Water Desalination High on Agenda

Water Desalination High on AgendaWater Desalination High on Agenda

The construction of huge power plants like Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is extremely costly, that is why the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran will build small-scale plants to fulfill its objectives, said Mohammad Ahmadian, deputy manager of AEOI for power plants.

Speaking on the sidelines of his trip to Khorasan Razavi Province in northeastern Iran on Thursday, the official said, "Iran has signed a deal with Russia to build two new power stations in Bushehr at an estimated cost of $10 billion, which require a huge investment. Nonetheless, the construction of small-scale 100- to 300-megawatt nuclear power plants is economically viable," IRNA reported.

"Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant's reactor produces 3,000 megawatts of thermal heat, out of which 1,000 MW are converted to electricity and the rest is transferred in the form of waste heat."

Ahmadian noted that water desalination is high on the agenda to tackle water crisis in the region and 100-MW power plants will be built in the vicinity of Oman Sea to desalinate water.

Small- and medium-sized nuclear reactors are suitable for desalination, often with cogeneration of electricity using low-pressure steam from the turbine and hot seawater feed from the final cooling system.

Several countries have implemented nuclear desalination, including India, Japan and Kazakhstan. The latter operated a 750-MW facility for over a quarter century, generating not only desalinated water, but processing heat and electricity as well.

Nuclear-energy-powered water desalination is a well-understood technology, with thousands of man-hours behind it.

More recently, Argentina, China and South Korea have developed small nuclear reactor designs specifically to generate both electricity and freshwater.

Small reactor technology may be key to expanding clean, nuclear energy-based desalination.

Though nuclear energy has not displaced fossil fuels in water desalination projects, it has emerged from the background in the last several years, especially as climate change has become an important concern and small reactor technology has matured.

Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is situated 17 km southeast of the city of Bushehr in southern Iran. It is the first civilian nuclear power plant built in the Middle East, which need 27 tons of nuclear feedstock annually.