01 Dec '12, 2pm

Water use in electricity generation: the sobering facts that make a case for wind and solar power

Nuclear power has critical cooling requirements that require huge amounts of water. Roughly 62% of US nuclear plants have closed-loop cooling systems. Reactors with closed-loop systems withdraw between 700-1100 gallons of water per MWh and lose most of that water to evaporation, the report says. “Water withdrawals are even higher at open-loop cooled nuclear plants, which need between 25,000-60,000 gallons per MWh.” Most of the water is returned, but at a higher temperature and lower quality, it adds. In addition to fouling streams and drinking water through mining and coal-ash dump sites, coal-fired power also relies heavily on closed-loop cooling systems, withdrawing 500-600 gallons of water per MWh. Again most of this is then lost via evaporation. Withdrawals for open-looped cooled coal-fired power plants are between 20,000-50,000 gallons per MWh . And again, while most ...

Full article: http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com/blog/2012/9/19/water-...

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