The Good News from Arizona

Oscar Archer
3 min readMay 18, 2017

Arizona’s largest electric company is now proudly advertising its exemplary nuclear power plant, Palo Verde.

This coincides with a comprehensive coverage of the plant’s latest refueling outage. As observed by Arizona Science Desk,

Courtesy of Susanna Hertrich

Nuclear plants provide one of the least deadly forms of energy, yet we can’t seem to shake our fear of fission.

Palo Verde frankly puts the lie to the common protest over the perceived huge water demands for nuclear energy. This is how NEI describes it:

At the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, water treated at Arizona’s largest wastewater sewage plant is piped 36 miles to a treatment plant and then into on-site reservoirs. From there, it feeds the plant’s tertiary cooling loop that runs through condensers under the turbogenerator, through cooling towers, and back again, until it is super-concentrated and diverted to evaporation ponds.

That’s treated effluent. Not ground water or river water, but waste water which people had already flushed away.

Even a qualified representative of the anti-nuclear Union of Concerned Scientists recently approved of the power plant after receiving a full tour.

Palo Verde’s cut-away display cask.

In one year, eight or more dry casks are loaded up with cooled, used nuclear fuel. Dry casks are sealed, impregnable, thick steel and reinforced concrete containers, expected to securely contain used fuel for at least a century. It would be awesome if the by-products of coal and gas power stations could fit in discrete, immobile containers, and if we had over a hundred more years to carefully plan how to overcome climate change we’d probably be facing a far more manageable challenge.

In Australia, nuclear energy is prohibited. And since the legislating of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000, Australia has steadily added renewable energy capacity exclusively in the form of solar and wind. In 2016, roughly 19.4 billion kWh was generated from rooftop solar, large solar farms and wind farms.

The three pressurised water reactors at Palo Verde began construction in May 1976, with the final unit connected to the grid in January 1988. In 2016, they produced a total of 32.2 billion kWh.

Yes, that’s two thirds more. Which is to say, just three reactors alongside a whole country’s renewables is a heck of a lot of climate-friendly power.

No wonder Arizona is proud.



Oscar Archer

Eco-modernism, clean energy abundance and enhanced opportunity for future generations.