Small World: France & Texas Face Similar, Severe Drought Impacts

central nuclear plant france photo

"Central nuclear Marnay sur Seine." Image credit:Flickr, lamon

Texas has a real Texas-size problem on its hands with Frackers Firefighters And Farmers Competing For Water. Similar severe drought-caused problems are shaping up now in parts of Europe. French farmers face lost wheat production, for example. The famed nuclear fleet of France, mostly dependent on single-pass river water cooling systems, may have to consider shut downs as river levels fall.Scientific American reports that "the French government has set up a committee to keep an eye on the country's electricity supply situation and monitor river levels, as 44 of the 58 nuclear reactors that supply 80 percent of France's electricity are cooled by river water."

Heat stress: redoubled by power plant discharge.
French power plant owners could certainly find ways to lower cooling water intake pipe levels, thus sustaining operations until rivers totally dry up (a worse case scenario not yet contemplated). But, as the drought continues, with progressively less river water in which to disperse waste heat, fish and aquatic life could cook if hot water discharges are continued. The Rhone would end up smelling like spoiled Bouillabaisse.

World's climate changes - politics catch up later.
We all know that individual weather events, no matter how severe or record-setting, can not be characterized as 'proof' of climate change. All can agree however, that there are concurrent, recent changes to climate on major portions of several of Earth's continents: Asia; Western and Central Europe; and the USA.

Adapt...mitigate...or both? That is the question all politicians in the world must eventually face.

Republican Party ducks the question.
Michelle Bachman, State Bird of Minnesota and just-declared US presidential candidate, say's she would clip EPA's wings if she were President "because it's the job killing organization of America." She and her colleagues apparently have not noticed that climate can be a killer of electric power, jobs, crops, fish, fuel production, and hope. Clipping EPA's wings certainly would hold back the mitigation option - and that seems to be her desire.

It'll be interesting to see what Texas Governor Rick Perry will have to say about climate if he throws his hat in the ring.

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