Diablo Canyon pitching in to help alleviate drought with desalination

Diablo Canyon nuclear power station is self sufficient for potable and pure water. It uses a modular reverse osmosis plant with pumps powered from the plant output and a number of parallel osmosis units that remove salt when supplied with pressurized water.

The plant is licensed to a capacity of 1.5 million gallons per day, but only produces an average of 675,000 gallons per day. There is an associated 5 million gallon storage tank. Because of the plant’s isolated location, there is not a water pipeline installed that connects the plant to the local community of San Luis Obispo. That may be about to change.

California’s worsening drought has stimulated creative thinkers like the people at Californians for Green Nuclear Power (CGNP) to wonder if there are ways to take advantage of the installed RO plant that already has access to low marginal cost electricity and excess licensed capacity. CGNP helped to make the necessary connections to get the conversation started between the plant and the community about the potential of the available tool.

One of the features of reverse osmosis plants is their modularity. That allows the plant to be almost infinitely expanded as long as there is space available for installing pumps, pipes, filters and, perhaps, additional tanks.

Since the plant is already located on the site of an operating nuclear plant and has internal connections to that plant, it is possible to take direct advantage of low cost electricity available at times when demand is low. That electricity, unlike the coal and gas fired electricity that will be supplying a new 50 million gallon per day desalination plant in Carlsbad, CA, will be air pollution and CO2 free.

For now, since there is not an installed pipeline to San Luis Obispo, excess water for the city will have to be moved from Diablo Canyon by truck, which is an energy intensive and suboptimal solution. A discussion is already underway about a water pipeline installation project that can be scheduled in the near future when the existing right of way for communications and power lines is disturbed to upgrade the network connections.

Once that water pipe is installed, I suspect that the city will consider building additional water storage that can be filled during times of low demand to be ready to help when natural rain cycles are insufficient to meet demand. I suspect that there are already some creative problem solvers researching the legal and physical obstacles that will need to be overcome in order to expand the plant’s capacity if the drought continues to persist.

Not surprisingly, there are already some nuclear energy deniers that are concerned about the potential effects of disposing of additional brine into the Pacific Ocean, an impressively large body of water where the salt water came from in the first place. I’ll let them figure out how to make that illogical case to a thirsty public.

Go Nuclear site is now live

Go Nuclear, Inc. has released a massively enhanced version of its website that is filled with informative videos, presentations, and articles about nuclear energy and radiation science. It is a place where one can easily lose track of time while exploring. Here is just one sample to whet your appetite. I hope Alan Waltar’s passionate […]

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Professor Gerry Thomas explains radiation health risks

A friend whose Twitter handle is @ActinideAge just posted a link to Gerry Thomas Highlights Misconceptions over Health Impacts of Nuclear Accidents. (Embedded below.) Even though it was published in November 2014 on the UN University YouTube channel, it had received a grand total of 189 views at the time I visited on April 6, […]

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Atomic Show #236 – Local Nuclear NW, NE, Canada

On March 30, 2015, I gathered a few of my pro-nuclear blogging friends together for a chat about recent events and activity in three separate areas, the Pacific Northwest, the US Northeast, and the eastern provinces of Canada. We also chatted about recent budget hearings for the DOE and the NRC and the way the […]

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Wear green today in honor of St. Patrick and nuclear energy

Diablo green

Later today, March 17, 2015 (St. Patrick’s Day), Californians for Green Nuclear Power will be donning the green and holding a rally at the plaza in front of the San Luis Obispo County building at 1055 Monterey from noon until 1:30 PM (PDT). They want to show that the groups fighting to shut down the […]

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Today Show cheers nuclear power by chanting “Go Nuke!”

Before readers get too excited, I need to acknowledge that the Today Show in the below video is broadcast from Sydney, Australia, not New York City. However, it is still kind of exciting to have a TV newscaster chanting “Go Nuke!” The broadcaster’s excitement is based on an announcement by Liberal Party Senator Sean Edwards […]

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Nuclear industry must remember that all politics are local

Copyright 2005 Jim Zimmerlin. All rights reserved

There aren’t very many people who can claim to more in favor of nuclear energy than I am. There are, however, many whose passion and amateur dedication to the technology equal mine. Unfortunately, both the nuclear industry and the regulatory agency that oversees the industry often overlook the fact that people who oppose nuclear energy […]

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Nuclear Energy – Tool to Empower Society and Address Atmospheric Chemistry Changes

On Tuesday March 3, 2015, I gave an invited talk to Sweet Briar College’s Engineering Club. The presentation I chose from my library as being the most appropriate for what I hope will be the introduction to a continuing series of talks for a growing audience at that school was Nuclear Energy: Important tool for […]

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Sweet Briar College announced its closure on March 3, 2015

SWC mug

You might be wondering why I’ve chosen to write about an announcement that a small, but historic women’s liberal arts college is planning to close. What does that have to do with atomic energy? The college, Sweet Briar College, is located a little less than an hour from my Forest, VA home. I’ve met a […]

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Discussion strategy on Atomic Insights

Some of you may have noticed that many Atomic Insights comment threads have been turned off. As much as I enjoy the give and take here, I’ve decided it’s time to be more judicious in my time management. Moderating this site has become one of those “part time” jobs that threatens to overwhelm the real […]

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Building a powerful pro-nuclear coalition

The nuclear energy enterprise is not healthy in North America and Europe, the places that discovered the science and invented the technologies. That situation needs to change with due haste into sustainable progress that is not artificially restricted by annoying, delaying, costly opposition from people who either do not understand or do not value the […]

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Atomic Show Bonus Audio – Ben Heard’s Answers to Audience Questions

On November 12, 2014, Ben Heard, the publisher of Decarbonise SA, delivered a talk titled “Beyond our Shores: A visual world tour exploring Australia’s nuclear responsibilities” at Brisbane City Hall. It was part of the Brisbane Global Café, an international thought leadership event leading into the G20 meeting in 2014. Ben’s talk was recorded and […]

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