MHTGR desalination for Southern California

  • atomics G
  • Bechtel national I
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This report presents an evaluation of the technical, economic and institutional viability of a Modular High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor (MHTGR) nuclear desalination plant in Southern California for the production of fresh water and electric power. The principal motivations for this study were the need for new sources of water in the service area of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (Metropolitan) and the desire of the Department of Energy (DOE) to demonstrate the flexibility of the MHTGR for new applications. The incentives for investigating nuclear power as the energy source for desalination include long-term availability of an indigenous fuel supply, long-term fuel price stability, and minimal environmental impact. However, nuclear power raises concerns over public safety, waste disposal, and cost control. The MHTGR is being developed by the DOE to specifically address each of these issues. The MHTGR's high level of safety and very low environmental impact will facilitate its siting in the Southern California region. The study consisted of performing an assessment of future needs for new water and power additions; specifying the requirements for a plant which would meet a reasonable fraction of the projected need; selecting a desalination process for use with the MHTGR; developing a conceptual plant design and cost estimate; investigating the safety and institutional issues associated with the plant; and developing a project plan.




atomics, G., & Bechtel national, inc. (1991). MHTGR desalination for Southern California. Energy, 16(1–2), 593–610.

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