Nuclear Power Plant's Water Rights Threaten Endangered Species


In southeast Utah rests a peaceful town located on the banks of a peaceful river. Here the Green River flows between two canyons, Gray and Labyrinth, allowing for farming and ranching in an arid desert. Driving through Green River, Utah doesn’t take but a few moments, including a stop to purchase some mouth-watering melons, for which Green River is famous. But Green River now has a new claim to fame.

Transition Power Development LLC (TPD) has proposed construction of a 2 unit nuclear power plant known as the Blue Castle Project situated just outside of the peaceful town. In order to maintain the 2 unit nuclear power plant, massive amounts of water would be required. The Kane County Water Conservancy District (KCWCD) has filed a water-rights application in order to facilitate the project. The application requests 29,600 acre-feet of water, which would be diverted from the Green River, a part of the Colorado River drainage.

The application for the water-rights is being protested, however, by the Center for Biological Diversity. The protest, filed with the Utah state engineer, raises concerns about a lack of information made available to the public on how the 29,600 acre-feet of water will be used and how the diversion plan is consistent with the need to protect river flow and habitat conditions of imperiled flora and fauna, including endangered fish species. It is believed that this plant will use 1.1 million gallons of water per hour for once-through cooling.

“The water application provides sparse details about the design and features of the proposed plant,” said Rob Mrowka, an ecologist and conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We know from experiences at other such plants that the voluminous water intakes trap and kill fish and other aquatic life. And, the intake of such large quantities of water plus the subsequent discharge of heated water can further harm those species and habitats.”

He continued to say, “The Green and Colorado Rivers are critical for the survival of the Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, bonytail and razorback sucker, all listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act – the highest level of imperilment.” Other species, including the roundtail chub, blueheaded sucker and flannelmouth sucker, all of which are critically imperiled and receiving special management, could potentially be hurt.

Other endangered species reside in and around the area of the proposed plant and cooling pond, including three extremely rare plant species: the San Rafael cactus, Maguire’s daisy, and Jones’s cycladenia.

Photo Credit: caddymob via flickr under Creative Commons License

7 thoughts on “Nuclear Power Plant's Water Rights Threaten Endangered Species”

  1. Never have looked at you tube and doubt I ever will – let alone use it as a reference source!

    Solar has nothing to do with baseload – never has and will not until heat storage becomes practical. The CSP plants planned today seem to have 3 to 6 hours of storage only – just enough to hit the evening peak usage hours.

    As for Tim – never discuss anything with a Jesus freak! It is impossible to get anywhere – especially one who gives a phrophecy (however you spell that)!

    Air cooling systems need to be insisted on – they use something like 0.22 liters per kW – more expensive as far as capital cost though.

    The nuke scare factor is really laughable! People need to think for themselves and understand what they are fussing about.

    Now the DHMO problems are really good! I loved that one and appreciate the guys who dreamed it up. Perfect for the parrots of the enviro world.

  2. to robert, please check

    look any form of alternative energy is better that nuclear,
    nuclear produces high radioactive waste, this stuff is nowhere safe, period!!!!!!
    and then we have to deal with transportation, i definitely don’t want to deal with one of those trucks carrying nuclear waste, in the equivalent of 1.000 hiroshima bombs ( check , shundahai network data ) on my local town highway.!!!!!!!!!!!
    now you know how many solar panels we can put side by side on the arizonian or utah or california or oregon desert, the number is enormous, but quantity of solar panels is not an issue anymore,
    CHECK YOU TUBE ‘s video!!!!!!!!!!!

    also i have the same problem than cliffton,
    i don’t know what tim’s argument is!!!!

  3. After considering the viability of once-through cooling for use at Green River, I doubt that once the plant has been fully designed it will be implemented in the design. It is ironic that environmental groups try to create the impression that the water used for once-through cooling is lost – obviously “alma” has been convinced of this deception. This ‘lost’ or used water is merely passed through the power plant’s cooling systems to remove heat and is thereby put back into the river system with a few extra degrees added to the water’s temperature. Thus those “29.600 acre feet of water” will never actually leave the Green River. Never-the-less, the application requests this much water as a conservative estimate of the maximum amount of water that ‘could’ be required for the plant’s operation.

    I believe instead that the plant design will incorporate a recirculation cooling water system instead since once-through cooling systems are usually used on oceans or large lakes where the water source acts as a heatsink for the plant’s heat waste. Additionally, it is usually better practice to minimize the risk of possible contaminates leaving the campus of the powerplant by isolating the cooling system. Thereby any contaminates that might(though pretty much impossible) enter the cooling water remain on the plant site rather than being put back into the water supply system(river). This system would also ‘use’ significantly less water than the once-through system and thus would be far more environmentally friendly, wouldn’t you say?

    Environmentalists are correct in the belief that the once-through system would endanger the protected species in the area – I definitely agree with that. However, the points which I have just mentioned as well as the need to protect the environment will most likely cause designers to incorporate the recirculation system rather than the once-through system.

    As a Utah resident working on my bachelor’s of science degree in Nuclear & Radiological Engineering I hope to eventually be involved with this project and look forward towards seeing its progress in the future.

    To Tim: can you please clarify your argument? I cannot even understand what you’re trying to argue other than you know how to present keywords used by anti-nuclear propaganda.

  4. @Tim: What are you talking about? The only particles emitted into the atmosphere by a nuclear plant are H2O molecules in the form of steam.

    @Alma: Try supporting a large (and growing) national baseload with a solar panel array.

  5. 29.600 acre feet of water???????
    that is a lot of water!!!!!!!!!!
    the kane county water conservancy district or
    transition power development is making a huge exaggeration
    of how much water they need.
    there is nothing more scary than a corporation with the 4 elements rights,
    also i don’t need to own a river and exploited, to do solar power .

  6. I believe that CO2 emmisions etc ozone depletion was a concern but what about the nuclear particles effects I will prophecy(because this is where it comes form-Jesus)that it is nothing compared to this and its the future stuff up of everything get my drift (i hope not)so if it does attach and do a destructive work before inertia then the secret is nuclear works (thats prophecy-secret)in Jesus’ name its the atmosphere itself and us its destructive once an organ or natural processes reap it we experience the same effect (i am not talking about sin that’s pleroma and Romans 3 somewhere)if secret then the CIA especially (be warned-prophecy) need to get their detector machines out its coming

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