River water temperature “crisis”

Browns Ferry power plant

Browns Ferry power plant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the University of Washington  press office, another modeled scenario suggesting that small 0.8C climate change signal will find its way into the rivers, overheat the water, and thus overheat the power plants, causing shutdown, darkness, and rioting in the streets. Well, maybe not that last part, but you get the idea. Part of the shutdown issue at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant was due to the severe weather in Alabama and heavy spring rains (part of the La Nina pattern) delaying construction of a needed cooling tower. And the shutdown problem isn’t new. For example in cooler Canada in 2007:

An unexpected build up of algae on a lake-water intake system used for cooling has forced Ontario Power Generation to temporarily shut down one of its Pickering nuclear reactors until the fast-growing green muck is cleaned up.

Experts say bad-smelling blooms of Cladophora algae are linked to warmer water temperatures and are likely to get worse as a result of global warming and high phosphorous levels caused by lawn fertilizers, agricultural runoff and detergents entering the lake.

So I wonder, in the case of the Tennessee River, just how much of the problem is silt/fertilizers and algal blooms etc. Clear water doesn’t absorb nearly as much sunlight as turbid water, and from the photo above, the water looks turbid.

Nuclear and coal-fired electrical plants vulnerable to climate change

Warmer water and reduced river flows in the United States and Europe in recent years have led to reduced production, or temporary shutdown, of several thermoelectric power plants. For instance, the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama had to shut down more than once last summer because the Tennessee River’s water was too warm to use it for cooling.

A study by European and University of Washington scientists published today in Nature Climate Change projects that in the next 50 years warmer water and lower flows will lead to more such power disruptions. The authors predict that thermoelectric power generating capacity from 2031 to 2060 will decrease by between 4 and 16 percent in the U.S. and 6 to 19 percent in Europe due to lack of cooling water. The likelihood of extreme drops in power generation—complete or almost-total shutdowns—is projected to almost triple.

“This study suggests that our reliance on thermal cooling is something that we’re going to have to revisit,” said co-author Dennis Lettenmaier, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Thermoelectric plants, which use nuclear or fossil fuels to heat water into steam that turns a turbine, supply more than 90 percent of U.S. electricity and account for 40 percent of the nation’s freshwater usage. In Europe, these plants supply three-quarters of the electricity and account for about half of the freshwater use.

While much of this water is “recycled,” the power plants rely on consistent volumes of water, at a particular temperature, to prevent the turbines from overheating.

Reduced water availability and warmer water, caused by increasing air temperatures associated with climate change, mean higher electricity costs and less reliability.

While plants with cooling towers will be affected, results show older plants that rely on “once-through cooling” are the most vulnerable. These plants pump water directly from rivers or lakes to cool the turbines before returning the water to its source, and require high flow volumes.

The study projects the most significant U.S. effects at power plants situated inland on major rivers in the Southeast that use once-through cooling, such as the Browns Ferry plant in Alabama and the New Madrid coal-fired plant in southeastern Missouri.

“The worst-case scenarios in the Southeast come from heat waves where you need the power for air conditioning,” Lettenmaier said. “If you have really high power demand and the river temperature’s too high so you need to shut your power plant down, you have a problem.”

The study used hydrological and water temperature models developed by Lettenmaier and co-author John Yearsley, a UW affiliate professor of civil and environmental engineering. The European authors combined these with an electricity production model and considered two climate-change scenarios: one with modest technological change and one that assumed a rapid transition to renewable energy. The range of projected impacts to power systems covers both scenarios.

The U.S. and Europe both have strict environmental standards for the volume of water withdrawn by plants and the temperature of the water discharged. Warm periods coupled with low river flows could thus lead to more conflicts between environmental objectives and energy production.

Discharging water at elevated temperatures causes yet another problem: downstream thermal pollution.

“Higher electricity prices and disruption to supply are significant concerns for the energy sector and consumers, but another growing concern is the environmental impact of increasing water temperatures on river ecosystems, affecting, for example, life cycles of aquatic organisms,” said first author Michelle van Vliet, a doctoral student at the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands.

Given the high costs and the long lifetime of power plants, the authors say, such long-range projections are important to let the electricity sector adapt to changes in the availability of cooling water and plan infrastructure investments accordingly.

One adaptation strategy would be to reduce reliance on freshwater sources and place the plants near saltwater, according to corresponding author Pavel Kabat, director of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria and van Vliet’s doctoral adviser.

“However, given the life expectancy of power plants and the inability to relocate them to an alternative water source, this is not an immediate solution, but should be factored into infrastructure planning,” he said. “Another option is to switch to new gas-fired power plants that are both more efficient than nuclear- or fossil-fuel-power plants and that also use less water.”

###

The study was supported by the European Commission.

Other co-authors are Fulco Ludwig at Wageningen University and Stefan Vögele at the Institute of Energy and Climate Research in Germany.

