Keywords: nuclear desalination, regional collaboration, economics, desalination costs, Tunisia, nuclear reactors
Inter-regional collaborative nuclear desalination studies by France and Tunisia; the TUNDESAL project
This paper summarises our on-going investigations on the elaboration of a strategy for the possible application of nuclear energy for seawater desalination in a North African country such as Tunisia. The basic aim of the work undertaken is to estimate the realistic costs (under Tunisian conditions) of an integrated nuclear desalination system, operating in the co-generation mode at a specific site in Tunisia, la Skhira, situated between the towns of Sfax and Gabes. However, in order to furnish a choice of technical options, our investigations include studies with two nuclear reactors: the first an existing reactor, the PWR-900 as a reference base case and the second a new generation safe integral reactor, SCOR-600). These reactors were coupled to three desalination processes: the Multiple Effect Distillation, (MED); the Reverse Osmosis process (RO) and an advanced Reverse Osmosis process, (Roph), based on the utilisation of waste heat. Comparisons have also been made with two fossil energy based systems, currently being used in Tunisia: the oil fired plant (DP) and the gas turbine combined cycle plant (CC). First results indicate that desalination by nuclear options is not only technically feasible but also the least expensive solution for the la Skhira site in Tunisia.