Skip to main content

An Unexpected Benefit of Nuclear Energy

Although it may be helpful in reducing global warming, the Finns have now shown that nuclear power can provide an additional benefit by producing local warming. Bloomberg.com reports:
In the shadow of the Olkiluoto nuclear power station in western Finland, Latvian zilga grapes will this year produce about 80 bottles of red wine, said Jukka Huttunen, who cultivates the vineyard next to the facility's two reactors.

The vines are nourished by the warm water from the plant's cooling system, allowing grapes to thrive in a country that's on the same latitude as Alaska. Teollisuuden Voima Oy, the Finnish utility that owns the plant, started making wine as an experiment into uses for excess heat generated by nuclear energy. The company is now expanding production, said Huttunen.

Sea water used in the cooling process warms up by 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit) and is channeled through the 1,000 square-meter (10,764 square-feet) vineyard on its way back to the Gulf of Bothia. That helps kick-start the growing season three months earlier than usual and allows vines to thrive in normally hostile Finnish soil, according to [Olli-Pekka] Luhta [, the environmental manager for Olkiluoto].
If the Finns can do this with reactors of Russian design, just think of the possibilities when they start operating their French-designed EPR.

Technorati tags: , , , , , Wine, ,

Comments

Matthew66 said…
I would'nt mind betting that some extreme anti-nuclear "environmentalists" would argue that the local warming constitutes an unacceptable environmental impact. I would disagree of course. Every form of electrical generation has environmental impacts, and the global and local community has to come to a decision about which impacts it can live with and which it can't. I can live with localized warming and deep geologic storage of used fuel or waste products from reprocessing used fuel better than I can live with ash, soot and CO2 - unless the local warming drives a plant or animal species to extinction.
Pamela said…
I don't have a problem with localized warming when it is being put to a good use such as this. Yes, ecosystems could be severely damaged by a 13C rise in temperature, but this seems to mitigate that problem. After running through the vineyard and making use of that heat, what is the temperature at which it returns to the sea?
Anonymous said…
bad conversion between Celcius and Farenheit.

You are using the correct formula
oF= 32+ 1.8XoC .

Although 13oC is 55oF in absolute terms...when you are talking about a temperature increase, a delta, the constant from the equation, 32, falls out. So a rise of 13oC is actually 13*1.8= 23.4 oF rise in temperature.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…