58 thoughts on “River water temperature “crisis”

  1. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (called LFTRs) don’t use water. Time to switch to thorium, the nuclear fuel that was abandoned because it was too hard to make nuclear bombs out of it. A LFTR was tested at Oak Ridge in the sixties and proven to work. LFTRs use no water, work at atmospheric pressure, produce only 1% of the nuclear waste of light water uranium reactors (and much of that waste can be used for medicine and space exploration) and can’t be easily used as a nuclear fuel for weapons. Watch the best video on it. It will make you angry that we chose not to develop it.

  2. This situation is difficult to understand. Most good engineers design plants with 20 percent over capacity. As well, if the water is too warm, then put on a larger pump, or add a chiller unit to the water.

  3. “…another modeled scenario suggesting that small 0.8C climate change signal will find its way into the rivers, overheat the water, and thus overheat the power plants,…”

    Oh dear oh dear! The mind boggles with the claims these modellers make.

  4. the water that used in the cooling towers does not cool the turbines…it is used to condense the spent steam that has already gone through the turbines

  5. Pollution. The fact is farm and industry run off should not be reintroduce unless treated to at least the tertiary level, and after lagooning.

  6. This article has BS written all over it. I wonder if they are trying to make a case for higher electricity prices to fund/promote the so-called green technologies.

  7. Yeah…. cuz windmills and solar and biofuels are SO insensitive to climate change… or seasonal change…. or daily change….let’s not talk about that….

  8. Ian Bryce;
    or add a chiller unit to the water.>>>>

    The additional load on the power station to run the chiller would negate the effect of the chiller and then some.

  9. Odd is it not that hydro dams have been built in places like Churchill that can operate down to -50C and in the tropics that can operate at +50C, but a temp change of 1 degree will shut them down? Oh, i see from the article that itz not the temperature change per se, itz the ever so slight increase in temps will cause algae blooms….which oddly are dependant primarily on nutrient availability not temperature. Then there is the reduced water flow from reduced rainfall despite CAGW theory relying on increased water vapour and increased variability which logically must result in increased rainfall not decreased.

    I used to mock papers like this with sarcastic humour. Now I just read them in disbelief that the authors had the guts to put something so completely full of holes into print, and then further disbelief as the MSM and govt agencies don’t even bother to question it. The sky is falling and they want to rush off and tell the king.

  10. The article appears to me to be a plug for natural gas. Nat king coal, nat nuclear.
    So a wise thing to do is prepare a shopping list of nat gas stocks to pick up on the cheap, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel plays pull the football away from Charlie Brown all summer. Again, like she did last year.

  11. Notice how the temperature rise is modelled not from real data. Power plants typically a 10-20C change in cooling water temperature winter to summer yet we are lead to believe they can’t cope with a less than degree change. It looks like another fact free paper by someone looking for a grant.

  12. Algal growth, rather like tree rings, are poor proxy temperature indicators. Algal growth increases with more nutrient and light, for increased photosynthesis, regardless of temperature. They should look upstream for farm fertilizer runoff. But the extra spring and summer light will drive the growth which makes algae a non problem in the winter.

  13. Some ordinary water-cooled reactors are built on small creeks, which have less thermal inertia than major rivers. Presumably a creek moves with local air temperature more than a big river. These reactors don’t seem to have problems with outages, because they use a system of ponds to keep both inlet and outlet water under controlled conditions.

    In other words, competent engineering.

    For example, Wolf Creek in Kansas:

    http://www.wcnoc.com/aboutwolfcreek.htm

  14. “Experts say bad-smelling blooms of Cladophora algae are linked to warmer water temperatures and are likely to get worse as a result of global warming and high phosphorous levels caused by lawn fertilizers, agricultural runoff and detergents entering the lake.”

    CAGW appears to be a parasitic phenomena. It also has the magic properties of somehow hiding important influences that are in plain sight.

  15. What a colossal load of crap! In the last twenty years the net change in earth’s net temperature is less than 0.1 degrees C but showed a natural variability over that period approaching 1.0C The range of expected water temperature that the plants were designed to operate within has to be in excess of 15 (?) degrees given that they have to operate in the summer time as well as in the winter plus summer is the time of highest demand in the warmer regions. Nuke engineers are going to pad the numbers to be on the safe side in addition to standard safety factors so the actual design range is likely even much greater. (Nuke and other steam power engineers – please chime in…)

    It just seems absolutely moronic to suggest that a change of 1 degree, (let alone 0.1), has any measurable and un-correctable impact at all on efficiency thus serving to illustrate that ‘these people’ are getting mighty desperate indeed, (or smoking too much pot).

  16. davidgmills— seen the video which is very good and I am now a thorium convert, though i do know about its roll in the crust with the radioactive isotope of Potassium which is more plentiful but not as useful.

