June 30, 2009

Rhine River Heating Up

The German green group BUND said on Tuesday that the Rhine river between Germany and the Netherlands is an average of three degrees warmer than it did 100 years ago, with power stations carrying a lot of the responsibility.

According to the BUND's study, this stretch of the river is warmed two degrees Celsius because of wastewater being pumped in by nuclear and coal-fired power plants, and one degree by global warming.

BUND said that the warming of one of Europe's biggest rivers affects the wildlife.  Salmon have been known to stop swimming upstream to spawn if the temperature reaches 77 degrees Fahrenheit and temperatures of 82 degrees Fahrenheit have been recorded.

"The waste heat from all German power plants would be enough to warm every single building in the country," Joerg Nitsch, head of BUND in the German state of Hesse, said in a statement.

"This gigantic waste of heat that the Rhine has to deal with shows how utterly inefficient producing electricity with coal and nuclear power is," he said.

The Rhine river stretches over 820 miles and has an average discharge of over 71,000 cubic square feet.

Image Courtesy Elke Wetzig - Wikipedia