May 31, 1983
A companion document, A Case Study of Selenium Emissions from a Coal-Fired Power Plant (N-2387-EPRI), described the application of the WTRISK computer program to a real case study of selenium emissions from an existing coal-fired power plant in eastern Pennsylvania. This Note broadens that case study of selenium emissions to include beryllium discharges from the power plant. Specifically, it investigates the direct discharges from the plant waste treatment basin into the Chillisquaque Creek, which subsequently flows into the Susquehanna River. Using alternative beryllium concentrations in plant discharges, it calculates how much the incidence of cancer might increase in the regional population that consumes either drinking water or fish obtained from the Susquehanna River. The investigation revealed that although the health risks should be extremely small, every stage of the analysis was characterized by high levels of uncertainty. In particular, plant discharge rates, fish production and consumption, and the chemical activity, background concentrations, and chronic health effects of beryllium were not well understood.