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Nuclear power plant sites: maps of seismic hazards and population centers.

March 29, 2011

Currently, 104 commercial nuclear power plants operate on 64 sites in the 48 contiguous United States. (1) Sixty-nine of the 104 are pressurized water reactors (PWR) and the 35 remaining are boiling water reactors (BWR). The PWR plants are based on Babcock & Wilcox, Combustion Engineering, and Westinghouse designs. The BWR plants are based on a series of General Electric designs. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has received 28 Combined License (COL) applications for new reactors based on advanced reactor designs (Table 2). Three COL applications will involve new sites.

CRS determined the coordinates of plant sites using web-based applications and overlaid the sites on base maps of:

1. Quaternary faults,

2. Seismic hazards in terms of percent gravitational acceleration,

3. Levels of horizontal ground shaking (gravitational acceleration) that have a 2-in100 (2%) probability of being exceeded in a 50-year period, and

4. Metropolitan populations

To map the proximity of plant sites to faults (Figure 1), CRS referred to the USGS Quaternary Fault and Fold Database of the United States. (2) This database contains information on faults and associated folds in the United States that are believed to be sources of greater than magnitude 6 (M>6) earthquakes during the Quaternary (the past 1,600,000 years). It is important to note that this map is not a prediction of an earthquake event.

To map the proximity of plant sites to seismic hazards (Figure 2), CRS referred to the USGS Seismic Hazard Map for the United States. (3) This map displays quantitative information about seismic ground motion hazards as horizontal ground acceleration (in terms of gravitational acceleration) of a particle at ground level moving horizontally during an earthquake. It is important to note that this map is not a prediction of an earthquake event.

To map the proximity of plant sites to geographic areas with levels of horizontal shaking having a 2% probability of being exceeded in a 50-year period (Figure 3), CRS referred to the 2008 United States National Seismic Hazard Maps. (4) The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Seismic Hazard Maps incorporate the latest findings on earthquake ground shaking, faults, seismicity, and geodesy to display earthquake ground motions for various probability levels across the United States. The resulting maps are derived from seismic hazard curves calculated on a grid of sites across the United States that describe the frequency of exceeding a set of ground motions. The Seismic Hazard maps are the basis for seismic design provisions of building codes to allow buildings, highways, and critical infrastructure to withstand earthquake shaking without collapse. (5) The NRC requires that every nuclear plant be designed for site-specific ground motions that are appropriate for their site locations. In addition, the NRC has specified a minimum ground motion level to which nuclear plants must be designed. For further information about nuclear power plant siting criteria, refer to 10 Code of Federal Regulation, Appendix A to Part 100--Seismic and Geologic Sitting Criteria for Nuclear Power Plants. It is important to note that this map is not a prediction of an earthquake event.

For further information about earthquake hazards, refer to CRS Report RL33861, Earthquakes: Risk, Detection, Warning, and Research, by Peter Folger.

In mapping the population near nuclear power sites (Figure 4), CRS referred to the U.S. Census Bureau FactFinder website for 2009 population estimates on urban area nearest to each of the plant site. (6) The latest census figures do not include all smaller geographic locations, so we used Census Bureau estimator for the last known projected estimates before the 2010 census was taken. It is important to note that the circular map symbol denotes population size, not the areal extent of population.






Jacqueline Nolan, Library of Congress Geography and Maps Division,, 7-8520

Author Contact Information

Anthony Andrews

Specialist in Energy and Defense Policy, 7-6843

(1) There are no nuclear power plants operating in Alaska or Hawaii.

(2) USGS Earthquake Hazards Program, Quaternary Fault and Fold Database of the United States

(3) USGS

(4) USGS, 2008 United States National Seismic Hazard Maps, http://pubs.usgs/fs/2008/3018/pdf/FS08-3018_508.pdf

(5) For complete discussion of the USGS methodology see Mark D. Petersen, Arthur D. Frankel, Stephen C. Harmsen et al.; Documentation for the 2008 Update of the United State National Seismic Hazard Maps. Open-File Report 20081128; USGS.

