Plant Vogtle water use

Apparently the nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle will use more water than the City of Savannah, and more than agricultural uses for the middle Savannah River watershed. Much of the water (3/4?) is evaporated, leaving less for drinking, farming, and everything else. What goes back in the river is rest warmer than it came out, affecting everything that lives in the river. Remind me: why are we building those nukes instead of solar and wind generators, which use no water while producing power?

Plant Vogtle currently uses 43.2 million gallons of water a day, and with all 4 units, is planned to use 86.4 million gallons of water a day, or 2% of the *average* flow of the Savannah River, according to UNC’s Powering A Nation journalism team, 9 June 2010.

That’s more than the City of Savannah, according to the City of Savannah.

The city of Savannah’s President Street Water Quality Control Facility treats the majority of the greater Savannah area. The President Street Water Quality Control facility is owned and operated by the City of Savannah. It is an Advanced Secondary Treatment facility. Its permitted flow is 27 million gallons per day with a design peak flow of 75 million gallons per day. The facility is staffed twenty four hours a day three hundred and sixty five days per year.

Plant Vogtle uses more water than from all agricultural water withdrawals for the middle Savannah watershed (35,990 gallons per minute * 60 * 24 = 51.8 million gallons per day), according to the University of Georgia.

Plant Vogtle water use is a major consideration on water release from upstream dams, according to Frequently Asked Questions on Savannah River Basin Water Management, Army Corps of Engineers, 24 October 2011.

For instance, Plant Vogtle nuclear powerplant, near Waynesboro, Ga., is a major user of downstream water. This utility supplies power to a large area of the lower basin for homes, businesses and industries. Other utility companies in and near Augusta, Ga., also depend on flows from the Savannah River, directly impacting local economies. Cities and counties downstream depend on the river for drinking water.

Meanwhile, solar and wind, which Southern Company is impeding in favor of Plant Vogtle, use no water while producing power. Solar and wind also use no coal shipped in from Wyoming (unlike Plant Scherer), no fracked gas (unlike all those natural gas plants Southern Company is building), and no uranium. And a wind or solar spill is not a cause for evacuation of the area, much less of cancer. All that and solar and wind power does not require stealth taxes through CWIP rate hikes on Georgia Power customers for power nobody will get for years if ever. Private investors are waiting to build solar and wind plants in Georgia. We have an opportunity right now to elect Public Service Commissioners and legislators who can make that possible.


3 thoughts on “Plant Vogtle water use

  1. bob fulford

    Add to this insane misuse of water our practice of emptying millions of bowels and bladders into it every day. Human logic? Spend billions of dollars looking for another planet with water to which we can move!

  2. Michael G. Noll

    Energy projects such as biomass plants, coal firing plants, and nuclear power plants waste enormous amounts of water. The once proposed 40MW biomass plant in Valdosta would have consumed 800,000 gallons of water DAILY. Considering that for years now we are experiencing record drought conditions and heat waves in the US, this should make everyone’s hair stand up on the back of their necks. (For more information on “Electricity’s Thirst on a Precious Resource” see
    Add to this scenario a recent decision by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to freeze all nuclear reactor construction and operating licenses in the U.S.
    Why? As the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL) summarized: “The Court noted that, after decades of failure to site a repository, including twenty years of working on the now-abandoned Yucca Mountain repository, the NRC has no long-term plan other than hoping for a geologic repository. Therefore it is possible that spent fuel will be stored at reactor sites *on a permanent basis*. Under the circumstances, the NRC must examine the environmental consequences of failing to establish a repository when one is needed.”
    That begs the question what will happen with the radioactive waste that is accumulating here in Georgia and in connection with plants like Vogtle, Hatch, and others?
    Thankfully some people and institutions are finally seeing the writing on the wall. Thus it is noteworthy that the White House just fast-tracked better energy alternatives:
    When will Southern Company & Georgia Power finally wake up?
    Michael G. Noll, President
    Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy (WACE)
    P.S.: Join us in our efforts to put pressure on Georgia Power so that they may finally see the wind and solar powered light!

  3. Michael G. Noll

    Please note a recent article in the New York Times about the best alternative to nuclear power in Georgia:
    To quote from the article: “… the reality of the [solar] industry ā€” as evidenced by the enormous investments that companies like Google and Bank of America are making in residential solar power ā€” is that it has rapidly become a smart, practical and profitable investment.”
    Michael G. Noll, President
    Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy (WACE)

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