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Toxic Releases from Power Plants

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journal contribution
posted on 05.08.1999, 00:00 by Edward S. Rubin
Beginning in 1998, electric power plants burning coal or oil must estimate and report their annual releases of toxic chemicals listed in the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This paper identifies the toxic chemicals of greatest significance for the electric utility sector and develops quantitative estimates of the toxic releases reportable to the TRI for a representative coal-fired power plant. Key factors affecting the magnitude and types of toxic releases for individual power plants also are discussed. A national projection suggests that the magnitude of electric utility industry releases will surpass those of the manufacturing industries which currently report to the TRI. Risk communication activities at the community level will be essential to interpret and provide context for the new TRI results.