Skip to comments.Activists: Nuclear plants kill billions of fish eggs
Posted on 01/15/2009 7:34:23 PM PST by Coleus
BUCHANAN, N.Y. For a striped bass in the Hudson River, a clutch of trout eggs in Lake Michigan or a salmon in San Francisco Bay, drifting a little too close to a power plant spells death. Sucked in with enormous volumes of water, battered against the sides of pipes and heated by steam, the small fry of the aquatic world are being sacrificed to the cooling systems of power plants around the country.
Environmentalists say the killing is needless, but energy-industry officials say opponents of nuclear power exaggerate the losses. The issue is being debated at an Indian Point nuclear plant north of New York, and power plant operators and environmentalists are watching the outcome there to see how to proceed in other cities around the country. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this term in a lawsuit related to the matter.
The issue's scope is tremendous. More than 1,000 power plants and factories around the country use water from rivers, lakes, oceans and creeks as a coolant. Indian Point's two reactors can pull in 1.7 million gallons of water per minute. Nineteen plants on or near the California coast use 16.3 billion gallons of sea water every day. Most of the casualties are just fish eggs, and for many species, it takes thousands of eggs to result in one adult fish. The U.S. Environmental Protection Administration, which counts only species that are valuable for commerce or recreation, uses various formulas and says the number of eggs and larvae killed each year at the nation's large power plants would have grown into 1.5-billion-year-old fish.
"This is a really significant ongoing harm to our marine ecosystem," says Angela Haren, program director for the California Coastkeeper Alliance in San Francisco. Technology has long existed that might reduce the fish kill by 90 percent or more. Cooling towers allow a power plant to recycle the water rather than continuously pump it in. New power plants are required to use cooling towers, but most existing plants resist any push to convert, citing the huge cost and claiming that most fish eggs and larvae are doomed anyway.
"We're not killing grown fish," says Jerry Nappi, spokesman for Entergy Nuclear Northeast, owner of Indian Point. "If we were killing billions of grown fish you'd be able to walk across the Hudson on their backs." And Nappi says the fish population in the Hudson is stable, despite a recent study commissioned by Indian Point opponents that said 10 of 13 species were declining. He also says an insistence on cooling towers could lead to Indian Point's closing.
"What you're really talking about is a $1.5 billion hit on the company, and then it becomes an economic decision whether they want to stay here," he says. He believes talk of cooling towers is "a backdoor attempt by some to shut down Indian Point." A recent ruling dealt at least a small blow to Entergy's efforts. The state Department of Environmental Conservation, which is pushing for cooling towers, said the simple fact that so many fish eggs are destroyed each year at Indian Point is proof of an environmental impact, and Entergy can no longer maintain that it's not adversely affecting the river.
There's still months of argument ahead, but the ruling could be influential. "We'll be very interested to see how that comes out," says Katie Nekola, an attorney for Clean Wisconsin, which failed to force cooling towers at the Oak Creek plant on Lake Michigan but won a $105 million settlement. State agencies in California also are working on new regulations that should limit the numbers of fish killed, in the Pacific Ocean and other bodies of water.
According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, nuclear plants drink from other familiar bodies of water as the Mississippi River, Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Water used for cooling does not become radioactive. Most plants without cooling towers use a system in which water is continuously pumped in, used for cooling, and returned. Various types of barriers are used to keep adult fish out of the system; Indian Point uses screens with holes measuring a quarter-inch by a half-inch.
A California state report says 9 million fish are caught on nets there every year. Even turtles, seals and sea lions are occasionally caught. Environmentalists believe many fish and other creatures are killed in this process, or are injured and die later. "When you hit a deer in your car, just because it gets up and runs away doesn't mean it's not going to die," Haren said.
many fish seem to prefer the warm water from the cooling systems as far as I know
...but they’d gladly punch a hole in a live human baby’s skull and suck the child’s brains out.
Gotta have priorities.
A few years back there were stories about pirhannas possibly breeding near Grand rapids Michigan. LOL
You are correct.
But doesn’t less fish mean more plankton thus less CO2 thus less global warming ?
I wonder how hard this dimwit's brain cells had to work to come up with this remark?
These people are concerned nuclear may make a comeback. All of this is simply a carefully planned preemptive strike.
With his team of California moonbat greenies in charge of energy policy, it’s predictable that we’ll all soon be freezing in the dark.
Coal? Dirty and global warming.
Hydropower? It kills fish.
Wind farms? Not in my back yard.
Solar cells? Sounds good. Let’s have some more government subsidies so we can afford them.
munch, munch, munch.... where are the swimmers? munch
We all know that the water is filtered and the fish eggs are recovered, canned, and sold as cavier to the ruskies.
I was JUST going to ask about Blinky!
Let’s all shiver in the dark for the sake of some caviar.
We need to start forming our own human eco groups that will produce studies to show the eco-nuts are doing more harm, and lying, and deceiving, to harm people and businesses and start dragging their asses into court.
Isn’t it conspiracy to try to destroy someone’s business through slander and lies and an orchestrated campaign? If it could be proved in court they would be liable because they’re destroying the company’s reputation with phony facts. If they were another business and they did this to a competitor they’d be jailed.
Bass lay their eggs in the sediments at the bottom, and guard the nest passionately.
Steelhead and trout lay their eggs in the gravels at the bottom of the streams and rivers.
Herring lay, or more descriptively attach their eggs to the undersides of the leaves of various sea vegetation.
AFAIK, no fish just spurts out their eggs to float along at random. If they did, they would be lucky to last five minutes before something chowed down on them! Caviar!
Environmentalists are the second stupidest species, after lemmings.
The story is full of loaded words and misleading ideas.
For one thing, there are no nuclear power plants in San Francisco Bay. There are thermal (Natural Gas-fired) plants, but thats not what these characters are wanking about.
I dunno, I think of lemmings as being a noble creature, unlike any liberal in history.
Lemmings make a decision, stick with it and follow it through to the end. Then they face the consequences of their actions with a squeak of defiance. Never asking for someone to come along and clean up their mess or bail them out.
liberals could learn a great deal from the humble lemming.
It’s not just stupidity, which alone is bad enough. It’s combined with a huge dose of arrogance. Environmentalists claim to know the exact “right” climate, number of trees, size of squirrels, length of day and daily amount of Vitamin B12. It’s a fixed amount that should never change, and if there is the slightest deviation it’s man’s fault and we are all doomed.
Environmentalism = arrogance + stupidity
Liberals should be proud of them for aborting their children rather than bring them into a polluted, dangerous environment!