Nuclear Power in The United States - Water Use in Nuclear Power Production

Water Use in Nuclear Power Production

Once-through cooling systems, while once common, have come under attack for the possibility of damage to the environment. Wildlife can become trapped inside the cooling systems and killed, and the increased water temperature of the returning water can impact local ecosystems. US EPA regulations favors recirculating systems, even forcing some older power plants to replace existing once-through cooling systems with new recirculating systems.

A 2008 study by the Associated Press found that of the 104 nuclear reactors in the U.S., "... 24 are in areas experiencing the most severe levels of drought. All but two are built on the shores of lakes and rivers and rely on submerged intake pipes to draw billions of gallons of water for use in cooling and condensing steam after it has turned the plants’ turbines," much like all Rankine cycle power plants. During the 2008 southeast drought, reactor output was reduced to lower operating power or forced to shut down for safety.

The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station is located in a desert and purchases reclaimed wastewater for cooling.

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Nuclear Energy In The United States - Water Use in Nuclear Power Production
... systems and killed, and the increased water temperature of the returning water can impact local ecosystems ... systems, even forcing some older power plants to replace existing once-through cooling systems with new recirculating systems ... by the Associated Press found that of the 104 nuclear reactors in the U.S ...

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