Potential impacts of 316(B) regulatory controls on economics, electricity reliability, and the environment. Metadata

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  • Main Title Potential impacts of 316(B) regulatory controls on economics, electricity reliability, and the environment.


  • Author: Veil, J. A.
    Creator Type: Personal


  • Sponsor: United States. Department of Energy.
    Contributor Type: Organization
    Contributor Info: US Department of Energy (United States)


  • Name: Argonne National Laboratory
    Place of Publication: Illinois
    Additional Info: Argonne National Lab., IL (United States)


  • Creation: 1999-03-19


  • English


  • Content Description: Nearly half of the US utility-owned steam electric generating capacity is cooled by once-through cooling systems. These plants withdraw cooling water primarily from surface water bodies. Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act requires that the location, design, construction, and capacity of cooling water intake structures reflect the best technology available (BTA) for minimizing adverse environmental impacts. At present, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not yet promulgated applicable implementing regulations governing intake structures; however, the Agency is required by a Consent Decree to develop such regulations. EPA has presented a draft tiered regulatory framework approach that, depending on site-specific factors, may impose various regulatory burdens on affected utilities. Potential new requirements could range from compiling and submitting existing data to demonstrate that existing conditions at each unit represent BTA to retrofitting plants with closed-cycle cooling systems (primarily cooling towers). If the final regulations require installation of cooling towers or implementation of other costly plant modifications, utilities may elect to close some generating units rather than invest the finds necessary to upgrade them to meet the Section 316(b) requirements. Potentially, some regions of the country may then have a higher proportion of closed units than others, leading to a concern over the reliability of those regions' electricity supply. If a significant number of plants convert from once-through cooling systems to cooling towers, the environment will face secondary adverse impacts, such as additional fuel usage, air emissions, and water evaporation, and utilities will need to construct additional generating capacity. This paper describes a study that Argonne National Laboratory will conduct for the US Department of Energy to explore some of the potential outcomes of EPA's Section 316(b) regulatory process and their impact on economics, electricity supply reliability, and the environment.
  • Physical Description: 14 p.


  • Keyword: Surface Waters
  • Keyword: Power Generation
  • Keyword: Cooling Towers
  • Keyword: Us Epa
  • Keyword: Economics
  • Keyword: Environmental Impacts
  • Keyword: Electricity
  • Keyword: Intake Structures
  • Keyword: Closed-Cycle Cooling Systems
  • Keyword: Reliability
  • Keyword: Clean Water Acts
  • STI Subject Categories: 29 Energy Planning, Policy And Economy
  • Keyword: Once-Through Cooling Systems


  • Conference: Power Generation Impacts on Aquatic Resources Conference, Atlanta, GA (US), 04/12/1999--04/15/1999


  • Name: Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports
    Code: OSTI


  • Name: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
    Code: UNTGD

Resource Type

  • Article


  • Text


  • Report No.: ANL/EA/CP-98623
  • Grant Number: W-31109-ENG-38
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 12360
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc620772


  • Display Note: OSTI as DE00012360
  • Display Note: Medium: P; Size: 14 pages