To the editor:
The Nov. 7 Lawrence Journal-World editorial, regarding the new Bowersock hydropower plant in Lawrence, asks if it is reasonable, should drought conditions persist, for the Bowersock plant to release “900 million gallons of water ultimately” from the Kansas River system upon which people depend, to drive the turbines to produce clean, renewable energy, when the same electricity “could be generated easily by coal-fired or nuclear plants.”
From the Union of Concerned Scientists website: “A typical 500-megawatt coal-fired power plant draws about 2.2 billion gallons of water each year from nearby water bodies, such as lakes, rivers, or oceans, to create steam for turning its turbines. This is enough water to support a city of approximately 250,000 people.”
From an Aug. 27, 2012, Journal-World article: “Wolf Creek (Nuclear Power Plant) officials said the dwindling water levels at nearby John Redmond Reservoir … could make it difficult for the plant to operate if the drought continues for many months. … The lake plays an important role in providing water to cool the reactor.”
The time has come for Kansans and global citizens to address seriously the unavoidable triad of water use, energy usage and climate change. Even oceans are not necessarily reliable water sources, as evidenced by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, following an earthquake and tsunami near Japan in 2011. It may be not entirely accurate to categorize any solutions to these issues as easy.