  17. Sometimes nuclear plants technical specifications require shutdown for nuclear safety reasons not turbine performance reasons. Say for example their nuclear accident analysis use river water and assume 95F water so some limit isn’t exceeded during an accident, and 99F might cause that limit to be exceeded. So they shut down for nuclear safety reasons, they have no choice. Then they fix the problem. Yeah the “limit” is exceeded by only a few degrees but the NRC does not allow such latitude and they do not like such problems to linger. I don’t know the situation or technical specificals at these plants but the slow degradation of nuclear safety systems over time (pipe plugging, tube fouling etc) might require periodic adjustment of the technical specification water temperature downward.

  18. “Another option is to switch to new gas-fired power plants that are both more efficient than nuclear- or fossil-fuel-power plants and that also use less water.”
    —————————
    wtf

  19. Won’t affect the UK; all reactors use sea water for cooling. Maybe we’ll see a paper about the forthcoming jellyfish crisis soon? /sarc

  20. davidgmills says:
    June 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (called LFTRs) don’t use water.

    While it is true that LFTRs don’t use water to directly cool the reactor, the heat is transferred to a boiler/water/steam cycle for power production. It is the steam cycle to the turbines which actually cool the reactor, and this cycle is identical to all other “conventional” steam cycle where energy is rejected ultimately at the condensers. All power stations rely on water, for heat rejection, to a cooling tower, river, lake etc.

    I am all for development of thorium, but there is no reason to make claims, that are silly. Water/steam is still the heat transport medium utilized by the secondary circuits. GK

  21. pat says:
    June 3, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    Pollution. The fact is farm and industry run off should not be reintroduce unless treated to at least the tertiary level, and after lagooning.
    _________________________________________
    And who the HECK do you think is going to PAY for THAT!

    Most farmers according to the last USDA survey I looked at are already LOSING an average of $15,000/year putting food in your mouth. Farmers can not raise their prices because there is ONE buyer (or cartel) who sets the price not the seller (Monospony) Graph of Corporate Concentration in Agriculture
    Also See: Consolidation in Food and Agriculture: Implications for Farmers & Consumers

    How U.S. Farming Policies Have Helped Agribusiness And Pushed Family Farmers Toward Extinction
    …Naylor’s experience is typical of most U.S. farmers who have been sold down the river by a calculated U.S. farm policy that directly benefits large agribusiness companies and factory-style farming at the expense of family farms. The farm crisis has hit home literally, with plunging farm prices — the bane of family farmers for centuries — forcing most farm families to work off the farm to survive. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, almost 90 percent of the total income of rancher or farmer households now comes from outside earnings….

    …What Freedom to Farm [1996 farm bill] has done is highlight for many farmers as never before that their interests diverge from agribusiness. “The U.S. food system consists of six interrelated sectors: farm inputs, farm production, food processing, wholesaling, retailing and food service,” notes Dr. Richard Levins, an agricultural economist at the University of Minnesota. “Agribusiness and their supporters in government are eager to portray agriculture as monolithic, with all sectors equal and interdependent. But the reality of which sectors have market power and political power is quite different.”

    The low commodity prices which benefit many large agribusiness interests erode family farms’ viability. “The long-term crisis in agriculture will continue until the government addresses the fundamental problem of market prices set below farmers’ cost of production,”
    …Freedom to Farm has been derisively called “Freedom to Fail” by critics. Many agriculture experts believe the United States has only a few years left to save its family farmers, before they are either swallowed up by larger farms, or left in financial ruin.

    That was a decade ago and matters have only gotten worse.

    http://fooddemocracynow.org/blog/2011/sep/7/if_you_eat_you_better_get_gipsa/

  22. This article is such rubbish it’s hard to know where to start. Increasing water temperature does not cause loss of heat sink; it causes reduced turbine thermal efficiency. Thermal plants are forced to shut down because of regulations controlling water temperature discharge limits. As others have noted, none of this is about “cooling the turbine”. It’s about steam condensation. Warmer condensation means simply reduced turbine efficiency. It seems evident that the authors of this drivel know nothing about the Rankine steam cycle.

    These discharge limits have been greatly tightened over the past 30 years. In Ontario, for example, the thermal discharge limit was to raise the water temperature no more than a certain degree at a certain distance from the outlet. For Pickering entering service in the early 1970s, the discharge limit was two or three degrees C. By the time Darlington entered service in the early 1990s, it was no more than about 0.5 degrees C.

    And there’s never been any real evidence that any of these changes had the slightest negative effect on fish populations. To the contrary, the warm Pickering discharges are a favourite site for fishing during the winter.

    So, the easiest measure is raise the discharge limits during times of high water temperature. The second longer term measure is diffuse the water discharge over a larger area. What do these moronic authors think a cooling tower is? But none of this is considered by the paper’s authors. All they are interested in doing is writing a antinuclear propaganda piece to support a German panicked nuclear shutdown in 2011.

