Publication Laka-library:
Licensed to Kill. How the nuclear industry destroys endangered marine wildlife and ocean habitat to save money

AuthorP.Gunter, L.Gunter, Cullen, Borton
DateFebruary 2001

From the publication:

How the nuclear power industry
destroys endangered marine wildlife and ocean habitat to save money

 By: Linda Gunter, SECC and Paul Gunter, NIRS • Scott Cullen, STAR and Nancy Burton, Esq.
                         Executive Summary

             arine life in all forms, from endangered manatees and sea turtles to essential microscopic
             organisms, is being harmed and killed by once-through cooling systems, used to remove
             waste heat at nuclear power stations. A typical once-through cooling system draws into
each reactor unit more than a billion gallons of water a day, 500,000 gallons a minute. After cycling
through the power generating station, the heated water is discharged at temperatures up to 25 degrees F
hotter than the water into which it flows. A total of 59 out of the 103 U.S. reactor units rely on this
system, either exclusively or in conjunction with closed cycle canals or cooling towers.

This report examines the toll the once-through cooling intake and discharge system takes on marine
biodiversity around nuclear plants, including sea turtles and other endangered marine animals. The
report takes into account the already severe problems affecting the health of U.S. oceans and waterways
and the impacts of nuclear power plant operation within the context of this crisis. The authors review
the cumulative impact of marine ecosystem destruction by coastal nuclear reactors as well as the local
effect on marine life in the vicinity of the plant. Particular attention is given to the effectiveness of
regulatory oversight and the adherence to and implementation of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA),
the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA).

Power Plant Systems and Alternatives
Nuclear power electrical generating stations use the tremendous heat resulting from the controlled split-
ting of the atom to boil water to generate steam for powering
electrical turbogenerators. Atomic reactors produce muc