Environmentalists across the nation argue that too many fish get sucked up and killed in the cooling systems of nuclear power plants each year.
As the presidential election draws near, Americans will be voting on a number of key issues, among the most important, I think we all agree, is energy. Will we choose John McCain, the nuclear candidate, or Barack Obama, the wind, solar, and fuel-efficient car candidate?
[social_buttons]One issue that ties in to this debate: the significant loss of lake, river & marine life that gets sucked into the cooling systems of many older nuclear power plants, battered against the sides of pipes, and heated to death by steam.
This term the Supreme Court is expected to vote regarding the future of Indian Point, a nuclear power plant in the suburbs north of New York City. Environmentalists claim that Indian Point, and power plants around the country, are killing billions of fish and fish eggs unnecessarily, with their cooling systems.
Energy-industry officials say that people opposed to nuclear power are stretching the truth a bit.
Everyone is watching the upcoming Supreme Court Decision at Indian Point carefully, as it will probably influence similar decisions in years to come.
Over 1,000 power plants and factories around the United States use water from rivers, lakes, oceans and creeks as a coolant. The Indian Point plant in New York can pull in 1.7 million gallons of water per minute. Nineteen plants on or near the California coast use 16.3 billion gallons of sea water every day. Along with all this water, come fish and other marine life.
Right now at Indian Point there is already a 1/4 inch net system in place that keeps out larger fish, though these nets are criticized for catching and killing fish as well.
In the end it comes down to money, as the proper technology indeed exists to keep the fish out of the system.
The fish-safe, alternative technology are called Cooling towers. These towers allow water entering into the plant to be recycled, rather than the plant continuously pumping in new water. These cooling towers are a requirement for new plants, but most existing plants resist converting their systems.
“What you’re really talking about is a $1.5 billion hit on the company,” says Jerry Nappi, spokesman for Entergy Nuclear Northeast, owner of Indian Point . He believes talk of cooling towers is “a backdoor attempt by some to shut down Indian Point.”
source: Associated Press
photo: wikimedia commons