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Environmental groups opposed Plant Vogtle plan to draw water from Savannah River

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 5:01 PM
Last updated Thursday, May 8, 2014 1:07 AM
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Siphoning water from the Savannah River to operate cooling towers for two new reactors at Plant Vogtle has drawn stiff opposition from at least 10 environmental protection groups.


Meg Mirshak
Staff Writer
Twitter: @megmirshak
E-mail | 706-823-3228

Southern Nuclear Operating Co. has applied for a permit to withdraw up to 74 million gallons of water daily from an intake site on the Savannah near Waynesboro, Ga., for units 3 and 4 now under construction.

The water, except that lost to evaporation, would be returned to the river through a discharge system regulated by the Clean Water Act.

The Georgia Environmental Pro­tection Division is holding a public hearing tonight after receiving numerous written comments from environmental groups at odds with the proposal. The groups say such a withdrawal would cause additional negative impact to the river currently under evaluation for low dissolved oxygen levels that threaten the ecosystem.

Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Kurt Ebersbach said nuclear power plants Vogtle and McIntosh already draw large amounts of water from the Savannah, which has several other major industrial facilities on its banks.

“We are talking about a very stressed river already,” Ebersbach said. “All those uses combine to affect the overall health of the river, especially dissolved oxygen.”

As part of its request, Southern Nuclear agreed to offset oxygen loss by constructing a special system near the Savannah harbor that pumps oxygen into the water. The system, called a “Speece Cone” or an oxygen bubbler, was also proposed during negotiations to deepen the Savannah port.

Georgia Power spokesman Brian Green said the company understands the importance of the river and welcomes public comment.

“Water is a valuable resource but (the requested amount) is a small percentage of the flow of the Savannah River,” he said.

Georgia Power officials say proposed withdrawal amount is approximately one percent of the river’s daily water flow.

Sara Barczak, the program director for Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said the Georgia Environmental Protection Division should delay the Vogtle application until settling issues with dissolved oxygen levels in the Savannah.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control also wrote comments to Georgia EPD taking issue with the permit application. A drought contingency plan based on a new analysis by the U.S. Corps of Engineers at Thurmond Lake is lacking in the proposal, DHEC wrote.

Additionally, DHEC said the permit should require that Southern Nuclear monitor the effectiveness of the oxygen injection system and have a back-up plan if the system does not produce the expected results.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Public hearing on Plant Vogtle water withdrawal permit

WHEN: 7-9 tonight

WHERE: Augusta Technical College Auditorium, 216 Georgia Highway 24, Waynesboro, Ga.

Comments (21) Add comment
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Little Lamb
53082
Points
Little Lamb 05/07/14 - 05:05 pm
4
1
Too Late

You would think these groups would have raised their concerns before the NRC gave Southern Nuclear the license to construct and operate the plants.

scorehouse
196
Points
scorehouse 05/07/14 - 06:08 pm
0
0
water flow
Unpublished

74 million gallons of water daily from a total flow of What? such pathetic journalism! that would seem to be the basis for an argument? we, the reader don't have a clue on withdrawal rates versus total water flow? if they are putting the water back into the river and putting more oxygen in the water, what's the problem?

V.Concerned
9
Points
V.Concerned 05/07/14 - 08:30 pm
5
0
Concerns were raised, and ignored

Concerned groups DID raise concerns before the NRC and the PSC (several times) to no avail. Thankfully they did "win" something -- ~100 river miles were NOT dredged in order to accommodate the need to ship the various components to the site. Let's hope the EPD listens and realizes that there are measures that could be taken to reduce Plant Vogtle's impact on the Savannah. Everyone should be concerned, it's not an issue about being "for" or "against" nuclear power, it's about the long-term health of a very important water resource for many, many decades to come.

Riverman1
110881
Points
Riverman1 05/08/14 - 06:52 am
7
1
Dredging

Not dredging the silt filled river was a good thing? That makes little sense. Run-off threatens the very existence of the river. The solution is to dredge it periodically. If anyone thinks they are going to stop this plant NOW, they're out to lunch.

corgimom
46725
Points
corgimom 05/08/14 - 06:57 am
3
1
If Plant Vogtle is going to

If Plant Vogtle is going to reoxygenate the river, wouldn't that be a GOOD thing?

Bizkit
43348
Points
Bizkit 05/08/14 - 08:36 am
3
4
You know what is interesting

You know what is interesting and rather indicting is next to islamic terrorism, eco-terrorism is the second largest terrorist activity in the world. While I support environmentalism that isn't the same thing as this rather political group that often seems misguided. Like calling carbon dioxide the source of all carbon in every living thing that cycles through the web of life is somehow "toxic"-now that is irrational and misguided. Without that carbon dioxide there would be no life-zip. Besides the low dissolved oxygen is usually associated with hydroelectric dams like Clarks' hill. Next they will prevent building any new hydroelectric dams-even though they are green.

Bizkit
43348
Points
Bizkit 05/08/14 - 09:07 am
1
4
We already have environmental

We already have environmental protection agencies within govt-which progressives claim is the end all of choices. Yet environmentalist groups seem to think govt isn't doing their jobs and they take action fighting the govt often. Over a hundred different non-govt environmental groups in the US. Why? All the govt found the Keystone no problem, but non-govt environmental groups keep fighting ignoring the "science" they claim to support. Just shows you how misguided-even locally I know and use to work with some of these misguided ill-informed nuts. Non-govt environmental groups even fight green energy solutions like solar panels (because of pollution in manufacturing) and wind power because they affect birds. Non-govt environmental groups are terroristic organizations-least that is what Harry Reid says. LOL>

itsanotherday1
53253
Points
itsanotherday1 05/08/14 - 09:50 am
3
1
That was my thought too RM,

That was my thought too RM, on the dredging. Also, I don't understand how pumping water through a series of piping and dumping it back into the river affects dissolved O2. One would think it improves it from the churning when pumped back out; unless of course it is still hot.

burninater
11068
Points
burninater 05/08/14 - 11:14 am
5
3
"All the govt found the

"All the govt found the Keystone no problem, but non-govt environmental groups keep fighting ignoring the "science" they claim to support. Just shows you how misguided-even locally I know and use to work with some of these misguided ill-informed nuts."
-------
Biz, you're being a bit inconsistent here.

Many of your recent posts have talked about how deceitful the Obama administration has been. Now you're saying that if a group contradicts a gov't finding, they're "misguided ill-informed nuts"?

burninater
11068
Points
burninater 05/08/14 - 11:26 am
5
0
"Also, I don't understand how

"Also, I don't understand how pumping water through a series of piping and dumping it back into the river affects dissolved O2. One would think it improves it from the churning when pumped back out; unless of course it is still hot."
--------
It would seem like any amount of heating above the original river temp is going to produce a net oxygen loss, simply as a result of gas being less soluble in liquid as temps go up.

Little Lamb
53082
Points
Little Lamb 05/08/14 - 11:46 am
4
1
Red Herring

From the story:

“We are talking about a very stressed river already,” Southern Environmental Law Center attorney Kurt Ebersbach said. “All those uses combine to affect the overall health of the river, especially dissolved oxygen.” As part of its request, Southern Nuclear agreed to offset oxygen loss by constructing a special system near the Savannah harbor that pumps oxygen into the water. The system, called a “Speece Cone” or an oxygen bubbler, was also proposed during negotiations to deepen the Savannah port.

The nuclear plant is not going to reduce dissolved oxygen at Savannah harbor. The oxygen bubbler was originally envisioned to offset low oxygen postulated by deepening the harbor to handle large cargo vessels. At first it was envisioned that the state of Georgia would pay for the oxygen bubbler. But now Southern Nuclear has agreed to pay for it. In actuality it is the citizens of Georgia who will pay. We either pay in taxes or electric bills.

Bizkit
43348
Points
Bizkit 05/08/14 - 11:59 am
2
2
Sure I can be inconsistent

Sure I can be inconsistent Dems and progressives do it all the time. That's absurd. Much as your straw man argument that we have inalienable or unalienable rights. We don't that isn't in the constitution-all your reasoning was for naught. We have a right to equal protection under the law-no inalienable rights mentioned in the constitution that was just the Declaration of Independence. If we did have these inalienable rights then mental patients and violent criminals would not be forbidden from buying guns. Course I guess the DOJ sees it your way. Oh I guess they aren't consistent at all.

Bizkit
43348
Points
Bizkit 05/08/14 - 11:57 am
2
1
What is the temperature and

What is the temperature and volume of water flowing into the river-compared to total flow and volume of water. The temperature difference could be negligible within a short distance of the inlet. Seems the manatees love the warmer water off Florida power plants. We have to protect the manatees. LOL.

itsanotherday1
53253
Points
itsanotherday1 05/08/14 - 12:17 pm
2
1
1%

Suppose there is O2 loss from heating. They are using 1% of of the flow; and let's say the warming reduces the O2 by 20%. If my ciphering is correct, then at the discharge the O2 is reduced by 0.2% in the river.

If the dissolved O2 is 10 @ intake, then it would be 9.98 at discharge.

Somebody check my math, but that seems pretty negligible to me. Where am I wrong?