  23. Scott says:
    June 4, 2012 at 4:54 am

    Sometimes nuclear plants technical specifications require shutdown for nuclear safety reasons not turbine performance reasons.

    On a hot summer day incoming cooling water increases with temperature. If the plant is at 100% full power, the MW(e) output will slowly decrease as incoming temperatures increase. This is because the temperatures at the condenser increases. This causes condenser vapor back pressure to increase and therefore more work is expended pushing the steam through the turbine instead of producing MW(e). Typically up to 10% of output can be lost.

    Accident analysis of power plants has to make certain assumptions, in order to construct a model for accident analysis. One important assumption is the temperature of incoming cooling water. If conditions arise such that incoming cooling water is above that which is assumed, then the accident analysis is no longer valid. Reactors are required, by law, to operate within the accident analysis model at all times. This is the operating envelope, and all plants operate within these parameters or must decrease output until they are.

    There is one final restriction which is directly due to environmental concerns regarding thermal pollution. Power stations are allowed to reject heat to the lake/river/reservoir within certain hard limits. Obviously, unlimited heat rejection to a lake will cause temperature increases to that lake or river, locally and in general. Therefore limits on delta T are imposed on any discharge as well as the absolute discharge temperature.

    None of the above is new and power stations are dealing with this every summer… global warming or not. GK

  24. likely to get worse as a result of global warming and high phosphorous levels

    Yeah, Ted Kennedy killed a girl because of a lethal combination of global warming and ethanol. I’ll bet, though, that it was mostly global warming, right?

  25. Sometimes nuclear plants technical specifications require shutdown for nuclear safety reasons not turbine performance reasons.

    There is a maximum water temperature limit set for ‘environmental reasons’. Generally in the neighborhood of 90F. So if the water temperature in the river is already 90F the power plant isn’t allowed to add any heat to the river and has to shut down. Safety comes in only because it’s not safe to run thermal power plants without cooling water.

  26. 1) I only found one day with warm water problems. Drought had lowered the water level.

    2) Alabama is not that warm ….

    2011 in Alabama was ranked 77 out of 117. 40 years were warmer.

    85 years were warmer than 2010.

    83 years were warmer than 2009.

    73 years were warmer than 2008.

    1998 was the last year to make the top 10.

    The warmest years in Alabama are: 1927,1921,1933,1925,1922,1911,1938,1949 and 1998.

  27. Jarrett Jones says:
    June 4, 2012 at 6:39 am

    ================

    And your point is?

    Global warming related expenditures is over budget on the order of 70 billion dollars in the US alone over just the past few years. When complete at least TVA will have a useful product.

  28. As noted several times in the above comments, cooling water is not used to cool the turbines. It is used to condense steam that has already passed thru the turbine blades.

    As far as I know every engineer that has studied mechanical engineering should understand the primary process involved here. We are all laughing at these claims.

    So please give us more of these type of studies / claims to revael just how much ignorance there is in the world by the claimed ”enlightened ones’. Anthony can set em up while we melt em down.

  29. @ davidgmills; Thank you for posting that video on LFTR. Of the two nuclear paths we could have taken, we took the less desirable one due to the fact that it had no usefulness in creating weaponry. Assuming Russia developed the same technology (and why wouldn’t they), there would have been no Chernobyl, and certainly no Three-Mile-Island incident to quash nuclear power. I see that a second, much better video is due to be released in August. It seems we have a choice: either re-develop LFTR, which was in fact invented here in the 60’s and sidelined by Nixon, or buy the technology from China in ten years, who seem very interested in it. I prefer to buy American myself.

  30. R2Dtoo says The post just before this one is critical. Surely, given the long history of power generation and regulation, there must be an equally long record of actual “real world data” to assess the projected impact of a 0.8C temperature increase on the frequency of breaches of the temperature limits. Or even a 3C increase. This would clearly define any impact without the need for another model.

  31. @ g garst:

    I really do believe that I am right on this one. I looked at the video again and I see nowhere in the schematics of LFTR that water is ever used. LFTR operates at much higher temperatures (800C at atmospheric pressure) than a light water reactor (300 C under about 150 atmospheres of pressure) and uses gas instead of steam (of course steam is a gas but I don’t think they are talking about steam as the gas) and it runs gas turbines not steam turbines.

    You can check me out at the 1:50 mark of the video if you like.

  32. The water temp of The St. Lawrence Rive varies over the course of the year from around 30F to 75F, differing in the high year to year. 1F isn’t a big difference. BTW It can remain water at 30F because it is relatively fast flowing – 1knot on average

  33. @ Bruce Cobb. And no Fukishima either. I am waiting for Thorium remix 2012 as I have seen this one about 8 times now. Whether it will be much better is a good question, because I think it will have to use most of the same video. There was a thorium conference in Chicago on May 31 and maybe we will get some video out of that.

    I would much prefer to buy American as well. And the idea that we could make them on assembly lines and sell them like commercial airplanes means we could have an entire new industry, not to mention being competitive with all things using rare earths (as the video points out China now has a monopoly on rare earths and thorium which is very abundant here is mixed with rare earths and we would have plenty of rare earths but for the existing regulations governing thorium).

    The possibility of thorium nuclear power has got me out of the dumps. Since we have enough of it the US to provide all of our power needs at present consumption for the next 1,000 years, and since these reactors can be made small enough to fit on a football field (or maybe less), and since they put out almost no nuclear waste (and most of what there is can be used for medicine and space exploration) I once again have some hope for the future.

    What should anger us all is what the world could be like today if we had started doing commercial LFTRs 50 years ago when LFTR was invented.

  34. I think we should just build more cooling towers and vent the heat directly to the atmosphere so it can be quickly radiated back to space. We don’t because they are expensive, but if intake water temperature is really a problem (and the EPA will let you add one without rebuilding the entire plant – which is doubtful) add a cooling tower to each of these facilities and let most of the heat vent rather than sending it into the local waterway.

    I have also wondered if the intakes shouldn’t be built with covering shades to prevent any light shining on the intake filter areas. That would seem to be able to lower the amount of photosynthesizing algal build up. Of course it might not work if there is too much free floating algae in the waterway to begin with.

  35. @davidgmills,

    I looked at the video again and I see nowhere in the schematics of LFTR that water is ever used.

    You are always going to need a ‘final heat sink’ for any thermal power plant. Air cooling is possible but water cooling is the ‘cheaper/easier’ final heat sink.

    What changes between reactors is what is used in the primary cooling loop and the heat exchanger loop. The condenser loop is always going to be water or air.

    I.E.

    The primary loop could be water, salts, lead or any number of materials.
    The secondary loop (the part that drives the turbines) could be anything that has good expansion properties.
    We are then left with issue of what do we cool whatever we drove the turbines with so we can recirculate it.

    That pretty much means either water or air. An air condenser would be huge.

  36. “G. Karst says:
    June 4, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Accident analysis of power plants has to make certain assumptions, in order to construct a model for accident analysis. One important assumption is the temperature of incoming cooling water. If conditions arise such that incoming cooling water is above that which is assumed, then the accident analysis is no longer valid. Reactors are required, by law, to operate within the accident analysis model at all times. This is the operating envelope, and all plants operate within these parameters or must decrease output until they are.”

    G. Karst is correct about the accident analysis. Just to clarify, the accident analysis temperature limitations are also about cooling, but not the main condenser. It is about removing decay heat from a shut down reactor core and about cooling the reactor containment so the pressure in containment stays below its design limits.

    One more comment, due to current regulation, no new once-through cooling systems will be built in the U.S. All new plants have wet cooling towers or air-cooled condensers. Heating the water is a problem that is going away as plants retire. And some 40 to 60 GW of power plants are being retired by 2015 due to the CSAPR and utility MACT rules, most (if not all) have once through cooling.

  37. It’s a semi-spruik for the now-green gas-burning power stations.

    A gas-turbine plant has a peak efficiency of about 40%. But with heat recovery, that goes up to almost 60%… by putting a steam generator in the (very hot) exhaust gas stream and feeding the steam into a steam turbine. The cold sink for the steam turbine would still be a large body of water, or chilled water from a cooling tower.

    A molten-salt reactor can be used to drive a gas turbine as well (secondary cooling loop), using the salt (at over 700°C) to heat and expand the air instead of burning a gas. The exhaust gas stream would still be warm enough for some heat recovery and generation by steam turbine. Although the peak cycle temperature is lower than with a gas-burning setup, peak efficiency should still exceed 50%.

  38. Several years ago I attended a meeting of some federal agencies chaired by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The purpose of this meeting was to address the change in water temperature that had occurred over the years on the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. It seems that these two rivers had changed from warm water fisheries to cold water ones. Now this is real and was due to the many dams on the rivers. Most of the time the flow out of all the dams are though the hydro-turbines and the intakes for these turbines are low in the pools. This results in the releasing of cold bottom water rather than the warmer water you get with run of river conditions. Well, neither TVA nor the Corps of Engineers had the money to pay for the massive construction to install the selective withdrawal intakes that would be necessary to control the water temperature at all the dams. Therefore, nothing was ever done with this imitative.

    The bottom line here is that since the 30’s mankind has been artificially cooling the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers and any warming would just return them to more natural conditions.

    By the way, selective withdrawal intakes are on some other dams but when installed during initial construction are relatively cheap; it’s the retrofitting that makes them expensive.

  39. @ harry wr2 How much cooling you need is going to depend on how efficient your turbines are. Theoretically, you would want these gas turbines consuming all of the heat. How much they could actually consume I don’t know so you may need some kind of heat sink.

    Kirk Sorensen, who is the NASA engineer who is the person primarily being interviewed in the video is originally from Utah and he comments in the video he always wondered why Utah had no nuclear power plants. Of course the answer (which he realizes) is that the west has very few rivers and very few big lakes (maybe the Great Salt Lake was not a good source of water for nuclear power). And he seems to imply that the lack of water would not be a problem for LFTR.

    He does mention that LFTRs could be built by the ocean to desalinate water (almost free desalinization), but he never says that water is a requirement for heat removal.

  40. davidgmills

    Thanks so much for the link.

    I watched Kurt Sorensen’s LFTR video and was enthralled. It is very wide ranging and thought provoking. I recommend it to everyone and they should recommend it to their friends, too! The faster the story gets around the better.

  41. @marchesarosa

    I am addicted to the video. I must have seen it 8 or 10 times by now and certain parts of it numerous other times. For me it is as addictive as crack cocaine. I learn something new every time.

  42. “Experts say bad-smelling blooms of Cladophora algae are linked to warmer water temperatures and are likely to get worse as a result of global warming and high phosphorous levels caused by lawn fertilizers, agricultural runoff and detergents entering the lake.”
    Imagine that, detergents with Phosphates have been banned by law in the Great Lakes basin for decades, which made them difficult to impossible to find anywhere.

  43. @davidgmills,

    Theoretically, you would want these gas turbines consuming all of the heat. How much they could actually consume I don’t know so you may need some kind of heat sink.

    50% is about the upper limit on turbine effiecency.

    Of course the answer (which he realizes) is that the west has very few rivers and very few big lakes

    France’s nuclear plants only comprise 50% of total nameplate generating capicty and at that level they have substantial ‘off peak’ over supply challenges. (Mostly they sell it cheap to neighbors). Utah doesn’t have much generating capacity to begin with.

    Utah lists a total of just under 8 GW nameplate capacity and 1.6 GW is owned by the city of Los Angeles.

    As a general rule you want no more then 40% of nameplate capacity as baseload. So if we take California’s plants out of Utah’s energy equation Utah has 6.4 GW nameplate which makes for a requirement for 2.5GW of baseload. A twin AP1000 is 2.2GW.

  44. A cursory read of the study shows the study simply attempted to measured the point at which a thermal plant would begin to derate (i.e, lose rated capacity in a summer drought scenario) due to low river flow and/or warm water temperatures.

    What’s striking is that the authors don’t appear to be aware that utilities already apply a summer-time derate to existing power plants and apply these derates to their projections of seasonal generation. So, the study, while interesting in concept, doesn’t really provide much insight as to wither the derates they are projecting are significant compared to “typical” summer evaluation much less to plan for a historically-based drought scenario.

    Moreover, the study itself does not tell me it their projections differ significantly with the plans “effected” south-eastern utilities routinely make as a contingency against drought. For example, in the scenarios presented, I would expect south-eastern utilities, like TVA, would simply fire-up their considerable inventory of air-cooled CTs until the drought phase has passed. This really wouldn’t be a big deal.

    The bottom line, without knowing the impact on a utility’s entire fleet, the study is not meaningful.

    Regards,
    Kforestcat

  45. @ harry wr2: Re: France’s off peak overcapacity — The great thing about LFTR is its ability to turn the reactor on and off. In the LFTR trial at Oak Ridge, the engineers only wanted to work during the week days so they shut the reactor down on Friday and cranked it up Monday morning. So I don’t think overcapacity at night would be a problem.

    Re: turbines are about 50% efficient at best. What are you implying here? That the other 50% is waste heat that needs to be cooled? Advanced Brayton gas turbines have intercoolers, reheaters and regenerators to recycle waste heat. Are you saying that even after using them there is still going to be excess heat that you would need to cool with a water cooling system?

  46. garymount says:
    June 4, 2012 at 1:52 am

    One problem I have with this study is that I recently read about a study that showed that the streams have not been getting warmer despite of global warming….
    ____________________________________________
    That is because the stream temperatures have not yet been Hansen-ized.

    US temp raw minus adjusted: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/epubs/ndp/ushcn/ts.ushcn_anom25_diffs_urb-raw_pg.gif

    US temperature blink graph of adjustments: http://i31.tinypic.com/2149sg0.gif

  47. davidgmills says:
    I want to thank you for the video on thorium. I added it to my “Collection”

    On the intake water for the Nuke plant, I am not an engineer but I have worked in industry and that included the care and feeding of the DI water. I can not believe tho intake water is not “treated” by at least filtration. Otherwise you are looking at boiled trout for lunch at the outlet side (DOo I really need the /sarc tag?)

  48. @ Gail Combs.
    Thanks. I am not “collecting” thorium videos but I have watched every one I have been able to find.

  49. @ davidgmills: Re: turbines are about 50% efficient at best. What are you implying here? That the other 50% is waste heat that needs to be cooled? Advanced Brayton gas turbines have intercoolers, reheaters and regenerators to recycle waste heat. Are you saying that even after using them there is still going to be excess heat that you would need to cool with a water cooling system?

    Re: Steam turbines use the Carnot Cycle in a closed loop (the steam flow is condensed and sent back to the boiler, and the remaining heat is in the cooling water). Straight gas turbines are Rankine cycle in an open loop (heat exhausted to atmosphere, not to water). Add any heat recovery for power generation and you will need a water cooling system.

    But the big difference is the efficiency is the temperature at the turbine inlet which is less than 1100F / 600C for a steam plant and usually more than 1650F / 900C for a gas turbine which boosts the efficiency.

    p.s. If you want real efficiency, try a double reheat gas turbine operating in a Cheng cycle.

  50. A couple degrees increase in the cold water inlet temperature of a condensor won’t even reduce output by 1%. Either I am missing something, or the author is an idiot.

  51. @anengineer

    A couple degrees increase in the cold water inlet temperature of a condensor won’t even reduce output by 1%. Either I am missing something, or the author is an idiot.

    EPA regulates the temperature of the water in the river. If inlet water temperature is 90F and maximum discharge water temperature regulated by EPA is 90F then you don’t have a heatsink anymore.

  52. The water abstracted from the river into reservoirs then to treatment at the works where I work has gone from about 6C a few months back to 17C today (and has been 22C last year) they are worrying about a change of 0.8C.

  53. harrywr2 says:

    EPA regulates the temperature of the water in the river. If inlet water temperature is 90F and maximum discharge water temperature regulated by EPA is 90F then you don’t have a heatsink anymore.

    Cooling tower, Harry. Cooling tower.

    Most power stations, even those on major bodies of water, have them. You can cool rivers with power stations.

    It’s possible to build “dry” thermal power stations but it’s much cheaper and practical to use water where it’s available.

  54. The sounds and rumbling of Volcanoes Around Earth are Waking Up at a Alarming Rate.

    Read well and study on your own after you have read this.

    This is not a game or joke our Sun gives off a Solar Wind all day year round if you live in the State of Alaska you see it in the sky above what a sight it is going through our Earth’s Magnet Polls of the North and the South, North Poll. Its Called the Northern Lights or the Aurora Borealis.

    The day will come when you will be able to see it all over Earth as in the year 1859 Solar Flare, It was the largest in 500 years. Two Astronomer’s Hodgson and Carrington told the World that the Solar Flare made a Geomagnetic Storm reach Earth in hours not days. Back then it gave new meaning to Reach For The Skies from Telegraph Operators. For hours sparks flew from the key board. Even after the Batteries were disconnected. Nov 3 and 4, 2003 had a X40+ Class Solar Flare.

    Our Sun’s UV Rays will get stronger as each passing day go’s by, read and i will tell you why.

    The Great big forest have be striped from most of the Earth for Greed of Money by the Wicked. The trees our are Main Source of Oxygen on this Plant.
    The Forest Trees scrubs the Pollution out of the air and makes Oxygen from the rain and dirt that it grows in.

    The Forest Trees do more then just make Oxygen they stop Soil Erosion, just Look at the 1930 Dust Bowl. Greed by our Government taxes led farmers to clear cut all their Forest and farm all the land they were being Tax on. They had to farm it to pay for the Taxes. Why leave the Trees when food crop makes Money. This Did not Help the Depression that effected most all Worldwide. This year 2012 more then 100 million will suffer from Malnutrition lack of food and Dehydration lack of water. Many will not make it and die!

    Soon many will run out of Safe Drinking Water from pollution going into the worlds water supply.

    In the United States of America alone more than 45 Million Americans Received Food Stamps and that number is going up every day every year for more then 3 years in a row now.

    The Pollution and CO2 Carbon Dioxide go into the Tree Bark as a shield from most bugs so they do not eat the tree.

    Less Forest less Oxygen this is why the moon. That has no Oxygen is very cold on the side with out Sun Light, And hot as ever on the side with Sun Light. Way too cold and too hot to live there. You would need at least 10 times the Energy we use on Earth to even live there and life on the Moon would be very short.

    With no blank of Oxygen to lessen or reduce the Sun’s UV Rays and Solar Wind they are deadly there on our Moon. Every Mt. Climber and Aircraft Pilot knows the higher you go the thinner the Oxygen and colder it gets.

    Just spend a night on a Mt. top above 13,000 feet with no Sun Light and you will see or should i say feel the cold stinging any of your exposed skin. If you are new to Mt. Climbing stay below 10,000Ft. The Astronauts and the Cosmonauts and Fighter Pilots that i have been with for years know this very well, and the Radiation Hazards to humans at High Altitudes.

    Soon the Sun’s Solar Wind and UV rays will be way to strong for most to go out in the Sun Light for even a short time. The Geomagnetic Storm to come and the Bad Weather Storms well you have not seen nothing yet and the Sea Level is Rising the Oceans. Many Millions have been affected by Floods in China and Pakistan just last year. In 2005 Over a Thousand dead in New Orleans flood, and the list going on. The sounds and rumbling of Volcanoes Around Earth are Waking Up at a Alarming rate.

    And there shall be famines, and pestilences, and Earthquakes, in divers places such as was not from the beginning of the Creation.

    The last 30 years On Earth we have broke all High Temp Records and the temp it is still going up. All the Worlds Ice Glacier are melting at an Accelerating Rate. The Glaciers and Polar Ice Caps store more water than all the Fresh Water Lakes on Earth. Many of them are drying up or water levels are going down past the lowest point every recorded.

    The Bad Weather Storms now are Babies compared to what is to come.

    They will get even bigger and worse less Oxygen the more UV Rays to the Earth and more Water molecules will evaporate and go up into the Earth’s Atmosphere. Less Oxygen the colder with out sun light and hotter with it.

    The Sky full of more water vapor molecules, more snow in the winter and more Flash Floods in the Summer. All earth will see way more fires and the Deserts are growing larger.

    If every living person on Earth were to Plant A Tree Today we might have a chance.

    The Earth’s Atmosphere Blanket surrounding it protects life on Earth as Our Lord and GOD will all that seek Him.

    Then it is written when the tree is full it is harvest time. All the Earth will someday burn away.

    This is all Foretold in the Bible Read it
    and may our Lord Bless all that do so.

    The Lord’s Little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott

    solardowork@yahoo.com
    KI4-AEX

    P.S.
    2 Peter 3:10
    But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the Earth and its works will be burned up.

    GOD Bless You and Your Love ones
    Give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ every day.

  55. This is one of those situations where I wish I had more free time to address the “wisdom” of using climate models to influence policy as opposed to the use of historical data weather and water flow data.

    Particularly troublesome is this new reports claim that water discharge levels will drop 25-50% in the central part of the south-eastern United States in the 2040s and by over 50% in the 2080’s.

    Fortunately, in this case, the Science & Public Policy Institute did a fairly good job of showing that there are no trends in the historical record that would suggest this studies outcomes are likely to occur. The “bulls-eye” area where the claimed cooling water shortage should occur is the State of Tennessee. An examination of the State of Tennessee’s 1895-2011 weather data, shows the “hot water” trends claimed in Figure 1 of this report are not simply not creditable.

    Specifically Science & Public Policy Institute showed Tennessee’s:

    – Ambient air temperatures have not varied significantly in the 1895-2007 time-frame. Either annually or seasonally.

    – There is no trend suggesting a decrease in annual precipitation in the 1895-2007 timeframe.

    – There is no trend suggesting a increase in drought severity in the 1895-2007 timeframe.

    See the report entitled “Observed Climate Change and the Negligible Global Effects of Greenhouse-gas Emissions Limits in the State of Tennessee” here:

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/tennessee_climate_change.html

    To double check this data, I update the data in the Science & Public Policy graphs using information from NOAA found here.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/time-series

    From this data I noted as follows:

    – Tennessee’s average annual air temperatures have DECREASED at a rate of 0.3 Deg F/Century. And the June-Aug annual air temperatures also show a trend of decreasing temperature (but not to the same extent). So a claim of more demand for air conditioning and warmer water temperatures is hard to swallow.

    – Both the Annual and June-Aug palmer drought severity indexes show slightly under +1; indicating at trend to less severe droughts. So, seasonal water shortages look unlikely.

    – Tennessee’s annual precipitation has been trending UPWARDS by about 3.23 inches per century (by linear trend). So it difficult to accept a claim of reduced stream flow required by the new papers predictions.

    – The State’s June-August precipitation has remained essentially flat since 1895. So, again, it’s difficult to accept a claim of summer water shortages during the summer peak demand.

    – The precipitation in October has actually in increased at a rate of about 1 inch per century since 1895. This contradicts the papers data that show 20-30% decreased in water discharge in October (see Figure 1 of new paper).

    As a side observation, I noticed that the period of greatest low water discharge in the new report occurs in October. This is cool period where demand for electricity is very low; hence, it is a period when the “impact” on a generation system would minimal . Also, with regards to the Browns Ferry plant, the water intakes at that plant are located at a point in the Tennessee river where the river is shallow and broad. Hence, the plant intakes water that is warmer than is typical for chemical and electrical generating plants on the Tennessee river.

    As I stated earlier, I wish I have more time to address the flaws in this report. Sadly I have more pressing demands.

    Regards,
    Kforestcat

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