Friday, February 25, 2005

Using Nuclear Energy to Make Fresh Water

While many global observers fear future conflicts over supplies of fossil fuels, another resource where the same fear of conflict exists is fresh water -- and nuclear can help defuse those tensions by providing clean and reliable energy to power water desalinization plants. Here's some news from the United Arab Emirates:

In a press statement, Saeed Mohammad Al Raqabani, minister of agriculture and fisheries, said: ''Our meagre water resources are under tremendous pressure and this will continue as long as there are expansion programmes, since the demand is increasing.''

”If a country has less than 200 millimeters of rain per year then it is classified as one of the arid countries. The UAE has a lot less rain than that,” he added.

According to an official report, the average amount of renewable fresh water available in the UAE is already less than 250 cubic meters per person per year, which is well below the average international per capita water consumption.

Plans are now afoot to use nuclear energy to desalinate water. This is a cost-effective process that will help reduce the stress on the country's depleting water resources, and has received the blessing of the Federal National Council (FNC).

Warning that rapid population growth was putting more pressure on fresh water supplies, the FNC approved recommendations that called for the use of nuclear energy technology for desalination to help meet the challenges facing underground water resources. . .

''The government feels that the use of nuclear technology would be cost-effective and would spare the country the millions of dirhams it spends on water desalination projects every year,'' said the Dubai Municipality official.


The UAE signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1996.

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