The northern hemisphere's summer began officially just a few weeks ago, but the high temperatures already recorded in France could prompt the shutdown of some of the 58 nuclear reactors that supply 80 percent of the country's energy.So, let me get this straight: nuclear power is the answer to global warming, but if it gets too warm, we have to shut down the plants...?? Eric, want to chime in on this one...?
On Jun. 23, Electricite de France (EDF), the government electrical power monopoly that controls the nuclear facilities, was on the verge of disconnecting the Tricastin plant, located in southeast France on the Rhone River, because the temperature of the water discharged by the reactor cooling system surpassed 25 degrees centigrade, the maximum allowed under the country's environmental laws.
According to those rules and nuclear safety standards, the reactors must be shut down if the temperature inside rises above 50 degrees, or if the volume of the water flow falls below certain limits.
The temperatures of the water outflow also must be kept below 25 degrees in order to protect aquatic life around the power stations, and the water should not heat up more than two degrees from the time it enters until it leaves the reactor....
[Anti-nuclear activist Stephane Lhomme] noted that in summer of 2003, when France suffered a record-setting heatwave, several nuclear plants reached the point of having to shut down. One was the Fessenheim, the country's oldest, located in the northeastern region of Alsace, bordering Germany.
In August 2003, temperatures inside the Fessenheim plant reached 50 degrees, and the facility's authorities ordered high pressure hoses to wet down the exterior walls -- a rather primitive method to cool off the reactor in an era of advanced technology.
Technorati tags: nuclear power, global warming, France
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