Yesterday, the Drudge Report fronted an AP story by Mitch Weiss entitled, "Drought Could Force Nuke-Plant Shutdowns". To say the least, we're just a little exasperated around here, especially since we've gone to the trouble over and over again of letting folks know that water use isn't solely an issue for nuclear plants, it's an issue for any kind of electrical generating station that uses the steam cycle. Further, despite the claims of anti-nuclear activists, we don't believe this is a major issue.
The best short answer to this comes from Dr. Michael Ivanco, who wrote the following in a letter to the editor that was published by the Hamilton Spectator back in August 2006:
The impact of drought in Europe on electricity supply is not a "nuclear" problem, as the writer suggests, rather it affects all electricity generating stations that use a steam cycle: nuclear, coal, gas and oil.Ok? Yet over and over again, packs of reporters continue to revel in their scientific illiteracy, by reporting the same talking points from anti-nuclear activists over and over again. Here is a list of all the posts we've done over the past few years concerning this issue:
These account for over 80 per cent of all electricity generated on our planet. While water shortages have caused some thermo-electric plants to scale back production, it is important to note that they have not been required to shut down.
During the heat wave that hit Europe in the summer of 2003, by contrast, the contribution of wind-generated electricity to the electrical grids was virtually zero, since the wind did not blow.
While the overall output of nuclear plants may vary slightly due to other weather conditions, it will not drop to zero as some renewable sources do.
The single largest nuclear facility in North America is in the middle of the desert in Arizona and it does not suffer from any drought-related setbacks, simply because water conservation was built into its design.
There is no technical reason preventing future plants from being built to minimize water usage.
NPR, the Steam Cycle and Nuclear Energy
On Nuclear Energy, Cooling and the Steam Cycle
Nuclear Energy, Increased Temperatures and the Truth About the Steam Cycle
The Truth About Nuclear Power and Increased Water Temperatures
Countering More Propaganda
Are these reporters lazy? Are they stupid? Is it a little bit of both? Who knows?
More on this momentarily. Stay tuned, you don't want to miss this.