Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 31105
Environmental Issues Related to Nuclear Desalination

Authors: V. Anastasov, I.Khamis


The paper presents an overview of environmental issues that may be expected with nuclear desalination. The analysis of coupling nuclear power with desalination plants indicates that adverse marine impacts can be mitigated with alternative intake designs or cooling systems. The atmospheric impact of desalination may be greatly reduced through the coupling with nuclear power, while maximizing the socio-economic benefit for both processes. The potential for tritium contamination of the desalinated water was reviewed. Experience with the systems and practices related to the radiological quality of the product water, shows no examples of cross-contamination. Furthermore, the indicators for the public acceptance of nuclear desalination, as one of the most important sustainability aspects of any such large project, show a positive trend. From the data collected, a conclusion is made that nuclear desalination should be supported by decision-makers.

Keywords: Environmental Impacts, Nuclear Desalination, tritium, publicacceptance

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 2247


[1] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Power Reactor Information System. Available at: Accessed on: 15/02/2010.
[2] ROGNER, H.H., 2007, Let the Market Decide, IAEA Bulletin 49/1 pp. 29-31.
[3] GLOBAL WATER INTELLIGENCE, Desal Data (2010). Available at:
[4] OMOTO, A., IAEA support to infrastructure building in countries embarking on NP program, presentation at the International Congress on Advances in Nuclear Power Plants, Tokyo, 2009.
[5] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, 2010, Environmental Impact Assessment of Nuclear Desalination, IAEATECDOC- 1642, IAEA, Vienna.
[7] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, 2008, Communication Received from BARC, India Concerning the Environmental Impact of the Nuclear Desalination Facility, IAEA, Vienna.
[8] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, 1998, Nuclear heat applications: Design aspects and operating experience, IAEA-TECDOC- 1056, IAEA, Vienna.
[9] TAFT, E., COOK, T., 2003, "An Overview of Fish Protection Technologies and Cooling Water Intake Structures", A Symposium on Cooling Water Intake Technologies to Protect Aquatic Organisms, Proc. Symp., US EPA, Washington DC.
[10] ELECTRIC POWER RESEARCH INSTITUTE, 2002, Water & Sustainability (Volume 3): U.S. Water Consumption for Power Production - The Next Half Century, EPRI, Palo Alto.
[11] CALIFORNIA ENERGY COMMISSION, 2005, Issues and Environmental Impacts Associated With Once-Through Cooling at California-s Coastal Power Plants, Staff Report. Available at: 700-2005-013.PDF
[12] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, 2007, Status of Nuclear Desalination in IAEA Member States, IAEA-TECDOC-1524, IAEA, Vienna.
[13] UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME/MEDITERRANEAN ACTION PLAN, 2003, Sea Water Desalination in the Mediterranean, Assessment and Guidelines, UNEP/MAP, Athens.
[14] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, 2008, Communication Received from MAEC, Kazakhstan Concerning the Environmental Impact of the Nuclear Desalination Facility, IAEA, Vienna.
[15] KADYRZHANOV, K.K., LUKASHENKO, S.N., LUSHCHENKO, V.N., 2007, "Assessment of Environmental Impact of Reactor Facilities in Kazakhstan", Safety Related Issues of Spent Nuclear Fuel Storage, NATO Security through Science Series, Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.
[16] NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL, 2008, Desalination: A National Perspective, National Academies Press, Washington DC.
[17] GABBARD, A., 1993, Coal Combustion: Nuclear Resource or Danger, ORNL Review 26 3&4, Available at:
[18] J. H. Ausubel, Renewable and nuclear heresies, 2007, Int. J. of Nuclear Governance, Economy and Ecology, 1(3), pp. 229-243.
[19] MRW & ASSOCIATES INC., 2008, AB 1632 Assessment of California-s Operating Nuclear Plants. Appendices. Available at: 100-2008-005-F.PDF
[20] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, 2007, Economics of Nuclear Desalination: New Developments and Site Specific Studies, IAEA-TECDOC-1561, IAEA, Vienna.
[21] BARAK, A., KOCHETKOV, L.A., CRIJNS, M.J., KHALID, M., 1990, Nuclear desalination: Experience, needs, and prospects, IAEA Bulletin 3 pp. 43-48.
[22] EUROPEAN COMMISSION, Attitudes towards radioactive waste, Special Eurobarometer 297 (2008). Available at:
[23] S. Lattemann, T. Hoepner, 2008, Environmental impact and impact assessment of seawater desalination, Desalination 220 pp. 1-15.
[24] UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, 1999, DOE Handbook: Tritium Handling and Safe Storage, US DOE, Washington D.C.
[25] WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, 2006, Guidelines for Drinkingwater Quality. First Addendum to Third Edition. Volume 1: Recommendations, WHO Press, Geneva.
[26] Private Communication to I.Khamis from A.Minato (CRIEPI), Japan Concerning the Environmental Impact of the Nuclear Desalination Facility, IAEA, Vienna (2008).
[27] UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, 2004, Cooling Water Intake Structures - Section 316(b). Final Regulations for Cooling Water Intake Structures at Large Power Plants (Phase II), Office of Water Fact Sheet. Available at:
[28] SUPER, R., 2003, "An Overview of Flow Reduction Technologies for Reducing Aquatic Impacts at Cooling Water Intake Structures", A Symposium on Cooling Water Intake Technologies to Protect Aquatic Organisms, Proc. Symp., US EPA, Washington DC.
[29] HENDERSON, P.A., SEABY, R.M.H., SOMES, J.R., 2003, A comparison of ecological impacts of power plant once-through, evaporative and dry cooling systems on fish impingement and entrainment, Pisces Conservation Ltd., Lymington.
[30] HENDERSON, P.A., 1989, On the structure of the inshore fish community of England and Wales, Journal of the biological association of the United Kingdom 69, pp. 145-163.
[31] INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, 2006, Status of innovative small and medium sized reactor designs 2005, reactors with conventional refuelling schemes, IAEA-TECDOC-1485, IAEA, Vienna.