Little Lamb
53082
Points
Little Lamb 05/08/14 - 01:54 pm
1
1
Correct

I think you are correct, IAD.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 05/08/14 - 03:31 pm
2
3
--
Unpublished

Yes Biz......the inalienable rights argument that Burn was trying to make would make it impossible to punish anyone for any crime. It was clear that he just doesn't think it should be a crime to come to this country without permission. When I pointed this out, using logic, he put me on ignore. (so he said) I wonder if he would want have a problem with me moving into his house. Just because I didn't have permission to stay there is no reason to have me removed.....right? I should be granted all kinds of entitlements that everyone else in the house gets....right?

burninater
11068
Points
burninater 05/08/14 - 03:30 pm
4
2
"Much as your straw man

"Much as your straw man argument that we have inalienable or unalienable rights."
-----
I was arguing if a gov't can define what rights are available to us, then we have no inalienable rights. You seem to agree with that statement -- inalienable rights are not referenced in the Constitution, therefore we don't have them. Essentially, you are arguing that in regards to human rights, gov't creates reality. We only have rights that are allowed by our gov't.

How was that a straw man argument? It directly relates to the idea of immigration restrictions and rights of the immigrant. Do they have inalienable rights by virtue of being humans? Or do they only have the rights that a specific gov't says they have?

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 05/08/14 - 03:39 pm
2
3
--
Unpublished

Strange that these 2 quotes are from the same person.

"I was arguing if a gov't can define what rights are available to us, then we have no inalienable rights."

"I'm thinking in terms of our Constitution: the Bill of Rights was designed to provide a legal basis for inalienability of certain rights"

fedex227
11192
Points
fedex227 05/08/14 - 04:08 pm
3
1
Awesome ...
Unpublished

..."solar panels ... wind power ... islamic terrorism, eco-terrorism ... we have inalienable or unalienable rights ... the constitution ... the Declaration of Independence ... buying guns ... the DOJ ..."

Now just work in abortion and Benghazi and you'll have it all covered!

burninater
11068
Points
burninater 05/08/14 - 04:17 pm
4
2
Well, the pretexts are always

Well, the pretexts are always there, right fedex?

I mean, the eco-terrorists oppose "cheap" energy as part of their broader racist eugenics plot, which of course incorporates abortion.

And why would they even want to do such a thing?

Because Bengazi!

nocnoc
60465
Points
nocnoc 05/08/14 - 04:21 pm
3
1
Another group wanting 15 mins of Fame

The Water is COOLED before return.

That is what those 2 bigggggggggggg 100 FT. +++++ cooling towers are for.

Some people really need to get a life and sometimes I even think I am one of them.

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 05/08/14 - 04:21 pm
2
4
--
Unpublished

If you can't refute, then I guess sarcasm is the next best thing.

burninater
11068
Points
burninater 05/08/14 - 04:40 pm
3
1
"The Water is COOLED before

"The Water is COOLED before return.

That is what those 2 bigggggggggggg 100 FT. +++++ cooling towers are for."
------
But it is not cooled to its original temperature, is it? I did some work at Comanche Peak NPP a number of years back, and Granbury Lake, the cooling source reservoir, was an artificially elevated temp regardless of what time of year it was (and that was from the cooling tower return water in the lake).

burninater
11068
Points
burninater 05/08/14 - 04:49 pm
4
1
If you could remove all the

If you could remove all the added heat with the cooling towers, then you wouldn't need a continuous water source -- you could use the same cooling water indefinitely (you'd also have invented a kind of perpetual energy machine ...).

Pond Life
17682
Points
Pond Life 05/08/14 - 08:29 pm
0
1
The heat in the cooling tower
Unpublished

The heat in the cooling tower is discharged to the air. The perpetual energy analogy displays a good bit of ignorance and lack of knowledge of a Carnot cycle.

nocnoc
60465
Points
nocnoc 05/08/14 - 10:37 pm
0
0
I stand part corrected by my earlier comments

I checked with a buddy with TVA who checked someone.
Release temperatures can reach high 89+F/degrees. But they try to range around the lower/mid 80's.

Even I have admit at 89F degrees it can harm the fish and other water related live down stream.

So the next question is:
How often in Summer months does the Savannah River naturally reach 80F temps miles above the release site.

Answer :
http://www.hookandbullet.com/fishing-new-savannah-bluff-pool-augusta-ga/

strong>As of 5-8-14 @ 10:29PM
Today the High air temp was 91+/-
Today the Max WATER Temp was: 80.6

At 10:29pm WATER Temp is: 71.6

So the River reaches 80+ degrees naturally on 90 degree days

nocnoc
60465
Points
nocnoc 05/08/14 - 10:46 pm
0
0
BTW: May 15th they close off Lock-N-Dam

Structural issues for safety reasons

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