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Oreskes: huge amount of water disappears in nuclear power plants

Naomi Oreskes is a top influential climate alarmist. She is one of the co-mothers or propagators of the ludicrous "97% consensus" meme. When I was at Harvard faculty, she found out I wasn't a climate fearmonger so she sent one of the e-mails to the whole Harvard hierarchy above me, demanding my punishment.

She was later hired as a history-focused climate alarmist by Harvard itself. Also because she belongs to certain currently privileged groups, she is frequently offering her wisdom about the climate and energy topics. You can hear her speak in every other climate alarmist propaganda film. But does she have at least the knowledge, inteligence, and sanity of an average 10-year-old kid? You decide.

Willie Soon sent me a link to an incredible tweet she posted 10 hours ago. Does she recommend nuclear energy?


Cool! Nuclear energy is bad and non-renewable because – and now listen to me, it's very important – it consumes huge amounts of water, we learn. On top of that, the amount of water that nuclear power plants make disappear will increase as a function of global warming! ;-)



Needless to say, virtually every reply – dozens of replies – dared to point out that nuclear power plants didn't consume any water. They borrow water from the environment – some said that it doesn't need to be very clean but a TRF reader claims it has to be clean to avoid corrosion of blades – and heat it up by the heat generated by the nuclear reactions, to convert the heat from nuclear energy to mechanical energy, just like in coal power plants.



Within minutes, a much shorter "capture time" than in agriculture and elsewhere, the water is being returned to the environment where it cools down soon enough (some part becomes vapor but that isn't lost, either, sometime in the future, the vapor turns to rain). If the water were clean to start with, it will remain clean. The degree of extra contamination that is caused by the water's visit to the power plant is beneath the relevant EPA limits. It's not hard to achieve this outcome.



You see that there's another, red cycle of the water which is closer to the nuclear fuel and gets slightly contaminated after some time but it just runs in cycles and its amount is very small.

Just try to think how completely ignorant she is about everything. If we believe that she believes what she actually writes, she really misunderstands not only every part of the power plants. She misunderstands the mass conservation law. Water apparently goes to nuclear power plants so it must be gone. Can someone misunderstand matter more than she does?

Incidentally, even if the world's nuclear power plants were capable of making the water disappear, the world oceans are large enough that we could let the power plants consume the water for a very long time. Try to estimate the timescale. In the U.S., nuclear power plants only account for 3% of freshwater "consumption" but again, the water is returned soon.



OK, reactors can't make water disappear. But what if you hire a magician? Gambrinus hired David Copperfield who tried to make a bottle of Gambrinus beer, the Czech bestseller produced in Pilsen and owned by Asahi (JP) now, disappear. Las Vegas was gone but he failed. Like water, Gambrinus can't disappear – only in the Czech way shown by the Czech assistant. At the end, Copperfield admitted he couldn't invent this simply clever (and characteristically Czech) way to make the beer disappear.

Also, note that she writes that because of water, nuclear energy is non-renewable. Is it?

First of all, all energy in Nature is just changing from one form to another. Nuclear reactions are in principle reversible. From these viewpoints, all energy is renewable. But that's not how we discuss it. We care whether the energy is renewable – whether the power plants can run indefinitely – in practice. Nuclear energy is usually considered non-renewable but it's not the water that stops it. It's the uranium (or another heavy element capable of fission) – the fuel that plays the same role as coal but it's about 1 million times more concentrated – that is actually consumed by the power plant.

(The known uranium reserves are only enough for a century of existing power plants. Well, new uranium will probably be found so this "end of the uranium age" will be postponed many times but it's plausible that's it's enough for a few centuries only.)

That quote shows that she seems to think that water is the fuel in the nuclear power plants, that she is ignorant about what the actual fuel is.

At the end, she adds a great cherry on a pie. The huge amount of water that disappears in nuclear power plants will get even higher because of global warming. The stupidity of this assertion is hard to describe by words. Similar people are used to saying that "global warming makes everything worse" – and almost no one dares to point out that they are completely full of šit when they say such things – so why wouldn't global warming increase the amount of water that completely disappears in nuclear power plants?

Well, as everybody knows, the nuclear power plant works in the same way regardless of the weather – one of the big advantages relatively to solar and wind energy – and the temperature changes of the water are in hundreds of degrees. Reactors are usually regulated so that the temperature is some 300 Celsius degrees. Note that in fusion power plants, we would need the real heat that makes the nuclei merge – tens or hundreds of millions of degrees.

Even if the surrounding temperature of the environment mattered – in the first order, it doesn't – and if global warming would increase the temperature by a few degrees, it would change the temperature differences at most by one percent (few kelvins over 300 degrees), so the "consumption of water" could also increase by one percent or so. In reality, the influence is much smaller than that – it's negligible and the sign is hard to determine.

Almost precisely speaking, nuclear power plants don't care about the weather so the impact of something like "climate change" on them is zero.

If she knows the truth and she is just trying to manipulate some people to become foes of nuclear energy, whom is she trying to manipulate? Most of the people who are willing to believe that huge amounts of water disappear in nuclear power plants are illiterate which means that they won't be able to read her tweets. Incidentally, someone wrote that similar comments already appear in her book Merchants of Doubt; I can't verify that claim effectively enough. If that is so, it is just plain incredible that she writes the same stupidity even years later.

So my leading hypothesis is that she actually believes what she writes. She has heard lots of complaints that what she said was totally wrong – but she was simply surrounded by a sufficient number of sycophants and feminists who just told her that everyone who questions that "water disappears" is just an evil denier and heretic, and she hasn't been capable of noticing that the feedback from these sycophants is wrong.

Virtually all males in the discussion know how it works. A female literature PhD posts, in the middle of some discussion, "but isn't the water contaminated"? Well, it's not, she's explained with a comment about EPA limits. The correlation between the debaters' sex and their understanding of power plants is hard to overlook (but just to be sure, the correlation isn't perfect).

Try to appreciate that due to the cowardliness and opportunism of the people who know better, totally scientifically illiterate people of this kind are deciding about trillions dollars that – unlike the water beneath the cooling tower – are actually thrown into a black hole. How could you allow such a thing? I am talking e.g. about all the cowards at Harvard. All of them know that her comments are breathtakingly wrong and virtually every critic of hers has always been vastly more correct than she has ever been but none of you screams at her to make sure that she doesn't ever talk about things that she completely misunderstands – such as science, technology, energy, climate, scientific method, human society, or anything else with a possible exception of skíing.

It's also your fault that you allowed the policies to be crippled by the likes of Oreskes, opportunist cowards. You are co-responsible for misappropriation of trillions of dollars.

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