Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 165: Outmoded systems

Indian Point nuclear power plant, 35 miles north of New York City. image: aaea

"The nation's 550 power plants use water — lots of water in some instances — that comes from lakes and rivers. Each day, more than 214 billion gallons of water is sucked into power plants across the country. That's tens of trillions of gallons each year.

The water cools the steam used in the electric generating process. And all the fish and aquatic organisms in the water are killed in the process.

In modern plants, little or no water is needed. Instead, the cooling is done with air, or sometimes with a different water system that uses small amounts of water and recycles it. The question in this case involves whether older plants must install new technology to minimize the harm to the nation's lakes and rivers."

-From "High Court Case Tests Power Plants' Water Rules", by Nina Totenberg, this morning on NPR.

Indian Point's water usage, among others, is being scrutinized today by the United States Supreme Court. But, water usage isn't the only problem that this nuclear power plant has. Radioactive material was found in the ground water outside the plant in 2005.

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