Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Power Plant Heating
Name: Jim
Status: Student
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
I am searching for data concerning thermal pollution via heat rejection by a power plant into a) air and b) water and its effects on animal/plant life. If any links to related sites can be given, it would be GREATLY appreciated. Basically, we have to design a theoretical power plant and I need to know what, if any, regulations have been set concerning the most heat that can be rejected by law into a river or lake or surrounding air so that we can set upper limits on heat rejection. This effects calculations within the actual plant (a simple vapor power cycle if anyone cares). If the response can be emailed, it would be greatly appreciated. Thank You.



Replies:
Dear Jim--I can only give you some ideas for related links as I have some project deadlines to meet today and I do not have any current technical data at my finger tips. It appears from your e-mail address that you may be at Penn State Univ. If that is correct, you are in luck as you have a very good nuclear engineering dept. at PSU (if there is a Mr. Edward Klevans still at PSU,he was the student branch faculty advisor to the ANS (see below)). You also have several nuclear power plants in your state and can get heat related environmental data from the utilities running the plants (like PECO Energy, GPU, Pennsylvania Power & Light, etc.). I know you did not specify what type of plant you are talking about, but heat rejection from a fossil or a nuclear plant still produces waste heat along the lines of your question.The most efficient nuclear plant still only has an overall heat cycle efficiency of about 33%, which means the plant is rejecting about 67% of its heat load to the atmosphere. I do not remember the corresponding efficiency for a typical fossil plant. You can go to a basic nuclear engineering text (like Introduction to Nuclear Engineering by John Lamarsh or Nuclear Engineering by Duderstadt and Hamilton) for some information on heat rejection from the thermo cycle in the plant.

If you go to the environmental section of the Final Safety Analysis Report (FSAR) for any nuclear plant, you should find information about the waste heat discharged to the atmosphere from the plant. This data determines the amount of cooling water required for the plant and factors into the need for passive or active heat exchangers (like cooling towers, etc.) that the plant will require to meet Federal and state environmental requirements.

Links you can try are the library of your nuclear engineering department at the university, the HQs and regional offices of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (www.nrc.gov), the U.S. EPA (www.epa.gov), the American Nuclear Society (ANS) (www.ans.org), and the Electric Power Research Institute (in Palo Alto, CA). You should also consult your state environmental regulatory office (you can find it on the web under state government for your state) for their regulations on discharge heat requirements for industrial facilities.

I cannot give you more specific information at this time without doing some research of my own, but my workload this week simply will not allow it, I am sorry. You will have to use the links I have provided and go from there, but we did the same thing when we were in school. I hope this information helps you a little.

Regards,
John S.



Click here to return to the Engineering Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory