Keywords: nuclear desalination, desalination economics, electricity economics, nuclear power economics, hydrogen economics, reverse osmosis, economic evaluation, light water reactors, cogeneration
IAEA's DEEP in Carlsbad: co-producing energy and water in Southern California
The joint production of energy and desalinated water is examined in the context of the construction of a Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant at the site of the (fossil-fired) Encina Power Station in Carlsbad, California. The first part of the paper reproduces cost estimates of water at the Carlsbad Desalination Project. The second part of the paper reproduces these cost estimates using the International Atomic Energy Agency's Desalination Economic Evaluation Program (DEEP). The paper shows that the cost of desalinating water with nuclear power is cheaper than at fossil-fired plants, given the high cost of fossil fuel. Further, the estimated costs of producing electricity and water with gas reactors and gas turbines are lower than light water reactors with steam turbines. The paper concludes by suggesting that the next step in nuclear desalination in the USA would be to construct an RO plant at an existing light water reactor.