLDs with three detectors in each TLD, for a total of six independent radiation detectors at each location around Limerick.
The NRC conducts periodic on-site inspections of each licensed plant’s environmental monitoring program to ensure compliance with NRC regulations.
Nuclear energy plants use water in their daily operations for cooling purposes. Water is available to Limerick Generating Station from either the Delaware River or the Schuylkill River. However, the Delaware River is more than 40 miles away and its use requires that the station manages a complex series of pumps, reservoirs, natural creek flows and underground piping to bring water from the Delaware River to the station.
In 2003, Limerick implemented a water supply demonstration project to show the benefits of lessening the withdrawal of water from the Delaware River and utilizing various other sources for the station’s cooling water needs when environmental permits limit the use of the Schuylkill River
Based on monitoring data, the increased flows of water in the upper basin from the Wadesville mine and Still Creek reservoir appear to be having a positive impact on the river. The water from the mine and reservoir releases provide water quantity and qaulity benefits due to the buffering effects of the highly alkaline water from the mine pool selected and the high quality reservoir waters. The increased buffering capacity improves the river's ability to counteract pollutants in the river.
For data on this project, visit the Delware River Basin Commission's Web site.