Reducing the environmental impact of power plants by controlling discharges
The operation of nuclear power plants, like that of most industrial activities, generates wastewater and off gases – liquid and gaseous effluents. Each nuclear power plant collects, sorts and treats its effluents to control them and keep them as low as reasonably possible. They are then discharged in compliance with the applicable regulations.
Very low impact and continuous reduction of discharges
Under normal operation, discharges from a nuclear power plant of radioactive and chemical effluents from machine rooms, electricity generator sets, turbines, wastewater treatment stations and so on are controlled.
Effluents of all kinds are collected and treated. They are then transferred to intermediate storage tanks where they undergo radioactive and chemical analysis prior to discharge in accordance with applicable regulations.
All EDF nuclear power plants undertake major efforts to reduce the volume and impact of their environmental discharges. Over the past 20 years, the EDF nuclear fleet has reduced the radioactivity of its discharges, with the exception of tritium and carbon 14, by a factor of more than 100.
Constant quest for environmental performance
All nuclear power plants use an ISO 14001 certified environmental management system. To control events that could have an impact on the environment, the operator ensures strict compliance with the prevention rules (proper management of effluents, effluent treatment, intermediate storage, inspection prior to discharge, etc.).
Optimised effluent management is aimed at:
Reducing the production of effluents at source, especially via recycling
Reducing discharge of radioactive substances by means of appropriate treatment
Minimising waste production and recovering as much conventional waste as possible
Improved environmental performance of power plants is also achieved through environmental monitoring around the sites. Every year, a radio-ecological and hydro-biological study is carried out by independent laboratories to track the impact of the facility on the surrounding ecosystems. Continuous monitoring is also carried out, with special attention to atmospheric dust, water, cows’ milk and grass around the power plant.
Controlling chemical and radioactive discharge and monitoring the impact of power plants on the environment: EDF Group invests in the ongoing improvement of its environmental performance.
EDF and environmental monitoring around power plants