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Geohydrology and Effects of Climate and Pumpage Change on Water Resources of the Aucilla–Suwannee–Ochlockonee River Basin, South-Central Georgia and Adjacent Areas of Florida, Progress and Significant Results, 2006—2007

Project Chief: Gregory C. Cherry
Cooperator: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Year started: 2007

Problem

Map of the study area

The Vogtle Electric Generation Plant (VEGP), in Burke County, Georgia, is one of Southern Company’s two nuclear-generating facilities in Georgia. On August 15, 2006, Southern Nuclear Company applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for an early site permit (ESP) for an additional two reactors at the site. As part of the ESP permitting process, the NRC is charged with development of an environmental impact statement (EIS) to evaluate the effects of constructing and operating these new reactors on the site and surrounding area. The EIS must describe the magnitude and nature of expected effects on ground water resulting from present and potential future ground-water withdrawal. The assessment should include the area of VEGP and extend for distances great enough to cover potentially affected aquifers, including those within the boundary of the U.S. Department of Energy, Savannah River Site (SRS), located in South Carolina across the Savannah River from VEGP. The addition of two new reactors (Units 3 and 4) at VEGP will require an increase in pumping from the lower Dublin and upper and lower Midville aquifers, which currently provide the water needed for reactor Units 1 and 2. NRC would like to evaluate the effects of additional pumpage on ground-water flow in the surrounding area.

Objectives

  • Simulate the effect of current (2002) and potential future pumping on ground-water levels and flow paths near VEGP for three pumping scenarios in a 4,455-square-mile area near Augusta, Georgia.
  • Compare simulated water levels to a Base Case representing 2002 pumping rates throughout the model area.
  • Conduct a particle-tracking analysis for each scenario to determine the source of water for VEGP production wells.
  • Describe the pumping distribution, simulated water-level changes, and ground-water flow paths relative to the Base Case.
  • Define the limitations of the model analysis.

Reference

Cherry, G.S., 2006, Simulation and particle-tracking analysis of ground-water flow near the Savannah River Site, Georgia and South Carolina, 2002, and for selected water-management scenarios, 2002 and 2020: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006–5195, 156 p.; Web-only publication available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2006/5195/.

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