(6) U.S. Census Bureau, American fact Finder,
Table 1. Operating Nuclear Power Plants

Unit                        Type        MW    Vendor       St.

Arkansas Nuclear One 1       PWR       843       B&W        AR
Arkansas Nuclear One 2       PWR       995        CE        AR
Beaver Valley 1              PWR       892       W3L        PA
Beaver Valley 2              PWR       846       W3L        PA
Braidwood 1                  PWR     1,178       W4L        IL
Braidwood 2                  PWR     1,152       W4L        IL
Browns Ferry 1               BWR     1,065      GET4        AL
Browns Ferry 2               BWR     1,104      GET4        AL
Browns Ferry 3               BWR     1,115      GET4        AL
Brunswick 1                  BWR       938      GET4        NC
Brunswick 2                  BWR       937      GET4        NC
Byron 1                      PWR     1,164       W4L        IL
Byron 2                      PWR     1,136       W4L        IL
Callaway 1                   PWR     1,236       WFL        MO
Calvert Cliffs 1             PWR       873        CE        MD
Calvert Cliffs 2             PWR       862        CE        MD
Catawba 1                    PWR     1,129       W4L        SC
Catawba 2                    PWR     1,129       W4L        SC
Clinton 1                    BWR     1,065      GET6        IL
Columbia Gen. St.            BWR     1,190      GET5        WA
Comanche Peak 1              PWR     1,200       W4L        TX
Comanche Peak 2              PWR     1,150       W4L        TX
Cooper Station               BWR       830      GET4        NE
Crystal River 3              PWR       838     B&WLL        FL
Davis-Besse                  PWR       893     B&WLL        OH
Diablo Canyon 1              PWR     1,151       W4L        CA
Diablo Canyon 2              PWR      1149       W4L        CA
Donald C. Cook 1             PWR     1,009       W4L        MI
Donald C. Cook 2             PWR     1,060       W4L        MI
Dresden 2                    BWR       867      GET3        IL
Dresden 3                    BWR       867      GET3        IL
Duane Arnold                 BWR       640      GET4        IA
Fermi 2                      BWR     1,122      GET4        MI
Fitzpatrick                  BWR       852      GET4        NY
Fort Calhoun                 PWR       500        CE        NE
Grand Gulf 1                 BWR     1,297      GET6        MS
Hatch 1                      BWR       876      GET4        GA
Hatch 2                      BWR       883      GET4        GA
Robinson 2                   PWR       710       W3L        SC
Hope Creek 1                 BWR     1,061      GET4        NJ
Indian Point 2               PWR     1,023       W4L        NY
Indian Point 3               PWR     1,025       W4L        NY
Joseph M. Farley 1           PWR       851       W3L        AL
Joseph M. Farley 2           PWR       860       W3L        AL
Kewaunee                     PWR       556       W2L        WI
LaSalle County 1             BWR     1,118      GET5        IL
LaSalle County 2             BWR     1,120      GET5        IL
Limerick 1                   BWR     1,134      GET4        PA
Limerick 2                   BWR     1,134      GET4        PA
McGuire 1                    PWR     1,100       W4L        NC
McGuire 2                    PWR     1,100       W4L        NC
Millstone 2                  PWR       884        CE        CT
Millstone 3                  PWR     1,227       W4L        CT
Monticello                   BWR       579      GET3        MN
Nine Mile Pt .1              BWR       621      GET2        NY
Nine Mile Pt. 2              BWR     1,140      GET5        NY
North Anna 1                 PWR       981       W3L        VA
North Anna 2                 PWR       973       W3L        VA
Oconee 1                     PWR       846     B&WLL        SC
Oconee 2                     PWR       846     B&WLL        SC
Oconee 3                     PWR       846     B&WLL        SC
Oyster Creek                 BWR       619      GET2        NJ
Palisades                    PWR       778        CE        MI
Palo Verde 1                 PWR     1,335     CES80        AZ
Palo Verde 2                 PWR     1,335     CES80        AZ
Palo Verde 3                 PWR     1,335     CES80        AZ
Peach Bottom 2               BWR     1,112      GET4        PA
Peach Bottom 3               BWR     1,112      GET4        PA
Perry 1                      BWR     1,261      GET6        OH
Pilgrim 1                    BWR       685      GET3        MA
Point Beach 1                PWR       512       W2L        WI
Point Beach 2                PWR       514       W2L        WI
Prairie Island 1             PWR       551       W2L        MN
Prairie Island 2             PWR       545       W2L        MN
Quad Cities 1                BWR       867      GET3        IL
Quad Cities 2                BWR       869      GET3        IL
R. E. Ginna                  PWR       498       W2L        NY
River Bend 1                 BWR       989      GET6        LA
Salem 1                      PWR     1,174       W4L        NJ
Salem 2                      PWR     1,130       W4L        NJ
San Onofre 2                 PWR     1,070        CE        CA
San Onofre 3                 PWR     1,080        CE        CA
Seabrook 1                   PWR     1,295       W4L        NH
Sequoyah 1                   PWR     1,148       W4L        TN
Sequoyah 2                   PWR     1,126       W4L        TN
Shearon Harris 1             PWR       900       W3L        NC
South Texas 1                PWR     1,410       W4L        TX
South Texas 2                PWR     1,410       W4L        TX
St. Lucie 1                  PWR       839        CE        FL
St. Lucie 2                  PWR       839        CE        FL
Surry 1                      PWR       799       W3L        VA
Surry 2                      PWR       799       W3L        VA
Susquehanna 1                BWR     1,149      GET4        PA
Susquehanna 2                BWR     1,140      GET4        PA
Three Mile Island 1          PWR       786     B&WLL        PA
Turkey Point 3               PWR       720       W3L        FL
Turkey Point 4               PWR       720       W3L        FL
VC Summer                    PWR       966       W3L        SC
Vermont Yankee               BWR       510      GET4        VT
Vogtle 1                     PWR     1,109       W4L        GA
Vogtle 2                     PWR     1,127       W4L        GA
Waterford 3                  PWR     1,250        CE        LA
Watts Bar 1                  PWR     1,123       W4l        TN
Wolf Creek 1                 PWR     1,166       W4L        KS

