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close this bookSourcebook of Alternative Technologies for Freshwater Augmentation in Africa (UNEP-IETC, 1998, 182 p.)
close this folderPart B - Technology profiles
close this folder3. Mining and industry
close this folder3.4 Water conservation
View the document3.4.1 Dry cooling at power stations
View the document3.4.2 Utilisation of seawater for power station cooling

3.4.2 Utilisation of seawater for power station cooling

Technology Description

Seawater is used for power station cooling in place of freshwater.

Extent of Use

The nuclear power station at Koeberg (Western Cape Province, South Africa) is cooled by seawater.

Operation and Maintenance

Qualified and skilled personnel are required to operate and maintain this technology, which requires an high level of maintenance due to the corrosivity of seawater.

Level of Involvement

This technology is operated at the indistry level by a power utility.


Cost data are not available for this technology. However, the initial construction of this system, which requires corrosion resistant piping and pumps, has high capital costs. Once installed, however, the running costs of this system are low.

Effectiveness of the Technology

The technology eliminates the use of freshwater for cooling, thereby freeing these resources for other uses.


This technology is appropriate for use in countries which have a coastline. It is especially appropriate for use in the nuclear power industry or other industries with an high demand for cooling water.

Environmental Benefits

There are few environmental hazards resulting from the technique, although, in the nuclear power industry, there may be concern over the discharge of radionuclides to the environment in the event of an accident. There may also be concerns regarding thermal pollution if the cooling systems are operated as through flow systems.


Freshwater resources are freed for other uses.


Use of this technology is limited by the requirement that the industry be m close proximity to the sea.

Cultural Acceptability

No cultural problems have been noted.

Information Sources

Department of Water Affairs 1986. Management of the Water Resources of the Republic of South Africa, Government Printer, Pretoria.