Thermal Pollution by Reactors
Name: Virginia Goldsmith
I would like any recent information you have regarding
thermal pollution of fresh water lakes by electrical generating facilities.
I do not have current values for you, but in April of 1971, I did research
in this area that may help. I calculated the approximate solar energy
input into Lake Michigan. I took into account angle of the sun, albedo,
cloud cover, ice cover, etc. It was found to be about 1.4 * 10^20 calories
per year. I did not find the caloric input from the earth. The Zion
Illinois nuclear plant was putting 1.61 * 10^13 calories per year (at full
production). This is not significant.
If we look at just plume size instead of the entire lake, solar input is
7.6 * 10^15 calories per year. Clearly, the power plant is effecting the
heating of the area by 0.2% which is very small.
The Zion plant is no longer in production, and was one of the larger
plants on Lake Michigan.
I hope this information helps!
Nathan A. Unterman
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Update: June 2012