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Archive for December, 2008

Have you noticed that nuclear plants are always built near a water source? Along a river or beside a lake or the ocean, nuke plants require great amounts of H2O to cool them down. This water then is “diverted” from other uses, e.g. sustaining marine life and, oh yes, drinking water for humans. When water exits a plant the higher temperature and different biological content may also disrupt marine organisms.

The dispute among Florida, Georgia and Alabama over water rights to the Apalachiacola River is in part due to the water requirements of the Farley nuke plant in Alabama, which would have to shut down without a certain level of river water. Climate change and competing water interests out west are straining the Colorado River. A continuing drought and similar demands here in the east have forced the possibility of choosing whether to continue operating a nuclear plant or lose the mussels and other marine life (and human employment) in North Florida.

Have you ever seen a cooling tower beside an array of solar panels or a wind turbine? This is another reason they are referred to as “clean” energy technologies. These energy conversion devices don’t require any water-cooling. And researchers now have developed technologies that are superior to batteries for storing solar energy for use at night.

For more problems associated with the use of water for cooling nuclear plants visit the Union of Concerned Scientists web-site here.

Sam Kendall

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