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Power Plants Could Use Waste Heat to Desalinate

February 11, 1990

Michael Parrish's article on desalination ("Plenty of Drops to Drink," Jan. 29) was most interesting and welcome. I say that because the availability of freshwater, not energy, will determine the future of the planet earth.

I am familiar with desalination as it was used aboard our aircraft carrier in Korea, as it is used on all Navy ships. However, in your summary, "The Basic Technology," you report that distillation is usually used to desalinate large volumes of seawater and that these systems can be extremely efficient.

Energy to make heat is the primary ingredient in distillation. Nuclear power plants' main problem is getting rid of the heat caused by the nuclear reaction. Why not set up distillation plants next to nuclear power plants and use this excess heat as the primary source in the distillation of the seawater?

Energy is quite expensive and getting more so, so why not tap this source of heat that we now vent to the atmosphere?

JACK M. DE CAMP

Los Angeles

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