Table 2. Combined License Applications for New Reactors

Received by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Proposed New Reactors                     Design

Bell Bend Nuclear Power Plant             U.S. EPR   New Site,
Bellefonte Nuclear Station, Unit 3 & 4    AP1000     Luzerne, PA
Callaway Plant, Unit 2                    U.S. EPR
Calvert Cliffs, Unit 3                    U.S. EPR
Comanche Peak, Units 3 & 4                US-APWR
Fermi, Unit 3                             ESBWR
Grand Gulf, Unit 3                        ESBWR
Levy County, Units 1 & 2                  AP1000     New Site,
Nine Mile Point, Unit 3                   U.S. EPR   Levy
North Anna, Unit 3                        U.S. EPR   County, FL
River Bend Station, Unit 3                ESBWR
Shearon Harris, Units 2 & 3               AP1000
South Texas Project, Units 3 & 4          ABWR
Turkey Point, Units 6 & 7                 AP1000
Victoria County Station, Units 1 & 2      ESBWR      New Site,
Virgil C. Summer, Units 2 & 3             AP1000     Victoria
Vogtle, Units 3 & 4                       AP1000     County, TX
William State Lee III, Units 1 & 2        AP1000

Source: NRC.

Notes: AP1000--3,400 Megawatt Advanced Passive Reactor,
ESBR--4,500 Megawatt Economic Simplified Boiler, U.S. APWR-
-4, 451 Megawatt Advanced Pressurized Reactor, U.S. EPR--
4,500 Megawatt Evolutionary Power Reactor.
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Author:Andrews, Anthony
Publication:Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports and Issue Briefs
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2011
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