Thursday, December 23, 2021

Regarding California's Shutdown of The Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant

From MIT News, November 8:

Q&A: Options for the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant
Researchers argue the plant could provide multiple benefits for California, including desalinated water and clean hydrogen fuel.

The Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in California, the only one still operating in the state, is set to close in 2025. A team of researchers at MIT’s Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems, Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab, and Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research; Stanford’s Precourt Energy Institute; and energy analysis firm LucidCatalyst LLC have analyzed the potential benefits the plant could provide if its operation were extended to 2030 or 2045.

They found that this nuclear plant could simultaneously help to stabilize the state’s electric grid, provide desalinated water to supplement the state’s chronic water shortages, and provide carbon-free hydrogen fuel for transportation. MIT News asked report co-authors Jacopo Buongiorno, the TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering, and John Lienhard, the Jameel Professor of Water and Food, to discuss the group’s findings.

Q: Your report suggests co-locating a major desalination plant alongside the existing Diablo Canyon power plant. What would be the potential benefits from operating a desalination plant in conjunction with the power plant?

Lienhard: The cost of desalinated water produced at Diablo Canyon would be lower than for a stand-alone plant because the cost of electricity would be significantly lower and you could take advantage of the existing infrastructure for the intake of seawater and the outfall of brine. Electricity would be cheaper because the location takes advantage of Diablo Canyon’s unique capability to provide low cost, zero-carbon baseload power.

Depending on the scale at which the desalination plant is built, you could make a very significant impact on the water shortfalls of state and federal projects in the area. In fact, one of the numbers that came out of this study was that an intermediate-sized desalination plant there would produce more fresh water than the highest estimate of the net yield from the proposed Delta Conveyance Project on the Sacramento River. You could get that amount of water at Diablo Canyon for an investment cost less than half as large, and without the associated impacts that would come with the Delta Conveyance Project.

And the technology envisioned for desalination here, reverse osmosis, is available off the shelf. You can buy this equipment today. In fact, it’s already in use in California and thousands of other places around the world.

Q: You discuss in the report three potential products from the Diablo Canyon plant:  desalinatinated water, power for the grid, and clean hydrogen. How well can the plant accommodate all of those efforts, and are there advantages to combining them as opposed to doing any one of them separately?....


HT: the Los Angeles Daily News, December 20: 
Give Diablo Canyon more to do