There’s a reason behind Nuclear plants built near water. To keep the plant from getting dangerously hot they are built close to water. They suck up water from the nearby rivers, oceans or lakes around which they’re built. It needs lots of water to operate. Nowadays, climate change has caused an increase in heat waves making the water hotter than average temperature and adds up as a concern of the engineers that it can no longer do the job. Here are some of the effects of heatwaves on nuclear plants.
- Various reports and studies are being conducted, where nuclear power plant owners have mentioned that last year forced them to reduce the plants’ electricity output more than 30 times, often in the summers. Such incidents occurred for at least 60 times in 2012.
- One of Spain’s eight nuclear plants, Santa Maria de Garona on the River Ebro shut down which generated a fifth of its national electricity. Powers plants in Germany and France have been given special permits to dump hot waters into rivers to avoid power failures. In France, where the electricity produced by nuclear power plants accounts to more than three quarters, has also imported power to prevent shortages.
- Nuclear has had to be put on reduced power or completely shut down in five European countries, Germany, Finland, France, Switzerland and Sweden because their cooling water got too hot.
- The main problem which was identified this summer is that the water intake wasn’t cool enough to cool the plant and direct dumping hot water in the river or sea has resulted in the mass killing of aquatic life such as fishes and other wildlife.
- It’s not just only water temperature that is responsible for it, even air temperature causes conditions inside the plant making it too hot to operate. One of the examples is of France where heat waves in the last year made them spraying water on the outside to keep the interior cool
- The experts agree that operating plants at hotter temperatures does not pose an immediate safety risk.
- The lifetime of the electrical equipment is reduced quite a bit for every 10 degrees that the temperature goes up says Lochbaum.
Global warming is making temperatures to rise to and heatwaves more frequent and severe in many parts of the world. Not only nuclear plants it is also contributing to drought, reduction of water available to plants and threatening facilities on coasts with wave and wind damage.