Pilgrim Efficiency Study
“Facts to Consider” (1) Downloads:
- PNPS is licensed by the U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to produce up to 2028 MWt (million watts thermal) of heat with its GE Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactor and use that power to generate up to 690 MWe (million watts electric) of electricity. (2)
- 34% of the thermal energy produced is converted to marketable electricity (690/2028).
- 66% of the thermal energy is discharged into Cape Cod Bay. PNPS is permitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use a once through cooling system. (3)
Thermal Pollution Quantities:
- PNPS is licensed to pump up to 447,000,000 gal/day (163,150,000,000 Gallons/yr) from Cape Cod Bay for cooling and return it up to 32 degrees Fahrenheit hotter. (4)
- This is equivalent to 116,456,000,000 BTUs/day (42,500,000,000,000 BTUs/yr) of heat energy (thermal pollution). (5)
What does 163,150,000,000 Gallons/yr of water look like? (163 Billion)
- More than enough to run one shower (typical shower head delivers 2.5 gal/min) (6) every day, all day long, all year long in every household on Cape Cod and the Islands (138,440,412,000 gal/yr; in 105,358 households; by a population of 242,595). (7)
- 100 times more than the Town of Plymouth’s Water Department pumps to meet the entire town’s municipal and domestic water requirements (1,567,343,161 gal/yr). (8)
What does 42,500,000,000,000 BTUs/yr of heat energy look like? (42.5 Trillion)
- The average American home using fuel oil for heating consumes about 700 galllons of fuel per year (9) (97,090,000 BTUs/yr). (10)
- Every year PNPS discharges enough thermal energy into Cape Cod Bay to heat 437,800 homes every year with fuel oil.
- That’s more than 4 times the number of resident households on the Cape and Islands and similarly 2.4 times the number of resident households in Plymouth County. (11)
- Two thirds of the energy produced by PNPS is discharged as heat into Cape Cod Bay.
- Anyway you slice it this is thermal pollution on a disturbing scale.
- Employing a once through cooling system as acceptable practice is analogous to and based in the technology and sensibilities (dilution is the solution) dating back to the 1960s when landfills and open burning at landfills were also acceptable practices.
- A closed loop cooling systems is a simple technology and has been the preferred contemporary best practice for decades. Remediation is 20 years overdue.
(1) Calculations are based on PNPS operating at 100% power for 100% of the time. Quantities (gallons of water, BTUs of heat energy and MW of power) may vary depending on seawater salinity and temperature, and the actual power output of PNPS. In 2014 PNPS operated at 100% power, 97% of the time, pumped an average of 445 MGD and returned it an average of 30.6 degrees Fahrenheit hotter (40.5 Trillion BTUs/yr).
(2) Entergy reports the “Maximum Dependable Output as 688 MW” http://www.entergy-nuclear.com/plant_information/pilgrim.aspx ; The NRC License Renewal Application documents 690 MW as licensed output http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/licensing/renewal/applications/pilgrim/pilgrim_lr_.pdf
(3) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NPDES Permit #MA0003557
(4) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station “Discharge Monitoring Reports” for 2014. 447 MGD is the licensed upper limit averaged over the course of a month. On any single day if extreme conditions require it, PNPS is licensed to use 510 MGD. Also see Endnote 2.
(5) 1 BTU (British Thermal Unit) equals the thermal energy required to raise 1 pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit.
(6) US Environmental Protection Agency http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/products/showerheads.html
(7) U.S. Census http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/25/25001.html Cape Cod (Barnstable County) has a population of 215,888 in 95,398 households; Martha’s Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands (Dukes County) have a population of 16,536 in 5,891 households; Nantucket Island (Nantucket County) has a population of 10,172 in 4,069 households.
(8) 2013 Pymouth Annual Report http://www.plymouth-ma.gov/sites/plymouthma/files/uploads/2013_town_report.pdf
(9) U.S. Energy Information Administration http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/steo/tables/pdf/wf-table.pdf http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/steo/documentation/heating_oil.pdf
(10) Home heating fuel oil produces 138,700 BTUs/gallon.
(11) U.S. Census Bureau (105,358 households) http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/25/25001.html See Endnote 7
Revised: 5-7-15 (v22)