U.S. NRC Blog

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The NRC: Reducing Our Environmental Footprint With Sustainability Actions

Ian Fisher
Sustainability Manager
 

The NRC is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our agency by operating in a more sustainable way. We do this by conserving energy and other resources, and cutting the emission of gases that trap heat in the atmosphere, also known as greenhouse gases. Once again ecologythis year, we met or beat our targets for improving our environmental footprint.

We send the White House a report each year outlining our efforts. Our 2013 Sustainability Plan reports our progress over the last fiscal year and our vision for continuing to meet and exceed federal goals.

Our best performance was in improving the footprint of our facilities. We reduced their greenhouse gas emissions in FY2012 by 31 percent over our FY2008 baseline. We can also report a 41.5 percent decrease in energy intensity. Our agency diverted 71 percent of our waste by recycling. And we now include a clause in our contracts to encourage good environmental practices among NRC contractors.

Our agency also cut by 14 percent emissions we do not directly control, such as from commuting and business travel. To improve these emissions going forward, we plan to make employees more aware of the options for using teleconferences, telework, flexible work schedules and transit subsidies. We will also promote the use of mass transit.

To save water, we continue to install low-flow bathroom fixtures in our buildings. We also continually look for ways to reduce water usage associated with our heating and cooling systems and our irrigation system.

We hope you’ll take a minute to review our latest update.

8 responses to “The NRC: Reducing Our Environmental Footprint With Sustainability Actions

  1. Joffan (@Joffan7) December 9, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    You could do a thousand times more for the environment by enabling easier nuclear power build. Instead of which, for example, the NRC has been roadblocking assessment of Yucca Mountain, failing to argue the case for Calvert Cliffs and (most wickedly) driving San Onofre to closure directly through regulatory dither

  2. Rich Andrews December 9, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    THE NRC HAS IGNORED A GREAT RECYCLING OPPORTUNITY
    The NRC touts the fact that “Our agency diverted 71 percent of our waste by recycling.” While that is noteworthy it is just within the NRC itself. The NRC has totally neglected recycling high-level nuclear radioactive waste currently stored in vulnerable spent fuel pools around the country. Other countries with high-level nuclear waste recycle it by reprocessing the spent fuel. This allows the unused portion of the “spent” fuel to be recycled back as new fuel for nuclear reactors. In so doing a smaller amount of remaining radioactive spent fuel can then be permanently stored in safe, typically underground, repositories. The NRC not only does not allow the US to recycle nuclear fuel they have dragged their feet on creating a safe permanent repository for US nuke plant fuel. In the meantime spent fuel is piling up in spent fuel pools around the country in amounts that far exceed the amount anticipated in the original spent fuel pool designs. This has created a huge security threat for our country in that an aircraft crash into just one of these spent fuel pools could result in a Fukushima-type catastrophe. If the NRC would either lead (or just get out of the way) our nation could establish a safe repository at Yucca Mountain and then allow for used fuel recycling. Then the NRC would really have something worthwhile to brag about!

  3. Garry Morgan December 9, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Even though nuclear power is high risk, expensive, not green-clean (as falsely claimed), nor a renewable-sustainable resource – it is good to see our nuclear regulator utilizing energy efficiency and sustainable energy resources to reduce their carbon footprint.

    • hiddencamper December 10, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      Nuclear produces no fossil emissions (not just carbon) during operation. All of its waste is maintained securely on site until reprocessing or long term disposal is performed. It is long long term sustainable (see David MacKay’s book withouthotair.com), relatively low risk in comparison (see NASA’s look at deaths reduced by nuclear power in the world), and it has some of the most stable low cost energy production out there.

      • Rich A December 11, 2013 at 2:41 pm

        Yep, nuke power has been around for decades and the highly radioactive has been stockpiled in overloaded spent fuel pools around the country. It is totally irresponsible not to already have a safe central repository to place this waste. As it is it presents a tempting terrorist target. Nuke plant after nuke plant was built with total disregard for safely taking care of the end product. No other industry operates this way and neither should the nuclear industry.

      • hiddencamper December 12, 2013 at 6:39 pm

        You mean the industry who was told that they are not allowed to own the fuel material or dispose of it because of proliferation concerns? Nuclear plants do not own their fuel, they pay to use it, but it does not belong to them.

        Blame your government if you don’t like how that is working out. They made a contract that they would take possession and havent, and as a result billions of dollars have been and will continue to be wasted due to inaction on waste policy, along with the complete halting of breeding, transmutation, reprocessing, all things which would allow us to get up to 20 times more energy out of the same volume of waste product.

      • Rich Andrews December 13, 2013 at 12:18 pm

        Good points hiddencamper! The NRC as an agency of the federal government is responsible for ensuring nuclear reactor safety. When they fall down on the job and do not even raise a fuss over valid national security issues you know they are being throttled by the government and the administration. Like the rest of us we are just pawns to a government who doesn’t own up to its responsibilities to protect the public. Other countries have acted responsibly when it comes to taking ownership of nuclear waste and disposing of it safely. Our country has not. Very typical of the lack of leadership our country exhibits on other issues as well.

  4. David Andersen December 9, 2013 at 11:38 am

    While it’s nice to know that the NRC is reducing it’s “Environmental Footprint,” most visitors to this blog are more interested in nuclear energy related issues.

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