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. 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, ,


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 …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.

Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …