As I write this, hundreds of thousands of people in Japan are evacuating as Typhoon Etau creates massive flooding. TEPCO announced that “The water also overwhelmed the drainage pumps at the Fukushima nuclear plant… Hundreds of tons of contaminated water flowed into the ocean…” An emergency has been declared for the city of Sendai, host of the nuclear reactor that started up last month. Click this link to read more: Japan Times 09.10.2015
Recently, the NRC admitted that it has not studied the effect of climate change on nuclear power stations, under questioning by a NY Congressman citing warming of the Cape Cod Bay outside Pilgrim. Pilgrim has been operating for 43 years; the bay has overheated 4 times, all since 2013. Entergy’s response: ““I don’t expect this to happen more often.” http://www.snl.com/congressman climate change nuclear
Back home, we are counting our blessings. The shad have returned to the River! Since the 1990s the shad had declined by 90%. Now that Vermont Yankee is no longer overheating the River to cool its reactor, the river is healing, according to David Deen (legislator, River Steward for the Connecticut River Watershed Council, and NDCAP member). He spoke to Vt Public Radio here: VPR’s Fish Stocks Rebound in Connecticut River Thank you, Flotilla floaters, boaters & landlubbers! Thank you, Harvey Schaktman, who spoke for the shad (here’s Shadman in the 2014 YouTube video).
Power plants use massive amount of water for cooling. Many reactors, including Vermont Yankee, were forced to reduce power or shut down in 2011 because the river water was too hot going into the reactors to cool them sufficiently. When the water is too hot going in, it’s too hot coming out.
50% to 65% of energy generated by nuclear reactors is waste heat. If it is not converted into electricity, something has to be done with that wasted energy. . The water at discharge can be as high as 105 degrees, shocking aquatic life. Yankee dumps 500 million gallons of heated water daily into the river. The thermal plume stretches for 55 miles, to Holyoke, Mass. This is most apparent in the winter; there is no ice fishing below Yankee until the Oxbow.