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[cdn-nucl-l] Get drinking water from the sea via nuclear technology, say experts
Posted on SpaceDaily on October 17, 2002 and at:
Get drinking water from the sea via nuclear technology, say experts
MARRAKESH, Morocco (AFP) Oct 17, 2002
Experts attending an international water conference in this southern
Moroccan city on Thursday called for the use of nuclear energy to
extract drinking water from the sea to be made easier, as global demand
for fresh water increases and accessibility shrinks.
"Nuclear energy provides an inexpensive, non-polluting means of
desalinating water, and is accessible to everyone," said Abdelhamid
Mekki-Berrada, head of the Association of Atomic Engineers of Morocco
(AIGAM), which has co-organised the three-day meeting with the World
Council of Nuclear Workers (WONUC).
However WONUC acknowledged that the use of nuclear energy to desalinate
water continues to run up against the obstacle of the anti-nuclear
lobby, which "categorically opposes anything containing the slightest
hint of nuclear energy".
During the conference, devoted to using nuclear power to desalinate
seawater, engineers, scientists and industrialists from 35 countries are
to present the results of studies they have carried out on removing salt
from water using nuclear energy.
More than 97 percent of the world's water reserves are salt water,
contained in the planet's oceans.
Only a tiny proportion of the 1.3 billion square kilometers that makes
up the world's water reserves is fresh water, and just 0.4 percent of
those reserves is accessible.
However, rapid economic and social development around the world continue
to push demand for fresh water upward. Drinking water demand grew twice
as fast as the world's population between 1990 and 1995, and is expected
to grow another 40 percent by 2025.
According to a statement released by WONUC before the conference, "In
many parts of the world, the discrepancy between fresh water needs and
availability has already made any possibility of development or even
The statement also says that in 50 years, around 40 countries in the
world could face a shortage of drinking water.
Already, "hundreds of millions of women and children are enslaved by the
daily quest for water" in parts of the world where drinking water is not
readily available," the statement says.
A shortage of fresh water also "limits food production, reduces people
to destitution and poverty and leaves them with no choice but
disappearance or exodus."
Desalination of water is, therefore, a solution "as much for the present
as for the future of humanity," said Mekki-Berrada.
But: "Suspected of the worst by a public opinion manipulated by the
anti-nuclear associations, industrial circles dare not propose the use
of nuclear energy" for desalination, the WONUC statement says.
The Marrakesh meeting is backed by the World Water Council (WWC) and the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Other participants at the conference said that nuclear desalination now
"a realistic and viable option", in the light of the climbing global
demand for fresh water.
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