Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Still Trying to Figure Out How to Kill Fewer Fish at the Millstone Nuke Plant

The Connecticut DEP is still trying to figure out what to do about the water that the Millstone nuke plant, in Waterford, draws in from Long Island Sound for cooling. In January, a federal court ruled that power plants had to figure out a better system, because too many fish were being killed (background info here). Here's what the New London Day reports today:

The step, depending on how it is implemented, could require an expensive technological overhaul at many plants, including Millstone. It could include reducing the flow of water used from Long Island Sound or deploying costly, large cooling towers that use significantly less water by recycling what they do use, thereby putting much less strain on the aquatic environment.

The story also includes these two paragraphs, which seem to contradict each other:

According to the DEP, 30 years of ecological monitoring by Northeast Utilities, the previous owner of Millstone, and Dominion show that the discharge of water from Millstone has not adversely affected the Sound.

When Millstone takes in water from the Sound, that water flows into the plant through a large grate, which traps fish and other sea life and returns it to the Sound by way of a vertical conveyor belt. A Nuclear Regulatory Commission study has found that winter flounder larvae were too small to be trapped by the system and died from heat inside the plant.

The nuke plants have not adversely affected the Sound but they're killing winter flounder. Dead winter flounder seems like an adverse affect, but maybe that's just my interpretation.

The cooling water, by the way, flows through the part of the plant that is not radioactive.

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