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Strict Standards Issued for Steam Generators

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Environmental Protection Agency has adopted new standards for reducing allowable emissions from electric utility steam generating units.

The EPA says the new standards will produce benefits of between $37 and $90 billion in reduced health care costs, reduction in early deaths and more efficient energy generation, according to finalized rules.

Owners of fossil fuel fired steam generators will pay about $9.6 billion to update their systems and in increased monitoring costs.

The new standards are expected to reduce emissions of mercury from steam generators by 90 percent. Levels of other toxics like arsenic, nickel, hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid also will be reduced, according to the rules.

The regulation applies to both utility scale steam generators and institutional ones that power hospitals and colleges.

The generators produce electricity by burning fossil-fuels to turn water into steam, which turns turbines. Efficiency standards for generators that use electricity to produce steam also were included in the finalized rules.

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