June 20, 2002: Chinese Seawater Desalination Using Atomic Power

June 20, 2002: Agreement signed to establish seawater desalination, heating plant (using atomic reactors) at coastal city of Yingkou, China; designed to address severe water shortages, burns used fuel from nuclear power stations under normal pressure giving 200 megawatts; initial phase, costing 35 million yuan ($4 million), would provide heating for a building area of 5 million sq. meters during winter; can also desalinate 3,000 tons of sea water daily when no heating is required; daily capacity is expected to amount to 80,000 tons; reactor in theory is able to replace about 130,000 tons of coal burned every year, reducing immensely waste gases.

Commentary: While this was an interesting news item at the time, there is no evidence that this facility was ever built. Residents of southern California may be surprised to learn that a similar proposal from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California involved a nuclear powered desalination plant offshore of the Bolsa Chica wetlands on the border between Orange and Los Angeles counties. THAT was a really bad idea then and now would not even be entertained.

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