The Largest Nuclear Reactor Not Located On A Body Of Water Is Found In?
Answer: Tonopah, Arizona
Near Tonopah, Arizona you’ll find an extensive 4,000 acre nuclear power plant complex, the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. Now you could find the Palo Verde complex notable for more than just a few reasons. It’s the largest power plant in the United States by net power generated and it produces approximately 35 percent of the entire electrical power generated in Arizona.
While those two things are notable, what really stands out about the Palo Verde complex is its location and, more importantly, the lack of surrounding water. Unlike every other large scale nuclear reactor in the world, the Palo Verde station doesn’t sit on, or near a body of above-ground water due to being located in the middle of the arid Arizona desert. There’s no massive lake to tap into for cooling water, nor is there a flowing river–the nearby Gila River is a dry bed, save for sparse water flow during the rainy season in the latter part of summer.
Instead of tapping into a nearby lake or river, the Palo Verde plant cleverly recycles the water (treated sewage) from nearby communities. Approximately 20 billion gallons of waste water are reclaimed each year to cool the plant–this water is further treated and stored in an 80-acre reservoir built on site near the reactors.
Image courtesy of Cuhlik.