Water Week

EWN Publishing

Desalination: new plants may prolong life of old power stations; nuclear power option being mulled over by numerous nations, says WWF report

Posted by waterweek on 25 September 2007

Coastal power stations using seawater in flow-through cooling systems had long been a controversial issue in California, with opponents maintaining their intake and outflow systems do unacceptable damage to the marine environment, according to the WWF’s Phil Dickie.

Desalination may breathe new life into old power stations: “A number of high profile desalination plants propose to operate in tandem with such power stations, to make use of the existing intake and outflow structures, to save costs through the lower energy requirements of using warmed seawater as feedstock and to use the power station outflow to dilute brine wastes,” Dickie wrote. “This has fed community concern that desalination will give a new lease of life to the power stations.”

Nuclear power option widely considered: “Desalination is emerging as a major driver for nuclear power, particularly in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa,” wrote Dickie. “Among nations considering nuclear power to produce water are the currently nonnuclear States of the Gulf Co-operation Council countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), Jordan, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Italy, Turkey, Syria and Indonesia. Current nuclear energy states France, Israel, India and Pakistan, China, Japan, Russia, Kazakhstan, and the USA are also involved in their own or the IAEA’s nuclear desalination projects. Programmes in Iran and North Korea, the current foci of world concern on nuclear weapons proliferation, are not nearly as well canvassed by the International Atomic Energy Agency or the World Nuclear Association but there is little doubt that Iran would seek to use nuclear power to produce water. As far back as 1977, a large 200,000 m3/day desalination facility was proposed for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant but lapsed in the long construction delays.”

Reference: Phil Dickie, WWF for a living planet, ‘Making Water – Desalination option or distraction for a thirsty world?’, June 2007.

Erisk Net, 23/9/2007

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