Heat wave in Europe forces nuclear plants to close

Deepak Gupta July 22, 2022
Updated 2022/07/22 at 9:17 PM

The heat wave that we are experiencing in Europe is not passing anyone’s side and, given the atypical nature, there are preventive measures that have to be taken to guarantee the safety of everyone and the normal functioning of the structures. Due to the conditions caused by this heat, nuclear power stations in five countries were closed or saw their production capacity reduced.

Structures are dependent on water that has been too hot.

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As Hipertextual recalls, nuclear power plants need a lot of water and global warming has hampered their normal functioning. In fact, the heat wave that Europe has been feeling is even forcing the closure or reduction of infrastructure capacity.

According to the Reutersin France, three nuclear power plants were closed, in Sweden a reactor was closed and Germany, Switzerland and Finland were forced to reduce the capacity of their structures.

These closures were necessary, since heat waves not only affect ambient temperature, but also impact water temperature, an essential resource for the operation of nuclear power plants.

Nuclear energy

In reactors that use boiling water, this is vaporized directly in the reactor's own boiler. In turn, in pressurized water reactors, this circulates around the outside of the fuel elements and then transfers the heat to a steam generator.

Both processes are dependent on water that comes from outside, such as reservoirs, rivers, lakes and oceans. As the temperature of these waters has increased so significantly, they cannot be used, causing the shutdown or slowdown of energy production.

In addition to nuclear power plants, there are other structures that cannot withstand the heat of lately. An example of this is Google and Oracle, which had to shut down their data center servers, as it was impossible to keep them at the necessary temperature.

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