Heat Wave in Europe Leads to Nuke Plant Worries

The withering heat wave in Europe, which is believed to have led to dozens if not hundreds of deaths, is now causing problems at nuclear facilities and other power plants. Government authorities in France and Germany have announced that they are relaxing rules to let plants pump warmer-than-usual water from their cooling systems back into rivers. Environmentalists are crying foul, arguing that even a temporary rise in river temperatures could lead to fish kills and ecological damage. The French government is also considering electricity rationing after engineers warned that they can no longer guarantee the safety of the nation’s 58 nuclear power plants because the heat wave is undermining efforts to cool them. Anti-nuclear activists point to the problems as yet another reason to ditch nuclear power altogether. “What we should be doing is cutting consumption and freeing up some money to invest in renewable energy sources, rather than deepening this country’s dependence on nuclear energy,” said Stephane Lhomme of the group Get Out of Nuclear.