drinking water, international, technology, water desalination

Floating Nuclear Water Desalination

Yes, you read correctly. Floating nuclear water desalination, and it is one of many proposed solutions to the coming water crisis. These reviews on Earthtimes and C-Net delve into a few details about this type of project, but essentially the concept is to harness excess heat produced in the nuclear process to run desalination plants (while the whole contraption floats in the ocean).

Immediately, many problems arise in my mind as I evaluate this concept:

  • What about the contamination of water supplies with radioactivity?
  • Nuclear power plants are not environmentally sustainable. Should we even continue to utilize nuclear energy?
  • Is it wise to locate nuclear power plants in the ocean on a floating device? What about emergencies or the collapse of the structure? Would that mean drifting nuclear contamination?
  • Is a floating nuclear reactor in the middle of the ocean a secure place for nuclear materials? Would there be a circle of submarines acting as security for this sudo-building?

These are just a few of my questions, and I am sure that you can come up with many more.

Not an actual nuclear desalination plant, for illustrative purposes only.  Photo gimped by Moon.

climate change, drinking water, drought, water desalination, water treatment

Water Crisis in Cyprus and Climate Change

The small island of Cyprus is facing a fourth year of drought, with water reservoirs dwindling dry at less than 9% of original capacity. As a recent article on Reuters indicates, climate change is thought to be linked to the continued parched conditions.

Cyprus maintains a Mediterranean climate, with a rainy season between November and March of each year. Reservoirs, which supply the island with water, have time to refill during the rainy season. However, over the past four years, precipitation during winter months has been on the certain decline. The Meteorological Service of the Republic of Cyprus states:

Statistical analysis of rainfall in Cyprus reveals a decreasing trend of rainfall amounts in the last 30 year…The rate of decrease of the average precipitation in Cyprus during the 20th century was one millimeter per year.

For an island half of the size of Connecticut, residential population is approximately 788,457 people and over 2 million tourists visit the area each year. Cyprus provides water to most individuals using supply from the reservoirs, and supplements supply with two desalination plants. The current water crisis has forced the country to utilize emergency groundwater reserves, and a third temporary desalination plant will be on-line next year. As quoted from the Reuters article:

Desalination of seawater is not an ideal choice for the authorities, but it has saved Cyprus before. “We don’t desalinate lightly, without being aware of the consequences,” said Partassiades. “It is energy-consuming … and this causes (greenhouse gas) emissions Cyprus has to pay fines for.

Water restrictions have been put into effect on the island, until the situation improves, with a hope of rainfall to occur this winter.

Cyprus, with Limassol city in the background, photo courtesy, LaRezistance on flickr.